January 17, 2017, Vol. 23, No. 10

Ready, Set, Husky

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Students returned and the new semester started last week. Navigating the snow. Diving into new classes. Playing broomball. And getting ready for Winter Carnival. We’re in full Husky mode.

Les Cook, vice president for student affairs and advancement, starts each term with an email to students. I thought you would enjoy getting a sense of life on campus through his eyes.


Happy New Year and welcome back. I hope you had a restful holiday break and were able to spend it surrounded by people and activities you enjoy.

I loved having my family all under the same roof for Christmas and enjoyed quality time with them as well as friends. Like some of you, I attended the Great Lakes Invitational Hockey tournament in Detroit and cheered on our Huskies for the last time at the Joe Louis Arena. I spent part of last week in Philadelphia with colleagues discussing the future of higher education and then traveled to NYC to meet with alumni of Tech. While a busy start to 2017, it’s been truly energizing.

As one year closes and another begins, I always try to take some time to reflect on the past year while thinking about the future. Each year my feelings about the importance of relationships increase and I am reminded how incredibly fortunate I feel to be surrounded by family, friends and good people, like you. I was also reminded by Tom Friedman in a recent New York Times opinion piece, that while machines and advances in technology can do many things they can’t and don’t have the heart that is so critical in building relationships.

There’s one other thing machines can’t do; build snow statues. As you know we are immersed in one of the greatest traditions ever, Winter Carnival. I don’t think there is anything that exemplifies the heart of Tech more than that of Carnival. From now through mid-February you will hear the sounds of Kenny Chesney and the Chainsmokers blaring from car stereos with doors propped wide open to the beeping sound of front-end loaders as they move mammoth piles of snow from one place to another. The laughter and cheering that accompanies the swish of brooms and frigid plastic hitting the ice. The smell of deep-fried Twinkies permeates the air, the energy of campus and sculptures of significance replace the piles of white stuff. It is these activities and others like them that not only build relationships but show the heart.

I also want to thank Nick, Allenca, Grayson, Cem and Ricardo for our adventurous travel to Houghton this week. While we may have been unsuccessful landing at CMX, the opportunity to share the trip, drive on sheer ice, and enjoy some Yooper Country music is something I won’t soon forget. I know many of you had similar travel adventures now or previously and I’d love to hear them. Who knows there may even be a #tenacity shirt for your story.

Two-thousand seventeen is fully upon us and how about all the snow? I can faintly hear the voice of Eric Church “we’re having a record year” and I’m not talking vinyl. You can proudly boast about surviving one of the snowiest Decembers in the history of the Copper Country with 120 inches. No big deal though as we are the snowiest campus in America!

While these are not the first records to be broken at Tech and they certainly won’t be the last, I do hope your 2017 is off to a great beginning. Be well, enjoy the winter wonderland in which we live and let’s make it a record year!

Les Cook

Les Cook
Vice President for Student Affairs and Advancement


Changes are also coming to TechAlum. In the coming weeks, you’ll see a revamped email and a new writer—Sarah Williams—joining the Advancement team. Sarah will be taking over editor duties and we’ll introduce her more fully next month. We’ll also be talking all things Winter Carnival in the January 31 edition.

Thank you for reading and have a great week!

Scott Balyo

At Tech

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Amanda Kautzer Makes Team USA for World Championships

Kautzer recently competed at the youth biathlon trials conducted by the United States Biathlon Association (USBA). The trials were held in Jericho, Vermont, December 28-30, 2016.

Kautzer qualified by placing first in the sprints, crossing the line with a time of 30:10.1. She outlasted Hannah Streinz, who turned in a time of 30:52.3. 

Kautzer is . . . [ Full Story ]


Owsley Scholarship Winners Named

Randy Owsley made an impact that would last a lifetime, in fact, beyond his lifetime. During the 18 years he was the Head Athletic Trainer for Michigan Tech, he worked with a group of student trainers who bonded with him and with each other. Even after Randy left Tech in 1988, he continued to influence . . . [ Full Story ]


Julie Seppala Named Vice President for Finance

Previously, Seppala was appointed treasurer of the Board of Trustees, the executive director of financial services and operations and treasurer of the Michigan Tech Fund Board of Directors. She will keep those duties in her new position. 

Seppala is responsible for all financial functions of the University and the Michigan Tech Fund, including financial reporting, . . . [ Full Story ]


Online Graduate Engineering Programs Rank in Top 50

“We are happy for the recognition that our online programs receive,” said Leonard Bohmann, associate dean for academic affairs in Michigan Tech’s College of Engineering. “They are a great way for working engineers to keep abreast of the latest information, gain new skills, and advance their career.”

Rankings Criteria

The rankings are based on five

. . . [ Full Story ]

Crybaby: The Vitamins in Your Tears

Babies cry easily, but those tears may help shed light on the role and potential uses of vitamins in tears. Maryam Khaksari, a research specialist at the Chemical Advanced Resolution Methods (ChARM) Laboratory at Michigan Tech, is the lead author of a paper on the subject recently published in Experimental Eye Research (DOI: . . . [ Full Story ]

Alumni Around the World

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Find Your Paver on Husky Plaza

Michigan Tech alumni and friends helped create another great campus tradition. Located across from the J.R. Van Pelt and John and Ruanne Opie Library, a larger-than-life, nine-foot-tall bronze Husky statue stands proudly on a Baraga County boulder, surrounded by benches, planters, and paver stones.

More than 1,000 personalized, engraved stones encircle Husky Plaza, thanks . . . [ Full Story ]

Anaheim hockey shot

Beer and Hockey in Anaheim

Alumni and Friends met up at JT Schmid’s for a pregame social then headed over to the Honda Center to cheer on the Detroit Red Wings as they battled the Anaheim Ducks.

Big shout out to our Chapter Leaders Paul Ninefeldt ’96 and Tim Thomas ’81 for hosting the event!

. . . [ Full Story ]

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Superior Ideas: Rekhi Innovation Challenge Final Results

The Rekhi Innovation Challenge is over! Thank you all for your support.

Here are the final results:
1st Place for Total Donations Raised – Velovations (RENEW-U)
1st Place for Social Media Activity – Velovations (Snow Trail Groomer)
1st Place for Unique Donors – A tie between Robotics and Velovations (Snow Trail Groomer)
. . . [ Full Story ]

Alumni Profile

Britta A. Jost ’02 ’04


Britta graduated from Michigan Tech with a BS in Mathematics in 2002 and an MS in Mechanical Engineering in 2004.She is currently an Engineering Project Team Leader at Caterpillar, Inc. in Peoria, Illinois. As team leader in Caterpillar’s Medium Tractor Products division, Britta is responsible for all aspects of product value for tractors, including regular . . . [ Full Story ]

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Mont Ripley

Mont Ripley Memories

With 150 inches of snow (so far), Mont Ripley is having a great season. Did you learn to ski or snowboard there? Perhaps you were on ski patrol or worked at Mont Ripley. Send us your memories. techalum@mtu.edu.

From the Email Bag

GLI, Professors, Huskies, and Alumni Gatherings


Way back near the beginning of the GLI, the Kalamazoo Optimist Club was also beginning a boy’s hockey league. The Kalamazoo area alumni sponsored a PeeWee team in the league and I had the privilege of coaching it. My wife, Gloria, had worked with John MacInnes when he worked in the registrar’s office during . . . [ Full Story ]

Featured Alumni Benefits


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