April 3, 2017
Goldwater Foundation Recognizes Three CMU Students
The Barry Goldwater Scholarship Program was created to encourage outstanding undergraduate students to pursue research careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields. The Goldwater Foundation reported that 1286 students from 470 institutions were nominated this year to compete for Goldwater Scholarships. The foundation named 240 new Goldwater Scholars and they selected 307 students for Honorable Mention recognition.
Three CMU students were among those selected for recognition this year by the Goldwater Foundation for their outstanding academic and research achievements.
Jacob Davison Kyle Brumm Noah Danielson
Research Mentor - Dr. G. Perdikakis Research Mentor - Dr. K. Pangle Research Mentor - Dr. M. Chai
Jacob Davison, a Galesburg, senior, majoring in Physics with minors in both mathematics and computer science, was selected by the foundation to receive a 2017 Goldwater Scholarship.
Both Kyle Brumm, a Nashville, junior, Honors student majoring in Biology and minoring in Geographic Information Science, and Noah Danielson, a Midland, junior, Honors student majoring in Biochemistry and minoring in Music, have been selected for recognition by the foundation as Goldwater Honorable Mentions.
Congratulations to these outstanding students and their research mentors!
March 27, 2017
CMU Student Receives Fulbright English Teaching Assistant Grant
Amanda Jackson: Fulbright ETA Recipient - Mexico
Amanda Jackson, a senior from Oak Harbor, WA, majoring in Spanish Education and minoring in English as a Second Language, has been offered a prestigious Fulbright English Teaching Assistant Grant to Mexico.
The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. The primary source of funding for the Fulbright Program is an annual appropriation made by the U.S. Congress to the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Participating governments and host institutions, corporations and foundations in foreign countries and in the United States also provide direct and indirect support. Recipients of Fulbright grants are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields. The Program operates in over 160 countries worldwide.
Fulbright recipients are among over 50,000 individuals participating in U.S. Department of State exchange programs each year. The Fulbright U.S. Student Program is administered by the Institute of International Education.
February 25, 2017
CMU Nominates Three Students to Compete for Goldwater Scholarships
The Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program was established by Congress in 1986 to honor Senator Barry Goldwater, who served for 56 years as a soldier and U.S. senator. Scholarships are awarded each year to approximately 300 college sophomores and juniors committed to pursuing research careers in mathematics, engineering, or the natural sciences.
Kyle Brumm: Biology
Kyle Brumm, a Nashville, MI junior Honors student majoring in Biology, minoring in Geographic Information Science, has been nominated by CMU to compete for a 2017 Goldwater Scholarship.
During his freshman year, Brumm began working in an Aquatic Ecology research lab, under the guidance of Dr. K. Pangle, where he prepared Rainbow Trout otolith samples for ICP-MS chemical analysis. Initially a volunteer, he soon started an independent research project working to evaluate the effect of land use on the diet composition of juvenile Rainbow Trout. Brumm's research experiences have provided opportunities for him to master aquatic sampling techniques, practice various data collection methods, and explore data analytic methods which will prepare him for graduate study, and eventually a career as a research scientist. Brumm has presented his research findings at various conferences, notably, the Midwest Fish and Wildlife Conference, in Grand Rapids, MI, and the Capitol Scholars Research Exhibition, in Lansing, MI.
Brumm has also been involved in numerous extracurricular and pre-professional activities; he is the Treasurer of the CMU Triathlon Club, the Vice President of CMU's Student Chapter of Ducks Unlimited, a member of the Student Chapter of the Wildlife Society, and he has served as a Wildlife Assistant with the Department of Natural Resources, among other activities.
After completing his bachelor's degree, Brumm plans to earn a Ph.D. in Fisheries and Wildlife Ecology, focusing on researching and evaluating how fish and wildlife populations respond and adapt to environmental disturbances and anthropogenic stressors.
Noah Danielson: Biochemistry
Noah Danielson, a Midland, MI, junior, Honors student majoring in Biochemistry and minoring in Music, has been nominated by CMU to compete for a Goldwater Scholarship.
Under the guidance of Dr. M. Chai, Danielson's first research experience involved improving nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy using HT-MAXY pseudo-2D spectra to increase the speed of data collection and improve image resolution to determine the association among proton and carbon peaks more clearly. He presented this research at the 2016 American Chemical Society Fall Scientific Meeting. Danielson has also conducted dynamic diffusion NMR experiments with Dr. Chai to examine the effect of pH on the diffusion constant of the PEI polymer and determine the debranching mechanism of the polymer. The results may have practical implications for the use of the PEI polymer as a gene transfection agent, increasing the efficacy of genetic manipulation as compared to current transfection methods. This will undoubtedly advance research seeking to treat cancer and viral infections at a genetic level. Building upon skills gained from his undergraduate research experience, Danielson hopes to further investigate genetic engineering during his doctoral training.
Danielson is actively involved in several extracurricular activities. He is an American Chemical Society Representative for the CMU Student Government Association, the Public Relations Manager for the CMU Chamber Singers, a member of the CMU Chippewa Marching Band.
After completing his bachelor's degree, Danielson plans to earn a Ph.D. in Biochemistry to pursue a career in academic research in the field of genetic engineering.
Jacob Davison: Physics
Jacob Davison, a Galesburg, MI senior, majoring in Physics with minors in both mathematics and computer science, has been nominated by CMU to compete for a Goldwater Scholarship.
Davison is currently involved in collaborative research with colleagues from Central Michigan University, the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory (NSCL) at Michigan State University, and North Carolina State University. The goal of this collaboration is to study the role of the neutrino-p process of nucleosynthesis within core-collapse supernovae by experimentally measuring the rates of neutron-induced charged particle reactions involving nickel (56-Ni) and germanium (64-Ge). The study of these reactions, and the neutrin-p process, will provide important new knowledge pertaining to the production, consequent abundance, and distribution of elements within the universe.
Currently, Davison works as a Research Assistant in the CMU Physics Department, under the guidance of Dr. G. Perdikakis, where he is applying the skills he gained from an internship experience at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in Los Alamos, NM, to aid in an experiment to measure 56-Co(p,n)56-Ni in inverse kinematics. The reaction is important to the neutrino-p process and will offer much insight into the evolution of nucleosynthesis throughout the process. This experiment will be performed at the NSCL facilities and is planned for late 2017.
Davison plans to pursue a Ph.D. in nuclear astrophysics and ultimately a career in STEM research focusing on the study of the evolution of elements in the universe
February 13, 2017
CMU Student Nominated to Compete for a Truman Scholarship
Created by Congress in 1975, the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation's purpose is to recognize college juniors with exceptional leadership potential who are committed to careers in public service. The scholarship provides students with financial support, leadership training, and a network of like-minded individuals committed to the greater good.
Evan Wittenbach: Political Science, Law & Economics
Evan Wittenbach, a junior Honors student from Rockford, Michigan, majoring in Political Science with a Public Administration Concentration and Law & Economics, has been nominated to compete for a 2017 Truman Scholarship.
Wittenbach is involved in numerous extracurricular and pre-professional opportunities that are preparing him to pursue a career in public service. He is actively involved in CMU's Student Government Association and has held multiple House and Senate positons. Currently, Wittenbach is a Senator for the College of Humanities and Social & Behavioral Sciences.
The 2016 presidential election motivated Wittenbach to become actively involved in the political process. Observing growing interest on campus, he co-founded Students for Bernie Sanders at CMU. Wittenbach personally organized and coordinated phone banking operations nearly every week from November 2015 to April 2016, making calls to every state in the presidential primary season. Wittenbach and a few community members also created a sister organization, Mid-Michigan for Bernie Sanders. Working together, the two groups organized a canvassing operation in Mt. Pleasant, knocking on over 2200 doors in the four days before the Michigan primary.
Wittenbach continues to be involved in the community as the Lead Campus Organizer for Central Michigan Action (CMA). CMA is a progressive organizing group dedicated to building student power through community development, direct actions, and issues campaigns focused on student needs.
Wittenbach's scholarly interests are focused on cities, and how policy decisions at the local level affect larger issues such as climate change and income inequality. He hopes to combat said issues through effective city planning and community development as he pursues a career in public service. Currently, Wittenbach is gaining practical experience as a General Administrative Support Intern in the Office of Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero. He is responsible for, among other things, handling constituent relations, writing proclamations, and coordinating special events.
Upon graduation from CMU, Wittenbach plans to pursue a Master of Public Administration and a Master of Urban and Regional Planning. After graduate school, he would like to work as an urban planner and hold elected office.
January 18, 2017
Two Students Named Semi-Finalists for Fulbright U.S. Student Program Grants
2017-2018 Fublright U.S. Student nominees are:
Celeste Hay: Study Grant Nominee - France
Celeste Hay, a senior Honors student from Lansing, Michigan double majoring apparel merchandising and design and French, has been nominated to compete for a Fulbright Study Grant to the Université Lyon deux in France. From an early age, Hay relied on both French language and fashion as tools to interpret the world around her, to expand her worldview, and to enable her to express her global perspective in a variety of ways.
At Central Michigan University, Hay's research on the quality of denim across various brands has been exhibited internationally through the American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists, and received the Provost's Award for Undergraduate Research. Additionally, Hay has interned at Lawrence Hunt and Kohl's as a design intern, at CMU First Impressions as the store director.
Hay's interest in language began in an 8th grade French class and this interest deepened when she spent the spring semester of 2015 studying French in Angers, France, at Université Catholique de l'Ouest. "Reflecting back on that period, my French language skills helped me develop a second home," Hay said. "This experience helped me understand and incorporate French culture into my personal life, in addition to helping me better appreciate American culture."
Hay continues to explore the relationships between language, culture, and fashion through her Honors Capstone Project. Some of Hay's other involvements include serving as an English and French tutor, and as president of both CMU's American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists and Le Cercle Francais.
As a Fulbright U.S. Student, Hay hopes to study and conduct research at Université Lyon deux, and to complete an M.A. in fashion with an emphasis on research of fashion and communication. The city of Lyon is known for its silk production and boasts a world-class textile museum that students can use as supplementary resource to their course work. The experience would ultimately further her goal of attaining a Ph.D. and becoming a researcher and professor.
"I know that my experiences in France will provide inspiration for my future research and doctoral studies," Hay said. "Beyond this, I am sure that the process of conducting research in France, collaborating with professors, and building relationships with my peers will influence my developing worldview."
Amanda Jackson: English Teaching Assistant Grant Nominee - Mexico
Amanda Jackson, a senior from Oak Harbor, WA, majoring in Spanish Education and minoring in English as a Second Language, has been nominated to compete for a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant grant to Mexico. Jackson's interest in Mexican culture began after a few brief vacations with family but a yearlong undergraduate teaching internship in 2014 convinced her that returning to Mexico as a Fulbright recipient could "…provide [her] with the leadership skills to create an educational community in [her] future schools in the U.S."
During her internship in Mexico, her students' curiosity inspired Jackson to create presentations about the United States. "I gave students a closer look at specific cities, national parks, foods, holidays and historical events." During her second semester in Mexico, Jackson planned and delivered lessons in Spanish on Geography and Natural Sciences. Beyond the valuable teaching experience, Jackson realized other benefits resulting from the internship, "By increasing my awareness of Mexican culture, I am better prepared to contextualize the country's diversity to [my] future American students."
Jackson has made the most of academic opportunities at CMU, completing coursework in English as a Second Language and Teaching English as a Second Language, and attending professional meetings like the MITESOL Conference in East Lansing, Michigan and the International TESOL Conference in Baltimore, Maryland. She has also taken on several opportunities to serve in the classroom, as both a Spanish tutor and a student instructor at a local community college.
Eventually Jackson would like to teach Spanish as a heritage language to students whose family members are native speakers. Jackson shared that, "Heritage language learners develop their linguistic abilities in order to preserve their ancestral identity and unify with their community." In order to teach Spanish as a heritage language, Jackson needs to both further her Spanish language proficiency and increase her knowledge of Hispanic culture. She hopes to acquire this knowledge through cultural immersion in Mexico. Jackson says, "The Fulbright English Teaching Assistant grant will provide me with the teaching experience and linguistic skills that will strengthen my abilities to increase cultural and language appreciation among my future students."
Brandy Svensson: Study Grant Nominee - Netherlands
Brandy Svensson, a senior, majoring in integrated leadership studies and minoring in public service administration, plans to pursue a master's degree, and then Juris Doctorate in hopes of becoming an international security analyst. If awarded a Fulbright, she will complete a Master's degree of International Relations in Historical Perspective at University of Utrecht, Netherlands. Svensson says "I have a strong interest in learning about societies other than my own and to do so, I feel it is vital to be immersed in the language, culture, and every day experiences which work to increase cultural competency."
During the summer of 2016, Svensson spent one month in Copenhagen, Denmark where she participated in a study of Terrorism and Counter-terrorism from a European perspective. This experience enabled her to meet with security experts, survivors, and officials working in the field. While abroad, she also lived for two weeks in The Hague – the international city of peace and justice and the site of the International Court of Justice – while studying international and human rights law at the University of Utrecht. Svensson said that these experiences "solidified my commitment to continuing my studies in a country known for its unique role in European Justice."
In addition to the benefits of studying at the University of Utrecht, the Netherlands host institutions such as the International Center for Counter-Terrorism, the Asser Institute, and the Institute of Security and Global Affairs offer seminars and forums focused on topics of international security and terrorism. Svensson says, "Having access to these specialized centers will assist me in learning from European terrorism experts and increase my understanding of the practices used in countering extremism."
Although a CMU student, Svensson is currently enrolled in an International Security certificate program with the Harvard University Extension School. She has further prepared herself for graduate level study by completing an independent study examining how terrorist groups use social media to spread propaganda and recruit new members for their cause. If selected to receive a Fulbright Study Grant, Svensson plans to examine methods to counter the recruitment procedures through social media used by terrorists. She also looks forward to enriching her knowledge and understanding of the Netherlands, "a country known for its distinct ability to bridge the foundations between peace and justice."
Jami Watson: Study Grant Nominee - France
Jami Watson, a senior Honors student majoring in French and minoring in political science, hopes to further her French culture studies as a Fulbright U.S. Student to France. She is applying for the Langues, Affaires et Commerce International Master's program at the Université d'Orléans. Eventually she will pursue a Ph.D. in Intercultural Communication to prepare herself for a career in diplomatic affairs, possibly as a Foreign Service Officer within the U.S. Department of State.
Watson discovered her passion for French language with the help of her CMU Foreign Language professors. In spring 2015, she completed a semester-long study abroad experience in Angers, France which deepened her interest in language. While in France, Watson had the opportunity to discuss language, culture, and identity with the international students she met in her program, conversations and topics which continue to interest her personally and professionally. Watson says, "As a result of my interactions with my friends made abroad I have developed an overall appreciation for language, which lead me to start my studies in Japanese." She notes that her interests are particularly focused on relations between the Francophone world and Japan, two countries which share many cultural traits and history.
Through her Honors Capstone project, Watson furthered her knowledge of the shared culture and history of France and Japan by conducting a literary analysis written in French on the novel Ni d'Ève, ni d'Adam by Amélie Nothomb. This work combined Watson's interests in language and diplomatic affairs between the French-speaking world and Japan, and it provided her an opportunity to learn more deeply how language affects our perception of identity.
Since 2015, Watson has been a tutor for the English Language Institute where she shares her passion for language with international students. Other involvements also highlight her international interests, including participating in groups like Le Cercle Français and Pi Delta Phi (French Honors Fraternity), and completing a summer 2016 internship with Freedom House during which she worked with asylum-seekers from around the world.
A Fulbright grant would provide Watson both the opportunity to pursue a Master's degree in France as well as further her learning of International Relations. She says, "I found that I had a passion for International Relations which gives me the opportunity to cumulatively examine the political, economic, and social aspects of the world in order to help better understand how people function based on governmental influence."