Alumni Engagement

By Sarah Williams

Thirteen leaders welcomed into the Presidential Council of Alumnae. Outstanding alumni and friends honored. A recent alumna sets the giving wheels in motion through the 906 Club.

PCA Inducts 20th Class of Leaders

In September, 13 new members were inducted into the Council. They are:

  • Jessica S. Chlopek '06 BS Business Administration
  • Kristina M. Fields '96 BS Civil Engineering, '98 MS Civil Engineering; '06 PhD Civil Engineering
  • Raine L. Gardner '05 BS Civil Engineering
  • Joan M. Heil '83 BS Mechanical Engineering
  • Caryn L. Heldt '01 BS Chemical Engineering
  • Mary A. Herrmann-Foley '83 BS Geological Engineering
  • Loree K. Kalliainen '87 BS Biological Sciences
  • Emily C. McDonald '12 BS Environmental Engineering
  • Brenda M. Moyer '84 BS Mechanical Engineering
  • Heidi A. Mueller '83 BS Mechanical Engineering
  • Danielle K. Rickert '04 BS Materials Science and Engineering
  • Jennifer J. Shute '96 BS Mechanical Engineering
  • Linda S. Vanasupa '85 BS Metallurgical and Materials Engineering

Outstanding Alumni and Friends Honored

The following outstanding alumni and friends were recognized by the Alumni Board of Directors.

Group of award winners.
From left Don Makay, Sally Heidtke, Susan Kiehl, Mel Visser 

Outstanding Young Alumni Award

Presented to alumni under the age of 35 who have distinguished themselves in their careers. The award recognizes the achievement of a position or some distinction noteworthy for one so recently graduated.

Outstanding Service Award

  • Sally Heidtke '81 Chemical Engineering, Body Code Practitioner, Iron Mountain, Michigan

Presented to alumni and friends making significant contributions to the success of the Alumni Board of Directors and/or the University.

Distinguished Alumni Award

  • Susan Kiehl '83 Metallurgical Engineering, Vice President Product Development, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics, Retired, Grand Haven, Michigan
  • Mel Visser '59 Chemical Engineering, Vice President Pharmacia Corp., Retired, Author, Portage, Michigan

Presented to alumni who have made outstanding contributions both in their career and to Michigan Tech over a number of years.

Humanitarian Award

  • Lt. Col. Don Makay '99 Electrical Engineering Technology, Scientific and Technical Communications, Director New York Army National Guard 1st Battalion, 42nd Infantry

Presented to those alumni and friends who, through their outstanding involvement and dedication, have made a significant contribution of volunteer leadership or service which has improved or enriched the lives of others and the welfare of humanity, and whose accomplishments reflect admirably on or bring honor to their Alma Mater.

The Honorary Alumni Award

This award honors individuals who have provided service and support of the university characteristic of dedicated alumni. The Alumni Board of Directors reserves this award to recognize the strongest non-alumni supporters of Michigan Tech. For additional information, please contact Alumni Engagement at alumni@mtu.edu.

Prepping the Foundation

Anna Uhl BS 2010, Biological Sciences

Anna Uhl chose Michigan Tech after spending time on campus as a Summer Youth Program participant.

"That week solidified my decision to go to Michigan Tech," she says, noting her appreciation for the beauty of the UP, a university culture focused on academics, close ties with students and faculty, and opportunities in a variety of student organizations.

Anna Uhl holding a cat.
Alumna Anna Uhl '10 works as a veterinarian in a small-animal general practice in Seattle.

Uhl graduated from Tech with a degree in biological sciences and a minor in ecological sciences. She then worked as a veterinary assistant in a small-animal general practice for two years before pursuing veterinary medical school at the University of Wisconsin. She now lives in Seattle, Washington, and works as a veterinarian in a small-animal general practice.

Uhl says her anatomy and physiology, organic chemistry, biochemistry, and genetics classes and professors "reinforced my academic passions and taught me to think like a scientist."

And that's one of the reasons why she supports Michigan Tech. "I truly loved my time as a student. Those years were crucial to my academic and personal development," she says. "I feel the need to give back in some small way to the University for all it did for me."

When Uhl learned about Tech's newest giving opportunity for young alumni, the 906 Club, she decided to make a gift. The 906 Club honors the UP and University. Gifts are based on graduation year and come with a membership sticker.

"Donating through the 906 Club helps set the wheels in motion so when I am more financially stable I can make even more meaningful contributions," she says. "I don't make it back to the UP much now that I live in the Pacific Northwest, so being involved as a donor still allows me to have a small connection."

Uhl says her education not only provided her with a foundation in biological sciences, but also taught her the value and fun of having an inquisitive mind.

"My degree gave me the freedom to choose between a variety of postgraduate programs. Tech taught me how to balance academic studies with organizational involvement. The connections I developed and the passions I explored while a leader in student organizations made the largest impacts on my career."

Outside of the classroom, Uhl has fond memories of Winter Carnival: making ice detail pieces for snow statues, writing and performing in skits with Delta Zeta sorority sisters, being cheered on by Mitch's Misfits hockey student section on the Zamboni as Winter Carnival Queen, dancing in blizzards near the giant snow speaker system on campus, and showing the beautiful campus to friends and family who visited during the festivities.

She says being a veterinarian is enjoyable because she helps people and their companion animals while putting together medical puzzle pieces by implementing diagnostic and treatment plans. "The human-animal bond is a beautiful relationship, and preserving that bond is something I take very seriously every day."

Outside of work, Uhl volunteers in her community as a Big Sister in Big Brothers Big Sisters Puget Sound, the philanthropy coordinator for an alumnae group of national sorority women, an active member of the Greater Seattle Alumnae Chapter of Delta Zeta, and an active volunteer in veterinary medicine-related organizations.

As a student, Uhl studied abroad in Costa Rica and learned the phrase "pura vida," which means pure life. "Living a pure life means appreciating the beauty in the simple things in this world, being optimistic and looking for the good in people, having fun when life calls for a celebration, being present in your surroundings, working hard at the things that make you happy, and embracing the uncertainty of change." Learn more about the 906 Club.

First Down

Michigan Tech's Sherman Field has never looked better—or been more fan-friendly. The bleachers Huskies have been sitting on since 1968 were replaced and upgraded to accommodate 2,100 fans. The improvements, which also included accessible parking and a paved VIP pavilion, were completed in August as the first phase of a multistage football stadium renovation project. The additional phases include expanded press and coaching boxes, more bleachers, restrooms, and concessions.

Sherman Field stands.

Alumni Fred Guenther '75, Todd Hamar '83, Alex Kowalski '01, and Clay Willman '60 made cornerstone gifts instrumental to phase-one completion. Fundraising for the next phase is well underway, with the goal to start construction in April 2019.

Go for (Phase) Two—make a gift to support the second stage of stadium improvements.

Michigan Technological University is a public research university, home to more than 7,000 students from 54 countries. Founded in 1885, the University offers more than 120 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in science and technology, engineering, forestry, business and economics, health professions, humanities, mathematics, and social sciences. Our campus in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula overlooks the Keweenaw Waterway and is just a few miles from Lake Superior.

Last Modified 3:51 p.m. June, 11 2019