Members

Ashley Simpson

Ashley Simpson '09

BS in Electrical Engineering

I earned a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering with a focus on power and energy systems from Michigan Tech. Afterwards, I attended Oakland University where I received my Masters in Engineering Management degree. Today, I lead Inclusion & Diversity at ITC Holdings Corp., the largest independent electricity transmission company in the US, where I am responsible for leading Inclusion & Diversity strategy, plans, and programs to enable and enhance diversity across the enterprise, and to enable and facilitate an engaged, inclusive culture reflecting the communities we serve. Outside of work and academics, I am a staunch believer of giving back to the community. I serve on the boards of Rebuilding Together of Southeast Michigan and the Michigan Diversity Council, and previously held the position of Scholarship Chair for the American Association of Blacks in Energy. One of my personal missions is to foster greater awareness and ensure young people have access to STEM educational and career opportunities. Identifying and creating systems to support MTU’s DEIS strategy aligns with my mission and I am incredibly honored to serve and support.

Doris Strong

Doris Strong ‘97

BS in Mechanical Engineering

I graduated from Michigan Technological University in the spring of 1997 with a BS in Mechanical Engineering. While attending Michigan Tech, I was active in the Black Student Association (BSA). National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), Society of Intellectual Sisters (SIS), and ECHOES from Heaven Gospel Choir. I am currently employed with the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command (DEVCOM)/ Ground Vehicle Systems Center (GVSC) where I serve as the Engineering Branch Chief for the Combat Engineering and Material Handling Equipment (CE/MHE) Team. CE/MHE supports the development of militarized combat construction solutions. I am excited to be a part of the DEIS Alumni Board to help foster difficult conversations surrounding DEIS. These conversations can increase awareness in these areas within the MTU community and find solutions that will help increase sense of belonging for all throughout campus.

Jaylyn Boone

Jaylyn Boone ‘18

BS in Finance

I am a 2018 graduate of the College of Business with a BS in Finance. During my time at Michigan Tech, I came to learn the importance of being called, connected and cared for. As a Black male from Flint, MI, it was absolutely imperative for me to know that my purpose at MTU went far beyond me. I discovered this through serving my teammates, as a leader on the football team; classmates, as a representative on the Undergraduate Student Government and University, as the Spring 2018 Student Commencement Speaker. I am honored to continue that service as a member of the Advisory Board on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Sense of Belonging.

Monique Wells

Monique Wells ‘02

BS in Chemical Engineering

I graduated from Michigan Tech with an associate degree in chemical engineering technology and a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering. I was involved with MTU Dance Team, MTU Gospel Choir, National Society of Black Engineers (Chair), and I was Winter Carnival Queen. Afterwards, I went on to complete my master’s degree in career and technical education from the University of Toledo and am now a licensed educator in the state of Ohio. I currently work as the director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for DTE. MTU gave me the ability to take complicated things and apply them to create tangible solutions. I didn’t fully realize this until years later, but I am a problem solver because of my education at Michigan Tech, and I will always be grateful for that. I will forever be grateful to the MTU community for wrapping their arms around me and helping me make the most of my time on campus. I chose to serve on this board because no matter where life takes me, I always want to be in a position to help the University do what they do best—create some of the world’s best problem solvers at a time when the world really needs them.

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Terre Lane ‘82

BS in Mining Engineering

I graduated in 1982 with a BS in Mining Engineering. My grandparents on my mom’s side lived in Dodgeville and my grandparents on my father’s side lived in Portage Entry. My father, brother, two cousins, and a number of more distant relatives all attended MTU. I lived in White Pine during the late 60s and early 70s and, because of this and numerous local relatives, I was awarded the prestigious status of “honorary yooper” while at Tech. My experience and education at MTU gave me the skills to lead academic teams while in college and provide supervisory, management, and senior management roles after graduation. The education I received at Tech allowed me to be successful in my chosen field and raise two daughters by myself, even after gender transitioning in 2001. I currently participate with the MTU College of Engineering Advisory Board, Mining Department Advisory Board, Presidential Council of Alumnae, and am supporting several seniors with their Capstone Projects. I hope my decision to contribute to the DEIS Advisory Board increases awareness of diversity at Michigan Tech and in the local community.

Otha Thornton

Otha Thornton '01

MS in Communication

I received my bachelor’s degree in urban studies from Morehouse College and my master’s degree in rhetoric and technical communication from Michigan Tech. During my time on campus, I was involved with the ROTC programs, Michigan Tech Student Government, and community scouting. In 2009, I was also awarded an honorary doctorate degree from Michigan Tech. Retired from the United States Army as a Lieutenant Colonel, I am now the owner and Principal Consultant for the Thornton Consulting Group. I strive to be active in my community and around the nation, currently serving as the Chair of the Michigan Tech Pavlis Honors College External Advisory Board and an Advisory Group member for Georgia’s Partnership for Excellence in Education. I chose to serve on the MTU DEIS Alumni Advisory Board to help ensure that Michigan Tech would continue to strive to diversify its student body and ensure that every member of our MTU family is celebrated and has the opportunity to succeed.

Peipei Zhao

Peipei Zhao '09

MS in Applied Natural Resource Economics

I obtained my master’s degree in Applied Natural Resource Economics from the College of Business (COB) in 2009. During my time on campus, I was active as a DJ for WMTU and as a member of the SDC Lifeguard and Professional Rescuer Group. After graduation, I focused my career into bridging international business and cutting-edge technology, including my current role as Head of Global Strategy and Market Development in Robosense LiDAR, as well as various previous senior roles in Ericsson, Flex and Valeo. In 2020, my wife and I founded the Global Elite Bridge Scholarship, which is allocated to encourage COB students with a global or international focus. I decided to serve on the DEIS Alumni Advisory Board in hopes to increase the international students and new immigrants’ awareness of diversity in both the campus and local community.