My name is Jen Zarzecki and I had no clue what I was getting myself into when decided Michigan Tech was the place for me. I had never visited Houghton and I did not do a lot of research about the programs prior to my enrollment. Now, I am a fourth year Mechanical Engineering student and I am involved in multiple organizations throughout campus. I have been a member of the Delta Phi Epsilon International Sorority since my second semester at Tech and have since also joined the Order of Omega Honors Society. I work on the Women’s Programming Committee and am the secretary of the Undergraduate Student Government (USG). At the beginning of last spring, I had the great opportunity to attend the Leadershape program. This past fall I had the wonderful experience of being an OTL. I have even spent a semester on co-op and two summers interning. This summer, I will be interning with John Deere in manufacturing engineering. Needless to say, I’m devoted to student involvement and keeping busy!

In my time at Michigan Tech, I have learned so much between the classroom and real world experiences this university has provided for me. However, there are a few, you might say, “rules of the land.” The most important rule I have learned to respect is that Winter Carnival is a season all its own. It falls right in between winter before Christmas break and winter after Carnival. Classes, statue making, and broomball. It’s like a recess time for college students, except these statues are far more intricate than any or lopsided snowman I ever made during recess. Winter Carnival introduces students to all kinds of different “snow based” activities. Never did I imagine that my hobbies would include: broomball, curling, ice fishing, teeter tottering at night to raise money for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, statue building, or watching a competition judged on talent, creativity, and beards.

Given I cannot grow a beard, I had to choose a different talent for queens. My first year at Michigan Tech is full of memories from my time living in the Visual and Performing Arts Learning Community or VPA. I have been musically involved since fourth grade whether it was piano, flute, clarinet, or vocal lessons. In light of this Winter Carnival’s theme of “Heroes and Villains,” I have selected to perform the song, Defying Gravity, from the musical Wicked. The song is about gaining powers in the midst of conflict and corruption while taking a stand for a whole city, even while others work to bring you down.

This will be my last Winter Carnival as a student, and I have some pretty lofty expectations: lots of snow and catching a fish in Chassell Bay (unlike when I got skunked last year!). The rest I will leave up to fate and the hard work and expertise of the Michigan Tech students. I cannot wait to see the endless ways groups will interpret this year’s theme, as well as the groups that make us feel as though we are in a comic book wonderland. I would like to thank Maurices and the brothers of Lambda Chi Alpha for sponsoring me for this year’s Winter Carnival Queen’s competitions. Additionally, I would like to highlight Sew Sisters of Hancock and all my friends and family for all their support this Winter Carnival! Hopefully you will catch me on All-Nighter working on statue, teeter tottering for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, or maybe you will see me volunteering with USG to direct traffic and help people cross US-41 (it’s not as intense as air traffic control, but& there is a light up baton!). Otherwise, have an amazing, incredible, fantastic Winter Carnival!