A Closer Look
#99 August Newsletter

LMC Events - Activities - Presentations - Awards - AWRI In The News

Pictured in clockwise orientation, starting in upper left: Alexander Wieten, Nicole Horne, Stephanie Sherburn, and Andrew Sisson, with Elizabeth LaRue in center

Incoming Graduate Students at AWRI

Graduate students are a vital and critical part of our mission at the Annis Water Resources Institute (AWRI). Hands-on student training and development have been a hallmark of AWRI since its inception, both at the undergraduate and graduate levels. However, the depth of training is greater and more intense at the master's level, and expectations for information synthesis and critical thinking from graduate students are higher.

AWRI welcomes five new graduate assistants to our program this Fall 2010 semester. Below is a brief overview of who they are and what research projects they will be working on with their advisors.

Alexander Wieten is from Grand Rapids, Michigan, and received his B.S. Degree in Biology with an emphasis in Aquatic Fisheries from Grand Valley State University. He will be working with Dr. Carl Ruetz, studying the status of Lake Sturgeon in the Muskegon River System. Alex enjoys spending time with his two year old Golden Retriever named Ruby.

Nicole Horne is from Muskegon, Michigan, and received her B.S. Degree in Chemistry from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She will be working with Dr. Bopi Biddanda, studying the structure and function of the biological layer of the Hydraid Biosand Filter System, which is being developed by Cascade Engineering to provide a low-cost alternative for water treatment in developing countries. Nicole is also the Senior Pastor of Cornerstone Church in Muskegon.

Stephanie Sherburn is from Muskegon, Michigan, and received her B.S. Degree in Chemistry from Hope College. She will be working with Dr. Ryan Thum, studying the evolutionary genetics of herbicide resistance in invasive aquatic plants. During the summer, Stephanie plays the flute and piccolo in the Pentwater Civic Band.

Andrew Sisson is from Grand Rapids, Michigan, and received his B.S. Degree in Natural Resources Management from Grand Valley State University. He will be working with Dr. Rick Rediske, studying the various aspects of the Hydraid Biosand Filter System, hoping to make improvements on turbidity and E. coli removal. In his spare time, Andrew works at a Christian coffee shop, serving coffee, bagels, and other goodies, all free of charge, to the west side of Grand Rapids.

Elizabeth LaRue is from Muskegon, Michigan, and received her B.S. Degree in Biology with an emphasis in Aquatic Sciences from Grand Valley State University. She will be working with Dr. Ryan Thum, studying the genetics and evolution of invasive water milfoils. Liz is crazy about aquarium fish, particularly Bettas.

Lake Michigan Center Events

August 11            A program was presented to summer students from Kentwood Public Schools in the Annis Educational Foundation Classroom.

August 18            The GVSU Admissions Office held a staff retreat in the Multipurpose Room and was given a tour of the building by Janet Vail.

August 23            Matt Altenritter, a graduate student working with Carl Ruetz, successfully defended his Masters Thesis and will be moving on to pursue his doctorate degree at the University of Maine.

August 27            The GVSU Johnson Center for Philanthropy held the first in a four part series, “Nonprofit Skill Building Workshops”, in the Multipurpose Room.

August 28            Janet Vail hosted a tour of the Lake Michigan Center followed by a luncheon for the international visitors in town for the GVSU 50th Anniversary Celebration.

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AWRI Activities

John Koches chaired the Lower Grand River Watershed Data, Information, and Procedures Committee at East Grand Rapids City Hall on August 2.

Matt LeaTrea has completed his work on the development of a UV fluorescence method for anatoxin. Matt is a high school teacher from Montague who worked with Rick Rediske this summer as part of the Target Inquiry Program in Chemistry.

Aileen Leinenbach, a graduate student from Germany working with Janet Vail, attended the GLOBE annual meeting in Calgary, Canada, from July 29 through August 2. 

Rick Rediske met with the GVSU Honors College about a study abroad program proposal for a service learning trip to Ghana; he may have the opportunity to lead the trip next summer. The focus will be on both cultural and clean water issues.

Rick Rediske attended a meeting about a potential future project for Tyler Creek (Coldwater River Watershed). The MDNRE and watershed association members were present.

Carl Ruetz attended GVSU’s Fall Conference on Teaching and Learning in Grand Rapids on August 25.

Carl Ruetz spoke to incoming freshman about getting the most out of their college experience, as well as being successful, as part of GVSU’s Transitions Fall Orientation program and attended convocation on August 27.

Al Steinman briefed Grand Rapids Mayor George Heartwell on the Asian carp threat on August 25.

Al Steinman attended the Mapping Great Lakes Threats Workshop #3 in Ann Arbor from August 25-27.

Al Steinman served on Central Michigan University’s Biostation Science Advisory Board on Beaver Island from August 30-September 1.

Janet Vail and Aileen Leinenbach attended the Climate Change Summit 2010 in Dearborn on August 24.

The W.G. Jackson is currently undergoing a hull inspection and overall maintenance review as required by the U.S. Coast Guard every five years. This process will take approximately three weeks. 

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AWRI Presentations

Amanda Maycroft and Amanda Syers presented programs for developmentally challenged adults at Camp Sunshine on August 2 and August 6.

Al Steinman spoke to the Muskegon Rotary about AWRI-related activities on August 12.

Janet Vail, Amanda Syers, and the vessel instructors traveled to Chicago on the W.G. Jackson to teach sessions of an environmental policy class for DePaul University and a Great Lakes science class for Roosevelt University. The dates of the trip were August 3-5.

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"Bopi Biddanda is to be recognized by the Center for Ocean Science Education Excellence (COSEE) as a scientist who has been especially helpful with COSEE efforts, and effective in working with educators. The award will be presented at COSEE - Great Lakes summit to be held in Ohio on September 24-25, 2010."

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AWRI In The News

“Students raise money to bring water filters to Ghana”
Grand Valley Magazine, Summer 2010
AWRI is mentioned as assisting in the research on Biosand Water Filters.

“Grand Valley researchers earn $1.1 million in NSF grants”
Grand Valley Magazine, Summer 2010
Ryan Thum is one of the researchers who received NSF grants.

“Muskegon area water projects land big grants from Michigan’s Department of Environmental Quality”
Muskegon Chronicle, August 15, 2010
AWRI’s Analytical Lab will be doing quarterly sampling on Bear Lake/Bear Creek.

“Study of water levels moves into next phase”
Muskegon Chronicle, August 16, 2010
Al Steinman was interviewed regarding Great Lakes water levels.

“Boaters will be asked to support Muskegon Lake Research Fund: annual launch ramp stickers to come with donation request”
Muskegon Chronicle, August 16, 2010
AWRI is mentioned because of the long term monitoring of Muskegon Lake that is funded by the Muskegon Lake Research Fund.

“Invasive aquatic plants thriving in Spring Lake: warm weather and rain help Eurasian milfoil sprout”
Grand Haven Tribune, August 26, 2010
Al Steinman is quoted regarding the invasive Eurasian milfoil.

“Grand Valley State University professor to discuss the value of remediation”
Muskegon Chronicle, August 29, 2010
This article is about Dr. Paul Isely’s upcoming AWRI seminar on Sept. 10.

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Page last modified April 19, 2012