Fall 2022 Off to A Great Start

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

Second Largest 1st Year Class Ever!

The fall semester is off to a wonderful start on our campus! The arrival of the second largest first-year class in 35 years (2nd only to last year!) left us scrambling to find housing for everyone. Our new international graduate student numbers have also returned to pre-pandemic normal. The weather has been mostly beautiful. Fall colors are starting to pop. And the main campus mall was lined each day with tents hosting employers eager to hire our students. Our first fully in-person career fair since before the pandemic followed, and a record 370+ employers recruited on campus.

Academy of Sciences and Arts Inducts Two New Members

Image of Michigan Tech alumnus and Academy of Sciences and Arts Inductee Sarah Carlson
2022 Academy of Sciences and Arts Inductee Dr. Sarah Carlson

Thursday, September 15th, was our annual induction ceremony for the Academy of Sciences and Arts. You may recall the Academy recognizes our most distinguished alumni. I was honored to induct two amazing Tech alums. The first, Dr. Sarah Carlson, is a 2003 graduate of our chemistry department. She is now a vascular surgeon and Associate Chief of Surgery for Operations at the VA Boston Medical Center. Dr. Carlson completed prestigious research and training appointments at both Harvard and Dartmouth earlier in her career.

The second, Steve Yang, is a 1991 graduate of Biological Sciences. He is now co-CEO of WuXi AppTec, a leading global pharmaceutical, biopharmaceutical, and medical device R&D capability and technology open access platform company with operations in China, the US, and Europe. While Sarah is a native of the UP, this was Steve’s first visit back to campus since graduation. We were honored that Steve could make the stop in Houghton while traveling between Europe and Asia. Both gave gracious and inspiring remarks at the ceremony.

Image of Michigan Tech alumnus and Academy of Sciences and Arts Inductee Steve Yang
2022 Academy of Sciences and Arts Inductee Steve Yang

Undergraduates Continue to Amaze

There is no shortage of students here at Michigan Tech choosing to follow Sarah and Steve on the path to improving patient health outcomes. Two that come to mind are Jenna and Colleen. Jenna Disser ’22 completed her BS in Medical Lab Science and Minor in Pre-Health Professions in April. Her experience doing research at Tech as an undergraduate led her to pursue an MS in Biological Science, and continue her research. Hear her talk about her experiences in research, the community she found at Tech, and her love for the outdoors.

Colleen Toorongian ’20 graduated from Tech with a BS in Exercise Science. Colleen did research in the Clinical and Applied Human Physiology Lab, volunteered in hospice, worked as a Student Athletic Trainer, shadowed various healthcare providers, and assisted with outreach projects. She recently completed an MS at Purdue University Northwest (PNW), in the Biological Sciences department. Her next stop is New York to start the Cardiovascular Science and Perfusion Medicine program at Hofstra University. Read more about Colleen and her journey.

And our social sciences students worked over the summer engaged in fieldwork documenting everyday buildings and their cultural meanings for people in the Keweenaw—past, and present. Dr. Sarah Scarlett and her students are working on publishing a 2024 Vernacular Architecture Forum conference guidebook featuring local architecture and conference tour sites. Themes include exploring cultural identity, environmental change, industrial communities, and contemporary heritage practice. Read more about the fieldwork school on the Social Sciences blog.

External Research Funding Record and Academic Program Growth!

Finally, in late September we hosted our annual college-wide faculty and staff meeting and social. And we had much to celebrate. CSA faculty smashed the previous record, with $12 million in new external research funding in the past fiscal year! The physics department led the way with $5 million, much of it in support of our amazing cloud chamber on campus. The College launched several new degree programs too, including a BS degree in Policy and Community Development, an MS degree in Sustainable Communities, and a BS degree in Business Analytics, in partnership with the College of Business. And we now offer fifty different minors and eight certificates.

Come 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 djhemmer@mtu.edu to share your MTU experience or offer suggestions.

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.

Summer Reflections

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

Students immerse themselves in concepts like mechanics,
electric circuits, electromagnetics, and nuclear reactions in SYP’s Introduction to Computational Physics.

July 1 marked my four-year anniversary at Michigan Tech and with it the end of my first term as dean. I was pleased to accept President Koubek’s offer to continue in the position. I look forward to leading the College going forward. With President Koubek and three other new deans also starting the same day I did, the formation of a new College of Computing, and then a global pandemic, my first term was certainly “interesting”. A little more boring would not be unwelcome for the next few years!

Campus is fairly quiet now, although each week a new group of youngsters arrives for our amazing Summer Youth Programs (SYP) for grades 6-12. An enormous variety of offerings is available for both local commuting students and to students who stay in the Wadsworth dorm. My eighth-grade son stayed in the dorm and took “Stock Market with Blizzard: Turn $1000 into $1 Million,” offered by the College of Business. He had a wonderful time and is already talking about all the classes he wants to take at Tech. He also managed to lose $300,000 of play money on June 23, a day the Dow Jones was up 800 points! Something about leverage and using options to bet against the market?! I need to have a talk with COB Dean Johnson. I can’t recommend SYP enough for your kids or grandkids!

A student practices the art of creative writing in our great outdoor classroom in SYP’s Wild Writing, taught by Jennifer Nance.

A little further off campus… I wrote in the Spring about our amazing Study Away programs. Almost a dozen students recently finished their program in Costa Rica. They learned how Costa Rica has been creating a more sustainable society in terms of the environment, ecology, energy, water treatment, and more. They have been based at the Monteverde Institute in Costa Rica for 6 weeks. You can follow their adventures on their blog. We cannot wait to welcome them back to campus in the fall.

I just returned from a two-week vacation to visit family in Central New York. I took along some “light reading”, a recent book by Social Sciences professor Sarah Fayen Scarlett titled “Company Suburbs- Architecture, Power, and the Transformation of Michigan’s Mining Frontier.” It is a fascinating tale of “company towns” and “elite suburbs” during the mining heyday from 1875-1920. It includes lots of fascinating tales (and photos!) of houses in East Houghton, East Hancock and Laurium, many of which are now Greek houses at Tech. Yes, what is now College Avenue and Agate Hill was a “suburb” of Houghton. Read the book to learn why! Dr. Scarlett is one of our many CSA faculty producing interesting scholarship, both in and out of the lab. Sarah and her colleagues have also been hard at work digitally mapping the history of the Keweenaw. They created the Keweenaw Time Traveler, an online interactive historical atlas that is changing how we learn about, share, and research the history and heritage of Michigan’s Copper Country. Check it out here!

See images of the past and maps galore at the Keweenaw Time Traveler.

Spring (Finally!) Arrives at Michigan Tech

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

Spring arrived in the Copper Country with sunshine and 70+ degree temperatures last week melting away most of the remaining snow. Alas, Spring also brings construction season as the second half of the two-year project on route 41 through town is underway just west of campus, requiring southbound traffic to detour all the way up to Sharon Avenue and down Macinnes Drive.

Spring also brings exciting construction to campus! On April 29 we broke ground on our new $50+ million H-STEM building. This magnificent structure will lie just to the east of the ChemSci building and will host our departments of Biomedical Engineering and Kinesiology and Integrative Physiology as well as the offices of our Health Research Institute. Large numbers of CSA faculty do human health research, and we are all looking forward to the building opening in 2024. You can watch the construction on a live webcam here.

Image of Michigan Tech students sitting on an Amtrak train studying, working and chatting.
Michigan Tech students aboard the rolling Amtrak classroom heading into Glacier National Park.

CSA also leads the way on campus in providing summer study abroad and study away opportunities for our students. Social Sciences faculty member Dr. Mark Rhodes is leading a three-week Amtrak tour of the western U.S. titled “Amtrak Tourism: Trains, Cities, & Sustainability”. See our students experiencing this terrific learning opportunity. Another Social Sciences faculty member, Dr. Richelle Winkler, is taking students to Costa Rica to study global sustainability, Costa Rican culture, and the Spanish language.

Image of Joel Nieves, music director of the Keweenaw Symphony Orchestra.
Joel Nieves Keweenaw Symphony Orchestra Music Director

The end of the semester brought our Spring Board of Trustees meeting and final approval for a dozen faculty promotions in CSA. This year’s batch of dossiers was particularly impressive; our faculty are exceptional in the classroom, in the laboratories, and in performance venues! Indeed, we have three new full professors in Visual and Performing Arts! One of them, Dr. Joel Neves, led the Keweenaw Symphony Orchestra as it celebrated 50 years with a performance of Carmina Burana on April 23. Another, Dr. Jared Anderson, led our choirs during the same performance.

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. Thank you so much for supporting Michigan Tech! Learn more about CSA giving opportunities.

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 djhemmer@mtu.edu to share your MTU experience or offer suggestions.

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 djhemmer@mtu.edu.


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 (djhemmer@mtu.edu).

Musings on the start of Spring Semester

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

Spring semester started with a frigid blast of snow and ice that closed the K-12 schools for a couple days and unfortunately caused enormous headaches for students trying to get back into town, with multiple flight cancellations and closures of both Route 2 and 28 between here and the Mackinac Bridge. Undaunted, our PE skiing classes got underway as scheduled with below zero temperatures on Monday evening; Tech students are hardy!

In-Person Graduation Ends 2021

Picture of two graduates
Social Sciences MS graduates: Ryan Williams, (MS GIS) and Gary Spikberg (MS IHA)

Before the break we had an in-person graduation ceremony for the first time in two years! It was wonderful to don my regalia and congratulate the graduates walking across the stage in the Wood gym, including about 100 from our College. And, of course, the ceremony ended with a rousing performance from the Husky Pep Band! The graduation ended a successful semester of in-person instructions with only very limited disruptions from COVID. Fingers crossed we can repeat this success the semester without too many Omicron disruptions!

Applications to the College of Sciences and Arts continue to grow

Last Fall we welcomed our largest freshmen class since 1982, and our momentum is continuing with applications for Fall ’22 up 5.5% over last year’s already record-setting number. For the next five months our recruiters, faculty and students will focus relentlessly on convincing our incredible admits to join us in Houghton next Fall. Outreach includes personal notes to students, evening texting events, and some upcoming in-person events in Detroit, Chicago and Minneapolis. If any of our alumni are interested in potentially helping, please let me know. 

New H-STEM building coming soon!

Later this semester we will break ground on our new “H-STEM” building, which will house the departments of Kinesiology and Integrative Physiology and Biomedical Engineering, and the Health Research Institute. Our faculty can’t wait to move into this beautiful space. Find out more here https://www.mtu.edu/h-stem/

Deedra Irwin ’15 to compete in the Olympics

Picture of Deedra Irwin competing in biathlon
2022 U.S. Olympic Biathlon Team member and MTU alum Deedra Irwin

We were excited to learn Deedra Irwin has been named to the 2022 U.S. Olympic Biathlon Team. She was at Michigan Tech from 2010 to 2015 while earning her Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science with a Coaching minor. 

Congratulations to Deedra! We are all wishing her the best of luck when she competes for gold February 5-19 at the 2022 Beijing Olympics in the Zhangjiakou Zone!

A return to teaching

And finally, I am back in the classroom, teaching “Combinatorial Representation Theory” this semester. I’ve always thought it was useful for administrators to teach on occasion, and I’ve greatly enjoyed teaching our students, although I could do without the mask!

Thank you for your continued support

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. Thank you so much for supporting Michigan Tech! For CSA giving opportunities please visit:  https://www.mtu.edu/sciences-arts/giving/

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 djhemmer@mtu.edu to share your MTU experience or offer suggestions.

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.

Greetings and Happy Veteran’s Day from the College of Sciences and Arts at Michigan Tech!

SSgt Shaniqua S. McKnight, Dean Hemmer, and Lt. Col. Joseph C. Pulliam ready to take flight

November 11, 2021

One of the interesting parts of my job is that the College of Sciences and Arts includes our departments of Military Science and Aerospace Studies, i.e. our Army and Air Force ROTC programs. While our cadets hail from majors across the university, for academic purposes the programs are housed in CSA and the commanders, Major Gwosch from Army and LTC Pulliam from Air Force, bring a unique perspective to our College Council.

A flight out with Air Force and Army ROTC

On October 28 they invited me to join a large group of Air Force cadets and cadre, and a smaller group of Army cadets, on an “incentive flight” that rewards them for their performance. The Michigan Air National Guard flew in two KC-135 Stratotankers to Marquette. We had planned to refuel F16s and an A-10 that would take off from Wisconsin but, to my surprise, they were unable to take off due to icing conditions! (“The F16s are great in the desert,” quipped LTC Pulliam) Undaunted, we had a wonderful flight, circling Mackinac Island at low altitude, flying all the way back to campus, and then back to Marquette. Our plane hit a flock of birds just before we landed, sending the other plane screaming back up in the air to circle around and leaving the crew stranded in Marquette for the night until the engines could be inspected. The co-pilot was a great Tech alum who currently flies for Delta airlines.

The wonderful support we give to our military was one of the things that drew me to Michigan Tech, and our cadets continue to make us proud. Most recently business student Caleb Brulke was named the number one Army cadet in the nation! Read more here: https://bit.ly/3C6I4d7

Dr. Datta receives major grant to research toxin reduction

With everyone back on campus, I have resumed my efforts to hear about each of our faculty member’s research. I recently visited the lab of Biology Professor Rupali Datta. Dr. Datta is one of the stars of our department, an expert in plant biochemistry and molecular biology. She recently received a $700,000+ grant from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development to continue her incredible research on using various plants to absorb toxic metals like lead and arsenic in the soil. Her work has been applied in settings ranging from backyards in New Jersey to former mine sites in the Southwest and, closer to home, to the land where the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community grows wild rice.

Dr. Datta recently received a large grant from HUD

Thank You for your support

Critical to everything we do, including the success of our ROTC programs, are our alumni and friend donors. All your donations to our departments, scholarships, and the general fund are vitally important to our success. Thank you so much for supporting Michigan Tech! For CSA giving opportunities please visit:  https://www.mtu.edu/sciences-arts/giving/

Early in the Fall Semester 2021

September 16, 2021

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

Our Fall semester is off to a wonderful start! The beautiful summer weather we had has continued into the Fall with abundant sunshine and mild temperatures. My family and I enjoyed a great afternoon of Huskies Football last Saturday at the recently dedicated “Sherman Field and Kearly Stadium”, which features a brand-new artificial turf field. Alas the Huskies fell 12-9 to Division I opponent St. Thomas. It was great to see the Husky Pep Band at full strength on the field.

Our aggressive recruiting efforts paid off with the largest freshman class (1480 students) since 1982 on campus, up more than 20% from last year and increasing our overall campus enrollment by more than 2%. Our president has laid out an ambitious growth agenda to get us to 10,000 students, and this large (and extremely gifted and diverse!) class is a great start along the way. Enrollment in the College of Sciences and Arts has been growing steadily for the last four years, and we are planning a large digital marketing campaign this Fall targeting some of our exciting new programs.

Two of these programs include our new BS in Human Factors, which is a sort of combination of psychology, computer science and engineering. Another is our recently introduced BS in Sustainability Science and Society. We are also targeting students interested in health careers, including medical school, dental school and physical therapy.

More than 95% of our classes this semester are face to face at full capacity. It is wonderful to see our beautiful campus once again full of students and to meet in person with all my colleagues. We are still working hard to keep our students and staff safe. Wastewater testing continues to show very low presence of COVID on campus, and we offer walk-in testing on campus, supported by our own campus testing lab.

Let me close by highlighting the achievements of Steve Techtmann, one of our star young faculty members in Biological Sciences. Steve was recently awarded the 2021 Future Insight Prize by Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, a leading science and technology company, along with research collaborator Ting Lu, professor of bioengineering at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. The prize is one million euros for unrestricted support of research. Techtmann is an environmental microbiologist who studies how microbes could be used to convert plastic waste into safe and edible proteins. His work has also been supported by several million dollars of funding from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). I had the opportunity to tour his lab and was blown away by his work!

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. They will play an even bigger role over the next year with decreased state support expected. Thank you so much for supporting Michigan Tech! For CSA giving opportunities please visit:  https://www.mtu.edu/sciences-arts/giving/

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 djhemmer@mtu.edu to share your MTU experience or offer suggestions.

Beginning of summer 2021 on campus.

June 21, 2021

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

Normalcy returned to Tech as this week marks the official return of face to face work. Our weekly Dean’s Council meeting was in person for the first time since March 4, 2020!  Outside my office kids walk by from our in-person Summer Youth Programs. Michigan’s remaining COVID restrictions end tomorrow, and we are planning return to normal instruction this Fall.

Spring semester ended on a beautiful sunny Friday afternoon when we hosted an outdoor graduation parade of sorts. Graduates from the past two years and their family and friends walked to various stations around campus while we faculty lined the way in our academic regalia and the Husky Pep Band provided musical entertainment. In the Rozsa lobby, a replica graduation stage served for photo ops while Pomp and Circumstance played in the background. It was wonderful to see colleagues face to face for a change. Some, including my boss the Provost, I had not seen outside of Zoom in more than a year! More than one of my colleagues suggested we continue this tradition in future years in lieu of the lengthy formal ceremony.

Our incredible faculty finished the year strong with some really notable honors. Biological Sciences Professor Thomas Werner was awarded “Distinguished Professor of the Year” from the Michigan Association of State Universities. Thomas brings this award back to Tech after an eight-year hiatus. His outstanding work in the classroom, in the laboratory, and especially mentoring undergraduate researchers, made this a well-deserved honor.

Over in the Physics department, Professor Robert Nemiroff was named a “University Professor”, the highest honor we bestow on our faculty. There are currently four University Professors at Tech, and three are from the College of Sciences and Arts! I highly recommend checking out his Astronomy Picture of the Day website: https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/astropix.html

Finally, in Social Sciences, Dr. Nancy Langston received the Distinguished Scholar award from the American Society for Environmental History. This is the highest honor in her field, and recognizes a lifetime of scholarship.

At the recent Board of Trustees meeting, nine of our faculty received tenure and two others were promoted to Full Professor. Congratulations to them all!

As the May 1 deadline passed we got the exciting news that our deposits for new students are up 22% over last year and are the highest in 10 years. CSA outperformed even this number, with our deposits up 30%! We are looking forward to bringing in a record-breaking incoming class next Fall!

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. They will play an even bigger role over the next year with decreased state support expected. Thank you so much for supporting Michigan Tech! For CSA giving opportunities please visit:  https://www.mtu.edu/sciences-arts/giving/

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 djhemmer@mtu.edu to share your MTU experience or offer suggestions.