2015 Spring Commencement


Susan E. Skochelak

Susan E. Skochelak, MD, MPH

Dr. Susan Skochelak serves as Group Vice President for Medical Education at the American Medical Association (AMA) and directs the AMA's Center for Transforming Medical Education. She developed and leads the AMA's Accelerating Change in Medical Education initiative working to promote innovation that better aligns physician training with the changing needs of our health care system.

Skochelak received her bachelor's and master's degree in biological sciences from Michigan Technological University and received her MD degree from the University of Michigan. She obtained a Master’s of Public Health at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, where she trained as a resident physician in family medicine and preventive medicine. She completed a Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars fellowship while at Chapel Hill.

A nationally recognized authority in medical education, Skochelak pioneered new models for community based and interdisciplinary medical education. She initiated new programs in rural, urban, global, and public health. Skochelak developed and leads the AMA Learning Environment Study, a longitudinal cohort study on medical student characteristics and the medical education learning environment with more than 4,600 student subjects at 28 US and Canadian medical schools.

Skochelak was previously the Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. She has served as the director of Wisconsin Area Health Education Consortium (AHEC) System, the chairperson of the Consortium for Primary Care in Wisconsin and as a member of the governor's Rural Health Development Council.

Actively involved in medical education research, Skochelak has been the principal investigator for more than $18 million in grant awards from the NIH, the US Department of Health and Human Services and from private foundations.

Kyle Yarusso

Student Speaker—Kyle Yarusso

It's about getting out there and doing it.

That sums up Kyle Yarusso's time—and approach—as a student at Michigan Tech. The Lake Elmo, MN, native is completing his BS in Applied Ecology and Environmental Science today. His coursework has done plenty to get him out there, and that’s been the biggest advantage to getting his degree from Tech: the bevy of forests, parks, and protected areas in the region have been perfect classrooms.

Yarusso has stayed connected to campus life, as well. As an Undergraduate Student Government (USG) representative, he has been in tune with the student body and what people are talking about on campus.

With a strong belief in the value of student organizations, he helped start a student chapter of Forest Guild—the first student chapter of this professional society. The club focuses on ecology and sustainable forestry practices.

In addition, Yarusso has held a number of positions at the University, including as a research assistant and with residential life. He was most recently the resident assistant for Treehouse, the School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science learning community.

After graduation, Yarusso will serve as a Centennial Volunteer Ambassador with the Student Conservation Association, a non-profit that inspires lifelong stewardship of the environment. Yarusso will work directly with the National Park Service, coordinating volunteer service events, engaging the community with their natural surroundings, and helping others appreciate the environment.

Down the road, Yarusso plans to attend graduate school, studying the human dimensions of environmentalism and conservation. When asked about his time in Houghton, he said, "It has been an amazing experience. I have grown to better understand myself, others, and the environment. I couldn't have asked for a better four years."