Category: Events

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”.


 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.
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.’

SS Talk: Erin Pischke on “Forms and Justifications of Fracking-Related Collective Action in Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale Play”

Erin Pischke-112:00 noon on Friday, April 10th in AOB 201.

Erin Pischke, Environmental and Energy Policy PhD student,  will present on “Forms and Justifications of Fracking-Related Collective Action in Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale Play“. This work considers the complex relationships between formal and informal advocacy organizations with hydraulic fracturing by examining two different, but related, forms of organizing:  participation in established non-governmental organizations and involvement in nascent anti-fracking organizations.

Tapping into Mine Water Geothermal

Old mine tunnels, like ones under this hoist, are filled with water, which may be a valuable geothermal resource. Credit: Edward Louie

From Tech Today:

by Allison Mills, science and technology writer

The water filling abandoned mine tunnels could be a major geothermal resource, both on the Keweenaw Peninsula and across the United States.

Student researchers at Michigan Tech have put together the first comprehensive guidebook communities can use to explore the feasibility of using mine water for geothermal energy to heat and cool buildings. While there is great potential for this resource, there are less than 30 active mine water geothermal systems in the world. One is at Michigan Tech’s Keweenaw Research Center just north of Houghton.

The research team will present their work to the public in Calumet on April 6 in the atrium of the CLK School from 7 to 9 p.m. Community members can interact with a tabletop model showing how mine water geothermal works, calculate the distance from their own home to the nearest mine shaft and make approximate cost calculations for installation and pay-back using a calculator tool. People of all ages are welcome.

Next week they travel to Washington D.C. to present their work at the Sustainable Design Expo, funded by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Learn more about how mine water geothermal works in the full article here.

See additional articles published on and Hydrogen Fuel News.

Three Present at Graduate Research Colloquium

Three graduate students from the Department of Social Sciences presented at the 2015 Graduate Research Colloquium Poster & Presentation Competition.  The Colloquium is an opportunity for graduate students at Michigan Tech to share their research with the university community and to gain experience in presenting research to colleagues.

Sean Gohman

Sean Gohman, PhD student in the Industrial Heritage and Archaeology program, gave a presentation titled “The Residues of Industry:  Identifying and Evaluating Mine Waste in Michigan’s Copper Country”.




Edward Louie and Abhilash Kantamneni

Edward Louie, MS student in the Environmental and Energy Policy program and Abhilash Kantamneni, graduate student from the Department of Computer Science presented about the impact of potential solar net metering policy changes and how it will impact people unequally in different states.


Ronesha Strozier

Ronesha Strozier, MS student in the Environmental and Energy Policy program gave her presentation titled “Making Connections: Mobility, Accessibility, and Policy Failure”.

Schelly to Present on American Rainbow Gatherings

9781612057453_p0_v1_s260x420Dr. Chelsea Schelly, Assistant Professor of Sociology will present on “The Rainbow Way: Participation and Experience in Rainbow Gathering Culture” on Wednesday, March 25, in the Van Pelt and Opie Library East Reading Room at 4:15 pm with refreshments at 4 pm.

Her talk is based on her recently published book, Crafting Collectivity: American Rainbow Gatherings and Alternative Forms of Community (Paradigm Publishers).

This event is part of the Library’s Nexus: The Scholar and the Library series.


Visiting Lecturer Dr. Kristin Floress to Present on Community and Watershed Management


Photo by USDA Forest Service.
Photo by USDA Forest Service.

Dr. Kristin Floress, a social scientist with the USDA Forest Service in Evanston, IL is giving a talk in 201 AOB from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. Monday, March 16 titled “Community Capacity for Watershed Management.”

Her visit co-sponsored by the Visiting Women & Minority Lecturer/Scholar Series (VWMLS) which is funded by a grant to the Office of Institutional Equity from the State of Michigan’s King-Chavez-Parks Initiative, the Center for Water and Society, and the Social Sciences Department.

Abstract: An individual’s ability to engage in actions that are protective of water resources is driven by a variety of factors at the individual and community scale.   This presentation explores several cases of watershed and lake management in Wisconsin using the community capacity for watershed management framework (Davenport and Seekamp, 2013).  Individual indicators and governance principles are assessed and used to provide direction for designing effective water programs.

Susan Martin: Human History of the Keweenaw Lecture February 24

Click here for event flyer.


On Tuesday, Feb. 24, Tech Professor Emerita Susan Martin, expert on prehistoric archeology and ancient copper, will lead a discussion about ancient cultural elements of our region. She will be joined by Seth DePasqual, cultural resource manager at Isle Royale National Park. The event is part of a monthly series of sessions on the Geoheritage and Natural History of the Keweenaw, at the Carnegie Museum in Houghton. The discussions are aimed at the general public but also discuss current research and science.
The Carnegie Museum of the Keweenaw is located at Huron and Montezuma in downtown Houghton. Seminars are held in the Community Room on the ground level. Lectures are free, open to the public and wheelchair accessible. The museum will open at 6:30 p.m. for refreshments; lectures and discussion run from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. Please contact the Museum for further information at 482-7140.