February 20, 2006 (Vol. 12, No. 37)

A weekly electronic newsletter for alumni and friends of Michigan Technological University

Edited by Dennis Walikainen (MS ’92), Director, Web Development, University Marketing and Communications

For past issues, see our archives.

In this issue:

National Engineers Week

National Engineers Week, Feb. 19-25, finds engineering and science at center stage in a national debate over our state and nation's future role in innovation and the world economy. Reports from the Business Roundtable and the National Academies, as well as books and stories in major news outlets, discuss the increasing worldwide demand and competition for talent in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

China and India in particular have made a decision that their future economic well-being will be tied to technology, research and innovation and are working to increase the number of educated workers in their countries. "Tapping America's Potential: The Education for Innovation Initiative," reports that 90 percent of all scientists and engineers in the world will live in Asia by the year 2010, if current trends continue.

It's ironic, then, that these same publications report that interest among our young people in careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics has been decreasing over the past decade and is now a national concern.

Both Michigan and America need citizens who can develop, manage and communicate science and technology. The demand in the workplace is there and is growing. This year, the number of organizations at Michigan Tech's career fairs jumped 30 percent over last year, to over 320 employers, and many more use our on-line services. We are filling their demand for qualified workers, yet the success of these companies and agencies in finding bright new employees depends on career interests developed in our children at a very young age.

Our responsibility is to make sure the doors of the future remain open for our children, encouraging them to stick with science and math in high school and take language and business classes so that they have the skills to further their own careers while they bring the world to Michigan.

Science, technology, engineering and mathematics are key variables in the formula that brought the United States to preeminence in innovation. All indications are that they will be of even greater importance in the future.

Glenn D. Mroz



Snowfall Update
(Website http://www.admin.mtu.edu/alumni/snowfall/)
As of February 18, 2006

Snowfall to Date, On the Ground

This Week: 168 "     31 "
Last Week: 149.5"     25"
Last Year: 114.5"     27 "

ALUMNI BULLETIN BOARD: Remember the alumni bulletin board for you to use for discussions related to this newsletter, Tech sports, or anything else: <http://www.admin.mtu.edu/pps-cgi-bin/yabb2/YaBB.pl>

At Tech

TEACHING AWARD FINALISTS ANNOUNCED: Each year, Tech recognizes two educators for their outstanding contributions to the instructional mission of the University. The first stage in this process involves the identification of ten finalists:

Associate Professor/Professor Category

  • Brian Fick (Associate Professor, Physics)
  • Dean Johnson (Associate Professor, Business and Economics)
  • Carl Nesbitt (Associate Professor, Chemical Engineering)
  • Soner Onder (Associate Professor, Computer Science)
  • John Sandell (Associate Professor, Chemical Engineering)

Assistant Professor/Lecturer Category

  • Heidi Bostic (Assistant Professor, Humanities)
  • Ann Brady (Assistant Professor, Humanities)
  • Sean Clancey (Lecturer, Chemical Engineering)
  • Karyn Fay (Lecturer, Biological Sciences)
  • Guy Hembroff (Assistant Professor, Technology)

MATH PROFESSOR DEVELOPS NEW CALCULUS RULE: Iosif Pinelis is on a mathematical mission. Three centuries after the golden age of Newton and Leibnitz, he is lobbying to have a new rule or two introduced into calculus texts. While his work on the subject (a rule similar to L'Hospital's rule) has been published several times in leading journals, most of the responses so far to his suggestion that it also appear in textbooks have been variants of "it's a long shot, but not inconceivable. The problem, notes Glen D. Anderson, a mathematics professor at Michigan State University, is that calculus texts don't lack for material. "The course outline is always crowded, and there's not enough time to teach the desirable topics." In other words, if something is added, something else must be taken away. However, Anderson said, "I am very sympathetic to the inclusion of [Pinelis's] rules in a calculus course; they would be an interesting, useful and powerful addition." The fundamentals of calculus have been virtually immutable for so long that the body of knowledge outlined in college texts has become known as "the calculus."


Tech Sports

ICERS SURPASS WCHA POINT TOTAL FROM LAST YEAR BY GAINING TIE WITH #3 WISCONSIN: The hockey Huskies recorded a 4-4 overtime tie vs. #3 Wisconsin this past Saturday (Feb. 18) during Senior Night at the John MacInnes Student Ice Arena. Tech's senior class combined to score six points in the contest, including a team-high two points from Chris Conner. Michigan Tech travels to St. Cloud State for a two-game tilt at the National Hockey Center next Friday (Feb. 24 and Saturday (Feb. 25). Both games are set to start at 8:07 p.m.

OWEN FINISHES THIRD OVERALL AT CCSA REGIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS: All-American Kristina Owen amassed two top-five performances to pace the Michigan Tech Nordic skiing team at the Central Collegiate Ski Association Regional Championships at the Tech Trails this past weekend. Owen took home first place in the five-kilometer classic race with a time of 18:30.1 and ranked fourth in the 10-kilometer freestyle race with a time of 31:53.4. The Huskies travel to Wisconsin next Saturday (Feb. 25), where they will compete in the American Birkebeiner. The race begins in Cable and ends in Hayward.

REGULAR SEASON ENDS FOR HOOPS SATURDAY: The Michigan Tech women's basketball team will host Finlandia Wednesday (Feb. 22) before both Huskies teams (men and women) close out their 2005-06 regular season schedules Saturday (Feb. 25) with a trip to Northern Michigan. Both teams have qualified for postseason play in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Tournament beginning February 28.

TENNIS EARNS FIRST WIN: The Michigan Tech men's tennis team picked up its first win of the 2006 season with a 5-4 triumph over Ripon at Gates Tennis Center last Saturday (Feb. 18). The Huskies are now 1-5 on the season, with their next match coming against Winona State in Duluth on Saturday (Feb. 25)

For up-to-date standings, go to the following links:
Hockey: http://www.collegehockeystats.net/standings/wcham
Women's Basketball: http://gliac.org/womens/basketball/default.asp
Men's Basketball: http://gliac.org/mens/basketball/default.asp


Men's Ice Hockey (7-20-5, 6-13-5 WCHA)

Feb. 17: #3 Wisconsin 5, at Michigan Tech 0
Feb. 18: at Michigan Tech 4, #3 Wisconsin 4, OT

Women's Basketball (17-7, 13-4 GLIAC)

Feb. 16: at #13 Grand Valley State 60, Michigan Tech 39
Feb. 18: at Ferris State 70, Michigan Tech 61

Men's Basketball (14-12, 10-7 GLIAC)

Feb. 16: at #14 Grand Valley State 67, Michigan Tech 55
Feb. 18: Michigan Tech 57, at Ferris State 53

Nordic Skiing

Feb. 18-19: Michigan Tech hosted CCSA Regional

Men's Tennis (1-5, 0-0 GLIAC)

Feb. 18: at Michigan Tech 5, Ripon 4


Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Huskies Drive Time, 7:30 - 8:00 a.m. on WKMJ, 93.5 FM
Women's Basketball hosts Finlandia, 7 p.m. (Live Radio, 93.5 FM)

Friday, February 24, 2006 • Husky Friday (wear school colors)

Hockey at St. Cloud State, 8:07 p.m. (Live Radio, 93.5 FM)

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Nordic Skiing at American Birkebeiner (Hayward, Wis.), TBA
Women's Basketball at Northern Michigan, 11 a.m. (Live Radio, 93.5 FM)
Men's Basketball at Northern Michigan, 1 p.m. (Live Radio, 93.5 FM)

Men's Tennis vs. Winona State, 6 p.m.

Hockey at St. Cloud State, 8:07 p.m. (Live Radio, 93.5 FM)

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Men's Tennis at St. Scholastica, 9 a.m.


Friday and Saturday, February 24-25 at St. Cloud State Charter Cable 8:07 p.m.
Friday, March 3 at North Dakota, Fighting Sioux Sports Network (FSSN) 8:37 p.m.
Saturday, March 4 at North Dakota FSSN 8:07 p.m.
Friday, March 10 - WCHA Playoffs TBA

All Times are Eastern

Around Town
(Adapted from the Daily Mining Gazette)

WIND POWER CONTROVERSY CONTINUES: Miscommunications may have helped to widen a rift this week between Keweenaw County officials and Lowell, Mich.-based Mackinaw Power, LLC. The county has been in contract negotiations with the power company regarding possible wind turbine use on the north face of Mt. Horace Greeley in Eagle Harbor Township. Public comment on the issue was taken Feb. 8, with the board subsequently tabling further action on the lease until a meeting could be held between representatives from Mackinaw Power, the county's planning and zoning commission, Eagle Harbor Township and Houghton Township, and county attorney Donna Jaaskelainen. Commission board members received a letter from Mackinaw Power President Richard F. Vander Veen indicating the company's intent to retract its interest in the project. "We are removing our lease from any further consideration by Keweenaw County at this time," wrote Vander Veen. The letter stated "it is not clear which provisions of the lease created concerns" and that a "growing demand for renewable energy and wind power across the Upper Peninsula has created immediate opportunities for the region." Municipal officials and local property owners and residents have cited a variety of concerns, including the apparent open-endedness of the contract, the lack of any provisions for environmental studies, and legal opinions that the contract is one-sided and does not represent the best interests of the county.

PORTAGE TOWNSHIP DISCUSSES REC PLAN: A proposed recreation plan for Portage Township largely met with approval. The township held a public hearing to discuss the draft of the plan, which sets a list of future projects within the township's recreation sites. The five-year plan is a requirement for parks and recreation grants with the Department of Natural Resources. After revisions are made, the board will adopt the final plan at its March meeting. The plan, which Supervisor Bill Bingham called a "wish-list," includes improvements at township recreation sites in Dodgeville, Hurontown, Tapiola, and Pilgrim Estates. Council members said the most valuable changes would be at the Dodgeville Recreation Area, due to the population base and high usage of the site. Proposed changes at the site include replacing the blacktop in the pavilion/ice rink with concrete, which will cost an estimated $60,000. Bingham also pointed to the Tapiola (Otter Lake) Recreation Area as a popular one, saying local children get a lot of use out of the ice rink, as well as the merry-go-round adjacent to it. There are several items planned for that site, including a $12,000 expansion of the concession stand to include a changing room for winter activities, as well as $10,000 in new outfield fencing, dugouts and a backstop for the ball field.

From the E-mailbag

At the risk of initiating an extended debate about the merits of roundabouts, I would like to take some exception to the comments by Brian Steward in his letter to you in last week's edition of your newsletter.

First of all, I am in no position to judge whether moving from new England to Minnesota is "wising up" or not, not being familiar with either place. It sounds though like jumping from the frying pan into the fire, or the frigid equivalent thereof.

What I am more concerned about, however, is the "dissing" of roundabouts. They seem to work very well in the United Kingdom and Ireland as well as other European countries, handling huge volumes of traffic efficiently and with minimal delays.

I have had the privilege of driving extensively throughout England, Scotland and Ireland. There is certainly a learning curve involved, what with driving on the opposite side of the road and a lot of different conventions for pavement markings and signing, but it is surprisingly easy to adapt and, with some exceptions, the signing and marking are very helpful. The only consistent problem I experienced was in entering and exiting driveways from gas stations or other commercial facilities. I invariably chose the wrong side, causing some consternation on the part of the natives.

The biggest problem with roundabouts was planning which side to be on when more than one lane was involved. Signs in the roundabouts were not always helpful in that they did not necessarily list the destination that I was looking for or the route number I was trying to follow and, with the speed of traffic in the roundabout it was necessary to make some quick decisions. Being a tourist and not knowing exactly where I was going I often had to slide across the circle to get to the exit I needed. This sometimes disturbed other drivers, but they were courteous enough to make way, although they let me know their displeasure with their horns. On those occasions where it was not safe to make that kind of move I found myself making at least one circuit to be able to get to where I needed to go

I know there is opposition to roundabouts being expressed by some persons in the U.S. There has been some experimenting with them in our area with a certain amount of complaining also. Whether this is just a reluctance to accept something different or otherwise motivated is open to debate. I suspect that it is mostly a matter of education. Roundabouts offer advantages over traffic signal controlled intersections in moving traffic and safety. The number of potential conflict points is reduced and head-on or T-bone type of accidents, which are often fatal, are essentially eliminated. Out here in the wild, wild west, where red lights are considered mere inconveniences, this could make a significant difference.

David Elack '60


About those roundabouts...
I live in Blair, Nebraska, a small town of about 8,000 people about 25 miles north of Omaha.  It's smaller than Houghton, but not as remote. We got our new roundabout (traffic circle) on the southwest edge of town just over a year ago.  For the small-town quantity of traffic we have, it is wonderful.  You don't have to stop most of the time, just slow down for the curve.  It is at an intersection with a US highway and the state highway to Omaha, so it handles heavy trucks and commuters.  I do agree that roundabouts are the pits, and dangerous, for high volume traffic.  We do chuckle when the out-of-county folks get to the circle and don't know which way to go!

Kathy Dudrick, 1984


I think that da tech students should try to beat the world record for the world's largest snowman next year at its Winter Carnival. I hope all of the local students had a marvelous time at Sherman field throwing snowballs and making snow angels!  Here is a link with the record set a few years ago!

Bonnie Janssen Geo Eng '84


Winter Carnival also looked great on FSN, which broadcasted the Friday hockey game in MN. FSN did a nice job showing statues and the snowball fight at Sherman Field. It's nice for Tech hockey to get some more TV exposure even if the announcer did call Houghton the "Gateway to the KeeNeWaw".

Brian Wright, 1995


Regarding the largest snowball fight - our NBC network in Chicago mentioned it on the evening news last night (Monday 2/13) because the current record is held by a Chicago suburb (Wauconda, IL). The anchor worded it as "A Michigan University is claiming they they've broken Wauconda's record for the largest snowball fight." I just knew it had to be Michigan Tech they were referring to, but I hadn't gotten a chance to read your newsletter to confirm it. Thanks for the carnival update!

Best regards,
Christine (Przybysz) Roberts '91

Alumni Association Programs

CHAPTER EVENTS: For more information on alumni chapter events,
e-mail mtu_alumni at mtu.edu or see the alumni chapter site on the web.

February 23-24 Pittsburgh: National College Fair

February 27 Tampa: Presidential Reception

February 28 Orlando: Presidential Reception


Job Opportunities This Week

ON CAMPUS: Complete job descriptions are available by e-mailing jobs at mtu.edu

Assistant Director, Learning Communities and Mentoring--Student Life

Assistant Director, Orientation--Student Life

Assistant Director, Residence Life--Student Life

Associate Director, Student Activities, Greek Life and Leadership--Student Life

Coordinator, Student Activities and Adventure Programs--Student Activities

Director, First Year and Parent Programs--Student Life


OFF CAMPUS: For off-campus positions, visit the alumni section of the career center's web site ( http://www.career.mtu.edu/alumni.php)