Spring 2011 Michigan Tech Magazine

Spring 2011 Michigan Tech Magazine

Michigan Tech Magazine Spring 2011


In March, the women’s basketball team went where no Tech team has gone since the glory days of hockey: a national championship game. From left, starters Lucy Dernovsek, Sam Hoyt, Lisa Staehlin, Angela Guisfredi, and Lindsey Lindstrom celebrate at the end of the Elite Eight semifinal against Northwest Missouri State in St. Joseph, Missouri. Their astonishing run was achieved with no repeat starters and a brand-new head coach, all while maintaining a team average GPA of 3.64.

Beginning in 1956, the residents of Wadsworth Hall were privy to WVRW, as in

Radio Tech

by Dennis Walikainen

Tech students have long been able to spin their own tunes over the airwaves, or at least through the electrical outlets. Beginning in 1956, the residents of Wadsworth Hall were privy to WVRW, as in "The Voice of Radio, Wadsworth," a "carrier-current" AM station just for Wads. Plug your transistor radio into the wall and pull up your bobby sox. The outlets were the transmitters, no FCC license required.

When WVRW went airborne, it changed its call letters to WRS (Wadsworth Radio Service) and broadcast to all the residence halls. It was located in a small room opposite the old Wads mailroom.

Don Robinson '63 recalls "cueing" records.

"Put on headphones, twist [cue] the record to the beginning of the song, and then let her rip," Robinson says. "I played rock and roll and jazz; pretty much free form and whatever felt good at the moment. Great times and a great experience."

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Madyson Rothe, a second grader from Ashwaubenon, Wisconsin, plays with oobleck.

Let Us Entertain Your Brain

by Jennifer Donovan

"I don't know about loving science," the sixth grader confesses as she plunges her hands into the tank of non-Newtonian fluid, "but if it's gooey or muddy, I like it."

MIND TREKKERS, a science road show run by Michigan Tech student volunteers and Youth Programs staff, is making a splash wherever it goes. And it isn't just the oozing oobleck that's making it such a hit. In Detroit, in Grand Rapids, in Washington, DC, and at the national Boy Scout Jamboree, MIND TREKKERS is proving to kids across the state and nation that science is tons of fun.

"We are the Michigan Tech MIND TREKKERS," booms big Ed Leonard Jr., a physics and mathematics major from Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. "We're here to entertain your brain."

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Full Spectrum

by Robyn Ross

"Into the Depths" glows a deep shade of garnet. Brushstrokes of cobalt and indigo in "Ageless, Boundless, Timeless" suggest the undulation of seagrass.

The center of "Duration" is belted with a thick cream-colored line dividing the eggplant hue above it from the burgundy below. Venier thinks she may have painted the line, vaguely reminiscent of a horizon, because she likes landscape photography. But it might also be a visual depiction of the conscious and unconscious mind. She points to the lower half.

"There’s so much that goes on in our unconscious minds that we’re not aware of. And a lot of the time it’s calm on the surface, and all the interesting activity is happening below." She relies on all this "interesting activity" to create her abstract oil paintings.

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Head coach Kim Cameron

Born to Coach Black and Gold

by Wes Frahm

The 2010–11 Huskies have put together thirty-one wins, Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference regular season and tournament titles, and the school’s third straight NCAA Midwest Regional Championship.

Now they’ll play the biggest game in school history.

But with zero returning starters and a first-year head coach, who saw this coming?

Kim Cameron did.

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Michigan Tech's School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science is a research powerhouse.

Transition and Tradition

by Marcia Goodrich

It began as a school for foresters back in 1936, preparing skilled professionals for the Upper Peninsula's logging industry. Its first department head coached football and hockey and just happened to have a master's in forestry.

Seventy-five years later, Michigan Tech's School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science is a research powerhouse. It brings in more grant funding per faculty member than any other unit on campus. The School ranks number one among all US forestry programs in the number of research citations per faculty member, a measure of the quality of their science.

And yet, its faculty and staff still slog about in the mosquito-y woods with undergraduates, passing on the finer points of timber cruising just as they did three-quarters of a century ago.

"It's been a great ride," says Margaret "Peg" Gale '77 '81, dean of the School.

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Bill Shapton settles into the seat of a student-built Mini-Baja car. Almost forty years ago, he spearheaded the first collegiate design competition that required students to get their hands dirty.

Bill Shapton

by John Gagnon

It's called the Mini-Baja, and Bill Shapton, professor emeritus, has been a driving force behind this vehicle-design competition, which is sponsored by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE).

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Next winter, the Keweenaw Research Center will boast one of the coldest spots this side of International Falls.

A Gift of Cold

by Marcia Goodrich

Tech’s Keweenaw Research Center (KRC) has been testing how vehicles perform on their world-class snow-and-ice test course for decades. It’s been tougher to measure performance at Siberian temperatures.

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The Qinghai-Tibet Railroad, the world's highest railway.

Mission: Build a Great Northern Railway

by Jennifer Donovan

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.

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A revenue and shipping scenario displayed in Google Earth.

Model Railroads

by Jennifer Donovan

While Pasi Lautala visited cold-climate rail lines for the Alaska-Canada railway study, two other Michigan Tech researchers—Robert Shuchman and Colin Brooks at the Michigan Tech Research Institute (MTRI) in Ann Arbor—were building models. Not model trains—computer models to estimate the railroad’s future revenues.

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