Category: students

Summer Undergraduate Research Fellows Study Amtrak

Three Humanities undergraduates have been awarded Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships (SURF) for 2022. All three will be carrying out their research in conjunction with the study-away program, “Amtrak Tourism: Trains, Cities, & Sustainability” led by Mark Rhodes, Assistant Professor of Geography in Michigan Tech’s Social Sciences department. Students in the Amtrak Tourism program travel on Amtrak for a three week tour of the western United States and study topics related to human geography, sustainability, and the urban environment along the way.

Lena Lukowski’s project, “Locating Tourism Rhetoric: A Comparative Study” pays attention to the connection between location and tourism rhetoric in different cities across the United States. She is interested in seeing how the way in which tourism is discussed changes with the landscape and location. Lukowski is pursuing a double degree in Mechanical Engineering and Scientific and Technical Communication.

Riley Powers’s project, “Public Tourism Infrastructure and Accessibility: Comparison of Metropolitan, Micropolitan, and Rural Structures” will focus on public tourism infrastructure accessibility design, with a particular focus on the infrastructure encountered by students participating in the Amtrak Tourism study-away program. Powers’ work includes consulting with those who plan and design infrastructure as well as those who are impacted by disparities in accessibility. Results of the study will be shared with stakeholders locally in the Houghton/Keweenaw area, with the aim of highlighting ways to improve accessibility for public tourism in our own community. Powers is a Scientific and Technical Communication major.

Davi Sprague’s project, “Understanding the Relationship Between Rail Communities and Rail Infrastructure” seeks to answer the question, how did rail and train stations influence the urbanization, industrialization, and deindustrialization of rail communities and how are these communities planning for the future? Sprague, a Scientific and Technical Communication major, will combine archival research with filmmaking to produce a short video documentary that features historical and contemporary sources as well as highlights from the study-away program itself.

The SURF fellowship program is administered by Michigan Tech’s Pavlis Honors College. Fellowship recipients conduct a research project under the guidance of a Michigan Tech faculty mentor during the summer semester and, at the conclusion of their work, present their research at the Michigan Tech Undergraduate Research Symposium, or at a professional conference in their field. 

Christian Johnson (English) named 2022 Humanities Departmental Scholar

Christian Johnson

The Humanities department is pleased to announce that Christian Johnson (Biology/English) has been selected as our 2022 Humanities Departmental Scholar. Christian is pursuing a double degree in English and Biology with a pre-health professions minor. 

Christian’s work in creative writing courses has drawn the attention of Humanities faculty, notably Stephanie Carpenter, Assistant Professor of Creative Writing. She describes Christian as “an inventive, dynamic writer and an engaged, generous participant in discussions of published and student works.” One of Christian’s personal narratives, “Je t’aime,” has been accepted for publication by Free Spirit publishers in their book, Love Stories (forthcoming).

While pursuing a demanding pre-med curriculum, Christian has also embraced a rigorous program of coursework in English. He is currently enrolled in a graduate-level course in Cultural Theory, and has distinguished himself, in the words of Ron Strickland, Professor of Literature, as “the kind of well-rounded student whom I, as a Humanities professor at Michigan Tech, take a special joy in teaching; a STEM-focused student with a passion and a talent for literature!”

Christian plans to attend medical school and sees his English major as a way to develop the empathy he will need both as a physician and a writer.

Social Media Intern, Department of Humanities

Tucker in archives with Hugh

I served as a Social Media Intern in charge of the Instagram/Facebook accounts and creating a
department Discord Server for the Department of Humanities. My internship allowed me to work within the department to reach out to the community, current students, and prospective students. This semester, I worked on professional, casual communication across digital platforms. Using the Discord server I helped set up, I’ve networked with students in my department I hadn’t met yet. The COVID pandemic stressed the importance of these digital spaces. It also allows me to reach out to prospective students within an environment familiar to them.

Creating the Humanities Instagram/Facebook posts involved the new mascot HUgh Manatee,
who promoted humanities-related, on-campus resources. Since I started creating content, I’ve
seen 72 accounts follow the Humanities Instagram account. I also interacted with users on the
social media accounts, from sharing stories from the Graduate Student Government, to
answering questions posed in the comment sections.

Part of my internship included graphic design for content creation. Some design elements are intuitive, while others are ones I learned through experience. For example, I learned how using
as few fonts as possible helps viewers concentrate on information better. Additionally, layout can make a difference as to what information people pick up. Hearing about ideal placing, colors,  formatting, etc. from my mentor and seeing the results helped me understand how each element connects to convey a message.

— Tucker Nielsen, English

Technical Writing Intern, Center for Technology and Training

Computer screens with text documents open

What does a typical day look like for an intern writer in the Center for Technology & Training (CTT)? If this is something you wonder about at all, you are in luck because I can tell you all about it. On any given day you will most likely be writing or editing an article project, probably not a huge surprise. Where it starts to get more interesting is when I can organize interviews with professionals relevant to the field I am writing about. I get to ask them questions for my article, and additionally, I consult with subject matter experts (SME) to help fix any issues or inconsistencies with the technical content in my article. Throughout the course of this semester, I have had the opportunity to conduct extensive research on my article topic which is about HFST which stands for high friction surface treatment. This is a technology used for increasing the safety of a road by making it much harder for a vehicle to slip off the road, and most of the time this happens it would be around a sharp turn or because of wet weather conditions. This is just one topic of something an intern writer here in the CTT can expect to work on, and there are many more articles always being written. If you are someone who likes to write as well as talk with experts and learn from them, then working with the CTT is something fit for you.

— Troy Zehnder, STC

Social Media Intern, Health and Well-being

Emily Bishop and two friends

During my first year at Michigan Tech, I felt out of touch with the community due to the pandemic and online classes. I had a discussion with my advisor about future possibilities to engage with students as campus opened back up, and she suggested an internship at the Center for Student Mental Health and Well-being. Working as an intern for the Center for Student Mental Health and Well-Being has not only helped me connect with the student body, it also gave me the opportunity to make new friends while making a positive impact on campus. 

The undergraduate team at the center is split up into specific task groups based on people’s individual interests; mine dealt mostly with social media. During my time I have helped create and spread information on our social media pages including study tips, mental scheduling, safety tips, and many more topics. One post I made was for Halloween safety tips, which gained a lot of traction on our platform. The post was even shared by the Keweenaw Peninsula official instagram which reached their thousands of followers! I also wanted to help make sure our team worked well together by hosting a staff-bonding event where we decorated cookies to practice our own well-being. 

A bit outside of the realm of mental health, we were able to volunteer during homecoming week with the cardboard boat races. Hannah, Cat, and I each timed one of the lanes of boats; and since this was my first cardboard boat race, it made the experience super cool since we were right in the middle of the action.

— Emily Bishop, CCM

Technical Communication Internship, Michigan Tech Gardens

Whitney Johnson

When I applied for a student gardener position, I was overjoyed that I would get to spend all my time outside doing what I love to do while also taking classes and getting paid for my time.  It took me nearly a year to realize that what I was doing could be related to my Scientific and Technical Communication major based on the fact that the degree is incredibly broad and can be applied to a wide variety of situations.  The STC degree has allowed me to take bits and pieces of what I have learned in my classes and apply it to this internship.  This includes things such as design, spreadsheets, documentation, information organization, and prioritization. 

In this internship, I am mapping all 172 gardens across campus and documenting the plants in each one.  The objective is to create a page on Michigan Tech’s website where visitors can learn about the gardens and the overall ability to grow plants in a climate such as ours which, to some, may seem a bit difficult if not impossible.  The overall goal is to spread awareness and promote the creation of green spaces.  On the technical end, in addition to the garden mapping, I am revamping the garden department’s current method of chemical storage.  With this, I am reorganizing, documenting, creating spreadsheets, laying out safety procedures, and ensuring all OSHA standards are met.  This will be beneficial not only moving forward with day to day tasks but also with the overall training of new students.  I am thrilled that the work I am doing will be used for years to come.  It is not simply busywork, but instead, something that will help me progress in my career and also serve future employees in this role.

 I am realizing, while still in college and taking STC classes, that the skills I learn in school and apply in my working life are more concept-based than specific information/procedure based.  I am learning how to learn, and the STC program is putting me in the mindset to do that.  I know how to take in all sorts of seemingly unrelated information and connect them in ways that are unique and beneficial.  I think that this is a great opportunity for me to harness my skills in a real-world setting.  I entered this major because I was intrigued by the idea of being able to adapt to a work environment of my choosing and being able to take my work with me, not going where my work takes me. — Whitney Johnson, STC

Editing Intern, Portage Review Undergraduate Journal

When I was thinking about attending Michigan Tech some of the things I was excited about were the small class sizes and the opportunities that were available to me. I found these two things come together when, thanks to a small class size in my editing class, my professor reached out to me about an opportunity as an editorial intern with the Portage Review here on campus. 

I started my internship at the beginning of my second semester here at Michigan Tech and I was thrilled about the opportunity to work with graduate students and be a part of the school’s growing literary journal. So far, I’ve had the chance to write documentation, use WordPress, and edit blog posts. I have enjoyed learning new things and practicing my skills in my field. This internship has been a great opportunity I’m thankful for!

— Jayleen Rossi, STC

Design/Communications Intern, Visual and Performing Arts Department

My experience with my Humanities/VPA internship has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. I have been helping Professor Lisa Gordillo with an international art installation project, specifically I’ve been helping her design a model of the Mayan city Zaculeu, in Guatemala. She is planning on putting a temporary art installation at the site, so she wants a model to help plan what she will do for that instillation. Having a visual/physical representation of her site is very helpful to her process. I started working for her at the beginning of the 2018 Fall semester, and the position will continue until I graduate. It has been a truly fun and interesting experience. I have had the opportunity to practice my design abilities and frequently use equipment I have always wanted to play with. I have also learned so much about the fascinating Mayan culture, and Central America as a whole. This experience has improved my time management ability and help me experience a whole new culture. 

I don’t know where this internship will take me, but having international work experience will be great for my resume. If you are able to apply for an internship or research assistant position, go for it. It can only make your life and your academic experience more interesting, and having it on your resume is a huge advantage when you are looking for a job post-graduation. It is truly an amazing experience that I will never forget. 

— Zachary Marten, STC

Podcasting Internship, Portage Lake District Library

I managed to snag this internship at the Portage Lake District Library after talking to its director and Tech alum, Dillon Geshel, at a pre-career fair networking event last spring. I ended up talking to Dillon about an idea he’d mentioned toying with in the past: making a podcast. After playing with ideas for a while, we settled on a very broad “Keweenaw history and culture” topic.  

 My time at PLDL was very hard to describe.  The nature of my project didn’t require me to have regular working hours, but I still had to put in quite a bit of time to get things done.  I spent the first few weeks working in the library and the Tech archives trying to find topics and then write the first episode, a twenty-minute set of short stories about shipwrecks. 

When making the podcast, I had to dig up every bit of sound design knowledge I was taught in the two VPA classes I’ve taken. I wouldn’t have been able to make a professional piece without them.  Dillon gave me frequent feedback on what I’d been doing and was very positive about the whole thing; he seemed excited to have someone who could handle the technical aspects of podcasting.  

Having a background in STC wasn’t really essential for this internship, but it did make the initial stages much easier.  Because of the heavy emphasis on personal communication early on in the STC program, I was relaxed at the networking event and my first few days of work.  My early classes affirmed my confidence and let me start my work without too much stress. 

I would definitely recommend seeking out this internship.  It was heavily focused on my own growth as a professional, which really showed how genuine the program was.  You can tailor it to pretty much any humanities endeavor, and Dillon is always open to new ideas.

—Liam Andersen, STC

Technical Writer, Center for Technology and Training

When I first began at Michigan Tech, I was very daunted by the idea of presenting a portfolio in order to graduate, but my internship with the Center for Technology & Training in the Civil Engineering Department at Tech has given me many opportunities to work on meaningful projects that help build that portfolio.

As a technical writer intern, the projects I work on directly relate to my STC degree and are building confidence in my abilities as a technical writer while affirming my decision to pursue my major. My supervisor and all the full-time staff that work for the CTT are all super patient and extremely nice. It is also great to work with so many interns from all corners of the college because it allows me to learn from their skills and make connections.

This semester there are 12 interns working at the CTT, including three STC students, software-related majors, mechanical engineers, and civil engineers. All of us Humanities students have a comradery from working and taking classes together, although the projects we work on at our internship are very different from each other. The CTT seems to have endless amounts of work involving a spectrum of projects. I primarily work to design manuals, flyers, workbooks, presentations, and other teaching materials aimed towards educating local agencies and civil engineers on the latest research, information, and practices. I also write articles for The Bridge newsletter, which is distributed throughout the state. It is rewarding to see my writing and designs in print. 

The CTT is a great place to work because they know their workload is huge and that they need a strong team of interns in order to accomplish everything, so interns and the work they do are truly valued. This also means they are always looking for additional interns, so venture across to Dillman 309 and see what they’re all about like I did!

— Sarah Lindbeck, STC