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.


James Hoeschele: Alumnus gives back to MSU--his "second home"
James Hoeschele: Alumnus gives back to MSU--his "second home"

Although James Hoeschele (Ph.D., chemistry, ’65) didn’t have the opportunity to work in a lab during his undergraduate years, he realizes just how important this type of experience is. That’s why Hoeschele has been one of the key supporters of MSU’s Dean’s Research Scholars Program—from interviewing potential scholars to providing financial support. Hoeschele and his wife, Audrone, have also provided generous gifts to the Department of Chemistry and to other MSU programs.

Norman and Hanna Kelker: Supporting student research
Norman and Hanna Kelker: Supporting student research

Norman (Ph.D., microbiology and public health, ’68) and Hanna (Ph.D., botany and plant pathology, ’69) Kelker both had long careers as scientists in New York City, so it’s not surprising that their philanthropic efforts focus on research opportunities for undergraduates.

Robert Rietz: Giving back because "it's the right thing to do"
Robert Rietz: Giving back because "it's the right thing to do"

During his time as a student at MSU, Bob Rietz (B.S., mathematics, ‘70; Honors College) was able to pass three of the five exams required by the Society of Actuaries to become an associate of the society. “That was unheard of in those days; employers were impressed,” Reitz said. “Maybe I’m bragging . . . but what I’m really bragging about is the strength of MSU’s math program!”

James Rodman: Donating to honor the opportunities he was given
James Rodman: Donating to honor the opportunities he was given

When James Rodman (B.S., botany and plant pathology, Honors College, ’67) was a student, he worked in the MSU Herbarium. He had little inkling of how much this job would influence the arc of his life. A field trip to Mexico to collect plant specimens with then Herbarium Director John Beaman secured his future in botany and opened his eyes to a world far beyond his hometown of Detroit and Michigan. His endowment honors the place that sent him on his life career and Dr. Beaman.

Mary and Craig Rosenberg: Supporting "an inspirational place"
Mary and Craig Rosenberg: Supporting "an inspirational place"

Michigan State alums Mary and Craig Rosenberg always intended to support MSU when they were able, and both make donations of time as well as money. They see MSU as a very inspirational place, and are impressed with the increased awareness and impact of MSU around the world. The couple finds gratification in being able to donate to their alma mater to help open doors for others and to further the Spartan cause around the world.

Laura and Robert Sams: Sisbros Studios - A blend of science, comedy and storytelling
Laura and Robert Sams: Sisbros Studios - A blend of science, comedy and storytelling

MSU zoology alumni Laura and Robert Sams, a sister-brother creative team who own Sisbro Studios, LLC, in Portland, Ore.,  produce science-based films, books, music, educational media and live programs that help people discover the natural world (and laugh along the way).

Betty and John Schoepke: Devoted Spartan gives back
Betty and John Schoepke: Devoted Spartan gives back

Betty L. Schoepke, a lifetime member of the MSU Alumni Association along with her husband, John, heartily agrees that MSUAA is a “. . . Personal Network for Life.” “MSU has ‘been my lifeline’ several times, just when I needed it,” she said. Conversely, Schoepke has been there for MSU when it needed her.

Dr. Elizabeth Seaman: Notes on an orchestrated life
Dr. Elizabeth Seaman: Notes on an orchestrated life

You could say that because of MSU, Elizabeth B. Seaman, M.D., (zoology, ’68) has been making beautiful music her entire life. Whether in the orchestra chair, or in her doctor’s chair, her lifelong passions are obvious. “Growing up, my whole life was at MSU. It’s important for me to give back to the university that had such an influence on me,” Seaman said.

Ron and Mary Simon:  Simon endowment "insures" future of actuarial science program
Ron and Mary Simon: Simon endowment "insures" future of actuarial science program

Ron Simon began his college studies in mathematics at Michigan State in 1963. The now-retired Auto-Owners Insurance Company CEO has always appreciated and recognized the value of an MSU education. Now, he and his wife, Mary, are giving back to the university that started him down a highly successful career path.

Gary Starkweather: Perseverance, 'laser' vision lead to printer innovation
Gary Starkweather: Perseverance, 'laser' vision lead to printer innovation

Ever since he was old enough to know that things could come apart, Gary Starkweather loved science. Born and raised in Lansing, Mich., Starkweather, who received his bachelor’s degree in physics from MSU, went on to invent the laser printer, which revolutionized the commercial printing industry and transformed the workplace.