Sandretto Gift Benefits Student Programs

by John Gagnon, promotional writer

Michigan Tech received a gift of just over $280,000 from the estate of Rebecca M. C. Sandretto that will benefit a wide range of student programs.

"We are very grateful for Mrs. Sandretto's foresight in providing for this generous gift," said Eric Halonen, director of major gifts and gift planning at Michigan Tech's Office of Development. "The thoughtful allocation of these gift funds by her daughter and son-in-law, Sue and Steve Stackhouse, will help us deliver a first-rate education to a great number of students."

Endowment support goes to the student chapter of Engineers Without Borders, the Rail Transportation program, the Rozsa Center and the New Initiatives Fund. Cash support, much of which will be disbursed over a number of years, has been allocated to the Society of Automotive Engineers, the SAE Aero design team, the Concrete Canoe program, the Advanced Motor Sports program, the First Robotics Enterprise, the Rail Transportation program, the Department of Chemistry, and the School of Business and Economics for student-related travel, research and other projects.

Over the years, Mrs. Sandretto was always interested in and very impressed with the many accomplishments of the unique student projects across the campus. A longtime friend of Michigan Tech who died on Dec. 25, 2007, she had expressed the wish that her gift be used to support these student endeavors.

"Her generosity means more opportunity for our students," Halonen said in announcing the gift.

Gay Advocate: It's Not Who You Love, It's Whether You Love

by Kara Sokol, integrated marketing specialist/editor

"What is homosexual activity?"

The question--posed by John Corvino, a GLBT-rights advocate and associate professor of philosophy at Wayne State University--was the opening of Tuesday evening's powerful lecture and discussion about gay moralism. Corvino presented his talk, "What's Morally Wrong With Homosexuality," at the Rosza Center to a nearly packed auditorium.

"To answer this, one must ask another question: what is heterosexual activity?" Corvino cited a number of examples--from kissing and intercourse to holding hands and enjoying a romantic dinner--and asked the audience to consider why these activities are different for same-sex couples.

"When we talk about gays, we tend to focus only on the sex part of it. Heterosexual couples have relationships, while homosexual couples have lifestyles," Corvino said.

Here as part of Michigan Tech's Pride Week activities, Corvino's discussion focused on the arguments most often used against homosexuality, placing each up to moral and intellectual scrutiny.

"Homosexuality is condemned because the Bible says it should be so," Corvino stated. "But the Bible also condemns eating shellfish, wearing mixed fibers and touching the skin of a pig. Does that mean it's immoral to play football?"

Another argument used against homosexuality, according to Corvino, is that it's not "universalizable."

"If everyone were to do it, it would be bad--so the act itself must be bad," Corvino said. "Why do we assume that if we support same-sex relationships, everyone will want to do it?"

The third argument often used against homosexuality: it's risky or dangerous.

"People often ask, 'Doesn't homosexuality cause AIDS?' No, it doesn't. A virus causes AIDS, and that virus can be passed along during homosexual activity, heterosexual activity and some activities that are not sexual at all."

Corvino said that one of the condemnations of homosexuality heard most often is the argument that same-sex relationships are unnatural.

"Think of all the things you do in a day," Corvino instructed the audience. "You woke up this morning with an alarm clock--unnatural. You drove to work in a car--unnatural. You're sitting in auditorium seats colored a shade of purple definitely not found in nature--unnatural."

Corvino ended his talk by urging the audience to give careful consideration before making judgments.

"I think there's something perverted about the fact that we hate people because of who they love," Corvino said. "If you remember only one thing I say tonight, remember this: don't judge people based on who they love, but whether they love."

Response to Corvino's hour-long presentation was predominantly positive, with topics raised during the Q&A ranging from bisexuality to the relationship between homosexuality and pedophilia. One audience member received hearty applause by announcing, "People say gay relationships don't last. Well, the man next to me is John, and we've been together for 23 years."

Spring Fling Event Features Live Music, Free Kayak and Canoe Rentals at Prince's Point

The National Society of Leadership and Success will host an event at Prince's Point during Spring Fling, on Friday, April 17, from noon to 4 p.m.

"Party at the Point" will feature Outdoor Adventure Program kayaks and canoes, live acoustic music, a bake sale and free food. Everyone is invited.

The society has taken responsibility for the care of Prince's Point, located behind campus on the Portage, adjacent to Cliff Drive. "We feel that the area has great potential and should become a well-known recreational area," said Rachael Barlock, publicity chair of the National Society of Leadership and Success.

For more information, contact Barlock at .

Hansmann Named APS Fellow

Physics professor Ulrich Hansmann has been named a Fellow of the American Physical Society in the Division of Computational Physics.

Fellowships are awarded by the APS Council and are a recognition of excellence by one's professional peers. Hansmann was honored "for pioneering protein simulations, innovative contributions to computational algorithms, and their applications to biological physics."

He leads the computational- and bio-physics group within the Department of Physics. One of his major research interests is to better understand the mechanisms behind protein folding. Malformed proteins are the cause of a number of incurable conditions, such as mad cow disease and chronic wasting disease.

The APS Division of Computational Physics explores the use of computers in physics research and education as well as the role of physics in the development of computer technology.

Reminder: Please Fill Out Commuting Survey

submitted by Kristine Bradof

President Glenn Mroz sent an email message to all Michigan Tech faculty, staff and students on Monday encouraging participation in a brief survey about commuting to and from campus. Thanks to those of you who have responded already. If you haven't, please do. The anonymous survey will take no more than five minutes to complete.

Members of the new Green Campus Enterprise need the survey data to finalize a greenhouse gas inventory for the University. This inventory began last year as part of the Carbon Neutral Academic Quality Improvement Program (AQIP) project as a means to better integrate Michigan Tech's goals of sustainability with our education and research efforts.

The survey is found at .

Your assistance to the University and the Green Campus Enterprise with this important project is greatly appreciated.

Three Detroit Youths Win Summer Scholarships

by Jennifer Donovan, public relations director

Michigan Tech has awarded scholarships to three Detroit-area high school students to attend the University's Youth Programs this summer at the Michigan Tech campus in Houghton.

The scholarships recognize outstanding participants in the 52nd annual Science and Engineering Fair of Metropolitan Detroit, held in March at Cobo Center. More than 1,400 students competed in the science fair, one of the largest in the world.

Winners of the Michigan Tech summer scholarships are Gabriel Hall, an 11th grader at the International Academy in Bloomfield Hills; Andrew T. Smith, 10th grade, and Jahanavi M. Ramakrishna, 11th grade, both from Detroit Country Day School Upper. Ramakrishna went on to place third in the Michigan Science and Engineering Fair, held April 5 in Flint.

Ramakrishna's project, in the Engineering category, involved determining the time parameters for the two-second rule that controls the trigger of the lane departure warning system used at auto racetracks.

Smith's project, in Environmental Science, examined whether composting leaves produces enough methane for use as fuel; if so, which leaves produce the most methane.

Hall's project, in Engineering, involved design of a cost-effective electromagnetic mass driver powerful enough to reach orbit in space.

The three scholarship winners will have their choice of dozens of residential programs that Michigan Tech offers for teens each summer. The programs include Summer Youth Explorations, Women in Engineering, Explorations in Engineering and Women in Computer Science.

For more information on Michigan Tech's summer youth programs, see .

Results of 2009 General Survey of JRVP and Opie Library

submitted by Christa Walck, interim library director

During spring 2009 the JRVP and Opie Library conducted a user survey to inform strategic planning and decision making. A total of 643 Michigan Tech faculty, staff and students completed the survey. The Library also conducted focus groups and met with every academic department.

Not surprisingly, responses varied by user group. Faculty and graduate students access the library more online on a weekly basis and come in person monthly. Undergraduates come in person on a weekly basis and use online resources monthly.

Faculty use the library most for academic research, while students use it most for study, class assignments and team sessions. Staff use the library most for personal research and leisure and academic research on a monthly basis.

Faculty rate their library skills more highly than other user groups--excellent and good. Undergraduates rate their library skills as fair to good. Undergraduates and staff report finding it more difficult to find what they need on the library’s website. They also are less likely to ask for help. Overall, all user groups reported that the library made them more productive.

Faculty and graduate students reported that they need the library very much, while undergraduates and staff reported less need. Faculty liked interlibrary loan best, while graduate and undergraduate students and staff liked quiet space best. All rated location highly. All groups reported that book and journal collections needed the most improvement. A coffee shop, special equipment and software, meeting rooms and special exhibits are most likely to bring users to the library.

More information on the survey is available on the library website at

The library would like to thank everyone who took the time to respond to the survey.

Reminder: Pride Week Concludes Tonight with Drag Show

Enjoy the last event of Pride Week, with performances by Miss Joey Black and three other queens, including the world-renowned Cher impersonator Miss Candi Stratton, at 8 p.m., today, in the Memorial Union Ballroom.

The concluding event of Pride Week, the Drag Show features queens (men) and kings (women) dressed in costumes of the opposite sex. They also perform (lip-sync) songs from famous artists. According to organizers of the event, "It's tongue-in-cheek entertainment where gender boundaries are annihilated."

The show will also feature amateur competition for Tech students, who will compete in drag.

Lunch and Learn on Childhood Obesity April 15

The Benefits Office will host a lunch and learn, "Childhood Obesity--What's Love Got To Do With It," on Wednesday, April 15, from noon to 1 p.m. in Memorial Union Ballroom B1.

Rachelle Bachran, health educator at the Western UP District Health Department, will present. Bring your lunch; beverages are provided. All attendees will have a chance to win prizes.

Master's Golf Party Sunday at Par and Grill

submitted by Portage Lake Golf Course

All Portage Lake Golf Course members and guests are invited to the annual Par and Grill Final Round Master’s Party, to be held Sunday, April 12, beginning at 1 p.m.

The Par and Grill is located inside the Portage Lake Golf Course clubhouse. Hors d’oeuvres, drink specials and more will be part of the day. "Come enjoy the final round of the Master's Tournament and see if Tiger can do it again," said Mark Maroste, golf course manager.

Remote Sensing Seminar Monday

Brad Pierce, NOAA/NESDIS/CIMSS, will give a seminar, "Real-Time Air Quality Modeling (RAQMS) Chemical and Aerosol Assimilation Studies during the 2008 NOAA Aerosol, Radiation and Cloud Processing Affecting Arctic Climate (ARCPAC) Field Mission," on Monday, April 13, at 4 p.m. in M&M U113.

His talk is part of the Remote Sensing Seminar Series. An abstract is available at .

ECE Faculty Candidate Seminar Monday

The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering is hosting a visit by a candidate for the Dave House Endowed Professorship in Electrical and Computer Engineering as part of the 2009 Strategic Faculty Hiring Initiative in Computational Discovery and Innovation.

Sudhir Dixit, chief technology officer at the Center for Internet Excellence and research manager at the Center for Wireless Communications, University of Oulu, Finland, will give a talk, "Self‐Organization as an 'Emergent Phenomenon' of Complex Networks Applied to Wireless Communication Networks," on Monday, April 13, from 10 to 11 a.m. in Rekhi G06.

For more information, contact Lisa Rouleau, .

In Print

Assistant Professor Jason Carter (ESHPE) published a paper, "Sympathetic Neural Responses to Mental Stress: Responders,
Nonresponders and Sex Differences," in the American Journal of
Physiology--Heart and Circulatory Physiology, volume 296, issue 3, 2009.