Outstanding Graduating Senior Award, April 2016
Melissa Orzechowski is outstanding for completing a triple major in English Writing, Environmental Studies and Sustainability, and Communication Studies with a minor in Spanish, but her experiences and contributions extend way beyond Northern’s classrooms. As a Freshman Fellow she was awarded first place in the group poster division at the Celebration for Student Research. She served as president of the Honors Student Organization. Working toward her goal of helping people and the environment, Melissa volunteered at the NMU Hoop House, participated in the Student Leader Fellowship Program, helped establish the Northern Climate Network, studied abroad in Spain, interned at the Land Trust Alliance through the Washington Center, led environmental education events for children, and contributed to Marquette’s climbing community. With her boundless energy and enthusiasm Melissa is well poised to attend graduate school and pursue a career in academia.
Outstanding Graduating Senior Award, May 2015
Lauren Somogyi began her four years at NMU as a freshman fellow in the Department of Earth, Environmental, and Geographical Sciences. For her yearlong project she analyzed tree rings to reconstruct the historical record of fires in a local forest. From that introduction to research, she pursued her interests in Environmental Studies and Sustainability with a minor in Math. Lauren’s professors admire her respectfulness and high achievements in the classroom, but what makes her truly outstanding is the myriad additional activities to which she devotes her boundless energy and enthusiasm: Marching Band, Superior Edge (logging more than 615 volunteer hours), Women for Women, Relay for Life, Student Leader Fellowship Program, Mortar Board, and Gamma Theta Upsilon International Geographical Honor Society. Lauren also works for Girl Scouts. Coming full circle academically and personally before graduating in May 2015, Lauren will present updated research from her freshman fellowship at a national conference of geographers in Chicago…which happens to be close to her hometown.
Outstanding Graduating Senior Award, May 2014
Holly Wahl originally intended to study civil engineering, but she discovered her interest in geographic information systems (GIS) as the result of a scheduling mishap. After realizing how much she enjoyed computer mapping, she completed a GIS certificate program at a community college, where her final project earned her free registration to the ESRI User Conference in San Diego in July 2012. In August 2012, she transferred to NMU to pursue a Geomatics degree in the Department of Earth, Environmental, and Geographical Sciences. Holly has been a planning assistant/intern with the Marquette County Planning Division since May 2013 and a GIS lab assistant/tutor for the EEGS Department since September 2013. In April 2014 NMU honored Holly for her 4.0 GPA. Following graduation, Holly will seek employment in the GIS profession. In her spare time Holly is a member of the ballroom, swing, and international dance clubs at NMU.
Outstanding Graduating Senior Award, May 2013
Elizabeth (Libby) Woodford entered the department of earth, environmental and geographical sciences as a Freshman Fellow. She chose to study earth science and quickly revealed her potential as a scholar and a leader. She will graduate in May 2013, having achieved her bachelor's degree in three and a half years. During her time at Northern, she presented research at two professional conferences, served as the president of two EEGS department clubs, received a Spooner student research grant, was awarded the Ishpeming Rock and Mineral Club scholarship twice and studied volcanoes in Kamchatka, Russia. She excelled in a challenging degree program, earning a 3.88 GPA.
"I feel humble and thankful," she said. "It was wonderful to receive recognition from faculty members I very much respect."
Libby is motivated by her love of science and an interest in learning more about the world. She is exploring various options for graduate school.
Technology Innovation Award, April 2012
In April 2012, Matthew Claucherty, a GIS major in the Department of Earth, Environmental, and Geographical Sciences won a Technology Innovation Awards for Students from the Educational Technology and Resource Policy Committee. Congratulations, Matt!
Claucherty’s award winning project was conceived in Professor Robert Legg’s GC 428 Spatial Analysis class. The project uses ArcMap 10 to quantify wilderness foot-travel variables and then calculate a least-cost path between two designated points. The variables include land slope, vegetation density, and presence of water bodies.
Marquette County’s digital elevation model (DEM) was used to create a slope layer. Matt used aerial photos to delineate vegetation density/forest structure. State data for water bodies and wetlands were also included. These factors were combined to generate impedances values (i.e., how greatly a feature impedes foot travel). Open, level areas have low impedance values. Areas with steep slopes and/or dense vegetation have higher impedance values. Water bodies have the highest impedance value because they are not traversable by foot. Using a least-cost path tool Matt's project then mathematically determines point-to-point routes based on impedance values.