Presque Isle, MI, United States
Presque Isle, MI, United States

Northern Michigan University is a four-year college public university established in 1899 and located in Marquette, in the Upper Peninsula of the U.S. state of Michigan. With enrollment of about 9,000 undergraduate and graduate students, Northern Michigan University is the Upper Peninsula's largest university. The university is known for its extensive wireless system that covers not only the campus, but the city of Marquette and the surrounding communities and its laptop program that issues laptops to all full-time students and faculty members The university is the alma mater of Starbucks founder Howard Schultz, the Chief Financial Officer of Kraft Foods Teri List-Stoll as well as championship winning College basketball coach Tom Izzo. Northern Michigan University is consistently listed as being among the most affordable universities in Michigan in terms of tuition normally with only community colleges listing a lower rate. Wikipedia.

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News Article | November 30, 2016

The Bryde's whale was the only species he could think of that was both common to tropical waters and small enough to fit the profile of what he'd seen. Cerchio, A85, recognized that he suddenly had a rare opportunity on his hands. Bryde's are a poorly known whale. They're fast and small, and a challenge just to find, much less study. A lot of the most basic questions surrounding them, like courtship and mating habits, were still unanswered. If everything worked out, Cerchio might be the one to discover the answers. Seated for dinner at the Nosy Iranja Lodge, surrounded by coconut palms, Cerchio addressed his team. "Look around the table," he said. "Look at each other. Right now, you are looking at the people who know more about Bryde's whales in Madagascar than anybody on the planet." Except they weren't. A subsequent review of the underwater video that his team had taken during the encounter led Cerchio to the realization that the whales in question were no Bryde's. They were something that Cerchio had never seen in his 30-year career. In fact, nobody had ever seen them alive and been aware of what they were looking at. These were the mysterious Omura's whales, an ancient species that scientists didn't even know existed until 10 years ago. If Bryde's had incomplete science, these whales had nothing. Every single question lay open for the asking. This wasn't merely a rare opportunity. Salvatore Cerchio had just won the scientific lottery. In the late 1990s, five Japanese cetacean experts found themselves on a beach on Tsunoshima Island. They were very confused. Local residents had summoned them to evaluate an unusual whale carcass that had washed up three days prior, but nothing quite made sense. The animal had a coloring reminiscent of a fin whale, a head shape more like the blue whale and the body size of a Bryde's. "I was at loss," recalled Tadasu Yamada, a researcher with the National Science Museum in Tokyo who'd led the trip. When the local media asked him which species it was, all he could say was that he wasn't sure. "And we were supposed to be specialists who traveled more than 500 kilometers to the site and did some kind of investigation," he told me. "And the answer was 'We don't know.' They were very surprised." A week later, when DNA results came back, there was still more surprise: no known matches. Baffled, Yamada consulted his colleague, Shiro Wada, then a scientist at the Japanese Fisheries Research Agency. Wada had by then spent two decades digging into old whaling pictures, genetic samples and archived skeletons. He'd been following a mystery that had haunted him since the 1970s, when he'd been doing basic research into the genetic markers of Bryde's whales—work that would allow them to be more easily identified. But there was something off about eight whale specimens he was investigating. Those whales had been identified at the time of their discovery as Bryde's, but Wada was convinced that they were actually a different, unknown species. He'd been trying to prove it ever since. Now here was Yamada telling him about a strange whale that had washed up on Tsunoshima Island. Could this be an actual example of the unknown species that he suspected had been mistaken in the record books for a Bryde's? Tests were conducted, and the body, bones and genetic markers recovered from the carcass all turned out to be a match for Wada's unidentified whale—this was his whale. So he, Yamada and a third colleague, Masayuki Oishi, from the Iwate Prefectural Museum, began to collaborate on research into what they decided to call the Omura's whale, named after a famed Japanese cetacean researcher. Their first paper, which established the new species, appeared in 2003, followed by a handful of publications that delved into the whales' genetic roots and documented samples that had been misclassified in museums around the world. Omura's whales have often been mistaken for Bryde's, but the new research showed that the two species had diverged somewhere between 9 and 17 million years ago—longer ago than humans and chimpanzees went their own way. In 2007, Omura's whales were added to the International Whaling Commission's List of Recognized Species of Cetaceans. All this despite the fact that no one had ever knowingly seen one alive. To be in the presence of a whale is an incredible thing. Slick, prehistoric backs arc over the water, then slide noiselessly under with impossibly long bodies that roll on and on until, well after you've expected it, the moment ends and they disappear. Whales are massive and magnificent. We know that they exist, but they still strike us as something mythical, like sea monsters of lore. Out on a ship, a person can feel as though they're only a trivial visitor to these creatures' oceanic world. Spend an afternoon on a whale-watching tour and it's easy to see how someone could fall in love. That is more or less what happened to Sal Cerchio in 1984. He was a 19-year-old junior at Tufts that year, majoring in marine biology, a choice influenced by boyhood vacations in old south Florida, when it was still loggerhead turtles and undeveloped coastline. On a bit of a whim, Cerchio signed up for a 12-week Ocean Research and Education Society (ORES) trip. The Tufts program involved six weeks of classroom work in Gloucester, Massachusetts, then another six to eight weeks of hands-on research on a 1908 three-masted barkentine ship called the Regina Maris. A poster on the biology department wall promised whales, and to a young student who hadn't yet found his passion, that sounded like a good time. "I was like, yeah, I like whales," Cerchio recalled. "I'll do that." What he didn't know was that ORES was one of the most important whale research training programs in the world. Leading whale experts would come to either deliver lectures to students in Gloucester or sail on the Regina for their research. The program was shuttered years ago, but many of today's major whale scientists can trace their own roots, or those of a mentor, back to that ship. During Cerchio's winter in the program, the Regina set sail for Silver Bank in the Dominican Republic to study humpback whales at their breeding ground. The scientists on board took notice of the young, New Jersey–born student, a city kid out on his first real adventure. Each night when the ship anchored, Cerchio would throw an underwater microphone—a hydrophone—into the sea and stretch out on the deck to listen as the famed humpback whale song streamed in through his Sony Walkman. In the mornings, he would retreat to the lab and transcribe the recordings by hand. "I remember him there with headphones, listening to it, and talking about the structure of the song," said Phillip Clapham, a leading expert on large whales at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Alaska Fisheries Science Center in Seattle. "For somebody that young to have picked that up and been able to understand and break down the song into themes and understand what he was listening to was really unusual." Clapham, who was then a scientist with the Center for Coastal Studies on Cape Cod, immediately offered him an internship for the following summer. Cerchio accepted. That research into whale acoustics prepared him for his master's work at the renowned Moss Landing Marine Labs in California. After that, he began a Ph.D. in ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Michigan. Over the next few years, Cerchio began to acquire a reputation as a risk-taker and adventurer—the kind of guy who would tackle massive research projects in order to answer foundational ecology questions that the field had simply stepped around until then, such as which male humpback whales got the girl, as it were, and what strategies they used to do it. When Cerchio joined the World Conservation Society in 2004, he designed acoustic research programs in Angolan waters that turned up the first modern evidence of blue whales in the area. Then, in Madagascan waters, he uncovered whole treasure troves of undiscovered diversity—reporting, in one place off the southwest coast, 14 different species of whales and dolphins that nobody'd had the slightest idea were swimming in those waters. "He's a discoverer. He is a modern-day ocean explorer," said Chris Clark, a bioacoustics expert at Cornell University who helped pioneer the study of whale song with Katy and Roger Payne, and who took notice of Cerchio around the time that the younger researcher was beginning his work at Michigan. (Clark also taught Cerchio's future wife, Danielle Cholewiak, a respected whale researcher in her own right.) "If you give someone like Sal a chance, he's going to discover something." The day after their discovery of six Omura's whales off the island of Nosy Iranja, Cerchio and his team spotted three more specimens, followed the day after that by a second encounter with a mother and calf from the first day. By the end of those three days, Cerchio and his team had collected seven skin samples (procured via a small crossbow that shoots biopsy darts) for genetic analysis, taken more video, and captured recordings of the Omura's song—a throbbing, low-frequency, broadband pulse that lasts about 10 seconds: Bom bom bom bom bom. "This was a new vocalization that had never been described before," Cerchio explained. Excited, Cerchio called his friend and Wildlife Conservation Society colleague Tim Collins, who was in the Republic of Congo at the time. "Dude," Cerchio exclaimed, "I think I found Omura's!" He asked Collins to send him every paper about the whales that Tadasu Yamada and Shiro Wada had ever written. Collins dug up the material and forwarded it to Cerchio. After that, Collins said, "he sent me pictures and said, 'Yeah, damn it, I think we've got Omura's.' " Cerchio and his team spent the next year collecting every bit of information they could about Omura's whales. Scouring their own records, they discovered a few sightings in 2011 and 2012 of what had been marked as Bryde's whales but were, in retrospect, clearly Omura's. They also recorded a number of new sightings in 2013 and 2014. In all, they counted 44 encounters and recorded the songs of five different whales. They also discovered lots of information about how Omura's live. The whales, they found, seemed to swim alone—cruising at 12 miles per hour or so—but within singing distance of others, as though maintaining large personal-space bubbles. Mothers, however, tended to stick close to their calves. And unlike their humpback cousins, which travel huge distances from feeding areas to breeding grounds, Omura's appeared to be homebodies, feeding and breeding, as far as Cerchio could tell, all in the same corner of the world. The team developed theories about everything from what the whales ate (zooplankton) to where they went when they occasionally made themselves scarce (a bit north and south of that same coastline) to the level of risk posed by the offshore oil and gas industries looking to expand into the area (high). Cerchio, in other words, was making a great deal of progress. But before he could begin publicizing his findings, he had to be absolutely certain that he was, in fact, dealing with Omura's whales. So in the fall of 2014, he sent the biopsies he'd collected to a friend from grad school, Alec Lindsay, a biologist at Northern Michigan University. Lindsay compared the samples to the DNA sequences that Wada and his team had published. The results came back on Christmas Eve. "I remember Sal receiving this text message from Alec," said Cholewiak, Cerchio's wife. "He couldn't stop reading it. He was like, 'Oh my God! Oh my God, I can't believe it, this is real!" Within weeks, Cerchio began assembling his observations into a science manuscript. In March 2015, he made his first public presentation of the work at a symposium sponsored by the Cape Cod–based Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute. Alessandro Bocconcelli, a research specialist at the institute, promptly suggested a collaboration and brought Cerchio on board at Woods Hole as a guest investigator. Then, in October of that year, the prestigious Royal Society published Cerchio's paper in the Royal Society Open Science journal. Suddenly, Cerchio was a star. "Local researcher makes first-ever field observations of rare whale," wrote the Boston Globe. CNN contacted him for a video interview. BBC Earth ran a story, as did the Washington Post, the Huffington Post, and the Christian Science Monitor. "I've never received any kind of attention like that," Cerchio said. Colleagues reached out, too, emailing their compliments and congratulations. "I admit to being very jealous," Collins told me. "Omura's, that's just, like a ghost. And I remember thinking, 'God damn it. How come he gets to see Omura's?' I mean Sal's been seeing blue whales, and he saw a right whale one year in south Madagascar, and he's seeing melon-headed whales, amazing oceanic dolphins, and then he gets to add Omura's on top of it?" "I feel like, for him, this has definitely been one of the major, if not the major highlight of his career," Cholewiak told me. "That he actually has found and is working on this first population of recognized Omura's whales has been really significant for him." Not long ago, I visited Cerchio in his office at Woods Hole, where he now works with Bocconcelli. He'd also recently signed on as a visiting scientist with the New England Aquarium in Boston. He lives near Woods Hole and often works from home or from Madagascar, which is probably a good thing given the small size of his work space at the Institute. When I met with him, stacks of paper and thick binders lined the room and a rusted canister filled with scraps of metal left over from past experiments moldered in the corner. The office's single window overlooked the harbor. We sat at Cerchio's desk and, on his computer, he called up video his team had taken that day in 2013 when they'd first run into the Omura's whales. On screen, one of the whales surged toward us, mouth agape, then swerved left. She was beautiful—long and serpentine, with a distinctive watercolor wash of light and dark gray across her flank and back. Head on, the markings of an Omura's are unmistakable, with the right side of the jaw white, and the left much darker. Watching the video, it was easy to understand why humans feel so protective of whales, why we've enacted the Endangered Species Act and the Marine Mammal Protection Act to help save them. Yet whales, on the whole, are under greater threat today than ever before. They're hunted by whalers from countries such as Japan and Iceland; they continue to show up as accidental catch in fishing nets, and they are endangered by everything from climate change to seas made ever noisier by gigantic vessels. Some whales, in other words, are still very much at risk of joining the countless species that go extinct every year. Omura's, with their newly confirmed existence, are a point in the other column. Cerchio told me that he expects to return to Madagascar this fall with the hope of beginning to answer the countless questions that remain about Omura's whales: how far they range, how they interact with each other, when they breed, what they eat in the thin tropical water. To collect the relevant data, Cerchio and Bocconcelli plan to suction-cup sophisticated microcomputers, known as D-Tags, to a whale, while another biologist, Matt Leslie, hopes to fly drones over the whales. Then there are the series of underwater microphones that have been recording the song of the Omura's since Cerchio planted them last fall. Cerchio said he is also collaborating with Tadasu Yamada on a book chapter about the whales. Neither Yamada nor Wada has seen the Omura's in person, but Wada told me that it's been rewarding to see his early work contribute to Cerchio's success. "It was very exciting news," Wada said. "I like to express my respect to his great efforts." As we sat in his office, Cerchio speculated on the ways his work could transcend the Omura's themselves to reveal new insights into related species of whales. But, he said, it's early days, and such hopes may not be realized. But even if they're not, he said, even if all his work does is bring to light the lives of a beautiful and previously unknown animal, that would be enough. "It's exciting as hell," he said. "Discovering things for the first time that no one else has had the opportunity to work on—that's a thrill." Explore further: New study provides first field observations of rare Omura's whales

Kostelecky V.A.,Indiana University Bloomington | Russell N.,Northern Michigan University
Physics Letters, Section B: Nuclear, Elementary Particle and High-Energy Physics | Year: 2010

Classical point-particle relativistic lagrangians are constructed that generate the momentum-velocity and dispersion relations for quantum wave packets in Lorentz-violating effective field theory. © 2010 Elsevier B.V.

Alan Kostelecky V.,Indiana University Bloomington | Russell N.,Northern Michigan University | Tso R.,Embry - Riddle Aeronautical University
Physics Letters, Section B: Nuclear, Elementary Particle and High-Energy Physics | Year: 2012

Bipartite Riemann-Finsler geometries with complementary Finsler structures are constructed. Calculable examples are presented based on a bilinear-form coefficient for explicit Lorentz violation. © 2012 Elsevier B.V.

Kostelecky V.A.,Indiana University Bloomington | Russell N.,Northern Michigan University
Reviews of Modern Physics | Year: 2011

This work tabulates measured and derived values of coefficients for Lorentz and CPT violation in the standard-model extension. Summary tables are extracted listing maximal attained sensitivities in the matter, photon, and gravity sectors. Tables presenting definitions and properties are also compiled. © 2011 American Physical Society.

News Article | February 15, 2017

“Choosing Wisdom-Solomon’s Proverbs Reclaimed”: an inspiring collection of proverbs, grouped according to topics like finances, friendship, marriage, leadership, gossip, prostitution, adultery, anger, and common sense. “Choosing Wisdom-Solomon’s Proverbs Reclaimed” is the creation of Christian Faith Publishing authors, Dr. Judith Coats and Dr. David Coats. In September of 1983, they flew to Haiti to focus on missions work. During a hotbed of political turmoil, they decided to leave Haiti permanently in the summer of 1990. Their paths then led to youth ministry and camp work in Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada. After six and a half wonderful years in Canada, they then taught at a Christian university in northeastern Wisconsin for almost twenty years. During those twenty years, Dave completed his Doctor of Ministry and a counseling certification with the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors, and Judi completed a Masters in Writing from Northern Michigan University and a Doctor of Education from Regent University in Virginia Beach. They presently reside on a farm where they enjoy serving in a small community Bible church and working in a non-profit youth center. Solomon, son of David and King of Israel, could have asked for anything from God when he was given that exact opportunity—money or fame would have been most people’s choices. However, he chose wisdom. Solomon then recorded those wisdom principles in the book of Proverbs. Judith and Dave share some raw, personal experiences, reflecting their interaction with people over the years from time spent in Haiti, Canada, and the United States. They also include stories from the lives of people like former Presidents, heroic soldiers, and brave citizens. Well-known characters from favorite novels also serve as examples of people that choose wisely or foolishly. And historical events like the Peshtigo, Wisconsin, and Chicago fires serve as metaphorical examples of people’s words that cause uncontrollable damage. Consumers can purchase “Choosing Wisdom-Solomon’s Proverbs Reclaimed” at traditional brick & mortar bookstores, or online at, Apple iTunes store, Kobo or Barnes and Noble. For additional information or inquiries about “Choosing Wisdom-Solomon’s Proverbs Reclaimed”, contact the Christian Faith Publishing media department at 866-554-0919.

Russell N.,Northern Michigan University
Physical Review D - Particles, Fields, Gravitation and Cosmology | Year: 2015

A method is presented for deducing classical point-particle Lagrange functions corresponding to a class of quartic dispersion relations. Applying this to particles violating Lorentz symmetry in the minimal Standard-Model Extension leads to a variety of novel Lagrangians in flat spacetime. Morphisms in these classical systems are studied that echo invariance under field redefinitions in the quantized theory. The Lagrange functions found offer new possibilities for understanding Lorentz-breaking effects by exploring parallels with Finsler-like geometries. © 2015 American Physical Society.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: NSF INCLUDES | Award Amount: 299.94K | Year: 2016

Northern Michigan Universitys Center for Native American Studies and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion will lead this Design and Development Launch Pilot about culturally inclusive K-16 STEM education for American Indian and Native Alaskan (AIAN) students. This project was created in response to the NSF Inclusion across the Nation of Communities of Learners of Underrepresented Discoverers in Engineering and Science (NSF INCLUDES) program solicitation (NSF 16-544). The INCLUDES program is a comprehensive national initiative designed to enhance U.S. leadership in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) discoveries and innovations focused on NSFs commitment to diversity, inclusion, and broadening participation in these fields. The INCLUDES Design and Development Launch Pilots represent bold, innovative ways for solving a broadening participation challenge in STEM.

The full participation of all of Americas STEM talent is critical to the advancement of science and engineering for national security, health and prosperity. Our nation is advancing knowledge and practices to address the undergraduate STEM achievement and the graduation gap between NAAIs and non-native Americans. This project, the NSF INCLUDES: Indigenous Women Working Within the Sciences (IWWS), has the potential to advance knowledge, instructional pedagogy and practices to improve the performance of NAAI high school students and undergraduate students in STEM.

This project team will work to: (1) pilot activities and coursework to train K-16 STEM educators about American Indian inclusive methods and materials, (2) to provide AIAN high school students with STEM college preparatory experience using inclusive STEM practices, and (3) to provide a cohort of female AIAN high school students additional university experiences and mentors as these students transition to postsecondary education. Activities include a five-day summer educators institute for 40 K-16 STEM educators, an additional weekend workshop for 20 K-16 STEM educators, a summer STEM academy for 96 AIAN high school students, a STEM weekend workshop for female AIAN high school students, and a mentoring program for AIAN high school students.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: S-STEM:SCHLR SCI TECH ENG&MATH | Award Amount: 159.89K | Year: 2011

This project is implementing a program for increasing the adoption of technology-enhanced active learning in classes taught by science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) faculty. Student-centered active learning techniques and incorporation of technology into teaching are identified as having positive effects on learning in STEM disciplines. However, barriers to these approaches - including lack of time, institutional support, and training, as well as the prevalence of traditional classrooms designed for passive lectures prevent their broad adoption. This project addresses those barriers by: 1) Facilitating the implementation of technologically-enhanced active learning by developing a cohort of six STEM focal point faculty (Catalysts) who immerse themselves in active learning pedagogy, redesign their own courses, and serve as models for their peers, 2) Establishing a student-centered technology-rich studio classroom designed to support active learning pedagogy, and 3) Assessing the effectiveness of technologies used in active learning pedagogy in order to provide best practice recommendations. These efforts increase the incorporation of active learning into all STEM disciplines at the university. Information and lessons learned are shared with other institutions through publications, an online teaching commons, and conference presentations. The Catalyst program for facilitating adoption of active learning techniques is replicable, enhancing the likelihood of transformational change in STEM education and broadening participation in the sciences. The studio classroom design is based on existing active classroom methodology and, by sharing the assessment of its technological innovations, will further the development of this area of education.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Continuing grant | Program: | Phase: Biodiversity: Discov &Analysis | Award Amount: 225.00K | Year: 2013

This museum-based study of northern biological diversity will link academic, state and federal institutions, and will result in an integrated biological inventory of high-latitude plants, mammals and associated parasites in Siberia, Alaska and Canada. A focus on poorly known regions in the Arctic and subarctic will build a comprehensive picture of biotic structure, evolution, and ecology, establishing a foundation for detecting and predicting responses to accelerated environmental change. Specimens and biological information will be made available via globally accessible databases, providing a pathway to assess the history, relationships and distribution of inter-hemispheric diversity. Cutting-edge molecular tools applied to new collections of plant, mammal, and parasite specimens will allow investigators and students to determine the sequence, age, location, and consequences of major climatic events that structured northern biodiversity.

Broader impacts emerge from the availability of specimens for studies of zoonotic diseases and conservation genetics. The project will provide training and experience for US students participating in highly productive international collaborations in Russia, Finland and Canada. Infrastructure in the US will be strengthened by augmenting museum collection resources, which will be available to scientists and educators for study as they tackle emerging challenges for science and society.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: I-Corps | Award Amount: 50.00K | Year: 2016

The broader impact/commercial potential of this I-Corps project is to provide brain training and assessment solutions for a variety of commercial uses through an adaptable virtual reality visual spatial training technology. These include treatments for mild traumatic brain injury, cognitive decline and vision decrements as well as improvements/training in driver safety, academic performance, and police and armed forces performance and safety. The back-end program analytics will be able to learn from large numbers of users and potentially develop new solutions for novel customer problems. With future incorporation of machine learning, the technology could become highly personalized to each users unique needs. These future markets represent a growing trend of brain fitness and brain performance products. The technology uniquely partners with the huge emerging markets of virtual reality, micro technology and quantifiable-self industries.

This I-Corps project addresses the need for a technology that continually challenges functional and cognitive brain patterns in a safe environment. This innovation provides a novel way to assess additional brain systems which are more sensitive to brain injury, thus offering more perceptive assessment of mild traumatic brain injury. The technology is a series of tasks controlled by an algorithm that demands the use of the occipital and parietal lobes as well as the attentional networks. The algorithm efficiently determines the users current ability. It also provides a novel ability to switch from assessment to rehabilitation. New research indicates that the injured brain may not recover as quickly with the traditional wait and see method compared to a protocol that requires neuronal activity. A pilot study showed improvements in balance, attention and reaction time in collegiate athletes. Additional research demonstrated improvements in low vision children over several training sessions. This technology challenges the brain to complete familiar tasks in a virtual reality world where the chance of re-injury during the recovery phase is eliminated.

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