June 20, 2011
Vol. 17, No. 22
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Summer: Time for Research

Faith and Mike
Faith Lambert and Mike Gibson.

I am constantly learning new things here at Tech, and often the lessons come from our students. Recently two of our undergrads discussed their research, supported by SURF, the Summer Undergraduate Research Fund.

Faith Lambert, a fifth-year biochemistry major from Dryden, Michigan, is researching a "metabolic disorder, phenylketonuria, one of the most common inherited genetic disorders that doesn't allow patients to break down the essential amino acid phenylalanine" she says.

And phenylalanine can be harmful, I learned. Contained in foods with protein, if not broken down, it can severely damage the brain when levels in the body get too high in patients.

"We are treating a model of the disorder with competitive amino acids that will block phenylalanine from getting into the brain, but not cause toxic effects to the patient”, she says. “This is a completely new way of considering treatment for these patients."

Phenylketonuria could be treated with a pill, but it won't be cured, she says.

Lambert is working with Biology PhD student Kara Vogel and Professor and Chair of Biological Sciences Mike Gibson.

"Faith is applying a very novel dietary approach in the animal model that has real potential for clinical use in patients," Gibson said. "The work Faith and Kara are carrying out will form the basis of a new NIH grant, and they make a great team working together."

Vogel extolled Lambert's virtues.

"Having reliable students with passion and dedication increases the pleasure and privilege of, and is the key to successful research," she says. "Faith is the first student I have ever trained to work in science, and she will always be special to me."

Lambert's interest in biology is strong enough for her to pursue a teaching certificate and bring her knowledge to high school classrooms.

"Then, I'd like to go back to grad school, too." she says.

Before talking to Alex Saari, a fourth-year management information systems major from Mohawk, I had no idea what systems development life cycle (SDLC) was.

For his research, he says, “It’s gathering information system requirements to support business needs, designing and building those systems, and then delivering it to users.”


“It’s also coming up with a better way to run things,” he says, clarifying. “Instead of operating with traditional methods, it’s thinking outside the box, and focusing on users’ requirements.”

Some systems, he said, take so long to develop, by the time they see the light of day, they are already out of date. Saari hopes to improve on that model, and he focuses on industry standards. How do they do it at IBM or HP, with whom he would like to work someday?

“I set up a mock business, looking at the methods” he says. “Here’s what they use, and here’s what their system could run on, given new technologies, and then revamping the system.”

He’s been working with Mari Buche, associate professor of management information systems in the School of Business and Economics.

Saari’s dream job would be consultant, he says. “I’d love to offer advice to many different companies and work within the technical communication field, too.”

Dennis '92, '09

At Tech

US Postage Stamp Recognizes Alumnus Who Won a Nobel Prize

melvin calvin
Melvin Calvin, a Michigan Tech alumnus who was awarded a Nobel Prize, now has his name and face on a postage stamp--a stamp of approval for a distinguished man. Calvin was the first scientist to unravel the secrets of photosynthesis—knowledge that became known as “the Calvin cycle.” That work won him and a colleague the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1961. More

Michigan Tech Students Bring Gifts of Mobility to Indian Kids

leg brace
It’s one thing to build a set of braces to help disabled children walk. It’s something else again to design devices that can be made in India, with local parts and materials, for a fraction of the going rate. But that is what two Michigan Tech Senior Design teams did this year. With faculty advisors Tammy Haut Donahue and Sheryl Sorby, mechanical engineering undergraduates took on projects to help children half a world away. Then they traveled to New Delhi to deliver their gifts of mobility. More

Lettuce Rejoice! A Garden Grows in the Food Desert

In the Atlanta neighborhood surrounding Benjamin Mays High School, it’s easier to get kidney dialysis than buy a peach. The nearest bona fide grocery store is miles away. Obesity is epidemic, and school kids breakfast on junk food and soda pop. More

Alumni Around the World

Grand Rapids, Saginaw, and Lansing Events

Grand Rapids

On Saturday, June 4, the West Michigan Alumni Association Chapter held their 15th annual golf outing at Grand Rapids Golf & Country Club. This year’s event had 38 players enjoying the 85 degree and sunny weather of West Michigan. A special “Thank You” to Jim ‘87 and Laurie ‘87 Schwerin, proprietors of Schmohz Brewery for supplying their high quality micro-brews to this and many other West Michigan Alumni events.

Chas Thompson '91, Schmohz Brew Master, expertly drove his cart around the golf course keeping all the golfers ‘hydrated’ and flying the Tech colors throughout the day.


In spite of a rainy start, alumni and friends enjoyed a great day of golf, pasties and pickled eggs from the Dog House at the Sawmill Golf Club on Friday, June 9. Burris Smith ‘64 had the longest drive and Team Joynt won the day with a low score of 60.

A big thank you to event organizer Dick (RC) Crannell ’65 for another successful golf outing.

Winning team, left to right: Tom Madden ‘82, Ted Rosingana ’94, David McInnis ‘74, and Jeff Joynt ’78

lansingLansing Alumni/Student Picnic
Incoming students and their families joined alumni for a picnic at the Granger Meadows Park on Sunday June 12th. It was a wonderful opportunity for our newest Huskies to ask questions and get prepared for their first semester at Tech. Several alumni were in attendance and shared their Michigan Tech experiences with the group. The picnic was organized by Chapter Leader Julie Kroll ’00 with help from David Kroll ’99.

Left to right: alumnus Eric Anderson ’11 with incoming students (and future Pep Band members) Eponine Zenter, Andrew Garrod, and Alex Witgen.

Still Time to Provide Your Support

If you haven’t taken the opportunity to make your 2010-11 Annual Fund gift to Michigan Tech yet, there is still time. The University’s fiscal year comes to a close on June 30, 2011, so you have until the end of the month to reserve your spot on the annual Honor Roll of Donors. Options for making your year-end gift include:

  • Phone the Michigan Tech Fund at 1-877-386-3688 (toll free) or 1-906-487-2310 and make your gift with a credit/debit card.
  • Make your gift online with a credit/debit card by going to www.mtu.edu/giving/
  • Mail your gift to:
    Michigan Tech Fund
    Michigan Technological University
    1400 Townsend Drive
    Houghton, MI 49931

Your phone or mail gift must be received by June 30 at 3:00 pm (EST) to be included for the 2010-11 year. Online credit/debit card gifts can be made up until midnight (EST) on the 30th.

Fill in the Blanks


Did you play volleyball at Hancock Beach in June 2005? It's clickable. Email me.

Research with Jack Holland in 1966?

Jack HollandAny of you Med Tech's recall working with Jack Holland and this machine? Email me.
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Tech Sports

Pearson Adds Muckalt to Coaching Staff

Michigan Tech head hockey coach Mel Pearson announced today the addition of Bill Muckalt to his staff. Muckalt, a former Michigan Wolverine and five-year veteran of the NHL, began his duties as assistant coach June 10. More

Kinrade Wins AHL Championship with Binghamton

Former Michigan Tech defenseman Geoff Kinrade (2005-09) recently helped the Binghamton Senators win an American Hockey League championship. The Senators closed out the best-of-seven Calder Cup Finals against the Houston Aeros with a 3-2 victory in game six on Tuesday, June 7.More

Around the Keweenaw

Hundreds Gather to Honor Soldier

Voakes Funeral
Hundreds of people packed Baraga High School Gymnasium Monday at 11 a.m. to pay their final respects to U.S. Army Spc. Robert Lee Voakes Jr., 21, of L'Anse, who was killed in Afghanistan June 4. Voakes' legacy was evident by the number and diversity of people in attendance at the funeral. Voakes' family was surrounded by people across the Upper Peninsula, military personnel and tribal members from the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community. More

Hundreds Enjoy Bridgefest Parade

red hat
Laura Miller watched Friday night's Bridgefest parade from somewhere new - the audience. Miller, who normally rides on the Calumet Theatre float, was on vacation during the time the float is usually being planned out. "It's nice to see how many people there are, how many businesses are involved in supporting the area," she said. More

County Considers Winter Closure for Keweenaw Mountain Lodge

After crunching some numbers, the Keweenaw County Board of Commissioners will determine whether the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge will be a year-round operation. At its regular meeting Wednesday in Eagle River, the commissioners discussed finances at the mountain lodge. In May, the lodge lost $23,446 and projected a loss of $21,750. More

From the Email Bag

The Old Fraternity Houses

Fraternity House
This is the Sigma Phi Epsilon House (left) on 218 Blanche. Early 70's - before my time

Best regards,
Mark Panetta


From the most recently received Michigan Tech Alum Newsletter, the subject fraternity house was the home of the Beta Pi Chapter of Delta Sigma Phi until about 1963 or so; 218 Blanch Street, Houghton.

Lots of years have floated past but the memories of Michigan Tech have not been lost.

C. G. Thom, Jr., P.E.


The 3rd photo in this week's newsletter is of the Sigma Phi Epsilon house on Blanche Street. Sig Eps was chartered in 1965 and I believe that we moved into that current location around 1968 or so. The house still looks pretty much the same from that angle except we have vinyl siding now. I lived at the house for 3 different school years and two summers between 1988 and 1992. The summers were the best with playing volleyball every day at Hancock beach and watching the northern lights while out camping. I had a really good time at MTU and received a degree to boot.

Thanks for the great news letter, I look forward to it each time.

Chris Munn, BSCE '92



The unknown fraternity house (image 3 in you display) is the Delta Sigma Phi house (1950s and 60s) at 218 Blanche. I lived there for 4 years, so it’s familiar, even after all of these years.

Dave Funston 60/61



You will probably get a lot of replies to the house not identified. Looks like the Delta Sigma Phi house to us where Bob spent a year in residence. I haven't checked my photo album yet but it was at 218 Blanche Street just up the hill behind the union. A small family grocery store was on the corner or a street over from it.

Nice photos and nice to reminisce.

Julie and Bob Johnson, '54 CE.


Third photo is 238 Blanche ST. the old Delta Sigma Phi house. Bruce Karinen '55


I enjoy your newsletter. Keep up the good work.

In your latest newsletter the scrolling photos from the Tech archives show unidentified fraternity houses in photos 3 and 4. Photo 3 is definitely the Delta Sigma Phi house when the Delt Sigs were on Blanche St. (I am pretty sure that was the name of the street) behind the student union (MUB). I lived there my senior year (1962-63) and the diamond shaped Delta Sigma Phi emblem above the porch confirms that my memory is correct. I am not certain about photo 4 but I think it is probably the old Kappa Delta house which was on College Ave.

Thanks for the memories.

Sam Ochodnicky
Class of 1963


The June 6, 2011 Tech Alum Newsletter contained photos of two unidentified fraternity houses. The first one was the Delta Sigma Phi house at 218 Blanche Street. I know, because I lived there 1959-1961. It has a replica of the fraternity's diamond-shaped pin on the porch roof overhang.

We will be at the August 4 - 6 reunion. Hope to see you then.

Earl Seppala
MTU (actually MCM&T) '61 & MTU '66


Old Fraternity HouseDennis,
The fourth picture of the eight archives pictures (left) at the top of the June Newsletter is the old "Psi Ranch" on College Avenue, perhaps better known as the "KD House" or Kappa Delta Psi Fraternity. I moved into the house to start my Junior year in September, 1962 and found it enjoyable to sit on the front porch and watch the cars go by on College Avenue - so much so, that I pulled an "F" in the fall term EE course which was a prerequisite for the winter term EE course. We sold the house and a vacant lot "somewhere up on the hill" in the spring of 1963, to someone who built the brick apartment building which is still there. We bought the old Healy House (the present KD House) behind Wadsworth Hall and only needed about a $40,000 - 15 year mortgage. Tuition in 1963 was about $ 225 a year and my season hockey pass was $ 6. We used to say tuition, fees, books and beer came to about $ 1000 for a year!

Bob Cambensy '65


The photo sequence on the top of your page contains a great photo of the old Kappa Delta Psi fraternity house. It is the fourth photo and shows a nice front porch. The house looks in remarkably good shape compared to how I remember it. We were required to vacate it in the summer of 1962, based on the report of the fire marshal, I believe. It was then demolished. I lived there from 1961 to 62 and enjoyed many a good time in it. But it was in much worse shape than your photo shows. The previous photo to the KD house may have been the old Delta Sigma Phi house on Blanche Street. A number of different fraternities have occupied that house.

Bill Deephouse

End Earth Sign, Continued

The "End of Earth" sign made me think of another disparaging comment that took place during Winter Carnival - I can't recall the year but it would have been in the late 60s or early 70s.

It was a snow statue, built along the south side of the old Sherman Gym. It was a very accurate depiction of Houghton and Hancock, down to the building details, the lift bridge and the Quincy hoist on the hill. There was an enormous forearm rising out of the canal near the bridge, wielding a can of Ban underarm deodorant. (Implying, of course, that this is the "armpit of the earth.")

Are there any photos of that around?

Tom Wells '75


Hi Dennis,

Regarding the end of the Earth postcard, Tim Burtrum's description is closest to the correct story. The sign hung for only a few days in the fall of 1984. Two Michigan Tech students, John Marchesi and Tom Coccioione, made and mounted the sign, and then the highway patrol made them take it down. One of the great parts of this whole event was that the foggy background was only by chance; John didn't plan on fog or wait until a foggy morning.

This very sign remained in the basement of the Alpha Kappa Psi fraternity house for the next four years, many beverages were shared with it.

If you look at the back of the post card, it will show as printed by EZ graphics. John's nick name was EZ; as in easy going. John made a few dollars from the proceeds of the card sales, mostly through the MTU bookstore, but also through a number of the local gift shops. After John graduated and took a position with McDonnell Douglas, I sold these post cards to the same outlets and MTU bookstore until I also graduated, providing the proceeds to John. After that John took the responsibilities back and sold them for a while via phone orders.

Many students from 1984 to 1988 would recognize and might remember this sign, if they attended one of the open parties at AKPsi. The sign eventually worn out from the numerous parties that it attended to in the basement and did not make the trip to the current AKPsi house on College Avenue.

Jeff Stein
AKPsi Life Member, BSEE, class of 1988


As far as I know, there was no actual "End of the Earth" sign. It was just made up for a post card for sale in the MUB, etc. It is likely that a lot of the cards were sold. Actually, it doesn't do much for the reputation of Michigan Tech. There is no telling how many potential students it scared away.

Jim Spain

John Deere Interns

john deere
We received this photo from third-year mechanical engineering student Jen Zarzecki who is interning this summer with John Deere in Waterloo, IA, working on competitive assessment of tractors.

She participated in the intern conference held at John Deere Headquarters in Moline, IL. While there, the Tech students interning in Waterloo, IA, gathered for this photo.

Pictured from left to right: Brennan Tymrak, Peter Lundin, Jen Zarzecki, and Dan Woodford.


Bowling Alley

bowling alley
Hi Dennis,
that photo may have been at the ROTC building, but the Union did have a bowling alley, too. I used to date a guy who set pins there.
Gail Richter '61.


The bowling alleys were definitely in the Clubhouse. I set pins there often as a local kid.

In the pictures today the third picture is the old Delta Sig house on Blanche St. just the next place up the hill from Julius Nachazel's house. The fourth picture is the old KD house on College Ave. the fifth picture was Leo Duggans before it became a sorority.

Doug Seeber ME 1954


Hi Dennis,
The bowling alley was in the basement of the ROTC building. I'm not sure what it housed prior to ROTC HQ, but it also had a banked elevated running track circling above a basketball court. I began distance training on it for Track during my freshman year '49-50, I seem to recall it was 13 laps to a mile with steeply banked curves that made it feel like running on a sinewave. The surface was miserable so I gave it up in favor of flat running around the old Sherman Gym. I seem to remember setting pins on the bowling alley once or twice, maybe even taking turns or running down the alley to retrieve and set m' up per The note from Bob Monahan on setting pins. Bob was a spectacular defenseman and an All American with Joe DeBastiani. I'll never forget the a game w/NoDak when Bob doubled in goal for the last two minutes when our goalie had been pulled. He may even have stopped for a pint or two at the "DogHouse" before the game but made at least 3 staggering and amazing saves that night. Those were the days played on Dee Stadium's natural ice.

Bob Carnahan '53

Bob: A photo of that gym with the track can be seen here.


Hi Dennis,
I think what we have here are two different sets of alleys. The ones in the picture apparently were in the ROTC building. That was before my time at MCMT. However, in 1956 I set pins in the alleys in the Union basement to make enough money to buy my trip on the train carrying students to the Final Four NCAA hockey tournament in Colorado Springs. We wound up second in the nation to U of M. As I recall there were four alleys.

Raymond Roe, '57,'58


Regarding the bowling alley.

Maybe there were two at different times? ROTC earlier and Union later? I distinctly remember 6 lanes with automatic pin setters in the Union when I took bowling for PE credit in the ’77-’78 school year.

Eric Horner ‘82


As someone guessed in the newsletter, I remember having bowling as a PE class. The alley was downstairs in the union. There weren't any windows that I remember, so definitely not the photo in the alum news.

I don't remember the End of the Earth sign, but I do remember the other sign mentioned about Houghton having the purest air on earth.

Love the old memories.

The photo of downtown looks familiar to my time at MTU. A group of us lived at 202 Pewabic - the old mortuary. Fun times.

Debbie (Nunn) Hamm '78

Living Local at the Bishops

Dennis, while I lived in a variety of places during my days at Tech, I spent the longest stint in a “house” on Liminga Road. I say house but it was really a 30’ trailer from the ‘50’s. It was cold in the winter but we tried to help insulate it with bales of straw and snow. I shared it with an always changing assortment of mice. It was on John Bishop’s horse boarding farm J-Bar-B Ranch. In exchange for a place to stay I helped John around the place and took care of the horses on the weekends. The 7 ½ mile commute in the winter mornings was sometimes interesting but only once was I not able to get into campus. I got stuck in a 3’ high snow drift in the driveway and had to thumb it into school. Fortunately an ME prof was driving by and gave me a ride—got there just in time for an ME223 exam. It was an experience but a little isolated from the normal campus activities. I heard, too, that John just passed away this past winter at the age of 96! I would be interesting to hear from anyone else that stayed at the Bishop’s and what your experience was like.

Shawn Mealey, ’84 and ‘86

Downtown Houghton

downtown houghton

This picture was taken in July of 1976, I know because I am one of the two people sitting in the window above Professionals in Photography. I lived there a couple of years with my roommates Jean Archambeau (78) , Angie Suhan (79?), and Debbie Tasson. That window was our favorite perch from which we could watch pretty much everything that passed through town. It was also a prime spot from which to view the Hobo parade at Homecoming. We were located directly across the street from the Houghton Police Dept, and got to know the officers personally. This proved to be a blessing and a curse in future years. Nothing serious, it's just odd when the police know you by name.
It was a very convenient location, just a 10 minute walk to campus or a 2 minute jaunt up to Montezuma to hitch a ride in the winter. Many fond memories of that apartment, a far cry from the apartments my children deem as suitable collegiate housing today, but nevertheless we thought it was great. They may never know how good they have it!

Leslie (Finkbeiner) Hiltunen

Just a note, this was actually used as a postcard all over the Copper Country for a number of years around that time, so I will consider it my small measure of fame! Thanks so much for bringing back all these good memories!


Hi Dennis,
The article Living Local brings back memories of my last year at Tech. I was married and we lived in a three-story house on Montezuma just west of Bridge street. The house had three apartments with three married couples living there. We had to leave our keys on a predetermined ledge so a student could move cars, if necessary, in order to get out for class (everyone had to park on the single driveway). One morning, the person moving cars got off of the track and sank into the snow. He had to get the rest of us up to help get the car back on track. That incident was replayed several times during the winter. The house was still there when I was at Tech in 2009 for my 50th reunion.
Rick Noyes, ‘59


Back in 1967-68, I lived in a downtown apartment at 403 Sheldon if my memory is correct. It was a 2nd floor apt that cost $75 per month, heat and electricity included. That cost was split among three roommates. Across the street was a super market (IGA?) which sold a 6-pack of PBR for 85 cents. The good old days!!!

Richard Brietzke
68, Met Engr


In 63-64 eight of us Tech seniors rented the second floor west wing of the Douglas Houghton Hotel. The facilities included a double kitchen, recreation/dining area and bathroom. The hotel charged each of us a dollar a day for a single room. We had the advantage of being right up the street from the ice arena and of course above the Dog House Bar. We shared the second floor with stewardesses from Blue Goose Airlines (who did a great job of avoiding us) and visiting hockey teams.

Following graduation in June, three of our group, Tom Marcin, Gary Saxton and Skip Knieser left on a bike trip to Yellowstone. They almost made it. I'm enclosing three pictures (one here) taken of their departure.

Steve Pribish
Class of 1964

The "Purest Air on Earth" Sign

purest sign
That sign stood not too far from the east end of campus in 1965-1967. I
remember it well along with the four lane winter roads and two lane
summer narrows with deep ditches.

Thanks for the memories.

Sanna Messinger Roling'67

Women in Engineering 2006


Surprised that I was actual able to pick out my daughter from a room full of people (she’s wearing the blue shirt in the foreground). Megan will graduate next spring from MTU with a degree in civil engineering. The WIE certainly helped her down that path.

Mike Smaby

Mike: Some 127 women are here this week to learn all about engineering again!

Alumni in Africa

Hello Dennis,
While I suspect that there are other Tech alums who are further away from the Copper Country, two of us are presently in South Africa as part of the Black & Veatch team that is here to work on Eskom’s Kusile Power Station project. Dick Sterken is based in Black & Veatch’s Monyetla office, located in the northern Johannesburg suburb of Sunninghill, where he is the Project Discipline Engineer for the Civil discipline. I commute to the job site near Ogies in Mpumalanga Province from Pretoria and am winding down the handover of my Lead Planner duties in preparation for returning home when my assignment is completed in October.

While I have travelled to international projects previously (Trinidad, Germany, Kuwait, Canada, Mexico), this is my first experience as a resident expat. South Africa has one foot in the First World and another in the Third World, which creates a number of challenges for its citizens and its government and more than a little puzzlement for the expat. Still, my almost 2 year stay here has been tremendously rewarding in new experiences and new friends.

I can now say that I have survived a charge by a rhino. Okay, it was a mock charge by a white rhino but we didn’t know about the “mock” part until he pulled up about a yard away from our truck. Sitting on horseback 50-60 feet away from a pair of youthful giraffes engaged in some head-butting play was amazing. Cape Town has to have one of the most beautiful settings of any city in the world. Travelling to Zimbabwe with friends to see the Victoria Falls checked an item off my bucket list that hadn’t even been there before moving here. I don’t know that I have ever seen a blossom as spectacular as a protea’s. Words fail when trying to describe an elephant’s presence. Massive? Yes. Powerful? Yes. Impressive? Yes, yes, and yes. And more, besides. I’ve never been anywhere else where I could see penguins, ostriches, antelope and whales, none of them caged, all in the same day.

My wife and I will return to the States in just a few months with many memories, thousands of photos, more than a few mementos, and some regret. The regret, however, will be tempered by the joy of being reunited with friends and family and residing in our own home.

Paul McCool| Kusile Planner, Energy

Amazing Photo Site

An interesting trip around the world thru stunning photography by Timothy Allen

The photography is absolutely awesome! It is about 7 minutes long but will have you wishing for more.


The play button is directly under the photograph (don’t forget to turn on the ‘captions’).

John Baker

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