There is Opportunity Amid Tough Times

by John Gagnon, promotional writer

Despite a dismal economy, the Michigan Tech Career Center has set a record in attracting employers to campus to recruit students.

Representatives from 290 companies are participating in Career Day today. The event is a meeting of minds: students tout their skills; companies, their opportunities for full-time positions, cooperative education programs and internships. Companies will staff tables at the Gates Tennis Center, the Varsity Gymnasium and the Multipurpose Room.

General Motors sends to campus a team of eight under the direction of Will Poirier.

"We are looking for work experience in the profession, strong leadership skills and strong communication skills, both written and verbal," Poirier says. "Typically, one person can't meet all the criteria. Tech graduates have all three in one package. They are very well rounded, and their retention rate is among the best of any campus we recruit from. It's a nice fit for GM."

Poirier, based in Warren, is a project manager in GM's information technology sector and the manager of GM's Michigan Tech Recruiting Team. He is a 1993 Tech grad who has been at GM 18 years and has been on the recruiting team for 13 years, eight years as leader.

"I've been doing this for a long time," Poirier says, which gives him a seasoned perspective on assessing talent. He says that GM likes to hire undergraduates for internships and co-operative education programs—and draw on that pool for full-time hires.

GM recruits from 30 institutions; Michigan Tech ranks sixth for number of hires.

Poirier addresses GM's hiring initiatives in light of the economic malaise: "We've been through this before in the 1980s and 1990s," he says, "and what we learned is that we can't completely stall the hiring of new talent. The technology in these new vehicles is so much more complicated, so much more sophisticated, that we continue to need to draw talent with the right skills."

Currently, he says, those are electrical engineering and controls.

Russell Louks, application technology supervisor, has worked at Ford for 23 years and has been recruiting at Tech for 17 years. He works in information technology at Ford's recently established IT Development Center in Houghton. Four of his colleagues from Dearborn join him at the career fair.

Ford's needs, he says, are in information technology and engineering.

High on the list of desirables? "We want people who have some sort of experience outside the classroom," Louks says.

Michigan Tech is one of only eight schools in the country where Ford Information Technology recruits.

"Michigan Tech has good students with the skills we're looking for. Tech's programs are technically sound, and they require that students do a lot of hands-on work. That means they come out of school with more real-world experience, compared to other programs that just emphasize academics."

"These are tough times," Louks continues, "but we experience turnover on a daily basis, and we have to replace the people who are retiring. We're not expanding, but we must maintain the talent pool."

Trisha Sokol is the manager of staffing in North America at Continental AG, a company based in Germany that has extensive automotive operations in the United States. Sokol is based in Auburn Hills and sends five recruiters to the career fair. The company is hiring domestically and internationally.

Domestically, the firm's immediate need is software engineering, and it will be recruiting students for internships in the coming year.

In addition, the firm has an international development program that offers "high potential" opportunities for two years of work in Germany, and then postings around the world. The international need is in mechanical engineering and materials science.

Tech is one of 14 educational institutions where Continental AG recruits.

The company recruits here because of what Sokol calls the "strong" engineering program and an overall "relevant" education.

"Some of our top talent, including our president, comes from Michigan Tech," Sokol says. "They are strong individuals with an excellent technical background."

As well, she adds, the Career Center staff does a good job of partnering with industry. "They want to know who we need and what we're looking for." Accordingly, Sokol says, Continental AG will continue to maintain a noticeable presence on campus.

In all, employers will conduct more than 4,000 interviews after the fair, according to Jim Turnquist, director of the Career Center. They are the result of a paramount need for engineers.

"The US," he says, "is graduating only about 70,000 engineers a year, and the demand is in excess of 100,000 engineers a year. So you have a huge demand and a short supply."

As well, industry's engineer corps is comprised of baby boomers who are concluding their careers. "They have to start replacing those people," Turnquist says, "and they have a lot of success hiring our people."

Tech students, he says, are well regarded by industry. "What we've been told by companies, the biggest thing about our graduates, is they are problem solvers. They're not afraid to get their hands dirty. They'll take on a job, see it through, and do well. They're smart, they're dependable, they're loyal, and they don't quit."

Turnquist estimates 60 to 70 percent of Tech undergraduates take advantage of co-ops, internships, or both.

As well, Tech's Enterprise Program gives students the opportunity to work for three years on real-world projects for industry sponsors. "Enterprise," Turnquist says, "is the next best thing to a co-op or internship. It's up there. It's valuable."

Overall, he says, Tech students take the career fair "very, very seriously."

"They're prepared for it," Turnquist says. "They get coached on crafting a good resume, and they practice mock interviews."

Turnquist has worked at the Career Center for 13 years. He likes the new crop of students, who, he says, are distinctive.

"There's an energy, a desire. They look for more out of a career than a job." A campus survey shows that Tech students also desire volunteer work and balance in their lives.

Cardboard Boats Awash in Fun

by John Gagnon, promotional writer

"We're going to see some boats sink tonight," says Jared Johnson, associate director of Student Activities. "A couple will launch and not make it three feet."

It's Friday evening, and Johnson is at Hancock Beach, getting ready to oversee Tech's cardboard boat race. The lake is calm. The sun, low in the sky, sets the maples afire, and dusk is not far off. "We're always fighting the light," Johnson says.

It's his third year overseeing this frolicsome flotilla, part of Homecoming activities.

The boats have to be made of cardboard and tape, mostly duct tape. Some of these boats are slapped together in a few hours; others require a week of craftsmanship; some are still being taped while waiting in line to compete. Overall, Johnson wonders how many miles of tape are used for this rueful regatta.

Each boat, with eight to 12 paddlers, has to reach one of three plastic milk jugs floating 75 feet from shore, turn around and make it back.

Thirty-eight teams are registered. Johnson estimates that the majority will founder. Most vessels are shaped like rowboats. One looks like a landing craft. One has a double hull. Some are flimsy. Some stout. All make a splash.

"This thing's a tank, man," says one student.

"Look at how much fancier we got this year," says another.

Chad Grundemann, a senior in civil engineering, says, "You have to come up with a goofy name and design—that makes the boat go faster."

The air is cold. As the crowd gathers, students, hands in their pockets, jump up and down and cuddle to keep warm. A few yeomen are in bathing suits, but others have bathing suits on over their long johns and sweatshirts. Head gear ranges from tricornes to chukes.

The cold doesn't dampen the spirits among the 300 participants and an equal number of bystanders. It's a tough crowd, though; some people root for boats to sink.

Each student must wear a flotation device as well as pass a breathalyzer test, administered by Public Safety—necessary, Johnson says, so nobody, three sheets to the wind, gets a notion to paddle across the lake. The Coast Guard and an ambulance are on hand. Facilities has a dump truck that stands ready for discarding the vessels, all of which end up as flotsam and jetsam. "We work a number of deals to make this happen," Johnson says in describing the collaboration.

Meanwhile, Josh Weyburne, a junior in mechanical engineering, sums up the challenge. "Get in. Go fast. Get out."

Despite Johnson's prediction, only a half dozen were swamped or came apart at the seams. The biggest hurdle was to remain seaworthy at the outset, with everybody jumping on board at the same time. If they did that without sinking, they typically survived the course. "I'm surprised," Johnson says. "They're getting better at it."

A team consisting of the women's soccer club was one of the few to make it to the buoy but no farther. It was their first venture. There's always next year, says Ellen Pokorney. "We have to redeem ourselves."

Johnson is positively buoyant. He says, "Only at Tech, I'll tell you. I love it. Seeing how much fun students have makes it worthwhile."

One vessel is called "Tombstone." Written on the side: "Will row 4 food." Brian Sollars, a sophomore, says the boat had a feature, just for looks, that his team had to cut off because the boat wouldn't fit through the door where they built it.

"You're supposed to be an engineer?" someone suggests.

"I'm not an engineer," he says. "I'm a physicist."

Portrait Shoot Reschedule

Wednesday's photo shoot by University Photographer Joe Pyykkonen at the Hockey Educational Center has been postponed until Monday, Oct. 13. Anyone needing a new portrait can drop by between 9 and 11 a.m. and between 2 and 4 p.m.

Check It Out: Coworkers on Camera

No, they aren't movie stars, or even members of the Screen Actors Guild, but you can check out your friends and coworkers talking on camera about why they give to Michigan Tech. Their answers may surprise you.

Just visit . You're also invited to provide a few words of your own on why you support Michigan Tech by participating in the annual Campus Campaign.

Lunch and Learn "Riding to Work" Contest Forms Due Tomorrow

If you participated in the Lunch and Learn "Riding to Work" contest and tracked the number of times you biked or walked to work from July 1 through Sept. 30, turn in your tracking forms to the Benefits Office by the end of day tomorrow, Wednesday, Oct. 9. The winner of a $150 SDC gift card will be announced next week.

Candidate for Public Safety Director Here Thursday

Helen Haire, a candidate for director of public safety, is visiting campus this week. She will give a public presentation at 11 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 9, in Memorial Union Ballroom 3 on "Key Issues Facing the Public Safety Office on a University Campus."

All members of the campus community are invited to Haire's talk.

Public Safety Director Jon Ahola is planning to retire, and the new director will lead the department after his departure.

Haire is the division commander for special services at the Louisiana State University Police Department, in Baton Rouge. She is responsible for the Communications Unit, the Information Technology Unit, campus camera systems, facility policing and security, evidence and training.

In addition, she was actively involved in LSU's response to Huricanes Katrina and Rita and the development of its Emergency Operations Center.

She has a BS in Political Science/History from the University of Mississippi, Oxford, and an MS in Criminal Justice from Faulkner University, in Montgomery, Ala.

Aquila Theatre Company to Perform "The Comedy of Errors" Saturday

The Aquila Theatre Company will perform William Shakespeare's hilarious classic "The Comedy of Errors" on Saturday, Oct. 11, 7:30 p.m. at the Rozsa Center.

The Aquila Theater Company, founded in London in 1991, is a company of British and American artists dedicated to articulating the human essence inherent in classical drama through a precision of unity and ensemble unique to their group. This sensational new revival of Shakespeare's farcical romp, truly a "must see," for newcomers to Shakespeare and for Bard enthusiasts alike. Aquila's smash hit played extended engagements in New York, Boston, Los Angeles and Europe.

"The Comedy of Errors" is one of Shakespeare's most vibrant and sparkling comedies. The shrewd and inventive plot relates an intricate and energetic story of two pairs of identical twins in the same household, separated by a devastating shipwreck. But as this delightful comedy unfolds, all is not what it seems. Brilliant comedy abounds in this tale of mistaken identity, assumed personas, hilarious machinations and whimsical family ties.

The Aquila Theatre Company has won much international praise for their innovative style, passion and skill. Aquila's unique and ingenious staging of classical comedy has received both prestigious international prizes and high praise from audiences, critics and scholars. The New York Times wrote of Aquila's "The Comedy of Errors": "No one who sees the rousing production by the excellent Aquila Theater Company will forget a whit of it." With an amazing visual production, clever movement, superb costumes, brilliant lighting and a specially commissioned musical score, the Aquila Theatre Company's wonderful "The Comedy of Errors" will once again prove to be an unforgettable theatrical experience.

Come prepared to laugh long and heartily at this witty tale, outstanding production and brilliant performance.

Tickets are $25 and $20 for the general public and $20 and $15 for Michigan Tech students (with student ID). To purchase tickets, contact the Rozsa Box Office at 487-3200 or go visit . No refunds, exchanges or late seating, please.

This presentation is sponsored by the James and Margaret Black Endowment and is supported by the Performing Arts Fund, a program of Arts Midwest funded in part by the National Endowment for the Arts, with additional contributions from the Michigan Council for the Arts and Cultural Affairs, General Mills Foundation and Land O' Lakes Foundation.

Rail Info Night Tuesday for Students

The Rail Transportation Program and the Railroad Engineering and Activities Club will host a Rail Info Night for students on Tuesday, Oct. 7, 6-7:30 p.m. in the DHH All Campus Study Lounge.

Nine rail company representatives will be present to discuss opportunities in the industry and recruit students from multiple disciplines for co-op, internship and full-time positions. The information session is open to students from all disciplines.

If you know of any interested students, please let them know about this event. For more information, contact Pasi Lautala, or 487-3547.

ME-EM Grad Seminar Thursday

Professor Hamid Garmestani, from the Georgia Institute of Technology, will present a ME-EM Graduate Seminar Thursday, Oct. 9, 3 p.m. in MEEM 112, "The Role of Nano-Structures in Microstructure Design of Solid Oxide Fuel Cells."

For more information or an abstract, contact JoAnne Stimac at .

Seminar Thursday on NSF Fellowship Review Process: What Faculty, Students Need to Know

submitted by the Graduate School

The Graduate School will host the second seminar, of a three-part series, on the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program, "What Faculty and Students Need to Know About the NSF Fellowship Review Process," Thursday, Oct. 9, 5-6 p.m.

Seniors, first-year graduate students or second-year graduate students in their first semester who are US permanent residents, or citizens, are eligible to apply for NSF fellowships.

Are you interested in learning more about the NSF Graduate Fellowship Program and its review process? Would you like to gain tips from past fellowship recipients? Are you a faculty member who has been asked to write letters of recommendation for NSF student applicants?

If you answered yes to any of the above, we invite you to join Debra Charlesworth (NSF reviewer), Peter Larsen (grant writer) and Heather Wright Wendel (NSF fellowship recipient) for an informative presentation. Pizza and pop will be provided.

Find out where the seminar is located by registering at .

NSF deadlines are fast approaching; don't miss your NSF funding opportunity. Find out more at .

MSE Seminar Friday

Graduate student Bowen Li (Materials Science and Engineering) will give an MSE seminar Friday, Oct. 10, 3-3:30 p.m. in M & M 610, "Inhibitory Effects of Copper-Vermiculite Against E. coli."

For more information or an abstract, contact Margaret Rothenberger at .

Biomed Engineering Grad Seminar Friday

Yongmin Kim, professor of bioengineering and electrical engineering at the University of Washington, will present a biomedical engineering graduate seminar, "Engineering the Future of Healthcare," Friday, Oct. 10, 3 p.m. in M & M U113.

Sports in Brief

What's Happening This Week in Athletics

All times are Eastern, and home events are italicized.

Wednesday, Oct. 8
Huskies Drive Time, 7:30-8 a.m., live on 93.5 FM

Friday, Oct. 10
• cross country at UP Collegiate Championships, Marquette, 3 p.m.
• women’s tennis at Ashland, 3 p.m.
volleyball hosts Wayne State, 7 p.m.
• hockey at Northern Michigan, 7:35 p.m., live on Mix 93.5 FM

Saturday, Oct. 11
• women's tennis at Tiffin, 10 a.m.
• football at Findlay, 12 p.m., live on Mix 93.5 FM
volleyball hosts Northwood, 4 p.m.
• hockey at Lake Superior State, 7:05 p.m., live on Mix 93.5 FM

Last Week's Results

Hockey (0-0, 0-0 WCHA)
Oct. 4—Toronto 3, at Michigan Tech 1 (exhibition)

Football (4-2, 3-2 GLIAC)
Oct. 4—at Michigan Tech 21, No. 25 Ferris State 7

Volleyball (12-5, 7-2 GLIAC)
• Oct. 2—at Michigan Tech 3, Ashland 2 (21-25, 24-26, 29-27, 25-16, 15-12)
• Oct. 3—at Michigan Tech 3, Tiffin 0 (25-15, 25-23, 25-23)

Women's Tennis (3-3, 3-3 GLIAC)
• Oct. 3—at Michigan Tech 8, Findlay 1
• Oct. 4—at Michigan Tech 6, Wayne State 3

Cross Country
did not compete

Top News of the Week

Milbrath and Huskies Run Through Ferris Defense
Sophomore Phil Milbrath tallied a new career high with 202 yards in a 21-7 Homecoming victory over No. 25 Ferris State at Sherman Field Saturday, Oct. 4. The Huskies rushed for 259 yards as a team, and the defense came just 34 seconds away from posting a shutout. Tech improved to 2-1 vs. nationally ranked teams with the win. It already had a win over No. 25 Winona State and a loss to No. 1 Grand Valley State.

Hockey Regular Season Opens with Superior Showcase
The men's hockey team will open the 2008-09 regular season this weekend against its two Upper Peninsula rivals. The Huskies travel to face Northern Michigan Friday, Oct. 10, and Lake Superior State Saturday, Oct. 11. Tech opened last season with the Superior Showcase and came away with a 1-1 record.

Volleyball Looks to Stay Hot
The volleyball team will host Wayne State and Northwood in a pair of home matches this week. The Huskies are currently on a five-match winning streak and in second place in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference standings. Heading into last week, the Huskies were ranked second in the nation in blocks with 2.78 per set.

Tennis Gains Two Big Wins
Michigan Tech swept its weekend matches at the Gates Tennis Center with an 8-1 win over Findlay and a 6-3 triumph over Wayne State. The Huskies are 3-3 overall and will look to continue their winning ways at Ashland and Tiffin this weekend. Tech is led by freshman Victoria Zhilkina, who is 4-1 in singles and 6-0 in doubles.