S-STEM Program Prospective Scholars People Scholarship/Research Other Links Contact Us
Michigan Technological

Civil and Environmental Engineering
1400 Townsend Drive
Houghton, MI 49931

Attn: Judith Perlinger
Phone: (906) 487-3641
Fax: (906) 487-2943
Email: jperl@mtu.edu

 Supported by the National Science
 Foundation under Grant No. 0806569
S-STEM Program
The Objectives of Michigan Tech's S-STEM Program

By engaging all graduate students, particularly women and other underrepresented groups, we will build capacity and diversity in the fields of civil and environmental engineering. These fields are critical to advancing sustainability goals. The S-STEM Program provides scholarships to recruit, educate, and retain students into STEM fields (including underrepresented groups). S-STEM Scholars engage in knowledge sharing among MS and PhD graduate students and faculty. They also focus graduate student and faculty educational efforts on pressing challenges facing our global society, and help catalyze development of the next generation of engineers with a global awareness and the skills necessary to lead true change by engineering for a better future.

Scholar Responsibilities in the Michigan Tech's S-STEM Program

S-STEM Scholars are required to:

  • enroll in ENG5510 Sustainable Futures I in the fall of the academic year in which they are awarded a scholarship and team with (an)other S-STEM Scholar(s) in meeting the project requirements of the course
  • enroll in CE5992 Environmental Engineering Graduate Seminar in the spring of the year in which they are awarded a scholarship, and lead one colloquium discussion and participate in others on sustainability
  • propose and carry out a reciprocal mentoring experience in a team
  • participate in assessment of program objectives during their studies and following graduation.

S-STEM Scholars are encouraged to:

  • complete all coursework requirements to obtain the Graduate Certificate in Sustainability
  • MI students: conduct on-campus research co-advised by a faculty member and doctoral student
  • PhD students: apply for partial support for travel to (a) a professional conference, or (b) communities in developing countries to conduct research and promote sustainability in collaboration with a MS student.

Reciprocal Mentoring Experience

One of the most exciting aspects of this program is the unique faculty and student interaction that creates a culture wherein the flow of knowledge and research techniques unique to our MI and PhD students is mutually beneficial (see Figure 1). S-STEM students work in a "reciprocal mentoring team" in either a research project or in the Sustainable Futures I course, providing scholars the optional opportunity to be part of a research group and be mentored by a faculty member and graduate students as part of the team. This research experience gives Master's International Scholars a head start should they decide to pursue a PhD degree following their Peace Corps service, and PhD Scholars the opportunity to work on a sustainable development project that is an integral part of their doctoral research or distinct from it.

Research development will be based upon two-way knowledge transfer among all participant pairs: groups of faculty will participate with student researchers to share a broader perspective of sustainability expertise; doctoral students will integrate sustainability knowledge at new research interfaces, then share with the faculty, and transfer research methods to the master's students; master's students will share the complexities of implementing research in the field with the doctoral students and examples of practice in developing communities with the faculty.

Figure 1. Flow of knowledge in traditional programs (L) and this S-STEM Program (R).


S-STEM has several unique aspects over traditional graduate education:


Master's International MS Scholars in a program that partners with the U.S. Peace Corps and incorporates 2+ years of overseas engineering service focused on sustainability practice and research in the developing world gain a North American perspective of sustainability and research techniques from association with PhD students and their advisors;


Doctoral Scholars incorporate sustainability evaluation techniques and research traditionally focused on the industrialized world with similar knowledge now gained in the developing world;


Faculty advisors not previously engaged in sustainability research will be impacted through working with MS and PhD students; they may desire to transform their teaching and research activities with sustainability concepts and practice; and


peer mentoring of MS Scholars by PhD Scholars during coursework and through an optional research-related project.


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