Meet Our Students

Audit Form

Please use these forms when doing your academic planning.  If you have any questions contact the Gerstacker Institute staff or the Registrar's office.


pdfGerstacker Concentrations Audit Form



Kim Tunnicliff Endowment

Kim TunnicliffKim Tunnicliff started his career at Albion College in 1984 when he became a faculty member in the Political Science Department. As director of the then-named Gerald R. Ford Institute for Public Service from 1985 to 1999, he placed a special emphasis on developing experiential and international educational experiences for college students. He was highly regarded by his academic colleagues both at Albion and beyond.

Kim's passionate belief in public service brought the level of opportunities for Ford students to new heights that have carried them forward to leadership positions all over the globe. This endowment was established by his family, former students, colleagues, and friends to celebrate his life and the widespread and enduring impact of his legacy at Albion College.

2014 Recipient

Utrata2smallDavid Utrata, ’15

David Utrata is a member of the Ford Institute and the Center for Sustainability and the Environment. As Albion College's first-ever Kim Tunnicliff Fellow, David Utrata spent a semester in Stellenbosch, South Africa. The CIEE Stellenbosch Sustainability and Community study abroad program engages students in a variety of sustainability-related issues that impact present-day South Africa. David will deliver a public presentation on campus summarizing his research in Spring 2015.

Hilary Hernandez Anthony

Hilary Hernandez Anthony, coordinator, Gerald R. Ford Institute for Leadership in Public Policy and ServiceCoordinator, Gerald R. Ford Institute
for Leadership in Public Policy and Service

B.A., 2002, Western Michigan University

Office: 201 Robinson Hall
Phone: 517/629-0368

Hilary has been dedicated to nurturing growth through theatre and arts education, and holds a B.A. in Theatre Performance from Western Michigan University. Since 2004, Hilary has worked with Education for the Arts at Kalamazoo Regional Educational Service Agency (KRESA) as a teaching artist, program coordinator, and professional development facilitator. Guided by the Aesthetic Education model established at The Lincoln Center in New York, her work has centered on creating experiential learning environments focused on inquiry and reflection. Hilary is delighted that her passions for education and excellence have led her to Albion College, and she looks forward to working alongside the talented students of the Ford Institute.

Meet Our Alumni

It's a tradition going on four decades strong: Gerstacker students become successful and accomplished Gerstacker alumni. Through their efforts both in and out of the classroom, they are well prepared for the workplace and are often making a mark not long after graduating from Albion.

Meet some recent graduates below and see where their Gerstacker experience has taken them.

Kyle Alsheskie, '15Kyle Alsheskie, ’15

Associate Auditor

Alex Archer, '13Alex Archer, ’13

Zone Manager
Ford Motor Co.

Mallory Brown, '08Mallory Brown, ’08

Founder and CEO
World Clothes Line

David Budka, '13David Budka, ’13

Financial Analyst
Dow Corning

Aaron Croad, '12Aaron Croad, ’12

Data Analytics Consultant
Ernst & Young

Blake DeCarlo, '09Blake DeCarlo, ’09

Account Executive
Bella Design Group

DeckerA64x91Alex Decker, ’15

Assurance Practice
Ernst & Young

Caroline Dobbins, '12Caroline Dobbins, ’12

Fellow, Challenge Detroit
Leadership Program

Marisa Fortuna, '07Marisa Fortuna, ’07

Graduate Student
Ford School of Public Policy
University of Michigan

Brooke Kaltz, '05Brooke Kaltz, ’05

Non-Production Material Network Management Americas
Mercedes-Benz USA

Sumedha Makker, '11Sumedha Makker, ’11

MBA Candidate
Class of 2017 at Indiana University Kelley School of Business

Trent Mikek, '15Trent Mikek, ’15

Ernst & Young

D.J. Mocini, '08D.J. Mocini, ’08

Assistant Men's Basketball Coach
Northwood University

MyersA64x91Amber Myers, ’13

Pursuing a JD at Michigan State University College of Law

Marty Nesbitt, '85Marty Nesbitt, ’85

Co-Owner, The Vistria Group
Treasurer,'08 and '12 Obama
presidential campaigns

Doug Parker, '84Doug Parker, ’84

Chief Executive Officer
American Airlines Group

John Pearce, '11John Pearce, ’11

Quantitative Analyst
Northpointe Capital

Kathleen Petchell, '13Kathleen Petchell, ’13

Completed Masters of Accountancy, U of M Tax Associate
Plante Moran

Moose Scheib, '02Moose Scheib, ’02

Founder and CEO

Victoria Slater, '14Victoria Slater, ’14

Completed program in December 2013; graduate study at London School of Economics (Fall 2014)

Connie Van Onselder, '84Connie Van Onselder, ’84

Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
Keeneland Association

Centers and Institutes

You’ll live in the real world. Prepare to succeed there now.

That's the genius behind Albion's Centers and Institutes. Regardless of your academic and career interests, these programs add value through specialized academic offerings and opportunities. Put your learning to work through internships, research and other pre-professional experiences. Give yourself a distinct advantage when applying to graduate or professional school. Or landing your first job after graduation.

Our Centers and Institutes…

  • Enhance your academic major

  • Build self-confidence and leadership skills

  • Develop your problem-solving and communication skills valued by employers

  • Create a community of students who share your interests and aspirations

  • Connect you with alumni for networking and career relationships

Andrew Kercher


Hometown/High School: Port Huron, MI; Port Huron Northern High School

Majors/Minors/Institutes: History and Philosophy Majors; Ford Institute

Campus Organizations: Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia music fraternity, Nwagni Project

Why I Chose Ford: Ford allowed me to stay involved with my love for politics without having to devote so much time and classes to being a fully fledged Poli Sci major. It allowed me to be involved in the community and provided many opportunities and connections I would never otherwise had.

Internship: Historic Interpreter, Mackinac State Historic Parks

Post Grad Plans: I plan on going to grad school for museum studies, and I ultimately wish to stay employed in the museum field.

Dwayne Kratt, '89

Dwayne Kratt, '89Senior Director of Government Relations,

Albion College Student Farm

The mission of the Albion College Student Farm Association is to cultivate a student-organized, all-natural, sustainable, and aesthetically pleasing produce garden for the benefit of students and faculty from all academic disciplines and community members of all ages.

Using a combination of fields, a hoop house, and Three Sisters plots, the student farm grows a variety of peppers, tomatoes, green beens, onions, squash, corn, beets, and herbs at its location in the Whitehouse Nature Center

The goals of the student farm include:

  • Promote gardening as an uplifting, healthful, environmentally-friendly activity
  • Experiment with organic gardening practices such as composting and planting heirloom seeds
  • Raise awareness about the role of a local diet in reducing carbon footprint by offering our produce to Dining Services, student apartments, and annexes
  • Help ensure equal access to nutritious food in the Albion community by donating produce to local charities
  • Encourage Albion residents, especially youth, to learn about and appreciate organic gardening, become more connected with their local food system, and grow a deeper sense of community.

A group of five students started the farm during Albion’s Year of Sustainability in 2010.

Student Workers

The farm is a three way collaboration among Albion College's Center for Sustainability and the Environment, the Whitehouse Nature Center, and an independent student organization.

The work in the student farm is all volunteer during the school year. In the summer, the Center for Sustainability employs two interns to work half time at the farm, with the Nature Center employing them the other half of their time. 

Gardens and Hoop House

The The 1,440-square-foot growhouse is a "greenhouse on wheels." The hoop house was made possible by a generous gift from the Baird family in honor of Jessica Baird’s, ’11, graduation. Jessie was one of the founding members of the student organization. The Student Senate has also supported the student organization generously over the years.

In the hoop house, student farmers grow tomatoes and a variety of peppers. Outside the hoop house, students manage Three Sisters plots (corn, beans, and squash), as well as:

  • Winter squash
  • Watermelons
  • Various herbs, including basil, parsley, oregano, mints
  • Onions 
  • Summer squash
  • Green beans

How To Help

You can get involved with Albion's student farm by volunteering with the Student Farm Association, or apply to work at the student farm during the summer. Contact CSE Director Tim Lincoln for details. 

The student farm needs help with:

  • Weeding
  • Composting
  • Planting and cultivating crops


Samantha Stanek, '13

Samantha StanekCurrent LocationUniversity of Michigan-Flint Physical Therapy School in Flint, MI

Current Occupation: 3rd year PT student

In a nutshell, what do you do? 

I am in my final year of physical therapy school. I am currently finishing up my didactic course work, and I start three 10-week clinical rotations in the fall. During these clinical rotations, I will gain experience in orthopedics, pediatrics, and inpatient rehabilitation.

How did Albion's Healthcare Institute help you get there?

Albion's Healthcare Institute helped open my eyes to other healthcare professions that I hadn’t had much exposure to prior to college. The institute provided me with the resources to help get me into physical therapy school, and assisted me with observation sites to obtain the required volunteer hours to apply to PT school. I was also provided with resources to assist in studying for the GRE.

What's your best Albion College memory? 

I have too many great memories at Albion. My best memories include spending time with my friends on the weekends, going to La Casa, and dancing with the Albion College Dance Team during half time of the basketball games.

What's the benefit of having a healthcare institute like Albion's?

The benefit of being a part a healthcare institute like Albion’s is the guidance that you receive along the way. My intended major and ideas for career choices changed many times at the beginning of my Albion education. I was able to talk about it with someone who could provide me with more information on each career and help find the best fit for me. The institute provides an individualized plan for each member to help them best succeed in whatever they may want to pursue.

Brandon Lebioda, '18, Talks Clinical Job Shadowing

Brandon Lebioda, '18Major: Biology

Hometown: Romeo, Michigan

What was your summer experience like?

My summer experience consisted of a total of 40 hours shadowing in clinical settings. It started with Dr. Michael Williams, who is a family doctor for Prism Medical Group. He was my contact that helped me set up with other doctors in the Macomb area. I ended up shadowing seven different doctors from all ranges of practice. I had the pleasure of observing many different types of physician work, which ranges from watching multiple surgeries in Troy Beaumont's operating rooms to being with doctors in family practices. Every physician or surgeon that I shadowed had something else to bring to the table, and every new place I went felt like a new adventure in the world of healthcare.

What do you love about being in Albion's Healthcare Institute?

I love Albion's Healthcare Institute because of their effort. Dr. Barbara Keyes was the person who set me up with Dr. Williams, and I believe that without her none of my experience could have been possible. The Healthcare Institute goes to great lengths to prepare students for the next step toward their career goals, whether that is some sort of specialty school, or jobs within healthcare. This institute provides hands-on help to educate and help students toward their goals.

How do you think your experience will help you in your career goals?

I believe this summer experience helped me gain crucial knowledge of different healthcare careers while also giving me a sense of direction when it comes to choosing the career that suites my interests the best. Watching these different physicians, and learning about their backgrounds, allowed me to see how many different paths there are to become a kind and caring physician, who works hard to improve the lives of their patients.

What do you love about Albion College?

I love Albion College because of it's family atmosphere. The College as a whole, not only the Institute of Healthcare, does a great job of preparing students for their next step. The smaller numbers allow coaches, professors, advisors, and other faculty members to create relationships with students that other universities cannot compete with.

Audit Forms

Please use these forms when doing your academic planning.  If you have any questions contact the Gerstacker Institute staff or the Registrar's office.

pdfB&O Major Audit Form

pdfB&O Minor Audit Form

Other Trip Details

An experiment aimed at understanding the growth and carbon sequestration under elevated CO2 is explained at Oak Ridge National Lab

On the trip, we also explored other issues and visited other relevant places. At the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Labs, we visited the environmental section, where experiments ranging from ways to lessen fish kills from hydroelectric turbines to studies of the potential effects of elevated global CO2 on forest growth were explained.

Early morning mists shroud Fontana Dam, built to provide power to war industries, including Oak Ridge, in the 1940's

On another day we visited the TVA headquarters and the nearby Norris Dam, first of many hydroelectric projects which forever altered both the economy and the riparian ecology of the region.

 Students stroll amid the gardens of Eco-village residents

We ended the trip with a quick visit to Berea College's Eco-village. This complex of apartments uses 75% less water and energy than conventional housing. The progressive environmental and social innovations shown by a sister College provided inspirational and up end to our trip.


Tiles created by children in the complex adorn the base of a demonstration straw bale pavilion in the complex

Other Aspects

Wild (feral) ponies visit our campsite on Assateaque Island

On the trip we also visited Assateaque Island and Ocean city Maryland, to contrast the quiet waters of the bay with the open coast of the barrier islands, and the natural Assateaque seashore with developed Ocean City. We concluded the trip in Washington DC, where students had a day to explore the City on their own.

Kapil, John and Wes prepare dinner on Assateaque IslandChemistry Professor Cliff Harris poses with models in one of many shops along the Ocean City BoardwalkErica and Lisa discuss global change policy with Senator Debbie Stabenow's environmental aideStudents relax in the National Building Museum after visiting the display on green building

Natural Florida


Everglades habitats are dominated by sawgrass prairies, the river of grass, but also include cypress domes, hardwood hammocks, sloughs and coastal mangroves. Functioning naturally, the vast reaches of sawgrass, coupled with un-confined Lake Okeechobee stored seasonal rainfall for much of the dry winter season, and allowed a vast array of wetland- dependant species to flourish. Today, with dikes, canals and roadways that act as dams, hydroperiods are drastically altered, nutrient levels are higher, and the remaining wetlands are to a large extend dependant on human-controlled flows. We can still see the habitats and most of the species, but can only read about and imagine the riotous abundance of birds and other animals that inhabited the natural Everglades.

Without question the Everglades restoration efforts are having a positive impact. We were impressed by the magnitude (and expense) of these efforts. But there is something inelegant about relying on pumps, wells and flooded rock quarries to store water that one was stored by stately flow through the Everglades. If stored water can be sent to the Everglades, it can also be sent to the urban coast. In the face of growing population and inevitable drought years, will people maintain the political will to provide for the natural areas when a literal flip of a switch can divert water to needy humans?

Our last day was spent snorkeling on a reef in the Keys.  For many, this was a highlight.  Even here, change is evident, as much of the coral is bleachedOur last day was spent snorkeling on a reef in the Keys.  For many, this was a highlight.  Even here, change is evident, as much of the coral is bleached







Alumna Hillary Burgess is presently working on an Everglades restoration project.  She led us on a "swamp slough' to a cypress dome.  Left, Hillary shows her mentor, Biologist Dan Skean some orchids in bloom.  Right, John poses with ferns in the dome

Alumna Hillary Burgess is presently working on an Everglades restoration project.  She led us on a "swamp slough' to a cypress dome.  Left, Hillary shows her mentor, Biologist Dan Skean some orchids in bloom.  Right, John poses with ferns in the domeOther creatures encountered included a water moccasin and alligatorsOther creatures encountered included a water moccasin and alligators







For a bird lover, the Everglades remain a paradise.  Clockwise from upper left, Brown Pelican, Anhinga, Cormorant, Little Blue Heron, Great Egret, White IbisFor a bird lover, the Everglades remain a paradise.  Clockwise from upper left, Brown Pelican, Anhinga, Cormorant, Little Blue Heron, Great Egret, White IbisFor a bird lover, the Everglades remain a paradise.  Clockwise from upper left, Brown Pelican, Anhinga, Cormorant, Little Blue Heron, Great Egret, White IbisFor a bird lover, the Everglades remain a paradise.  Clockwise from upper left, Brown Pelican, Anhinga, Cormorant, Little Blue Heron, Great Egret, White IbisFor a bird lover, the Everglades remain a paradise.  Clockwise from upper left, Brown Pelican, Anhinga, Cormorant, Little Blue Heron, Great Egret, White IbisFor a bird lover, the Everglades remain a paradise.  Clockwise from upper left, Brown Pelican, Anhinga, Cormorant, Little Blue Heron, Great Egret, White Ibis

Kyle Henry

Kyle Henry, '12

Hometown/High School: Almont, MI; Almont High School

Secondary Education English Major with Creative Writing, Political Science Minor; Ford Institute

Campus Organizations:
Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity

Why I chose Ford: I chose to join the Ford Institute because it presented me with a wide variety of career plans, even if I wasn't interested in pursuing public policy in the long run. Since I'm going into education, internships and volunteer service have opened my eyes to the importance of public service and how I can make a difference in certain areas. There's no way I would have obtained the same opportunities if I hadn't joined the Ford Institute.

Internship: Chosen as the first Joe Stroud Intern in Journalism and Policy. Worked at the Detroit Free Press, even writing editorial pieces for the paper.

Post Grad Plans: Ideally, I would move to Chicago and teach Secondary English in the downtown school districts. At the same time I would work towards a graduate degree and eventually teach collegiate level creative writing. My ultimate goal is to write for a living; short stories, freelance writing, and eventually novels.

Elizabeth Frankowski

Liz Frankowski, Albion College and Ford Institute Class of 2013Hometown: Washington, MI

Major/Minor/Institutes: Psychology/Political Science/Gerald R. Ford Institute for Leadership in Public Policy and Service

Campus Organizations: Student Senate, Albion Admissions Tour Guide and Management Team, Alpha Xi Delta Sorority, Student Alumni Association, Phi Alpha Delta Pre-Law Fraternity, Pan-Hellenic Counsel, Mentoring Program with Harrington Elementary, International Honors Society in Psychology Psi Chi

Why I chose Ford: I joined the Ford Institute because I wanted to explore policy issues that are going on in today's society, learn how to analyze these topics, and build leadership experience that would benefit me for my future career as a politician.

Internship plans: I interned for the City of Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado in Miami Florida and for Miami-Dade School Board Member Raquel Regalado.

Post-graduation plans: Dual Program: Law School and Masters in Public Health

Favorite movie about my future career: To Kill a Mockingbird

Current issue/topic that is important to me: The current issue I am most passionate about is the health care reform policy. There are millions of Americans that need health care, but also there are many that take the system for granted. I believe there needs to be some sort of reform, but not to the extent of what is currently in place. Also, there are million of baby boomers that are going to be in need of care in the near future, but will have limited choices of who and when they can see a physician and what kind of treatment they can receive. This policy not only limits the choice of the baby boomer generation, but society as a whole. I believe it should be the patients' choice of what health care provider they should see.

Dr. Tim Lincoln

Tim Lincoln
Tim Lincoln

Q&A with Tim Lincoln

Students should join CSE because…

"I don't know of any other program that offers such a diverse curriculum and wide range of hands-on experiences. We offer three majors and two concentrations so that students are prepared for a variety of career options when they graduate, and we develop the skills necessary for them to be effective leaders."

Tim’s Best Advice

"Get involved! There are so many opportunities for you to make an impact. Students who find the time to be involved in projects have no problem finding their way into meaningful careers."

Why Tim loves being the Center’s Director

"I enjoy talking to prospective students about the opportunities our program offers, working with students on projects like the Student Farm, and following the careers of our alumni. It’s deeply rewarding. Some of the most interesting things I have seen in my life have been on our field trips."

On his favorite class field trip

"While in Oregon, we hiked the Cascade Mountains, studied sustainable urban development in Portland, looked at ecological research and forest management in the Andrews Experimental Forest, found inspiration in organic farms, spent a day discussing coastal zone management issues with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, and embarked on two scenic train rides on the Empire Builder."

Our field trips are significant because…

"Students are given an opportunity to actually experience different ecosystems of the U.S. They get to see the environmental issues that are happening and get to speak with professionals that are working to resolve them. Friendships and memories are formed on these trips that will last a lifetime."

New Mexico Trip 2013

Cover picture on bluff
Jackie, Scott and Ken overlooking Chaco Canyon


The 2013 CSE trip was to New Mexico, where we investigated several themes, water management in a water-poor area, administration of public park land, effects of climate change on civilizations, and, intertwined throughout, the way the history of the many cultures in the region shape the present state of affairs.

Rio Grande and Water 

paige talk
Students discussing water management with a hydrologist from the N.M. Interstate Water Commission
Jackie, Sara and Kara looking at invasive and highly water-consumptive salt cedar in the Rio Grande bosque, Albuquerque

Early in the trip. We spent a morning with Albion Geology Field camp alumna Page Pegram, now with the Office of the State Engineer’s Interstate Water commission. Page met us in the bosque along the Rio Grande in Albuquerque and explained some of the complexities of complying with interstate water agreements, protecting endangered species and conserving as much water as possible for New Mexico residents.

Native American History and Cultures

Our look at the long and important history of Native Americans began with a visit to the Chaco Culture National Historic Park, arguably the most fabulous archeological site in North America and also one of the most enigmatic. Real questions persist, with discussion of both how the civilization flourished in such a demanding environment and why the area was ultimately abandoned. The relationships among people, culture and climate are central to this discussion. We also visited Bandelier National Monument where more recent Pueblo cliff dwellings are well preserved, and Sky City at Acoma Pueblo, where modern descendants of the Chacoans still live in the longest continuously inhabited community in the country. Finally, we visited the Four Corners Power Plant, one of the most polluting plants in the nation, and considered the complex relationship between the plant and the Navajo Nation, in which it is located.

Acoma Pueblo

"Sky City" of Acoma Pueblo is seen atop its 650 foot meas as we approach for our visit.  This site has been continuously inhabited for over 800 years.
Our tour of the pueblo included time to talk with local artists and shop their wares. Here Rachel is considering a traditional pot.
Acoma stairs
Although there is now access to the mesa top via a road constructed in the 1950's, the group opted to return to the base via older stairs cut into the rock.

Chaco Canyon

chaco from above
Pueblo Bonito is one of the best restored "great houses" in the canyon.
chaco in house
Jackie, Sara and Meredith in a room in Pueblo Bonito. Note the small size of the doorways and the lack of windows. Some people believe these indicate the rooms were storerooms for maize.
Chaco Cleft
Jackie follows a cleft to the top of the canyon on the trail to Pueblo Alto.
chaco on cliff copy
Scott, Jackie, Ken and Kara on the cliff behind Pueblo Bonito
Bonita house
View of Pueblo Bonito from the cliff behind it. The enigmatic "D" shape of the pueblo is evident.

Bandelier Archeology

Stairs to cliff In Cliff




Saginaw Premed Event

Is Your Future in Medicine?

Get an insider’s perspective about what it takes to succeed as a pre-med student in college and get into the medical school of your choice.

Monday, November 13, 2017 | 7 p.m.

Dr. Sam Shaheen invites you to join him, other Albion College physicians, and current Albion College faculty and staff who will offer advice on pursuing careers in medicine.

Register Now

Learn about:

  • The medical school admissions process
  • The extra-curricular activities sought by medical schools
  • The academic requirements of medical schools
  • Developing intra-and interpersonal competencies sought by medical schools

Current Albion students will also discuss how Albion College prepared them to be competitive applicants for medical school.

Horizons Conference Center
6200 State St
Saginaw, MI 48603

Join Albion College for a program planned for high school students and their families. Advance registration requested by November 10, 2017.

We hope you and your family will attend.

Want a preview? See our recap and photos from 2013's event in Midland. If you have any questions, please contact the Albion College Admission Office at 800/858-6770 or via email at .

Advisory Committees

Internal Advisory Committee Members and Affiliated Faculty

Jon Hooks, Chair and Professor, Department of Economics and Management
B.S., 1984, Cameron University; M.A., 1985, University of Texas, Dallas; PhD, 1989, Michigan State University

Bindu Madhok, Chair and John W. Porter Endowed Professor of Philosophy, Department of Philosophy
B.A., 1983, University of Calcutta; Ph.D., 1990, Brown University

William Rose, Professor, Department of Political Science
B.A., 1981, & J.D., 1987, University of Toledo; Ph.D., 1999, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Gregory Saltzman, Professor, Department of Economics and Management
S.B., S.M., 1976, MIT; Ph.D., 1982, University of Wisconsin–Madison

Kyle Shanton, Chair and Associate Professor, Department of Education
B.A., 1985 University of Iowa; M.A., 1990; Ph.D., 1998, University of Arizona

Douglas White, Adjunct Assistant Professor, Department of Biology
B.S., 1976, Pennsylvania State University; M.S., 1978, University of Tennessee; Ph.D., 1989, Rutgers University

External Advisory Committee Members

Joseph Calvaruso, ’78, Executive Director, Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation

Raymond Davis, ’84, Attorney, Thrun Law Firm, P.C.

Herold “Mac” Deason, ’64, Attorney, Bodman PLC, Detroit

Brett Decker, ’93, Consulting Director, White House Writers Group

Leslee Fritz, ’94, Director of Public Affairs & Administrative Services, Michigan Department of Civil Rights

George Heartwell, ’71, Mayor, City of Grand Rapids, Michigan

David Hogg, ’69, Retired District Court Judge, 84th District, Michigan

Paul Huth, ’77, Attorney, Paul H Huth PC

Craig Kirby, ’85, Managing Director, Savannah LLC

Kurt Medland, '98

Kurt MedlandRegional Affairs Officer, US State Department

Patrick Underwood, '12

Patrick UnderwoodCurrent Location: University of Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor, MI

Current Occupation: 4th Year Medical Student

In a nutshell, what do you do? 

I'm a medical student at the University of Michigan Medical School. I'm currently in the fourth year which involved more specialized clinical rotations which focus on the career I wish to pursue. I'm interviewing for general surgery residency and will begin as an intern in July of 2016.

How did Albion's Healthcare Institute help you get there?

Albion's Healthcare Institute provided me with the necessary resources and career counseling to help me get into medical school. The Healthcare Institute provided me with opportunities to learn more about the field of healthcare and career options, build my resume, apply to medical school. They were available at each step of the process.

What's your best Albion College memory? 

The most proud moment from my Albion College memory is when I was accepted into the University of Michigan Medical School. It was the first medical school I was accepted to, and my top program choice. I can remember the night I received the email and my friends helping to celebrate the occasion. It was the culmination of years of hard work.

What's the benefit of having a healthcare institute like Albion's?

It is difficult, if not impossible, to navigate the tremendous number of resources available to students interested in healthcare. The Institute provides invaluable resources to help students navigate through these resources, and to select and reach each individual student's career goals. The institute assists students through the entire process from exploring careers early in college to post-graduate plans. They are excellent at helping each student with his or her individual needs.

Nikhil Patel, '18, Interns at Beaumont

Nikhil PatelMy summer was spent doing a radiology externship at Beaumont Royal Oak under Dr. Kurt Tech, '80, an Albion alumnus. I was with two other students interested in medical school and we had a mixture of shadowing and interning experiences.

I got to see how diverse a field radiology truly is. You can have little to no patient interaction if you simply read scans in a dark room (a neuroradiologist for example), or you could be in general radiology where you regularly meet with patients and take scans. Coming out of the externship 12 weeks later, my appreciation for radiology as a field increased dramatically.

Albion's Healthcare Institute set me up with this externship. They initially acted as a liaison for Dr. Tech and I, and that got the ball rolling. The institute helped me look at other medical professions aside from physicians, nurses, and medical researchers. They want to give you the breadth of the health sciences so you can pick your ideal career within healthcare.

It gave me an in-depth look at diagnostic medicine. As an aspiring physician, I won't have to wait until rotations in medical school to be exposed to radiology.

The small class sizes mean that the professors get to know you by name, and if you are interested in their research, it makes it easy to match up with them. Many of the classes I've had have been taught by faculty with the terminal degree in their field as well.

Gerstacker Concentrations

The Gerstacker Institute’s innovative interdisciplinary curriculum combines the outstanding strengths of a liberal arts education with business knowledge and relevant work experience. After acceptance into the Institute, students are required to complete one of the concentrations listed below. A student completing a major within the Economics and Management department will complete Track 1. Students completing a major outside of the Economics and Management department will complete Track 2. Students must maintain a 3.0 GPA in their Gerstacker concentration courses and in their cumulative academic record.

Gerstacker Concentration for majors in the Economics & Management Department – 7.25 units

(Track 1)

  • BUS 111 Gerstacker Leadership Workshop (1/4, spring semester, first year)
  • E&M 357 Business Functions (summer school)
  • BUS 392 Internship (any time after completion of sophomore year)
  • COMM 242 Professional Communication (summer school)
  • MATH 209 An Intro to Statistics (summer school)
  • BUS 387 Senior Capstone approved by the Institute Director (senior year)

One from Ethics list - (The course from the Ethics List is waived for Business Majors since it is already required for that major.)

  • Philosophy 301, Environmental Ethics
  • Philosophy 302, Leadership Ethics
  • Philosophy 303, Business Ethics
  • Philosophy 304, Ethics and Public Policy
  • Philosophy 306, Neuroscience and Ethics
  • Philosophy 308, Biomedical Ethics
  • Philosophy 309, International Ethics and Global Development

One from International list - (Time of completion will vary)

  • MLAC 105 Intercultural Understanding
  • E&M 362, International Management
  • A foreign language course at the 200-level

Gerstacker concentration for all other majors – 7.25 units**

(Track 2)

  • BUS 111 Gerstacker Leadership Workshop (1/4, spring semester, first year)
  • E&M 101 Principles of Microeconomics (fall semester, freshman year)
  • E&M 211 Financial Accounting (sophomore year)
  • E&M 357 Business Functions (summer school)
  • BUS 392 Internship (any time after completion of sophomore year)
  • COMM 242 Professional Communications (summer school)
  • MATH 209 An Introduction to Statistics (summer school)
  • BUS 387 Senior Capstone approved by the Institute Director (senior year)

**Students in this concentration are urged to complete their Global Category requirement in MLAC 105 Intercultural Understanding, E&M 362 International Management, BUS 351/352 International Experiential Exchange or a foreign language at the 200-level or above

Gerald Ford and Albion College

Gerald Ford

Gerald FordGerald Ford grew up in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he was a star athlete. He earned a bachelor’s degree from University of Michigan, followed by a law degree from Yale in 1941. He served in the U.S. Naval Reserve from 1942 to 1946, attaining the rank of Lieutenant Commander, afterward continuing law practice until the start of his political career in 1948 – the same year that he married Elizabeth “Betty” Bloomer. Ford was an Albion College trustee from 1963 to 1968 while he was serving in the U.S. House of Representatives, and was chosen as House Minority Leader in 1965. He dedicated the Gerald R. Ford Institute for Public Service* in 1977, soon after serving as the thirty-eighth president of the United States following the resignation of Richard Nixon.

Ford believed in ethical leadership and cooperation among those with differing political ideologies, in order to promote healthy and positive progress for our nation. In creating the Ford Institute at Albion, he entrusted to us the responsibility of fostering growth in our future leaders.

For more biographical information about Gerald Ford, visit the following websites:

Ford Institute Director Patrick McLean: “Forty years later, appreciating President Ford’s leadership”

*Since its dedication, the name has changed to the Gerald R. Ford Institute for Leadership in Public Policy and Service

Florida Keys







The Florida Keys originated as a coral reef during a high stand of sea level during Pleistocene time. Today a magnificent living reef parallels the chain of low islands we know as the Keys. We stayed at Sea Camp on Big Pine Key (shown above), and spent a day investigating coral reef, turtle grass flats and other marine environments.






Environmental problems we saw included contamination and salinity changes in Florida Bay induced by water use patterns in south Florida, and fishing and recreational pressures on reef ecosystems. We discussed the use of Marine Preserves as a means of addressing some of these problems.










Shark behavior and protection is the research specialty of Dr. Jeff Carrier, one of our faculty. Here Jeff is explaining some of the challenges related to creation of Marine preserves, in the Keys and elsewhere.

Rainforest & Logging

hohikebkWe began our trip with a visit to the Ho Rain Forest in Olympic National Park. On our hike along the Ho River, we saw old-growth forest, nursery logs, abundant epiphytes, and lush ferns and oxalis in the understory. The national park gave us a view of the original ecology of this area, where forest growth was mediated by tree size, ability to reseed in the under story, fungal disease and fire.







It took 14 of us to complete a ring around this large Sitka Spruce. Most of the large spruce on the peninsula were logged off during the second world war to make spars for aircraft (and the famous "spruce goose"). Historic records suggest that Douglas Firs in this area were taller than today's redwoods.












Outside of the park, much of the forest has been logged, and old growth is rare. Our group took a tour sponsored by the Bend Logging Museum. We saw the efficiency of modern logging and sawmills (above) and several reclamation efforts of the industry (below).







A stream that has been restored as salmon habitat by Rayonier, Inc., the largest forest land holder in the Olympic Peninsula. Culverts under roads have been lowered to grade, and the series of riffles shown here were created.

Students discussing Rayonier's efforts to establish owl habitat in second and third-growth forests by thinning the under story and inoculating trees with fungus to create nesting cavities

The Watershed


As we drove to and from the Bay, we had opportunities to see many of the issues in the watershed that affect the bay. We were able to compare unspoiled portions of the watershed to areas affected by acid mine drainage, poor agricultural practices, urbanization, and dams.

In the Allegheny National forest, Alumnus Kirk Johnson showed us unspoiled reaches of stream that his organization, Pennsylvania Wild, is working to protect as wilderness. Originally, most of the Chesapeake watershed was forested. The forest soils led to a balanced release of water and nutrients to the streams and the Bay. Loss of forest cover, much of which occurred in colonial times, was the first major cause of the Bay's decline.


Liz_water_treatment dandrain

Acid drainage from abandoned coal mines is a concern in western Pennsylvania. We saw a stark contrast between untreated water flowing directly into streams (above right) from some sites and the treatment (above left) that a more responsible operator, Duquesne Power and Light, uses to restore water to a level that allows trout rearing in their holding ponds.

Farm_bankRS_ dam

Farming practices also affect water quality. Overgrazing and allowing stock into the stream have destroyed this Lancaster County stream's banks, clearly contributing to the sediment load and turbidity of the water.

Dams have had a serious impact on migratory fish, blocking their path up the stream. Students are talking with fishermen on a dam on the Susquehanna. This dam has been equipped with a fish elevator in hopes of reestablishing shad and other fish runs on the river.

MattlecturesMany are working to restore the watershed. Here Albion Alumnus, Matt Berris describes his work with the Potomac River Conservancy. this organization works with landowners along the river to engage in best practices to control sediment and nutrient loads.

Habitats and Cultures


Our trip began in Big Basin State Park, amid the coastal redwood trees protected in this park. Here we learned that the park owes its origin to the efforts of Andrew P. Hill, a photographer and artist and a group of concerned citizen/activists he drew together. The importance of individuals and non-government organizations was a theme that developed throughout the trip.

Much of the nation's fresh fruits and vegetables are grown in California. The Pajaro Valley has some of the richest agricultural and in the country, and is renown for its strawberry crop. We visited farms with exemplary practices. A large-scale grower, working on leased land adjacent to the Elkhorn Slough, has rehabilitated the property through development of buffers, leading to marked improvement in the water quality in the adjacent estuary. Live Earth Farms provided insights into a whole new agricultural paradigm of organic, community supported and serving agriculture.


Strawberry variety "Albion" met with approval!

At Live Earth Farms, the farmer avoids all chemical pesticides, rotates crops, and employs enlightened labor practices. His farm serves a local clientele. This model of community supported, sustainable agriculture is appealing, but challenging at the same time. We could see no difference in productivity, appearance or flavor between the organic and "chemically" grown strawberries. But, coming from Michigan, would we be willing to only eat what our farmers could grow locally?


Strawberries ready for the picking. Though many best management practices are used, this grower still uses methyl bromide periodically to fumigate the soil.


To "pay" for our time with the farmer, we spent a few hours helping out on the farm, washing produce, packing shares, moving seedlings out of the greenhouse and planting flats of vegetables.



While in the Watsonville/Pajero Valley area, we camped at Sunset State Beach, on a bluff overlooking Monterey Bay. Most evenings, the Sunsets lived up to expectations.


Alternate Land Uses

Lisa discussed management with U.S. Forest Service Manager Rex Mann in Daniel Boone National Forest, Kentucky.

There were several themes in the rest of the trip. Much of the time was spent in issues relating to forest management. We were able to see four different approaches. Appalachian Sustainable Development, an N.G.O., strives to facilitate economic and sustainable uses of the land. It provides landowners an opportunity to sustain ably harvest forest products by operating a sawmill and solar powered kiln and by developing markets for their products.

Wes and Lindsay hiking in the Smokies. Students inspecting the forest products at Appalachian Sustainable Development's mill. One effort is to market as "character wood" material that otherwise would be considered waste.

We also visited private land under a sustainable harvest rotation, and the Boone National Forest where different ways to protect the forest from an anticipated gypsy moth infestation were being tested. Finally, we visited Great Smokey Mountain National Park, to see forest largely unaffected by humans. In contrast to the first part of the trip, this was quite hopeful, as we met interesting people with interesting ideas.


The solar powered kiln used to dry wood.  The daily heating cycles cause the wood to dry more evenly that it does in a conventional gas fired kiln, allowing more of the wood to be utilized Foresters explain how the Tuuk's private property is managed to provide habitat and sustainable income from the land.

The Watershed


Chesapeake Bay is wide and shallow, so contains a small amount of water for an estuary of its size. It also has a very large area of watershed for its volume of water, and thus is quite susceptible to contamination from activities in the watershed. Originally almost entirely forested, the watershed now is the site of coal mining, industry, agriculture and, increasingly, urbanization. A forest acts like a sponge, evening flows and filtering nutrients. Without its forests, the watershed is prone do delivering bursts of freshwater, contaminated with nutrients and worse into the Bay. To save the bay, it is necessary to reclaim at least part of the forests function in the watershed.

Acid seeps from old coal mines have killed fish in hundreds of miles of tributary streams in central PennsylvaniaPennsylvania Forester Doug D'Amore shows one of the remediation efforts to treat acid mine runoff.  Though millions of dollars have been spent, tens of millions or more would be needed to solve the problemSteam emerges from the ground in Centralia, PA, where burning coal seams have forced abandonment of a town

The Conowingo Dam on the Susquehanna provides renewable power, but at the cost of interfering with American Shad and other fish migration.  A fish elevator has been installed to help alleviate this problem







The group pauses for a picnic in Lancaster County, PA where productive farms contribute to nutrient loading of the bayA group photo at Three Mile Island.  Though not presently an issue in the watershed, historically the nuclear accident here led to a halt in construction of new nuclear power plants in the U.S. for many years

Human Impacts

Citrus trees being removed for development

Our trip began with a journey by train to West Palm Beach. The cars were full, and we are confident that we significantly reduced the carbon footprint of the trip by taking the train. We spent two days in Palm Beach County looking at urban areas on the Atlantic Ridge, parts of the Everglades that have been drained for development or agriculture, and other parts diked off for water treatment or storage. We also visited the South Florida Water Management District Headquarters and several massive water management and treatment projects. We enjoyed sweet tangerines and sugar cane, but we also saw a citrus industry besieged by greenings disease, sugar cane fields that have lost six feet of topsoil, and environmental restoration projects that move water with massive pumps and fossil fuel.

Stan Bronson shows students sugar cane grown in the rich peat soils in the "Everglades Agricultural Area" south of Lake Okeechobee.  This area once was the heart of the everglades but has been drained and cropped, primarily with cane, for over fifty years

Soil loss in the agricultural area is dramatically illustrated by the concrete pole, imbedded in bedrock, and originally flush with the surface.  The peat, formed in the original everglades oxidizes and is lost when drained and used for agriculture.  Two thirds of the original soil is gone from this area







Grassy Waters Preserve was once part of the continuous Everglades wetlands, Now 20 square miles are walled off and water levels are maintained to maximize water supply for West Palm Beach and adjacent cities

A pump station for one of the massive storm water treatment areas (STAs).  Water is pumped into the STA and allowed to slowly migrate south, mimicking the natural flow in the original evergladesPumps used to move water into the STA.  The engineering of pumps, isolated wetlands, dikes and canals are all constructed to facilitate removal of nutrients from water destined for the Everglades








Mike and Will relax in a club car

John Catherine and Mike enjoy breakfast in Jonathan Dickinson State parkStan Bronson of the Florida Earth Foundation gave us a tour of the Callery-Judge grove.  One of Florida's largest, this citrus grove is beset by greening's disease, and is in the process of being redeveloped as a residential area


oldriverstructureAs we drove south, we were able to stop and visit several river engineering projects that have a profound effect on the delta. Older projects were intended to prevent flooding and improve navigation. More recent projects are intended to remediate some environmental consequences of the earlier projects.
The most upstream project we visited was the control structure at old river. Actually a complex of projects, including a power generation station, this controls the distribution of water between the Mississippi and its major northern distributary, the Atchafalaya. Without these structures, many believe that the Mississippi would have switched its main flow to the much shorter Atchafalaya channel to the sea.

bonnetcarreThe Bonnet Carre' Spillway, just upstream from New Orleans, represents one the last ditch, but most effective ways that flood waters are controlled. This structure can open a 7,000 foot wide gap in the levee system, diverting water through a floodway into Lake Pontchartrain. This relieves pressure on downstream levees. In its natural state, the river had many such distributaries, and these fed fresh water into Southern Louisiana's complex of fresh and brackish water marshes. With most distributaries blocked, saltwater incursion is a problem


aceboats4Davis Pond freshwater diversion structure is an attempt to recreate the effects of natural flooding, and to regulate salinities in a broad swath of land, roughly from New Orleans south to the gulf, between the Mississippi and Bayou Lafourche. Here, students are traveling within the project area in an ACE boat.


jack-uprigOne concerned party in the area is the oil industry. As much as 25% of the nation's oil comes onshore across the Louisiana coast, and serious erosion could jeopardize this infrastructure. Here, along Bayou Lafourche, an offshore "jack-up rig" is being readied for deployment. We also saw that canals built throughout the wetlands contribute to the problems of erosion and saltwater incursion.


hurricanemodelThe Jefferson Parrish Emergency Preparedness Center houses people who will try to manage the situation should natural disaster strike the area. We learned that flooding from the sea during a hurricane is a much more likely problem than flooding from the river. The computer screen shows the depth of flooding from a possible storm predicted by computer models. Over 12 feet of water are possible in many thickly settled areas. With limited highways, it is estimated that it could take as long as 72 hours to fully evacuate the area, and presently, forecasting cannot predict storms that far in advance.

Programs, Endowments, and Scholarships

Christin Spoolstra, '11, worked as an intern in Washington for U.S. Senator Richard Lugar of Indiana.

Christin Spoolstra, '11, worked as an intern in Washington for U.S. Senator Richard Lugar of Indiana.

Through the generosity of Albion College alumni and other sponsors, the Gerald R. Ford Institute for Leadership in Public Policy and Service is able to offer several programs to our students. These endowments support co-curricular efforts, participation in internships, and many other forms of experiential learning. Please follow the links below to learn more about these efforts and how you can help the Ford Institute provide more opportunities to our students.

Chelsea Denault

Chelsea Denault, '12

Hometown/High School: Clinton Township, MI; Chippewa Valley High School

History Major, Spanish and Journalism Minor; Ford Institute and Honors Program

Campus Organizations:
Kappa Kappa Psi Band fraternity, Delta Gamma Sorority, British Eighth Marching Band, Symphonic Band, Student Senate, and Model United Nations

Why I Chose Ford: I've always been very interested in politics and the effect that political events have had on American history.  The Ford Institute offered a great opportunity for me to immerse myself in the politics and get first-hand experience in its process.  I've also been very devoted to service, mostly in my own community, and Ford allowed me to become involved with service at a state and even a national level.  The biggest selling point for me was the required internship that all Fordies must complete- it's a great opportunity that I wouldn't have been able to have if I had gone to a big state school.

Internship Plans: I hope to intern at the Library of Congress or at the Senate Historian's Office because it would allow me to work with both historical archives and congressional research teams.  I would get the experience I need in history and politics at the same time.

Post Grad Plans: I would really like to go to graduate school for history and perhaps get a job writing for a newspaper on the side.  Afterwards, I will hopefully have a job either teaching at a college and writing books or working at the Library of Congress, the National Archives, or the Senate Historian's Office.

Read more about Chelsea with the Sleight Leadership Fellows program!
Denault Reflects on Revitalizing the Motor City

Michael Albani

Michael Albani, Albion College and Ford Institute Class of 2013Hometown: Roseville, MI

Major/Minor/Institutes: English with Creative Writing Emphasis, History (double major)/ Prentiss M. Brown Honors Program, Gerald R. Ford Institute for Leadership in Public Policy and Service

Campus Organizations: Student Senate, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, Phi Alpha Delta, Sigma Tau Delta, Alpha Lambda Delta, WLBN Radio, British Eighth Marching Band

Why I chose Ford: The Ford Institute offered me a unique experience I could not find at any other college. As someone not going into political science, it allowed me the chance to still explore my passions for public policy and service and the opportunity to both network with and debate individuals with a wide range of political ideologies.

Internship plans: During the summer I interned in the District Office of Congressman Sander Levin from Michigan's 12th District.

Post-graduation plans: I plan to attend law school.

Favorite movie about my future profession: My Cousin Vinny

Current issue/topic that is important to me: The issue I'm most passionate about is mountaintop removal mining. Coming from a lineage of coal miners myself, I have to say that I am disgusted by the effects that mountaintop removal has had not only on the environments but also on Appalachian communities much like the one my mother grew up in. I believe that coal should not have the near-monopoly it currently has on American electricity production. I believe we need to invest more in alternative forms of energy.

Center for Sustainability and the Environment

Where committed students initiate real
movement toward change.

Let’s face it: you love this planet, and it’s where you’ll spend a lot of your time. At Albion College's Center for Sustainability and the Environment, you’ll also spend a lot of time making it a better place. You’ll explore the intersections of nature and society, learning how to become an effective steward of our world.

Our program features majors in environmental science, environmental studies, and sustainability studies, as well as concentrations in environmental science and environmental studies. The concentrations combine with traditional liberal arts majors and can be tailored to meet individual students' career goals. Watch our video for more info

Sometimes the best classroom settings aren’t classrooms at all. Our field seminars are life-changing: you’ll travel to diverse locations around the U.S. and meet people who are working on environmental protection and sustainability causes. And through internships and research projects, you’ll explore the social, political, and scientific dimensions of sustainability and be well prepared for a career in this vital field.

Apply to Albion College

New Mexico 2013

Exploring Sustainability Through the Centuries

During a May trip to New Mexico, CSE students learned about arid-land agriculture at the Pueblo Bonito Great House in Chaco Canyon, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. They also looked at modern-day energy challenges at a coal-fired power plant and Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Albion College celebrates a Year of Sustainability in 2013-14.

Bill Sweeney, '98

Bill SweeneyChief of Staff, U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow

Andrew Prince, '17, at University of Michigan Medical Center

Andrew PrinceAndrew Prince, '17, says Albion College gives its students every opportunity to succeed if they have the desire to take advantage of the possibilities.

A member of Albion's Institute for Healthcare Professions, a biology major, and an all-Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association defender for the Briton men's soccer team, Prince is seeing how his experiences—both academic and athletic—at the liberal arts college have prepared him and fellow biology major Nicole Schnabel, '16, for an internship at the University of Michigan Medical Center.

Working alongside researchers in Dr. Silvana Papagerakis' lab, Prince and Schnabel have been running experiments to investigate the link between antacid medications and the treatment of cancer in the head and neck.

"Being part of a team has real-world applications," Prince said. "Dr. Papagerakis is leading a team of intelligent people from all over the world. We share our results and learn from each other. By working in a group, we expand and improve on all of our projects."

Read more

South Florida Wetlands










South Florida Wetlands, include the Everglades and Big Cyprus Swamp. Numerous ecosystems in these areas depend on a complex cycle of precipitation, surface flow, fire, hurricane and drought. These systems are home to a diverse set of organisms, including large beautiful water fowl and abundant alligators. Pictured above is a White Ibis, photographed in Cork Screw Swamp Sanctuary. Below is an alligator, photographed along the Anhinga Trail in the Everglades.







Water management is a major environmental issue in south Florida. Water naturally flowing through the Everglades is diverted for agricultural uses, flood control, and use domestic use by the rapidly growing coastal urban areas. The picture below shows some of the fields near Homestead. Outside of the areas protected in Parks and preserves, much of the everglades have been converted to areas such as this that shown below:


Olympic Peninsula


We also visited the coast, mountains, and saw the controversial Elwah River dams while on the Olympic Peninsula.




The geology along the coast is fascinating. The rocks are a jumble of blocks of all sizes, a chaos created by the collision of North America and the Pacific Plate. Here students are pointing out one of the blocks.



The biology is equally fascinating. Here students are looking at zonation in one of the tide pools.






Hurricane ridge is in the Olympic range and looks out over the high peaks of the Olympics. There was still a lot of snow on the trails, and we had to drive through the clouds to get there, but the view was spectacular.... and well worth the drive.


Elwah River has two controversial dams constructed early in this century to provide power for Port Angeles. These are too tall for fish ladders (which were required by state law at the time of construction; fish hatcheries were constructed instead). These are located within the boundaries of the Olympic National Park. There has been a lot of discussion of, but as of yet no funding for, the removal of these dams. The picture on the left is of the upper dam. Below is a picture a natural stretch of the Elwah River.

The Bay

We spent several days exploring the Bay and the surrounding communities. Coastal habitats and fisheries were the focus of our time there

sail2RS Blackwater

The highlight of our time on the bay was a day-long cruise on the historic skipjack Stanley Norman operated by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. On the left, we prepare to cross under the Bridge.


Above, the crewman demonstrates shucking oysters. Oyster production has fallen to a small fraction of its historic levels. Invasive diseases, over-production, and pollution all probably share the blame for this.

The Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge protects a large area of salt marsh habitat on Maryland's Eastern shore. Here we saw numerous osprey and bald eagles. We also say research efforts aimed at controlling Nutria, an invasive species of rodent that is destructive to the marsh. The refuge gave us a sense what the pre-colonial bay was like.

oceancityRS Dean1RS

Though not part of the Bay, we crossed over the Delmarva Peninsula to visit Maryland' Atlantic Coast. On the left, Dr. Dean McCurdy, Albion College biologist, shows students invertebrates in a salt marsh on Assateaque Island. Above right, Ocean City, due north of Assateaque, shows the over-development of a similar habitat.


How can you appreciate the seafood for which the Bay is famous without sampling it? We spent a lively evening in an eastern shore "crab shack". Our server was a fourth generation waterman, who spent her spare time helping students see the issues from commercial fisherman's point of view. Sadly, the crabs we were served came from Louisiana.


A significant aspect of the deltaic habitats is the salinity gradient that exists between the river and the sea. Fresh water marshes yield to salt marshes over many miles, providing a range of habitats that supports the region's biodiversity.

amphibian_eggsRSIn the State Arboretum, near Lafayette, Laura inspects skink eggs in a freshwater marsh. We also saw upland forests in this wonderful preserve.


cyprus_kneesRSCypress is one of the hallmark species of the area. Many old growth stands of cypress have been lost, and with them species dependant on this habitat, most notably the Ivory Billed Woodpecker, once a hallmark species in the area.


swamp_tourRSA swamp tour from Houma took us from fresh into brackish marsh. During the tour, we met a fisherman who had caught a saltwater fish (redfish) in an area that had been a pasture during the memory of our guide...startling testimony to the related problems of subsidence and saltwater incursion in the area.




We had a chance to see the Gulf of Mexico from Grand Island, one of Louisiana's barrier islands. The water was chocolate colored from suspended sediment. We could count over a dozen off shore oil rigs on the horizon, testifying to the economic importance of this area.

Central Valley

IMG_3357 IMG_3601

The central valley of California, prior to transformation, is described as having been an "American Serengeti". The two major rivers, the San Joaquin and Sacramento, and their many tributaries from the Sierra Nevada flooded annually, depositing rich alluvial soils and creating vast wetlands. The streams were habitat for prolific salmon runs, the marshes home for immense flocks of waterfowl, the grasslands home for herds of Tulle Elk. It is estimated that thousands of Grizzly bears inhabited the valley.

Now the only bears to be seen are on the state flag. The rivers have been dammed, the land leveled, the seasonal flood waters held back to be distributed throughout the valley as irrigation waters. The region has been transformed into one of the worlds great agricultural districts. The economic benifits are inarguable, so is the loss of habitat.

A few areas remain where it is possible to get a glimpse of what the valley must have looked like prior to its agricultural transformation. Here, in the San Luis National Wildlife Refuge large wetlands with native tulle reeds provide sanctuary for migrating waterfowl. The adjacent Kesterson area is infamous for having had water poisoned by runoff from irrigation projects.


Historically, the transformation of the valley began with the mining operations following he gold rush. Here, miles of stream valley still show the effects of dredging for gold. Elsewhere, hydraulic mining stripped topsoil from areas in the foothills and led to silting up of channels and flooding in the valley. Some of California's first environmental legislation was aimed at curbing these mining practices.

The San Luis reservoir is the lynch pin of the irrigation system on the western side of the central valley. Water from the north is stored here during periods of high discharge, to be released throughout the summer. Nearly all of the water enters and leaves through the canals.

The Nature Conservancy works to protect land through outright purchase and also working with local landowners and communities. We visited the Consumnes Preserve, where levees have been breached in places to allow a more natural flooding cycle. Here students hear about the benefits of this program, which include groundwater recharge and increased health of out-migrating salmon smolt.

Coal Mining

A view of Kayford Mountain, West Virginia.  The top of this mountain is being stripped away and dumped in adjacent valleys.  The result is a permanently altered landscape and an ecosystem degraded for hundreds of years.

The trip began with a look at one of the most efficient...and environmentally disruptive...ways of mining. By literally peeling away the mountains of West Virginia layer by layer, coal companies can extract all the layers of coal within the mountain, including layers too thin to be mined by other techniques. Unfortunately, this process requires the bulk of the mountain to be piled elsewhere, always in an adjacent stream valley.

Larry recounts his childhood on Kayford Mountain Looking from Larry's remaining property out over the landscape altered by mining

Coal washing operations create a heavy-metal-rich sludge, which is also impounded in the stream valleys. Some impoundments have failed, releasing sludge into streams and communities. The continuous blasting required to literally move mountains shakes nearby homes. If concern for global warming does not make you want to turn from coal, a visit to a mountaintop removal site just might.

Mike, Lindsay, and Wes prepare for their Southwings flight A valley filled with coal washing sludge.  Photo courtesy of Southwings

On our trip, we were taken on flights over mountaintop mines by volunteer pilots with Southwings an organization dedicated to raising awareness of environmental problems by flying people over areas affected.

A mountain drilled off for blasting.  Trucks in the foreground stand about 20 feet tall. Image courtesy of Southwings.

The aerial view is really the only way to comprehend the magnitude of this problem. We also visited West Virginia native Larry Gibson at his historic family home on Kayford Mountain. Larry has resisted lucrative offers to sell his land to coal interests, and instead accepted the role of environmental activist that fate has forced on him. We count him among the true heroes of the environmental movement.



The Bay

Students enjoy a sunset on Smith Island

Chesapeake Bay is rich in history, resources and natural beauty. All of these are evident on Smith Island, located off the eastern shore half way up the bay. During our stay on the island, we gained a sense of place by talking with residents of town, scraped for crabs (and other marine life) in the grass beds, and discussed policy with educators from the Chesapeake bay foundation.

Should pacific oysters, non-native, but resistant to invasive disease that has decimated native oyster populations be introduced? Does scraping grass beds for crabs really encourage more growth? How will the island be affected by rising sea levels? What would it be like to live a life with time dictated by season and tide? These and other questions kept us thoroughly engaged.

Zakk found a dry place to stow himself on the ride to Smith IslandDespite the decline of the oyster fishery, waterman are able to make a living from the sea.  We were on the island for the soft-shelled crab seasonStudents and Alumna Julie Falkner ('85) discuss issues raised during the day. Julie, a senior policy advisor for The Nature Conservancy, joined us on Smith IslandAlex displays bycatch from our crab scraping, a sea turtle.  The turtle later found its way back into the bay








One afternoon was spent strolling teh streets of Tylertown, and visiting with the residents to hear their stories.  All welcomed us into their homes, and the experience helped us appreciate the deep traditions of the islandAlex enjoys boiled crab at Harris Crab House.  Owner Karen Ortel gave her perspectives on bay issues, challenging scientists for endlessly seeking grants rather than action, and environmentalists for being too cautious about introducing Pacific oysters

Brittany Middlebrook

bmiddlebrook17 copy

Brittany Middlebrook, Gerstacker Institute Coordinator

BA, 2014, Michigan State University

Office: Robinson 106
Phone: 517/629-0418

Brittany holds a B.A. in Linguistics from Michigan State University and will be returning to her alma mater in Fall 2017 to complete her master's degree in Higher, Adult, and Lifelong Education. Prior to joining the Albion College family in Fall 2016, Brittany worked in admissions at Baker College of Jackson, where she resides. As institute coordinator, she is passionate about education and committed to student development.

Sleight Leadership Fellows Program

Sleight Leadership Fellows in Detroit, January 2011

A cold day in a hot town: 2011 Sleight Leadership Fellows in Detroit.

The Sleight Leadership Fellows Program provides an intense leadership skills enhancement experience for Albion College sophomores. The program consists of a five-day, in-residence program that immerses students in cutting-edge leadership models and experiences through classwork, hands-on learning, and small work-group projects. The Sleight Program provides a curricular component to leadership training at Albion College with the specific intent of enhancing personal skills. The benefit, however, reaches beyond the participants as Sleight Fellows share their skills with their peers, in and out of the classroom.

The theme of each year's Sleight Leadership Fellows Program will reflect a different topic. The program for 2009 was titled "Leadership in a Challenging Environment." For 2012, the program focused on urban redevelopment by using Detroit as a natural learning laboratory. The program was entitled "Leadership and the Re-emergence of Detroit."

Read more about this year's Detroit field trip using the links below to Sleight Fellow Chelsea Denault's news articles about her experiences there.

MLK Convocation and Community Celebration

MLK_photo     3/24/2011  Two of Albion's long-time civil rights activists, Dr. Wesley 
     Dick and Mr. Robert Wall, discussed their work "In the Footsteps
     of Dr.Martin Luther King, Jr." for Albion's MLK Convocation and
     Community Celebration.  They have extensive academic and
     personal knowledge of American history relating to the civil rights
     movement and have worked together for many years on the history of
     race relations in the greater Albion communtiy.  The lecture was co-
                                                        sponsored by the Albion Branch of the NAACP.

Brooke Kaltz, '05

Brooke Kaltz, Albion College Class of 2005

Non-Production Material Network Management Americas
Mercedes-Benz USA

Grace Dougherty, '14, Studies at Georgia Health Sciences University

Grace Dougherty, '14
Grace Dougherty, '14

I had a very enriching summer in Augusta, Georgia as a part of the Student Training and Research (STAR) program at Georgia Health Sciences University. There, I worked in a biochemistry and molecular biology lab doing basic science bench work under my mentor, Michael Duncan, Ph.D.

The program was nine weeks and I was able to gather enough data to make a poster that I presented at the end of the program. My research looked at the role of recruited macrophage cells in the liver tumor microenvironment in hepatocellular carcinoma.

I was awarded the Outstanding STAR Student Award out of 24 students for my work and presentation.

I really enjoyed my time in Augusta and now have much more interest in research.

Patrick A. McLean

patrick-mclean-100Director, Gerald R. Ford Institute
for Leadership in Public Policy and Service

B.A., 1985, University of Dayton
M.A., 1987, Miami University (Ohio)
M.A., 2015, Freie Universität Berlin
Office: 201B Robinson Hall

Phone: 517/629-0359

Q&A with Patrick McLean

Patrick on Ford’s Legacy

"If there’s one word that is used to describe President Ford, it’s integrity. He believed that in order to get things done for the American people, leaders had to be willing to roll up their sleeves and work with people of all political stripes to get the job done, and that’s what he did."

The Ford Institute is unique because...

"We’re open to all majors and we seek to provide our students with an understanding of public policies and processes, and how those policies affect their field of interest. The Ford Institute is designed to help give students the various skills they need to be able to cross interdisciplinary boundaries."

On what type of student should consider the Ford Institute

"The Ford Institute is great for anyone with a passion for community service, or a desire to understand how policies get made at any level of government."

When not in his office, you might find Patrick...

"Studying German with Dr. Perry Myers, as I’m a strong believer in lifelong learning. You might also find me down watching a soccer game, or even playing!"

Patrick's personal journey

"I spent about 25 years doing public policy and also worked as an adjunct professor. I’ve seen the public policy arena from a lot of different vantage points, which gives me an opportunity to bring the world of a practitioner into the classroom for my students."

Why Patrick came from Ohio to Albion

"When I was graduating high school, I was stuck choosing between the University of Dayton and Albion College. I went to Dayton (it was closer to home) and for the last 30 years I’ve wondered what would have happened had I come to Albion. When this job opened up, I knew within 60 seconds of reading the job description that I would really enjoy doing this. It was like a second bite at the apple."

At the end of the day, Patrick will have done his job if...

"I can convey to students the range of their possibilities. I hope to make them realize that the decisions they make today have the power to influence them and the world in a very positive way if they’re thoughtful about what they do. It might not necessarily be easy, so it’s about providing them with the right mix of support and challenges."

Patrick's Best Advice

"Work hard, get back on the horse when you fall off, and show up."


A Look Back on Gerald Ford's Legacy, 40 Years Later (Michigan Radio)

Forty Years Later, Appreciating President Ford's Leadership (Bridge Magazine)

Documented Experiential Learning Project

Nicole Schnabel, '16
Nicole Schnabel, '16, observed surgeons in the operating room during a summer 2013 internship at the University Hospital of Mannheim, Germany.

To satisfy this requirement in the Institute for Healthcare Professions, your 40-hour DELP must take place in a healthcare setting. This project can involve any one of the following: (1) job shadowing, (2) practicum/internship, (3) volunteering, or (4) research on healthcare topic. Please note there will be additional requirements for students who are doing a practicum/internship for academic credit.

Directions for DELP

If you are completing your DELP this summer, you must submit field notes documenting your experiences. Below is a description of field notes.

  • Special instructions for your first field note
    • Describe the setting in which you are doing the project.
    • Identify the person who will supervise and confirm your hours.
    • Include supervisor's email address and phone number.
    • Include your phone number.
    • Send first field note ASAP after starting project.
  • Write a field note for each day and save in an electronic file as a Word document.
  • Include the date and number of hours worked at the top of each field note.
  • Submit the electronic file to at the end of your project.

General Guidelines for DELP

As soon as possible after leaving your experiential learning site for the day, you should find time to reflect upon and discuss your work experiences. Remember timely documentation is essential for any healthcare professional, and you need to develop the ability to describe your experiences promptly, carefully, and concisely.

Do not simply list the events of the day but, instead, discuss the highlights of the day: successes, failures, challenges, questions, ethical dilemmas, etc. If you want to discuss your interactions with or observations of a client/patient, staff, or volunteer/intern, use a pseudonym when referring to that person. Do not provide any protected healthcare information about the individual. Be sure to observe any additional rules and regulations mandated by the setting in which you are working.

Finally, at the end of your project, please ask you supervisor to email or send a note verifying the hours you spent working on this project. If your supervisor wants to send a note, provide him or her with a stamped envelope addressed to:

Institute for Healthcare Professions
Albion College
611 E. Porter St., KC 4678
Albion, MI 49224

Please feel free to contact the Institute for any questions, problems, or concerns about your DELP.

Bob Bruner, '99

Bob Bruner, '99Chief Executive Officer,
Michigan Municipal Services Authority

Central Florida Highlands

fla_scrubfl_scrubThe Central Florida Highlands, including the Lake Wales Ridge, formed as a series of sand dunes during a high stand of sea level during the Pleistocene. In addition

to reminding us of the potential consequences of global warming, this area is habitat to a remarkable number of rare species, which trace their ancestry to tropical species to the south. Now isolated, they have adapted to the dry, sandy conditions of the area. Dwarf species are common; the shrubs shown below include species of oak.


These native species are threatened by development and agriculture. When irrigated, this environment is well suited for citrus, and many golf resorts are going in around lakes present in natural depressions in the area.

Shown below, our group is breaking camp at Highlands Hammock State Park, preparing for a day at canoeing down Juniper Run





In Seattle, we had a tour of habitat restoration efforts along the shorefront. Metropolitan Seattle occupies a series of estuaries, and these are almost entirely altered from their natural state. Wetlands have been filled, banks stabilized with riprap, and channels deepened and straightened. Brackish estuarine habitat traditionally is where salmon smolt pause and adapt to salt water before entering the sea, so efforts are being made to restore some of the wetlands that provide food and shelter to the young salmon in this critical point in their lives. Below, a restored wetland must be protected with string to prevent geese from devouring the plants.


Dr. Jeff Cordell (U. Washington Fisheries) and his graduate student and Albion Alumna Melora Hass lead the trip. Below Dr. Cordell shows students one of the few areas with remaining natural vegetation. This is important as a model for restored areas.


Restoration Efforts

Restoration of the Bay is easy to talk about, hard to accomplish. A major point of our trip was to talk to people working toward this goal. Their efforts range from scientific research to public education and political action. Overall, we were impressed with the effort, the level of public awareness and resources being brought to bear on the problems besetting the bay.










Understanding the complexity of biological, physical and social factors that affect the Bay is the first step to saving the bay. We spent a fascinating day at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC) near Annapolis. This world-class research center hosts a wide range of studies relevant to the Bay and broader issues as well. Above left. we are looking at a long-term study of the effects of elevated CO2 levels on carbon cycling in a salt marsh environment. A SERC scientist discusses his research in marine biology with one of our students.


The National Aquarium in Baltimore hosts research, public education, and bay restoration projects. In addition to the behind the scenes tour seen on the left, we enjoyed a session on the aquarium's educational program, and an afternoon of unstructured time in the aquarium and Baltimore's inner harbor area.


Our time at the Bay culminated with a visit to the Phillip Merril Center, headquarters of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. The building is the first to receive the U.S. Green Building Council's Platinum rating for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. The Foundation hosts an impressive number of restoration efforts, including public education in its many protected areas and work with policy makers to encourage public action. It was a fitting place to end our visit to the Bay.

History and People

An interesting part of this trip was our interaction with Professor Dianne Guenin-Lelle's class in French Culture, which was also on a trip in the area. This allowed us to explore historical and cultural aspects in more detail than we normally do on these trips

evangaline_park_reducedIn Lafayette, the historic center of Cajun culture, we visited Vermillionville to explore its living history displays of what life in the area was like over a hundred years ago. Here the group pulls a ferry across an inlet in the river.




Cajun culture today is expressed in food, music and dance. The group experienced all three in Randol's restaurant in Lafayette. Here Amy and Chie enjoy the omnipresent crawfish. The next day we say many examples of crawfish farms.

evangaline_oak_rsA group photo in St. Martinville on Bayou Teche. The owner of this property maintained that this is the true 'Evangeline oak", not the tree with the historic marker half a block away. Regardless, both trees, and the historic town, were well worth the visit. In this area, we also visited the Longfellow - Evangeline State historic site, with its early 19th century indigo/sugar plantation.



LA040001_rsWe ended our trip with a day in New Orleans. Here the group gathers in Jackson Square for a lecture by Professor Guenin-Lelle. People then dispersed to explore the City on their own. We were impressed that the city is a world that appears to be separate from the surrounding wetlands. The fact is, loss of wetlands means loss of the buffer that helps protect the city from the sea.


IMG_3391 IMG_3387

In many ways, there are three Californias, the urban centers along the coast, the vast tracts of agricultural land, and the sparsely populated deserts, mountains, and north country. This part of the trip investigated the ways civilization reaches out into these wilder areas.

We arrived in Yosemite in time to set up camp in light of the setting sun reflected of the glacially carved cliffs of the valley.

IMG_3370 IMG_3405

Yosemite national Park was one of the first National Parks, and the location of a defining struggle between John Muir and Gifford Pinchot over the meaning and value of wilderness. The immediate subject of debate was the City of San Francisco's desire to construct the O'Shaughnessy Dam, flooding the Hetch Hetchy valley within the boundaries of the newly formed Yosemite Park. Muir's defense of wilderness was based on its spiritual value, and led to the national recognition of the Sierra Club as a defender of wilderness. Pinchot's concept of the utility of wilderness as a source of resources is best manifest in the Forest Service (which he was instrumental in founding) motto "Land of many uses".


Wes at the O'Shaughnessy Dam (above) and the site of John Muir's cabin along the Merced River in Yosemite Valley (right). Hetch Hetchy Valley rivaled Yosemite Valley in its beauty prior to construction of the dam. That we would not today consider construction of such a dam in a national park suggests that though Muir lost the battle, and debatably even the war, he did win our hearts.

DSCF0446 IMG_3433

The bulk of our time in Yosemite was devoted to a hike up to Nevada and Vernal falls. The pictures beside and below are from that hike, taken to allow us all to experience the grandeur of the place.

IMG_3437 IMG_3452

The other side of the mountains is yet another world. The high desert of California lies in the rain shadow of the Sierra. The majority of the water in this area flows from the mountains to the west. Water from many of these streams, and the alluvial aquifers they replenish, is now diverted to the cities of southern California. Owens Lake no longer exists. When Mono Lake was threatened with a similar fate, the Mono Lake Committee formed to protect the lake and its waters. Following an epic struggle, the lake, and the ecosystem it hosts, were protected. Our visit was primarily to meet with representatives of the Committee, and discuss their history of environmental protection.


The committee's bookstore and information center


The whole group in front of tuffa towers


Sunrise at June Lake, out campsite in the Sierra

Robyn Murphy

Robyn Murphy, Gerstacker Institute Associate Director
B.A., 1995, Michigan State University

Office: Robinson 106A
Phone: 517/629-0366

Robyn Murphy is a graduate of Michigan State University's Broad College of Business. She received her bachelor's degree in Human Resource Management. Robyn has worked for a number of different companies earning experience in financial, automotive, staffing and mortgage industries. Those companies included: R.W. Smith, Raymond James, Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., OfficeTeam and Quicken Loans. Most recently, Robyn's area of expertise was to develop staff through feedback, coaching and mentoring. She is thrilled to utilize these resources with the students of the Gerstacker Institute to advance their professional development and align their talents with internships that will excel their education.

D.J. Mocini, '08

D.J. Mocini, '08

Assistant Men's Basketball Coach
Northwood University

Heather Stoner, '14, Interns at Genesis Genetics Institute

Heather Stoner, '14, at Genesis Genetics Institute in Detroit
Heather Stoner, '14, at Genesis Genetics Institute in Detroit

I have worked at Genesis Genetics Institute in Detroit, MI as a summer intern for the past two summers. It has been an invaluable experience to work with such a still up-and-coming science technique called pre-implantation diagnosis (PGD).

What PGD means is, we create a probe for patients for whichever disease the family might have, such as cystic fibrosis, breast cancer, or Huntington’s disease. A probe means the scientist tests the family’s DNA with different oligonucleotides surrounding the mutation (disease) the family has specifically, and we help determine what oligonucleotides we can use to help figure out what embryos do not have the mutation.

We report that information to the in vitro fertilization clinic and from there they implant the healthy embryos into the patient, and hopefully they will take, and the patient will become pregnant. It is a rewarding experience to help families have babies knowing they are healthy and have eliminated the disease from their family!

It is a very controversial area still, and it is an ethical dilemma. However, the experience I have had has been incredible and I loved every second of it!

Institute Staff

Patrick McLean, Director, Gerald R. Ford Institute for Leadership in Public Policy and ServicePatrick A. McLean, Director
B.A., 1985, University of Dayton
M.A., 1987, Miami University (Ohio)

Office: 201B Robinson Hall
Phone: 517/629-0359

Eddie Visco, Associate Director, Gerald R. Ford Institute for Leadership in Public Policy and ServiceEddie Visco, Associate Director
B.A., 2004, Albion College;
M.Ed., 2006, Chestnut Hill College

Office: 201A Robinson Hall
Phone: 517/629-0328

Hilary Hernandez Anthony, CoordinatorHilary Hernandez Anthony, Coordinator
B.A., 2002, Western Michigan University

Office: 201 Robinson Hall
Phone: 517/629-0368

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Tonya Zimmerman, '01

Tonya Zimmerman, '01Senior Policy Analyst,
Maryland Department of Legislative Services

Business and Organizations Major and Minor

In the Carnegie Foundation's influential and mold-breaking book Rethinking Undergraduate Business Education: Liberal Learning for the Profession (January 2011), the authors point out that the world needs business leaders who can manage complexity, think creatively, and leverage the insights of others -- skills honed far more explicitly in the liberal arts than in business. The call for a thoughtful balance between mastery of business disciplines and exploration of alternative perspectives is one the Gerstacker Institute seeks to emulate and benchmark itself against.

The Gerstacker Institute for Business and Management offers an interdisciplinary major that encourages students to explore the practical and dynamic subject of business without confining the curriculum to a single discipline. Two academic programs exist within the Institute -- a Business and Organizations major and a Business and Organizations minor -- both of which provide a solid educational foundation in common business subjects such as accounting, economics, statistics, professional communication and writing, global issues, management and ethics. The program is further enhanced by developing critical thinking and leadership through other opportunities such as Gerstacker Institute speakers and participation in the First-Year workshop and the Senior Capstone event. Furthermore, required internships allow students to experience various career paths and to put their education into practice.

Students majoring or minoring in Business and Organizations can expect:

  • An approach to business education that addresses depth (through specialties such as accounting, marketing, management, and finance) as well as breadth (through a foundation anchored in the liberal arts).

  • A focus on putting the critical thinking skills developed through the liberal arts into action -- in the form of the Institute's many experiential opportunities, such as internships, off-campus and study-abroad experiences, and others.

  • An exploration into entrepreneurial thinking in and out of the classroom -- through case analyses, simulations, business plan development, and even the actual launching of ventures.

For more details, please see our page on Required Courses for the Business and Organizations major and minor.

Florida Springs

fl_canoArtesian Water rises at Juniper Spring in central Florida. This remarkably clear water feeds Juniper Springs Run, a stream popular with those seeking to see wildlife in a natural setting. We canoed several miles down the clear stream, amid turtles, herons, a few 'gators and tall Cyprus. Much of Florida's water supply comes from the Florida Aquifer, which feeds this and many other spectacular large springs in this area.

Northern Cascade Range


We drove across the Northern Cascade Range upon leaving Seattle, enjoying spectacular views of glacially carved peaks along the way. We spent the night at beautiful Lake Wenatchee, shown below.






A raft trip down the Wenatchee river provided some thrills, a chance to see a wild river, and a chance to see the habitat zonation related to elevation on the west side of the Cascade Range.


timbob3In the quieter reaches, we got to horse around. Here Tim and Jen got to show off their rodeo skills.jenraft3












California is also a Pacific rim state, with miles of Pacific coast waters and ports that serviced world class fisheries for Tuna, sardines and salmon. The best known is probably the sardine industry chronicled in John Steinbeck's Cannery Row.

We started this part of the trip in Santa Cruz at the National Marine Fisheries Lab. Here we heard an excellent presentation on the types of research done at the lab. Most interesting was to science done with the specific goal of informing the commission that regulates the fisheries.











We had a great day to visit this city, and spent the afternoon as tourists, enjoying one of our last days in California.

Our last day was spent at the Monterey Aquarium. We were fortunate to visit on the day that they had invited representatives from numerous organizations concerned with ocean conservation to present. There were so many people to talk with, and perspectives to hear that it was hard to find time to look at the fish!

Added bonuses to our visit to Monterey were some good dining on (sustainably harvested) seafood and a look at "Docs" actual, still standing having outlasted the canneries of cannery row by many years.

We had time for a quick peek at the fabulous scenery of the Big Sur, one last game of sack on the beach, then it was back to camp, pack up, and fly home.




Brian Greathouse, '12, Connects Athletics and Academics

Brian Greathouse is weighing his medical school options after scoring in the 99th percentile on the Medical College Admission Test.
Brian Greathouse is weighing his medical school options after scoring in the 99th percentile on the Medical College Admission Test.

Brian Greathouse is weighing his medical school options after scoring in the 99th percentile on the Medical College Admission Test.Brian Greathouse, '12, is considering a career as an emergency room doctor or a trauma surgeon, and he can make connections between that line of work and the minutes he's currently logging as the starting goalkeeper for the Albion College men's soccer team.

 "I'm addicted to the adrenaline rush," Greathouse said. "One of the biggest parallels is that in the emergency room you can be having a slow night and all of the sudden a patient comes in and you instantly have to snap back in gear. In goalkeeping, you see a situation coming at you and have to make a decision. It's instinctual. I get into [the decision-making process] after going through the repetition of practice so many times.

"Anybody that succeeds at any task has to be confident," he added. "I believe I'm going to do the best job [at any task] and no one is going to do it better. It also provides motivation to improve if you don't achieve the desired result. The biggest key to my success is believing I can do it."

Greathouse is weighing his medical school options after scoring in the 99th percentile on the Medical College Admission Test, but the journey wasn't entirely smooth. The Dearborn native admits to getting off to a slow start academically. Lulled into a false sense of security based on his high school background, Greathouse pursued social outlets.

Read more

Robert M. Teeter Research Fellowship Endowment

The endowment supports a summer research project for a Robert M. Teeter Fellow. The research project is coordinated through the Ford Institute and the Foundation for Undergraduate Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activity (FURSCA).

The selection of the Fellow is made by the director of FURSCA in consultation with the director of the Ford Institute or other faculty members as deemed appropriate by the director.

This endowment is a fitting tribute to Robert M. Teeter (1939-2004), one of America's most respected public opinion researchers and a 1961 graduate of Albion College. Read about Teeter's career on The Washington Post's website.

Read about Teeter recipient Alena Farooq, ’18, and her research of Albion’s city parks

Membership Criteria


Zander Tu, '14
Zander Tu, '14, participated in the Summer Program for Undergraduate Research at the Medical College of Wisconsin. He contributed to a Pediatric Research Department project that may eventually lead to a treatment for hemangioma tumors in infants.


Institute for Healthcare Professions

Criteria for Graduating as a Member in
Good Standing

In order to graduate as a member in good standing of the Institute for Healthcare Professions, you must complete the following requirements:

  • HCI 101, Introduction to Healthcare (first year)
  • HCI 201, Issues in Healthcare (second year)
  • Documented Experiential Learning Project (DELP, minimum of 40 hours)
  • Evidence of community service (10 hours per semester)
  • Cumulative GPA = 3.0

If you did not take HCI 101 during your first year at Albion, you must complete two 40-hour documented experiential learning projects or one 80-hour project.

Criteria for Graduating with Distinction

In addition to the above requirements, you must also meet additional criteria.

  • Actively participate in Alpha Epsilon Delta (AED), the Health Preprofessional Honor Society, or other Institute Initiatives.
  • Achieve a cumulative grade point average of 3.5 and a science GPA of 3.2.

Documented Experiential Learning Project (DELP)

To satisfy this Institute requirement, your 40-hour DELP must take place in a healthcare setting. This project can involve any one of the following:

  • Job shadowing
  • Practicum/internship
  • Volunteering
  • Research on a healthcare topic

Please note there will be additional requirements for students who are doing a practicum/internship for academic credit.

Learn more about the DELP

Libby Crabb, '04

Libby CrabbDevelopment Director, Literacy Center of West Michigan

Florida Sea World

Behind the Scenes at Sea World


Sea World is one of Florida's main tourist attractions, but few tourists get to see the activities that go on behind the scenes, as we did. Albion's Dr. Carrier collaborates with scientists from Sea World, and was able to arrange this tour for us. Above, students are being told about efforts to rehabilitate injured Florida Manatees. Below, you can see the scars from boat propellers on the back of a manatee. This animal is being treated with antibiotics, in hopes that these wounds will heal. The animal will then be returned to its habitat and released.



Important research in marine biology is also being conducted at Sea world. Below students and faculty are looking at young sharks, still in their eggs, in the research facility adjacent to Sea World's "Terror of the Deep" display. Albion students working with Dr. Carrier have been involved with Sea World in a project which involves observing shark mating events, capturing females, and taking them to this facility. Much of what is known about shark reproduction results from this study.


Columbia Basin


Eastern Washington's climate is in stark contrast to that in the western part of the state. Dry coulees, eroded into thick basalt flows by catastrophic glacial floods, alternate with irrigated areas, generally developed on patches of glacial loess that were not eroded away by the floods. The view of Moses Coulee, above, gives some idea of the nature of the area prior to development. Dry falls, below, was the world's largest waterfall during the Ice Age floods. That these floods occurred was first recognized by Albion College Alumnus, J Harlan Bretz.





Our tour began in the Grand coulee area. We camped at Steamboat rock, a basalt mesa in the coulee. Several students took the trail up the basalt cliffs to view the sunrise. The tiny speck at the top of the cliff below is Ben.



A major environmental issue in the Columbia Basin is the effects of the dams on the river's ecology, especially on the salmon that once were the basis of the Native American's economy. We visited the Grand Coulee, Ice Harbor, Dales and Bonneville Dams.





The fish ladder at the Dales dam (above) and Native American fishing platforms in the shadow of the dam (below) show the stark contrast between traditional and modern approaches to the environment of the river.




All of the dams have windows for counting fish passing up through the ladders. This salmon has made it all of the way up to the Ice Harbor dam on the Snake River.





Our last views of the Columbia basin were in the Columbia Gorge, where the river has cut through the Cascade arch. The tremendous erosive capability of the river has created a spectacular gorge, with magnificent waterfalls where lesser streams meet the Columbia.


Eddie Visco

Eddie Visco, associate director, Gerald R. Ford Institute for Leadership in Public Policy and ServiceAssociate Director, Gerald R. Ford Institute
for Leadership in Public Policy and Service

B.A., 2004, Albion College
M.Ed., 2006, Chestnut Hill College
Appointed Associate Director of the Ford Institute in 2011.

Office: 201A Robinson Hall
Phone: 517/629-0328

Ford Institute courses taught:

  • Introduction to Public Policy (PBSV 101)
  • Senior Colloquium (PBSV 397)

Eddie Visco, '04, graduated from Albion College majoring in political science and speech/communication. He also graduated with a concentration in the Ford Institute. Upon graduation, Eddie joined Teach for America and taught seventh-grade English and American history in Philadelphia. During this time he earned his Masters of Education from Chestnut Hill College. After his commitment ended he returned to Michigan and worked on the campaign of Mark Schauer for Congress, serving as his traveling assistant. Following the election victory, Eddie worked in Congressman Schauer's district office in Jackson as his Constituent Services Representative.

Pat Underwood, '12, Studies at Georgia Health Sciences University

Pat Underwood, '12, studied at the University of Nebraska Medical Center
Pat Underwood, '12, studied at the University of Nebraska Medical Center

"In the summer of 2011, I participated in the Georgia Health Sciences University (GHSU) Student Training and Research (STAR) program. The program gave students an opportunity to spend 9 weeks of the summer in a biomedical research lab.

I worked 40 hour weeks in Dr. Darren Browning’s lab doing research on the therapeutic activation of Protein Kinase G (PKG) by Phosphodiesterase Type 5 (PDE5) Inhibitors in the colon. In the most basic terms, I was looking to see whether or not PDE5 Inhibitor drugs could possibly help prevent or treat colon cancer. During my time in Dr. Browning’s Lab, I learned to culture cells, transfect DNA into cells, Western Blot, run Assays, and many other biomedical techniques. The research culminated in a poster session with all of the other STAR students so that we could learn to present our research.

The 9 weeks I spent in Georgia were both very fun and interesting. It allowed me to live in a new part of the United States for a period of time. The culture, cuisine, and accent were all different and I really enjoyed spending time in Augusta. The STAR program staff were excellent. They set us up with research mentors in our respective areas of interests and made sure everything ran smoothly.

Prior to leaving GHSU, they asked me to recruit more Albion College students to apply to the program. It is a great program and my hope that other Albion College students will get to have the same excellent experience that I had.

Marisa Fortuna, '07

Marisa Fortuna, '07

Graduate Student
Ford School of Public Policy
University of Michigan

Ford Institute

Where citizens of the world become global leaders.

You're smart, curious, and determined to make a difference. And this is where your life of public service begins.

The Gerald R. Ford Institute for Leadership in Public Policy and Service, created by President Ford at Albion College in 1977, empowers you to make a big impact. Our internships place you in all levels of government, nonprofit organizations, the media, and the legal system—where your network will grow, along with your understanding of global society.

The Ford Institute has more than 140 students from a broad range of majors and minors. Whichever career path you pursue, policy decisions will impact you personally or professionally. Participation in the Institute will prepare you to analyze and interpret the issues more critically so you can take action. When you graduate from Albion and the Ford Institute, you'll be in a unique position to advocate for the greater good.

Watch our introductory video to learn more, and please contact us with any questions you may have.

Apply to Albion College

Patrick Schefsky, '06

Patrick Schefsky, '06Attorney,
Poznak Dyer Kanar Garchow PLC

Florida Coast

fla_restMiami is the largest of many booming urban areas along the east coast of Florida. Above, the group is heading into an excellent Cuban restaurant in Miami. Below, they are posing for a group photo on a protected beach just south of Jacksonville. Most of the coast between these places is highly developed with many homes and businesses on fragile and relatively unstable coastal landforms such as spits and barrier islands.


The group was able to appreciate both the appeal of this area for development and the hazards posed by hurricanes in this area. This conflict between protection of habitat and development is typical of the issues Florida faces. In this case, it would appear that nature can take care of herself, and our concern is for coastal dwellers in the event of a hurricane. In other cases, it is clear that human intervention will be needed to protect Florida's magnificent ecosystems.

That's all! (Then we went home and got stuck overnight in a blizzard in Ohio).

Hanford Reservation


We spent a day touring the Hanford Reservation in south central Washington. This was the location of the Manhattan Project's efforts to develop the plutonium bomb during WWII, and remained the site of plutonium production during the cold war. Today it is the site of the most expensive environmental remediation effort in history as the Department of Energy and their contractors attempt to deal with a half century's accumulation of highly toxic and radioactive wastes related to the production and processing of plutonium.




This is the "B" reactor, the first building constructed to be a nuclear reactor. (Enrico Fermi and co-workers hid behind a mountain several miles away when it was first activated). It is one of several reactors on the site. All lack the containment structures we associate with commercial reactors. In these reactors uranium was converted to plutonium via a process of neutron capture.



This is one of the "canyons", totally enclosed buildings in which plutonium-bearing fuel rods were dissolved in acid and processed to separate plutonium from remaining uranium and other isotopes. Because of the radioactivity of the rods, the process was totally enclosed and remotely manipulated.





This is the location of one of the million gallon storage tanks into which the caustic and radioactive waste from the chemical processing was pumped. Unfortunately, many of these tanks have leaked, and contaminated the groundwater with radioactive isotopes. One bizarre problem in the area is that plants such as tumbleweeds (against the fence in the foreground) send tap roots down to the contaminated water, and become themselves contaminated with isotopes such as strontium -90. The bulk of the tanks have been pumped out, but a radioactive and toxic sludge remains in many, and it is unclear how best to deal with this.

In sum, this visit was a sobering experience for us all.

Sleight Leadership Fellows Program

“Emerging Leadership in Detroit’s Economic Recovery”

The Sleight Leadership Fellows Program provides an intense leadership skills enhancement experience for Albion College sophomores. The program consists of a five-day, in-residence program that immerses students in cutting-edge leadership models and experiences through classwork, hands-on learning, and small work-group projects. The Sleight Fellowship provides a curricular component to leadership training at Albion College with the specific intent of developing personal skills. The benefits, however, reach beyond the participants of the program as the Fellows share their skills with their peers, in and out of the classroom.

In January of each year, up to twenty students, led by two faculty, take residence in the historic Ft. Shelby Hotel in downtown Detroit. The days are long – starting early and going to 10:00 pm. Students examine Detroit's history, its current status, and the emerging leadership that is guiding the city's recovery. Students work in small groups on research/presentation projects of their own design that directly impact Detroit's economic viability.

Outcome assessments of previous years' projects demonstrated an extremely high level of satisfaction with the class and a strong dedication to being part of Detroit's recovery.

Institute for Healthcare Professions

Where the future of healthcare begins.

To succeed in the constantly evolving field of health care, you need an intimate understanding of the social, ethical, and scientific issues that healthcare professionals face today. Students in Albion College's Institute for Healthcare Professions are grounded in these issues through coursework and real-world experience.

The Institute supports all students interested in a health-related career—from the practice of medicine to nursing to all of the allied professions. Students benefit from academic and career advising; workshops and speakers; assistance in identifying volunteer, shadowing, and internship opportunities; and encouragement for ongoing experiential learning.

Our program has a long history of success. With rigorous preparation and support, our graduates have been placed in some of the most prestigious professional schools in the country. Please explore our site and contact us with any questions you may have.

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Lizzy (Thornton) King, '09

Lizzy (Thornton) King, '09Assistant Director of Student Affairs,
Residential College in the Arts and Humanities, Michigan State University

Advisory Committee Members and Affiliated Faculty

Jon Hooks, Chair and Professor, Department of Economics and Management
B.S., 1984, Cameron University; M.A., 1985, University of Texas, Dallas; PhD, 1989, Michigan State University

Bindu Madhok, Chair and John W. Porter Endowed Professor of Philosophy, Department of Philosophy
B.A., 1983, University of Calcutta; Ph.D., 1990, Brown University

Al Pheley, Director, Gerald R. Ford Institute for Leadership in Public Policy and Service
B.A., 1982, Indiana University; M.S., 1984, North Dakota State University; 1990, University of Minnesota

William Rose, Chair and Associate Professor, Department of Political Science
B.A., 1981, & J.D., 1987, University of Toledo; Ph.D., 1999, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Gregory Saltzman, Professor, Economics and Management
S.B., S.M., 1976, MIT; Ph.D., 1982, University of Wisconsin–Madison

Kyle Shanton, Chair and Associate Professor, Department of Education
B.A., 1985 University of Iowa; M.A., 1990; Ph.D., 1998, University of Arizona

Douglas White, Visiting Assistant Professor, Department of Biology
B.S., 1976, Pennsylvania State University; M.S., 1978, University of Tennessee;
Ph.D., 1989, Rutgers University

Cascade Volcanoes


Our last stops were at Mt. St. Helens and Mt. Rainier, two of the Cascade Ranges great strato-volcanoes. The picture above shows St. Helens from the south side; the surrounding countryside appears much as it did prior to the 1981 eruption. The picture below is of the north side of the volcano, and shows the devastation that resulted from the lateral blast of the volcano...two decades earlier!







Students emulate the eruption, below.



Mt. Rainier gave us a view of what St. Helens looked like prior to the eruption; St Helens gave us a sobering idea of the potential for devastation in Rainier. We were blessed with excellent weather on this part of the trip. The tops of the mountains are cloud free only 30-40% of the time. But too much snow remained on the trails for us to hike to see the glaciers on Rainier.Ranier




So, as Derek says, below, that was all, folks!


NIH Scholar Pickworth, '13, Hopes to Find Neurological Clues to Obesity

Albion College student Katie Pickworth, '13
"Research isn't a chore or a job; it's something I want to do," says Columbus, Ohio, native Katie Pickworth, '13, who was selected for Albion's student research partners program prior to arriving on campus and worked with psychology professor Andrew Christopher throughout her first year.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that about one-third of American adults are obese. Albion College junior Katie Pickworth hopes to use funding from the National Institutes of Health Undergraduate Scholarship Program to determine if there are psychological and neurological triggers that can be linked to the condition.

"The research is not going to be easy, but I think there are things going on in people’s brains that lead them to become overweight through excessive eating," Pickworth, a product of Columbus, Ohio, and the Columbus School for Girls, said. "People who have never been overweight don’t understand it is beyond an overweight individual to control how much they are eating."

Pickworth, one of 13 recipients of the NIH award, receives a scholarship and internship. In January, she will be matched with a mentor with whom she will work for 10-week periods over the next two summers, and for every year she receives the $20,000 scholarship Pickworth is obligated to work for the NIH for a year.

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Healthcare Institute Application


Programs, Endowments, and Scholarships

Christin Spoolstra, '11, worked as an intern in Washington for U.S. Senator Richard Lugar of Indiana.
Christin Spoolstra, '11, worked as an intern in Washington for U.S. Senator Richard Lugar of Indiana.

Through the generosity of Albion College alumni and other sponsors, the Gerald R. Ford Institute for Leadership in Public Policy and Service is able to offer several programs to our students. These endowments support co-curricular efforts, participation in internships, and many other forms of experiential learning. Please follow the links below to learn more about these efforts and how you can help the Ford Institute provide more opportunities to our students.


Gerstacker Institute

Where tomorrow’s top executives launch their careers.

The Carl A. Gerstacker Institute for Business and Management combines the traditional strengths of a liberal arts education with the business knowledge, skills and experience necessary for leadership and management positions in today’s global business environment. Since 1973, the Gerstacker Institute has earned an excellent reputation for preparing students to be successful in the workplace.

The business world is dynamic. By preparing students in the fundamentals of common business practices, and creating challenges that provide opportunities to develop critical thought into action, this program creates in-demand employees and future business leaders.

Our students and graduates are assets to companies not just in Michigan but across the U.S. and around the world. If you believe Gerstacker is right for you, learn about applying to the institute and please contact us if you have any questions.

Apply to Albion College

Annie Gawkowski, '10

ANNIE G Final-65Director of Political Affairs,
Mortgage Bankers Association

Employer's Final Evaluation of Students

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Chemistry Majors' FURSCA Experience Includes Space Center Visit

Vanessa McCaffrey, Erica Bennett, Casey Waun, and Nicolle Zellner visited the Johnson Space Center this summer.
Vanessa McCaffrey, Erica Bennett, Casey Waun, and Nicolle Zellner visited the Johnson Space Center this summer.

A number of Albion College students remain on campus every summer to complete scholarly work funded by the Foundation for Undergraduate Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity (FURSCA). The summer experiences of chemistry majors Erica Bennett, ’13, and Casey Waun, ’13 were enhanced when they joined professors Vanessa McCaffrey and Nicolle Zellner on a trip to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, where they conducted experiments to investigate the role of impacts on simple organic molecules.

The research, funded by grants from NASA’s Astrobiology Institute and the American Astronomical Society, is to examine how organic molecules change in impact events. The Albion delegation and Johnson technicians worked together to use the center’s hypervelocity impact technology to “shock” a sample of sugars by firing a projectile at a metal target holding the sample. The pressure from the impact of a projectile hitting the target’s steel plug has the ability to change the sugar placed inside the target, which the scientists hope will provide insight to the origin of life.

The trip to Houston occurred near the end of the students’ 10-week FURSCA experience that ran from May 21-July 29. Bennett and Waun spent most of the summer analyzing the samples that came back from McCaffrey and Zellner’s winter trip to NASA’s Ames Research Facility in California. Bennett, who noted she will analyze the samples from Johnson as part of an independent study during Albion’s fall semester, said teamwork was vital on the brief trip to Johnson as the group had to work through hardware complications to get four shots fired.

Though the students are entering their junior years, it is never too early to be looking forward to graduate school, and Bennett and Waun both said they expect the FURSCA experience to give them an advantage in the competitive application process. Waun said she will move on to different projects while Bennett will continue astrochemical research in hopes of working for NASA someday.

“I don’t know if I want to pursue space chemistry as a career, but I would like to go to graduate school for chemistry research,” Waun, a native of Allen Park, Mich., said. “[The FURSCA project] opened the door to research and now I would like to continue to get my feet wet and decide what kind of chemistry I’m most interested in.”

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Andrew Kercher, '11

Andrew Kercher, '11Senior Historical Interpreter,
Mackinac State Historic Parks

Sustainable Living

Timothy Lincoln, Geology

Climate change, soaring fuel costs, loss of biodiversity, and exponential population growth are among the indicators that we are pressing the limits of our planet to sustain simultaneous economic and population growth. Estimates suggest that it would take five planets to sustain the world's population if everyone lived like the average American...and the standard of living is rising rapidly in some of the world's most populous nations. Against this challenging background, this seminar introduces students to the hopeful solutions offered by the sustainability movement. We will look at human impact on the planet and then learn to estimate our individual environmental footprints. We will move on to discuss easy things such as recycling, more appropriate diet, and simple energy conservation measures that can dramatically lessen our impact. We will also explore the connections between sustainable living and healthful living. Finally, we will examine calls for regional, national, and international reorientation toward sustainability. Grounded in some basic texts, videos, and lectures, much of this class is experiential. Activities include estimating and working to lower our individual footprints, helping with projects in the College's E-House, visiting local sources of food, exploring local healthful recreational opportunities, and touring energy efficient homes in Michigan.

For more information, contact Dr. Tim Lincoln, Institute for the Study of the Environment, Albion College, Albion MI 49224. Phone (517) 629-0486 – e-mail

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