WSCC to honor Dr. Sara Tanis with Alumni Achievement Award

April 30, 2014

Dr. Sara Tanis with her father, Dr. Dale Sutton. VICTORY TWP. –West Shore Community College will honor Dr. Sara R. Tanis with the Alumni Achievement Award during the 44th annual commencement exercise on Fri., May 2, at 7 p.m., in the College’s Recreation Center.

Dr. Tanis is a 1990 graduate of Mason County Eastern and earned an Associate of Science degree from West Shore in 1992. Thereafter, she attended Western Michigan University, where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in biology (1996). Both her Master of Science in horticulture (2008) and Doctor of Philosophy in forestry (2013) degrees are from Michigan State University.

Tanis is currently employed in the Department of Entomology at Michigan State University where she has also held graduate and laboratory assistant positions. She also worked as an operations supervisor for United Parcel Service, teaching assistant at Western Michigan University, and life guard at WSCC.

Tanis has delivered 49 presentation on forest insects and their impacts on urban and forest ecology in three countries, 12 states and three Canadian provinces. She recently accepted a one-year visiting professor of biology position at Kalamazoo College.

Last summer, Tanis lead a collaborative project that included scientists from MSU, Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, the USDA Forest Service, Michigan Department of Natural Resources and the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. She conducted an exotic forest insect trapping survey at 38 sites, including the WSCC campus, across Michigan’s Upper and Lower Peninsulas driving over 15,000 miles to collect 1,624 trap samples. Earlier this month, her research team completed the identification of more than 59,000 forest insects.

Tanis’ academic honors include an MSU College of Agriculture and Natural Resources Dissertation Completion Fellowship, Klomperans Fellowship for International Travel, Environmental Science & Policy Program, Doctoral Recruiting Fellowship, John L. Arend Excellence in Graduate Student Research Scholarship, Department of Horticulture Recruiting Fellowship, and American Society of Horticultural Science Collegiate Scholars Award.

Tanis resides in Battle Creek with her husband David whose multi-species family include two Labradors, Timber and Sunshine.

Tanis is the daughter WSCC Professor Emeritus Dr. Dale and Rose Marie Sutton of Scottville. Dr. Sutton taught at the college from 1971 – 1994. Tanis says, “I would not be where I am without his guidance and talent as a teacher both inside and outside of the classroom.”

The Alumni Achievement Award is presented annually to an alumnus who has demonstrated significant achievement and distinguished themselves in their career, education, or community such that they would be role models to current WSCC students.

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