Midyear 2022 commencement ceremony

Midyear 2022

Commencement Speaker

Brenda Ryan

Brenda Ryan

Brenda Ryan is the president and owner of Ryan Industries and Ryan Properties in Wixom, Michigan, and Alliance Industries in Springfield, Missouri. She holds a bachelor's degree in metallurgical and materials engineering from Michigan Technological University and a master's degree in materials science and engineering from the University of Virginia.

Ryan is a Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Production honoree. She was honored as Chrysler Group’s Diversity Supplier of the Year in 2011 and 2020, and was named a National Minority Supplier Development Council Success Story in 2013. She was the Missouri Minorities in Business Small Business Person of the Year of 2013. 

She was inducted into the Michigan Tech Presidential Council of Alumnae in 2002; Michigan Tech’s Academy of Materials Science and Engineering in 2008; and the University’s Academy of Business in 2022.

Ryan is currently the vice-chair of the Board of Trustees for Michigan Tech. She first served on the Board from 1979 to 1989, and was its chair in 1984. She rejoined the Board in 2015, holding the position of vice-chair in 2017 before once again chairing the Board in 2018, 2019, and 2020.

Student Speaker

Jailynn Johnson

Jailynn Johnson

Growing up in Detroit, MI, Jailynn never imagined going to college somewhere so remote.

When choosing a university her senior year at Renaissance High School, she knew that she wanted to go to a school where STEM would be at the forefront and she would be able to try new things. Upon her acceptance into Michigan Tech, it was her mother that said, “You never know, [Michigan Tech] might be the right fit, despite it being so different from where you grew up.”. A year later when discussing Jailynn’s reasons for going to Tech her mother would then say, “Well...I didn’t think she would actually do it!”.

Since deciding to attend Michigan Tech, Jailynn has had the opportunity to do many things including being president of the Black Students Association (BSA), serving on the CDI President’s Council, being a research assistant in the Chem. Eng. department, and sitting on search committees for the Dean of Students and Director of Career Services. In addition to this, Jailynn is a Pavlis Honors student and has been the RA of the Pavlis Living Learning community in Wadsworth Hall. In spring of 2021, Jailynn received the Percy Julian Award for her work in DEI and building a stronger campus community. Some of her fondest memories include building All-Nighter statues for Winter Carnival, going to hockey games, and playing broomball. Some of her other involvements include being a member of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE), a wingwoman for the Society of African American Men (SAAM), and a member of the American Chemical Society.

Graduating with a bachelor’s of science degree in Chemistry with a minor in Mathematical Sciences, it seems that Tech was the right choice after all!

Upon graduation, Jailynn plans to start a new Research and Development position at Sherwin-Williams located in Minneapolis, Minnesota.