For nearly five decades, Eustace L. Dereniak has explored the frontiers of optics and engineering to help create 21st century breakthroughs in medicine, military hardware, astronomy and many other fields.
Dereniak, a 1963 Electrical and Computer Engineering graduate of Michigan Tech, became president of SPIE, the world’s largest professional organization dedicated to optics and photonics, in January 2012. He has been a professor in the University of Arizona’s College of Optical Sciences since 1979, and is also a professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering in the College of Engineering.
Russell Gronevelt’s commitment to Michigan Tech runs long and deep.
His service to Tech began as a civil engineering undergraduate, when he was active in the Sigma Rho fraternity and the intra-fraternity council and service on the Student Judiciary. Once settled into his career, he served two terms on the Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) Professional Advisory Committee, and the Executive Committee for the CEE Department's “Educating Graduates of Choice” Campaign.
Tom Irwin, soft-spoken and thoughtful, has “taken a leave of absence” from income-producing activities and redirected his energy to such pursuits as fly-fishing in the West, golf in the South, and travel around the world—when not tending to his volunteer duties on various boards and committees.
Civil Engineering Graduate Was a Leader on Hoover Dam Bypass
Alumna Bonnie Klamerus is winding down duties associated with the hardest work she’s ever done: being the structures manager for a new bridge, completed late last year, that spans the Colorado River and links Arizona and Nevada, a quarter of a mile downstream from the grand and storied Hoover Dam.
Pasi Lautala ’97 ’07 knows about cold climates. He’s from Finland, where it snows much the way it does in Houghton. He knows what arctic temperatures and freezing or thawing ground can do to railroad tracks and ties: heaving them, twisting them, turning them dysfunctional in a dozen different ways.
Catherine Leslie '83 has an open hand and an open heart these days. Leslie, whose degree is in civil engineering, is president and executive director of EWB-USA, a job that wears her out, but she wouldn't trade it for the world. The volunteer work takes about twenty hours per week on top of her regular employment. "I get tired," she says, "but I'm not sorry I'm doing it in the least. I love it."
Brenda O’Brien earned a bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from Michigan Tech in 1984. She continued her education while advancing in her career and will earn a master’s degree in Mathematics from Eastern Michigan University in May 2008.
Not your typical student, Brenda was a single parent with two small children when she earned her degree. Although unable to join clubs or to participate in extracurricular activities, Brenda was able to balance the responsibility of raising a family with the demands of Michigan Tech’s challenging Civil Engineering program, demonstrating to her children the importance of hard work and commitment.
Teresa Schissler-Boichot took the advantage of a Tech education and achieved a singular career.
She worked for six years as a service representative, engineer, and product analyst at Caterpillar Inc. In 2006 she joined Patten Industries Inc. in Elmhurst, Ill., as product support manager. In 2007, she became vice president and then executive vice president of operations at National Management Resources (NMR) Corp., of LaGrange, Ga.
Selected as a Modern-Day Technology Leader in the 22nd Annual Black Engineer of the Year Award, he received the award in Baltimore this February. Modern-Day Technology Leaders are people of color who are shaping the future of engineering, science, and technology through outstanding performance and achievements that merit national recognition.
Ronald Staley, who earned an associate’s degree in civil engineering technology in 1977 and a bachelor’s degree in business administration in 1980, has high praise for Michigan Tech.
“I learned how to study hard,” he recalls, “and I remember working hard. I wouldn’t be where I am today without Michigan Tech.”
Michigan Tech is known as a very successful engineering university. It is also known for its male-dominated population. Despite the fact that women are a minority on Tech's campus, it is clear that they, like men, can find success, even in the field of engineering. Amy Trahey, a 1994 civil engineering graduate of Michigan Tech is living proof of this fact.
William Winiarski came to Michigan Tech because of "its singularity of purpose" - engineering. When he left Tech, he became a singular success, but he never envisioned the accomplishments he achieved. A native of Chesaning, Michigan, Winiarski graduated from Michigan Tech in 1973 with a bachelor's in civil engineering. College was "tough sledding," he says, but his Tech education prepared him "very well" for the workaday world.