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Summer School: Michigan Tech Professors Travel and Teach in India

Claudio and Lynn Mazzoleni (front) with NIT students in Calicut, India.

Michigan Technological University professors Lynn and Claudio Mazzoleni travel and teach in Calicut, India. 

Atmospheric science experts Lynn Mazzoleni, associate professor of chemistry, and Claudio Mazzoleni, associate professor of physics, traveled more than 8,000 miles from Houghton to the National Institute of Technology Calicut (NIT) in the Southern Indian state of Kerala. Invited by Ravi Varma, associate professor of physics at NIT, and sponsored by the Global Initiative for Academic Networks (GIAN), their three-week trip was punctuated by local cultural experiences, sandwiched between giving several academic lectures. 

Lynn and Claudio participated in a six-day GIAN-sponsored workshop, “Atmospheric Aerosol: Optical Properties, Composition, and Effects on Climate,” for students and junior faculty from NIT and elsewhere. The GIAN program is funded by the Indian government to foster high-quality international experiences and to elevate India’s reputation in STEM. One way to achieve the mission is by inviting internationally renowned scientists like the Mazzolenis to share their expertise in atmospheric aerosols.

Watch GIAN2018 VideoSummary video
Preview image for GIAN2018 VideoSummary video

Watch a video summary of the Global Initiative for Academic Networks workshop that the Mazzolenis co-facilitated.

The Mazzolenis and Varma taught the intensive course, which focused on the classification, distribution, chemical compositions, forms of measurement and impacts of atmospheric aerosol.

After the course the three put on a science symposium at a local high school. They also  presented at the Atmospheric Pollution: Science, Technology, Innovation, and Compliance International Symposium and Lecture Series Aug. 7-11 in Calicut—Michigan Tech was a co-sponsor. But the Mazzolenis’ trip wasn’t all work. A safari and a traditional dance performance were some of the many highlights of their travels.

The trip helped to fuel NIT and high school students' interest in Michigan Tech. It also strengthened relations between Michigan Tech and NIT. The two schools established their bond when their Kerala host, Varma, spent the fall 2016 semester at Michigan Tech in the department of physics while on sabbatical. Starting this fall, one of Varma’s former students from NIT Calicut is pursuing her PhD in atmospheric sciences at Michigan Tech. Claudio is her advisor.

The Mazzolenis were back in Houghton before Kerala experienced historic and devastating flooding Aug. 16. They said their contacts at NIT are fine as is the university itself—a relief given the news reports coming out of the area. But weather won’t stand in Lynn’s way to visit again. “It was a really great experience professionally and personally. I’d go back in a heartbeat.”

Michigan Technological University is a public research university founded in 1885 in Houghton, Michigan, and is home to more than 7,000 students from 55 countries around the world. Consistently ranked among the best universities in the country for return on investment, Michigan’s flagship technological university offers more than 120 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in science and technology, engineering, computing, forestry, business and economics, health professions, humanities, mathematics, social sciences, and the arts. The rural campus is situated just miles from Lake Superior in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, offering year-round opportunities for outdoor adventure.