Leaders of the Pack

ROTC cadets running down a dirt road.

Ten-hut! In a salute to Michigan Tech’s Arctic Warriors and Guardians of the North past, present and future, Reserve Officer Training Corps cadets share what makes our ROTC programs national standouts, including a long history forged in patriotism, Husky Pride — and snow.

The Arctic Warriors (U.S. Army ROTC 1st Arctic Battalion) and Guardians of the North (U.S. Air Force ROTC Detachment 400) share a building, several traditions and the common goal of graduating Huskies as commissioned officers. But the programs are as distinct as the branches of the military they serve, guiding cadets toward clearly articulated goals.

What remains the same for both ROTC branches is the mutual appreciation for their learning environment on the snowiest campus in the United States. Location has everything to do with why the programs are national standouts.

Learn more about the students, the traditions they uphold and their reverence for the oldest building on campus in our 2024 Michigan Tech Magazine.

ADVANCE Roundup: Countering Ableism with Accessibility

How can we make universities more accessible to people with disabilities?

The answer, according to disabled academics like Kelsey Byers and Anjali Forber-Pratt, starts with a change in attitudes. Despite the fact that 15-25% of the population globally experience disability, people with disabilities are underrepresented in STEM occupations and faculty positions. According to the National Science Foundation, they also earn less than their nondisabled counterparts. These discrepancies point to a culture of ableism: “beliefs or practices that devalue and discriminate against people with disabilities (whether physical conditions, mental-health issues, chronic illnesses or cognitive differences).”

Despite legal requirements that universities ensure the accessibility of spaces, events and courses, many students and faculty struggle to gain accommodations and/or are continually underestimated due to their disabilities. On the other hand, many nondisabled faculty and staff are unfamiliar with ways to include and support disabled students and colleagues.

To shift cultures of ableism, it is important to make sure that people with disabilities are represented and able to contribute to conversations and decision-making processes. In Nature and the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, disabled scholars and STEM experts share the following advice:

  • Ask people what they need and find ways to meet those needs. Disability encompasses a very wide spectrum of experience; making the university accessible can include many things ranging from ramps to extra time to process a question. When someone shares their needs or experiences, listen.
  • Avoid derogatory language and challenge stereotypes about disability. Many people with invisible disabilities may mask their disability due to stigma or fear of being deemed less capable; using disability-related terms as insults, jokes or metaphors contributes to an environment in which disabled colleagues and students aren’t comfortable sharing these experiences.
  • Include disability in conversations about diversity, equity, inclusion and sense of belonging. Invest in making academic job searches, labs, fieldwork, classes and events accessible. Accessibility measures often benefit multiple groups of people, so don’t wait to be asked before thinking about how to increase accessibility in workplaces, policies, and practices.
  • Recognize that experiences of ableism are also shaped by factors, such as race, gender and class, that affect whether someone is able to speak up about their needs, whether they have access to accommodations, and their general experiences of disability. For example, ADHD testing can cost more than a thousand dollars and may not be covered by insurance. Without insurance coverage, some people who have ADHD may not be able to afford a diagnosis — which is required for official accommodations. That means some people who need accommodations are unable to get them.

Today’s feature was shared with us by the Allies and Advocates Advisory Team. If you have an article you think we should feature, please email it to advance-mtu@mtu.edu and we will consider adding it to the ADVANCE Roundup.

The ADVANCE Roundup is brought to you by ADVANCE at Michigan Tech, an NSF-funded initiative dedicated to improving faculty career success, retention, diversity, equity and inclusion. Past articles are available on the ADVANCE Newsblog.

To learn more about our featured topic, our mission, programming efforts, and to check out our growing collection of resources, contact us or visit our website.

Spring 2024 WIA Breakfast Social

Please join Women in the Academy (WIA) for a breakfast celebrating the end of the spring semester. Stop by the MUB Alumni Lounge B anytime between 8 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. on April 23. There will be continental breakfast and coffee.

We will not have a formal program or agenda for this meeting, but there will be discussion tables and lots of opportunities for networking and conversation. Hope to see you there!

Submit your RSVP by April 12 to help us organize the event.

Family Fun Day at Marsin Nature Retreat

Looking for some fun activities to do with your kiddos while they're on spring break? Join the Keweenaw Land Trust on Tuesday (April 2) from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Marsin Nature Retreat for a fun family event organized by students in Michigan Tech's Nature Psychology course.

The event will include a variety of activities for children of all ages. Many of the activities will be outdoors, so please dress appropriately for the weather. Visit the Keweenaw Land Trust's Family Fun Day at Martin page for more details.

Event Details:

  • What: Family Fun Day at Marsin Nature Retreat
  • When: Tuesday, April 2, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
  • Where: Marsin Nature Retreat, 52864 Red Brick Road, Houghton, Michigan

MTU Researchers Complete Economic Impact Analysis of Menominee Harbor Deepening Project

Assistant Professors Laura Connolly and Jenny Apriesnig (both COB) and Research Engineer Travis White (GLRC) have completed an analysis of the economic impacts associated with the City of Menominee’s project to deepen the Menominee Harbor.

The economic impact analysis was part of a feasibility study conducted by the city in partnership with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The city contracted with the MTU team to complete the analysis, which was delivered to Menominee officials March 15.

In their final economic evaluation, Connolly, Apriesnig and White provided a brief overview of the Menominee Harbor and the local economic context, then estimated the economic impacts associated with the deepening project for both the Upper Peninsula and northeast Wisconsin, focusing on employment, output and tax revenue.

Across the scenarios considered, the trio found that the majority of the project’s economic impacts are concentrated in northeast Wisconsin, with more modest impacts in the U.P. They highlighted the potential economic gains in the local area if the Menominee Harbor is deepened and the “significant potential losses if the status quo is maintained.”

“The COB faculty have developed a reputation for economic impact studies,” said Dean Johnson, dean of the College of Business. “One of the COB’s goals is making a positive societal impact via our thought leadership.  In the last two years, our faculty research expertise has supported the regional economy across the mining, transportation, entrepreneurship and educational sectors.”

Prior to this project, COB faculty completed an economic impact analysis of the Eagle Mine in the U.P. Lundin Mining, the operator of the only primary nickel mine in the U.S., sought out the unique combination of COB faculty expertise in economics, mining, econometrics, data analytics and information systems to establish best practices in mining in relation to regional economic health.

Julia Burton Selected for Deans’ Teaching Showcase

David Flaspohler, dean of the College of Forest Resources and Environmental Science, has selected Associate Professor Julia Burton for this week’s Deans’ Teaching Showcase. Burton will be recognized at an end-of-term event with other showcase members and is a candidate for the CTL Instructional Award Series.

One enduring image of university teaching involves the professor standing securely behind the lectern, with students listening in orderly rows. However, active hands-on learning is increasingly replacing the unidirectional knowledge transfer model. Since coming to Michigan Tech three years ago, Burton has demonstrated innovative, student-centered teaching in the classroom, during field labs and in the field trips she has led to expose students to diverse applications of forest management.

Burton teaches silviculture at the popular fall Integrated Field Practicum, or "fall camp," near Alberta, Michigan. Silviculture is the science of sustainably growing trees to support the many values and functions that flow from forests, including wood, fiber, carbon sequestration and wildlife habitat. Burton’s classroom is often the forest itself, where she shares her deep knowledge regarding how forest health and other values can be enhanced by the careful application of management prescriptions.

Yet teaching outside the familiar structures of the classroom, whiteboard and PowerPoint can also present unique challenges. Simply communicating with a large class while standing in a windy forest can be difficult. Maintaining engagement can be harder when students are free to wander and distractions abound. The traditional classroom structure also reinforces the leadership role of the instructor, a role that can be more challenging to maintain during long outdoor teaching sessions.

Innovation in teaching requires flexibility and a willingness to explore new tools and ways of communicating. Burton has shown a determination to be the best instructor she can be by challenging herself to incorporate creative ways of allowing students to understand, engage and leave her class with information that will be critical to their professional success. Her demonstrations serve as a model for others teaching at Michigan Tech.

As an example, Burton's use of simple, low-tech ABCD cards for quick classroom polling brought many comments like this: “I loved how we used the ABCD cards to answer questions.” Or, “I really like the assignment where we went out to the natural red pine stand, took measurements and made a mini management plan. That really helped me put together the things we had learned in all our previous class periods.” Another student commented, “I like the lecture before the quizzes, it helps to better understand the reading materials from the night before.”

In fall 2023, Burton worked with a CFRES colleague to draft a successful proposal to purchase a new wireless microphone and headset system, which she used to improve communication for large group discussions during field trips to visit natural resource professionals in the region. This initiative solved long-term frustration for many students and instructors. Burton continues to look for ways to share her passion for forest management with her students. Her creativity and openness to change is an inspiration to other faculty in the College.

Winners Announced: Undergraduate Research & Scholarship Symposium

The Pavlis Honors College hosted the Undergraduate Research & Scholarship Symposium (URSS) last Friday (March 22). The event featured a panel discussion in which participants discussed how undergraduate research impacted their present work and two poster sessions that culminated with the announcement of the award winners.

Thanks to the Copper Shores Community Health Foundation and the DeVlieg Foundation for supporting the Undergraduate Research Internship Program as well as to the faculty, staff and graduate students who served as judges for the event.

The winners of the 2024 URSS are:

  • First Place Overall (tie):
    – Lindy Oujiri for her poster “Immunofluorescent Labeling for Zinc and Platinum in Old Rats”
    – Lance Waise for his poster “Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms Research Project”
  • Third Place Overall: Haley Marchese for her poster “Targeting Acid Sensing Ion Channel 3 (ASIC3) in Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy“
  • Audience Choice Award: Scott Severance for his poster “Development of Optical Tweezers to Measure and Predict the Behavior of Collagen Networks”
  • Excellence in Presentation:
    – Lindy Oujiri for her poster “Immunofluorescent Labeling for Zinc and Platinum in Old Rats”
    – Abraham Stone for his poster “A Botanical and Ecological Profile of Isle Royale’s Invasive Hawkweed Complex”
    – Lance Waise for his poster “Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms Research Project”
  • Excellence in Research Content:
    – Haley Marchese for her poster “Targeting Acid Sensing Ion Channel 3 (ASIC3) in Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy“
    – Lindy Oujiri for her poster “Immunofluorescent Labeling for Zinc and Platinum in Old Rats”
  • Excellence in Design and Format:
    – Liza Korolkov for her poster “Evaluation of aqueous two-phase systems for the purification of influenza B virus”
    – Mackenzie Russell for her poster “Ameliorated mine waste rock for enhanced weathering and as a soil amendment for bioenergy production”
    – Lance Waise for his poster “Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms Research Project”

Congratulations to all of the participants and award winners!

PhD Defense: Fredrica Markson Eduaful, HU

Ph.D. in Rhetoric, Theory and Culture candidate Fredrica Markson Eduaful will present a final doctoral defense on April 11 from 12-1 p.m. This will be a virtual-only defense. Attendance is invited via Zoom.

Markson Eduaful's dissertation is titled "Constructing childhood justice within postcolonial/decolonialized digital orthotopias: philanthropic websites as sites of possibility."

From the abstract:
International non-governmental agencies have played an intervening role in mitigating the socio-economic and political hardships faced by many people in postcolonial/decolonial regions in the Global South. Most of the interventions have targeted children in rural areas. Coupled with the dynamic communicative global landscape, philanthropic endeavors necessarily utilize the digital communication space via websites as a primary means of communicating with, advertising to, and soliciting from the public. This complex relation results in similarly complex representations of post/decolonial child identities in spaces where children as agents are limited.

To understand and actively mitigate avenues of possible violence against children as agents and children as subjects, this dissertation explores the digital spatial communication practices of five philanthropic organizations. Specifically, it investigates multifaceted communication strategies such organizations employ in constructing their websites. Knowing this leads us to understand how childhood identities emerge through technical communicative acts controlled by powerful entities that have neoliberal backing.

Using Foucault’s spatial theory of heterotopia, the dissertation finds that despite complying with international philanthropic digital laws on the depiction of children, children within the post/decolonial regions continue to be depicted as subjects of crisis and objects of deviation within the global rhetoric of childhood and child discourses. This depiction contributes to the continuous perpetuation of the narrative that children in the de/post-colonizing Global South are devoid of agency.

The findings and conclusions of the dissertation have implications for theory, technical communication practice, and activist work aimed at socially just practices that engage children. Theoretically, it is proposed that the heterotopia framework should be expanded into an orthotopic one. The orthotopic framework allows us to focus on the lived experiences of subjects rather than their assumed identities which may be violently transferred to the new digital spaces. In technical communication, there is the need for research to inform practice where the technical communicator shows an awareness of the complex results of digital space creation and habitation. While digital spaces can be liberating, the results show that for children who are in the margin, they can be confining. Overall, the proliferation and incessant opening of new digital spaces requires formulating just policies that protect the emergent childhood identities.

Talk: 'Nationalism in the Modern World' with David Kaplan

Join us for lunch and a talk by visiting geographic scientist Dave Kaplan on Monday (April 1) from noon to 1 p.m. in AOB 201.

Kaplan will discuss how nationalism is inextricably linked to geography and explore how different permutations of nationalism all feature territory prominently through examples around the world.

This visit is made possible by the American Association of Geographers and Gamma Theta Upsilon, and through collaboration with the Department of Geography and Earth Sciences at Northern Michigan University.

Women's Basketball Adds Transfer Janie Tormanen to 2024 Class

Michigan Tech head women's basketball coach Sam Clayton is pleased to announce the addition of Janie Tormanen to the Michigan Tech program.

Tormanen joins the Huskies after spending the last two seasons with NSIC affiliate Minnesota Crookston. She is graduating with a communications major and a writing minor from Minnesota Crookston and will pursue an MBA at Michigan Tech.

"We're really excited to add Janie to the Husky family. She's a physical and versatile post that has proven she can compete at the DII level," Clayton said. "I like her ability to score at the rim and defend multiple positions, but most importantly, she's a high academic student and a phenomenal teammate. She brings so much value both on and off the floor."

Read more at Michigan Tech Athletics.

New Funding

John Vucetich (CFRES/ESC) is the principal investigator (PI) on a project that has received a $30,000 research and development co-op joint agreement with the U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, Isle Royale National Park.

The project is titled "Wolf-Moose Study Cataloging Project - ISRO."

In Print

Chelsea Schelly (SS) is a co-author of a paper published in the journal Climate Action.

The paper is titled "The paradox of collective climate action in rural U.S.

Schelly's colleagues, Zach Rubin of Lander University and Joshua Lockyer of Arkansas Tech University, are also co-authors of the paper.

In the News

Jim Baker (VPR) was quoted by WLUC TV6 in a story about the Entrepreneurial Fellows Program — a collaboration between Tech and Northern Michigan University that partners college students with Upper Peninsula startups. The program gives students a chance to gain experience “in identifying customers, strategic partners and suppliers.”


Fast Company Magazine named Houghton’s Orbion Space Technology, co-founded by Brad King (ME-EM) and Jason Sommerville ’09 (Ph.D. Mechanical Engineering), to their 2024 Most Innovative Companies list. Orbion, part of the MTEC SmartZone, “specializes in small plasma thrusters that help satellites ease into precision orbits, make evasive maneuvers, and safely reenter and burn out in Earth's atmosphere at the end of their life cycle." Orbion was also featured in Michigan Tech’s 2022 Research Magazine.


Professor Emeritus Wayne Pennington (GMES) was quoted by Utah’s Salt Lake Tribune in a story covering an Ivins City Council session focused on potential problems with Dry Wash Reservoir, a proposed 90-acre water reuse reservoir for Ivins, which is located near the state’s southwestern border.


Joe Shawhan (ATH) was quoted by the Daily Mining Gazette and many Michigan Tech hockey student-athletes were mentioned in a story looking at the Huskies’ turnaround after a “very difficult” season start and previewing their NCAA regional semifinal game today (March 29) at 2 p.m. against Boston College. The game was also mentioned by the Boston Globe in a story previewing the tournament’s first round.


Phil Milbrath (ATH) was mentioned by the Mining Journal in a story previewing the 60th annual Escanaba Football Clinic, set for April 19. Milbrath will be the clinic’s first presenter.


In a story explaining battery technology, SciTechDaily mentioned Michigan Tech as a collaborator in the Argonne National Laboratory-led ReCell Center, a U.S. Department of Energy effort exploring how to recycle lithium-ion batteries faster.


The Iron Mountain Daily News mentioned Michigan Tech in a story detailing funding allocations for Michigan projects in the recently signed federal budget bill — including $250,000 to support MTU research in advanced materials and critical minerals. The story was picked up from a press release by Sen. Gary Peters.


MLive mentioned Michigan Tech in a weather story about the winter storm warning issued for the Houghton area Wednesday night into yesterday morning (March 27-28), which forecast high winds, whiteout conditions and a foot of lake effect snow.


The Daily Mining Gazette covered Michigan Tech women’s basketball guards Isabella Lenz and Katelyn Meister and men’s basketball guard Marcus Tomashek being named to their respective CSC Academic All-District Teams.


The Daily Mining Gazette mentioned Michigan Tech in a story covering action in the North American Hockey League’s Midwest Division. Former Husky Blake Hietala ’15 (B.S. Sports and Fitness Management/Marketing) was quoted in the story. Hietala is the head coach of the Wisconsin Windigo.


CS Colloquium with Garret Gaw '99

Garrett Gaw ’99 (B.S. Computer Science) will present a Department of Computer Science (CS) Colloquium lecture today (March 29) from 3-4 p.m. in Rekhi 214 and via Zoom online meeting. A social hour will follow in Rekhi 218. Refreshments will be served.

The title of Gaw’s talk is “A Wild Ride (so far).”

Join the Zoom meeting.

This talk is part of the Department of Computer Science alumni lecture series “Our Golden Years: Behind Us, Or Still Ahead?”

Read the talk abstract and speaker bio on the Computing News Blog.


Chemistry Seminar with Gregg Fields

Gregg Fields, professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Florida Atlantic University and the co-director of the Memorial Cancer Institute/Florida Atlantic University (MCIFAU) Cancer Center of Excellence will be presenting at this week's Chemistry Seminar.

The seminar will be held virtually at 3 p.m. today (March 29) on Zoom (use passcode 873025).

Fields’ presentation is titled "How Altered Type II Collagen Processing May Contribute to Chondrocyte Disfunction and Rheumatoid Arthritis Initiation.”

From the abstract:
Early reactivities of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), such as anti-citrullinated protein antibodies and rheumatoid factor, may be pathogenic, regulatory, or only a secondary phenomenon not related to the pathogenesis. Type II collagen is the major protein in joint cartilage and is also the target of most known autoantibodies that can induce RA. The present seminar focuses on autoantibody modulation of type II collagen processing by matrix metalloproteinase 13 (MMP-13), the main collagenase responsible for degradation of articular cartilage during RA. Also discussed is the role of citrulline posttranslational modification on MMP-13 processing of type II collagen.

Fields received his B.S. and Ph.D. degrees in chemistry from the University of Florida and Florida State University, respectively, and was a postdoctoral scholar with Professor Ken A. Dill at the University of California at San Francisco. Fields joined the faculty at the University of Minnesota in 1991 as an assistant professor. He was promoted to associate professor with tenure in 1995 and then achieved the rank of full professor of chemistry and biochemistry at Florida Atlantic University (FAU) in 1997.

In 2008, Fields became a Robert A. Welch Foundation Distinguished University Chair in Chemistry in the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio. He relocated to the Torrey Pines Institute for Molecular Studies in 2011, where he was a full member, vice president of research and distinguished chair of metalloproteinase and multiple sclerosis research.

Fields joined FAU in 2014 as a full professor and chair in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and the director of the Center for Molecular Biology and Biotechnology (CMBB). In 2019, he was appointed as executive director of the Institute for Human Health and Disease Intervention (I-HEALTH) at FAU. In 2021, he became the co-director of the MCIFAU Cancer Center of Excellence, and in 2023 was appointed interim vice president for research at FAU.

Fields is also a courtesy professor in the Department of Chemistry at the Herbert Wertheim UF Scripps Institute for Biomedical Innovation & Technology. He is an elected Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI) and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), and has authored or co-authored more than 300 scientific publications and presented more than 190 invited lectures.


Gretchen Hein's Retirement Celebration

After 26 years of dedication and involvement, Gretchen Hein (MMET), a cherished faculty member and advisor, is retiring.

During her tenure, Hein imparted her knowledge through a range of engineering courses within the Department of Manufacturing and Mechanical Engineering Technology. She also served as the advisor for Michigan Tech's section of the Society of Women Engineers. Under her mentorship and guidance, multiple members of the section have gone on to win national awards.

We invite you to celebrate Hein's remarkable achievements and retirement with us today (March 29) at the Rozsa Lobby from 5-7 p.m.

Today's Campus Events

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Simple Machines: Poetry, Letterpress, and the Art of the Little Magazine Presented by Michigan Tech Art

Simple Machines is a two-edition, international, letterpress poetry magazine founded and edited by Michigan Tech’s M. Bartley Seigel, funded through a Research Excellence...


PhD Defense: Anne Inger Mortvedt



Friends of the Library Book Sale

The main sale will be FRIDAY, March 29, 2024 from 10 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., with the Member-only Pre-Sale the evening before, March 28, 2023 from 5 to 7 p.m. All Michigan Tech...


Graduating and Still Looking? Walk In for Coffee and a Chat

Are you graduating soon and need help finding a job? Come in for a coffee and chat with one of our career advisors. We can help tailor your search, review your resume, bounce...


NCAA Division I Tournament Pregame Social in Providence, RI

Join MTU alumni and friends for a pregame social at Blake's Tavern on Friday, March 29, from 11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m., to gather in advance of cheering on the Huskies during the...


Cookies & Coloring

De-stress with an afternoon of adult coloring and learn more about what the Center for Student Mental Health and Well-being offers! Located in the basement of CDI and hosted...


CS Colloquium Lecture: Garrett Gaw '99

Garrett Gaw ’99 BS in Computer Science, will present a Department of Computer Science Colloquium lecture on Friday, March 29, 2024, from 3-4 p.m. in Rekhi 214 and via Zoom...


Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR): A Translational Science Perspective on Valve Degeneration and Durability

Biomedical Engineering Research Seminar Dr. Stephanie Sellers University of British Columbia Abstract Valvular heart disease is associated with shortened lifespan and...


Gretchen Hein's Retirement Celebration

After 26 years of dedication and involvement, Gretchen Hein (MMET), a cherished faculty member and advisor, is retiring. During her tenure, Hein imparted her knowledge...


Internship Panel - Hosted by ASME

Come get your questions answered before your summer internships. At the event enjoy: - Jimmy John's Catering - Raffle Prizes - Silent Auction from Local Businesses ...


Painting With a Twist

Students will participate in a guided painting lesson taught by ilo. It will be a fun evening of painting, snacks, and beverages. Students must be 21 or older to attend, ID's...