Winter 2010-2011 Michigan Tech Magazine

Winter 2010-11 Michigan Tech Magazine

Michigan Tech Magazine Winter 2010-11 Front Cover Image

Oobius Agrili

A Natural Solution

by Jennifer Donovan

Beetle-eating wasps

They call it fighting fire with fire. Or in this case,fighting bugs with bugs.

The emerald ash borer, an invasive, iridescent green beetle with a voracious appetite for ash trees, was found in the eastern end of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan in 2007. In 2008 a population over 200 miles to the northwest was identified in an abandoned cemetery in Laurium, about ten miles north of Michigan Tech on the Keweenaw Peninsula.

Adult emerald ash borers lay their eggs on ash trees, and the larvae tunnel beneath the bark. There, they eat the living part of the tree, known as the phloem, through which nutrients flow from the roots to the leaves. Ultimately, they kill the tree.

Now Michigan Tech's Andrew Storer, a forest insect ecologist, is heading . . . 

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Four Generations - Harris Family

Four Generations

by Marcia Goodrich

A Tech family legacy

The Harris family ties to Michigan Tech read like a chapter from the Old Testament.

Arthur begat Norman and Bernard '38. Bernard '38 begat Timothy '81; and Norman begat Ted '49, Gene, Richard '49, and Jerry '53.

Ted '49 begat Michael Pingel '95 and Thomas; and Thomas begat Laura, Class of 2014. Jerry '53 begat Geri Lynn, Michael '80, Steven '81, Gregory '83, James '85, and Donald '89. Geri Lynn begat Jessica Mariano '09.

And, in conclusion, at least for the moment, Michael '80 begat Ben, Class of 2011.

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Mackinac Bridge

A Crown for the Mighty Mac

by Marcia Goodrich

It is 1970 or so. Six-year-old Tess, her sister and two brothers, and their pet wiener dog are packed into the family station wagon, with a borrowed travel trailer bouncing along behind. It's the first day of vacation, and the Carbary family has been on the road for four hours since leaving their Bay City home, a pretty long haul in those days.

The weather is cool, gray, and foggy, as summer days once were in Northern Michigan. Dad pulls into a small roadside park, so the dog can do her business and the bickering kids, all bundled in sweatshirts, can stretch their legs. Next, they'll head over for a quick meal at a drive-in in Mackinaw City and then set up camp.

Tess loves vacation, and she loves camping, and she wishes they would just go straight to the campground instead of wasting time in this dumb park. Then, as she clambers out of the back seat, she slows. She inhales the primal air of the Mackinac Straits, and a breeze ruffles her fluffy red hair.

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Tech Archaeologists

Tech Archaeologists Tackle the Cliff

by John Gagnon

Sean Gohman spent last summer unearthing the past, pinpointing industrial ruins near the crossroads town of Phoenix, a half-hour north of Houghton and a century-and-a-half removed from the highway traffic zipping by just a hundred yards away.

Starting in May, Gohman filled his days scaling poor rock and slogging through swamp water at the storied Cliff Mine. "It was always an ordeal," Gohman says, for both him and the students in an archaeology field school that helped to map the site. In August, he was immersed in paperwork, putting the finishing touches on his master's thesis and setting off in pursuit of a doctorate in Tech's industrial heritage and archaeology program. "It's hard to get used to sitting inside," he said. "It's a weird transition."

For this native of St. Cloud, Minnesota, Michigan's past constitutes an irresistible tug. "I want to understand where I'm at," he says.

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The Memorial Union Building when it was brand-new

A Building, a Memorial, a Fund

by Erik Nordberg

Since 1952, the Memorial Union Building has stood as a memorial to fallen students, as well as a safe and comfortable spot to grab a cup of coffee or hunker down to study. Yet many folks may not realize that it also represents the philanthropic commitment of our alumni, friends, faculty, and staff. The MUB was the first significant fundraising effort the institution had ever mounted, and its construction planted the seed for what we know as the Michigan Tech Fund.

The June 1941 issue of the Bulletin of the Michigan College of Mining and Technology (the forerunner of today's Michigan Tech Magazine) included details of the summer alumni reunion activities. Amidst the fun and frivolity, Wilbur Van Evera 1907, president of the alumni association, indicated his plan to discuss "establishment of an Alumni Foundation which will facilitate the reception and use of bequests by the college."

The topic appears to have been received favorably, and the Alumni Foundation of the Michigan College of Mining and Technology was incorporated on August 8, 1941.

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Homecoming 2010


Tech football triumphed over Ohio Dominican 45–6, and the hockey Huskies iced the cake with a 5–3 victory over Nipissing. Everybody else just had fun. To see more Homecoming shenanigans, go to and search the uploads for “Homecoming 2010.” - See more at:

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Hockey Team

Hockey Team Travels to Europe for Joker Cup

by Ian Marks

The Michigan Tech Hockey Team took advantage of an NCAA exemption that allows international competition every four years and traveled to Germany and Austria for a working vacation. Tech was one of four teams to compete in the Joker Cup, which featured professional teams from three European leagues.

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The Leaning Tree

The Leaning Tree

by John Gagnon

Michigan Tech's Leaning Tree, a grand white pine in the center of the campus, died on Tuesday, August 17, 2010, in the small hours of the morning. She was cut down lest she fall on any bystanders.

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Steven Burdgick '90

Patently Prolific

by Marcia Goodrich

Steven Burdgick '90 enjoyed getting his first patent so much that he proceeded to rack up fifty-two more and has twenty-five pending.

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It's Not Their Parents' Residence Hall

by Dennis Walikainen '92 '09

Hillside Place, Michigan Tech's new apartment building, is so nice that tourists might try to check in. It opened this fall and gives students a housing hybrid: the social benefits of a residence hall with independent, apartment-style living. Hillside Place was designed and built in consultation with students to satisfy growing demand for a different kind of university housing.

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Jim Stewart

Victory at Sea

by Marcia Goodrich

Mike Stewart '94 and a resourceful six-man crew have won the 2010 Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac, beating the big guys and bringing honor and glory to their hometown on Lake Michigan's eastern shore.

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