Day: February 24, 2020

Call for Applications: Songer Research Award for Human Health Research

Matthew Songer, (Biological Sciences ’79) and Laura Songer (Biological Sciences ’80) have generously donated funds to the College of Sciences and Arts (CSA) to support a research project competition for undergraduate and graduate students.

Remembering their own eagerness to engage in research during their undergraduate years, the Songers established these awards to stimulate and encourage opportunities for original research by current Michigan Tech students. The College is extremely grateful for the Songers’ continuing interest in, and support of, Michigan Tech’s programs in human health and medicine.

Any Michigan Tech student interested in exploring a medically related question under the guidance of faculty in the College of Sciences and Arts may apply. Students majoring in any degree program in the college, including both traditional (i.e., biological sciences, kinesiology, chemistry) and nontraditional (i.e., physics, psychology, social science, bioethics, computer science, mathematics) programs related to human health may propose research projects connected to human health. 

Submit applications as a single PDF file to the Office of the College of Sciences and Arts by 4 p.m. Monday, March 30. Applications may be emailed to

Read more about the Songer Research Award here.

Spring is Coming

Greetings from the College of Sciences and Arts at Michigan Tech!

Winter Carnival has ended and the forecast high for this past weekend was 43 degrees, could Spring be right around the corner? The Keweenaw snow thermometer at shows 243” and the 10-day forecast suggests more to come.

We are in the thick of our hiring season in the College. While having breakfast recently with a Chemistry chair candidate, I looked across Suomi Restaurant and saw our humanities and mathematical sciences chairs also meeting with faculty candidates! We are currently searching for department chairs in chemistry and humanities and for regular faculty positions in mathematics and physics and humanities. Hiring and retaining outstanding faculty is the most important thing a Dean can do to ensure the long-term success of the College.

Speaking of outstanding faculty, over in Biological Sciences, Assistant Professor Erika Hersch-Green just won an NSF CAREER award! These are among the most prestigious awards a young scientist can earn (they are limited to pre-tenure faculty). Her five-year project, titled “Can material costs contribute to the structuring of biodiversity patterns from genomes and transcriptomes to multispecies communities?”, will bring in more than $1.1 million! Congratulations to Erika for this incredible achievement!

External research funding is also pouring into our Chemistry department. Five different faculty principal investigators brought in $1.5 million in new awards during 2019 alone. Many of these awards are for research in human health, the focus of our new health education and research building currently being designed. Health research and pre-health education are both growing parts of our mission at MTU.

Last month I traveled to Denver for the annual meeting of the American Mathematical Society. I spent three extra days visiting our very passionate alums. It is wonderful to hear the success stories of our alumni, scattered across the country. Their message was loud and clear, MTU hockey needs to return to the Denver area!

Our recruiting is also going well, with our freshman deposits in CSA up 20% over last year at the same time, and the highest in at least 10 years. It is a testament to the quality of our programs that we can resist the demographic trends of declining numbers of high school seniors and grow enrollment.

Critical to everything we do are our alumni and friend donors. All your donations to our departments, scholarships, and the general fund are vitally important to our success. For those interested in supporting the greatest needs of the College, we have established a “Dean’s Priority Fund”. With state support representing only about 16% of MTU’s budget, your gifts make a huge difference in the lives of our students and faculty every day. Thank you!

If you are ever back in town I hope you will stop by, say hello, and share with me your MTU story. Please do not hesitate to email me any time at to share your MTU experience or make suggestions.

Best wishes,

David Hemmer
Dean- College of Sciences and Arts