View of planet Earth

The Future is Now.

Outer space, oceans, our atmosphere, even our own molecules are in peril. But innovators, creators and engineers who dare to build castles in the air are pursuing solutions to save us all. Journey through discussions with alumni working on the cusp of tomorrow. 


Jim Shaughnessy

Feature Story: Technology and its Impact on Society

The dynamic duo of AI and ML has the potential to revolutionize much more than business practices. It is present already in many aspects of daily life, such as mapping apps, movie recommendations, facial recognition and car collision warning systems—just to name a few. 

“Some believe AI will be as ubiquitous, and world-changing, as the internet,” Jim Shaughnessy said. “I think that they’re right.”

Fully Charged

“Tesla’s mission is plastered all over the place: ‘Accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy,’” said Tyler Aymond ‘10 BFA, a senior manufacturing engineer with the revolutionary electric vehicle, energy storage, and solar company. “Almost everyone who works at Tesla is here for the mission. People are impassioned to fully contribute not because they want to get a promotion, but because they want to change the world in some small way.”

Space Rangers

Even though a piece of space junk falls to Earth each day, Austin Morris ’18 BS shares, “The threat isn’t it hitting us, but hitting the satellites we depend on in our everyday lives—for financial transactions, emergency weather alerts, navigation GPS, cell phone calls, online purchases, controlling autonomous vehicles.” And things like monitoring nuclear weapons.

The Wildcat and the Sea

Abandoned or discarded fishing nets, lines and ropes, commonly known as ghost gear, represent the bulk of large plastic pollution in the oceans and pose the greatest threat to marine life, according to the World Wildlife Fund. In addition, a National Geographic story last year stated the amount of plastic trash that flows annually from rivers into the oceans is expected to nearly triple by 2040 to 29 million metric tons. 

NMU alumnus Dr. Ray Timm '92 BS is charting a course for cleaning up the largest plastic accumulation in the Pacific.

Summer Presque Isle

To our many alumni nurses, physicians, clinicians, teachers, police officers, truck drivers, hospitality specialists and other essential workers, we admire, respect and appreciate you and your selfless commitment to helping others during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Thank You, Wildcat Heroes.


Masks on Campus

NMU Plans Return to Full Operation This Fall

The university is preparing to be fully operational this fall, returning to pre-pandemic levels of face-to-face instruction, services and campus activities. President Fritz Erickson said Northern’s ability to continue in-person classes and keep its residence halls open this past academic year has increased his optimism for the fall semester.

“Our goal is to be back to the way things were in 2019. We see no reason at this point in time why that shouldn’t happen, and we look forward to the vibrancy that’s normally on campus to return. We’ve learned that what students want most of all is the interactive experience of face-to-face learning. That’s what is guiding us as we prepare for the fall.” -President Fritz Erickson

Summer orientation sessions are being held virtually, but summer academic and athletic camps for youth are being held in person, as well as a “Northern Experience” for families. Most summer courses are usually offered online. The campus is again open to visitors.

For the ability to remain open this past year and keep COVID-19 case numbers relatively low, Erickson credited the faculty, staff and students’ flexibility and adaptability; mass testing of all students and employees at the start and throughout the semesters; and strong relationships with various community groups, such as the Marquette County Health Department, which provided vaccines to the community at the Northern Center and valuable guidance to NMU.

He also credited Northern’s notebook computer program and high-speed broadband provided through its Educational Access Network (EAN), which were critical to students, faculty and staff. The EAN also benefited school districts and families in rural communities across the Upper Peninsula that previously had no internet and were suddenly confronted with the demands of virtual instruction.