Commencement

2016 Midyear Commencement

Speakers

Keith Creagh

Keith Creagh

With an extensive background in policy development, strategic planning, and relationship building—and a lifelong love of hunting, fishing, camping, and hiking—Keith Creagh brings plenty of experience and insight to his position as director of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR).

Prior to his July 2012 appointment by Governor Rick Snyder, Creagh had been serving as director of the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD), a position he held since January 1, 2011.

Complementing his public service, Creagh worked as director of industry affairs for the Neogen Corporation, a company that develops and provides food and animal safety solutions to the agri-food industry. In that capacity, he established and maintained relationships with the scientific community and regulatory agencies at the state and federal level, as well as oversaw international product registrations and manufacturing operations at Neogen's Wisconsin manufacturing plant.

Creagh's state government service started in 1974. He’s tackled a wide range of MDARD positions during that tenure, including chief deputy director (covering administration and legislative policy at both the state and federal level), land use deputy director (with both MDARD and the MDNR), where he coordinated a multi-agency implementation plan in response to the recommendations from the governor-appointed Michigan Land Use Leadership Council. He also provided leadership for the Farm Bill and conservation programs, bringing together conservation organizations, state and federal agencies, and local conservation districts to establish conservation practices in the state.

Those assignments provided opportunities to work closely with stakeholders, federal agencies, the Michigan Legislature and US Congress, and gave Creagh key experience with invasive and exotic species, conservation easements, and environmental stewardship.

In December 2015, Governor Snyder called upon Creagh to take a leave from the MDNR in order to lead the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) during the Flint water crisis and the department’s restructuring period. He returned to the MDNR in June 2016, but continues to serve as the administration’s lead on Flint drinking water recovery.

Creagh has a Bachelor of Science in Forestry from Michigan Technological University, and continues to collaborate with Michigan's universities and colleges on a variety of issues.

He and his wife, Laska, have four children and reside in Williamston, Michigan.

Kristina Rushlau

Student Speaker—Kristina Rushlau

“Soak in the experience.” That’s Kristina Rushlau’s advice for her fellow students. 

And she has certainly lived those words during her time at Michigan Tech.

Kristina graduates with a BS in Environmental Engineering, and the Kalamazoo, Michigan, native will now turn her attention to starting a career in Environmental Engineering, preferably in the Detroit area.

“I think clean drinking water is just so important,” she says.

While on campus, Kristina balanced her studies with participation in many activities including Mind Trekkers, playing water polo, chasing the Northern Lights, and being in the Society of Environmental Engineers. She’s also found time to bike and hike the Keweenaw. 

“I was able to go to Washington, DC with Mind Trekkers in 2014,” she says. “It was a great trip. I was able to see thousands of people.”

Kristina credits her parents Matthew and Jennifer, her sisters Jessica and Megan, and boyfriend Chris Schnettler as being instrumental to her success. She is also grateful for Susan Liebau, director of Tech’s Waino Wahtera Center for Student Success.

“She taught my Excel class my freshman year, and has been my boss for four years,” Kristina says. “She’s been very helpful and has always been someone I can talk to.”

Kristina has loved her time in Houghton and hopes to get back to campus often. “Hockey games, skiing—I have just really appreciated the chance to be here.”