Secrets of Softball and Snap-Crackle-Pop Revealed at YES! Expo

by Kara Sokol, integrated marketing specialist/editor

Which is more powerful--an underhand or an overhand softball throw? What's it like to repair the space shuttle wearing NASA flight gloves? And how exactly do you make Rice Krispies?

More than 15,000 middle- and high-school students from throughout Michigan got the answers to these and many other questions at Michigan Tech's YES! Expo, held Thursday, Nov. 6, at Ford Field in Detroit.

In its mission to educate youth about science, engineering and technology-based careers, the YES! Expo provided an entire stadium full of hands-on exhibits—and a massive group of young students eager to participate and learn.

The Kellogg Company, one of more than 40 corporations and organizations at the event, demonstrated the technology responsible for rapidly inserting toy prizes into cereal boxes. They also recreated their production of Rice Krispies cereal by adding water and flavoring to white rice and then puffing it in popcorn makers.

One ambivalent student sampled the creation before grinning and exclaiming, "It's good--it tastes just like the real thing!"

Representatives from Kellogg also spoke with kids about career possibilities in science, research, marketing and technology.

"I would never have thought that scientists could get jobs working for Kellogg's," one student remarked.

Also on hand were the Girl Scouts of Metro Detroit, asking students the important question "What's in your cosmetics?" Most of the young girls gathered around the table weren't sure; one shook her head before announcing, "I don’t know, but I bet it's really confusing."

Not so, as it turns out. "Most organic cosmetics are created from a few simple ingredients," a Girl Scouts representative explained as the delighted attendees mashed cocoa powder into melted Vaseline to create lip gloss. Others combined brown sugar with peppermint oil and Vaseline to produce a heavenly-scented body scrub.

"It's so easy," one girl enthused, "and we get to take it home with us."

In the mid-morning and early afternoon, students were treated to the YES! Expo show, featuring a presentation by Cindy Bir, star of Fox Sports Network's Emmy Award-winning show "Sport Science." Using student volunteers from the audience, Bir measured the force behind underhand and overhand throws, the speed a leg moves when kicking a soccer ball and more.

The show also featured an appearance by NASA astronaut Greg Johnson, who spoke to students of his experiences testing and piloting spacecrafts. Afterward, many students investigated further by donning NASA flight gloves and trying to assemble Lego building blocks.

"I don't know how they do it," one student said. "It's like working with oven mitts on your hands."

Auto-minded students learned the science behind reducing driving noise and vibration at the Faurecia exhibit. Representatives talked about the work that goes into "the little things"--consistent musical sound quality even when the seat position changes, the sound made by motorized functions within the car and more.

"That's the kind of work I'm going to do after college," one student proclaimed.

Booths by many of Michigan Tech's own departments and Enterprises peppered the stadium, with participants able to test the exercise science, health and physical education department's fitness cycle, check out Michigan Tech's SAE Clean Snowmobile, and look into upcoming Summer Youth Program possibilities.

In addition to Tech, 25 other Michigan and Canadian colleges and universities exhibited at the event.

"It's great that Michigan Tech can put the YES! Expo on," said a representative from Oakland University. "There seem to be even more hands-on booths for the kids to visit than in the past--it just gets better every year."

Tech Trails Longer, Wider, Better

The Michigan Tech Trails have achieved national acclaim, hosted Junior Olympics and US Cross Country Championships, and now they have been vastly improved.

The trail system has been expanded to 35 kilometers from 25 kilometers, thanks to a connection to the city of Houghton's Nara Nature Park trails. The expansion includes a revamped trailhead at the Nara Nature Park, east of Houghton, and features a new chalet with a great room, fireplace, changing rooms and showers.

Michigan Tech purchased land adjoining the Nara Nature Park in 2006, with a long-range plan for a connected network of ski and bike trails. That's when local philanthropists Bob and Ruth Nara stepped in.

"Late last winter (2008), Bob and Ruth asked me what it would take to connect the two trail systems," said Mike Abbott, Michigan Tech's director of sports and recreation. "When they heard it was just money that was holding us back, they made an instant, incredibly generous donation, and we were on our way."

"Having been married for well over 50 years, we still like each other," said Bob Nara. "A good part of the reason for this is that we are having more fun now than during any other part of our lifetime. We've always liked the idea of outdoor exercise and fresh-air enjoyment."

The Michigan Tech Trails now include the eight-kilometer competition trails, the new 10-kilometer lower and Nara trails, and the Pilgrim Road trails--a seven-kilometer classic-only track that is separated from the rest of the system by a road crossing. The competition trails include 7.5 kilometers of lighted loops.

Planning and building the new trails involved trail designer and groomer Jeff Parker and staff and students from the School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science. The group marked trees for harvest along the route and within the surrounding forest to promote greater forest health and future growth.

"Having Michigan Tech foresters and their students handle the timber harvest was great for everyone," said Abbott. "The students got a lot of practical experience, and everyone shared in the profits of the timber sale."

Armed with the Nara donation and the proceeds of the timber harvest, trail building began in earnest the last week of August. Excavators removed stumps, installed culverts, and rough graded and smoothed the trails. After final dragging, the trails were seeded and mulched. By mid-October the project was complete.

"The cooperation among all parties has been amazing," said Abbott. "We've had donations of equipment, materials and labor from a variety of sources. In particular, Houghton City Manager Scott MacInnes and Director of Public Works Mark Zenner have been incredibly helpful on this project."

MacInnes confirmed the benefits of cooperation and the trail system. "The city of Houghton has greatly benefited from the Michigan Tech Trails, with three national-scale events held in the last three years. We're very excited about enhancing the winter recreational opportunities available to our residents and to the entire region."

The Tech trails also provide nearly 12 kilometers of groomed trails open to snowshoers, walkers, skiers and dogs, as well as 24 kilometers of ungroomed snowshoe trails. The expansion also includes a new summertime single track, bringing the total length of mountain biking trails to 43 kilometers (about 25 miles).

The new Nara Nature Park chalet will be open throughout the day and locked at night. The Michigan Tech grooming crew will groom the entire trail system. Trail fees are $6 per day for Michigan residents and $10 for nonresidents, with annual passes available for $50 for an individual or $75 for a family. Annual passes may be purchased through .

Jill Bruning Nominated for Distinguished Thesis Award

submitted by the Graduate School

The Graduate School has announced that Jill Bruning is Michigan Tech's nominee for the Midwestern Association of Graduate Schools Distinguished Thesis Award. Bruning was nominated by her advisor, Associate Professor John Gierke of the Department of Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences. The title of her thesis is "A Digital Processing and Data Compilation Approach for Using Remotely Sensed Imagery to Identify Geological Lineaments in Hard-Rock Terrains: An Application for Groundwater Exploration in Nicaragua."

Bruning's thesis developed a novel technique that combines and analyzes multiple satellite imagery types to determine the location of fracture networks in non-ideal terrain. This technique can be used to site wells in regions with terrain that is difficult to survey for groundwater resources in traditional ways. This will have a significant impact on the community surveyed and has broader applicability in many other remote regions experiencing difficulties in aquifer characterization and well siting. Bruning is currently working on manuscripts for publishing in professional journals, preparing to present her research at the American Society of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing annual conference, and actively looking for employment near her new home in southern Vermont.

Karen Hauch was also nominated by her advisor, Tammy Haut Donahue of mechanical engineering–engineering mechanics. Her thesis characterized the biomechanical properties of meniscal attachments in the knee, which are often torn during aging or traumatic injury. This research has the potential to reduce osteoarthritis, which can cause pain, disability and hospitalization.

Next year's competition will consider applicants who have completed their degrees between Oct. 1, 2008, and Sept. 30, 2009. An application consists of a recommendation letter from the advisor and an electronic copy of the thesis. Please consider nominating your MS students next year.

Design a Logo for This Year's Big Foot Snowshoe Event

With winter just around the corner, it's time to prepare for the annual Big Foot Snowshoe Event. Are you creative? Counseling and Wellness Services' POWER (Peers Offering Wellness Education and Resources) students are hosting a contest, open to all faculty, staff and students, for an event logo. The winning logo will be featured on the event's T-shirt. The designer will also win $25 cash, a free event T-shirt and free registration to participate in Big Foot.

Before you start designing, review the University's identity standards for logos, available at .

To submit your entry, drop it off at the Counseling and Wellness Services building (the little white house next to Fisher Hall) or email it to by Wednesday, Dec. 3.

If you have questions, call 487-2538 or email . Need some inspiration? Stop by the Outdoor Adventure Program office in the Memorial Union to see last year's T-shirt.

Reminder: Three Mo' Tenors to Perform at the Rozsa Tuesday

submitted by the Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts

"Dynamic," "exuberant" and "vocal fireworks" are only a few of the phrases used to describe the incredible vocal stylings of Three Mo' Tenors--a trio of classically trained African-American tenors. Three Mo' Tenors will perform at the Rozsa Center Tuesday, Nov. 11, at 7:30 p.m.

Director Marion Caffey conceived and choreographed this stunning display of vocal prowess specifically to showcase some of the most gifted (and often unrecognized) singing talent the stage has to offer. This brilliant New York-style production features the cast of James Berger, Ramone Diggs and Duane Moody performing an amazingly wide range of music, from opera to jazz to R & B to spirituals, all delivered with astonishing breadth and flair. Finding black tenors with the natural capability to move seamlessly from one distinctive musical genre to another wasn't easy. "Not many people can do what the show requires," says Caffey. "Out of 40, maybe one or two will actually fit the bill."

The production is simple but loaded with attitude and style--it's obvious Caffey understands the seductive power of raw talent. The group has traveled the world, thrilling patrons everywhere with their virtuosity and seemingly effortless ability to move a crowd to tears, then joyously raise it to its feet. Three Mo' Tenors has captivated audiences since 2001, when RCA released the original live recording of the show and when it was televised by PBS's "Great Performances."

Don't miss one of the most spectacular and unforgettable events of the season! Join us for the joyous noise of Three Mo' Tenors--they'll lift your spirits and leave you wanting Mo'.

This event is sponsored by the James and Margaret Black Endowment.

Tickets are $25 and $20 for the general public, and $20 and $15 for Michigan Tech students (ID required). To purchase tickets, contact the Rozsa Box Office at 487-3200, the SDC Central Ticket Office at 487-2073, Tech Express (Memorial Union) at 487-3308 or go to . No refunds, exchanges or late seating, please.

"Eyes to South America" Choir Concert Nov. 16

submitted by Visual and Performing Arts

Michigan Tech's 90-voice Concert Choir, led by Milton Olsson, presents its annual concert, titled "Eyes to South America," on Sunday, Nov. 16, at 7:30 p.m. in the Rozsa Center, featuring pieces prepared for the choir's 2009 concert tour of Argentina and Chile. The best of American music, as well as pieces from the home countries of the tour's audiences, all prepared with meticulous skill by the choir, promise to make this a rare evening.

Olsson's international tours always include a capsule of choral music from the United States. This year, the program features favorite compositions by David Dickau, Vincent Persichetti and Morten Lauridsen, as well as several arrangements of American folk music and spirituals. "Brazeal Dennard's wonderful arrangement of the spiritual 'Hush' has been on every one of our previous international tour programs," Olsson says. "When we performed 'Hush' in St. Petersburg, Russia, the standing-room-only audience insisted that we sing it again, and again, and by the time we were singing it for the fourth time, the audience sang along. It doesn't get much better than that."

Another moving choral work that has been a regular part of tour repertoire is Vincent Persichetti's "Song of Peace." "Whether in Russia, the Ukraine, China or other nations that we have visited, the message of this music is paramount, the ultimate people-to-people communication," Olsson affirms.

Other selections include "Arroz con leche," a well-known folk song, in a special arrangement by Argentinean composer Carlos Gustavino. "Libertango" is a composition by Astor Piazzolla based on two of his favorite words, liberty and tango. Oscar Escalada's arrangement for choir and piano brings this dance to life. World renowned, Escalada is one of the leading figures in Argentinean choral music.

The Concert Choir makes international tours every three or four years, the most recent being to China in 2006. About 80 singers and guests are expected to make the Argentina/Chile tour next summer, presenting performances in cathedrals and concert halls in five major cities. The choir will also tour cultural sites and parks, and meet and perform with musicians from the host countries.

Tickets for Sunday's concert are available at the Rozsa Center Box Office (487-3200, for $10 general, $5 students. Tickets are free to Michigan Tech students.

Superior Winds and Sax Quartet Nov. 14

submitted by Visual and Performing Arts

Michigan Tech's Superior Winds and Sax Quartet will join forces Friday, Nov. 14, at 7:30 p.m. in the Rozsa Center for their fall concert, which director Nick Enz describes as a tribute to the energy and change that's in the air during this season.

Enz has chosen a mix of styles to showcase the many different woodwind and brass instruments that make up Superior Winds. Featured composers George Gershwin, William Schuman and Richard Wagner experimented with the variety of sound that wind instruments make--from trumpets, trombones, French horns and euphoniums to oboes, clarinets, flutes and bassoons--alone and in multi-layered ensembles. In addition to pieces by those renowned composers, the concert will include contemporary pieces: Michael Sweeney's "Rumble on the High Plains," Eric Whitacre's "Sleep" and Anthony Suter's "Dancing at Stonehenge." The Sax Quartet adds the mellow contemporary harmonies of Henry Mancini to the classic precision of Orlando Gibbons.

"We hope students and community members will join us to enjoy this music and to celebrate November in the Copper Country," Enz says. "The musicians have looked forward to this concert since early September and can't wait to share the music they've come to love."

Tickets are available from the Rozsa Box Office, 487-3200 or , and are $10 for the general public, $5 for students and free for Michigan Tech students.

SBE Accounting Candidate Seminar Wednesday

William D. Albrecht, from Bowling Green State University, will present a seminar, "The Case Against Adopting IFRS in the United States," Wednesday, Nov. 12, 3-4 p.m. in Fisher 125.

Albrecht is a candidate for an accounting faculty position in the School of Business and Economics.

Copper Country Reading Council to Host Literacy Workshop Nov. 12

The Copper Country Reading Council, with support from the Department of Humanities, will host a workshop for teachers Wednesday, Nov. 12, 4:15-8 p.m. in Fisher 231.

The workshop is designed around the textbook "Drawing Words and Writing Pictures," by Jessica Abel and Matt Madden. This hands-on workshop, the fourth in a series that aims to investigate how multi-modal literacy can improve teaching generally and the teaching of writing in particular, will focus on discussion of how common elements of storytelling work in comics. It will pursue themes and objectives that participants will follow throughout several months of CCRC programming.

This workshop provides .3 CEUs and was funded by a grant from the Michigan Reading Association and the Department of Humanities. For more information, contact Evie Johnson at or 487-2982.

Free Items in the Library

The Van Pelt and Opie Library is giving away the following:

* one Eldon heavy-duty, plastic, five-shelf unit with doors, measuring 72 inches high by 36 inches wide by 21 inches deep, taupe in color

* one burgundy adjustable office chair, with wheels and swivel action

* two humidifiers: Duracraft three-gallon cool moisture humidifier and Holmes two-gallon cool mist humidifier

If you are interested in any of these items, contact Shannon Brodeur at or 487-2500 by Monday, Nov. 17.

University property may only be transferred between departments; it may not be given or sold to individuals.

Free Stuff in Financial Aid

Financial Aid has the following pieces of furniture available for free.

* executive desk, MTU #44188, black metal with walnut finish, 3 feet by 70 inches

* metal table, #61326, walnut finish, 3 feet by 2 feet

* burgundy-colored chair

* salmon-colored chair

* gray metal lateral file cabinet with five shelves

* tan metal typewriter stand with two drop leaves

If you are interested, stop by the Financial Aid Office or call Karen Anderson at 487-2645.

University property may only be transferred between departments; it may not be given or sold to individuals.

Michigan Tech Notables

Rob Bishop, associate director of student judicial affairs and student development, obtained certification as a restorative group conference facilitator at the International Institute on Restorative Practices World Conference, held Oct. 20-24 in Toronto.

Restorative practices allow for participants in a conflict, dispute or wrongdoing to address and repair the harm that has been done to the community. Restorative practices is an emerging field not only within higher education, but also in elementary and secondary education, juvenile justice, family services and human resources.

Memorial Union Menus

This Week's Specials at The Grill

Monday, Nov. 10
The Big Grill Breakfast $4.95 (two eggs any style, two pancakes, two bacon or sausage, hash browns and coffee)
Club Sandwiches $3.50 (Make it a value meal and add a small fry and 20-ounce soda for $2 more.)

Tuesday, Nov. 11
Scrambled Egg Wraps $3.95 (fresh cooked eggs, mushrooms, bell peppers and onions served, in a flour tortilla; two per order)
Two-Fer-Tuesday $3.95 (two cheeseburgers, a small fry and a 20-ounce soda)

Wednesday, Nov. 12
Breakfast Pizza $3.25
Cheese Curds $2.95 (batter-fried cheese curds)

Thursday, Nov. 13
Eggs Benedict $2.95 (poached eggs and ham served on English muffins topped with hollandaise sauce)
Grilled Cheese and Fries $3.50

Friday, Nov. 14
Blueberry Pancakes $2.95
Laura's (Garcia Burger) $2.99 (grilled beef patty served on a corn dusted roll, topped with bacon and pepper jack cheese)

This Week's Special at Peppers & Pickles Deli
BLT Wraps $3.99
An old favorite in a new wrap: delicious bacon, lettuce and
tomato, served in your choice of wrap.

This Week's Specials at Mubsterz Pizza
Pizza Slice and a 20-ounce Fountain Soda $3.99
Two Pizza Slices for Just $5.50
Pizza Slice and two Cheese Sticks $4.95
Pizza Slice and a Small Salad $4.95
Pizza Slice, 20-ounce Fountain Soda and a Small Bowl of Salad $5.50

Union Buffet Served Daily 11 a.m.-2 p.m.
Up to one large plate and one small plate or bowl, $6.95
One large plate, $5.95
Entrees a la carte, $3.95
Salads and sides only: Small, $2; Medium, $3.50; Large, $4.95
Daily Menu Available at .

Chicken Caesar Salad
Served Daily, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., $4.75

Job Posting

Staff job descriptions are available in the Human Resources Office or at . For more information regarding staff positions, call 487-2280 or email .

Faculty job descriptions can be found at . For more information regarding faculty positions, contact the academic department in which the position is posted.

Faculty Position
Tenure-Track Assistant Professor, Aquatic Ecology and Biochemistry
Biological Sciences (two positions)

Michigan Technological University is an equal opportunity educational institution/equal opportunity employer.

On the Road

Associate Professor Tess Ahlborn and graduated student Elise Nyland (CEE) presented "Creep and Shrinkage Behavior of Ultra High Performance Concrete for Precast/Prestressed Concrete Applications" in the Research and Development Session at the Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute's 2008 Convention in Orlando, Fla., and Research Scientist Chris Gilbertson presented "An Introduction to Sustainability" in the Sustainable Transportation Session.