Faculty Mentors

A white woman faculty member talks to a black woman student who is working with test tubes and vials which are on a table next to a microscope.

Mentoring the Next Generation

Faculty Mentors are the cornerstone of the Michigan Tech McNair Program. Their dedication to the success of each Scholar is what makes McNair special. The commitment is significant, but so are the rewards. 

Faculty mentors find satisfaction in working with and receiving research assistance from exceptional undergraduates, and in preparing a new generation of scholars and researchers in their chosen disciplines. McNair Faculty Mentors at Michigan Tech are invested in Scholars' confidence, competence, and credibility, as well as:

  • Demonstrate a genuine interest in their McNair Scholars future and belief in the students' abilities and potential to succeed in graduate school
  • Empower and support their McNair Scholars in their research and academic endeavors
  • Expose their McNair Scholars to opportunities that may help strengthen their graduate school application portfolio

Faculty mentors are chosen by Scholars based on their research interests. This typically occurs during the spring of their first year in the program. We encourage our Scholars to research faculty, communicate, and confirm willingness to mentor on their own, similar to the major professor establishment process in graduate school.

Future Mentors

Faculty mentors are critical to the success of Michigan Tech's McNair Program. Mentors support McNair Scholars throughout their preparation for doctoral study. Each Scholar is paired with a faculty mentor who will guide the student along their journey preparing for graduate school.


  • Work with Scholars on an original research project.
  • Introduce Scholars to the nature and process of research.
  • Provide advice on developing a research proposal, execution plan and writing Scholarly articles for publication.
  • Oversee preparation of oral presentations on the research for professional symposia.
  • Supervise capstone senior research experience for Scholars.


  • Maintain regular communication with Scholars.
  • Document Scholar progress in developing research skills, study skills, and other critical competencies.
  • Attend social, cultural, and scientific events with Scholars.

Summer 2024 Faculty Mentors

User experience; Human factors; Human-computer Interactions; Mental models; Information representation; Rural digital literacy; Education, engagement, and retention; Digital anthropology 
Mine Planning and Design; Geostatistics and Mineral Resource Estimation; Systems Engineering; Reliability and Safety Engineering; Blasting and Fragmentation
Organic Synthesis; Nucleic Acid and Peptide Chemistry; Organometallic Chemistry; Mechanochemistry; Epigenetics and Chemical Biology; Antisense Drug
Mobile App Design and Usability; Software Development and Processes; Computer Science Education
Atmospheric Physics; Cloud Physics; Nucleation; Turbulence; Digital Holography
Kay Tislar
Multimedia and e-learning; Software interface design and usability; Software requirements and other documentation; Technical communications 
Integrated water resources planning; Hydrologic modeling and forecasting; Flood risk management; Climate change mitigation and adaptation planning; Food-Energy-Water Nexus; Systems optimization under uncertainty; Sustainable development engineering

Previous Faculty Mentors

Sustainable Manufacturing; Waste Characterization and Recycling; Nano Materials; Real-time Infrared Spectroscopy
Impacts of climate change on electric power systems; Energy transitions in cold climates; Solar photovoltaic design for cold climates; Heat pump performance; Thermal power plant modeling
Nanomaterials; Stem cell and tissue engineering; Nano-biomaterials; Mechanical characterization of advanced materials; Sensors and actuators in medical device; Finite element analysis (FEA)
Coupled human and environmental systems; Fishery economics and management; Computable General Equilibrium Modeling; Regional economic modeling
Labor Economics; Economics of Gender; Public Policy; Applied Microeconomics 
Sustainable water and energy systems; Life-cycle assessment; Bioproducts and bioenergy; Sustainable materials and manufacturing; Aquaponics and hydroponics; Ecosystem services
Cardiovascular Biomechanics; Cardiovascular Biofluids; Fluid Mechanics; Medical Devices; Patient-Specific Modeling
Bioseparations; Virus removal and detection; Biosensors
Technology Adoption; Online Learning; Service Learning; First-year Engineering; Sustainability
Ecohydrology and forest hydrology; Hydrological and biogeochemical processes in snowmelt-dominated watersheds; Black ash wetland ecosystem processes
Remote sensing; Change detection; Natural disaster mapping; Invasive species mapping; Landcover mapping; Vegetation property extraction with remote sensing techniques 
Vehicular Communications: inter-vehicle (VANETs, V2X) and intra-vehicle (CAN, Automotive Ethernet, LIN, FlexRay, MOST); Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS); Communication Networks and Systems; Wireless Communications; Network Security; Signal Processing
Memory and Memorialization; Heritage Institutions; Cultural Landscape; Welsh Studies; Historical Geography ; Cultural Geographies
The role of innate immunity in the pathological microenvironment of autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPDK); The potential therapeutic effects of manipulating innate immunity; Determining the function of polycystin-1 encoded by the PKD1 gene