Student Awards

Outstanding Graduating Senior Award, May 2021

The EEGS Department celebrates Jacklyn Lenten for her outstanding academic achievements and myriad leadership contributions while completing her May 2021 B.S. degree. Jacklyn is an Environmental Science major with a concentration in Natural Resources and a self-designed EEGS Cluster minor titled Environmental Justice and Advocacy. For two years Jacklyn has served as a co-leader of the NMU Conservation Crew, and she is an active member of Gamma Theta Upsilon International Geographical Honor Society. As a field technician for the Outdoor Learning Area, Jacklyn helped transform the GeoPark into a welcoming and educational garden. A native of nearby Negaunee, Jacklyn was the first U.P. native to be named a John A. Muter Scholar, and she took part in MSU Extension’s Lake and Stream Leaders Institute. Here’s to Jacklyn’s bright future of putting her education into action for Planet Earth!



4.0 Scholastic Grade Point Average, May 2021

Lauren_Nyenhuis.jpgHilde Eide, a 4.0 student, is a May 2021 graduate in Environmental Science with a Renewable Energy Technologies concentration. Hailing from Beitostølen, Norway, Hilde has studied at NMU for two years. After one more year at NMU she plans to return to Norway to complete a Master’s degree in renewable energy. Hilde is the captain of the NMU Nordic Ski Team, and is a stellar competitor and January 2021 Scholar-Athlete of the Month. She serves on the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and is a member of Gamma Theta Upsilon International Geographical Honor Society. For her senior capstone project Hilde collaborated with Michigan Tech scientists on a feasibility study of underground pumped hydro storage in the Mather B mine in Negaunee. Hilde observed that, “Nothing can beat a sunset over Lake Superior in fall.” Her professors in the EEGS Department agree.


4.0 Scholastic Grade Point Average, December 2020

Lauren_Nyenhuis.jpgLauren Nyenhuis earned a 4.0 while completing her December 2020 B.A. degree in 2.5 years at NMU. She majored in Environmental Studies & Sustainability and minored in Music. Academic highlights include a faculty-led study abroad in Baracoa, Cuba, and internships with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and the Sierra Club. Lauren won first place in the NMU English Department’s 2020 Houston Award essay contest. For her capstone research she determined that consignment stores in her case study are a sustainable way for unwanted clothing to be repurposed and kept from the landfill. Lauren was also an active member of EcoReps, Gamma Theta Upsilon International Geographical Honor Society, Superior Edge, and the Orchestra, Concert Band, and Wind Ensemble. Lauren is incredibly grateful for the EEGS faculty who challenged and supported her—and the EEGS Department appreciates her contributions to the NMU community.



Outstanding Graduating Senior Award, April 2020

Alexis AshcroftAlexis Ashcroft is the Earth, Environmental & Geographical Sciences Department’s 2020 Outstanding Graduating Senior. With a 3.98 GPA, Alexis graduates in May 2020 with a major in Environmental Studies & Sustainability and minor in Alternative Energies, with support from the John S. Presensky Scholarship. For two years she served as the president of the Rock and Mineral Club, organizing field trips to explore the regional geology. Alexis is the historian for NMU’s Eta Chi chapter of Gamma Theta Upsilon International Geographical Honor Society. While at NMU—including for her senior capstone project—she has developed her interest in renewable energy technology, and she plans to pursue a career in that field. Alexis is grateful for the experiences she has had in the EEGS Department at NMU.




4.0 Scholastic Grade Point Average, April 2020

Marissa BegnocheMarissa Begnoche graduates in May 2020 with a 4.0 GPA, an Environmental Studies & Sustainability major, and an Alternative Energies minor. She has been active at NMU as a member of EcoReps, helping put on events like Clothing Swaps and Mend-it-Mondays. Marissa is a member of NMU’s Eta Chi Chapter of Gamma Theta Upsilon International Geographical Honor Society, and was the secretary for Women for Women. She has worked at the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum, Petoskey State Park, and Lavender Hill Farm (LHF). Her senior capstone project examines methods for improving the farm’s environmental sustainability, and she looks forward to returning to work at LHF this summer. Marissa’s hobbies include gardening, knitting, baking, and camping. Here’s to a bright future, Marissa!





Outstanding Graduating Senior Award, April 2019

Holly RothHolly Roth, a December 2018 Environmental Science graduate with a Water Resources concentration, is the Earth, Environmental & Geographical Sciences Department’s 2019 Outstanding Graduating Senior. For her Freshman Fellowship project she analyzed temporal relationships between stream discharge and precipitation. She then immersed herself in the Superior Buoys initiative, helping deploy buoys on Lake Superior and presenting analyses of weather data at Science on Tap and regional, national, and international conferences. Holly participated in NMU’s Superior Edge, Mortar Board, Sigma Xi, and Northern Arts & Entertainment. She honed her leadership skills as president of Eta Chi–Gamma Theta Upsilon International Geographical Honor Society and co-organizer of two March for Science events. In the fall Holly will pursue a Master’s of Geography at the University of Colorado Boulder.



4.0 Scholastic Grade Point Average, April 2019

Nicholas MatonichNicholas Matonich graduates in May 2019 with a Geomatics major, Computer Science minor, and 4.0 GPA. Nick transferred to NMU intending to pursue an academic program that would enable him to engage with maps. He serves as a lab assistant tutoring his peers in the GIS/Remote Sensing Lab of the Department of Earth, Environmental & Geographical Sciences. For more than a year Nick has worked as a GIS/Distribution Engineering Intern at Marquette Board of Light and Power. This experience inspired him to develop a senior project on mapping vandalism. Nick is a member of NMU’s Eta Chi Chapter of Gamma Theta Upsilon International Geographical Honor Society. Perhaps you have heard him on WUPX Student Radio? Nick plans to pursue a GIS career.





Outstanding Graduating Senior Award, May 2018

RaRaven Mitchellven Mitchell is the Earth, Environmental & Geographical Sciences Department’s 2018 Outstanding Graduating Senior. As an Earth Science major and French minor, Raven is also a member of the NMU women’s varsity soccer team and the Gamma Theta Upsilon International Geographical Honor Society. Raven assisted with research at the Huron Mountain Club and interned with the Marquette County Conservation District. Funded by a USDA grant Raven studied ways to increase conservation of the Kirtland’s warbler through sustainable forestry in jack pine stands. Before graduation in May 2018 she presented this research at the annual meeting of the American Association of Geographers in New Orleans. Raven’s infectious enthusiasm and positive attitude will propel her through graduate school where she plans to continue her career in geography.





Outstanding Graduating Senior Award, May 2017

Maria Rockett is recognized as the Earth, Environmental & Geographical Sciences Department’s 2017 Outstanding Graduating Senior.  Maria exhibits a tremendous work ethic, is a natural leader, and demonstrates outstanding professional skills as a writer and public speaker.  She regularly exceeds expectations of her instructors.  Maria exemplifies the Department’s mission statement as she integrates physical, social, and spatial sciences to analyze issues that challenge the human–environment relationship.  She had a co-authored abstract accepted to present at the National Environmental Justice Conference and Training Program in Washington, D.C.  Her project examines how the spatial patterns of lead in the water of Flint, Michigan, correlate with demographic and income data.  Maria is thankful to graduate in May 2017 with many experiences and skills gained through the EEGS Department.  She plans to take what she has learned at Northern on to graduate school, ultimately seeking a career in environmental justice. 




Technology Innovation Award, April 2017

Jack JohnsonJack Johnson received a 2017 Technology Innovation Award during the opening ceremony of the 22nd Annual Celebration of Student Scholarship. Jack combined his mapping and GIS skills from his Geomatics major with background from his Art and Design minor to create raised relief maps of the Huron Mountains and Sleeping Bear Dunes.






Outstanding Graduating Senior Award, April 2016

Melissa OrzechowskiMelissa 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

LaurLauren Somogyien 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 WahlHolly 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) WoodfordElizabeth (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,Matthew Claucherty 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.

Click here to view sample of project