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Gov. Rick Snyder makes appointments to the MiSTEM Advisory Council
December 23, 2015
Wednesday, December 23, 2015
LANSING, Mich. – Gov. Rick Snyder today announced the appointments of Ralph Charles Dershimer, of Ann Arbor, Harrison Ford, of Flint, Lee Graham, of Fenton, Jim Heath of Richland, Kenneth Kelzer, of Royal Oak, Gerald “Jay” Kulbertis, of Gladstone, William Joshua Nichols, of Pleasant Lake, Kathleen Owsley, of Plymouth, Satish Udpa, of Okemos, Christian Velasquez, of Midland, and Carolyn Wierda, of Bay City to the MiSTEM Advisory Council.
The 11-member council was created to advise the governor, legislature, the Department of Talent and Economic Development, and the Department of Education with recommendations designed to improve and promote innovation and collaboration in STEM education and prepare students for careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The council shall recommend a statewide strategy for delivering STEM education-related opportunities to pupils and objective criteria for determining preferred STEM programs and make recommendations to the governor and the legislature no later than March 1, 2016.
Members are representative of business sectors that rely on a STEM-educated workforce, nonprofit organizations, and associations that promote STEM education, K-12 and postsecondary education entities involved in STEM-related career education, or other sectors as considered appropriate by the governor.
"STEM education is a key part in making Michigan a world leader in talent. This group represents a cross-section of business, philanthropic, and K-12 leaders in STEM coming together to keep Michigan moving forward. I look forward to their recommendations and partnership,” Snyder said.
Dershimer is an assistant clinical professor in educational studies at the University of Michigan. He is currently the project manager for the University of Michigan Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Fellowship Program and serves as the director of higher education for the Michigan Science Teachers Association Board of Directors. Dershimer earned a bachelor’s degree from Hobart College and both a master’s degree and a doctorate from the University of Michigan.
Ford is a Kettering University Senior II student and is a mentor for Team 322 Flint FIRE in FIRST Robotics.
Graham is the training coordinator for Operating Engineers Local 324 and is chairman of the Michigan Apprenticeship Steering Committee. He is licensed in mine safety and Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response Standard.
Heath is president of the instruments division of Stryker Corporation. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Kalamazoo College, a master’s degree in education and athletic administration from Ohio State University, and a master’s in business administration from the University of Notre Dame.
Kelzer is vice president of Global Vehicle Components and Subsystems of General Motors. He earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota and a master’s in business administration from the University of Michigan.
Kulbertis is superintendent of Gladstone Area Schools. He earned a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree, both from Northern Michigan University, and a doctorate in education from Central Michigan University.
Nichols is a fourth through seventh grade STEM teacher at Heritage Elementary School in Stockbridge with over 18 years of experience in the field. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Spring Arbor College and a master’s degree in education from Marygrove College.
Owsley is executive director of Robert Bosch LLC – Bosch Community Fund. Owsley earned a bachelor’s degree from Kalamazoo College.
Udpa is executive vice president for administrative services at Michigan State University and president of the Michigan State University Foundation. He earned a bachelor’s degree from J.N.T. University, and both a master’s degree and a doctorate from Colorado State University.
Velasquez is director of marketing at Americas of Dow Corning Corporation. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Kansas State University and a master’s degree from Michigan State University.
Wierda is the executive director of STEM@SVSU and co-director of the Gerstacker Fellowship Program at Saginaw Valley State University. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Bucknell University and a master’s degree from Michigan State University.
Appointees will serve terms at the pleasure of the governor. Their appointments are not subject to the advice and consent of the Senate.