Category Archives: Notables

Sidortsov Appointed to UP Energy Task Force

Roman Sidortsov

Roman Sidortsov is 1 of 19 residents recently appointed to the UP Energy Task Force by Governor Gretchen Whitmer. In early June, Governor Whitmer signed Executive Order 2019-14 creating the UP Energy Task Force. According to the Governor’s office, “the task force will assess the UP’s overall energy needs and how they are currently being met; identify and evaluate potential changes in energy supply and distribution; and formulate alternative solutions to meet the UP’s energy needs – including alternatives to the current distribution of propane through Line 5, which poses an unacceptable threat to The Great Lakes”. The task force will submit a final report to the Governor in two stages with the first part being due March 31, 2020 and the remainder due March 31, 2021.


SS Faculty and Students Present at American Association of Geographers Annual Meeting in Washington D.C.

Sophia Ford, Don Lafreniere, Sun Nguyen, Rose Hildebrant, Dan Trepal, and Tim Stone at the AAG Annual Meeting in Washington D.C.

Faculty and students from MTU’s Historical Environments Spatial Analytics Lab, the Department of Social Sciences, and GLRC traveled to the annual meeting of the American Association of Geographers in Washington D.C. Don Lafreniere (SS/GLRC Faculty) presented a paper entitled “Public Participatory Historical GIS to Build a Spatial Data Infrastructure of Historical Landscapes and Environments”.  Dan Trepal (IHA PhD Candidate) presented a paper entitled :Using Historical Spatial Data Infrastructures as a Tool for Hazard Assessment in Urban Industrial Archaeology”. Sun Nguyen (EEP MS Student) presented a paper entitled “Citizen Engagement in Minnesota Environmental Decision Making”. Sophia Ford (EEP MS Student) presented a paper entitled “Mineral Property Law as Exclusion: Obfuscating Mineral Ownership”. Rose Hildebrandt (Psychology Undergraduate and SURF) presented a paper entitled “Empowering Youth to Be a Voice in Neighborhood Change Through Geospatial Technologies”.  Tim Stone (Sustainability Sciences Undergraduate and Portage Health URIP) presented a paper entitled “Exploring the Social and Built Determinants of Health of Children in Early Twentieth Century Calumet, MI”.


Durfee Co-Authors Book on Arctic Governance

Arctic GovernanceMary Durfee (professor emerita at Michigan Tech) and Rachael Lorna Johnstone’s (University of Akureyri, Iceland and the University of Greenland) have published a new book, Arctic Governance in a Changing World with Rowan and Littlefield.

Arctic Governance in a Changing World provides a succinct yet precise account of the contemporary Arctic in the context of international relations and international law to explain the people and processes that govern the Arctic.

The book begins with an overview of the Arctic in light of its inextricable relation to the wider world. An explanation of environmental and political change in the Arctic follows. The book shows how various players in Arctic decision-making influence different spheres of governance. Security in the Arctic is analyzed in terms of both national and human security. Arctic economies are presented and then explored from a political economy perspective, including free trade issues and the influence of China. The book is strong on human and indigenous rights and explains how these rights constrain state and corporate behavior. It shows how the law of the sea in the Arctic determines resource allocation. Unique in a textbook about international relations is a chapter on Arctic shipping. The book explains how (and to what extent) international environmental law protects the vulnerable Arctic and its inhabitants in times of climate change. It concludes with an analysis of resilient governance in the Arctic.


Sophia Ford– First Place Winner in the Copper Country Community Arts Center’s Community Art Exhibition

Sophia Ford- “Mine Waste: A quilt to mend”

Congratulations to graduate student, Sophia Ford (MS EEP), who was the First Place winner in the Copper Country Community Arts Center’s community art exhibition “Shaft Series” inspired by mining heritage.


First place – Sophia Ford “Mine Waste: A quilt to mend”

Second place- Charlie Eshbach “Delaware”
Third place- Tammy Gajewski “Champion Hen House”
This art exhibit piece links to Sophia’s larger research project that integrates anthropology, geography, environmental policies and GIS and indigenous research methodologies to connect the legacy of mining legacies to contemporary social justice, gender, environmental and sovereignty issues. One way in is that she is examining the history of these issues with ongoing processes related to mining property and law and she shows how the appropriation of lands and resources depends on the erasure of rights and access to lands. Drawing on her training in geology, and her insights into the process of mineral deeds and mapping – she layers these understandings to investigate the anthropology of erasures. That is, extraction is always about exclusion. Her approach weaves multiple knowledges/data sets – including this art exhibit where she create a  ‘quilt’ using mining waste, to investigate the multiple valances and impacts of mining on communities.




Keweenaw Time Traveler featured in American Quarterly

American QtrlyThe Keweenaw Time Traveler project is featured in the current issue of American Quarterly, the academic journal of the American Studies Association. This special issue, dedicated to Digital Humanities, highlights eight publicly-engaged projects using digital and spatial technologies to engage important issues in American culture today. The collaborative nature of this project is reflected in the group of authors: Sarah Fayen Scarlett (SS) and Don Lafreniere (SS); Dan Trepal and John D. M. Arnold, PhD candidates and recent graduate in Industrial Heritage and Archaeology; and Robert Pastel (CS). The article is open-access for three months, and the other projects are listed here.



Students Create Web Map using GIS

summer 2018

Student interns from Calumet and Houghton High Schools, under the guidance of Don Lafreniere (SS/GLRC), Ryan Williams (GISP/GLRC) and students from the Department of Social Sciences, recently launched a new WebGIS for the Calumet and Laurium region. The map can be found at calumetmap.com.

The WebGIS is the beginning of a multi-year partnership between many local organizations including Michigan Tech Social Sciences, the Geospatial Research Facility, Western Upper Peninsula Planning and Development Region (WUPPDR), Keweenaw Economic Development Alliance (KEDA) and local municipalities to create a regional geographic information system (GIS) for local planning, economic development, heritage management, tourism and health promotion.

The WebGIS is an output of the NSF-funded Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers, “GRACE- GIS Resources and Applications for Career Education” project. GRACE is a multi-institution collaboration to bring GIS technologies to Michigan’s high school educators and intensive community-based internship experiences to high school students.

More about the GRACE project at Michigan Tech can be found in Unscripted.

Summer 2018-2