Students lined up walking at Commencement smiling.

Midyear 2023

Graduate Student Speaker

Sushree Dash

Sushree Dash

PhD in Applied Physics


Sushree Dash of Bhubaneswar, Odisha, India, is earning her PhD in Applied Physics. After graduation, she is bound for Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, Sweden, where she will study nano-alloy-making technology as a postdoctoral researcher.

Dash is the recipient of a Doctoral Finishing Fellowship from Michigan Tech’s Graduate School, and was awarded an Ovshinsky Student Travel Award and Distinguished Student Award by the American Physical Society. She was also recognized by Optica as one of the top 100 student leaders in the world in the fields of optics and photonics. 

"For me, physics is my canvas. In my research, I feel like I am creating art."

Dash has been a part of many Michigan Tech student organizations, such as Women in Physics, Keweenaw Youth for Climate Action, and Students for Sustainability.

"I learned a lot about local culture through these volunteering activities. I also loved that we created Women in Physics to empower physics from within."

She also learned to ski. “I am from a place where the average temperature is 104 degrees Fahrenheit,” says Dash. “So, I spend a lot of time falling on the icy slopes of Ripley.”

Undergraduate Student Speaker

Aerith Cruz

Aerith Cruz

Bachelor of Science in Management Information Systems


Aerith Cruz of Chaska, Minnesota, is graduating from Michigan Tech with a Bachelor of Science in Management Information Systems and a minor in statistics. After graduation, she will begin work as an associate technical project manager at 3M.

Cruz’s years at Tech include many layers of involvement with a shared goal of creating opportunities for others. Most notably, she has served as president of Michigan Tech’s chapter of the Society of Women Engineers, a student organization with over 200 members. Her years of leadership with SWE culminated in the establishment of the SWE Endowed Scholarship, which will award a scholarship annually to a SWE member beginning in 2026. Cruz was recognized nationally for her service to SWE, receiving the Outstanding Collegiate Member Award at WE23, the society’s 2023 national conference in Los Angeles, California. During Michigan Tech’s 2023 Student Leadership Awards, she received the President’s Award for Leadership and was named the Rising Star of the Year.

Cruz has also served as president of the Fencing Club, expanding active membership in the group by 500 percent. In support of her peers, she has served as an Orientation Team Leader and an ExSEL peer mentor with the Waino Wahtera Center for Student Success, and volunteered as a mentor to prospective students as one of Michigan Tech’s Leading Scholars.

Additionally, Cruz has remained active in FIRST Robotics, serving as an executive board position with Copper Country Robotics, a volunteer supervisor at competitions, and team mentor. She has also served on the Center for Diversity and Inclusion’s President’s Council.

Cruz enjoys skiing at Mont Ripley, playing broomball with friends, volunteering at Tech Traditions, exploring the Keweenaw, and chasing the northern lights.