Category: Graduate Studies

Industrial Archaeology Students Dig for Answers Around Fort Wilkins

Image from the Holland Sentinel

From Tech Today:

The Holland Sentinel published a feature article on Michigan Tech’s Industrial Archaeology    students’ analysis of early mining activity in the vicinity of Fort Wilkins State Park.

From the Abstract:

 To better document the fort’s history related to copper mining, a group of Michigan Technological University students — led by doctoral candidate Sean Gohman and Patrick Martin, Michigan Tech professor of industrial archaeology — is exploring land  that is now part of the state park, looking specifically for evidence of mining activity by  the Pittsburgh & Boston Mining Co., which operated in the region in 1844-48.

Click here to read the full article: Archaeology students seek answers to Fort Wilkins’ mining past





IA grad students come in all ‘types’

hamiltondiestamper04Daniel Schneider (M.S. graduate student in IA) was recently featured on the Hamilton Wood Type and Printing Museum news blog for his work in recording one of their vintage pieces of machinery.  Schneider is doing his Master’s thesis on wood type manufacturing and skill as embodied by the workers at the Hamilton Manufacturing Company in Two Rivers, WI, which was the nation’s largest wooden type producer until it closed in the 1980s.

As part of that work Schneider is recording and rehabilitating an antique border-stamping machine (seen at left) in the museum. The machine was used to make the ornamental borders for newspaper advertisements and individual letterpress printers, and although the machine and some of its stamping dies remain in the museum along with samples of border it cut, there are no former operators who can explain the subtleties of the machine and its operations.  Later this fall, Schneider will get the machine working again, experiment with it, and then in the winter and spring give weekend demonstrations at the museum.  He expects to finish his thesis in summer 2015.

See the full Hamilton post at “Drawing a Machine

Presley talks about local food systems

Lee Presely speaks at Paavola
Lee Presely speaks at Paavola

Paavola: From Farming Community to Wetlands Preserve

On Thursday 24 July PhD candidate Anna Lee Presely presented a walk-n-talk at the Paavola Wetlands Nature Area in the “Fourth Thursday in History” series, presented by the Keweenaw National Historical Park.  Presley talked about her work this summer with the Keweenaw Land Trust researching the history of the Paavola settlement, its population, relationship to area mining, the village businesses, ethnic background of the people, cultural practices, and farming––especially dealing with the wetlands. The Land Trust is continuing to raise money to stabilize the one remaining farmhouse (shown in the pictures), and her work will become part of the exhibits that describe the history.

Her talk was also covered by the local paper in Houghton, the Daily Mining Gazette, and was featured on the front page: Program focuses on agricultural history [subscription required].

—Photos and synopsis courtesy of Melinda Quivik.

Paavola farm house and Lee Presley
Paavola farm house and Lee Presley


Graduate Student’s VISTA Broadens as She Earns a Degree Through Volunteer Service

Rhianna WilliamsWith many students thinking about what lies ahead after college, some may be thinking about graduate school or trying something completely new. But what if you could do both? Michigan Technological University offers programs that allow you to volunteer somewhere new and earn your graduate degree at the same time: Office of Surface Mining VISTA (OSM/VISTA) and the Peace Corps’ Paul D. Coverdell Fellowships.

Rhianna Williams is taking advantage of the OSM/VISTA program. Williams currently has a BS in Psychology and a MS in Library Science. She was working toward another master’s degree in environmental and energy policy until OSM/VISTA and Tech joined hands in 2012 and turned her in a new direction. “I joined for the opportunity to practice what I’d learned in the class out in the field,” she says.

Read more at Michigan Tech News, by Monica Lester.

Peace Corps Ranks Michigan Tech Tops in the Nation—Again

Erica JonesFor the ninth year in a row, Michigan Technological University ranks as the number one university nationwide for the number of Peace Corps Master’s International (PCMI) students currently serving as Peace Corps volunteers. Michigan Tech has 32 graduate students overseas, earning the University top spot on the Peace Corps’ annual ranking of PCMI and Paul D. Coverdell Fellows graduate schools.

“We have an amazing group of students who enter our program each year from all walks of life,” said Kari Henquinet, director of Michigan Tech’s PCMI program. “They are not only dedicated academically, but also able to apply what they have learned to problem solve and work collaboratively on the ground. Our Master’s International programs are set up to produce scientists and professionals who think creatively, understand social problems and function in multiple cultures. Our graduates go on to work for places like USAID, environmental engineering firms, and non-profit groups such as Doctors Without Borders.”

Read more at Michigan Tech News, by Jennifer Donovan.

Peace Corps Information Session Thursday, March 20

A Peace Corps information session will be held Thursday, March 20, at 6 p.m., in MUB Alumni Lounge B. Peace Corps Volunteers are making a difference all over the world in the areas of education, health and the environment. Stop by this information session to learn more about the benefits of service and how you can live, work and learn overseas after graduation.

View the Flyer

From Tech Today.

SS Grads Receive Travel Grants

Graduate Student Government Travel Grant Award Winners for Spring 2014

Travel grants for spring 2014 have been awarded. Among the Presenting Travel Grants ($ 250) recipients are social sciences graduate students Mayra O. Sanchez Gonzalez and Ronesha Strozier.

The full list of graduate recipients can be accessed online.

Travel grants are awards that help subsidize cost of attending and presenting at conferences. These awards are sponsored by the Graduate Student Government (GSG) and the Graduate School. For more information on travel grants, please visit the webpage.

Should you have any questions, contact the GSG treasurer Jennifer Winikus (

From Tech Today.

Dan Schneider Social Sciences Colloquium Friday

Daniel SchneiderDan Schneider will present “A First-Hand and Historical Perspective on the Practice of Letterpress Printing.” on Friday, Feb. 28, at 4 p.m., in AOB 201. Schneider is a master’s student in Social Sciences and the letterpress printer at the Copper Country Community Arts Center in Hancock. He will be talking about letterpress printing as a work process.

From Tech Today.

SS at Graduate Research Colloquium 2014

GRC2014 Graduate Research Colloquium
Memorial Union Building Ballroom

Wednesday, February 19th

Human Impact (A2)
Building Information Models: The 3D Digital Documentation of Heritage Resources – John Arnold, Social Sciences

1:00 PM – 2:20 PM: Environmental Studies and Advances in Environmental Protection – Upper Peninsula (B2)
1:20 PM – 1:40 PM: Assessing How Environmental Concerns Impact an Industrial Heritage Landscape – Emma Schwaiger, Social Sciences
2:00 PM – 2:30 PM: Prolonging Disaster (Un)Recovery: “Culturally-Irrelevant” Fish Consumption Advisories in the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community – Valoree Gagnon, Social Sciences

Thursday, February 20th
Environmental Studies and Advances in Environmental Protection (A2)
Social Influence of Family on Non-Industrial Private Forest Landowners’ Land Management Practices – Jennifer Riehl, Social Sciences
12:00 PM – 2:00 PM: Sustainability (B2)
12:00 PM – 12:20 PM: Forestry Certification Schemes and Biopower: Can SFI and FSC Ensure Sustainability of Woody Biomass Feedstocks? – Brad Barnett, Social Sciences

More Abstracts, Presenting Author

Building Information Models: The 3D Digital Documentation of Heritage Resources – John D. M. Arnold, Industrial Heritage and Archeology, Department of Social Sciences

View the Abstract Book | View the Photo Gallery | View the Results

John Arnold
John Arnold
Jennifer Riehl 2013 Poster
Social Influence of Family on Non-Industrial Private Forest Landowners’ Land Management Practices
Brad Barnett 2014 Poster
Brad Barnett

SocSci Grad Students build Wall-E for Winter Carnival

SSGSS Winter Carnival construction crew

The SSGSS (Social Sciences Graduate Student Society) entered the All-Nighter statue-building contest for 2014 Winter Carnival with an entry that fused both the environmental and industrial themes of the department. They chose to build the beloved children’s film character Wall-E, from the film of the same name (2008), who roamed the earth cleaning up the waste from an industrial society that had ruined the planet, but who gave a generation renewed hope in environmental stewardship and the power of the human spirit to survive.

The students that participated came from both Environmental and Energy Policy and from Industrial Archaeology and Heritage.  From the EP side we had Sarkar Mokabbir, Myra Sanchez Gonzalez, Edward Louie, Hamza Raheel, Ronesha Strozier, Amanda Kreuze, and Maggie Morrison.  From IA/IAH we had Lee Presley, John Arnold, Carol Griskavich, Rob Anthony, Leonor Medeiros, and Dan Schneider, while Marc Henshaw and Stephen Sarich fired up the BBQ grill and kept everyone fed. They worked from 6pm on Wednesday through to 3am Thursday morning stamping snow into a 4ft. cube, and then sculpting it into Wall-E’s body.  They built the head and arms separately as well as freezing two clear ice discs for use as Wall-E’s eyes.  The sculpture is notable for being made accurately to scale thanks to John Arnold’s past life as an architect and his use of Sketch Up.

SSGSS is happy to cap off its inaugural year as a student organization with their participation in this event. Part of their mission is to foster collaborative and collegial relationships between the Social Sciences department’s graduate programs (this event is not quite as useful in their role for professional development, but it was great fun!). They are proud to have brought their members’ skills of engineering, architectural design, and archaeological excavation together to make Wall-E a success! They hope to make Winter Carnival All-Nighter statue building an annual tradition.

photo by Edward Louie
photo by Edward Louie
photo by Lee Presley
photo by Leonor A. P. de Medeiros
photo by Steve Walton
photo by Steve Walton
for some reason, we noticed on the Saturday when the public was wandering around campus, lots of little kids wanted their pictures taken nestled between Wall-E's feet. --photo by Alice Margerum