McNair Scholars Welcomes New Cohort

Please join us in welcoming these students to the NMU McNair Scholars Program at Northern Michigan University:

Maggie Hartman is a senior in the Fisheries and Wildlife program.  She writes, “I am a lover of the outdoors and nature, whether it be animal, plant or mineral. My post- undergrad goal is to expand my education in biology from fisheries and wildlife to entomology. I find insects absolutely fascinating! I was born and raised in Indiana. Though I love Michigan, I feel I have an obligation to help my home state. Indiana has vast room for improvement with the management and preservation of its natural resources. Ideally, I would like to work with insects and agriculture, but I am keeping myself open to other career paths at this point. At NMU I am involved with ASNMU, SLFP, and The Wildlife Society. Off campus I am in the preliminary stages of joining the Dead River Derby. In my down time, I enjoy hiking and rollerblading with my dog, cuddling my cat, snowboarding, and knitting.”

mcnair Maggie and her dog, Indy


Zach Jodoin is a sophomore majoring in Biology with a physiology emphasis.  He writes that,  “Although biology interests me, my true passion is medicine and children. I am currently accepted to Wayne State’s medical school through Northern’s MedStart Program. I hope to one day become a pediatric surgeon. I want to fight disease to give sick children the fair shot at life that they deserve. I have shadowed various physicians over the last four years and have logged around 500 hours in the hospital.”

Zach writes that he didn’t always want to be a doctor:  “Since I was in middle school, up until my junior year of high school, I was sure I wanted to be a pharmacist. I did all the research and was up to the school work, but after only one day of shadowing a pharmacist, I knew I couldn’t do that for the rest of my life. Signing off on orders and counting pills was not my cup of tea, I guess. My teacher decided to put me in the operating room to show me a completely different healthcare aspect. I observed a surgery performed that gave a man a second shot at a normal life (removed a colostomy), and when I saw the guy two weeks later in the office, he was in great shape and beyond happy with his life. I knew then that this was my new passion and I have been working towards that passion ever since.”

zach photo


Allyssa VanHorn is a senior studying Exercise Science who aspires to earn a Doctorate of Physical Therapy degree. A native Yooper, Allyssa would like to move away for a few years to embark on a journey of building experience in her field of study. Then, she writes that she would like to “return home to continue pursuing a career in Physical Therapy, and of course, enjoy the outdoors (yes – even the winter months).” Allyssa is interested in doing research concerning beliefs, knowledge, behaviors, and attitudes of Physical Therapists, as well as patient motivation for rehabilitation in different age groups. After receiving her D.P.T., she wants to use her expertise in Exercise Science and Physical Therapy to enrich the Physical Therapy profession, in addition to improving patients’ quality of life.  In her spare time, Allyssa enjoys mountain biking, hiking, and snowshoeing,

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Shelby Nguyen is a freshman in the Honors Program majoring in Nursing.  Originally from Ann Arbor, Shelby writes:  “I am fascinated by the practical applications of chemistry and biology in health care. New information and procedures are discovered frequently, and I would love to be a part of this constantly evolving health care system. In order to so, I plan on becoming a Nurse Anesthetist. I see myself working in the U.S, but I also hope to participate in Nurses without Borders so that I can help those in which the need for medical care is greatest. When I am not busy with schoolwork, I am a member of the Student Nurses Association, the Pre-Nursing Association, and I am in the Freshman Fellowship program. During my free time I enjoy reading, biking, and trying new activities including skiing and wind surfing.”



Stephen Wardell is a junior majoring in Philosophy and English Writing, with an Art and Design minor. His first love is making movies; writing comes in second.  He intends to go to graduate school to study film production, specifically directing and screenwriting. His favorite movies are Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Touch of Evil, and La Dolce Vita, but if asked he will probably give a different answer.
After graduate school, he would like to live in a quiet place and devote his life to film making and writing. Also, he thinks it would be fun to travel and teach English in Europe, or South Korea. When not studying or working at NMU’s Writing Center, you may find him playing in the snow with his cockapoo Ginger.



Ryan Peterson hails from Iron River, MI and is a sophomore pursuing a degree in History and Anthropology. He writes:  “My goal is to major in anthropology at Northern and to go on to achieve my PHD in archaeology. I have always loved learning about the past, and to me there is no better way to do that then to examine the remains of what far gone people have left behind. I look forward to trying to uncover the past and to trying to discover new things with my degree in archaeology. The reason I want a PHD in archaeology is because in order to do the research I plan to do I need to have an advanced degree. Without it I would be unable to reach the goal I am striving to achieve. My goal is to focus my studies on ancient Mediterranean civilizations, but I also have an interest in local history. When not studying I like to spend my time outdoors. I am an avid hunter and fisher, and I have always enjoyed the beautiful area that the UP has to offer.”

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Ashley Adzima:  A UP native majoring in Physics with a minor in Mathematics, Ashley is in her third year at Northern and her second year working as a tutor in NMU’s Writing Center.  Ashley writes that she is also “focusing on computer science as that knowledge will be extremely helpful in my pursuits. I chose this direction because I have always been inherently curious about the world, and universe, that surrounds us. In my free time I love to read and write, about anything and everything. I am also an amateur in both astronomy and astrophotography. I feel strongly about having a connection outside of the Earth to gain perspective. It’s always humbling looking far out into our solar system to see the red spot on Jupiter, or the rings of Saturn.  As I continue onwards, I hope to focus my curiosity onto something specific, which will be difficult in such a broad area of study. The beauty in science to me is that there will always be something new to learn, another topic to master, and endless discoveries. I hope to meet and work with others that I can continuously learn from, and, in turn, become a part of something bigger than myself.”



Brent Pettigrew graduated from Northern Michigan University in 2013 with a Bachelors degree in Physical Education, but without a teaching certification.  He writes:  “I originally began the education program, but eventually left to graduate early. I knew graduating without a teaching certificate was risky, but I truly believed that I would be able to find a job I enjoyed with the degree that I had. After graduation, I moved to Traverse City, MI to live with my brother, who offered me a place to live, along with a job at his t-shirt company. After a few months, I wanted to find something different, so I applied to and received a job at Hobart Filler Metals, an aluminum wire manufacturing company. Although it was not in my field, it was a steady job with incredible management, co-workers, and benefits. However, I kept searching for other jobs related to my degree. The YMCA of Traverse City was hiring summer camp staff, so I quickly submitted my resume and application, and they employed me as their sports camp coordinator. Unfortunately, the position was seasonal, so after the summer ended I went back to the factory. After a year of being back in manufacturing, I knew I had to make a drastic change, and decided to come back to NMU to finish what I had originally started.  I love sports as well as the idea of promoting lifelong physical fitness and activities for everyone. I would like to obtain a Ph.D. so I can have a positive influence on as many people as possible. My favorite sport is football and I would like to become a high school football coach. I am also interested in Math and I am working towards a minor in Math Education. Above all else, I want to help adolescents learn, grow, and do my best to prepare them for the future.”

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Alysa Kilpela is a sophomore who was accepted into Northern’s BSN Nursing program in the fall of 2015.  She writes:  “As of now I am pursuing a BSN degree, but my ultimate goal is to obtain a DNP (Doctor of Nursing Practice). In the end I am hoping to become a nurse practitioner and I would love to dabble in a bit of teaching so I can shape young nurses as my professors have and will shape me. When I heard about McNair, I knew that this program would be perfect to help me pursue my future goals. My hometown is South Range which is located about ten minutes outside of Houghton (AKA Husky territory). In addition to my studies and work, I am part of many amazing organizations including residence hall government, Student Nurse’s Association, Superior Edge, and being a “big” for Big Brothers Big Sisters here in Marquette.”



Cheyenne Kaufman grew up on the shores of Lake Superior in Freda, Michigan about 14 miles outside of Houghton.  She is in her third year completing a double major in Music and Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences. Cheyenne writes:  “I am involved in the Arts Chorale, University Choir, the NMU Marching Band, Northern Lights a Cappella, and am the vice president of the National Student Speech, Language, and Hearing Association on campus. I am very excited to add the McNair Scholars Program to my list and can’t wait to see what this program really has to offer!  According to my mother, I’ve been singing since I was a baby. I can’t imagine my life without music; the experiences I’ve had performing music and the people I’ve met along the way have been life altering and I was so lucky to have found something that inspires such passion in me at such a young age. Though giving up music was never an option when I came to college even if it didn’t seem like the best or most sure career choice, I decided to see what else Northern had to offer. Knowing that I loved working with people and was fascinated by the techniques of singing and the voice, I became interested in Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences. I blindly jumped into classes for the major with no previous experience with the field, sure that this would be a good fit for me. As it so happened, I fell in love with Speech Pathology. Though double majoring takes a lot of time and effort, it is worth it to be able to learn about the two fascinating fields of study that I love.
After my undergraduate degree I plan on going to graduate school for Vocal Performance. Music opens life up in a way that nothing else can. I want to be able to make music with others who share this same sentiment. I want to be able to fill my days with beautiful sounds and inspire those who come to listen. After I have sung all there is to sing, I hope to go back to graduate school for a Master’s degree in Speech Pathology. Whether I end up working with children in a school setting or with the victims of stroke or even being a vocal coach for other classical singers, I know that speech therapy is going to be a career that is both challenging and rewarding. We all have the right to communication and for some, this right isn’t always easily performed. To help others find their voice is something I’m greatly looking forward to in the future.”



Anthony Webb is a secondary Math Education major with a minor in Biology Education.  Anthony writes:  “I’m a junior from Champion, Michigan.
Growing up in the Upper Peninsula I have been able to take advantage of the wonderful fishing and hiking locations. I love to spend time at our family’s camp hunting and hiking. I one day hope to teach students at a high school or maybe even a college level that the math they learn can be used to solve problems that still need solutions, not just the problems on a test, much as basic trigonometry can be used to estimate the number of gumballs in a gumball machine.  I have presented my algorithm on estimating the number of gumballs that would fit inside a gumball machine at NMU and Lake Superior State University, at the MAA Upper Peninsula Regional Fall Meeting. The algorithm uses nothing harder than basic trigonometry, so I was also able to construct a program on a basic graphing calculator to run my algorithm.  My algorithm is a little long and I am intrigued if I could shorten the process by shortening the equations I use or by using different mathematical approaches other than trigonometry to solve it.”



Andre Stringer is a senior majoring in marketing and minoring in pre-law. Andre writes:  “Upon graduation, I plan to enroll in a law school where I can reach my goal of becoming a business attorney. I was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan. I decided to attend NMU because I wanted to experience an area less urban than Detroit. I absolutely love Marquette and everything the city has to offer. I am very involved on campus through a number of programs and organizations. I enjoy playing lacrosse, hanging out with my residents, volunteering at the Lake Superior Village Youth and Family Center, and hanging out in my hammock! I’m very optimistic and I love to travel. My dream is to work for a large law firm in a major city focusing on transactional work and mergers and acquisitions. I’m so excited about the McNair Scholars Program this year and I look forward to being a part of something great!”

Andre Stringer


Ryan Borges is a fifth year senior.  He recently declared Secondary Special Education as his major and Physical Education as his minor.  Ryan writes:  “I’m originally from Bradenton, Florida and came up to Marquette to be a part of the Olympic Training Site as a Weightlifter. Outside of my academics, a lot of my time is dedicated to weightlifting, training five to eight times a week for two to three hours at a time. It definitely becomes a balancing act when staying on top of my classes. I have been competing for the past eleven years and represented Team USA at multiple international competitions.  During my second year at NMU I had an opportunity to volunteer for the Special Olympics and help start up Marquette’s first Special Olympic Powerlifting Team. Since then I continued to volunteer and coach for the Special Olympics and in the process was voted Special Olympic coach of the year for the Marquette Area. I’ve also had the amazing opportunity to coach my team at Michigan’s Special Olympic Games for the past two years. My experiences with the Special Olympics is my main incentive for wanting to become a special education teacher. The enjoyment that I see from my athletes when simply lifting weights definitely changes your perspective and your appreciation for things such as sports, education, and life in general.”

Ryan Borges


Kaitlynn Bortz is a sophomore majoring in Fisheries and Wildlife Management. She writes:  “I knew once I started my college career that I wanted to get the most out of the four years as I could. Therefore, I applied and was accepted into the Freshman Fellowship program. However, I had a desire to learn from and work closely with more than one faculty member this year. Since starting at NMU I have worked with Dr. Bruggink, Dr. Leonard, and Dr. Cumberlidge, all of whom have taught me incredible skills. I’ve continued working with Dr. Cumberlidge, redlisting freshwater crabs, but I have decided to continue working in the Fish Lab for my McNair project. After graduation I hope to attend graduate school, though where is still up for debate. I do know that I will be studying either Ichthyology or Herpetology for my Master;s degree.

“Outside of school my interests include reading, watching movies, and spending time with my family and pets. Ever since I was young I have had a variety of different animals as pets. Currently I have turtles, frogs, fish, and of course two dogs. They are a big reason that I would like to work in Natural Resource Management. I want to ensure that these species can persist and thrive for many years to come.”


Aaron Lewkowicz is majoring in Clinical Lab Sciences.  He writes, “I am currently studying clinical laboratory sciences because I am fascinated by the exploration to determine what is going on inside us and how can we find this out. In my future I would like to stay engaged in the pursuit to better understand biochemistry. Healthcare is very important to me too.  I am particularly concerned with providing quality healthcare to people in underserved communities, as well as in aiding to establish trust in healthcare across cultural boundaries. I would like to settle in the UP and build my own homestead one day. It would be enjoyable to learn about the earth through agriculture and perhaps have a herd of goats. I am also interested in Mycology and love spending my free time exploring the woods and discovering fungi.”

Aaron Lewkowicz


Welcome to all these new McNair Scholars!