Category: students

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


GSG Merit Awards – Winners Announced

This years awardees for the Graduate Student Government Merit Awards have been decided. A total of 88 nominations were received from departments all across campus. The decision process was not an easy one as there was a very strong pool of nominations this year. We are very grateful to all of our nominees for all of the work they put in to improve and enrich the life of our graduate students.

Without further ado, here are the award winners:

  • Exceptional Staff Member – Claire Wiitanen, Administrative Aide from the Physics Department
  • Exceptional Graduate Mentor – Victoria Bergvall, Associate Professor of Linguistics, Humanities
  • Exceptional Student Leader – Jacob Blazejewski, a PhD student from Mathematical Sciences
  • Exceptional Student Scholar – Nancy Henaku, a PhD student from Humanities

Congratulations to our winners and all you have done for our graduate students!


PhD Candidates Celebrated at Advancement to Candidacy Ceremony

RTC PhD candidates were celebrated at the first annual Advancement to Candidacy Ceremony conducted by the Graduate School for all ABD students. Attending the ceremony with their advisors were the following:

Gabriel Edzordzi Agbozo (advisor Dr. Vicky Bergvall)
Nada Mohammad A. Alfeir (advisor Dr. Patty Sotirin)
Joshua Chase (advisor Dr. Abraham Romney)
Marina Choy (advisor Dr. Patty Sotirin)
Geethu Madeckal Jose (advisor Dr. Patty Sotirin)
Sara T. Potter (advisor Dr. Patty Sotirin)
Hua Wang (advisor Dr. Marika Seigel)


Abigail Kuehne (CCM) Named Member of MTU Team University Innovation Fellows

Congratulations to Abigail Kuehne (Psychology and Communication, Culture, and Media/ Applied Cognitive Science and Human Factors ’21), Sam Raber (Psychology ’22), Lindsay Sandell (Biomedical Engineering ’21), and Gary Tropp (Computer Network and System Administration ’22), who have been named University Innovation Fellows by Stanford University’s Hasso Plattner Institute of Design (d.school). This global program trains student leaders to create new opportunities for their peers to engage with innovation, entrepreneurship, design thinking, and creativity.

Michigan Tech’s team of University Innovation Fellows support student interests, create an ecosystem for innovation, and encourage environmentally sustainable practices on campus. They aim to preserve a culture of inclusion, encourage creativity and self-authorship, and help students create lasting connections. Current UIF proposals include a university-sanctioned gap year program, updates to campus wellness opportunities, student ambassador programs, and creating a space to reduce waste and encourage students to share and reuse common school items.

University Innovation Fellowship logo


RTC PhD Candidate attends Europe Games Research Summer School

Over the summer of 2019, RTC PhD Candidate, Lyz Renshaw, participated in the Higher Education Video Game Alliance (HEVGA) Europe Games Research Summer School held in The University of Skövde, Sweden from August 21 to 23. The school was attended by PhD students and graduate students who are working in areas connected to digital games — Renshaw’s dissertation falls within this research area.

Lyz shared her experience:

The experience was great, working alongside other graduate students from schools such as University of California Irvine, Wisconsin-Stout, IT Copenhagen and Uppsala University. We had speakers from all over Scandinavia attend, including scholars from University of Skovde, Uppsala, and Gothenburg. I was given the opportunity to present a chapter of my dissertation and receive feedback from senior researchers and peers, including a graduate student who works directly with many of the scholars I base my work on.

Outside of the intended goals of the program, it was also enlightening to see how higher education is different internationally, how curriculum is designed, courses run, expectations of graduate students.

I also left the program with a collaboration project in the works, taking a previous paper I had present at the e-sports conference at UCI last year (and at an RTC colloquium last year) and pairing up with a graduate student from that university who had seen my earlier work.