Volunteers Help International Students Feel Welcome at Michigan Tech

by Danny Messinger, web editor

Seasoned overseas travelers know the challenges of stepping off the plane in a new country. Signs and conversations are suddenly gibberish. A host of confusing customs redefine your every move. And, how will you even get to town from the airport?

These challenges pose almost no problems for Michigan Tech's newest international students--all thanks to the efforts of the University's International Programs and Services’s arrivals volunteers.

Over the two to three weeks preceding the school year’s start, about 250 adventurous international students fly from their home countries to Houghton--many having spent twenty or more hours on a plane. Many of them arrive in the middle of the night.

The first thing they see are the smiling faces of Michigan Tech international arrivals volunteers.

"From the moment they get off the plane, our team of about 20 student volunteers works to make them feel thrilled to be here," said Cassy Tefft, international admissions coordinator. "We do everything we can to make them feel welcome."

For the full story, see Michigan Tech News.

Stefano is the New Associate Curator at the Seaman Museum

The A.E. Seaman Mineral Museum has concluded its national search for the new associate curator. Christopher Stefano has been appointed by Director Ted Bornhorst , effective October 1.

“The museum is fortunate to find a young, upcoming mineralogist with a strong technical background in mineralogy, curatorial experience with a significant mineral collection and extensive knowledge of the business of buying and selling minerals.” said Bornhorst.

Stefano earned a PhD in Geology in 2010 at the University of Michigan. He recently completed two years as a research assistant for U of M in mineral collection and published a summary article in Rocks and Minerals titled “The University of Michigan Mineral Collection—Ann Arbor" coauthored with Kathy Erwin and U of M Professor Rodney Ewing. Stefano was awarded the Donna Chirnside Trophy for excellence in museum show exhibits at the 2012 Denver Gem and Mineral Show. He has also been honored at the 2009 Southeastern Michigan Gem and Mineral Show and, in 2008, with the mineral investigator award from U of M.

Stefano also has teaching experience as a graduate student at U of M and, as an adjunct faculty member, at Jackson Community College. Interim Curator John Jaszczak, who chaired the search committee, notes, “These awards and teaching experience prove that not only does Stefano have a passion for minerals but also a deep desire to promote education about minerals and mineralogy to the general public. His talents and enthusiasm will bring untold benefits to the museum and the University community. I would also like to thank Sue Beske-Diehl and Robert Barron for serving on the successful search committee.”

The museum will host a public presentation and reception to introduce Stefano to the University and local community. Stefano will present “Minerals with Stories” with the date and time to be announced.

Peace Corps Master's Student Tackles Water, Waste, Volcanoes, Earthquakes in Panama

by Dennis Walikainen, senior editor

To the people of Peña Blanca, Panama, Chet Hopp must seem like a godsend. He’s helping them get cleaner water, improve sanitation and understand their local volcanic hazards.

“I’m an environmental health extensionist, which means that my main responsibilities to my community of Peña Blanca deal with sanitation,” says Hopp, a Peace Corps Master’s International student in geology at Michigan Tech. “Specifically, we work to improve access to potable water through development and construction of gravity-fed aqueducts, as well as improving sanitation practices through education and access to various types of latrines.”

From the beginning, Hopp says, the priority has been latrines, although the water system does concern many in the community. He gives talks on sanitation practices, as well as how to properly construct and maintain the latrines they are building.

And, there’s buy-in, literally, from the locals.

“Each participating family is required to make a $5 deposit, to be returned upon successful completion, and they must pay for half the cost of corrugated metal roofing,” Hopp says. “There are other roofing options, though, so they can opt out of this.”

Read the full story.

Parade of Nations This Saturday

Looking for an out of the ordinary Saturday in the beautiful Keweenaw? This Saturday, Sept. 14, is the annual Parade of Nations and Multicultural Festival.

The Parade--featuring floats and flags representing more than 60 nations--starts at 11 a.m. in downtown Hancock, crosses the Portage Lift Bridge and moves through downtown Houghton to the Dee Stadium.

At the Dee, beginning at noon, a multicultural festival features ethnic food booths, crafts and hours of entertainment, including international music and dancing. Free pony rides and face painting will keep the youngsters occupied. Elementary school children's art will be on display.

Entrance to the festival is free. Food prepared by international student groups from Michigan Tech and ethnic restaurants in the area is sold at a nominal price.

This year's Parade of Nations theme is "Global Variation in One Location." Parade of Nations, sponsored by Michigan Tech, Finlandia University and the Cities of Houghton and Hancock, is a celebration of cultural diversity in the Keweenaw.

ArcAttack's Tesla Coils Rock the Rozsa Sept. 20

Think you’re too cool for lightening? Even lightening that makes music? ArcAttack’s tesla-coil powered rock band, with two custom-engineered hand built Tesla Coils throwing out electrical arcs up to twelve feet long, electrifies the Rozsa stage on Friday, Sept. 20.

Creators of the original “Singing Tesla Coils,” the crew of ArcAttack use their high tech wizardry to generate a truly 'electrifying' performance. A robotic drum set accompanies the spectacle, its high-power LED's flashing bright colors with the stroke of each mechanically actuated stick, while ArcAttack's six members churn out rhythmic instrumental melodies.

Tickets are $16 for adults, $8 for youth and $5 for Michigan Tech students. For tickets, go online, or call Ticketing Operations at Michigan Tech’s Student Development Complex, 7–2073, or visit in person. SDC box office hours are 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, and noon to 8 p.m. on Sunday. Please note the Rozsa Box Office is closed during regular business hours, and will only open two hours prior to show times

Khana Kazana Does Thai Friday

Khana Khazana starts off the new school year with Thai food Friday, Sept. 13. Delicious choices such as chicken green curry, stir fried eggplant and coconut ice cream will be included as well as vegetarian choices. Khana Kazana will start at 11 a.m. and go until 1:30 p.m., Friday.

Fields Announced for Great Lakes Invitationals Through 2016

The fields are set for the next four Great Lakes Invitational hockey tournaments, it was announced today by Michigan Tech athletic director Suzanne Sanregret. The Huskies serve as the host of the annual four-team event with Michigan and Michigan State as mainstays.

The hockey holiday tradition will have an all-Michigan flavor for the next four years.

Western Michigan will join the Huskies, Wolverines and Spartans at this December's outdoor tournament at Comerica Park. The Broncos finished runner-up to Michigan Tech at last year's GLI. Ferris State will help celebrate the 50th anniversary of the GLI when it returns to Joe Louis Arena in 2014. Tech's archrival, Northern Michigan, has been invited to play in the 2015 GLI. Western Michigan returns again in 2016 as the invitational team.

Michigan Tech has won the GLI 10 times in 48 appearances including last year's via a pair of 4-0 victories. Michigan has competed in 43 GLIs and has claimed 15 titles. Michigan State owns 12 GLI crowns in 39 tries.

The 2013 Great Lakes Invitational is set for Dec. 27 and 28 outdoors at Comerica Park, home of the Detroit Tigers. The GLI will lead off five consecutive days of hockey at Comerica as part of the Sirius XM Hockeytown Winter Festival. Two Ontario Hockey League games, an American Hockey League game and two Red Wings-Toronto Maple Leafs Alumni Games are scheduled for the days following the GLI.

Tickets for the GLI and Sirius XM Hockeytown Winter Festival are currently available at Ticketmaster.com.

Biology Seminar

Norman Yan (FRSC) from York University biology department in Toronto, will present a seminar titled "The Widespread Threat of Calcium Decline for Canadian Shields Lakes," Friday, Sept. 13, from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. in Dow 642. A reception will follow the seminar in the biology sciences atrium on the seventh floor. More information is available online.

CTL Tip of the Week

Canvas, Communications, and Notifications

Last week, we discussed using a Class Email Lists as a way to communicate with all the students in your class. Canvas also has a couple of great tools for communicating with your class: Announcements and Conversations.

Announcements allow you to communicate with your students about course activities and more. As soon as you have created an Announcement, Canvas takes care of notifying students according to their Notification Preferences. Students will see your Announcements when they log into Canvas, when they enter your Canvas course, and outside of Canvas through Canvas Notifications.

Conversations is an email program directly within Canvas. You can start by typing in the name of your course in the To: field or selecting it from the drop-down menu. Canvas will allow you to select the entire class, just students, just teachers, student groups, etc. Students can see Canvas Conversations messages in their Conversations Inbox, and also outside of Canvas according to their Notification Preferences.

As you can see, Notifications Preferences play a pivotal role in where, when and if you and your students see Canvas Announcements and Conversations outside of Canvas, whether through Facebook, Twitter, SMS (text message) or email. You can access more Instructure Guides and watch an eLearning screencast about Canvas Notifications and how they work with the Canvas’ Announcements and Conversations tools on this page.

The CTL Tip of the Week is brought to you by the Center for Teaching and Learning at Michigan Tech. For more general information or help with Canvas at Michigan Tech, be sure to visit Canvas One Stop .

On the Road

Research Scientist Colin Brooks (MTRI) is representing Michigan Tech at Great Lakes Week in Milwaukee this week. Great Lakes Week comprises meetings of the Great Lakes Commission and International Joint Commission and the Great Lakes Restoration Conference.

In the News

Susan Liebau, director of the Waino Wahtera Center for Student Success, was quoted in an article in Country Lines Magazine that offered tips to incoming first-year college students. See online.