Michigan Tech Magazine Winter 2011-12 Cover

Pilgrim River

Fundamental to the Michigan Tech experience is the sense of place that arises from the Keweenaw's woods and waters. Chief among the inland waters is the Pilgrim River.

School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science, Civil Engineering

Save the Pilgrim!

by Dennis Walikainen '92 '09

"Just look at this," says Dana Richter ’89, a research scientist in the School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science and president of Copper Country Audubon, as we drive along on Pilgrim Road, just minutes from campus. "The river runs along the fault from the Traprock Valley to Mass City, and it’s a beauty," he says.

As we walk down through the wet grass, we have a clear view of the green-and-gold hillsides flanking the water on this early autumn day. The river works its magic, riffling over rocks, pausing in pools. It’s not that hard to get here; there are hiking trails nearby, and a short venture has us down to a spot where a fallen tree crosses the river with promises of deep trout ponds there and around a bend.

For decades, Michigan Tech students and alumni have been able to bring rod and reel or just their own adventuresome selves down to this wild place only a couple miles southeast of campus. They have been welcome thanks to the good graces of the owners—nearly all of the land on either side of the Pilgrim River is in private hands. Now, however, the river valley is attracting the eye of developers. For those who cherish a ramble here, the time for preservation is now. Houses and new roads are springing up, and there’s nothing to abate future growth.

Karl Evenson

Karl Evenson stands with his homemade skateboard outside the bookstore, where he spent most of his surprise $1,000 scholarship.

Generations of Discovery Capital Campaign, Mechanical Engineering, Michigan Tech Fund

Simple Gifts

by Marcia Goodrich

Karl Evenson hadn’t expected to hear his name called during the big welcome-to-Michigan Tech address the University holds for all new students in August. And as he loped down to the floor of the multipurpose room from the top of the bleachers, his excitement was evident.

Later, the freshman from Mahtomedi, Minnesota, explained why. "It felt really nice to have some security as to how I’m going to pay for my books," he says. "This semester, they were about $725. Books are kind of expensive."

The money—a check for $1,000—came from a group of people who could empathize about the cost of textbooks. "Last spring, all graduating students were given the opportunity to make a gift before leaving campus," says Paula Nutini, director of annual giving for the Michigan Tech Fund. "That allowed them to pay tribute to someone in the commencement program. If they gave ten dollars, then they could thank Mom and Dad for their support, and their parents and grandparents could read it in the stands.

"We took all the proceeds and put them in a scholarship we presented to an incoming . . .

Amazing Feats of Engineers

We asked Michigan Tech engineering alumni to tell us about some of the biggest hurdles they have faced in their careers and how they overcame them.

Civil Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Geological Engineering, Chemical Engineering

Amazing Feats of Engineers

When you ask nine-year-olds what they want to be when they grow up, they probably won’t say "an engineer." That’s too bad, because engineers do amazing things.

Unfortunately, most people don’t know just how amazing. So, for the sake of enlightenment, we asked Michigan Tech engineering alumni to tell us about some of the biggest hurdles they have faced in their careers and how they overcame them. A few of you responded with tales that show what a huge impact engineers can have on their companies, their profession, and their communities.

Here are four of your stories.

Bridge over the River Colorado

by Bonnie Klamerus '83 '91, BS in Civil Engineering

Working for a unit of the Federal Highway Administration, I was the structures manager for the Hoover Dam Bypass Project, whose centerpiece was an arch bridge that spans the Colorado River and links Arizona and Nevada. It was pretty darn hard. Daunting. A bridge engineer’s dream and the biggest challenge I’ve ever had. Coming from Baraga, Michigan, it was difficult for me to imagine the sheer ruggedness of the steep canyon walls and caverns. The terrain . . .

John Kline

Seventy years after he survived the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, John Kline still has the blue dress jumper from his years serving in the Pacific.


by Marcia Goodrich

From his earliest days, Kline ’49 has made a specialty of dodging bullets, both literal and figurative. The first calamity he remembers was falling head first into a rock-lined basement back in 1927 or so, when he was three or four years old. "My mother staunched the bleeding with spider webs," he recalls.

Kline emerged unbloodied from his second big disaster, unlike 3,684 other American servicemen who became casualties of war on December 7, 1941.

The scrawny 18-year-old from Laurium had enlisted a year earlier and was serving on the battleship USS Nevada, anchored in Pearl Harbor. He was on duty in the pump room, six levels below deck, when he heard loud banging noises, "like steam lines hammering."

Kline trotted off to the boiler rooms make sure everything was OK. About that time, other . . .

Global City Water Carrying

Visitors to Michigan Tech’s Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts on a certain day last March may have wondered at the sight of students hauling containers of water around the lobby and up the stairs.

Global City

Going the Extra Mile

by Dan Schneider

It was World Water Day, and Global City had instigated the water carrying as an exercise in cross-cultural understanding. The student organization aimed to raise awareness of the realities of life in the developing world. In particular . . .

1. Think about what it would be like to carry five gallons of water from the Rozsa Center to the Portage Lake Lift Bridge—a two-mile round trip—every day.

2. Now think about how you would use that water. (Hint: Probably not to flush the toilet.)

"We’re just trying to think about how other people live and what their challenges are," said Erika Vye, Global City’s public relations officer and a PhD student in geology.

Getting people to think is what Global City does. The group’s primary instrument for fostering a global perspective is its ongoing seminar series, held every other Tuesday in Room 138 of Fisher Hall. Speakers have been students, faculty, community members, and guest lecturers, and they have addressed topics as varied as misconceptions about the people and culture of Colombia, the role of women in India’s community development, and a water filtration project for a village in Ghana.