January 5, 2016, Vol. 22, No. 9

Well, This is a Bit Unexpected


I’ve been in the driver’s seat at TechAlum for about a year, and I wanted to thank each and every one of you for helping me come to grips with it.

I know it’s not the same newsletter Dennis crafted, though we’ve both had a bit of fun with music along the way. How many people would put Public Enemy lyrics in an alumni message, after all?

Today I move over to the world of dance music for inspiration. Axwell ^ Ingrosso’s “On My Way” seems to fit. Because, as it happens, this is my final issue.

I’m gonna place my bet on every step I take
Go tell everyone under the sun
I’m on my way

I’ve mentioned more than once in this space my time in the classroom. 15 years, actually. And when you consider that I’m 37, it’s been a massive chunk of my adult life. Full-time faculty jobs can be difficult to come by, though, and my focus is on teaching, not research or publishing.

The places where I most enjoy teaching are two-year colleges. It’s where I started as an educator, and it’s where I kept coming up just short for a full-time position. So, looking at it as an arms race, I decided to get my doctorate. That brought me here.

And if I hit rock bottom
I’m gonna smile and dance with every step I take

It’s been a long road. I completed my doctorate in 2012, starting here in University Marketing and Communications a few months later. I rather enjoy writing, though I’m a very different kind of writer: I think of it as painting with words. It’s why I’ve enjoyed writing about the All-Nighter each year.

But that’s not academic writing, news writing, or marketing writing. Writing a press release is like torture to me. I was an odd hire. All the while, my time in the classroom has been limited to the irregular classes I get here and some evening classes at Finlandia.

Last spring I put myself on the job market. I really believe UMC and Michigan Tech need a different writer than me, someone better, and I needed to get back to doing the thing I got into higher education for in the first place. 

Go tell everyone under the sun
I’m on my way
On my way

I was a finalist for five positions over the summer, managing to go 0 for 5. I thought I might be demoted to AAA. But it also took me to places like Petoskey and Tulsa, Rhinelander and Wenatchee, Washington. It was a reminder of what is possible.

I got two classes this term here at Tech, and juggling my writing responsibilities with that, I had a good chance to decide once and for all which I should be doing. It was, admittedly, an easy choice.

This fall I submitted more applications. I got calls from Lake Tahoe and Prescott, Arizona. And then there’s Elko, Nevada. Home of Great Basin College… and, as you’re reading this, the place that I will call home come this weekend.

So at the same time, I want to say both thank you for how wonderful you’ve all been to me and I’m sorry—sorry for leaving so soon, especially with the long terms Dennis and Dean put in.

I have a few thank-yous, of course: First and foremost I have to thank Brenda Rudiger for trusting me to steer this ship for a bit. I’ve known Brenda for longer than I’ve been in this position, and you will not meet a more wonderful human being.

Scott Balyo, editorial director and my boss, deserves a lot of credit as well. I’m not the easiest person to manage, but Scott was exactly the supervisor I needed this year. Thank you, Scott.

Crystal Verran has done so much to keep me organized, especially this year where, at one point, I was the writer. Thanks to Erin, Kay, Heather, and Steven in Alumni Relations. There are tons more. You know.

And once again, thank you.

On my way

Thanks for reading.

A big thank you to Kevin for taking on TechAlum over the past year. We wish him all the best in his new role in Nevada. (I suspect he is leaving his Yooper Scoop behind.) [Yes, yes I am. –Kevin]

Over the next few months, a variety of guest columnists will be sharing their expertise in this space. We would love to hear what you would be most interested in reading about. Just send a note to techalum@mtu.edu or give me a call at 1-906-487-2400.

Happy New Year!
Brenda Rudiger
Executive Director
Alumni Relations

At Tech


Adrienne Minerick Honored by AES Electrophoresis Society

A Michigan Tech professor and associate dean has been honored with a prestigious award from a national society. Adrienne Minerick, professor of chemical engineering, adjunct professor of biomedical engineering and associate dean for research and innovation of the College of Engineering, has received the Distinguished Service Award of the AES Electrophoresis Society. She was presented with . . . [ Full Story ]


Research With Heart: Making Wheelchair Exercise Equipment More Accessible and Adjustable

Regular exercise is important for maintaining health, especially for wheelchair users. However, exercise equipment to be used with a wheelchair is not always readily accessible, adjustable or effective. A team of mechanical engineering, kinesiology and physical therapy students are collaborating on developing new exercise equipment for wheelchair users. Steven Elmer leads the team, which is . . . [ Full Story ]


The Case of the Sticky Protein: Interdisciplinary Team Puts Together Clues To Better Sense Surface Hydrophobicity

Proteins are like a body’s in-house Lego set. Most of the time, these large, complex molecules fold correctly—but sometimes they misfold, which can lead to a number of different diseases including ALS, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Many of these interactions, both folded and misfolded, are affected by the surface chemistry of proteins. Specifically, how sticky the . . . [ Full Story ]


Michigan Tech Begins $24 Million in Construction Projects

Construction has begun on projects included in a .3 million bond issue, and already Michigan Technological University’s investment is having a major economic impact on the community, President Glenn Mroz told the Michigan Tech Board of Trustees at its meeting on Friday, Dec. 18, 2015. 

Contracts totaling .3 million have been signed with 16 contractors . . . [ Full Story ]

Alumni Around the World

December 3rd Thursday - Detroit

Third Thursday in Detroit

Fifty alumni and friends from the Detroit Chapter gathered for a casual social on Thursday, December 17th at the Deadwood Bar & Grill. This evening out was part of the new Third Thursday event series. Each month alumni and friend gather at a new location in Detroit or the surrounding area.

Many thanks to Kelly . . . [ Full Story ]

WI Montly Social - December

More Monthly Socials!

Did you know the Fox Valley & Green Bay Chapters host a monthly social? They alternate between two locations, during the odd months they meet up at the Keweenaw Pub in De Pere, WI and during the even months they meet at the Appleton Beer Factory in Appleton.

Many thanks to our awesome volunteers Leah . . . [ Full Story ]

Rekhi Innovation Challenge Update

The Rekhi Innovation Challenge is a crowdfunding competition to help promote and support student innovation and entrepreneurship through the use of Superior Ideas. This year’s Rekhi Innovation Challenge features 7 teams from all over Michigan Tech’s campus.

We’re tabulating the results of your support, so watch this space for an announcement of the winners!

BC7A3457 (Custom)

GLI 2015

Husky fans of all ages gathered in the Garden room for the Detroit Chapter pre-game party during the 2015 Great Lakes Invitational.

Pickled Eggs from the Douglass House were a big hit!  On day 2 we sold our remaining 200 eggs in less than 30 minutes.Congratulations to our Jersey winners: Roger Hoxie (Red Wings Jersey) . . . [ Full Story ]

Alumni Profile

Chais T. Eliason ’14


PIKE LAKE, Minn. — Chais Eliason was among the throng of fans pressing up against the glass that separated them from the Hendrick Motorsports team during Speedweeks at Daytona International Speedway in January 2011.He peered into the garage area and took photos of NASCAR drivers Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon.”I was thinking, ‘How cool would . . . [ Full Story ]

Tech Sports


Tech Hockey Signs Seven to National Letters of Intent

Jan 04, 2016

HOUGHTON, Mich. – Michigan Tech head hockey coach Mel Pearson today announced the signings of seven players during the fall signing period. Forwards Thomas Beretta (King City, Ont./St. Michaels, OJHL), Gavin Gould (North Vancouver, B.C./Merritt, BCHL), and Jagger Williamson (Lumby, B.C./Vernon, BCHL); and

. . . [ Full Story ]

Fill in the Blanks


51 GLIs and Counting

The GLI is as much a holiday treat as the better bit of leftovers. Ignore the fruitcake. That’s not a good leftover.

So to fill in the blanks this time, we’d love to hear about your GLI memories? Did you go? Did you watch? What’s it like when the Keweenaw invades Detroit? Your responses to . . . [ Full Story ]

From the Email Bag

Canal Freighters

The item about ships in the Portage Canal reminds me of my job during college summers of 1957-1960. I was a deck hand on the ore freighter Ralph S. Caulkins. We brought a load of coal up the canal to Lake Linden once. I remember how the boat pushed the water up onto the banks . . . [ Full Story ]

Warm Wishes from Venezuela


Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to MTU people from Venezuela,

Oswaldo D Montbrun, EE 1962

Thanks, Oswaldo. All of us here hope that it’s been a wonderful holiday season and is a happy new year for you and yours. –Kevin

What Does Sammy Sez?

When I was on the Lode staff and briefly Editor (1959-1964) “Sammy Sez” was a woman and it would have been a scandal (Male Chauvinism of course) if discovered.  Connie Scott told me the other day she was pretty sure an extensive article revealing this and the name of Sammy was published some . . . [ Full Story ]

Featured Alumni Benefits


Michigan Tech Alumni Group Insurance Programs

As a Michigan Tech graduate, you qualify for a special group rate on many of your personal insurance needs. Visit http://www.mtu.edu/alumni/benefits/ for details

·         Auto, home, and renters insurance through Liberty Mutual.

·         Pet Health Insurance through ASPCA

·         Long Term Care Insurance – AlumniLTC®

·         Short-term health insurance - GradMed®

·         Travel Insurance through USI

These partner companies provide funds to the Michigan Tech Alumni Association as part of this collaboration. Agreements like this help support a wide range of programs and services for alumni and students.

Around the Keweenaw

Job Opportunities

On Campus

Miss the great Keweenaw lifestyle? If you’re looking for a way to get back to this awesome corner of the world, check out these positions available right here at Michigan Tech.

View a listing of our on-campus career opportunities.