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.

Charter Schools

What is a Charter School?

Charter schools are public schools. They operate in much the same way as traditional public schools. They are free, open to all, and operate under the direction of a publically-appointed board of directors. Charter schools are constituent districts of Michigan’s intermediate school districts (ISDs) and operate under the leadership of the State Board of Education. They must comply with essentially the same statutory and regulatory requirements as other k-12 public schools, including No Child Left Behind and Education Yes! accountability programs and special education laws. While each charter school is unique based on location, teaching staff, student population, educational program and curricula, each is legally organized as a Michigan, not-for-profit, public school academy corporation, governed by a board of directors.

Michigan’s charter school law was passed in 1993. It introduced choice and competition into the system of public education. Guiding principles of the statute are (1) all students and parents, regardless of socioeconomic status or geographic location, should have the ability to choose the school that best meets their needs; (2) charter public schools support education reform by infusing the system with competition and market forces; and (3) charter public schools can test new approaches to academics, instruction, governance, finance, and management leading to new learning and leadership models. The state’s charter school law is consistently recognized as one of the nation’s strongest.

The system of oversight established by the legislation is both distinct from and complementary to conventional education structures. The charter school must have a valid legal contract, or charter, from its authorizer, which provides an additional level of accountability. A series of academic and operational performance measures must be met to continue the contract.

Balanced Leadership for Lasting Change. (2006). Michigan Council of Charter School Authorizers & Dykema Gossett PLLC.

Competing at Graduate a Level

Brittany Currie

Third Place
Leith Nader of Lake Superior State University

2004 American Society of Mechanical Engineers Design Engineering Division (Mechanics and Robotics Committee)

28th Biennial Mechanisms and Robotics Conference, Student Mechanisms Design Competition Award (Graduate Competition)

Sept. 28 – Oct. 2, 2004
Salt Lake City, Utah

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