Alumni Association Notes

Q&A with Jennifer (Felmlee) Bigelow ’97

Environmental Engineering

Jennifer Felmlee Bigelow

Tell us about your activities as Michigan Tech alumni overseas.

Since moving to Thailand, my husband, Marc ’98 and I have been involved with graduate student recruitment, led by Jacque Smith, the director of graduate marketing and advancement and the life director of the Michigan Tech Alumni Association. We’ve met many other Michigan Tech alumni in Thailand, and it made us realize just how small the world can be and how friendly Michigan Tech alumni are across the world.

How did you both end up in Thailand?

Through General Motors. I was assigned to work in a new diesel engine plant, where I am the manufacturing director. My work as an international employee is very different from my previous GM assignments. I am playing a much larger role coaching and developing and at the same time gaining so much from the team here, who are very new to the automotive industry, particularly compared to the US market. Marc is also working in Thailand, as a product engineer with the Chevrolet Truck programs.

What has surprised you most about Thailand?

It has been such a rewarding experience, both professionally and personally. The cross-cultural experience provides the company many benefits, and we are also seeing global challenges firsthand. We have two small children, Lucas, 5, and Alexis, 2, and living abroad has exposed them to a much richer cultural life.

We are all adjusting to the tropical weather. It feels like eternal July and August, but we are embracing this country and all the new experiences. Our son enjoys our trips to Phuket, Thailand, where he and his sister swim in the big waters of the Andaman Sea and ride elephants.

What was the most important thing you learned in college?

To not be afraid of problems, even to welcome problems. They are opportunities to learn.

Tell something people would be surprised to know about you.

My favorite thing to do for relaxation is to take hikes with our golden retriever, Daisy. It’s amazing how a walk in the woods with a four-legged companion can be so peaceful.

A wall and skyline in Thailand.

Alumni Association News

At the Winter Carnival meeting of the Alumni Association Board of Directors, a new leadership team and six new board members were welcomed.

Executive Committee: Darnishia L. Slade ’98, president; Paul J. Ninefeldt ’96, past president; Daniel F. Batten ’88 ’90, vice president; Robert G. Wojcik ’91, treasurer; Lisa A. Fernstrum ’91, secretary

New directors: Charles G. Heiden ’80, SherAaron N. Hurt ’09, Kerry A. Irons ’72, Jason J. Manders ’00, Denise A. Slattery ’94, and Kevin J. Walker ’02

The board approved the following initiatives:

  • Support for the Alumni Way project
  • Continued funding for the Traditions of Giving Scholarship for undergraduates and the Traditions of Giving Fellowship for graduate students
  • Continued funding for the Student Initiative Sponsorship program to assist groups with activities that support the Alumni Association mission: “Celebrating Traditions. Creating Connections.”

Funding for these programs comes from investment earnings generated by an endowed fund of the Michigan Tech Alumni Association. This endowment has been made possible by the generosity of alumni and friends.

Save the date

Alumni Reunion 2013, August 1–3

Make plans to catch up with fellow alumni and rediscover campus during Alumni Reunion 2013. Although all alumni are welcome every year, the featured groups for 2013 include the Classes of 1963, 1973, 1983, 1988, 1993, 2003, the Golden Ms (those who graduated fifty-plus years ago), and the Women of Michigan Tech.

A variety of activities for all ages will be offered, including Tech Talks, family activities, campus tours, seminars, the pasty picnic, and much more.

For a preliminary schedule, lodging information, and to RSVP, visit

Survey results: Thanks for your feedback

In January, more than 3,000 Michigan Tech alumni shared their views on Alumni Association programming and how we can provide additional opportunities for engagement.

Overall, alumni activities received good ratings, but Alumni Reunion and the Huskies athletic pregame events had the highest participation and satisfaction ratings at 4.01 and 4.19 (of 5) respectively. Pub nights and golf outings, pasty dinners, K-Day–style picnics, and new student send-offs also had satisfaction scores over 4.0.

More than 80 percent of respondents read the TechAlum e-newsletter more than six times annually with a satisfaction score of 4.28 (of 5). About 40 percent of respondents used the alumni social networks with a satisfaction score of 3.83 (of 5).

Each completed survey generated a $5 donation to the Alumni Association’s Student Initiative Funding program, which supports student organizations. In the past two years, this program has supported Blue Key, Pep Band, MTSF-Oozeball, Women’s Leadership Council, Keweenaw Pride, Advanced Motor Sports Enterprise, and LeaderShape, among others. The fund now has $15,055 to support student initiatives.

Survey participants could also enter to win an iPad mini. The lucky winners were Tricia Sebes ’96, Melanie Nizzola ’04, Scott Thayer ’90, and Christina Kionka ’72.

If you would like to provide more feedback or help with events in your area, contact us at More results are available at

Share your Tech memories

The Memories website has a new look and features that make it even easier for alumni and friends to share their Michigan Tech memories and upload photos.

The site, originally launched in 2010 for Michigan Tech’s 125th anniversary, contains stories about campus life and adventures in the Keweenaw from the 1930s right up to today. You can search for stories either by topic or decade and read what others have posted.

Take a moment to share your memories at

Blizzard with a stuffed husky.

New insurance benefits

Your Alumni Association is happy to make these discounts available to you. These collaborations also support a wide range of programs for students and alumni.

5–10% discount on ASPCA pet insurance

Protect your pet’s health and save with a discount on ASPCA Pet Health Insurance. Save even more with a 10 percent multiple pet discount, if you qualify. ASPCA will reimburse up to 90 percent of covered vet costs (any licensed vet in the US and Canada) after a $100 annual deductible per pet. Learn more at or call 1-877-343-5314.

Long-term care insurance

Do you worry about paying for nursing home or home health care if you need it down the road? Many Americans do. But you can lay that fear to rest—and stay more in control of your health-care decisions— with a long-term care insurance policy. You can access top-rated plans at discounted rates though the Alumni Association. Learn more at or talk to a representative at 800-922-1245.

Check out other group insurance offers at

Join the Conversation

Let's talk! Connect with us over our social networking pages. To learn more, call us at 906-487-2400.

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Michigan Technological University is a public research university founded in 1885 in Houghton, Michigan, and is home to more than 7,000 students from 55 countries around the world. Consistently ranked among the best universities in the country for return on investment, Michigan’s flagship technological university offers more than 120 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in science and technology, engineering, computing, forestry, business and economics, health professions, humanities, mathematics, social sciences, and the arts. The rural campus is situated just miles from Lake Superior in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, offering year-round opportunities for outdoor adventure.