Lake Superior State University
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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.

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Shane Carley

Shane Carley used ground-penetrating radar to locate lost gravesites in one of Sault Ste. Marie's oldest cemeteries. Most of the cemetery's records were lost in a 1970s city hall fire. City government needed to know where graves were for reasons of closure for relatives and ongoing expansion plans. Carley presented his results to a grateful city commission, and went on to publish his techniques and results as a senior thesis project. A poster of his work took first place in the nation for undergraduates at the American Institute of Professional Geologist meeting in San Diego. The award netted him $750. Carley went on to present at the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco.

"I'm now working with a large group of respected scientists on the TAIGER project. Earlier in the summer it involved deploying and retrieving ocean-bottom instruments for what is called passive seismology, which deduces movement between two seismic plates in the Pacific. My analysis at the University of New York at Binghamton will use passive earthquake data to model what's happening off the coast of Taiwan in three dimensions."

— Shane Carley, '08 Geology

Impact in the real world...

Rachel Claucherty-Arnold

Rachel Claucherty-Arnold
Environmental Health

What made Rachel's Lake Superior State experience so unique was the practical research she did with top-notch faculty.

"I really enjoyed working with environmental chemistry professor Judy Westrick and biologist Deb Stai," Rachel says. "For my senior project, we evaluated a lab method for cultivating a fungus that causes infections in humans."

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