Category: Events

Social Sciences Participates in ISSRM 2015 and 2016

ISSRM 2015Members of the Department of Social Sciences and the School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science (SFRES) attended the recent 2015 International Symposium on Society and Resource Management (ISSRM). The event took place in Charleston, SC, June 13-18, 2015.

Participants included nine graduate students in the Environmental and Energy Policy (EEP) program, Erin Pischke, Mayra Sanchez, Brad Barnett, Zoe Coombs, Aparajita Banerjee, Chris Henderson, Jenny Dunn, Erin Burkett, and Rhianna Williams, and Andrew Kozich of SFRES. Also attending were Professor Kathy Halvorsen, Associate Professor Richelle Winkler, and ISSRM 2016 Conference Coordinator/Ecosystem Science Center Research Scientist Jill Fisher.

The conference is the annual meeting of the International Association for Society and Natural Resources (IASNR). IASNR is an interdisciplinary professional association open to individuals who bring a variety of social science and natural science backgrounds to bear on complex environment and natural resource issues.

Michigan Tech students created the newest IASNR student chapter. The new student chapter, named the Association of Students for People, Environment and Nature (ASPEN), was represented by a team of EEP students in the ISSRM 2015 Quiz Bowl.

Michigan Tech will host ISSRM 2016 from June 22 to June 26. The symposium theme is Transitioning: Toward Sustainable Relationships in a Different World. The conference coordinator is Jill Fisher, and the co-chairs are Kathleen Halvorsen and Richelle Winkler.

ISSRM 2015 Quiz Bowl
Michigan Tech students participate in the ISSRM 2015 Quiz Bowl.


Invited Paper for Mary Durfee

EU Arctic Conference 2015On Friday, May 29, 2015, Associate Professor Mary Durfee (SS) gave an invited paper, The EU in the Arctic: Where will it live? at a conference on the EU in the Arctic held in Dundee, Scotland.

From Tech Today.

The European Union and the Arctic (2015 EU-Arctic Conference)

This conference will bring together academics and practitioners from relevant disciplines such as international law, international relations, political science and marine biology, NGOs, representatives from EU institutions and international organisations to discuss the EU’s potential contribution to enhance Arctic governance. A roadmap for increasing the effectiveness of the EU’s action in the Arctic will be drawn at the end of the conference.


Pan American Researchers Gather in Houghton

PIRE Researchers
PIRE Researchers

VIEW THE BIOMASS PIRE FLICKR PHOTO GALLERY

About 40 biofuel and bioenergy researchers from many countries in the Pan American region (from Argentina to Canada) will attend a workshop hosted by the Sustainable Futures Institute at Michigan Tech Wednesday, June 3, 2015, through Friday, June 5, 2015.

The goals of the workshop are to develop a research roadmap report (RRR) with diverse international perspectives and to recommend priority areas for future research. The RRR will be disseminated to funding agencies such as the National Science Foundation, Department of Energy and other federal research sponsors in the United States and their equivalents in other Pan American countries, as well as to industry and the general public.

This is the final workshop in the NSF-funded project “RCN-SEES: A Research Coordination Network on Pan American Biofuel and Bioenergy Sustainability“. The project is directed by David Shonnard (ChE) and with co-investigators Barry Solomon (SS), Kathy Halvorsen (SS), Sam Sweitz (SS) and Robert Handler (SF I).

From Tech Today, by David Shonnard.

PIRE-Group-Outdoor

Bioenergy Across the Americas

The work is part of the Partnerships for International Research and Education (PIRE), funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). Kathy Halvorsen, a professor of natural resource policy at Michigan Tech, helps lead the PIRE research group, which is highly interdisciplinary.

“As we move forward with the project spanning six countries, I am always thinking about how are we going to be able to answer our research questions,” Halvorsen says, adding the project spans social, natural and engineering sciences. “We have to think about how we do our research so we can compare and integrate our data across the countries and disciplines.”

Read more and listen to audio at Michigan Tech News, by Allison Mills.

Biomass bridge
Vital aspect in achieving energy sustainability

Barry Solomon, a Tech professor on the PIRE team, noted that Brazil introduced the flex-fuel car engines now seen across the U.S. that can burn both high-ethanol and low-ethanol gas blends, and that bio-based ethanol has been a major boon to an economy that’s contributed to steady growth in recent years.

“The U.S. talks about energy independence, but it’s not (independent),” he said. “Brazil essentially is.”

Read more at the Mining Gazette, by Dan Roblee (subscription required).

Woody
U.P. bioelectric effort can follow Wisconsin’s lead

Regardless of the questions yet to be answered, Solomon said he sees biomass as an important part of the U.P.’s electric generation future.

“Biomass should be a part of things here,” he said. “There’s not a massive demand, but it’s far better to get rid of coal. … I think we need a combination of biomass and wind power.”

Read more at the Mining Gazette, by Dan Roblee (subscription required).

MICHIGAN TECH HOSTS FOREST BIOENERGY RESEARCHERS

A project this large can be unwieldy, so Halvorsen works with subgroup and country team leaders to effectively pursue their interdisciplinary research in bioenergy. Studying bioenergy naturally builds off multiple disciplines and goes beyond just the global biofuels discussion.

Read more at Technology Century, by Matt Roush.

Bioenergy across the Americas

In some ways, the PIRE research is like bioenergy yoga, looking at the best ways to build both flexibility and strength to move gracefully through changing climates and economic markets. From small plantations to spanning continents, the PIRE research seeks sustainability and resiliency using the insight of many disciplines.

Read more at ECN Magazine, by Allison Mills.

MICHIGAN TECH LEADS ON BIOENERGY

Sounds of Research

Michigan Tech has uploaded audio recordings of conversations with various researchers involved in the project — check out their Soundcloud account if you’re interested in hearing them.

Read more at Science Around Michigan.

MTU bioenergy: teaching the world

The U.P. is leading the effort to not just preserve natural resources, but to put them to work. The work is part of the partnerships for international research and education through the National Science Foundation.

Watch the video at UP Matters, by Esther Kwon.

UP Matters Pan American UP Matters Pan American UP Matters Pan American UP Matters Pan American


Research Team Meeting Brings in International Researchers

Kathleen Halvorsen
Kathy Halvorsen

From Tech Today:

Researchers across the Americas look to forests for power, transportation, fuel and heat. This weekend and into next week, more than 80 researchers from Brazil, Argentina, Canada, Mexico, Uruguay and the US will meet in Houghton to research bioenergy. The work is part of the Partnerships for International Research and Education (PIRE) through the National Science Foundation.

Kathy Halvorsen (SFRES) is leading the research team meeting. She says bioenergy goes beyond just the biofuels discussion and finding alternative fuel for cars. “This a research team studying how we can help to slow climate change and ensure local energy security,” she says. “We also look to minimize the negative impacts of energy choices and maximize benefits.”

In the PIRE research team meeting, Halvorsen will help lead interdisciplinary discussions and research concerning the socio-economic impacts of different forest bioenergy sources. The results and groundwork, however, require the focused efforts of more than a hundred people.


Reception for Pat Martin: May 15, 2015

PatThe Department of Social Sciences invites the campus community to recognize Pat Martin for his 38 years of service to Michigan Tech as Professor of Archaeology. The department will hold a reception to recognize Pat from 3 to 5 p.m. Friday, May 15, on the 2nd floor of the Annex to the Academic Office Building.

Pat, who has served as the Chair of Social Sciences for the last six years, was instrumental in the creation of the department’s Industrial Archaeology graduate program. After his retirement, Pat will remain active as a research professor, initiating projects and advising students, as well as serving as the Executive Secretary of the Society for Industrial Archeology and as the President of The International Committee for the Conservation of Industrial Heritage — so “retirement” is slightly misleading.


Michaelson Receives Provost’s Award for Scholarship

Melissa Michaelson
Melissa Michaelson

From Tech Today:

Outstanding students, staff, and a special alumna were honored on April 17, 2015 at Michigan Tech’s 21st Annual Student Leadership Awards Ceremony.  This year’s recipient of the Provost’s Award for Scholarship was Melissa Michaelson, Departmental Scholar from Social Sciences majoring in Anthropology.

According to the Student Affairs and Advancement, “each academic department nominates one student to represent their department as its Departmental Scholar. From the collective departments, one student is selected to receive the Provost’s Award for Scholarship.

The Provost’s Award for Scholarship is given to a senior who best represents student scholarship at Michigan Tech. This outstanding student is considered excellent not only by academic standards, but also for participation in research scholarship activity, levels of intellectual curiosity, creativity, and communication skills.”

Congratulations Melissa!


SS Student Poster Presentations

9:00-10:00 a.m. on Tuesday, April 28 in AOB 201. Open to all.

Join in celebrating the work of students from Intro GIS for Social Sciences class on Tuesday, April 28th as they present their Final Project Posters.

Poster presentations and student teams include:

Gauging Hope:  Mapping Material Changes in an Industrial TownscapeJohn Arnold, Adrian Blake, and Emily Oppliger

Identifying Sustainable Forest Biomass Sources Using Spatial Criteria Analysis:  A Case Study of Rothschild, WisconsinMiranda Aho, Brad Barnett, Jeff Kelly, and Melissa Michaelson

Predictive Modeling of Industrial Archaeology and Pollution Potential in Urban BrownfieldsEric Pomber and Dan Trepal

Mapping the Potential Impacts of Unconventional Oil and Gas Exploitation in MichiganNicolette Slagle


SS Talk: Fred Quivik on Deepwater Horizon Trial: U.S. vs. BP

quivik April 244:00 P.M. on Friday, April 24th in AOB 201.

Professor Fred Quivik will present “The Deepwater Horizon Trial: United States v. BP,  under the Clean Water Act”.

Professor Quivik will present an overview of the Deepwater Horizon disaster and the nature of the trial under the Clean Water Act, a summary of his testimony and the role that the United States hopes it will have played at trial, and a description of how he came to develop the expertise he used in the Deepwater Horizon case and some reflections on what that means for General Education at Michigan Technological University.


SS Talk: Kelly Boyer Ontl on “Chimpanzees in the Island of Gold”

BoyerOntl12:00 noon on Friday, April 17th in AOB 201.

Kelly Boyer Ontl will present: “CHIMPANZEES IN THE ISLAND OF GOLD:  Impacts of artisanal small-scale gold mining on chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes verus) in Fongoli, Senegal”.

ABSTRACT:

 Artisanal small-scale gold mining (ASGM) has a long history in West Africa, supplementing agricultural livelihoods and helping to fuel West African empires, ancient Egypt, and medieval Europe via extensive trade routes. ASGM continues today but has taken on different dimensions through the influence of globalization and mechanization. The widespread practice now threatens the habitat, health and future of West African wildlife including endangered West African chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes verus). In this talk I will be discussing the socio-ecological impacts of ASGM activity on chimpanzee behavior and resource use at the Fongoli field site in southeastern Senegal. The surge in gold prices over the past 10 years has intensified gold mining in Senegal, increasing transnational migration, human population, and environmental degradation, and consequently altering how chimpanzees use the landscape. The impacts of ASGM are now considered among the species’ largest threat in Senegal, and conservation efforts are underway to protect the country’s remaining chimpanzee population last estimated at 500 individuals.


SS Talk: Jessica Smith Rolston on “Undoing Gender in Macho Industries: Ethnographic Perspectives on Women, Men and Mining in Wyoming”

Rolston 2015-2As part of the Visiting Women and Minority Lecture Series (VWMLS), the Social Sciences Department, and a grant from the Office of Institutional Equity from the State of Michigan’s King-Chavez Parks’ Initiative, Jessica Smith Rolston, Hennebach Assistant Professor of Energy Policy a the Colorado School of Mines will present: Undoing Gender in Macho Industries: Ethnographic Perspectives on Women, Men and Mining in Wyoming– based on her recent book, “Mining Coal and Undermining Gender.”
Dr. Rolston has extensive experience both researching and working in the coal mining industry.  The talk will be at noon in AOB 201 on Monday, April 13th.
Abstract:
While mining is popularly perceived as an exceptionally masculine industry, women constitute an average of twenty to twenty-five percent of production crews and at least half of engineering teams in northeastern Wyoming¹s surface coal mines. These mines produce a majority of the country¹s coal with fewer fatalities and accidents than other sectors of the industry. In this talk, Dr. Rolston draws on her experiences working and conducting research in the mines to argue that coal miners and engineers both construct and undo gender differences in their everyday working lives. The ethnographic materials show that even in an industry infamous for gender difference and discrimination, particular historical, cultural, and institutional factors open up spaces for men and women miners alike to debate, discuss and attempt to unmoor their understandings of work ethic from dominant masculinities and femininities. At the same time, she explores the limits of the miners¹ gender-neutral ideals by investigating the cultural notions and material conditions that make it differently difficult for men and women to embody the expectations crews hold for ‘hard work.’