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.

Distinguished Teaching Award

Kathy Danielkiewicz, Recipient 2005

Assistanct Professor Sherilyn R. Duesing Lake Superior State University staff members Kathy Danielkiewicz and Heather Ferguson, and faculty member Sherilyn Duesing have been chosen by their co-workers and students as recipients of employees of the year and distinguished teaching awards.

The awards are presented annually to a member of each of the university’s employee groups: faculty, Steelworkers union (food service, physical plant and clerical workers) and administrative/professional staff.

The award for Duesing, an assistant professor in the School of Mathematics and Computer Science, was announced during commencement ceremonies today on campus. The honors for Danielkiewicz, secretary for the School of Business, Economics and Legal Assistant Studies, and Ferguson, director of Advising and Retention, were announced during the annual LSSU Retirement and Service Awards program earlier in the semester.

The Distinguished Teaching Award has been presented to LSSU faculty since 1971. Students, faculty and staff submit nominations that are considered by a committee of students at the top of their classes and past recipients of the award. Bruce Harger Ph.D., LSSU vice president of academic affairs and provost, quoted from an essay and nomination for Duesing written by an education student.

“As a senior, I have had the pleasure of continuing to be taught by this professor, although I’m not sure if the word ‘taught’ captures the essence of my experience. I felt that I was being mentored. It was as if I was in a room with my colleagues and we were being guided by excellence; epitomized by the values and attributes of the professor…Henry Adams tells us that ‘A teacher affects eternity’ and I for one can assure you that Prof. Duesing has affected eternity through my life and the lives that I will touch as a teacher.”

Duesing has taught math at LSSU since 1984, when she was hired as an adjunct professor. She became a full time instructor in 1993 and was promoted to assistant professor in 1998.

She has helped develop course modules for pre-algebra and introductory algebra courses at LSSU and has assisted with the teacher education program as a mathematics liaison at Brimley Elementary School. She has served on several university committees, including the developmental education committee, in which she was chair, and the advising committee. She was also vice president of the LSSU Faculty Association.

Duesing received an associate’s degree from North Central Michigan College and a bachelor’s degree in education, with a mathematics major, from Central Michigan University. In 1998, she earned a master’s degree in mathematics education at Northern Michigan University, where she was also selected as the outstanding graduating graduate student in NMU’s Dept. of Mathematics and Science Education.

She has long been interested in mathematics education and has taught at the middle school and high school level before coming to teach at LSSU. Outside of teaching, she enjoys quilting, sewing, skiing and hiking. She and her husband Paul, an engineering professor at LSSU and also a recipient of the Distinguished Teaching Award, have three children, Alice, Sarah and Peter.

Highest Awards

Brittany Currie

Third Place
Lake Superior State University

2004 ASME Student Design Contest – Region V

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