March 24, 2008
Vol. 14, No. 23

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Dreaming Big

The stories about our hockey Huskies joining the pro ranks made me think about a couple of things. First, we wish them luck, of course, and hope they make it to the next level, which for them is the NHL.

We also hope they finish their degrees. John MacInnes' favorite statistic was the high graduation rate of his players, and I know the hockey program—and all the athletic programs—continue to stress academics, as witnessed by the number of Huskies who made the WCHA All-Academic team this year.

It also reminded me of what we do as parents. We show our children as much of the world as we can and encourage them to dream big. So, if we bring them to museums in the big city or approve their summer in Europe or applaud their Lego creations and computer programs, something might just strike them as interesting. They might choose a school and a career based on it.

The same thing happens at Tech, I believe. We expose students to many offerings, allowing them to choose their goal and make them work for it. They are usually rewarded by many career choices.

Overall, it's a pretty good game plan.

At Tech

Tech Takes Performance Honors in Clean Snowmobile Challenge

Tech Snowmobile  Michigan Tech Sled

For want of a cam position sensor . . .

Last year, Michigan Tech's entry was the heaviest sled in its class at the SAE Clean Snowmobile Challenge. It was time to go on a diet. "We shaved off quite a bit of weight," said Assistant Professor Jason Blough (MEEM), the team's advisor.

How much? "Sixty or 70 pounds," he said. "That's a lot of weight off a snowmobile." They did it by making lots of things a little lighter, including the muffler and the front suspension, which the team crafted themselves out of aluminum. They also traded in their stock chain case (which drives the tracks) for a high-performance version that didn't waste weight on a reverse gear. More

Clarkson, UW Win Challenge

Clarakson     Clarkson Sled

A three-person team—two of them freshmen—from Clarkson University won the internal combustion division of the SAE Clean Snowmobile Challenge.

“We used a very simplistic design based on a Polaris FST chassis,” said team leader Pete Giovenco. “We just wanted to make it to the competition, but it’s been the experience of a lifetime.” More

Researchers Find 11 Genes Linked to Type 2 Diabetes

Mathematicians at Michigan Tech have developed powerful new tools for winnowing out the genes linked to some of humanity’s most intractable diseases. With one, they can cast back through generations to pinpoint the genes behind inherited illness. With another, they have isolated 11 genes associated with type 2 diabetes.

“With chronic, complex diseases like Parkinson’s, diabetes and ALS [Lou Gehrig’s disease], multiple genes are involved,” said Qiuying Sha, an assistant professor of mathematical sciences. “You need a powerful test.” More

Michigan Tech Poplar Research Ranked World-Class

Poplars are common, fast-growing trees that show promise as the basis for biofuels and as living vacuum cleaners that could suck excess carbon dioxide out of the air we breathe.

More than half a dozen researchers at Michigan Technological University conduct poplar research, many of them in Michigan Tech’s Biotechnology Research Center and Ecosystem Science Center. Their work—and that of numerous graduate students—has earned the School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science 11th place among the top 20 institutions publishing papers on poplar research worldwide. More

Pep Band Named Official Band of the WCHA Final Five

By Mark Blehm, student writer and a clarinet-playing, hot-dog-hat-wearing, sign-carrying member of the Pep Band

Pep Band   Mark Blehm

One of Michigan Tech’s proudest traditions is getting recognition in the college hockey world.

The Huskies Pep Band was recently invited to serve for the third consecutive year as the official band of the 2008 WCHA Final Five college hockey tournament, held March 20-22 at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn. More

Alumni Around the Country

Alumni Gather at Mt. Pleasant

BasketballRuss Alger presents

More than forty alumni and friends attended a Michigan Tech Connect event held at Mt. Pleasant, Michigan, last week to hear Russ Alger ’81, ’83, speak about his experiences in Antarctica building a snow road to the South Pole.

Alger, a civil engineering alumnus, shared photos and videos depicting the hostile environment they encountered while, like the early explorers, his group sought the best route to the South Pole during his first visit to Antarctica. In his subsequent visits, Alger worked with a team to overcome the challenges presented by the many crevasses in one section of the route.

The event was co-sponsored by the Alumni Association, the Michigan Tech Transportation Institute (MTTI) and the Local Transportation Assistance Program (LTAP).

View more sports >

Tech Sports

Shelast, Rouleau, and Teslak Sign Pro Contracts

Shelast   Tyler Shelast

The Michigan Tech hockey team had three players sign pro contracts. Senior forward Tyler Shelast signed a free agent contract with the Dallas Stars and will play for the Iowa Stars of the American Hockey League. Senior forward Peter Rouleau signed a free agent contract with the Dallas Stars and will play for the Idaho Steelheads of the East Coast Hockey League. More on Shelast and Rouleau

Junior goaltender Michael-Lee Teslak will forgo his senior season for the Michigan Tech hockey team after signing a free agent contract with the Philadelphia Flyers. More on Teslak

Nine Huskies make WCHA All-Academic

VanWagner  Mike VanWagner

Michigan Tech had nine players named to the 2007-08 Western Collegiate Hockey Association All-Academic Team. The Huskies tied for second for most selections among league schools behind North Dakota.

The following players were named to the WCHA All-Academic team for Michigan Tech: Ryan Angelow (Jr., Forward, Mississauga, Ontario); Alex Gagne (Jr., Forward, Rock Forest, Quebec); Kevin Hachey (Sr., Goaltender, Ontario, Calif.); Derek Kitti (Jr., Forward, Laurium, Mich.); Mark Malekoff (Sr., Defenseman, Grande Prairie, Alberta); John Schwarz (Jr., Defenseman, Calgary, Alberta); Tyler Shelast (Sr., Forward, Kelowna, British Columbia); Mike VanWagner (Jr., Defenseman, Traverse City, Mich.); Eli Vlaisavljevich (So., Defenseman, Shoreview, Minn.).

Women's Tennis Team Wins

Women's Tennis  Doubles Trouble

Michigan Tech wrapped up its two-match road trip by defeating Southwest Baptist, 6-3. The Huskies (15-6 overall) have won three straight matches and seven of their last eight.

For the second straight day, doubles proved crucial as Tech won two of the three points. Samantha Jang-Stewart and Asel Otunchieva (pictured left) gained an 8-4 victory at number three doubles. Southwest Baptist won the number two doubles flight before Silvia Oliveros and Nathalia Rondelli scored a big win at number one. The duo outlasted the Bearcats’ tandem in a 9-7 decision. More

Sports Events View Composite Schedule
Grand Valley State Men's Tennis at Allendale, MI, 3:00 p.m.
Ferris State Men's Tennis at Big Rapids, MI, 10:00 a.m.
Sherman-Luboski Invitational Men's and Women's Track and Field at Ripon, WI
Findlay Men's Tennis, 1:00 p.m.
UW-Oshkosh Invitational Men's and Women's Track and Field at Oshkosh, WI
Mercyhurst Men's Tennis, 10:00 a.m.
Saginaw Valley State Invitational Men's and Women's Track and Field at Univ. Center, MI
Lake Superior State Men's Tennis, 2:00 p.m., at Sault Ste. Marie, MI
Lake Superior State and
St. Scholastica
Women's Tennis, 8:00 a.m. and noon

Around the Keweenaw adapted from the Daily Mining Gazette

Narrow Watershed Hinder Great Lakes' Replenishment

The Great Lakes, especially Lake Superior, are so large it seems impossible to drain them. But Alex Mayer, Professor of Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences and director of the Center for Water and Society at Michigan Technological University, said geophysical realities mean water diversions have the potential for major impact on the Great Lakes despite their vast size. More

Trail Grant App Gets Support

If Wednesday’s public hearing was any indication, support is overwhelmingly in favor of a land purchase near the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge. Copper Harbor Trails Club members Sam Raymond, Steve Rowe and Aaron Rogers asked the county Wednesday for a resolution in support of a grant application to the Michigan Natural Resource Trust Fund for 1,760 acres of property adjacent to the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge. More

Hancock Purchases Swedetown Land

The purchase of 140 acres including part of the Maasto Hiihto ski trail and 4,000 feet of Swedetown Creek waterfront was among nine land purchases and easements approved by the Hancock City Council Wednesday.The city will make the $120,000 purchase from its general fund, drawing criticism from the large crowd in attendance who wanted the city to pursue a grant that would earmark it as a recreational area. More

Local War Vigil Turns into Protest

Tanis Marshall was splashed with slush, beeped at, waved at, yelled at and someone even made an obscene gesture. But that didn’t stop her from standing in the wake of a cold wind Wednesday night holding a sign that simply had “lies” written across it in bold green letters. “I’m just against all war and I hope that (Americans) learn some lessons,” she said. More

From the Email Bag

Pajama Parades

I believe the parade that Frank Shoffner spoke of was in 58. There is a photo in the 58 Keweenawan of the 'Sons of Liberty' wearing bookbags over their heads. Canvas bookbags of course. One of the dress rules was 'coats and ties for dinner'. Naturally several students showed up wearing coats and ties and little else. They were admitted through the line, got their food and then handed the tray back in to the dishwasher window, to much applause from the rest of the crowd. Mr. Sermon and Dean Meese gave us a lecture on 'playing the game'; however the rules were dropped. Later I believe they tried again at Wadsworth but I don't think anything ever came of it.

There was also a greased pole climb (Flagpole Rush) out behind Sherman Gym. Frosh against the upper classmen. The pole was eventually removed and carried through Houghton across the bridge and deposited at Suomi College. The police were not amused. The flag was a ladies undergarment. I don't recall that we were wearing pajamas, but the Houghton police did seem to think it was a riot. There were no more Flagpole Rushes or parades the next year.

Also that year DHH was rushed by a crowd from Wadsworth during a snowball fight. Someone on the third floor of DHH got out the fire hose and drove the attackers off! The Dean and the Resident Manager (Mr MacKinnon?) were not amused.

There was also a running battle between the Houghton Police and Tech about hitch hiking on US 41. Each winter as the snowbanks grew we would have to stand in the road; this was deemed illegal by the police; they would ticket a few students and eventually Dean Meese and the City would reach an agreement as to where students could stand looking for rides.

58 was also the year of the big fire in downtown Houghton- near the bridge; it was also the year the old Kerredge Theater burned down. Had to have been in the spring as the Winter Carnival skits were held there. The next year the skits moved to School.

The Winter Carnival concert was at Sherman Gym with the Kingston Trio.

Gary Rhoney '65
(I started out in Electrical Engineering in 1958; Jon Soper was my advisor!)

Alumni Reunion 2008

reunion golf  Reunion Golf '07

We are in the process of making flight arrangements to attend the reunion, and would like to know what events are scheduled for Saturday the 9th. Is there a definitive schedule for the three day event?

John Sheringer


Dennis passed along your message looking for more information on the Reunion 2008 schedule. We are still finalizing details and will post these on our Reunion website at the beginning of April. Most of the events take place on Thursday and Friday. This year there a couple of neat activities are already planned for Saturday including a golf outing hosted by the Keweenaw chapter at Portage Golf Course and also a 4 hour historic bus tour of the Copper Country which is being hosted by the A. E. Seaman Mineral Museum.

I am copying Danielle Treadeau, our Reunion Coordinator on this message and she will ensure you receive a Reunion Registration Package as soon as it is ready in late June.

I look forward to meeting you next August!
Brenda Rudiger
Director of Alumni Relations

The Nova on Ice

Daily Planet on Discovery Channel Canada did a segment on the Chevy on Ice last week, but they haven't posted a clip. There were some good shots of Tech students enjoying winter, especially playing snow volleyball. It brought back some good memories for me—we don't get to play snow sports here on the Wet Coast.

Chevy Nova Ice Cube
Exactly how it sounds. Find out why some back yard inventors submerged a car
in ice.

Rick Page
Victoria, BC

Editor's note: Thanks, Rick. Sounds like a trip back to Tech, in the winter, is in order!

Campus Tour

Mark Provoast, Admissions Office:

I just wanted to send a quick note of thanks for the fantastic day your entire team put on for my son Mike on our recent campus visit, February 29th.

From the detailed planning and personal attention on the tour (Garret and Caitlyn both did an excellent job) to the individual department meeting with Dr. Bill Sproule. Everything was well organized and professional. Dr. Sproule even found us at the hockey game Saturday and asked Mike how he had enjoyed his visit. Unfortunately, during our tour, a tech student slid into the back of my car while it was parked at the Union. When we got back to the car, there was a note from Public Safety asking me to call about the damage. Although we were not there to witness the accident and the student could easily have driven off, he took the initiative to cal Public Safety and report the accident. What class!

As an Alum, I am obviously a little biased, but it was fun seeing the great memories of my own time in Houghton come back to life in the actions of the current group of students, faculty and staff.

As an exclamation point, a personal note from Caitlyn was waiting in the mail Monday morning back in Holland.

It's too early to tell where my son may decide to go to school, but your entire team deserves credit for putting on a great day showcasing all that Tech has to offer

David Ellis

Jobs at Ford

I work at Ford: Transmission and Driveline Engineering. I was in a meeting yesterday when a manager mentioned there were openings in our organization, and he was looking for qualified, effective engineers. My first thought was to send the info to the MTU community- where better to find that kind of engineer.

While Ford has done lots of headcount reductions in the past, they are now looking to add the right people in key areas within the company. Can you forward on the link below to the alumni community?

Also, a shameless plug for my husband (a fellow MTU alum) in case you know anyone 'into' cars: his motorsports business is expanding and has added online shopping for motorsports parts (from basic car maintenance to performance/ race components). He is also building amateur roadcourse cars (NASA, BMW club, etc), and sponsors racers in those series. Check it out if you get a chance:

Missing MTU and the UP…
Shannon (Talbot) Money 1993
Jonathan Jack Money 1995

Lake Huron Ice

This is for all the UPer's (at heart) who can appreciate MI winters!

Amazing picture up around Mackinac Island!!!

Ann McMahon

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Visit or contact the Career Center (906) 487-2313 for more information.


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Job Opportunities

On Campus

Complete job descriptions are available by e-mailing jobs at

Software Engineer II, Local Technical Assistance Program, Michigan Tech Transportation Institute
Position duration dependent upon external funding

For other off-campus jobs, go to the alumni section of the Career Center website for alumni jobs.

Also, there is a new local job board.