Redefining the Classroom

Dedicated Faculty

Benjamin Turschak"Prior to my time at Lake State, my professors rarely learned students’ names and my classes often felt impersonal.  I didn’t realize how important that faculty interaction could be until I spent a few weeks here.  The personal attention is motivating, often pushing me to work harder than I would have otherwise."

-Benjamin Turschak
2010 LSSU F&W Graduate

Faculty and Staff

Thomas Allan, Ph.D.

Associate Professor
B.S. 1973, Central Michigan University
M.S. 1978, Michigan Technological University
Ph.D. 1984, University of Maine

Derek Crane, Ph.D.

Research Associate
B.A. 2006 Lycoming College
M.S. 2008 University of Michigan
Ph.D. 2013 State University of New York


Barbara I. Evans, Ph.D

Barbara I. Evans, Ph.D.

B.Sc. 1980 University of Ottawa, Canada
Ph.D. 1986 University of Kansas


Jason Garvon, Ph.D

Jason Garvon, Ph.D.

Associate Professor
B.S. 1998, Northern Michigan University
M.S. 2001, Northern Michigan University
Ph.D. 2005, Texas A&M University - Kingsville

Neal Godby, Jr.

Adjunct Professor
Senior Fisheries Biologist, Michigan DNR
B.S. 1994, University of Michigan
M..S. 2000, University of Michigan

Martha Hutchens, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor
B.S. 2003, Michigan State University
Ph.D. 2008, University of Michigan

Kevin Kapuscinski, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor
B.S. 1999, University of Wisconsin
M.S. 2002, University of Wisconsin
Ph.D., 2011, State University of New York

Stephen Kolomyjec, Ph.D.

Visiting Assistant Professor
Ph.D., 2014, James Cook University

Jun Li, Ph.D

Jun Li, Ph.D.

Associate Professor
B.S. 1992, Wuhan University
M.S. 1995, Institute of Hydobiology
Ph.D. 2002, The Chinese University of Hong Kong

Dennis Merkel, Ph.D

Dennis Merkel, Ph.D.

B.S. 1977, State University of New York
MS 1983, State University of New York
Ph.D. 1988, Michigan State University

Ashley Moerke, Ph.D

Ashley Moerke, Ph.D.

B.S. 1996, University of Minnesota Duluth
M.S. 2000, University of Notre Dame
Ph.D. 2004, University of Notre Dame


Britton D. Ranson-Olson, Ph.D

Britton Ranson-Olson, Ph.D.

Associate Professor
B.S. 1999, Lake Superior State University
M.S. 2001, Michigan Technological University
Ph.D. 2007 Oakland University

John Roese, Ph.D.

B.S. 1982, Stephen F. Austin State University
M.S. 1984, Stephen F. Austin State University
Ph.D. 1989, Texas A & M University


Donna White

Donna White

Academic Assistant

Gregory Zimmerman, Ph.D.

Professor & Chair
B.S. 1977, Fort Hays State University
M.S. 1981, Oklahoma State University
M.S. 1983, North Dakota State University
Ph.D. 1987, Colorado State University


Importance of Faculty Advising

Ashley Moerke Ph.D.Students at Lake Superior State University chose biology professor Ashley Moerke Ph.D. as the 2011 recipient of the university's Excellence in Academic Advising Award.

Moerke has mentored more than 35 undergraduate students on thesis projects. More than half of these thesis students have presented their research at regional or national scientific meetings. She has also published more than 20 scientific papers and book chapters, nine of which were authored or co-authored by LSSU undergraduates. In her role as biology professor and co-director of LSSU's Aquatic Research Laboratory, she has acquired grant funding to employ more than 30 LSSU students and provide many more with excellent hands-on experiences. She has encouraged and supported 100-plus students to attend professional scientific conferences and helped them foster professional networks.

Her former students are in graduate study or professional research positions at Michigan State University, University of Michigan, University of Notre Dame, University of Florida, Idaho State University, Utah State University, Colorado State University, Central Michigan University, Northern Michigan University, and the University of Wisconsin.

Many have careers with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Michigan DNR and DEQ; state departments of fish and wildlife in California, Florida, and Wyoming; the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources; and various nature centers and watershed councils.

Faculty Mentors

The senior thesis is the capstone experience for all students in the School of Biological Sciences at LSSU. Students choose a topic, design a study, collect and analyze the data, write a scientific paper and present the information to the university community and interested members of the public. Projects typically take 2 years for the students to design and complete, and often address practical issues of local biological and environmental concerns. Students work on these projects, as professional scientists, in conjunction with a faculty mentor.


Biology students at LSSU benefit from a low student to faculty ratio. Most upper level classes have 30 students or less and laboratory sections are often limited to less than 15 students. This affords the faculty time to interact individually with closely with students to ensure that they have the opportunity to apply the laboratory and field skills required of professional scientists. ABOVE: Students in Dr. John Roese's (right) Wildlife Management class are instructed in the use of tools used to chemically immobilize wild animals.

More Than a Faculty Member

Lake Superior State University biology professor Dr. Dennis Merkel, left and wearing red, helps the Sleeseman family and friends move Joe Sleeseman, second from left, into Brady residence hall. Sleeseman, an incoming fisheries and wildlife management major from Blanchard, Mich., joined about 1,000 fellow students on campus move-in day.