ExSEL Program

ExSEL Program

No matter your interests or what you are studying, the Excelling the Student Experience of Learning (ExSEL) Program can be a great resource in helping you achieve your academic goals. ExSEL offers academic support through services including:

ExSEL is a comprehensive partnership between the Waino Wahtera Center for Student Success and all of Michigan Tech’s schools and colleges. The program is aimed at increasing student success and retention.

For more information, contact exsel@mtu.edu.

ExSEL Mentor Spotlight

Matt Alexander

Matt Alexander

Hometown: Detroit, MI
Year: Second
Major: Mechanical Engineering
ExSEL Member: 1st Year
ExSEL Mentor: 1st Year this fall 2016
On Campus Involvement: National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), ExSEL and ExSEL Mentor
Why I chose to enroll in ExSEL: I love progressing to become a better overall person, so when I found out about ExSEL and all of the ways the program was designed to help my progress as a college student, I was all for it.
Benefits I received from ExSEL: I learned essential studying skills. ExSEL provided a great foundation for beginning college and it allowed me to view my future years of college with a greater perspective. I was able to build a personal relationship with Jeanne (The ExSEL Coordinator), who helped me tremendously throughout my first year. I received tips to approaching companies at Career Fair. I became a part of a family that cares for one another and looks to help each other succeed in all we choose to do.

Gage Heeringa

Gage Heeringa

Hometown: Kalamazoo, MI
Year: Senior
Major: Computer Science
ExSEL Mentor: 3 years
On Campus Involvement: Center for Diversity and Inclusion, Keweenaw Pride, Canterbury House and ExSEL Mentor
Why I chose to enroll in ExSEL: I want to help first year Computer Science students discover the pleasure of studying computer science, a major unlike any other.  I struggled at first too, and I want other students to build the confidence to accomplish things they never saw themselves doing.
Benefits I received from ExSEL: Helping first-year students navigate through the challenges of a new life is rewarding as you see them develop throughout your relationship with them.  After my first year mentoring, one of my mentees wrote this comment:  "I was not only fortunate but blessed to have Gage as my mentor." That made me decide to continue mentoring.

Isaac Hermann

Isaac Hermann

Hometown: Marquette, MI
Year: Junior
Major: Computer Network and System Administration
ExSEL Member: 2 Years
ExSEL Mentor: 2 Years
On Campus Involvement: St. Albert the Great's University Catholic Church, Peer Assistant for Success Courses and ExSEL Mentor
Why I chose to enroll in ExSEL: I was concerned I would have a difficult time adjusting to campus life and I felt that being enrolled in a Success course and having a mentor would benefit me as a student.
Benefits I received from ExSEL:  Being in ExSEL has been extremely helpful.  Having a mentor my first semester was beneficial.  He let me know that I wasn't the only student who was struggling with the academic adjustment from high school to college.  UN1000 (required for ExSEL) taught me good study habits and organizational skills which helped me balance school work with extra-curriculars.

Gina Roose

Gina Roose

Hometown: Alpena, MI
Year: Junior
Major: Accounting anf Finance
ExSEL Mentor: 2 years
On Campus Involvement: Circle K International, Quiz Bowl, Kappa Sigma Iota Accounting Club, Residence Life, St. Albert the Great Campus Ministry and ExSEL Mentor.
Why I chose to mentor: I wanted to be able to share the knowledge I gained from my experiences at Michigan Tech and to help other students learn to love Michigan Tech as much as I do.
Benefits I received from ExSEL mentoring: I learned so much more about our campus, the resources available here, and different learning styles.  I also made some great new friends, both with co-workers and with my mentees.

Kristina Rushlau

Kristina Rushlau

Hometown: Kalamazoo, MI
Year: Senior
Major: Environmental Engineering
ExSEL Member: 2 years
ExSEL Mentor: 4 years
Peer Assistant: 1 year
On Campus Involvement:  Mind Trekkers, Academic Success Coach, Society for Environmental Engineers, and ExSEL Mentor.
Why I chose to enroll in ExSEL: Joining ExSEL was required for one of my scholarships and I am really glad it was!
Benefits I received from ExSEL: ExSEL was a great experience my freshman year!  It introduced me to new people and taught me techniques to be successful in college.  After the first year, the program also offered me the chance to work in the Wahtera Center for Student Success as an ExSEL Mentor, Academic Success Coach and Peer Assistant helping others to succeed in college.

Rebecca Spencer

Rebecca Spencer

Hometown: Detroit, MI
Year: Junior
Major: Mechanical Engineering
ExSEL Member: 2 Years
ExSEL Mentor: 2 Years
On Campus Involvement: National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), Society of Intellectual Sisters (SIS), Orientation Team LEader (OTL), ExSEL and ExSEL Mentor
Why I chose to enroll in ExSEL: I was the first person in my immediate family to attend a 4-year college.  I didn't know what to expect from a university, let alone one 10 hours away from home and based on engineering and I thought ExSEL would help me with the transition.  It did!
Benefits I received from ExSEL:  Knowing what to expect from my years as I pursue a degree in Mechanical Engineering, gaining a lifelong friendship with my mentor and exploring the Upper Peninsula away from the college campus.

Caroline Spezia

Caroline Spezia

Hometown: Wyckoff, NJ
Year: Senior
Major: Chemical Engineering
ExSEL Member: 2 Years
ExSEL Mentor: 2 Years
Peer Assistant: 2 Years
On Campus Involvement
Cheerleading, St. Albert the Great Campus Involvement and Lector Ministry Leader, American Institute of Chemical Engineering (AICHE), Rotaract, Peer Assistant for Success Courses, and ExSEL Mentor. Why I chose to enroll in ExSEL: I chose to enroll in ExSEL to help the transition from high school to college.  I wanted to make sure to keep up on my studies and learn more about myself.  I also did this to get to know more people on campus. Coming to MTU I did not know a single person attending the same college and initially was overwhelmed by this thought.  After reading what the ExSEL program offered, I knew it would benefit me in more than just one way. It is amazing how much every first-year student changes from walking on to campus for orientation week to going home for Christmas break.
Benefits I received from ExSEL:  One of the main benefits I received from ExSEL was creating networking connections throughout campus as well as developing friendships that still remain three years later. Through the UN1000 class I got the chance to discover more about who I am personally. Knowing about my personality led me to find an efficient studying method, and the class even made me realize I cannot study the same way for every class. Realizing this, it changed the way I received information, allowing me to maximize efficiency for study and homework time and gave me more balance to fit in “fun time” like camping or hiking. If I wouldn't have been in the program, it would have taken me a lot longer to realize this and it might have been too late in the semester to recover or I may have been too burned out from inefficient studying.

Neffertia Tyner

Neffertia Tyner

Hometown: Detroit, MI
Year: Senior
Major: Psychology with a Diversity Studies Minor
ExSEL Mentor: 2 Years
On Campus Involvement: Women’s Programming Committee (President), Orientation Team Leader (OTL), and ExSEL Mentor.
Why I chose to mentor:  I decided to become a mentor because I really enjoy working with first-year students. Sometimes it's hard and somewhat uncomfortable to throw yourself into a new experience. I wanted to help students immerse themselves in their new college life without feeling overwhelmed for their first few months at Tech and give them as much advice as I could offer.
Benefits I received from ExSEL mentoring:  I got to know first-year students as well as other mentors.  In ExSEL you meet people outside your major who have had experiences different from yours. I got to meet people from different backgrounds, learn about different perspectives, and share my own personal and academic experiences with my mentee and other mentors.


Jesse Linebarger

MTU Graduate - Jesse Linebarger

Hometown: Detroit, MI
Current home:  Mahattan, Kansas
Graduated:  Fall 2014
Major: Management and Marketing
ExSEL Member: 2 Years
ExSEL Mentor: 4 Years
Peer Assistant:  3 Years
On-Campus Involvement at MTU: Society of African American Men, Habitat for Humanity, Resident Assistant in Wadsworth Hall, Basketball Club, Intramural Supervisor, Wahtera Center Peer Assistant and Academic Success Coach, Beta Gamma Sigma Honor Society of Business Excellence, ExSEL, and ExSEL Mentor.
Why I chose to enroll in ExSEL: I wanted to give myself the best opportunity to succeed starting my college career.  The presentation by Susan Liebau (Director of the Wahtera Center for Student Success) during O-Week was the deal breaker for me.  I enrolled!
Benefits I received from ExSEL: ExSEL was a great resource during my college career, and I still use the skills and lessons learned to this day.  Through ExSEL I received an internship after my first year, and I also continuously improved my study skills, time management, communication, and academic success.  Simply put, ExSEL helped to guide me down the right path both academically and socially.
What I’m doing now:  After graduation, I began working with Parker Hannifin as an Operations Management Associate.  For 18 months I rotated through facilities in Wisconsin, Kansas, and Iowa.  I am now transitioning into a Value Stream Team Leader role, in which I supervise associates and complete projects focused in safety, operations, quality, and lean.


Collin Doerr-Newton

MTU Graduate -  Collin Doerr-Newton

Hometown: Lansing, MI
Current home:  New York, New York
Graduated:  Spring 2014
Major: Sound Design
ExSEL Member: 2 Years
ExSEL Mentor: 4 Years
Peer Assistant:  3 Years
On-Campus Involvement at MTU: E-Board member of Society of African American Men, On-Air DJ and Productions Supervisor for WMTU, Student Supervisor/Employee at the Center for Diversity and Inclusion, Resident Assistant in East Wads, Wahtera Center Peer Assistant and Academic Success Coach, ExSEL, ExSEL Mentor, and selected as the student commencement speaker for Spring 2014.
Why I chose to enroll in ExSEL: I chose to enroll in ExSEL because I wasn’t entirely confident in my ability to be successful in college, and looking at this program made me feel like I would get a much needed step ahead. I also met Darius Watt at Preview Day when I was a senior in high school and he made ExSEL seem pretty cool.
Benefits I received from ExSEL: What I received from ExSEL was a sort of inside scoop on college success, from ways to get involved, to the many resources on campus that I wouldn’t have known about otherwise. One very important thing that ExSEL provides is a structured way to develop the skills that you need to be successful in school, such as time management, study habits, and utilizing campus resources. These are things that many students have to figure out as they go, but ExSEL gives you a chance to learn about these things and practice them in a class context.  I also had the opportunity to make powerful campus connections with folks I still talk to today.
What I’m doing now: I’m currently finishing up a Masters of Music in Music Technology at New York University, and I’m also starting a Master of Arts in Teaching of Social Studies at Teachers College, Columbia University. My research involves the use of music technologies in secondary social studies classrooms. I’ve also been traveling a lot, seeing the world.