Category: Alumni

Gabriela Shirkey

Gabriela Shirkey

I‘m really excited [about the National Science Foundation (NSF) fellowship]. The key to NSF applications is stressing how your pursuit of science and contribution to the scientific community is going to have a broader impact, particularly those not involved in your immediate research. You write a personal statement on how you build community and demonstrate leadership, as well as a research proposal, three letters of recommendation, and your transcripts. Thanks to Tech, I had STEM outreach examples from the Society for Hispanic Professional Engineers’ Noche de Ciencias and prior research experience as an undergraduate in the social sciences department. With the NSF fellowship, I get three years of full funding and opportunities to have internships, so I am thinking of connecting with the Department of Energy or Argonne National Laboratories to work on biofuel research.

I enrolled in the Straight-to-PhD program in Michigan State’s Department of Geography, Environment, and Spatial Sciences in August 2017. Currently, I’m at the end of my second year and I’ll be done with most of my coursework before working full-force on my dissertation, “Integrating unknown socioeconomic processes into ecosystem carbon production.” 

I chose Michigan Tech because it’s kind of a family tradition. My two cousins, sister, and brother-in-law really sold me on Greek life and Winter Carnival. My sister, cousin and I are all Alpha Sigma Taus and I’m continuing with the alumni chapter down here in Lansing. So I have to admit, there weren’t really other colleges on my radar. 

I wasn’t an early bird when it came to being scholastic or a high achiever, but I knew Tech was where high achieving students go. I wanted to integrate into that kind of intellectual community and found a home with the Society for Hispanic Professional Engineers, who persuaded me that I can succeed in graduate school and research. Just telling someone they can do it is really powerful. Kudos to them and I hope they’re still going strong!

Tyler Shelast

Head Strength and Conditioning Coach at Michigan Technological University, National Strength and Conditioning Association-certified strength and conditioning specialist. Professional Hockey Player — 2008-2013.

During the school year, my job is more like 6 to 6 instead of 9 to 5. Sometimes teams work out four days a week, sometimes they go to two or three, it depends on the season. Getting to work with Michigan Tech athletes is the best part of my day.

My job allows me to teach and educate young athletes on the shortcomings I experienced when I was an athlete. I had a tough road and went through a lot of pain and suffering. My goal is to help these athletes learn and understand that they can take anything that’s thrown at them. I learned more from my downfall than I did from my success, and ultimately, those are the lessons I want to share with Michigan Tech athletes — to help them grow out of darkness.

In a week it’s groups, office time, more groups, practices, and then during the hockey season, I go on the ice for hockey practice daily and am there for the team at all the games. I can’t coach, but I play an integral part in hockey due to my former playing. I really like to work out, that’s probably my favorite thing, so I try to work out once a day.

I have a lot of pride in everything I do that is Michigan Tech because I want it to excel. I want us to be the best at everything. We’re kind of like a hidden little snowglobe type place, but we need to embrace that because it’s what makes us special. Michigan Tech’s a very proud school, so I feel lucky to have a hand in shaping our culture. There’s so much that goes into seeing student-athletes grow, I mean, that’s ultimately why I’m in it, why I love being here. I’m very fortunate to work with great people.