July 3, 2012
Vol. 18, No. 23
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SURFing at Tech

Ice Arena
It's not their parents' summer school: students do research at Tech.

Felicia Nip, a third-year biochemistry and molecular biology major is immersed in the world of fruit flies this summer.

Through a Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) and with mentor Thomas Werner, assistant professor of genetics and developmental biology, Nip explores how certain fruit fly strains evolved resistance to deadly mushroom toxins. The flies (Drosophila melanogaster) are not known to feed on mushrooms in nature. Yet, they can resist the poisons, thanks to their multi-drug resistance (MDR) genes.

This research could have significant implications not only for toxicology, but for cancer research as well.

“We don’t know what MDR genes do in nature, but we do know that humans also have MDR genes,” Werner says. “When the MDR genes in humans are activated, anti-cancer drugs are pumped back out of cancer cells, leading to multidrug resistance.”

“If fruit flies use MDR genes to defend themselves against a mushroom toxin, then these flies could be used as a platform to test anti-cancer drugs in the future,” Nip adds.

Nip and other students in the Werner lab raise sensitive and resistant fly larvae with and without exposure to mushroom toxin and extract their RNA to compare gene expression differences that could explain the genetics underlying this remarkable toxin resistance.

“If we find a good candidate gene that seems to cause the toxin resistance, we can transgenically transfer this gene from a resistant fly to a sensitive fly,” Nip says. “If the sensitive fly survives after receiving the transgene, bingo!”

This smaller-than-miniscule work is weighty, even for the Woodhaven student, who seemed predestined for Michigan Tech.

“From the moment I left both the Women in Engineering camp and the Leading Scholars Program, I was ready to become a Husky," she says. "It was the perfect place, in respect to education, environment, and people.”

Nip plans to apply to medical school next summer, as she ultimately wants to become a pathologist.

“I want to continue to explore the microscopic world,” she says. “I have experience with microscopes all across campus, including the electron microscopes.”

Nip is one of the 20 recipients to receive a SURF award this summer.

In another SURF project, civil engineering undergraduate Daniel Cerminaro is developing better algorithms to analyze remote-sensing images of areas struck by earthquakes. Using high-resolution satellite and aerial images of the recent earthquakes in Haiti and New Zealand, he aims to pinpoint damage more quickly and accurately. The ultimate goal is to support emergency responders and decision makers during the recovery process. More

Dennis '92 '09

At Tech

Board Approves Budget, Lowest Tuition Increase in 8 Years

Steve Hicks
At a special meeting on June 21, 2012, Michigan Tech’s Board of Control approved a general fund budget of $165.5 million for fiscal year 2013, which starts July 1, 2012. The general fund, which covers the operating expenses of the University, is one of five components of the current fund, which will total 256.5 million for FY2013. More

Michigan Tech Nabs Top-10 Finish in SAE Baja Wisconsin

baja team

Michigan Tech’s Baja Enterprise team excelled in the 2012 SAE Baja Wisconsin, finishing in the top 10. “We were eighth overall, fifth in the US, and the top team among the six Michigan schools competing,” said the team’s advisor, Brett Hamlin, assistant chair of engineering fundamentals. More

Resilient Editors Create a New Scholarly Book

new book
It was an idea begun at a conference seven years ago. Michigan Tech hosted the Fifth Biennial International Feminism(s) and Rhetoric(s) Conference in 2005, and conference coordinators Beth Flynn, Ann Brady, and Patty Sotirin, all faculty members in the Department of Humanities, recognized the resilience of those who made it to campus after a storm had closed the local airport. Elsewhere, the monumental resilience of the survivors of Hurricane Katrina was displayed across the globe. More

Alumni Around the World

Reunion Registration is Now Open!

Sharing a laugh at the Golf Outing.

There will be fun for all ages including Tech Talks, picnics, campus tours, open houses, many outdoor adventure trips, hands-on children’s science demonstrations, boat rides, and a golf outing sponsored by the School of Business and Economics. Head to huskylink.mtu.edu/reunion2012 to view the full schedule and to register or call us at 1-906-487-2400.

Women of TechThe 2012 Reunion will also be the first ever to celebrate the women of Michigan Tech. All female graduates, former students, faculty and staff are invited to a number of special events during Reunion including an all Greek social and a Saturday evening “Girls Night Out” hosted by the Presidential Council of Alumnae.

There will also be special events in honor of the 50th anniversary of the Department of Biological Sciences, the 85th anniversary of the Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics department, and the 35th anniversary of the Michigan Tech Student Foundation.

Can’t make it up to the Copper Country this year? You can still participate by sharing your Tech memories and letting your classmates know what’s happening in your life. Visit www.mtu.edu/reunion for details.

More Fun Facts

  • In 1943, male to female enrollment dipped below the normal fifty-to-one, as coeds prepared "to fill in the manpower deficiency" due to WWII.
  • In 1981, the Women in Engineering program was celebrating its eighth year of existence and more than 2,500 participants.

Cherry Royale Parade Seeks Volunteers

SAE float

2011 Cherry Royale action.

Join students and fellow alumni in representing Michigan Tech in the 2012 Cherry Royale Parade!

Help carry the Michigan Tech Alumni Association banner in this parade along with Blizzard T. Husky, the Michigan Tech pep band, and a variety of Tech SAE vehicles, then join us for a picnic after the parade.

When: Saturday, July 14, 2012 , Line up 10:45 a.m.; Parade 11:15 a.m. Lunch to follow.

Details here: www.huskylink.mtu.edu/cherryfest2012

Canoe, Bridge, Rifle Team Alums Looking to Reconnect

Were you a member of the Concrete Canoe, Steel Bridge or Rifle teams?

These teams are looking for former members to collect and exchange stories and keep everyone up to date on what's currently happening with the team.

Katherine Gauthier, a member of Michigan Tech's concrete canoe team is working on reconnecting with Concrete Canoe and Steel Bridge team alumni. In the spring 2013 they will be hosting the ASCE Concrete Canoe and Steel Bridge competition at Michigan Tech and would like to contact former team members to inform them of the team’s progress over the past years, and inviting them to come support us.

Zachary Simpson, the current Coach of Tech’s Competition Rifle Team is hoping to reconnect with former members of the NCAA team (19xx - 1980), or the club team (1990 - present.) While they are not an NCAA team anymore, the students are still competing as a collegiate club and find ourselves competing against other collegiate clubs and NCAA teams. He is hoping to collect and exchange stories and keep everyone up to date on what's currently happening with the team.

Please contact alumni@mtu.edu or call 1-877-688-2586 to be added to these lists.

Fill in the Blanks

Pep Band


We can't figure out where this was located.

The Pep Band in 1993.

Email me.


2005 Phi Tau Water Slide

Phi Tau house

Maybe you were sliding with the Phi Taus in July of 2005.

Email me.

View more sports >

Tech Sports

Huskies Launch New Website

Huskies logo
Michigan Tech athletics has redesigned and upgraded its official website at MichiganTechHuskies.com.The new MichiganTechHuskies.com features a bold new look, has the ability to play videos directly on the main and sports home pages and shows live scoring in its schedule pane. Coming this fall will be improved video streaming for all home contests in hockey, football, basketball, volleyball and soccer. More

Recent Results | Complete Schedule

Around the Keweenaw

Daily Mining Gazette | WLUC TV-6 | Marquette Mining Journal

Elderhostel at Isle Royale

We currently have some openings in programs for 2012 that might be of interest to faculty, staff, and alumni of Michigan Tech. The Isle Royale Institute coordinates Road Scholar programs at Isle Royale National Park in partnership with Elderhostel, Inc. The last program is scheduled for July 8–14.

For further information and to register for a program, click on the link or call 800-454-5768.

Isle Royale, Lake Superior, and the Keweenaw Peninsula: Search on Program #1583RJ in the upper right corner. 7 days total; 3 full days and 2 partial days at Isle Royale.
Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions.

Ken Vrana
Director, Isle Royale Institute
Michigan Tech

From the Email Bag

Distillation Clarifications

distillation column
Dennis, this is the same type of equipment that we had in the unit operations laboratory in the Chem-Bio Building. The lab was on the west side of the building and occupied two stories, basement and first floor. The building was new when I got there in 68.

Thomas Shoens


Hi Dennis,

The distillation column shown in the 6/19 TechAlum was replaced by a packed distillation column during a renovation of the Unit Ops Lab, probably in the mid-1990s as the new column was in place when I started in 1998. The packed column (and the PDMS batch reactor that was added in the same renovation) has an integrated control system with operator consoles in a room on the first floor of CSE that overlooked the lab bay. I vaguely recall a professor (probably Ed Fisher or Anton Pintar, both now-retired) mentioning that the old sieve-tray column was given to a sister institution outside the U.S.

Dan Siderius, BSChE '01


The photo was taken in the old engineering labs building. (It was gone before I arrived on campus in '72.) The column in the photo was a tray column made of copper. Eventually that column was replaced with a copper bubble cap column that had three glass sections for viewing vapor-liquid activity. The second column is the one most of our graduates remember so fondly...

When the Chem-Met building was built the new bubble cap column was moved into the current Unit Operations Lab. Nineteen years ago that column was disassembled and replaced with a computer controlled 30' tall stainless steel packed column. At that time the bubble cap column was crated up and donated to the University of Sonora at Hermosillo, Mexico.

One 3' section of the original copper column was recently discovered in a corner of one of the research labs elsewhere in the building. We plan to cut a window in the side of the old column and put it on display to show the intricate internals. It is an historic work of art.

The photo is a classic. I have no idea what happened to the women, or for that matter, where they got so many of them to stage the 1943 photo.

Dave Caspary
Manager of Lab Facilities

Thanks, Dave, Thomas and Dan. Great info.

Fastpitch Softball

fast pitch softball
I played fast pitch softball during the summers of 69 and 70. While it was an actual varsity sport we only played in a local bar league. I remember graduating in August of 70 and the next day we were playing in the UP tournament in Marquette. We lost that weekend and so we didn’t get to go down state for the finals. Any idea when it ceased to be a varsity sport or the last time Tech fielded a team?

Best regards,

Thomas Spence
Met. Eng. ‘70

Thomas: Sadly, men's fastpitch has faded away. I was able to find an old newspaper clipping (clickable) from 1989, which was near the last of the glory days.

Photos from the Late 1950s and Early 1960s

co-ed dressed up


I think I was going to look this up and send it to you some time ago when there was talk about the train station in Houghton. This was a full page photo of Lucretia Marks in the 1960 year book at the train station in Houghton; supposedly just arriving to start at MCM&T. Cretia was on the Carnival queen's court in '59

Actually, people dressed up to travel in those days.

women's hockey teamWhile wandering through the alumni website I also discovered the picture of many of the girls on the Phi Lambda Beta hockey team that year.
Here are the names:
Coaches: Lucier and MacInnes
Back row: l-r, Judy Riedlinger, Gail Dankert, Joyce Fleming, Jean Rogier
Front row: Pat Mixon, Judy Kelly, Mary Barnard, Harrient White, Gemma Lou Guidotti

Gail Richter

Salutes to News and a Nod from a Freshman Dad

Hi Dennis,
Great stories in the news!

I’m always awed by the stories about the wolves and the good people so committed to studying and protecting them. Fascinating!

At a recent grad party, an incoming freshman’s dad said, “there was just something about Tech when we visited,” and we nodded knowingly and enthusiastically. Learning by designing handcranked bikes for wounded vets is one of the things that makes Tech great, time and time again.

And, last but not least, they got you good about the bunchberry flowers! Just stick with saying “pretty plants” next time.

Hope all is well with you. Keep up the good work!

Ellen Kehoe

Ellen: Thanks for the nice note. I've been educated on airplanes (DC3 vs. Convair 580), bunchberries, and, now, concrete vs. cement! And no, I don't mess up on purpose!

More on the MacInnes Student Ice Arena

Ice Arena
Dear Dennis:
I was the president of the Student Council when the students were presented with and voted in favor of increasing their quarterly activity fee (I think it was a $5 or $10 increase) to fund the debt service on the bonds that would be issued to build the new ice arena. Leading up to that vote there were meetings among interested parties regarding various details. The Michigan Tech Fund wanted the naming rights to the arena to attract a large donor. We argued that the largest donor would be the students and, therefore, the new arena should be named after them, thus the "Student" Ice Arena. Ray Smith, who was the President at the time, agreed and the matter went to a vote of the students with the understanding that the name of the arena would be and remain the Student Ice Arena. I do not know how long the bonds lasted, but Michigan Tech students paid for that arena for many years, probably not even knowing that part of their activity fees was going to pay off the bonds.

While I admire and respect John MacInnes as much as anyone and believe that it is fitting to have his name on the Arena, it is unfortunate that people do not remember why the name came about in the first place. Forty years of Michigan Tech hockey players owe thanks to the regular Michigan Tech students for that Ice Arena. Five bucks in 1969 bought a lot of beer.

Bill Coon '71

Bill: That's why Coach MacInnes insisted "Student" remain part of the name. We still tell the story whenever we can.

Tech License Plate

1984 Computer
Hi Dennis,
I saw the notice about the plates in my last newsletter. I have MTU license plates on both my cars. Working in Ann Arbor makes having them even more fun. When commuters on my route to work are driving 25 in a 55 because of a snow flurry, I’ll pass them by and mutter “read my plate.” They may even have an effect on driving habits. You think more carefully about driving like a knucklehead since you don’t want people to think poorly of your school. Apparently people with “M”s and “S”s don’t have that concern.

Ken Hafeli 1977

Ken: You just can't teach some people some things!

Concrete, not Cement

You can tell you are not a Civil Engineer. While in classes we were beaten severely if we referred to Concrete as cement. After all, Cement is just a Gray Powder that when Mixed with Aggregate and Water makes Concrete.

Mark A. Bratschi

Mark: I stand corrected, and I definitely am not a Civ Engg!


Hello Dennis,
I always enjoy receiving copies of your Newsletter. You do a wonderful job.

Receipt of today's newsletter reminded me to pass along a request from a friend of mine. He's wondering if there are archived copies of the final edition of the "Lode" for the Spring of 1985. As he recalls, the final edition was titled the "Lewd". Do you know if such copies are available?

Keep the news and stories flowing.

Best regards,
Doug Hamar

Editor's Note: I steered Doug to Erik Nordberg, our archivist, who does, indeed, have old Lodes and Lewds.

Pat Paulsen's Son Offers to Sign the Wine

Pat Paulsen wine

Monty Paulsen, Winemaker and owner, Pat Paulsen Vineyards, will sign the bottle of wine.


The last bid was $225, and we have this additional info:

Rating: 85/100 - As reviewed by Wine Spectator on 03/01/85. Based on collections of Presidential Candidate memorabilia, a 20-34 year old uncorked bottle of his wine should go for $850. Based on current availability, likeability, and popularity. Just the bottle may bring as much as $300. And for those lucky enough to have a signed bottle...$1,600! [That's signed by Pat Paulsen.]

Kyle Austin
Class of ‘91


Anyone can bid. Just send an email to alumni@mtu.edu, and they'll record your amount.You can let TechAlum know, too, so our alumni can follow along.

Featured Alumni Benefits

Husky Blend Coffee

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Looking for job searching tips? Check out these straight forward, compelling videos that clearly illustrate what job seekers and career changers need to know before, during and after the job interview. Each CareerSpots video is under four minutes in length and features a genuine recruiter, career director, student or recent graduate.

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More Alumni Benefits, Services and Discount program information

Job Opportunities

On Campus

Strategic Faculty Hiring Initiative: Positions in Water and Transportation


Research Engineer/Scientist I—IT, Michigan Tech Research Institute (MTRI)

Assistant Director, Student Activities

Application Programmer, (Revised and Reposted), Administrative Information Services


Apply using the new online system at http://jobs.mtu.edu.

Complete Descriptions are available on the Human Resources website.

Off Campus

Keweenaw opportunities: http://www.keweenawprofessionaljobs.com/

Other employment opportunities: Check out the Linked in group exclusively for Michigan Tech Alumni.

Also, visit the Career Tools web page for more options.