April 9, 2013
Vol. 19, No. 16
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Undergrad Expo Prep

Silicon Valley
A big game of Pong.

Senior Design and Enterprise Teams across campus are busy getting ready for the upcoming Undergraduate Expo. They are given problems from industry and other organizations and are challenged to come up with solutions.

I caught up with a few teams to check on their progress for the April 18 event.

Biomedical engineering students are improving the folding and locking mechanisms of walkers and creating a touch-sensor lighting system for night use. All these are important safety features, according to Dan Muckala and Matt Kilgas.

“We are working on height and width issues, too,” said Muckala. “Often, family members buy the wrong size.”

The team wants to test prototypes at a local senior-living center, and that will be rewarding in itself. “It'll be nice to see our product put to use,” said Kilgas.

They have been working on it since October, and they admit it was tough to put it together under the one-year Senior Design deadline. A well-developed prototype, however, is expected for the Expo.

An Enterprise team is working on entirely different types of projects for Expo and beyond: videogames.

One of the Husky Game Development teams is creating a new game based on the classic sci-fi flick “Tron.” One goal is to actually get it to market someday.

“We’ve had previous success,” said advisor Scott Kuhl, assistant professor of computer science. “’Arcane Brawlers’ was picked up by Xbox a few years ago.”

As the team lays down the framework for “Tron,” they also go retro to the very first videogame, “Pong.” On a wall of monitors, team members and Kuhl play a gigantic version, using large, handheld objects as paddles, and the paddles get smaller when you miss the ball, just like in the original game.

“We need a base to work from,” said Kuhl. With seven different teams exploring the world of videogames, one of them might just hit it big.

Another potentially big project is underway with a Senior Design team focused on water valves. They seek a better way to find leaks, according to fifth-year mechanical engineering major Neil White.

“We had two goals: improve test reliability and improve cycle time,” he said. Their creation replaces the current visual inspection that water companies must do. Instead, it measures water pressure drops.

“We can test faster, too, because we test both sides of the valve at once,” White said. The mock-up system runs on 120 volts and is portable. It also features a filter system. “I’d drink the water that comes out,” said White.

Future goals could include improving the automation of the system and testing the other five valves that their sponsor EJ Group produces, White said. This five-person Senior Design team is an engineering melting pot: mechanical, computer and electrical engineering are represented.

Finally, an autobot is being prepped for the Expo and a major summer competition.

The Blue Marble Security Enterprise team is running “Bishop,” a three-wheeled, battery operated robot, through “his” paces. They’ve made improvements on last year’s machine, according to Sarah Przybyla, a computer science and computer engineering major.

“We added a range finder and game simulation software to help us in the IGVC [Intelligent Ground Vehicle Competition] downstate this summer,” she said. In the competition the bot has to navigate around orange barrels and stay within boundaries while carrying a 20-pound payload. The course includes grass, which has proved a problem in the past.

“Last year, the bot only had the two large drive wheels,” said project manager Luke Mahowald a computer engineering and electrical engineering major. Small hills, too, were difficult.  “We added the front wheel this year to help with grass and gradients,”  Mahowald explained.

They also mounted a GPS and an additional camera, for more information-gathering. “The more info, the more accuracy,” Mahowald said.

They’ve had alumni help, too. A couple of recent grads, Zak Walters and Marcus Beltman, have given them good feedback and will attend the IGVC competition.

“This is that kind of Enterprise,” Przybyla said. “Once you get on it, you stay on it.”

Other projects on display will run the gamut from battery-powered roller skates to prosthetic knees, from improved wind turbines to jet-propelled kayaks.

The thirteenth annual Undergraduate Expo is sponsored by the College of Engineering and the Institute for Leadership and Innovation.

Dennis '92 '09


Snowfall Totals
Snow to date: 195.25 (Wet, sloppy snow over the weekend and Monday.)
On the ground: The numbers are gone, so they are sick of it, too.

Two weeks ago: 190.75 inches
On the ground: 53 inches

One year ago total: There was no total a year ago!

At Tech

The Mechanical Engineer and the Sunken Treasure

sunken treasure

As a farm boy growing up in northern Michigan, Mike Milosh '81 dreamed of the sea and the adventures of Captain Nemo and Mike Nelson of the TV show Sea Hunt. He even worked on plans for a one-man submarine. So when a real-life adventure presented itself, he didn’t have to think twice. More

Invisibility Cloak Research Moves Forward

invisibility cloak
Michigan Tech’s invisibility cloak researchers have done it again. They’ve moved the bar on one of the holy grails of physics: making objects invisible. Just last month, Elena Semouchkina, an associate professor of electrical and computer engineering at Michigan Tech, and her graduate student, Xiaohui Wang, reported successful experimental demonstration of the use of non-conductive ceramic metamaterials . . . More

3D Printing Slashes Optics Lab Costs

Tess Ahlborn
Just as open-source design has driven down the cost of software to the point that it is accessible to anyone with an Internet connection, open-source hardware makes it possible to drive down the cost of doing science. As part of that movement, a Michigan Tech lab has introduced a library of open-source, 3D-printable optics components in a paper published in PLOS One from the Public Library of Science. More

Isle Royale Wolves Fall Prey to Inbreeding Problems

brook trout
Michigan Tech’s annual Winter Study of the wolves and moose of Isle Royale National Park counted eight wolves on the island this winter, down one from last year. And as far as the researchers could tell, no wolf pups were born in 2012. More

Alumni Around the World

Pasty Prize Winner

Pasty CentralThe West Michigan Alumni Chapter has a unique incentive for preregistering for an event! Everyone who preregisters for a chapter event is entered in a bi-annual drawing for a shipment of pasties from Pasty Central in Calumet. Winners are chosen in April and October.

West MI logoThis spring, the winner of the West Michigan Chapter Pasty Drawing is Stephen Anthony '06 '08.
Check out the West Michigan Chapter on Facebook!

Huskies Summer Sports Camps—
Develop. Learn. Play. Stay.

Registration for the 2013 Summer Sports Camps is now open! This year’s camps include basketball, football, soccer, tennis, cheer, dance, learn to skate, figure skating, hockey, mountain biking and volleyball. Check out the individual schedules and camp details at www.mtu.edu/sportscamps.

As a benefit only available to our alumni, a 10 percent discount is redeemable for all children and grandchildren of alumni. Just mention this special TechAlum Newsletter offer when filling out your camp application in the “How did you hear about our camp” section.

2013 summer sports camps will take place June 8–August 23. Save the dates on your calendar and camp UP here! Combine a family vacation with a fun camp, where your child or grandchild is guaranteed to learn techniques to improve their sport. Develop skills, learn from professional staff, perform at a higher level and experience the Keweenaw summer.

Huskies Sports Camps—the best play, coolest coaches, and most fun you’ll have on the ice, field and court! Contact us at 888-829-9688 or sportscamps@mtu.edu with any questions. We look forward to seeing you at camp this summer!

Copper Harbor Trails Club Finalist in $100,000 Grant Competition

Whether it’s the northern lights from Brockway Mountain, golf at the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge, or kayaking on Lake Superior, so many Michigan Tech memories have been made in Copper Harbor. Today, students and alumni are making memories biking at the internationally recognized Copper Harbor Trails. The little town at the end of the road is on the map as one of only eleven International Mountain Biking Association (IMBA) Ride Centers in the world.

To grow the trails even further, the Copper Harbor Trails Club (CHTC) is one of twelve finalists for a trail project grant. Funded by Bell Helmets and IMBA, the grant competition winners will be selected by online votes.

According to Michigan Tech alum and CHTC board member Tony Schwenn, “This is a rare opportunity to expand biking in the Harbor. Since the Keweenaw is a very small community, we need everyone’s help. That’s why we’re reaching out to the Michigan Tech alumni community around the world for your help back home.”

Voting is open at www.facebook.com/bellbikehelmets. The grant recipients will be chosen by voting and input from Bell and IMBA staff, and will be announced on April 19.

Save the Date for Alumni Reunion 2013, August 1–3!

2012 Pasty Picnic
Make plans to catch up with fellow alumni and rediscover campus during Alumni Reunion 2013. The featured groups for Reunion 2013 include the Class of 1963, 1973, 1983, 1988, 1993, 2003, the Golden M's (those who graduated fifty-plus years ago), and the Women of Michigan Tech.

A variety of activities for all ages will be offered including family activities, campus tours, seminars, pasty picnics, and much more!

For a preliminary schedule, lodging information, and to RSVP, please visit www.mtu.edu/reunion

Fill in the Blanks

2006 Snowmobile Team


Greek Games from 2006. It is clickable. Are you there?

Email me.


Carney in 1973

Tech Carney


Was this spring of 1973? Might have been a precursor to Spring Fling.

Email me.

View more sports >

Tech Sports

Huskies Sweep Lakers 9-0 in GLIAC Men's Tennis

men's tennis
The Michigan Tech men's tennis team captured a 9-0 victory over Lake Superior State at Gates Tennis Center. The Huskies used comebacks in four of the nine flights to earn their fourth clean sweep of the season. More

Haidar Scores 13 Points in All-Star Game

Michigan Tech men's basketball player Ali Haidar scored 13 points and grabbed six rebounds in the 2013 Reese's Division II College All-Star Game Friday (March 29). Haidar was a member of the East All-Stars who defeated the West All-Stars 113-112. Haidar shot 6-of-10 from the field and made his only free throw of the contest. More

Around the Keweenaw

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

From the Email Bag

Any Other License Plates Out There?

I thought you would like to see our new Florida license plate. Looks great I think.

I now have Ontario and Florida covered.

Grant Nuttall

Vietnam Traveling Wall and Alumni

vietnam names
I am involved in a project here in Goldsboro North Carolina. Wayne Community College and the Wayne County Veterans Coalition are bring the the Vietnam Traveling Wall " The Wall That Heals" to Goldsboro starting April 16th. I am involved as I assist with the Foundation of Wayne Community College on various project but also because of my current position as Base Liaison Coordinator for the USO of North Carolina here at Seymour Johnson AFB. The base is home to the 4th Fighter Wing, 916th Air Refueling Wing along with the 567th Red Horse Squadron. The fighter squadrons that we have here are the squadrons who were formed when Americans left the United States and went to Canada and eventually Great Britain to fly for the British before the United States entered WWII. To this day they are referred to as the Royal Eagle Squadrons. We are also the training base for the F15-E fighters.

I am trying to locate any names of Michigan Tech graduates or Students whose names are on the wall. I would like to place a flower at each of the panels where their name is located. I am not sure if your office would have this information or the ROTC units but they probably would not have anyone except Army and Air Force.

Any assistance would be appreciated. The wall as I said previously will be arriving the afternoon of April 16th under the escort of Rolling Thunder and other motorcycle groups. We will set it up on the 17th and the Wall will open at 0600 hrs on the 18th and will remain open until 0600 hrs on Monday, April 22nd. We anticipate between 50-55,000 visitors to visit the wall on the 50th Anniversary of the War.

Thank you again for any help in getting this information.

Allan D. Pedersen ' 60

Allan: Jim Spence from Army ROTC spearheaded getting these names for you. Chuck Matrosic also helped.

Jim Westwater Passes Away

Jim Westwater
Jim Westwater was a member of the Class of '34 and recently celebrated his 100th birthday. In honor of that auspicious occasion we sent a Tech track jacket with his name, class year and "100" (on his sleeve, left) embroidered on it. I understand he wore it almost every day after it was presented to him in early December 2012 by President Emeritus Ray Smith.

Jim was so very involved in Tech over these many years beginning with being a "cheerleader" in 1930, was part of the start up of the Tech Fund, etc.

Here is the short speech he asked me to give on his behalf at his 75th class reunion in 2009:

"Good evening fellow classmates, faculty, alumni, and gathered family and friends. My name is Jim Westwater and I'm a graduate of the Class of 1934. This is my 75th class reunion. Over the years I have been pleased and proud of the goals and achievements of our students, faculty, and alumni. Whether it be cold, snowy winters or warm, sunny summers, the campus of Michigan Tech holds forth promise for all who come to these hallowed halls to learn. The Tech discipline taught us to study hard, have fun, go out into the world and be fine professionals and upstanding members of our communities. My second week in Houghton, a student in a yellow sweater with a black megaphone on the chest approached me. "I'm Louie Koepel I'm a senior. I'm head cheerleader. (Pointing at me) Frosh, here's a sweater for you. You're going to be my assistant cheerleader" You didn't question a cheerleader, so I became his assistant cheerleader. And so began my studies at Tech. After Louie graduated, I trained another freshman to become my assistant cheerleader. "Frosh, here's a sweater for you..." I hope you all enjoy the festivities, rekindle friendships, and continue to support the values of a Michigan Tech education. I wish you all the best, good health and long, productive lives. I raise my glass to us all and leave you with the toast of the Class of 1934.... Hi there, waiters, Steam big beers, MCM engineers! Bevel gears, Devil keers, What the he**, engineers!"

He was quite the character!

Brenda Rudiger, Directory, Alumni Relations

Lots of Legacies and Some Great Snow Photos


Good Morning Mr. Walikainen,
I have finally compiled the information that my family provided to me about their experiences at Michigan Tech. Some of the entries may not be inappropriate for republication but I have included them for a few chuckles (my brother didn't seem to be there for the education). I have also included a couple of pictures of my car from the great snow year of "1988". If I can provide any additional information please feel free to contact me.

Thank you for your time,

Leora Smith (Young)

Thanks, Leora, for the family info and great photos. I counted eight family members attending Tech, from 1929 to today. Wow!

Huskies Hockey Jersey


Hi Dennis,
I don't know what year the Huskies used that jersey but it was prior to 1970. I purchased a jersey of the same design in 1970, I have number 19. The jersey I have is not as pristine as the pictured jersey. My understanding when I purchased the jersey was it was an old game jerseys that the players used for practice. As I recall Jim Nahrgang was a defenseman in 1970 and wore jersey number 19 - he had a wicked slapshot.

Joe Eutizi '71

Joe: I remember "Nags" and his slapshot! I think he wore number 2, also.


I'm thinking that Huskies Jersey looks familiar, in which case it would have been between 1964 and 1967 and been worn by Tony Esposito or Ricky Best.

Sanna Roling, '67

Sanna: I saw a similar one up at the MacInnes Student Ice Arena display this weekend. It was white and was from the early 1960s.


In the latest issue, Ryan Johnson submitted a picture of a hockey jersey and wondered in when such a jersey was worn by the tech team.

In looking through my old yearbooks, it looks like this type of lettering was used in the '57-'58 and '58-'59 seasons but all of the pictures I have show the lettering in black vs. white as in Ryan's photo. Perhaps they had alternative jerseys with white lettering or changed to white in subsequent years.

Jerry Ziarno '59

Jerry: That's the one I saw Saturday! Very similar.


Hi Dennis;

That looks a lot like the jersey they were wearing during my years at Tech, 1971-1975 and yes I went to St. Louis to see them win the National Championship!

Mark Schilawske


I have a 1965 Keweenawan that on page 159 is a picture of then team hockey captain Al Holm
With coach MacInnes wearing the same jersey with #20 I think right after the WCHA title game win. This jersey is slightly different than the team photo jerseys. I do not know why. Go Huskies!!

Chuck Weeder class of (finally) '73

2007 Mall Photo ID

2006 Snowmobile Team


I am in the blue sweatshirt and brown Carhartt hat walking next to Chris Plott '07.

Mike Billmeier '07

Thanks, Mike. It is still clickable.

Spring of 2012 Recalled


Definitely, last year was painful. As you know, I come back to da' Copper Country each year for the last week in April. Lo! - the Steelhead run was all over!

I wound up taking ... solace ... in local pubs.

FH "Frank" Shoffner '62

Frank: We've taken solace where we can. More snow last weekend and Monday. Really getting old.

More on Vetsville


With respect to the ‘temp’ buildings which made up the so-called ‘vetsville’, if I remember correctly there was still one row of them in place, I guess it would have been the back row closest to the lake, during my freshman year (1965/66) when I lived in Douglas Houghton Hall. Most of the residents seemed to be hockey players who never quite adjusted to ‘dorm life’, or at least that was the rumor around campus. Of course this led to some interesting stories about late night comings and goings of persons who were definitely NOT hockey players.

Anyway, does anyone else recall them? I moved over to Wadsworth my second year where I was an RA in the ‘pits’, which is a whole other story in itself, so I don’t know if and when they were finally phased-out.

John R. Baker, P.E. ‘71
Irvine, CA

Engineering Drawing Pays Off (Eventually)

I read the references the alumni news made of MTU grads working on the US space program. I have something a little different. In 1965 I joined the Air Force to get out of the draft. Maybe because of my Russian background and frozen years at the Tech, they sent me to the Foreign Technology Center to keep track of Russian missile and space programs. I ended up making it a career for over thirty years. Toward the end I worked on the treaties with Russia to destroy their nuclear missiles and spent winters at their missile sites observing the effort. Colder than Houghton, but not as much snow. During the inspections our American teams used inboard drawings of Soviet missiles to identify various components. I produced those pen and ink drawings in the late sixties before CAD systems. (don't ask) The irony is I earned a well deserved F in Engineering Drawing during my second term and had to repeat the course. How's that for the value of a Tech education?

Steve Pribish
Class of '64

Geology Grad Makes Good

Proud to be an expedition team member on this historic find on Greenland’s icecap.

I’m in the white…

This was my 4th mission to the icecap – in 1992 I located the P-38 that was excavated from a depth of 83 meters, later it was restored as Glacier Girl. In 2005 was part of a small team that found a Fokker Standard Universal lost in 1931. And today am involved in two other searches, one for famous Russian arctic explorer Sigizmund Levanevsky, who disappeared in 1938 over the Beaufort Sea.

W. R. (‘Bil’) Thuma, Geophysicist --- Class of ‘65

Featured Alumni Benefits

Husky Blend Coffee

Husky Blend Coffee - hand-roasted and custom-blended especially for Michigan Tech alumni and friends.

You can enjoy Husky Blend Coffee with your Husky friends and classmates while you support your alma mater. A portion of all proceeds will go directly to the Michigan Tech Alumni Association in support of events, programs, and services for YOU - our alumni, students, and friends.

Husky Blend Coffee comes in a wide variety of flavors from medium to dark roast including fair-trade organic (regular and decaf) and is available in 12 oz. vintage cans and 2 oz. travel packs.

Event, Party, or Wedding Favors—Husky Blend Coffee is packaged in many different ways to suit the needs of your event. Whether you are looking for a small party favor or entertaining a few hundred guests at your event, Husky Blend Coffee will be perfect for you!
Try some today! Visit the website and place your order.

Michigan Tech Gear—Show Your Michigan Tech Pride!

HuskyBlend Coffee
Official Class Rings and Diploma Frames
Michigan Tech License Plates
Michigan Tech Collector Blanket
University Images—Michigan Tech Clothing and Giftware

More Alumni Benefits, Services and Discount program information 

Job Opportunities

On Campus

Strategic Faculty Hiring Initiatives in Water and Transportation

Other Postings
Assistant Volleyball Coach, General Athletics

Coordinator, Student Activities, Student Activities

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

Complete Descriptions are available on the Human Resources website.

Off Campus

SAF Holland is looking for an engineer in Muskegon. Resumes may be submitted by email to husaresumes@safholland.com with “Engineer I” in the subject line, or faxed confidentially to 616-546-6813. Full job description.

Check out the Linked in group exclusively for Michigan Tech Alumni.

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