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Success Story: Great Lakes campus hosts pair of prestigious conferences

September 25, 2019

Marine tech student aboard the research vessel NorthwesternMarine Technology student Max CroweA pair of conferences at the Great Lakes campus over the next week will advance national dialogue in two key program areas, showcase NMC’s top-tier marine technology (pictured) and culinary programs and facilities, and offer students an early glimpse at career prospects.

Great Lakes TechSurge: Lakebed 2030, a regional conference of the Marine Technology Society (MTS), will convene at NMC’s Great Lakes Campus Oct. 1–2. Internationally recognized for its conferences and technical symposiums, host cities for other upcoming MTS events include Houston, Seattle and Rio de Janiero, Brazil. The Traverse City event is held in parallel with a global initiative, Seabed 2030, which aspires to map the bottom of the world’s oceans by 2030.

Great Lakes Water Studies Institute Director Hans Van Sumeren, the Great Lakes section chair of the MTS, said he proposed the conference here to be sure the lakes weren’t left out of that initiative.

“Mapping in general provides multiple users the ability to better understand impacts,” said Van Sumeren, including fisheries, invasive species, navigation and coastal resiliency, or changes due to climate impacts and water levels.

“Things that are real in the Great Lakes today,” said Van Sumeren, who estimated less than 10 percent of the Great Lakes lakebed has been mapped at high resolution. The conference will allow MTS members from academia, government and industry to discuss and prioritize what data to collect and how to do so.

“It won’t happen unless we have the conversations about prioritization and collaboration,” Van Sumeren said. “It furthers the opportunity for everyone to help shape what we’re doing.”

Culinary studentsGreat Lakes TechSurge comes on the heels of Farms, Food & Health, set for Thursday–Sunday at both the Great Lakes Culinary Institute and the Hagerty Center. It’s the second time the campus has hosted the event connecting farmers and local food advocates with health care providers. NMC chef instructors will offer culinary medicine training for accredited healthcare professionals in addition to speakers, workshops and a vendor expo.

Last held in 2017, a new addition to this year’s event is student scholarships. NMC student Maya Koscielny, who is studying both culinary sales and marketing and fruit and vegetable crop management, will attend thanks to an NMC scholarship that covers her registration fees.

“People just need to be made more aware of the health implications,” of their diet, said Koscielny, who hopes for a career in sustainable farming practices. She’s even going to trade in her Saturday morning free time to attend.

“I’d rather be going to (the conference) than sleeping in,” she said.

Registration for Farms, Food and Health is closed, but the public is welcome to attend the free expo from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Friday at the Hagerty Center.

Meanwhile, Marine Technology students have the opportunity to see their research published via a poster symposium, and attend a career fair that’s part of Great Lakes TechSurge.

“They’re actively looking for students with our skills,” Van Sumeren said of the attendees. NMC offers the nation’s only bachelor’s degree in marine technology in the nation. Begun in 2015, the program just had its largest fall enrollment to date. A total of forty students are enrolled including Max Crowe, pictured top, conducting mapping and surveying work in Isle Royale National Park in Lake Superior this summer.

“The student success is building momentum,” Van Sumeren said.

Great Lakes TechSurge is still open for registration and include speakers and demonstrations from NMC vessels and in the Great Lakes campus harbor.

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