May 15, 2006 (Vol. 13, No. 1)

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:

Summer Dreams

Tech's Youth Programs ( have been doing great things for years. They help young people learn about many different areas-explorations-so they might be able to better choose an educational and career path. I can vouch for the quality of the programs: my son and daughter both enrolled for years, and they both had a great time, learned much, and shaped their futures.

And, the Youth Programs pay high dividends for Tech: Thirty-four percent of students who participate in Youth Programs enroll as undergraduates here. Eighty-five percent of students who participate in Youth Programs earn an undergraduate degree, at Tech or elsewhere, by the age of twenty-three.

The Youth Programs Office even tries to help families send a student up here in the summer, and they do as much as they can, until the funds run out. This year, the Detroit Free Press is helping Tech help more deserving families. The Freep's Summer Dreams Project ( is funding summer learning and recreation opportunities for children throughout Michigan. It is supported by the Skillman Foundation, which is matching donations, dollar for dollar, for specific activities, such as Tech's Youth Programs.

So, it's a win-win: donations benefit families whose children might not be able to otherwise attend Tech programs, and Tech benefits by showing these potential Huskies what life in Houghton is like in the summer. (We'll tell them about the snow while they are up here, honest.)

Karla Korpela, director of K-12 outreach, has more information at 906-487-2219 or kokorpela(at)

ALUMNI BULLETIN BOARD: Remember the alumni bulletin board for you to use for discussions related to this newsletter, Tech sports, or anything else: <>

At Tech

TECH STUDENTS AWARDED NSF FELLOWSHIP: Three Michigan Tech graduate students each nabbed $40,500 in research funding through the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program. Nancy-Jeanne Bachman, a graduate student in environmental engineering, joined Michigan Tech from Principia College in St. Louis. Graduate mechanical engineering student Mark Griep and graduate environmental engineering student Erin Satchell will be continuing at Michigan Tech. The awards consist of a fellowship stipend of $30,000 for a one-year period, while the university is allowed $10,500 for the cost of education. In addition, three Michigan Tech students received honorable mentions, including undergraduate environmental engineering major Heather Wright, undergraduate mechanical engineering major Steven Anton and graduate mechanical engineering student Margo Hutchins. Anton will be continuing his engineering education at Virginia Tech, while Wright and Hutchins will continue at Michigan Tech.


THE SCIENCE GUY TO KEYNOTE YES! EXPO: Emmy Award-winner Bill Nye will bring his zany, smart and very accessible brand of science to the Michigan Youth Engineering and Science (YES!) Expo, set for November 2 at Detroit's Ford Field. "Many of us remember him from his TV show 'Bill Nye the Science Guy'--he makes science exciting and fun," said Pete Cattelino, director of the YES! Expo and Educational Programs at Michigan Tech. "We're thrilled to have him be part of the YES! Expo and share that message about science and engineering." This is the third year that Michigan Tech is hosting the event, which attracts thousands of middle- and high-school students. Dozens of colleges, universities, corporations and agencies will be on hand to inspire students to consider careers in engineering, science and other technology-related fields. For more information, visit


TREATING IT RIGHT--USING NANOTECHNOLOGY TO PRESERVE WOOD: Untreated wood rots. Ask anyone who has put his or her foot through a deck. Pressure-treated wood eliminates that problem, but the metallic salts used to keep good wood from going bad can pose a health and environmental hazard. Other, safer materials, such as the organic insecticides and fungicides used in home gardens, also have the potential to preserve wood. However, because they don't dissolve well in water, it has been very difficult to get them to permeate the lumber.Now, Michigan Tech scientists are using nanotechnology to solve the problem.

Pat Heiden, a chemistry professor, and Peter Laks, a professor in the School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science, have discovered a way to embed these organic compounds in plastic beads only about 100 nanometers across. "Six hundred of them in a row would be about the width of a human hair," Laks says. Suspended in water, the beads are small enough to travel through the wood when it is placed under pressure. "Wood has a very fine, sieve-like structure," Laks said. "You need particles small enough to fit through those very small channels." The beads go right to the heart of the wood and stay there, protecting it from decay. The technology has been licensed to the New Jersey-based company Phibro-Tech, which supplies chemicals to the wood preservation industry. "This is an emerging area," said Jim Baker, director of technology partnerships. "It's nanotechnology being applied in a traditional industry that has used technology for some time but which isn't thought of as being high tech."


WMichigan Tech--NEW, IMPROVED AND AVAILABLE AT A COMPUTER NEAR YOU: You don't have to turn your dial to 91.9 FM anymore--Michigan Tech's own student volunteer-run radio station WMichigan Tech is now available with a few clicks of a mouse. Thanks in part to Ross Schneider, an undergraduate majoring in computer network and system administration (CNSA), WMichigan Tech now offers multiple ways to stream the radio station's live audio to your computer. As a bonus, you can now watch a live webcam pointed at the DJ booth in the station. WMichigan Tech has been streaming its audio feed using the popular RealPlayer software since 1998 and now supports multicasting using Windows Media Player. Regular WMichigan Tech programming usually begins the second or third week of the summer session. To listen to the new stream, head to . Schneider notes that off-campus users may have better luck using the link labeled "alternate."

Tech Sports

MEN'S BASKETBALL ADDS BALL TO 2006-07 ROSTER--5-11 Guard Spent Last Two Seasons at Saginaw Valley State: Michigan Tech men's basketball coach Kevin Luke announced today the addition of transfer Brandon Ball (Grand Rapids, Mich./Union) to the team's roster for the upcoming season. Ball spent the last two seasons at Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference opponent Saginaw Valley State University, where he played in 48 games. He started 24 games in 2004-05 as a freshman and averaged 6.0 points and 3.5 assists per game (eighth in the GLIAC). He started five games a year ago and scored 2.4 points per contest.


MICHIGAN TECH INKS 17 SKIERS ON USSA NATIONAL POINTS LIST--Owen Leads Way At No. 15: The Michigan Tech Nordic skiing team fielded 17 racers, including 14 current skiers, on the final United States Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) National Points List released for the 2005-06 season. Topping the list of Huskies to earn points is two-time All-American junior Kristina Owen, who is 15th overall after finishing ninth in the five-kilometer race and 17th in the 15-kilometer competition at the NCAA National Collegiate Skiing Championships in Steamboat Springs, Colo. Two other women -- Jenna Klein and Elizabeth Quinley -- rank 46th and 77th, respectively.

On the men's side, assistant coach Karl Walczak holds the 39th spot in the rankings. Sophomores Adam Airoldi (72nd) and Chris Harvey (73rd), along with junior Aaron Ditty (77th), round out Tech's list of current skiers to finish in the top 100 on the USSA points list. Lucas Pletcher, who will ski for the Huskies next season, holds the 82nd spot. Nine others received points and are listed below.

"I'm really happy with where our skiers are at in the USSA points race after a solid year," said head coach Joe Haggenmiller. "Most of our athletes continue to move up each time the rankings are released and that is encouraging."

United States Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) National Points List

Kristina Owen -- 15
Jenna Klein -- 46
Elizabeth Quinley -- 77

Karl Walczak ('04) -- 39
Adam Airoldi -- 72
Chris Harvey -- 73
Aaron Ditty -- 77
Lucas Pletcher* -- 82
Jesse Lang -- 102
Kevin Heglund -- 103
Erik Mundahl -- 109
Ben Beard -- 113
Eric Olson -- 122
Chris Miller -- 144
David Siegfried -- 163
Jared Cregg* -- 182
Andrew Joda -- 188

* Incoming Freshman



Saturday, June 24: Men's Basketball Golf Outing, Portage Lake Golf Course, 11:45 a.m.

August 3-5: Volleyball Alumni Reunion


Around the Keweenaw
(Adapted from the Daily Mining Gazette)

SMURFIT-STONE RECOGNIZED FOR ENVIRONMENTAL WORK: Although the Department of Environmental Quality is a regulatory and enforcement agency, officials there like to recognize companies that not only follow environmental rules but also do things to improve the environment of the community around their facilities. Robert McCann, DEQ press secretary in Lansing, said in 1998, the DEQ initiated its Clean Corporate Citizen award, and Smurfit-Stone Container Corp. was one of the first recipients. In 2005, the DEQ established the Neighborhood Environmental Partners Gold Award, which the company received in April. McCann said the NEP award is meant to compliment the CCC award, which is for companies whose facilities are environmentally exceptional. "The NEP expands that outside the facility into the community," McCann said. "These awards are for companies that go above and beyond the call of duty." McCann said the Smurfit-Stone received the NEP award for work they've done with community members stocking area streams with various fish, including brook trout and lake sturgeon. They're also involved with establishing walleye rearing ponds. The company is also involved with clean water efforts, McCann said.


HOUGHTON LOOKING TO RENOVATE DOWNTOWN BUILDING: The City of Houghton is looking for a tenant for the former Superior Music building. The City Council unanimously authorized City Manager Scott MacInnes to apply for a Signature Building Initiative Grant to purchase the building. In the event the grant is awarded, the city will look for a developer to buy and renovate the building. "It's one of these buildings that really needs a complete overhaul, both inside and outside," MacInnes said. The city would be reimbursed for up to 75 percent of the average of two appraisals and the state equalized value of the property, or about $168,000. However, MacInnes said he would ask for $3,000 less--the better to entice the state. After purchasing the building, the city would sell it to a developer for the appraisal value of $197,500. Whoever buys the building would agree to redo the building by Dec. 31, 2007, and agree to hold the building for five years.


SKIING NATIONALS COMING TO HOUGHTON: Houghton's U.S. Junior Olympics hosting job has earned it another elite skiing competition. The U.S. Skiing and Snowboarding Association this week announced Houghton would host the USSA Nationals cross-country skiing competitions for the next two years. The competitions are scheduled to take place on January 1-7, 2007 and from December 31, 2007 to January 6, 2008.

Mike Abbott, local organizer for the event, said the USSA typically likes to award the event in two-year installments. "Once you go through setting this up, it's a lot easier to do the second time," he said. Races include 5 to 10k classic races, 10-15k freestyle races and the team sprint freestyle race, which is "something new," Abbott said. Additionally, Houghton will be hosting races for the U.S. Disabled Ski Team. The competition attracts an older talent base than the Junior Olympics, with 14- to 19-year-olds being replaced by athletes 20 and over. However, they'll be joined by between 60 and 80 junior skiers, who constitute "some of the best" in the world, Abbott said. Abbott said the Nationals announcement is a testament to the work of the many volunteers who worked on the Junior Olympics--many of whom will be back. "We're very thrilled to be hosting an event like this," he said.


HOUGHTON REMOVING CANOPY OVER HURON STREET: Workers from Julio Contracting are removing the canopy that has sheltered Huron Street since the 1970s. "It's a process that goes back to when we did our Hyett/Palma downtown plan," Houghton City Manager Scott MacInnes said. Last year, the development firm evaluated the city, looking at possible downtown improvements. Their recommendations included a "complete facelift" on the Huron Street area, specifying that the canopy made the area look "dirty and dingy," MacInnes said. "It's been kicked around in different committees in the city for many years now," he added. The Downtown Merchants Association and Downtown Development Authority have both had input. Both voted to go ahead with removing the north side of the canopy between Lake Avenue and Shelden Avenue on Huron Street. Costs to remove the north canopy have been kept under $10,000 because the market price for scrap metal is high, city officials say. The project was originally slated to take place in September 2005 but was delayed due to early snowfall.


KEWEENAW MOUNTAIN LODGE TO BE EXPANDED: Plans for the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge expansion are moving forward, according to lodge board trustee Joel Tuoriniemi. Tuoriniemi advised the Keweenaw County Board of Commissioners recently that final plans for the project's conference center are currently under review by the State Historic Preservation Office, with a bidding process expected to commence by mid summer. Groundbreaking on the site is scheduled for September. In addition, county commissioners approved a water contract between the lodge trustees and Grant Township, allowing the lodge to purchase potable water from the township's municipal water system. The lodge's water system came under scrutiny last fall when contamination issues necessitated an early closure for the season. Under the agreement, the lodge will no longer use its on-site wells for potable water, but will continue to utilize them for irrigation of the golf course.

From the E-mailbag

Just thought that I'd pass along another award for the Copper Country seeing as how the area made the top 10 summer destination spots. In the June issue of Popular Mechanics they had an article listing America's top 25 performance roads. This was a list of the fun twisty, turny, hilly roads and immediately I thought of the loop through the Keweenaw Peninsula. Sure enough coming in at number 15 was the loop from Hancock up to Copper Harbor and back to Houghton. Route 203 to US-41 to Route 26 and back in on US-41.

Ya Hey Dar!  Dats some good drivin' eh?

Al Frank


It's interesting to see the story titled SMOKING IN LOCAL BARS AND RESTAURANTS STUDIED.  When I was a student there in the 70's, my roommate Gary Fortune wrote an article about how some engineering students took air samples at some local bars (awful results).  They published the study in the Lode under the headline GET POLLUTED AT DIAMOND MIKE'S.  And I remember him getting a nasty phone call from the bar owner about it too - haha.

Jim Nash



While I was out to breakfast last Sunday, a couple at the next table noticed my Tech sweatshirt and asked what my connection to Tech was.  I proudly told them I was a graduate of Tech.  They told me that their grandson had just graduated from Tech with a degree in "Materialistic" Engineering.  My sister who was with us got a huge laugh out of that. 

-Ken Thorp, '81


Alumni Association Programs

Michigan Tech Alumni Relations and Admissions are proud to present the following Michigan Tech SPOTLIGHT NIGHTS, as part of the STARnet volunteer program.

* See the dates listed below.

Know bright, motivated, and adventurous students in these areas? Encourage them to come out! Michigan Tech Spotlight Night is a great place to check out Tech.

Spotlight Night programs introduce prospective students to Michigan Tech. The event will showcase the seven interest areas of study:  Arts and Human Sciences, Business, Computing, Engineering, Environmental Studies, Sciences, and Technology, along with showcasing various Enterprise and Senior Design projects. Prospective students and guests including parents, teachers and counselors are welcome and encouraged to attend.

For the Spotlight Night schedule, posters and more information,

Information is also available on the Alumni & Friends and Admissions homepage, or contact: Kim Klender at ksklende(at)  (906.487.3674)

RSVP: <>


ALL CHAPTER EVENTS: For more information on alumni chapter events, e-mail mtu_alumni(at) or see the alumni chapter site on the web:

16 - Saginaw/Bay City/Midland Spotlight Night
17-18 - Detroit Spotlight Night*
22 - Marquette Spotlight Night*
23 - Traverse City Spotlight Night*
24 - Grand Rapids Spotlight Night*
24 - Green Bay Golf Outing
24-26 - Washington DC (MTF Board Meeting), Presidential Reception
25 - Kalamazoo Spotlight Night*

3 - Grand Rapids Annual Golf Outing
3 - Dual City Golf Outing/BBQ for Sigma Tau Gamma Alumni (Chicago and Detroit)
Bob Wojcik--bobwojcik(at) for info
10 - Detroit Annual Golf Outing

14 - Saginaw Annual Golf Outing

3-5 - Alumni Reunion 5 - Grand Rapids Whitecaps Alumni Event
12 - East Coast Gem, Mineral & Fossil Show



The Admissions Office is looking for alums to help out at high school awards ceremonies. You hand out awards that Tech has given to graduating students and have a chance to say a few words about your alma mater. (There is a cript, if you prefer.) The schools are listed below, and the contact person is Kathy Ross (kgross(at) 1-888-688-1885.

School, City, Date of Event, Time of Event

Athens, Athens, 5/23, 7:30 PM
Beaver Island Cmty High School, Beaver Island, 5/31, 2:00 PM
Bellaire, Bellaire, 5/25, 7:00 PM
Benton Harbor, Benton Harbor, 5/19, 9:00 AM
Big Bay De Noc, Cooks, 5/17, 7:00 PM
Blissfield Community, Blissfield, 5/23, 7:00 PM
Byron Center, Byron Center, 5/23, 7:00 PM
Chassell, Chassell, 5/30, 7:00 PM
Clinton, Clinton, 5/18, 7:00 PM
Concord Academy, Boyne City, 6/6, 10:00 AM
Creston, Grand Rapids, 5/17, 7:00 PM
Dexter, Dexter, 6/1, 6:30 PM
Dollar Bay Tamarack City, Dollar Bay, 5/23, 2:00 PM
Forest Park, Crystal Falls, 5/22, 7:00 PM
Gaylord, Gaylord, 5/17, 7:00 PM
Gull Lake, Richland, 6/5, 7:00 PM
Harbor Springs, Harbor Springs, 5/31, 7:00 PM
Ishpeming, Ishpeming, 6/1, 7:00 PM
Jeffers, Painesdale, 5/26, 9:30 AM
Mason, Erie, 5/18, 6:30 PM
Meridian, Sanford, 5/24, 7:00 PM
Onsted, Onsted, 5/16, 7:00 PM
Pellston, Pellston, 5/24, 7:00 PM
Reeths Puffer, Muskegon, 6/5, 7:00 PM
Rogers City, Rogers City, 6/2, 7:00 PM
Southfield Christian, Southfield, 5/22, 7:30 PM
Southgate-Anderson, Southgate, 6/6, 6:30 PM
Sparta, Sparta, 5/26, 9:30 AM
St Joseph Public, Saint Joseph, 5/22, 7:30 PM
Stephenson, Stephenson, 5/17, 7:00 PM
Stockbridge, Stockbridge, 5/17, 7:00 PM
Tecumseh, Tecumseh, 5/16, 7:00 PM
Westwood, Ishpeming, 5/16, 6:30 PM

Carlton, Carlton, 5/24, 7:00 PM
Cathedral High School, Saint Cloud, 5/26, 9:15 AM
Dassel-Cokato, Cokato, 5/31, 7:30 PM
Falls, International Falls, 5/22, 7:00 PM
Forest Lake, Forest Lake, 6/5, 7:00 PM
Hibbing, Hibbing, 5/22, 7:00 PM
New Life Academy, Woodbury, 6/1, 8:15 AM
Red Wing, Red Wing, 5/24, 7:30 PM

Stivers School for the Arts, Dayton, 5/24, 6:30 PM

Trinity, Washington, 6/6, 8:30 AM

Cashton, Cashton, 5/17, 1:30 PM
Drummond, Drummond, 5/24, 6:00 PM
Fox Valley Lutheran, Appleton, 5/17, 9:00 AM
Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau, Galesville, 5/29, 7:00 PM
Greendale, Greendale, 6/8, 8:00 AM
Greenfield, Milwaukee, 6/1, 7:30 AM
Hayward, Hayward, 5/23, 2:00 PM
Kaukauna, Kaukauna, 5/24, 7:00 PM
Manitowoc Lutheran, Manitowoc, 5/24, 7:00 PM
Marinette, Marinette, 5/16, 7:00 PM
North Crawford, Soldiers Grove, 5/24, 7:30 PM
Park Falls, Park Falls, 5/26, 9:30 AM
Phillips, Phillips, 5/24, 7:00 PM
Somerset, Somerset, 6/7, 7:30 PM
South Shore, Port Wing, 5/17, 6:30 PM
South Milwaukee, South Milwaukee, 5/30, 7:00 PM
Washburn, Washburn, 6/1, 6:30 PM
Wausaukee, Wausaukee, 5/17, 6:30 PM
Winter, Winter, 5/20, 1:30 PM
Wrightstown, Wrightstown, 5/24, 6:30 PM

Job Opportunities This Week

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

Coordinator, Immigration Advising Services for International Students--International Programs and Services

Coordinator, International Admissions--International Programs and Services

OFF CAMPUS: For off-campus positions, visit the alumni section of the career center's web site (