COGS Leadership Endowment Fellowship Recipients

  • Cheryl Balm
    Cheryl BalmI was the primary organizer of the Ninth Annual Graduate Student Topology and Geometry Conference (GSTGC), which was held April 2-3, 2011 at Michigan State University and generously funded by the NSF and the Fields Institute. The GSTGC brought together over 180 participants in the fields of topology and geometry, including students from 61 institutions all over the US, Canada, and as far away as the UK and Korea. The primary goal of the GSTGC was to give students a chance to present their work to their peers. In addition to the 32 student expository and original talks, four young faculty speakers spoke on their fields of expertise with an emphasis on tractable open problems, and three distinguished faculty speakers spoke about fundamental problems that motivate their studies. As well as allowing students to gain experience presenting their research, the GSTGC was designed to connect students and faculty, and encourage relationships that will last throughout each participant's research career.

  • Terry Brock
    Terry BrockMy contributions to my discipline has been introducing 21st century digital social media into archaeology. I have a particular interest in digital social media, such as the uses of Facebook, Twitter, and blogging for public engagement. I have served as the Digital Media Coordinator for two Society for Historical Archaeology (SHA) Conference Committees, and have led workshops on social media and archaeology. I am currently working with SHA leadership to develop a comprehensive social media strategy for the organization. This has allowed me the opportunity to help move our organization and discipline forward, while also giving me the opportunity to network and learn about professional leadership through interactions with my colleagues: experiences that have been tremendously valuable and rewarding.

  • Nina Joy Butler
    Nina Joy ButlerI primarily aspire to reach my utmost potential in life which means that everything I do is driven by ambition and motivation to make a change and improve the quality of life in others. I am extremely grateful and humbled by the leadership positions that I have had the opportunity to hold within the Student National Medical Association (SNMA). As recently elected SNMA Region V Director, I am proud to play a major role in helping to increase the pipeline and support current and future underrepresented minorities in medicine by providing means to improve their skills in leadership, academics, and cultural competency. In addition, the mission of SNMA is a reflection of my life’s passion which is to alleviate health disparities by serving the underserved via education, community service, and providing adequate healthcare. I am extremely thankful for being selected for the COGS Leadership Endowment as it will be an extraordinary asset to my ability to attend SNMA National Leadership Institutes and Board of Directors’ meetings next year.

  • Brian Langseth
    Brian LangsethI'm most proud of my involvement in two community outreach events centered around the showing of the documentary film "End of the Line". These took place last spring, one on campus and one at a local high school, with approximately 500 people in attendance. The film highlighted the status of commercially-harvested fish populations, many of which are in decline, and discussed ways that consumers can help such populations persist in the future. It was our hope that by showing the film we would increase public awareness about fisheries issues and ultimately help contribute towards improved consumer choices. I think this goal was accomplished!

  • Moe Machida
    Moe MachidaI have actively participated in various leadership activities in the professional organization, Association for Applied Sport Psychology (AASP) ( which is one of the largest applied sport psychology organizations in the world. I was involved with various committees and initiatives and served as a Midwest regional student representative from the year of 2006 to 2009. In the year of 2009, I was elected as one of the two executive board student representatives to represent the whole AASP student body, and served as a student representative on a 2010 AASP Conference planning committee. I have successfully completed my one-year term as an executive board member in October 2010. I also have contributed to the founding of a peer-reviewed journal, Journal of Sport Psychology in Action, which is an official journal of AASP and launched in the year of 2010, and have been serving as one of the three student editors of the journal.

  • Lorraine M. Males
    Lorraine M. MalesThe leadership opportunities I have undertaken have been a way for me to serve the discipline of mathematics education. In addition to organizing the Mathematics Learning Research Group at MSU, I have participated in state, national, and international organizations, including serving on the organizing committee for a doctoral student symposium for the Center for the Study of Mathematics Curriculum, a three-university center focused on mathematics curriculum research, and helping to organize a discussion group for the International Congress on Mathematics Education conference in Mexico. I also serve as the graduate student representative for the North American Chapter of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education. One of my most rewarding leadership opportunities was editing a mathematics activity book for the Michigan Council of Teachers of Mathematics, the proceeds of which go to support scholarships for students becoming mathematics teachers. This opportunity allowed me to engage pre-service mathematics teachers in writing activities and presenting their activities to other mathematics teachers from around the state of Michigan.

  • Luke Plonsky
    Luke PlonskyDuring my graduate studies at MSU, I have sought to integrate myself into the field of Second Language Studies as well as to lead in various capacities. In 2009 I had the privilege of co-chairing the premier conference in the field: the Second Language Research Forum (SLRF). Since then I have contributed to the scholarly literature and to the research methodology of the field in particular by editing the SLRF 2009 Conference Proceedings and publishing two invited book chapters, two invited encyclopedia entries, several book reviews, and three articles in top-tier journals. In addition to these and other disciplinary activities, my leadership in the field is also evident in having received several awards including the 2011 College of Arts and Letters Varg-Sullivan Award and the 2009 American Association for Applied Linguistics / Multilingual Matters Graduate Student Travel Award, given annually to one of two top-ranked Ph.D. students who demonstrate promise as a contributor in applied linguistics.

  • Jessica Poort
    Jessica PoortAs a publicly funded scientist in a climate that presents a tepid attitude on scientific research, it is extremely important to demonstrate the necessity of science education. As well as showing how critical well-developed thinking skills are, it’s also essential to establish how interesting and fun science research can be. It is especially exciting for me to be sharing the idea that neuroscience is accessible with upcoming scientists. I believe one of the best ways to do this is to bring hands-on demonstrations to the public by visiting classrooms, holding science nights, neuroscience fairs and local neuroscience competitions. It has been especially rewarding to see involved students engaged in science, asking questions and understanding concepts they otherwise would not be exposed to.

  • Joseph Kenneth Prinsen
    Joseph Kenneth PrinsenIt has been a pleasure to have participated in facilitating access by osteopathic medicine students to research opportunities around the country and to share the joy of their successful participation in events like the Osteopathic Medical Conference and Exhibition. My goal of broadening the scope of osteopathic medical education to include the students’ keen awareness of the role research plays in understanding medical concepts, and providing the students with means to participate in research themselves, is a complex undertaking. My role as a DO-PhD student and my elected and appointed positions inthe MSU SOMA, National SOMA, American Physician Scientist Association, and AOA Bureau on Osteopathic Clinical Education and Research have enabled me to pursue my goal with greater efficiency. Having been selected as one of the first recipients of a COGS “Leadership Endowment Award,” for which I would like to sincerely thank the Fellowship Advisory Group, is a sign of appreciation that further encourages me to continue my efforts in advancing osteopathic medicine by helping students become research trained at the highest possible level.

  • Nathan von der Embse
    Nathan von der EmbseCurrently, I am involved in with the National School Psychologist Association as the co-chair of the NASP social justice interest group and the national student development workgroup. These roles have afforded me the opportunity to keep my colleagues informed of policy, legislation, and research that affects graduate students and school psychologists. As part of the NASP student development workgroup, I have been responsible for supervising over 100 university student leaders across the country and communicating with the NASP president regarding future directions for graduate student involvement within our organization. I view this involvement as a stepping stone to future leadership opportunities within our national organization.

  • Meredith Anne Whitley
    Over the past 4 years, I have become heavily involved in the Association for Applied Sport Psychology (AASP), which is an international, multidisciplinary, professional organization that focuses on research and applied practice within the field of sport psychology. As a Regional Student Representative for two years and currently serving as one of the two Student Representatives on the Executive Board, I am proud that I have been able to represent the student voice of AASP and create opportunities for student involvement and student development. This has included co-editing the Performance Excellence in Movement Newsletter, where students could submit articles for publication and interview professionals in our field. Additionally, I am excited that I was able to serve as a co-chair of the Mentorship Match Program during its pilot year, which is a student initiative that provides mentorship opportunities for our student members. Finally, as a member of the Community Outreach Committee within AASP, I was actively involved with the development of an annual grant program that will fund community outreach projects, which I strongly believe in and am excited that AASP is now supporting as an organization.

2011 COGS Leadership Endowment Fellowship Honorable Mention Recipients

  • Matt Fhaner
    Matt FhanerIn taking over leadership of the Younger Chemists’ Committee what I am most proud of is our group’s ability to secure longevity for science outreach programs offered by our group. We have expanded our activities to include classroom demos and career building workshops for undergraduates, all while building contacts that enrich each members career goals. I am pleased our group has made such a deep impact and look forward to continued success even after current leaders move on.

  • Steven Korzeniewski
    Steven J. KorzeniewskiI am most proud of my ability to use skills developed at MSU to positively impact public health by creating evidence-based systems changes and advancing our understanding of diagnostic testing.