Academy of Science & Engineering


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Academy Inductees for 2018
Members represent amazing achievements in medical research, entrepreneurship, science and leadership.

The new Academy members are pictured above with SCSE Dean Wendy Reed: Minh Chau Nguyen (far left); Kodi Jean Verhalen (second from the left); and Thomas Frantes (right). 

The Academy of Science and Engineering was established in 2002 by Dean James P. Riehl to publicly recognize distinguished alumni and special  friends of Swenson College who have distinguished themselves through commitment and leadership in their chosen profession. It is the highest honor bestowed by the Swenson College of Science and Engineering. We have more than 15,000 alumni and each year a handful are nominated by their departments for induction into the Academy of Science and Engineering. Since its inception, 68 members have been inducted into the Academy.

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2018 Inductees

Thomas J. Frantes

Frantes grew up in the Twin Cities and received a Bachelor of Science degree in geology at UMD in 1979. He later earned a master’s degree and became a licensed geoscientist. Most of his career was spent conducting oil and gas exploration activities for ExxonMobil which took him to every continent except Antarctica. He has always been fascinated with rocks and fossils and his passion for geology and geophysics led to executive positions in his field. In addition, Frantes helped to advance research related to artificial intelligence and three-dimensional visualization for mapping subsurface sediments. After 36 years at ExxonMobil, he is now enjoying his retirement with his wife Beth at their ranch in The Woodlands, Texas.

Minh Chau Nguyen

Nguyen graduated from UMD with a degree in chemistry in 1998 and a master’s degree in organic chemistry in 2000. He started his career at Medtox Lab in New Brighton, MN and then a few years later transitioned to the role of forensic chemist with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) at the Western Laboratory in San Francisco, CA. He is now a senior forensic chemist and works closely with law enforcement, special agents and prosecutors on drug evidence. Nguyen immigrated to the US from Vietnam only a few years before starting at UMD and maintains a connection with his native country through charitable work. He has even provided training at the National Forensic lab in Vietnam. He continues to be involved at UMD, too, by providing surplus lab instruments and introducing students to the programs at UMD.

Kodi Jean Verhalen, P.E., Esq., F.NSPE

VerHalen graduated from UMD in 2004 with a degree in chemical engineering and has already distinguished herself in her field. In 2010, she received a law degree from William Mitchell College of Law while working in environmental engineering for a Minnesota electric utility. She is now a shareholder and attorney at the Minneapolis-based law firm of Briggs and Morgan, P.A. in the areas of energy and environmental law. She maintains a connection with her engineering peers through involvement in the National Society of Professional Engineers. She was the third woman and youngest person in the history of the group to serve its 31,000 members as president from 2016 to 2017. She has received numerous awards and in her spare time supports the University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital by participating on committees that raise more than $1 million annually for child and family support services.

2017 Inductees

Dr. Scott Huseby

Dr. Scott Huseby graduated from UMD in 1952 with a degree in Chemistry and minors in Zoology and Mathematics. He went on to become a medical doctor and entered the United States Navy as a young physician in 1957. While in the military, Dr. Huseby began an Orthopedic Residency at the U.S. Naval Hospital in Chelsea, Massachusetts. He was later assigned a tour in Vietnam where he established a military field hospital to provide surgical care for combat casualties. Upon his return, he worked in the amputee ward of Oak Knoll Hospital and eventually became Chief of Orthopedics where he established a training program in the area of hand and reconstructive surgery. Following 13 years in military medicine, Dr. Huseby joined an orthopedic practice in Concord, California. In 2001, he retired after practicing orthopedic surgery for 40 years.

Dr. Thomas C. Johnson

Dr. Thomas Johnson started at UMD as an Associate Professor and Director of Limnology from 1981-1983.  After a stint as the Director of the Duke/University of North Carolina Oceanographic Consortium, he returned to UMD in 1994 as a Professor in the Geological Sciences Department and founding director of the Large Lakes Observatory (LLO). Dr. Johnson held that position until 2004. From 2009 to 2015, he served as a Regents Professor of Geological Sciences and in 2015 he became a Regents Professor Emeritus with LLO and UMD. He specializes in great lakes research and paleoclimate records from large lakes based on geochemical signals in sediment cores. He is currently an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Geosciences at University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Dr. Lisa Schulte Moore

Dr. Lisa Schulte Moore earned a Master of Science degree in Biology at UMD in 1996 and went on to earn a Ph.D. in forestry at the University of Wisconsin Madison. She came to UMD with a B.S. in Biology from the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire. Dr. Schulte Moore is now a professor in the Department of Natural Resource Ecology and Management at Iowa State University. Her research addresses the strategic interaction of perennials into agricultural landscapes to meet societal goals for clean water, healthy soils, abundant wildlife and inspiring recreational opportunities. She is the co-founder and co-leader of the Science-based Trials of Rowcrops Integrated with Prairie Strips (STRIPS) project which pioneered the prairie strips conservation practice. She lives in Ames, Iowa and also spends time at a diversified family farm near Strum, Wisconsin.

Full list of Academy Members