Author: Steve Mintz

Search Launched for New Dean of Michigan Tech’s College of Sciences and Arts

Michigan Tech campus at sunset
Our Mission: We cultivate a sustainable, inclusive, and equitable world through transformative leadership, scholarship, education, and outreach.

Michigan Technological University invites applications for the position of dean of the College of Sciences and Arts

Building upon our strengths, the dean should be a forward thinking, innovative, and collaborative leader who provides strategic leadership. The dean is the chief academic and administrative officer in the CSA, reports directly to the provost, and shapes the vision for the role of the College within the University, the State of Michigan, higher education, and society at large.

Located in Houghton, in the heart of Upper Michigan’s scenic Keweenaw Peninsula, Michigan Tech is the state’s flagship technological university with more than $102 million in research expenditures and 16 unique research centers and institutes. The university is home to more than 7,200 students from 69 countries around the world. The university attracts world-class faculty who enrich the educational experience of smart, motivated, and adventurous students. The Wall Street Journal named Michigan Tech the nation’s second most influential public university for salary impact — how much a college boosts salaries earned by students after graduation. Tech also made the Journal’s list of Best U.S. Colleges in 2024, ranking 16th overall among U.S. public universities.

The College of Sciences and Arts is the second-largest college on campus, with nine departments 1,147 students (3.2% increase over the prior year), 152 faculty, 54 professional staff, and 180 PhD students. The College welcomed its largest incoming class in years, 255 undergraduates, up 27% from the prior year, building on many years of undergraduate growth. Not only does the College offer outstanding classroom instruction to undergraduates, it conducts world-class research and creative activities. Its faculty brought in $8.7 million in new external research awards last year, up 17% over the previous year!

The successful candidate will be committed to promoting a sense of belonging and an inclusive environment throughout the college and university. Learn more at

Michigan Tech is an Equal Opportunity Educational Institution/Equal Opportunity Employer that provides equal opportunity for all, including protected veterans and individuals with disabilities.

For additional information, contact the search committee chairs, Dean Johnson at and Don Lafreniere at

To apply, visit

To review the College of Sciences and Arts’ current vision, mission, and strategic plan, visit

Fall Semester 2023 Heats Up in October

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

Michigan Tech trees with yellow foliage
October and fall foliage arrive

As I write today the temperatures are soaring into the upper 80s with humidity that would make any orchid happy. Unprecedented! The colorful foliage is making its ascent up the vibrancy charts. And those are not the only things that have been elevated around the Tech campus. 

Large Class Enrolls for Fall Semester 2023

The College of Sciences and Arts welcomed its largest incoming class in years, 255 undergraduates, up 27% from the prior year, building on many years of undergraduate growth. Total College enrollment stands at 1,147, a 3.2% increase, and our first-time transfer increase is 48%, mostly thanks to the nursing program. This is in line with the university welcoming the largest class of new first-year students since 1983.

More Accolades for Michigan Tech

On top of these numbers, The Wall Street Journal named Michigan Tech the nation’s second most influential public university for salary impact — how much a college boosts salaries earned by students after graduation. Tech also made the Journal’s list of Best U.S. Colleges in 2024, ranking 16th overall among U.S. public universities.

We pride ourselves in CSA on our outstanding classroom instruction and on our world-class research and creative activities. CSA faculty brought in $8.7 million in new external research awards last year, up 17% over the previous year! We do have 2 faculty members in a million-dollar club in external research spending, Raymond Shaw who makes his own clouds in a cloud chamber, and Stephen Techtmann who converts plastics to food via microbes. 

Ravindra Pandey and Neetu Goel
Dean Pandey and Neetu Goel

Research Highlights for Fall Semester 2023

And there are new developments in the College when it comes to research, too.

  • Professor Neetu Goel is a Fulbright senior scholar from Panjab University, India visiting my physics research group to investigate the interaction of biomolecules with quantum materials.
  • Yan Zhang (Biological Sciences and Health Research Institute) received a $469,500 R&D grant from the National Institute of Health (NIH) to study the impacts of high levels of urinary phosphate in polycystic kidney disease.
  • Tatyana Karabencheva-Christova (Chemistry) received a $427,001 R&D grant from NIH looking into structure-function relationships of matrix metalloproteinase-1 from computational and experimental studies.

Other Items of Note For Fall Semester 2023

Jared Anderson and his faculty in Visual and Performing Arts continue to create a vibrant lineup of art shows, performances, and technical theatre, with students at the forefront as performers, designers, creators, audio producers, etc. This week it is New Music in the Mine.  Next week the opera The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage debuts in the McArdle Theatre and the Keweenaw Symphony Orchestra plays in the Rosza Center. And at the end of the month, you can elevate your fright at The Haunted Smelter. There’s always something to do with the arts.

We welcomed three new inductees into our College of Sciences and Arts Academy. Emily Prehoda, Linda Kennedy, and Upendra Puntambekar. They have become successful leaders and practitioners in their chosen fields and have excelled in leadership roles. Their achievements and skillsets: Linda’s legal acumen, Emily’s energy policy and sustainability expertise, and Upendra’s technology and market leadership span across a number of diverse subjects. A diversity reflective of the variety of subjects housed within the College of Sciences and Arts here at Michigan Tech. They join the ranks of 65 distinguished members who have made a difference for their communities—professional, academic, or geographic, or sometimes all 3. 

Thanks for reading! I am sure the first snowfall is just around the corner. Ah, the snowfall total for the winter! Another thing many of us look forward to seeing grow on the Tech campus over the course of this academic year.

Best wishes.

Ravi Pandey

Dean – College of Sciences and Arts

Sciences and Arts Starts Fall Semester 2023

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

Students walking and talking
Freshman fill up Walker Lawn outside the College of Sciences and Arts

The campus is vibrant, warm, sunny, and abuzz with activity! The walkways are filled with students ten minutes before the start of the hour as they hurry to class. Students converge on the Walker Lawn to eat their lunch, open a book, slackline (walk along a tight line secured between trees), and even engage in a water balloon fight (big activity last night)!

Four students gathered around a giant i-pad like table showing the respiratory system
Human anatomy students completing an assignment at the Anatomage Table

For me, the College of Sciences and Arts at Michigan Tech is busy fulfilling its mission to deliver comprehensive education, research, and innovation in various scientific, humanities, and technical arts disciplines focusing on achieving academic excellence, advancing research and scholarship, and promoting interdisciplinary collaboration. We seek to cultivate critical thinking, creativity, and problem-solving skills among students, preparing them for what tomorrow needs.

The College also plays a critical role in the education of every Michigan Tech student through the wide array of courses we offer as part of general education. Our arts, humanities, and sciences programs reflect our place in a technological university. From sound design and audio technology to actuarial science, human factors, applied physics, biology, chemistry, and business analytics to pre-professional health programs, technical communication, medical laboratory science, and exercise science, the College offers many distinctive degree programs for undergraduate and graduate degrees. And we are in the final stages of bringing nursing over from the recently closed Finlandia University. We are just awaiting approval from The Higher Learning Commission (HLC), hopefully sometime in October, in order to begin offering that degree. 

Stephen Techtmann and student observe a test tube containing liquid
Dr. Stephen Techtmann works with a student turning plastic into protein

The College promotes and supports cutting-edge research and scholarly activities in the sciences, humanities, and arts. It encourages faculty and students to engage in research projects, contribute to knowledge and innovation, and disseminate their findings. The research projects include turning plastics into protein for use as an emergency food source; making clouds to study the physics of the earth’s atmosphere; understanding the impacts of multitasking on cognitive performance; using hydropower to store energy in old hard-metal mines; understanding how new media technologies can facilitate the spread of misinformation; and uncovering how the central nervous system regulates the cardiovascular function and body fluid and sodium homeostasis, and their impacts on diseases like congestive heart failure and hypertension. And I am only scratching the surface!

Ashutosh Tiwari
Dr. Ashutosh Tiwari

To support our increased emphasis on research, I appointed a new Associate Dean for Graduate Research and Education, Ashutosh Tiwari. Dr. Tiwari is a broadly trained protein chemist and cell biologist, as well as a professor of chemistry at Tech. His research is in the area of protein aggregation diseases. He has received numerous grants as PI or as Co-PI  from the National Institutes of Health, the ALS Therapy Alliance, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Association (ALSA), and the MTU Research Excellence Fund. He is the perfect person to lead our efforts in growing graduate research and education efforts for the College.

So much activity is underway here at Tech. I am looking forward to this academic year. I hope you are too.

Best wishes.

Ravi Pandey

Dean, College of Sciences and Arts

Doctor Kemmy Taylor: Dynamic Dedicated Pre-Health Professions Director Debuts

Kemmy Taylor
Doctor Kemmy Taylor

Michigan Tech’s College of Sciences and Arts has hired Dr. Kemmy Taylor as the Director of Pre-Health Professions. In her role, Dr. Taylor is responsible for advising and mentoring students and creating opportunities for shadowing, internships and professional school admissions. She began her duties on May 15.

“We are very excited to hire someone with Dr. Taylor’s clinical experience for this role,” Interim Dean of the College of Sciences and Arts Ravindra Pandey said. “She knows exactly what the student journey is like to get into medicine, from the pre-health professions program as an undergraduate to the application process, graduate school, residency and clinical experiences they will encounter along the way. Plus, her connections to the local medical community helps our students to find shadowing and clinical opportunities. I look forward to working with her as we continue to grow Michigan Tech’s Pre-Health Professions program.”

Read more about Dr. Taylor at the Pre-Health Professions Blog.

Academic Alchemist: Chemistry Professor Named Associate Dean of Graduate Research and Education

The College of Sciences and Arts is pleased to announce Ashutosh Tiwari as our first Associate Dean for Graduate Research and Education. He officially started in this brand new position on July 1 and will be working closely with Interim Dean of the College of Sciences and Arts Ravindra Pandey.

In this new role, Dr. Tiwari serves as the College’s primary point person for issues related to graduate education, identifying interdisciplinary research opportunities and online graduate certificate programs within the University.

Ashutosh Tiwari
Ashutosh Tiwari, Associate Dean for Graduate Research and Education

A broadly trained protein chemist and cell biologist, Dr. Tiwari is a professor of chemistry at Tech. His research is in the area of ‘protein aggregation diseases’ with emphasis on age-related neurodegenerative disorders such as Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), Alzheimer’s disease (AD), Parkinson’s disease (PD), prion diseases, and Huntington’s disease (HD). He has received numerous grants as PI or as Co-PI  from the National Institutes of Health, the ALS Therapy Alliance, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Association (ALSA), and the MTU Research Excellence Fund.

“I have served the University for almost 14 years and am excited to be Associate Dean,” said Tiwari. “The College has a number of exciting research initiatives crossing disciplines such as turning plastics into protein for use as an emergency food source; investigating physics and chemistry of cloud formation; understanding the impacts of multitasking on cognitive performance; using hydropower to store energy in old hard-metal mines; and understanding the ways in which new media technologies can facilitate the spread of misinformation. I want to seek out other exciting collaborations. Plus, the College is a diverse and productive unit with a strong record of excellence in graduate research and education. I will use my experiences mentoring successful graduate students to advance the goals of our college.”

Needless to say, we are pleased to have Dr. Tiwari lead this important initiative.

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

The calendar shows May, but schools are closed today as a late-season snowstorm hits the Upper Peninsula. Fortunately, it held off long enough to not affect travel for our graduates and their families this past weekend. Our growing enrollment meant that, for the first time ever, we held a separate commencement ceremony for our graduate students on Friday afternoon, followed by an undergraduate ceremony Saturday morning. More than 170 College of Sciences and Arts students walked across the stage, earning bachelors, masters, and PhD degrees from our more than three dozen degree programs. It was a truly joyous occasion and, with the hockey arena packed, I expect we will continue with the separate undergraduate ceremony each spring going forward.

Michigan Tech graduate shakes Rick Koubek's hand during springtime commencement 2023
One of the 170 Science and Arts grads receiving a degree

Friday evening was the emotional commissioning ceremony for our Army and Air Force ROTC program, where we celebrated our nation’s newest second lieutenants. Celebrating our students’ accomplishments is one of my favorite jobs as dean.

Graduation also means the final Board of Trustees (BOT) meeting of the year. While we are all saddened by the recent closure of Finlandia University, we are excited that we have managed to, on very short notice, essentially move their nursing program into our Department of Biological Sciences. With the BOT approving this last week, we look forward to welcoming students in the Fall. Also at the BOT meeting, ten CSA faculty received final approval for granting of tenure or promotion to full professor!

Medical Lab Science graduates at Spring Commencement

Of course, summer means travel, and faculty in CSA are the campus leaders in leading students on study abroad and study away experiences. Three of our Visual and Performing Arts faculty, Lisa Gordillo and Mary and Kent Cyr, are leading students to Vienna, Prague and Dresden, including an opportunity to attend the famous “Prague Quadrennial,” one of the largest international festivals of theatre, design, and architecture in the world. Other students will travel to Germany, including Dresden and Leipzig, under the direction of our Humanities Assistant Teaching Professor Stephanie Rowe.

Social Sciences faculty Kat Hannum and Mark Rhodes will lead students on a 20-day Amtrak adventure across the United States, studying sustainable tourism. Finally, Social Sciences faculty Dan Trepal will lead students to study history and archaeology in Cumbria in the United Kingdom.

ROTC graduate raises right hand to take the oath
A new second lieutenant takes the oath

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. In particular, support to defray the additional costs of studying abroad is much needed. Thank you so much for supporting Michigan Tech! For CSA giving opportunities please visit:

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 offer suggestions.

Best wishes,
David Hemmer
Dean- College of Sciences and Arts

2022 Academy of Sciences and Arts Inductees Continue Tradition of Improving Patient Outcomes

Michigan Technological University’s Academy of Sciences and Arts inductees have a long history of improving patient outcomes. 2019 inductee Laura Barrientos identified treatment for the deadly Ebola virus. 2001 inductee Mathew Songer founded Pioneer Surgical Technology, a leading developer and manufacturer of surgical instrumentation and spinal and orthopedic implants. 2021 inductee Jeffrey Haskins was involved in the discovery and development of pharmaceuticals such as Lipitor, Lyrica, Nipent, Accupril, and Penetrex. So it comes as no surprise that 2022’s Academy of Sciences and Arts inductees, Sarah Carlson and Steve Yang continue the tradition. They were unveiled last week to an audience of over forty attendees on September 15.

Dr. Sarah Carlson, Vascular Surgeon and Educator

Sarah Carlson
Doctor Sarah Carlson

Sarah J. Carlson is Associate Chief of Surgery for Operations at the VA Boston Medical Center and Assistant Professor of Surgery at Boston University. Dr. Carlson graduated magna cum laude from Michign Tech with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry in 2003 and then attended the University of Michigan Medical School, where she earned a master’s degree in clinical research and an MD in 2008. Dr. Carlson next completed a residency in general surgery at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, a Harvard teaching hospital, in Boston in 2016. During residency she spent three years researching omega-3 fatty acids in liver metabolism, brain development and reproduction at Boston Children’s Hospital and was awarded two NIH-sponsored research grants for her work.

In 2018 Dr. Carlson completed subspecialty training in vascular surgery at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center and joined the surgery faculty at Boston University and staff at Boston VA as a vascular surgeon. Her clinical interests include cerebrovascular disease and aortic pathology, with special interest in complex endovascular techniques for repair of aortic aneurysms. She is honored to provide state-of-the-art vascular surgical care to United States veterans and train the next generation of talented young surgeons. Dr. Carlson has published numerous peer-reviewed publications and earned recognition for teaching of medical students and residents, including Harvard Medical School’s surgery clerkship medical student teaching award. In 2018 she was honored to be recognized as one of Michigan Tech’s “Five Under 35” awardees for MTU alumni.

Originally from Iron River Michigan, Dr. Carlson thoroughly enjoys the opportunity to return to Houghton when she visits family in the Upper Peninsula. Her favorite activities include playing the violin, playing cards and board games with her UP family, and traveling the world. In September 2021 she earned her favorite title to date: “Mom” to son Lynx Carlson Gordon.

Dr. Steve Yang, Advancing Discoveries and Delivering Groundbreaking Treatments

Dr. Steve Yang

Dr. Steve Yang is the Co-CEO of WuXi AppTec and a member of its board of directors. He is also WuXi AppTec’s Head of WuXi Biology and Head of WuXi Testing businesses. His responsibilities include the management of multiple business units and commercial operations. WuXi AppTec provides a broad portfolio of R&D and manufacturing services that enable companies in the pharmaceutical, biotech, and medical device industries worldwide to advance discoveries and deliver groundbreaking treatments to patients.

Dr. Yang is a pharmaceutical industry leader recognized for building R&D and service capabilities, delivering research and early development portfolios of drug candidates, and establishing R&D partnerships in the US, Europe, China, and other Asian and emerging markets. Before joining WuXi AppTec, Dr. Yang was Vice President and Head of Asia and Emerging Markets iMed at AstraZeneca. Previously, Dr. Yang served as Vice President and Head of Asia R&D at Pfizer and as Executive Director and head of Pfizer’s global R&D strategic management group.

Dr. Yang received his Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical Chemistry from the University of California, San Francisco. He started his undergraduate study at Fudan University, China, and completed his BS Summa Cum Laude in biological sciences from Michigan Technological University. He co-founded the BayHelix Group, a non-profit global professional organization of Chinese life science business leaders, and served as the board’s chairman for two terms.

Call for Applications: Songer Research Award for Human Health: DEADLINE to apply May 6, 2022

by David Hemmer, College of Science and Arts

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. This is the fifth year of the competition.

Students may propose an innovative medically-oriented research project in any area of human health. The best projects will demonstrate the potential to have a broad impact on improving human life. This research will be pursued in consultation with faculty members within the College of Sciences and Arts. Awarded in the Spring of 2022, the Songers’ gift will support one award for undergraduate research ($4,000) and a second award for graduate research ($6,000). Matching funds from the College will allow two additional awards. The research will be conducted over the Summer of 2022 and/or the following academic year.

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,  mathematics) programs related to human health may propose research projects connected to human health. Students are encouraged to propose original, stand-alone projects with expected durations of 6 – 12 months. Preference is given to proposals that are student-initiated ideas, not merely an extension of the advisor’s work. The committee also encourages applications from CSA students who seek to continue research projects initiated through other campus mechanisms, such as the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) program, Pavlis Honors College activities or the Graduate Research Forum (GRF).

Funds from a Songer Award may be used to purchase or acquire research materials and equipment needed to perform the proposed research project. Access to and research time utilizing University core research facilities, including computing, may be supported. Requests to acquire a personal computer will be scrutinized and must be fully justified. Page charges for publications also may be covered with award funds, as will travel to appropriate academic meetings. This award may not be used for salary or compensation for the student or consulting faculty.

To apply, students should prepare a research project statement (up to five pages in length) that describes the background, methods to be used, and research objectives. The statement also should provide a detailed description of the experiments planned and expected outcomes. Students must indicate where they will carry out their project and attach a separate list of references/citations to relevant scientific literature. The application package also should provide a concise title and brief summary (1 page) written for lay audiences. A separate budget page should indicate how funds will be used. Finally, a short letter from a consulting faculty member must verify that the student defined an original project and was the primary author of the proposal. The faculty member should also confirm her/his willingness to oversee the project. This faculty letter is not intended to serve as a recommendation on behalf of the student’s project.

Submit applications as a single PDF file to the Office of the College of Sciences and Arts by 4:00 p.m. Friday, May 6, 2022. Applications may be emailed to


The selection committee will consist of Matthew Songer, Laura Songer, Rob Larson (BioSci), Megan Frost (KIP) and Nicole Seigneurie. The committee will review undergraduate and graduate proposals separately and may seek additional comments about the proposed research on an ad-hoc basis from reviewers familiar with the topic of the research proposal. Primary review criteria will be the originality and potential impact of the proposed study, as well as its feasibility and appropriateness for Michigan Tech’s facilities.

The committee expects to announce the recipients by late May of 2022. This one-time research award will be administered by the faculty advisor of the successful student investigator. Students will be expected to secure any necessary IRB approval before funds will be released. Funds must be expended by the end of spring semester 2023; extensions will not typically be granted. Recipients must submit a detailed report to the selection committee, including a description of results and an accounting of finds utilized, no later than June 30, 2023. Any questions may be directed to David Hemmer (

February is almost here and it’s time to find that perfect match…to a career or internship, that is.

Picture of students and employers at Michigan Tech Career Fair
Find a match to your perfect internship or job at Career Fair

Are you looking for a summer internship or full time employment? Find the perfect match by taking the following steps.

  • Update your profile in Handshake. This allows employers to find you and you to find employers. Internships and jobs are posted year-round.
  • Attend CareerFEST in-person from 11 am-2 pm January 31 and February 1 and 7. Register and schedule to meet with potential employers prior to the event. Plus, see a list of employers attending.
  • Attend Career Fair. Spring 2022 Virtual Career Fair will be held on Wednesday, February 16, from 10 am-7 pm. Register and schedule for employer meetings prior to the event. Plus, see a list of employers attending.
  • Get involved with a student organization on campus. Search the list here. Check with your advisor for ones within your major. With some organizations, you can attend conferences with job fairs, go on industry trips and more. This is an excellent way to network on multiple levels.
  • Talk with your faculty. Employers sometimes seek students to hire by contacting faculty.
  • Watch for emails from your department or academic advisor for employment opportunities.
  • Apply and search for positions in STEM fields in Michigan with STEM Forward.
  • Meet with Career Services staff or a Career Coach for one on one advisement.