Lake Superior State University
Lake Superior State University
 
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Alum Success

Ben Mitchell

Ben Mitchell
Mechanical Engineering '06

Ben Mitchell grew up in a devout household in the central Upper Peninsula of Michigan where emphasis was placed on helping others. He traveled with his father to places such as Kenya and Peru on short-term medical missions. When he was in Kenya, a missionary explained that engineers have the greatest potential to influence the largest number of people. During high school, Ben participated in a youth mission trip to Tijuana. A result of the mission trips, his family decided to adopt three Vietnamese children when he was a junior.

All of these experiences had a great influence on Ben’s outlook on life. He decided to major in mechanical engineering and enrolled at Lake Superior State University. Near the end of his senior year, he decided to volunteer for the Peace Corps to help others.

His two-year commitment began in the fall of 2007 and took Ben to Burkina Faso in western Africa. He resides in the village of Tansila, population 3,000, approximately 10 km from the Mali border. His host organization is the local cotton growers union. It works cooperatively with other villages to improve and expand their production techniques. He serves as an agribusiness advisor as a part of the Small Enterprise Development program which helps create market linkages and assists with the advancement of business skills.

Admissions

Grab Hold of Your Future

Brianne Lunn

What’s your area of study, and what goals are you setting?

I am a senior majoring in Fisheries and Wildlife Management. I want to go on to obtain a master’s and then get a doctorate. With that, I hope to become a professor at a university.

What attracted you fisheries studies in general and to LSSU’s program in particular?

I have been going hunting and fishing with my dad since I was a little girl. I love the outdoors and was amazed to find out that I could actually make a career out of it. There aren’t many schools that offer a fish and wildlife bachelor’s degree. Lake Superior State not only offers it, but has an excellent reputation in the field. And I wanted to go to Lake State rather than a large school because it is extremely personal. You know your professors on a first name basis. They are willing to help with any questions you have.

What kind of field experiences have you enjoyed so far in the program?

I have worked on gill netting Atlantic Salmon for next year’s brood stock at the university’s Aquatic Research Lab. This is another big reason for coming to LSSU. The ARL is directly on the St. Mary’s river. It’s not only a lab classroom, but the place where I work. The university’s Fisheries and Wildlife Club is another reason. It offers a ton of events to go to and gain experience, which is vital to getting hired in our field. I have banded owls at Whitefish Point, tracked elk tagged with radio telemetry collars, and looked for aquatic macro-invertebrates.

Have you had a “neat moment” that makes all of the studying and working worthwhile?

Just being out in the field and knowing what kinds of plants and birds are around you. The neat thing about biology is learning in the classroom and than going outside and actually observing what you have just learned. I can't drive down a road now without seeing plants, birds, and animals that I never even noticed before. It’s like discovering the natural world all over again.

Have you had, or are you shooting for, any summer internships or jobs that related to your experience with the lab?

Students at LSSU are required to construct and perform a senior research project. I am going to be removing a certain number of eggs from the nests of smallmouth bass to assess when a male will leave its nest. A thesis allows you to experience the process of creating and running an academic project from start to finish, when you actually present your work to faculty and peers.

What are some of your outside interests?

I like fishing and hunting along with hiking, snowshoeing and anything in the outdoors. You can drive 30 minutes and be in the middle of the woods snowshoeing around a waterfall. The Soo is a great place for all of these. I also like going to Canada because it has so much to offer: great restaurants, shopping, parks, fishing, the possibilities are endless.

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Psychology Driven...

Mary-Ellen

Mary-Ellen
Psychology

"LSSU is a relatively small school and I believe for this reason I have received a better education. The close atmosphere as opposed to a larger university has provided me with an opportunity to become acquainted with my professors. The professors therefore have an opportunity to assist with problems fairly easily, especially in upper level classes. The classes are fairly small also which provides one on one conversations which is very helpful."

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