March 20, 2018, Vol. 24, No. 14

Waving Goodbye to 2015

I'd point out the rather adorable puppy, but three of my students also happen to be in this photo. That's neat!
I'd point out the rather adorable puppy, but three of my students also happen to be in this photo. That's neat!

I like having something witty as an opening bit here. And with this being the last issue of 2015, I want it to be a really good one.

But the truth of that matter is that I’m typing this Monday night, later than I like to, after just getting back into town. It was a neat trip, and I spent time in all four continental-US time zones in less than three days. Which means I’m not sure if it’s supposed to be 7pm or 4pm, if I want to eat or sleep.

I was, however, out in mine country in Nevada for a bit. Gold mining, to be precise. No prospecting for me, but it was really cool to be in some of the communities. If you’re ever in the airport in Elko, all of the signage is from mining companies: simple marketing, job ads, or even philanthropy. Plus there was huge equipment all over the place, people in polo shirts doing things that looked important, and lots of big technology-ish words that I didn’t know.

It’s like being at Career Fair here.

I talked with a couple of locals about that, and they said that their community sometimes feels recession-proof. Not really, but more like when the economy is bad elsewhere, it’s usually good there because of the price of gold.

I also learned about local government, where, since times are good for them right now, they’re saving money to help out when times aren’t so good in town. Running a surplus to cover possible future deficits. Smart, that.

And all of this got me thinking about a lot of what we do here, the majors and degrees and careers our students select. Perhaps it’s starting salary that attracts some, but what I hear more often than not is that our students are following their passions, and when they leave, they’re finding ways to make a difference with the tools those passions have surfaced.

These also happen to be many of the most in-demand careers, too, but let’s not forget that our placement rate covers a broad array of majors.

No town is recession-proof. Neither is a career. But a lot of the perks and bonuses of boom times come with our degrees, too. What I appreciate is that our students are well-positioned compared to many when the economy isn’t all that hot, too.

That’s not a bad thing to think about when flying from time zone to time zone.


An unusual problem has crept up on us; you can read about it down in Tech Sports. We don’t have any snow. Which makes it really tough to hold ski races this coming weekend.

Dennis was our rock-and-roll correspondent last week, but he’s chipped in with a neat article on some of the busiest and best restaurants in Michigan. Marie Catrib’s in Grand Rapids shows up on there, and I know we do a lot there for both admissions and alumni. Soon Dennis will be the editor of the entire Entertainment section of TechAlum. Once we get one.

Sorry about the video up in the slideshow. No, I take that back: I’m not sorry for the video. The video’s awesome and is the hard work of multimedia specialist Ben Brainerd here in UMC. It’s that voiceover. Ugh. I’ll try to talk to the guy, get him to stop doing them.

(Yes, it’s me…)

Cyndi Perkins, our web writer, has a request for all of you fine folks: we seem to somehow not have many photos of pickled eggs. Weird, that. If you have some good snaps of the official snack/meal of the UP, please pass them along!

A bit of sad news came across the desk just after last issue went out: long-time professor and researcher Donald Dawson passed away. He was 90. There’s a nice little piece in a previous issue of Tech Today talking about his passing. The way his students talk about how influential and flat-out good he was, that’s the kind of thing that motivates me when I’m in front of the classroom. He will be missed.

And finally, a reminder that our next issue will be in three weeks instead of the usual 2. Have a happy and safe rest of 2015 from all of us here. Which, at this time of night, is me, some of the web team, and the tireless Crystal Verran, who keeps all of us (and especially me) organized and on track.

Thanks for reading.