AugSTEM Student Spotlight: Michael Alves ‘17
by Mary Cornelius
This summer, Michael Alves can be found on his computer on the third floor of the Science Hall, running research models in the chemistry department along with other Augsburg URGO summer researchers. But, unlike most others in the department, he has yet to take a class here.
Alves received his Associates degree from Minneapolis Community Technical College this spring, and, after deciding against applying to bigger schools like the University of Minnesota, applied exclusively to Augsburg.
“I put all of my eggs into Augsburg,” Alves said. “I looked for places that had a smaller classes sizes…[and] where I could get a bunch of funding. So I emailed Rebekah [Dupont] in April or March about AugSTEM. I met everybody. Then, I applied for it, and now I’ve got it.”
Alves is assisting Professor Dave Hanson in a project related to atmospheric chemistry. “I got hired by Dave for the rest of the year [after summer research finishes], from his own funding,” said Alves. “I’ll be building a quadrupole time of flight mass spec. That’s more chemical engineering. It’s not quite what I want to do, but it’s exciting, so I’m going to do it.”
He also wants to apply for the McNair Scholars Program. “I am planning to go to graduate school for my Ph.D. [in Chemistry],” said Alves. He has other goals while he’s still at Augsburg, as well. “I want to go study abroad, definitely that’s something I’m aiming for. Or at least, I want to do research over the summer at another school or in another country.”
Alves is one of two students this summer who is doing research on the front end of his first semester here. According to him, “It’s cool—it got me accustomed to everything really quickly. When I start going to classes, I’ll know where things are, and I’ll know the professors already, because I already know them on a really personal level. I’m with them every day from 9 to 5, for 40 hours a week, sometimes 50.”
“Without AugSTEM, I wouldn’t be coming to Augsburg,” said Alves. “I really like it here. I would rather choose this over anything else.”