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Environmental Impact

Jeffrey Morisette ’90 Heads the North Central Climate Science Center

By Doug Goodnough

So, just what can you do with a degree in mathematics?

How about . . .

•  Work for NASA interpreting satellite data,
•  Map habitat from weather patterns and predicted changes in climate,
•  Bring a data-driven approach to earth and environmental sciences,
•  Run a multimillion dollar, multi-state science center for the federal government.

Dr. Jeffrey Morisette ’90 has accomplished all those things since graduating from Siena Heights University. Currently the director of the U.S. Department of the Interior’s North Central Climate Science Center, Morisette works with multiple agencies and organizations to help development long-term strategies and forecasts for what he believes is a rapidly changing climate.

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From the Alumni Association:

The Siena Heights Mission: Alive and Well

Mary Small Poore, President—Alumni Association Board of Directors
Mary Small Poore, President—Alumni Association Board of Directors

The Mission of Siena Heights University leads us all “to be more competent, purposeful and ethical through a teaching and learning environment that respects the dignity of all.” No time in my recent past have these words spoken to me more clearly than a recent week in April.

I was privileged to attend the Siena Heights University Honors Convocation held on April 25. That ceremony reminded me of all that is great about this school. The students, faculty and staff honored were but a small percentage of the incredible people who constitute this university. Their achievements and accomplishments are all outstanding. Later that same day I attended a reception for the graduates of our Metro Detroit campus. There I met non-traditional students who, along with all of their other personal and professional responsibilities, had achieved excellence in the classroom while striving to create better lives for themselves and their families. As a former traditional student 40 years ago, I could not imagine how difficult their journey must have been. As I told them that evening, I am in awe of each of them.

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Pilot Program

From Black Hawk Pilot to Motivational Speaker,
Elizabeth McCormick ’93 is Charting New Territory for Women

By Doug Goodnough

If you’re going to shatter a glass ceiling, why not do it flying a Black Hawk helicopter?

Elizabeth Vasher McCormick ’93 was one of the rare females to make it through a male-dominated U.S. Army flight school and become a helicopter pilot. After serving her country with honor for seven years, including flying peacekeeping missions in Kosovo, an injury ended her career as a Black Hawk pilot. However, it began another career path. Now, as an author and a motivational speaker, McCormick travels the world sharing her story of perseverance and personal success.

It Started at Siena Heights

After graduating from Siena Heights with a degree in art, McCormick intended to pursue a career in architectural engineering. However, as a 23-year-old “Army wife” living in Fort Polk, La., she said she soon felt another calling.

“I decided to put my degree to use in service to our country,” McCormick said of enlisting in the Army. “Because of my degree from Siena Heights, I knew I could go into the Army as an officer and that I had the potential to do and be anything.”

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