Alumni Plaza the center of the Dowagiac campus


Professor Andrew Dohm with Aimee Lambert

Professor Andrew Dohm congratulates Aimee Lambert

Associate Professor Mark Pelfrey with Benjamen Miller

Associate Professor Mark Pelfrey with Benjamen Miller

Edwardsburg Students Win SMC Math/Science Awards

Published on May 4, 2022 - 3 p.m.

Southwestern Michigan College’s Math/Science Department April 28 paid tribute to two standout students from Edwardsburg, Aimee Lambert and Benjamen Miller.

Lambert, who graduated April 30, received the Darrin Williams Memorial Scholarship, the highest award bestowed.

Miller was awarded the department’s Appreciation Award in a ceremony attended by faculty and family in the William P.D. O’Leary Building.

Professor of Math and Science Andrew Dohm introduced Lambert as a “great student. Great students don’t just show up, they participate, they’re serious and they’re curious. They seek to not just do, but to understand. They ask questions when they don’t understand and they’re willing to help others do well. They’re not afraid of hard work, they’re goal-oriented and they’re inspirations — and I’ve just described Aimee. On top of all that, she’s just a nice person.”

“She’s a joy to have in class,” Dohm continued, “and I’m confident she’ll do great in the next phase of her career. She has the skills, knowledge and ability to be successful in whatever she does, but when I look back over the whole year because I’ve had Aimee in physics since last September, every assignment, every problem, every quiz, every exam is just 110 percent. She puts forth a lot of effort and is not afraid to ask questions, but more importantly, she is an inspiration to others who see her working so hard and helping others in lab activities. She’s not only finishing her associate degree, this is her fifth year of high school” through the Early Middle College program.

“She’s achieved this level of academic achievement and won this award while only going here fulltime for one year,” Dohm said.

Lambert plans to attend Western Michigan University to double-major in paper and chemical engineering.

“Paper engineering is specifically about sustainability and finding new recyclable materials,” Lambert said.

The Darrin Williams Memorial Scholarship was established in memory of a 1988 SMC graduate from Dowagiac. This STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) transfer scholarship recognizes a second-year student who exhibits traits Darrin exemplified: scholarship, service to the department, integrity, cooperation and a sense of humor.

Williams died in an auto accident coming home for Christmas from Michigan Technological University.

The Appreciation Award was established in 2012 to honor a first-year or high school student who demonstrates a strong work ethic, shows academic promise, plans to pursue a STEM-related career and made a significant department contribution, according to department Chair Ria Thomas, professor of mathematics.

Associate Professor Mark Pelfrey, co-founder of SMC’s Honors Program, had Lambert and Miller for Calculus II and III.

“Ben’s willingness to help the department was unique to anything I’ve seen before. Students do research projects with faculty members for our Honors Program. As a dual-enrolled high school student, Ben was not part of the Honors Program. But out of the blue, Ben tells me gradients are closely related to something he’s been doing on the side. He was willing to take material we were working on in class and explain how it’s directly related to Calculus III. It was an Honors presentation if I’ve ever seen one,” so his NoTED Talk on aerial orthomosaics was reprised at the department awards.

Miller, who intends to study aerospace engineering at the University of Michigan, said, “It’s basically the process of capturing thousands of photos and using computer software to stitch them into one single image full of useful data which can be used to create elevation profiles and contour lines to predict flow of water as well as plant health based on color. Capturing these images is done with software which utilizes vectors to define predetermined flight paths for the drone to follow. The software also determines camera angles. I’m able to produce three types of maps from these images. My research primarily dealt with elevation gradients.”