The World is Your Classroom
As an EEGS major at NMU, you’ll have the opportunity to discover your world from a variety of perspectives. Unlike many universities where part-time faculty members or graduate students teach lower-division courses, full-time faculty members teach all of our classes. Since our class sizes are typically small (ranging from 10-40 students for courses above the 100 level), dedicated professors and faculty members will give you personalized attention.
Advising & Registration
The EEGS Department faculty and staff cannot over-emphasize how important it is to meet with your academic advisor and to take personal responsibility for understanding your plan of study. Advisors assist with semester schedules, unofficial degree evaluations, course substitutions, internship opportunities, and much more.
As many of our current students will probably tell you, the best thing about being an EEGS major is the fieldwork. You might go on a camping trip to the Keweenaw Peninsula to study geologic formations. Perhaps you’d like to study abroad. Our professors have led field trips to Scotland, Brazil, and Cuba–exposing students to the geography of other countries. EEGS majors have also studied abroad in Costa Rica, Greece, Japan, New Zealand, and Sweden. All of these experiences help prepare our students for fruitful careers.
Internships help students apply what they have learned in the classroom, explore what a given profession entails, and gain practical experience that is increasingly important for securing a job after graduation. EEGS students may register for 2 to 6 credits of GC 491 Internship to have the experience included on their NMU transcript.
Each January the Financial Aid Office invites students to apply for NMU Donor-funded Scholarships through MyNMU. The deadline is in February. Some of the scholarships that are tied closely to the EEGS Department include the following:
- Farrell Cartography Scholarship
- Gerlinde and Marvin Lewis Scholarship
- John & Patricia Vacilek Environmental Science Scholarship
- John S. Presensky Endowed Scholarship
- Taube-Hughes Earth Science Award
- U.P. Environmental Conservation Scholarship
Use the Search tools at the Donor-Funded Scholarship website to search for these.
The Financial Aid Web site also has information on additional sources of aid.
WELLBEING is a holistic concept encompassing biological, psychological, social, ecological, and spiritual dimensions of health. The wellbeing of every individual contributes to the wellbeing of our NMU community as a whole. Please check out the many resources listed on the NMU WellBeing Student Resources page. A Health Advocate is available for after-hours telehealth, and the phone number is listed on the WellBeing page.
Student Award Winners
Outstanding Graduating Senior Award, May 2023
May 2023 graduate Mackenzie Finton is outstanding for double majoring in two rigorous programs: Environmental Science and Biochemistry. She has demonstrated her ability to apply herself, quickly master complex material, complete high quality work, and exhibit exceptional field, lab, and computational skills. She is part of NMU’s Eta Chi Chapter of Gamma Theta Upsilon International Geographical Honor Society. Additionally, Mackenzie completed an important senior capstone project on PFAS in local well water. Faculty also recognized her volunteer efforts on a collaborative research project with Chemistry and EEGS Department faculty and students to determine concentrations of several heavy metals in organic and non-organic fruits and vegetables purchased locally. Mackenzie is an engaged student who completes her class assignments thoroughly, while also working an off-campus job many hours a week at Babycakes Muffin Co. Mackenzie is incredibly grateful for all the opportunities and support she has been given by the EEGS and Chemistry Departments over her years at NMU and looks forward to applying the skills she has gained in her future career.
4.0 Scholastic Grade Point Average
Ansje DeJonge is a May 2023 graduate with a 4.0 GPA. She majored in Environmental Studies and Sustainability with minors in Writing and in Teaching English to Speakers of other Languages. She earned a certification in basic study of Spanish. Ansje is passionate about sustainability and fascinated by linguistics. For her senior capstone project, she combined these two interests to trace how phrases that communicate about climate change have evolved over time. She gathered data from student-published newspapers at 12 universities in the U.S. to map regional differences in the words used to describe climate change (including greenhouse effect, global warming, carbon footprint). Her findings could help reduce miscommunication caused by using terms with multiple perceived meanings. Ansje hails from Petoskey, Michigan. During her time at Northern, she pursued her hobbies of skiing, rock climbing, hiking, and fishing.
View past student award winners.
4.0 Scholastic Grade Point Average
Jane Fitkin graduated in December 2022, maintaining a 4.0 GPA while earning a B.S. in Environmental Studies and Sustainability with a Political Science minor. Jane made Marquette her home when she came up to NMU in 2019, and has invested significant time toward improving the community through conservation, community aid, and policy efforts. Her capstone research focused on Marquette City policy regarding brownfield redevelopment and bicycle infrastructure, creating policy recommendations to encourage the City to make these programs more environmentally friendly and community-centric. In college Jane served as President of the Eta Chi Chapter of Gamma Theta Upsilon International Geographical Honor Society for three semesters and as a Co-leader of the NMU Conservation Crew for four semesters. She also has supported the local climbing and agricultural community through her affiliation with the Marquette Climbers’ Cooperative, both during school and post-graduation. Jane is endlessly thankful to her many professors at NMU who challenged her, valued her, and led her through this academic journey. She looks forward to using her skills learned at NMU to benefit her community.
4.0 Scholastic Grade Point Average
Makaylee Kuhn, a May 2023 graduate, earned a 4.0 while majoring in Environmental Science with a Natural Resources concentration and a Sustainability minor. Makaylee hails from Hilbert, Wisconsin, and captains the Women’s Basketball Team. She is a frequent top-scorer and earned All-Conference honors three years in a row. In 2022 Makaylee was NMU Female Student-Athlete of the Year, and she was a Wildcat Scholar-Athlete of the Month for November 2022. Makaylee serves as secretary of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. For her senior capstone project Makaylee surveyed student-athletes and NMU Athletics staff members to gather baseline information about sustainability perceptions and efforts within NMU Athletics. This project bridges the gap between two of her greatest passions. NMU’s College of Graduate Studies accepted Makaylee to pursue a Master of Interdisciplinary Studies next year, for which she plans to apply her knowledge of natural science to address issues of environmental injustice. Makaylee shared, “I am incredibly grateful for the EEGS faculty and staff that supported me and challenged me along the way. :)”
4.0 Scholastic Grade Point Average
Bailey Swanson is graduating in May 2023 with a 4.0 GPA, a major in Environmental Studies and Sustainability, an EEGS Cluster Minor titled Environmental Sociology, and a certificate in intermediate study for Spanish. During her time at NMU, Bailey was able to dive deep into learning about the human and societal aspects of the environment, and how all of these pieces interact. For her senior capstone project, Bailey developed and implemented ways to raise awareness of the Lincoln Street Community Garden (LCG). At NMU, Bailey joined the Eta Chi chapter of Gamma Theta Upsilon International Geographical Honor Society.
Bailey shared these memories of her time at Northern: “I'm very grateful for the staff and faculty here; they saw so much value in our ideas and projects and always encouraged us to take our projects farther than we thought they could even go. One of my favorite examples of this was the native plant rain garden which started out as just a paper for a class assignment, but we were encouraged to take it farther and turn it into an actual proposal to submit to the Green Fund—and it was chosen and actually came to fruition. Another example was the Climate Action Resolution that started as a drafted statement by students, and with the help of professors and many students like me who made signs and posters and showed up to multiple City Commission meetings, it became a fully-fledged Climate Action Resolution that was actually passed by the City Commission. I was honored to take part in these moments on campus and to be a part of such an amazing community.”
View past student award winners.
Past Award Winners
Outstanding Graduating Senior Award, April 2022 - Lauren Argetsinger
Congratulations to Lauren Argetsinger, the EEGS Department’s 2022 Outstanding Graduating Senior, who graduated in April with an Environmental Science major and concentration in Pollution Control and Remediation. At NMU she discovered her interests in water quality and biogeography, and she developed her strengths in chemistry by working in the stockroom and testing municipal water for her senior capstone course. Lauren incorporated field work, quantitative and GIS analysis, and remote sensing into other class projects to help agencies manage natural resources. She explored the challenges and rewards of collaborating with academics, non-profit organizations, and government agencies. During her senior year Lauren served as Secretary of NMU’s Eta Chi chapter of Gamma Theta Upsilon International Geographical Honor Society. Lauren shared that she is “so appreciative of the EEGS faculty who were always ready to help me succeed and who made a huge impact on my NMU experience.” The EEGS Department wishes her great success in protecting water quality and someday pursuing a graduate degree.
Outstanding Graduating Senior Award, May 2021 - Jacklyn Lenten
The EEGS Department celebrates Jacklyn Lenten for her outstanding academic achievements and myriad leadership contributions while completing her May 2021 B.S. degree. Jacklyn is an Environmental Science major with a concentration in Natural Resources and a self-designed EEGS Cluster minor titled Environmental Justice and Advocacy. For two years Jacklyn has served as a co-leader of the NMU Conservation Crew, and she is an active member of Gamma Theta Upsilon International Geographical Honor Society. As a field technician for the Outdoor Learning Area, Jacklyn helped transform the GeoPark into a welcoming and educational garden. A native of nearby Negaunee, Jacklyn was the first U.P. native to be named a John A. Muter Scholar, and she took part in MSU Extension’s Lake and Stream Leaders Institute. Here’s to Jacklyn’s bright future of putting her education into action for Planet Earth!
4.0 Scholastic Grade Point Average, May 2021 - Hilde Eide
Hilde Eide, a 4.0 student, is a May 2021 graduate in Environmental Science with a Renewable Energy Technologies concentration. Hailing from Beitostølen, Norway, Hilde has studied at NMU for two years. After one more year at NMU she plans to return to Norway to complete a Master’s degree in renewable energy. Hilde is the captain of the NMU Nordic Ski Team, and is a stellar competitor and January 2021 Scholar-Athlete of the Month. She serves on the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and is a member of Gamma Theta Upsilon International Geographical Honor Society. For her senior capstone project Hilde collaborated with Michigan Tech scientists on a feasibility study of underground pumped hydro storage in the Mather B mine in Negaunee. Hilde observed that, “Nothing can beat a sunset over Lake Superior in fall.” Her professors in the EEGS Department agree.
4.0 Scholastic Grade Point Average, December 2020 - Lauren Nyenhuis
Lauren earned a 4.0 while completing her December 2020 B.A. degree in 2.5 years at NMU. She majored in Environmental Studies & Sustainability and minored in Music. Academic highlights include a faculty-led study abroad in Baracoa, Cuba, and internships with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and the Sierra Club. Lauren won first place in the NMU English Department’s 2020 Houston Award essay contest. For her capstone research she determined that consignment stores in her case study are a sustainable way for unwanted clothing to be repurposed and kept from the landfill. Lauren was also an active member of EcoReps, Gamma Theta Upsilon International Geographical Honor Society, Superior Edge, and the Orchestra, Concert Band, and Wind Ensemble. Lauren is incredibly grateful for the EEGS faculty who challenged and supported her—and the EEGS Department appreciates her contributions to the NMU community.
Outstanding Graduating Senior Award, April 2020 - Alexis Ashcroft
Alexis Ashcroft is the Earth, Environmental & Geographical Sciences Department’s 2020 Outstanding Graduating Senior. With a 3.98 GPA, Alexis graduates in May 2020 with a major in Environmental Studies & Sustainability and minor in Alternative Energies, with support from the John S. Presensky Scholarship. For two years she served as the president of the Rock and Mineral Club, organizing field trips to explore the regional geology. Alexis is the historian for NMU’s Eta Chi chapter of Gamma Theta Upsilon International Geographical Honor Society. While at NMU—including for her senior capstone project—she has developed her interest in renewable energy technology, and she plans to pursue a career in that field. Alexis is grateful for the experiences she has had in the EEGS Department at NMU.
4.0 Scholastic Grade Point Average, April 2020 - Marissa Begnoche
Marissa Begnoche graduates in May 2020 with a 4.0 GPA, an Environmental Studies & Sustainability major, and an Alternative Energies minor. She has been active at NMU as a member of EcoReps, helping put on events like Clothing Swaps and Mend-it-Mondays. Marissa is a member of NMU’s Eta Chi Chapter of Gamma Theta Upsilon International Geographical Honor Society, and was the secretary for Women for Women. She has worked at the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum, Petoskey State Park, and Lavender Hill Farm (LHF). Her senior capstone project examines methods for improving the farm’s environmental sustainability, and she looks forward to returning to work at LHF this summer. Marissa’s hobbies include gardening, knitting, baking, and camping. Here’s to a bright future, Marissa!
Outstanding Graduating Senior Award, April 2019 - Holly Roth
Holly Roth, a December 2018 Environmental Science graduate with a Water Resources concentration, is the Earth, Environmental & Geographical Sciences Department’s 2019 Outstanding Graduating Senior. For her Freshman Fellowship project she analyzed temporal relationships between stream discharge and precipitation. She then immersed herself in the Superior Buoys initiative, helping deploy buoys on Lake Superior and presenting analyses of weather data at Science on Tap and regional, national, and international conferences. Holly participated in NMU’s Superior Edge, Mortar Board, Sigma Xi, and Northern Arts & Entertainment. She honed her leadership skills as president of Eta Chi–Gamma Theta Upsilon International Geographical Honor Society and co-organizer of two March for Science events. In the fall Holly will pursue a Master’s of Geography at the University of Colorado Boulder.
4.0 Scholastic Grade Point Average, April 2019 - Nicholas Matonich
Nicholas Matonich graduates in May 2019 with a Geomatics major, Computer Science minor, and 4.0 GPA. Nick transferred to NMU intending to pursue an academic program that would enable him to engage with maps. He serves as a lab assistant tutoring his peers in the GIS/Remote Sensing Lab of the Department of Earth, Environmental & Geographical Sciences. For more than a year Nick has worked as a GIS/Distribution Engineering Intern at Marquette Board of Light and Power. This experience inspired him to develop a senior project on mapping vandalism. Nick is a member of NMU’s Eta Chi Chapter of Gamma Theta Upsilon International Geographical Honor Society. Perhaps you have heard him on WUPX Student Radio? Nick plans to pursue a GIS career.
Outstanding Graduating Senior Award, May 2018 - Raven Mitchell
Raven Mitchell is the Earth, Environmental & Geographical Sciences Department’s 2018 Outstanding Graduating Senior. As an Earth Science major and French minor, Raven is also a member of the NMU women’s varsity soccer team and the Gamma Theta Upsilon International Geographical Honor Society. Raven assisted with research at the Huron Mountain Club and interned with the Marquette County Conservation District. Funded by a USDA grant Raven studied ways to increase conservation of the Kirtland’s warbler through sustainable forestry in jack pine stands. Before graduation in May 2018 she presented this research at the annual meeting of the American Association of Geographers in New Orleans. Raven’s infectious enthusiasm and positive attitude will propel her through graduate school where she plans to continue her career in geography.
Outstanding Graduating Senior Award, May 2017 - Maria Rockett
Maria Rockett is recognized as the Earth, Environmental & Geographical Sciences Department’s 2017 Outstanding Graduating Senior. Maria exhibits a tremendous work ethic, is a natural leader, and demonstrates outstanding professional skills as a writer and public speaker. She regularly exceeds expectations of her instructors. Maria exemplifies the Department’s mission statement as she integrates physical, social, and spatial sciences to analyze issues that challenge the human–environment relationship. She had a co-authored abstract accepted to present at the National Environmental Justice Conference and Training Program in Washington, D.C. Her project examines how the spatial patterns of lead in the water of Flint, Michigan, correlate with demographic and income data. Maria is thankful to graduate in May 2017 with many experiences and skills gained through the EEGS Department. She plans to take what she has learned at Northern on to graduate school, ultimately seeking a career in environmental justice.
Technology Innovation Award, April 2017 - Jack Johnson
Jack Johnson received a 2017 Technology Innovation Award during the opening ceremony of the 22nd Annual Celebration of Student Scholarship. Jack combined his mapping and GIS skills from his Geomatics major with background from his Art and Design minor to create raised relief maps of the Huron Mountains and Sleeping Bear Dunes.
Outstanding Graduating Senior Award, April 2016 - Melissa Orzechowski
Melissa Orzechowski is outstanding for completing a triple major in English Writing, Environmental Studies and Sustainability, and Communication Studies with a minor in Spanish, but her experiences and contributions extend way beyond Northern’s classrooms. As a Freshman Fellow she was awarded first place in the group poster division at the Celebration for Student Research. She served as president of the Honors Student Organization. Working toward her goal of helping people and the environment, Melissa volunteered at the NMU Hoop House, participated in the Student Leader Fellowship Program, helped establish the Northern Climate Network, studied abroad in Spain, interned at the Land Trust Alliance through the Washington Center, led environmental education events for children, and contributed to Marquette’s climbing community. With her boundless energy and enthusiasm Melissa is well poised to attend graduate school and pursue a career in academia.
Outstanding Graduating Senior Award, May 2015 - Lauren Somogyi
Lauren Somogyi began her four years at NMU as a freshman fellow in the Department of Earth, Environmental, and Geographical Sciences. For her yearlong project she analyzed tree rings to reconstruct the historical record of fires in a local forest. From that introduction to research, she pursued her interests in Environmental Studies and Sustainability with a minor in Math. Lauren’s professors admire her respectfulness and high achievements in the classroom, but what makes her truly outstanding is the myriad additional activities to which she devotes her boundless energy and enthusiasm: Marching Band, Superior Edge (logging more than 615 volunteer hours), Women for Women, Relay for Life, Student Leader Fellowship Program, Mortar Board, and Gamma Theta Upsilon International Geographical Honor Society. Lauren also works for Girl Scouts. Coming full circle academically and personally before graduating in May 2015, Lauren will present updated research from her freshman fellowship at a national conference of geographers in Chicago…which happens to be close to her hometown.
Outstanding Graduating Senior Award, May 2014 - Holly Wahl
Holly Wahl originally intended to study civil engineering, but she discovered her interest in geographic information systems (GIS) as the result of a scheduling mishap. After realizing how much she enjoyed computer mapping, she completed a GIS certificate program at a community college, where her final project earned her free registration to the ESRI User Conference in San Diego in July 2012. In August 2012, she transferred to NMU to pursue a Geomatics degree in the Department of Earth, Environmental, and Geographical Sciences. Holly has been a planning assistant/intern with the Marquette County Planning Division since May 2013 and a GIS lab assistant/tutor for the EEGS Department since September 2013. In April 2014 NMU honored Holly for her 4.0 GPA. Following graduation, Holly will seek employment in the GIS profession. In her spare time Holly is a member of the ballroom, swing, and international dance clubs at NMU.
Outstanding Graduating Senior Award, May 2013 - Elizabeth (Libby) Woodford
Elizabeth (Libby) Woodford entered the department of earth, environmental and geographical sciences as a Freshman Fellow. She chose to study earth science and quickly revealed her potential as a scholar and a leader. She will graduate in May 2013, having achieved her bachelor's degree in three and a half years. During her time at Northern, she presented research at two professional conferences, served as the president of two EEGS department clubs, received a Spooner student research grant, was awarded the Ishpeming Rock and Mineral Club scholarship twice and studied volcanoes in Kamchatka, Russia. She excelled in a challenging degree program, earning a 3.88 GPA. "I feel humble and thankful," she said. "It was wonderful to receive recognition from faculty members I very much respect." Libby is motivated by her love of science and an interest in learning more about the world. She is exploring various options for graduate school.
Outstanding Graduating Senior Award, May 2012 - Laura Judge
Soon after enrolling at Northern, Laura Judge declared an Environmental Science major and later added a Spanish major after she was inspired by an immersion-based semester abroad in Cusco, Peru. In addition to committing herself to academics, and earning a 4.0 grade point average in the process, Laura pursues many other activities. She fell in love with rowing on the NMU crew team, serving on the executive board for two years. Laura is also an active member of the Environmental Science Organization and was vice president for one year. During undergraduate summers she assisted as a conservation volunteer in Australia, worked for the National Park Service, and interned with the Natural Resources Conservation Service. Next stop for Laura is an internship on an organic farm in New Mexico, possibly followed by graduate studies in sustainable agriculture.
Technology Innovation Award, April 2012 - Matthew Claucherty
In April 2012, Matthew Claucherty, a GIS major in the Department of Earth, Environmental, and, Geographical Sciences won a Technology Innovation Awards for Students from the Educational Technology and Resource Policy Committee. Congratulations, Matt! Claucherty’s award winning project was conceived in Professor Robert Legg’s GC 428 Spatial Analysis class. The project uses ArcMap 10 to quantify wilderness foot-travel variables and then calculate a least-cost path between two designated points. The variables include land slope, vegetation density, and presence of water bodies.
Marquette County’s digital elevation model (DEM) was used to create a slope layer. Matt used aerial photos to delineate vegetation density/forest structure. State data for water bodies and wetlands were also included. These factors were combined to generate impedances values (i.e., how greatly a feature impedes foot travel). Open, level areas have low impedance values. Areas with steep slopes and/or dense vegetation have higher impedance values. Water bodies have the highest impedance value because they are not traversable by foot. Using a least-cost path tool Matt's project then mathematically determines point-to-point routes based on impedance values.