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.


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, 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.

Daniel Edson: BLD alum gives back--one "first" at a time

He developed the first antibody test for Legionnaires’ disease in 1977, established the first Virology Lab at Lansing’s Sparrow Hospital in 1979, and co-founded the American Proficiency Institute in 1991—the first U.S. organization to focus on physician office quality assurance. Now, BLD alumnus Daniel Edson and his wife have established the first endowed faculty position in the Biomedical Laboratory Diagnostics Program—the Daniel and Debra Edson Endowed Professorship.

Mark and Sandy Ehlert: Honoring their mentors

MSU alums Mark and Sandy Ehlert met and fell in love while they were both workers in Hubbard Hall. They married during spring break of their senior year and, after graduating, they started careers in medical manufacturing and teaching, respectively. Both grew up in blue-collar families in Michigan and see their philanthropy as a way of saying thank you for the great gift they received from Michigan State. 

Kiera Fisher: From lost to lovin' it

Her whole life, Kiera Fisher wanted to be a veterinarian. But the summer before her freshman year at MSU, she shadowed a veterinary surgery and immediately realized it wasn’t for her. She started at MSU that fall, lost and not knowing what major she should now pursue. However, a professional assistant job in an MSU research lab ignited a passion for research and a career in cancer biology and oncology.

Pam Fraker: Pioneering professor pays it forward

As a young girl growing up in the tiny town of Williamsport, Ind., her desire was to become a farmer—not a pioneer. But today, Pam Fraker is recognized as a pioneer in the field of nutritional immunology and as an avid supporter of students, both academically and financially.

Dan and Karen Friderici: Helping aspiring scientists

Dan and Karen Friderici, both retired professors from the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, have created the Friderici Undergraduate Research Scholarship in the College of Natural Science, to help demystify laboratory life for aspiring scientists and provide the financial flexibility for students to participate in research.

Katrina Gensterblum: Math and research - It all adds up

Time and time again, Katrina has to explain why a math degree is not only useful, but also powerful—especially within research. During her first two years at Michigan State, she’s been fortunate enough to have a variety of research experiences that demonstrate a wide range of applications for a math degree—even just an undergraduate one. The question, she says, isn’t what can you do with a math degree, but rather what WILL you do with a math degree?

Ron Goldsberry: Feeling Fortunate

MSU alumnus Ronald Goldsberry considers himself fortunate—in more ways than one. His list of credentials is over-the-top impressive, including holding several executive positions in Fortune 500 companies and being the only African American to serve as CEO of an American chemical company in the 1980s, among other accomplishments. Yet, he has not forgotten his humble roots—or his alma mater.

Alice Greene: Paying it forward -- The value of higher education and research

As Alice Greene sat outside Yakeley Hall in June 1942, at the end of her freshman year at Michigan State College, it probably didn’t occur to her that she would have an impact on future generations of MSU students. Thanks to her daughters Martha Rykala and Susan Avery, along with Susan’s husband, Jim Avery (all MSU alums) she will be making a difference in the lives of many MSU microbiology students for years to come.