NatSci Profiles

The challenges facing society in the 21st century are complex.

In true Spartan fashion, the extraordinary individuals and groups that comprise the MSU College of Natural Science (NatSci) family – faculty members, staff members, students and alumni – are hard at work every day, making a difference in their classrooms, labs, businesses, communities and the world around them. In an effort to tell their stories, we've created this collection of profiles to feature people in our NatSci family and how they are contributing to the common good in ways both big and small. SPARTANS WILL.


Andrew Baker: Finding the secret to a successful life
Andrew Baker: Finding the secret to a successful life

Andrew Baker is an outstanding student, a dynamic researcher and a humanitarian. This well-rounded biochemistry and molecular biology senior has worked in the lab of Robert Root-Bernstein, professor of physiology, for three years. He is also a leader in MSU’s Multi-Racial Unity Living Experience & Intercultural Aide Program.

Scott and Patty Belden: "This is what you do, if you can"
Scott and Patty Belden: "This is what you do, if you can"

Growing up just northeast of Buffalo in Amherst, N.Y., Scott Belden (B.S., natural science/mathematics, ’78) watched his parents and grandparents frequently donate to Cornell University and be active members of the Cornell Alumni Association. So when he graduated from Michigan State, he and his wife, Patty, followed suit and became MSU donors just a few years after he graduated.

Carl Bruch: How it all fits
Carl Bruch: How it all fits

When he was an Honors College student in the late 1980s, physics major Carl Bruch had the opportunity to explore the many different courses and career paths that MSU had to offer. It was this varied and cross-discipline experience that launched him on a successful and rewarding career that has encompassed physics, environmental law and environmental peacebuilding. “It all fits together—often in surprising ways,” Bruch said.

E. Dean Butler: An alumnus with a clear vision
E. Dean Butler: An alumnus with a clear vision

E. Dean Butler is a true visionary—literally. But this extremely successful entrepreneur and founder of LensCrafters—the “eyeglasses in about an hour” company— said that he came by his first job out of college somewhat by accident.

Marc Conlin: A dedicated Spartan gives back
Marc Conlin: A dedicated Spartan gives back

MSU Department of Physics and Astronomy staffer Marc Conlin has invested some 50 years in Michigan State. His Spartan legacy goes beyond eager learning, devoted professional acumen and trusted leadership to significant financial support.

Sally and Thomas Crawford: Keeping connected
Sally and Thomas Crawford: Keeping connected

Sally Crawford (chemistry, ’70), and her husband, Thomas, like to stay connected—with their family, their community and their alma maters. Having received excellent educations and benefited from great experiences in college, the successful couple feels fortunate to be able to assist other students—in at least some small way—in having such wonderful opportunities as well.

Marilyn and Bo Dimitroff: A great love for MSU
Marilyn and Bo Dimitroff: A great love for MSU

Marilyn Capelli Dimitroff (B.A., mathematics, ’66) and her husband Bo (B.A., history, ’66) share a great love for MSU and the educational approach the university takes, so giving back was natural. The Dimitroffs have created a named Spartan Scholarship Challenge endowment in the College of Natural Science, and also support the Honors College, the Mathematics Department and the Spartan Fund.

Bradley Disbrow: Unfamiliar Ground
Bradley Disbrow: Unfamiliar Ground

Taking a seat at the first meeting of his first class at MSU felt like stepping into a foreign land. Perhaps that’s because that first meeting was held in a classroom in the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore in Milan, Italy, in a building likely older than Michigan State itself.

Kathy Doig and Ric Benson: Making the connection - The Tao of t-shirts
Kathy Doig and Ric Benson: Making the connection - The Tao of t-shirts

MSU professor Kathy Doig and her husband, Ric Benson, have a nearly 40-year philanthropic history with MSU; the relationship was sparked by the couple’s need for two Powdermilk Biscuit t-shirts. While the shirts have long since disintegrated into tatters, Doig and Benson’s connection to MSU continues to deepen and expand.

Megan Donahue and Mark Voit: Making a difference with science
Megan Donahue and Mark Voit: Making a difference with science

Megan Donahue and Mark Voit, professors of physics and astronomy who are both internationally known for their research on galaxy formation, went to two of the most prestigious undergraduate institutions in the country (Princeton and MIT, respectively). But the couple feel a much deeper kinship with MSU than any other school.