November 16, 2009
Vol. 16, No. 6
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Usability Day @ Tech

usability testing
Paper prototyping, from left to right: John Reese, Emily Mehlenbacher, John Bush, and Chuck Wallace.

Students from many different departments were involved in usability lately—analyzing products and processes to make them more efficient and more satisfying to use.

The results were as varied as they were impressive.

It was all part of World Usability Day–UP, coordinated by Karla Kitalong, associate professor of humanities, and this year’s theme was sustainability. According to their website, "World Usability Day was founded in 2005 as an initiative of the Usability Professionals' Association to ensure that services and products important to human life are easier to access and simpler to use."

In the first event, students in the Fisher Hall lobby worked with paper prototyping, a simple version of more complex interfaces, in this case a "smart home" that would allow residents to keep track of their energy consumption. The students designed a touch-screen wall display and made a mock-up of the interface using construction paper and post-it notes. Then they created "scenarios": stories of use that they could walk the test subjects through.

"It's a low-cost method to answer usability questions that also saves time and is more flexible compared to coding up an electronic prototype, especially early in a design process," says Chuck Wallace, associate professor of computer science. "It allows testers to respond quickly to users' unexpected actions as they explore the space. By using these scenarios, you can forgo some big mistakes later in the design process." More


I'd love to hear how you look at usability on your jobs. Testing, prototyping, etc.

Dennis '92, '09

At Tech

State Authorizes Tech to Seek Bids for Great Lakes Research Center

The Michigan Legislature’s Joint Capital Outlay Committee meeting in Lansing today authorized Michigan Tech to seek construction bids for its planned Great Lakes Research Center (GLRC). The $25,337,000 facility will be built on the waterfront adjacent to the Michigan Tech campus in Houghton, Mich. The state will pay 74 percent of the cost. The University’s share is 26 percent or $6,587,000. More

Memorial Tree Grove to Grace East Side of Campus

Dan Lorenzetti is not a man who likes to wait for results. When he heard that Michigan Tech was planning to add approximately 150 trees to the well-traveled eastern approach to its campus along US-41 over the next 15 years, his response was: "I want to see that approach to campus beautified immediately." More

Tech, Portage Health Offer Medical Discount to Peace Corps Students

Graduate students in Michigan Tech’s Peace Corps Master’s International programs will be able to get their required medical exams and lab tests at a major discount, thanks to a new partnership between the University and Portage Health. More

Michigan Tech, Michigan State Sign Biofuel Research Contract with Frontier Renewable Resources

Research by Michigan Technological University and Michigan State University in their role as Michigan’s first University Center of Energy Excellence will support development of the state’s first cellulosic ethanol plant. The universities have signed a $2 million research partnership with Frontier Renewable Resources, a Michigan-based company that will build the plant in Kinross Township in the eastern Upper Peninsula (UP) of Michigan. More

Alumni Around the World

Sudbury, Sault Ste. Marie, and Thailand Get-Togethers

alumni broomball champsAlumni and friends in Sudbury, Ontario, Canada, and Sault Ste Marie, Michigan gathered at two events over the Halloween weekend to catch up on what’s happening on campus, share favorite Tech memories, and hear Professor Bill Sproule ’70 speak about the history of professional hockey. Yes, it really did start in Houghton at the Amphidrome (above)!

alumni broomball champsThailand
Michigan Tech Alumni came to help the Graduate School recruit students at the 2009 OCSC International Education Expo, in Bangkok Thailand. Over the course of two days our Thai alumni helped to collect over 250 names of students who are interested in attending Michigan Tech. Their help was invaluable in creating a successful trip for Michigan Tech representatives Jacque Smith and Chris Hohnholt. Currently more than 50 Michigan Tech Alumni live in Thailand.


Do you have photos or stories of your own alumni gatherings? Share them by emailing or posting them in HuskyLink.

Submit Your Nominations for the Alumni Association Awards

Know a great alum or friend of the University? Here's a chance to help get him or her the recognition he or she deserves.

The Alumni Association is seeking nominations for the 2010 awards program:

  • Outstanding Young Alumni Award
  • Outstanding Service Award
  • Distinguished Alumni Award
  • Honorary Alumni Award

The deadline to nominate is December 1 and the awards are presented each August at the Alumni Reunion. Award descriptions and nomination forms are available at

Questions? Contacting the Office of Alumni Relations, at 877-688-2586 or .

Fill in the Blanks

flour millI have no idea where this building was located. Any ideas? Email me.

Women's Hockey

Trees on campus.
Maybe you were involved with women's hockey club. This is from 2006 vs. Northern. Email me.
View more sports >

Tech Sports

The Wrap-up

What’s Happening This Week

Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2009
Huskies Drive Time, 7:30-8 a.m. on WKMJ Mix 93.5 FM

Thursday, Nov. 19, 2009
Volleyball at Indianapolis, TBA (NCAA Midwest Regional Quarterfinal)

Friday, Nov. 20, 2009
Volleyball at NCAA Midwest Regional Semifinal, TBA
Women’s Basketball vs. Missouri Western (at Drury Classic), 5 p.m. (Live Radio, Mix 93.5 FM)
Men’s Basketball at Minnesota State Moorhead (at St. Cloud State Invitational), 7 p.m. (Live Radio, Mix 93.5 FM)

Saturday, Nov. 21, 2009
Volleyball at NCAA Midwest Regional Championship, TBA
Women’s Basketball at Texas A&M Commerce (Drury Classic), 4 p.m. (Live Radio Mix 93.5 FM)
Men’s Basketball at St. Cloud State (St. Cloud State Invitational), 9 p.m. (Live Radio, Mix 93.5 FM)

All Times Eastern. Home events in bold.

Complete Schedule


Last Week’s Results

Hockey (3-7-0, 2-6-0 WCHA)
11/13 — Michigan Tech 3, at No, 18 Minnesota Duluth 2
11/14 — at No. 18 Minnesota Duluth 8, Michigan Tech 1

Volleyball (14-14, 10-6 GLIAC)
11/11 — at Saginaw Valley State 3, Michigan Tech 1 (22-25, 26-24, 25-14, 25-14)

Women’s Basketball (1-0, 0-0 GLIAC)
11/15 — No. 1 Michigan Tech 85, at Minnesota Duluth 68

Men’s Basketball (0-1, 0-0 GLIAC)
11/10 — Michigan Tech 81 vs. Finlandia 71 (exhibition)
11/15 — at Minnesota Duluth 70, Michigan Tech 68

Top News of the Week

Michigan Tech will make their second straight NCAA Tournament appearance and third in the last four years as they were awarded an at-large berth for the Midwest Regional. The Huskies received the No. 8 seed and will face host and top seed Indianapolis Thursday (Nov. 19). Match times for the NCAA Midwest Regional will be announced tomorrow (Nov. 16). Other first-round matchups in the regional are No. 2 Lewis vs. No. 7 Ferris State, No. 3 Saginaw Valley State vs. No. 6 Grand Valley State and No. 4 Northern Michigan vs. No. 5 Hillsdale.

In their last regular season visit to the soon-to-be-replaced Duluth Entertainment and Convention Center, the hockey Huskies were able to get the split against No. 18 Minnesota Duluth. Friday (Nov. 13) night featured a phenomenal outing from freshman netminder Kevin Genoe as he turned away 48 of 50 shots by the Bulldogs to earn a 3-2 win for the visiting Black and Gold. Saturday (Nov. 14) night belonged to the Bulldogs, who posted an 8-1 win. Tech will be off this weekend before returning to action Nov. 27-28 at Minnesota State Mankato.


The unanimous No. 1 preseason team in Division II women’s basketball passed their first test on Sunday (Nov. 15) at they overcame a slow start in Duluth en route to a 85-68 victory. Katie Zimmerman led the way for the Huskies with 19 points, including a 5-8 mark from the three-point arc. Katie Wysocky picked up her first double-double of the year, and is now just six rebounds away from the all-time Tech record.

Behling and Slowik Earn All-GLIAC Honors

Seniors Bill Behling (Milwaukee, Wis./Bay View) and Bobby Slowik (Green Bay, Wis./Southwest) of the Michigan Tech football team were both named All-Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference today. Behling earned All-GLIAC First Team for the second straight season while Slowik garnered All-GLIAC Second Team accolades. More

Around the Keweenaw

Lakeshore Center Nearly Done

lakeshore buiding

The Lakeshore Center's renovation is almost complete. The site, formerly known as the Upper Peninsula Power Co. building, was purchased by Michigan Technological University in July 2008. The building was renovated to become the MTEC SmartZone's fourth incubator through $3.2 million in grants awarded by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and the federal Economic Development Administration. More

Skywest Airlines to Start March 1

SkyWest Airlines, which was recently awarded the contract as the carrier at Houghton County Memorial Airport, will take over flight operations at the airport March 1. The airline, a carrier of United Airlines, will fly two times a day with a 50-seat CRJ200 regional jet. The first flight will leave Houghton at 6:44 a.m. and arrive in Chicago at 7:07 a.m. central time. The plane will depart Chicago at 11:55 a.m. and return to Houghton at 2:19 p.m. For the second trip, it will leave Houghton at 2:45 p.m., arriving in Chicago at 3:08 p.m., then leave Chicago at 9:40 p.m. and return at 12:04 a.m. More

Houghton Talks Signage

With Shelden Avenue open again, the Houghton City Council talked Monday about what signs and markings to put back up. Police Chief John Donnelly said 15-minute spaces in front of businesses would be restored, as well as the handicapped parking spaces. All signs required by the Michigan Department of Transportation, such as speed limit signs, have already been put up. City Manager Scott MacInnes held up a parking sign that would be placed throughout the downtown, notifying people of one-hour parking for customers only and night parking ban hours of 2 to 7 a.m. More

From the Email Bag

Pep Band at the Bash

Bash at the Big House

Hi Dennis,
Doug and I had such a good time "marching" with the DAWG's! We would do it again in a heartbeat!
In the photo, Doug is at the left side of the arch with the trombones and I am with the sax line in the middle of the "M". We were honored with OO's and AH's from the young group when they heard our grad dates. It's amazing to me that music can melt away age and time. We felt like we had never left Tech.

Let's do the Bash Again!
Kathy '70 (and Doug '69) Davies

Kathy and Doug: I can tell you the band was also impressive in Grand Rapids earlier this fall in the Battle at the Ballpark. The best part was when they played along with the Ferris State band in the second half and after the game.


After two of our star players were injured, the Grand Valley Team was firmly in control of the game. The Grand Valley fans started chanting "Over rated!!!". We should have chanted back "Under Educated!!"

Great game!!!!!

Rod Kuncaitis



I somewhat jokingly blame the Tech Pep Band and the Bash for my daughter's band geekiness.

When she was in the 8th grade, she joined the Tech Pep Band and Alumni Band on the field at the Big House (as a member of the saxophone section, she actually got to *run* onto the field). She enjoyed herself immensely, and decided that she wanted to play in the band at whatever college she went to. She continued to play in the band through junior high and high school, acting as manager and occasional drill writer.

She's currently marching (the horror!) with the Chippewas at Central Michigan (not having the inclination nor the academic guts to attend Tech, despite the lure of the Pep Band), and was somewhat underwhelmed by Spartan Stadium when the Marching Chips went there in September.

(OK, so maybe she was predisposed to band geekery, as she used to attend Tech basketball games in her very own set of toddler-sized stripes when I was scheduled to play and Daddy had to work.)

Jenn Ridley
(ASax 1982; TSax 1983-1992; assistant manager 1983-1986)


bash at big houseDennis,
The PEP band was spectacular!

We were sitting on the north side of the stadium, next to a self professed know it all Michigan fan, who criticized our coaches the entire first half.

When the band stepped into the formation (see pic) with the TU on the field, he started in again on how we were so stupid we couldn't even spell MTU.

Having finally had enough, it was time to take him down a notch. I asked him what letter was on his sweatshirt.."M" he replied

I asked him what letter was on the field ..."M" he replied..

I then replied "figure it out Genius" Which brought rounds of laughter from Tech fans surrounding him...

He was no where to be seen in the second half ;-)

The band brought down the house with the draining of the beer mug!

Bob Gilreath

The Big Floppies

Trees on campus.I remember them well. I worked in the hard drive development group at
IBM in Rochester, Minnesota in the early 1980's. We were working on a two disc, four surface 8" Winchester hard drive that had a capacity of a
whopping 30 MB. Ah the good old days!

Mike Gulliver '81


A fellow alumni pointed out a photo of myself in Grad school in 1984 on the MTU Alumni web page. I am the person standing behind Professor John Johnson.

Allan Miller


The professor is Dr. John Johnson. I was actually Dr. Johnson's grad student from 89-95. I am actually still working with Dr. Johnson through some research projects with John Deere.

He is still doing pretty good.

Kirby Baumgard, PhD. 95


Editor's Note: In my first newspaper job, we kept the classified ads on two of these beauties, and we had to leave cover off and have a fan blowing on it because the heat was unreal. Then, of course, they would get dusty!

1964 College Bowl

college bowl

There was one other person that went to New York for the College Bowl. Unfortunately I do not remember his name. Perhaps someone will be able to tell us. Professor Myron Berry was the coach and did an excellent job of preparing the team. It was quite an interesting time.

I did try out for it but did not make it. I also tried out for Jeopardy twice and came just within two questions of qualifying for that show.

Chris Hill

Chris: I checked the old Keweenawan to no avail. Alums, any idea?

Getting Ready for those Winter Days!

Frank Shoffner

Somewhere in Time at the Grand Hotel

grand hotel

We just got back from "time traveling" to Grand Hotel for the Somewhere In Time event and who should we meet but another tech grad, Gary Berntsen '60 and his wife Pat.

Gail Richter '61

Left to right: Karl Richter '59, Gail Dankert Richter '61, Pat Berntsen, and Gary Berntsen '60


Alums Appear on TV with Razor Sharpener

Two alums have invented a razor sharpener and appeared on TV6 :

Jeff Hoffman graduated in 1990 with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering; Julie (Lehto) graduated in 1990 with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering.

Julie A. Hoffman, P.E.

Family Ties and More

I noticed in reading Jeanne Karkkainen's impressive list of her Family Ties to MTU the name of Gail Brown Griffeth. That name brings back memories of the kidding I use to get in our freshman chemistry lecture class for sitting next to the only female in the class and I couldn't move because we were seated in alphabetical order.

Editor's Note: And, after I ribbed Art:

It was a very special time for me, a kid from a low income family from Detroit, born in the depression, raised by a single mom and being the first in the family to go to college. It prepared me well for my profession as an engineer and for the rest of my life. It had a lot to do with who I am today. Many of my best memories occurred in the early 50's in a small college in small town in a remote area of Michigan's UP 600 miles from home.

Art Brookman, BSEE '55

Editor's Note: And I told Art how lucky I am to live here!


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Class Rings
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License Plates
University Images Michigan Tech Clothing and Giftware

Job Opportunities

On Campus

Research Engineer I, Two positions available, Keweenaw Research Center

Research Engineer II, Keweenaw Research Center

Complete Job Descriptions are available on the Human Resources website.

Off Campus