2016 Michigan Tech Magazine: Issue 2

1400 Townsend Drive

By Scott Balyo

Upgraded MUB Dining Experience, Humans of Michigan Tech, MiCUP Connections, Summer with SYP, and Top 11 Percent

Enjoy Upgraded MUB Dining Experience

Students returned to campus this fall to find significant renovations and upgrades to the Memorial Union Building’s North Coast Grill and Deli, and Keweenaw Commons.

Student worker standing at the cash register behind the newly remodeled dining area in the Memorial Union.
The newly renovated cashier stations in the MUB.

The last major remodel of that space was in 1989, and while there have been several cosmetic updates over the years, this remodel dramatically changed the efficiency and flow of the Grill and Deli and the ambiance of the Commons.

New equipment and cashier stations were moved closer to the customer, and a new menu enhances quality and freshness of the food. In the Commons, a wall was opened to give better sight lines and all of the flooring was replaced. Powder-coating the railings and covering the brick columns with wainscoting gave the space a “North Woods” feel. Additional enhancements include new paint, wall coverings, and improved Wi-Fi.

Renovated commons space in the Memorial Union.
The renovated commons space.

Updates to the Grill and Deli provide customers with better speed of service and more fresh, made-to-order selections. Director of Auxiliary Services Robert Hiltunen notes that while the upgrades are important to current students, they’re also critical for creating the right first impression for future Huskies.

“Last year we added the new John Edgar McCallister Welcome Center and that along with the Commons are the first things many of our prospective students and parents see when they enter the building,” he says.

According to Hiltunen, the next phase of the upgrades will include replacing the ceiling and lights, and adding additional big screen TVs, computer projectors, and screens.

“We want to create a warm and welcoming atmosphere for our students, faculty, and staff,” he says.


MiCUP Connects 300 Community College Students to Michigan Tech

MiCUP students receive their certificates after completion of the program.
MiCUP participants receive a full university experience.

To encourage students to pursue STEM careers, spark their interest in research, and increase the transfer of underrepresented ethnic minority, first-generation, and economically disadvantaged students from community colleges, Michigan Tech has been participating in the Michigan College and University Partnership (MiCUP) since 2001.

Tech collaborates with Delta College (near Bay City), Grand Rapids Community College, and Wayne County Community College, and nearly 300 students have completed the program over the last 15 years. Kellie Raffaelli, director of Tech’s Center for Diversity and Inclusion, credits its success to the residential component and course students take.

MiCUP participant explaining her research poster.
MiCUP combines research, coursework, and experiences in the Keweenaw to show community college students what life at Michigan Tech is all about.

“Students live on campus, take a class, and do research,” she says. “They also have many UP adventures. We have a student coordinator, who is typically a MiCUP alumni, who plans trips on the weekends to expose the students to the area.”

Many undergraduate research programs only include the research; Tech’s is a full university experience. That helps students from downstate Michigan better understand the opportunities at Michigan Tech, according to Raffaelli.

“One of the biggest hurdles for students is the distance from their homes,” she says. “We get to show students what being a Husky is all about and that they can make it here. Many choose to come to Tech because of their MiCUP experience.”

With the current program grant coming to an end soon, Tech will be eligible to reapply, but Raffaelli says the goal is to institutionalize it by making it a Michigan Tech summer residential research program.

“We would run it very similarly, but perhaps bring in the local community colleges, especially Keweenaw Bay Indian Community College,” she says.


Summer can #BeAwesome with SYP

SYP participants conducting an experiment in the lab.
SYP studnets get hands-on eperience in the labs.

Summers on many college campuses are often perceived as a time reserved for scaled-back operations and recuperation from marathon-like academic calendars.

However, Michigan Tech uses the reprieve from commonly harsh winters and a temporarily reduced student population to provide middle and high school students from across the world an opportunity to fill the labs, classrooms, and residence and dining halls, and effectively become college students for a week.

Since 1973, Summer Youth Programs (SYP) has offered a platform for thousands of students to engage in intensive discovery of educational content ranging across the STEM fields, even dipping into additional areas like business, social sciences, and outdoor adventures.

The 2016 season of SYP was successful, as 1,135 students attended 52 different courses offered on campus. With participants from across the United States and from countries like Pakistan, Nigeria, and Bahrain, as well as over 100 students from South Korea, SYP played host to a diversity of demographics, cultures, and experiences. Currently there are 650 Michigan Tech students who are SYP alumni.

Post-program surveys show it was well-received. Ninety-three percent of participants felt their experience was different compared to their common classroom schooling at home; 86 percent gained confidence in their ability to be successful in a college atmosphere; and 93 percent would recommend their experience to others.

Two participants on a boat ride through the Portage Canal.
SYP is a chance for participants to meet new people and forge new friendships.

Enhanced industry engagement also provided unique opportunities, including over $200,000 in corporate funds that provided more than 400 students with reduced or free tuition, room, and board. Surveys have shown that most of these students would not have the ability or means to attend SYP if not for the gracious sponsorships they received.

SYP staff are preparing the 2017 programs and looking to build on the momentum of the largest two-year-attendance total (2015-16) seen in two decades. SYP partners with faculty and departments on campus to keep the academic offerings fresh and relevant with prospective participants. A growing collaboration with Michigan Tech Recreation is also providing exciting opportunities; in 2016 SYP housed all residential participants of summer sports camps and is slated to return in this capacity again next year.

SYP 2017 is open for registration, and all printed materials (catalogs and applications) will be mailed the second week of January. If you would like to receive future notifications or be added to the mailing list, or if you have any questions, please visit the SYP website.


Top 11 Percent Around the World

Group photo of the incoming student class at orientation.
New first-year undergraduate enrollment is over 1,580 students.

In a ranking of world universities released this fall, Michigan Tech was among the top 11 percent worldwide. QS World University Rankings considered 4,322 universities in its latest rankings.

The rankings were based on six measures, including two large annual surveys, one of active academics and one of employers. This year, 74,651 academics and 37,781 recruiters around the world were surveyed. Other yardsticks included the ratio of faculty members to students, the percentage of international faculty and students, and citations per faculty member.

QS Top Universities in the World ranks schools by increments of 50 points. In the 2016-17 rankings, Michigan Tech scored 501-550. The University has moved up 50 points since it was first ranked by this organization in 2013.

  • Michigan Tech made Princeton Review’s The Best 381 Colleges: 2017 Edition.

    Tech has been listed in the guide every year since 1994, and Princeton Review (not affiliated with Princeton University) has published its Best Colleges Guide annually since 1992.

  • Raymond Shaw, professor of physics, won Michigan Tech’s 2016 Research Award. In a letter nominating Shaw for the award, Ravindra Pandey, chair of the Department of Physics, wrote, “Shaw is internationally recognized in the field of atmospheric physics. The focus of his scientific work has been to investigate the role of turbulence on cloud formation and to study the physics of nucleation of ice crystals.”

    Shaw’s work is highly interdisciplinary, and he is quick to point out that his success is not the result of flying solo. As part of Shaw’s research, he collaborates with the National Center for Atmospheric Research to lead a team of scientists to conduct holographic imaging of cloud droplets from an airplane laboratory. He also collaborates with international scientists and has had extended stays at the Institute for Tropospheric Research in Leipzig, Germany, and at Peking University in Beijing, China.

  • Karyn Fay, a professor of practice in Tech’s biological science department, was the recipient of the 2016 Distinguished Teaching Award in the Assistant Professor/Lecturer/Professor of Practice category.

    Dean Bruce Seely of the College of Sciences and Arts emphasizes Fay’s broader teaching role as well. “Karyn brings an amazing level of teaching commitment to the Department of Biological Sciences MLS program. Her efforts are not limited to the classes she offers, but are equally apparent in her advising and overall direction of the program as she helps students through their clinical activities, practicums, and internships.”

    In addition to classroom teaching, Fay serves as academic advisor to the Society of Medical Laboratory Scientists, His House Christian Fellowship, and Theta Chi Epsilon Sorority.

  • Chang Kyoung Choi has been at Michigan Tech for less than a decade, but despite that relatively brief period of time, his personal, engaging teaching style brought him the University’s highest teaching honor.

    Choi, also known as “CK,” an associate professor in the mechanical engineering-engineering mechanics department, was the recipient of the 2016 Distinguished Teaching Award in the Associate Professor/Professor category.

    William Predebon, ME-EM department chair, calls Choi “a very talented and dedicated teacher.” Predebon emphasizes Choi’s personal connection with students, calling him “one of those rare people who is humble and unselfish with a passion to help his students succeed no matter what it takes. He cares about them as individuals and tries to connect with them at every level.”

  • Fall 2016 enrollment at Michigan Tech is 7,268, the highest the school has seen since 1983 and 30 more students than last fall. Female enrollment is at a record high, with 1,957 women making up 27 percent of the student body.

    Undergraduate enrollment totaled 5,827. New first-year undergraduate enrollment rose 8 percent over last year with 1,580 students, 119 more than last year.

    Majors in computer science, general engineering, environmental engineering, mechanical engineering technology, and forestry saw some of the biggest gains. The academic profile of the entering class has never been higher, with an average ACT composite score of 27.2, compared to 26.8 last year. And Michigan Tech has never had a more domestically diverse undergraduate entering class, with 9 percent of this year’s entering class composed of underrepresented populations.

    Graduate enrollment is 1,521 this fall, with graduate students making up 20 percent of the student body.

“Michigan Tech continues to provide great value to students,” says John Lehman, associate vice president of enrollment and university relations. “We tell our entering students, if you do your job, we’ll do ours, namely making sure your education pays off. Earning $62,800 a year, our graduates enjoy the seventh highest early career salaries of any public institution in the nation. Including the financial aid and scholarships students earn on average, our students see a $713,000 return on investment over 20 years. That continues to attract attention nationwide and accounts for a large part of the enrollment increases that Michigan Tech has seen over the past 12 years.”

Since 2005, enrollment at Michigan Tech has grown by over 750 students, or 12 percent. More than half of that growth has come from increases in female enrollment, which has increased by over 430 students, or 28 percent.

“These enrollment gains come despite the fact that we graduated the largest class in Tech’s history last year,” says Michigan Tech President Glenn Mroz. “This is a true testament to the faculty, staff, and community here in the Keweenaw and the parents who recognize the value of a Michigan Tech education.” 

Michigan Technological University is a public research university, home to more than 7,000 students from 60 countries around the world. Founded in 1885, the University offers more than 120 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in science and technology, engineering, forestry, business and economics, health professions, humanities, mathematics, and social sciences. Our beautiful campus in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula overlooks the Keweenaw Waterway and is just a few miles from Lake Superior.