Northern Michigan University’s clinical laboratory sciences programs have received a $250,000 gift, disbursed over five years, from the Cliffs Natural Resources Foundation. This is Cliffs’ largest gift to NMU. It will support the molecular diagnostics initiative. Pictured at the presentation of an NMU flag honoring the Cliffs gift are (from left): Kerri Schuiling, dean of Health Sciences and Professional Studies; Linda Riipi, associate dean and director of the School of Clinical Sciences; Dale Hemmila, Cliffs director of public affairs, North America; NMU President Fritz Erickson; and Dave Bammert, NMU Foundation development officer.
The funding will establish a $50,000 Cliffs Endowed Scholarship to assist NMU students with costs associated with training at clinical agencies, including Mayo Clinic. It also will expand the scope of the molecular diagnostics laboratory on campus to facilitate student training, test development and research. Other planned uses include molecular training for the current laboratory workforce and high school educators, summer workshops for elementary/secondary students and interdisciplinary genetics-based research initiatives with NMU students. Northern is one of eight universities nationwide that offers an accredited program in diagnostic molecular science. Its “career-laddering curriculum” allows a seamless transition from one-year certificate to associate degree to bachelor’s degree. Students complete a clinical internship as part of their degree program, allowing them to work collaboratively with other health care professionals while gaining extensive experience in their fields.