July 28, 2015, Vol. 21, No. 24

Heat, Humidity, and Vacation Requests

There's even a Peace Corps house on campus now.
There's even a Peace Corps house on campus now.

It’s one of those odd times of the year here in the offices at Tech: many hallways are empty, and searching the calendar for who is out on vacation becomes an essential. Considering that for most of campus so much work is tucked into nine months, that means these bits of summer make for some scheduling chaos. That includes me. I’m actually typing this on Saturday.

Granted, not everyone is out and about all the time. It’s go time for our Summer Youth Programs staff, bringing hundreds of young students to campus every week. It’s become such a big thing, and the students get so much out of it.

Another group that is hard at work includes our Peace Corps Masters International students, out serving and learning at the same time. I don’t know how many of you have experience with the Peace Corps; if you aren’t familiar, it’s 27 months of service overseas, and this is combined with graduate school.

I’ve gotten to know some of the students from PCMI, and they are, universally, excellent leaders, communicators, and idea generators. It must be some experience, and the program at Michigan Tech happens to be the biggest in the country—for the last ten years. If you’ve got a moment, check out the map on their main website, too, for a sense of how many places there are around the world where our students have served.

There’s going away for school, and then there’s this.

I’ve done most of my vacation time for the summer, and I can’t say I’ve accomplished anything quite this important. Then again, I don’t know that I’ve done that much with a lifetime’s worth of vacation. Amazing stuff.


Alumni Reunion is quite soon, so much so that the next issue of TechAlum will be the wrap-up for it. I hope you can make it up this way, regardless if you’re in the area or somewhere around the world. It would be great to put more faces to names.

We’re working on a story, in fact, about the changing face of the economy up here, the way that employers are starting to discover the advantages of locating offices up here. So many of our students would love the opportunity to stay in the Keweenaw, and that’s becoming more and more likely. Look for that feature coming soon.

I won’t keep you too much longer: it’s much better to spend some time outside this time of the year, so maybe we should all take a walk? But check out the news this week, an entire smorgasbord of stories from Tech’s campus in Houghton. Our news staff had been out a bit prior to last issue, and it probably showed with just a story or two. But they’re back and pounding away at their keyboards. Fascinating bits, these.

Something came in via email that might interest you, too:

My name is Edd Benda, and I am the writer/director of the feature film SUPERIOR that was filmed last summer in the Keweenaw. We are hosting our Official Michigan Premiere of the film at the Calumet Theatre. We have screenings on Thursday, 7/30 & Friday, 7/31 @ 7:00pm. The event is free and open to the public. There are more details on Facebook.
Our film takes place in 1969, and we proudly showcase the beautiful Keweenaw Peninsula. It would be wonderful to be able to share the film with the wonderful Tech alumni network that hold the region so dear.
If you’re in the area, make sure to check it out! I love the Calumet Theatre, too, and I’m always happy to find another reason to go there.
Finally, if you haven’t had a chance to register for Alumni Reunion yet, check out the link below in Alumni Around the World. Loads to do. And we’re all looking forward to seeing you.

Thanks for reading.

At Tech


Alumnus Funds Mechanical Engineering Scholarships

New and current students studying mechanical engineering at Michigan Technological University could be eligible for a new scholarship, thanks to a .3 million gift from the estate of an alumnus.  

William P. Robinson, ’41, established the scholarship fund to offer financial assistance to mechanical engineering majors.  Initially established within the Michigan Tech Fund in . . . [ Full Story ]


Adapting to Climate Change in the Central Appalachians

In applying climate change science, it is easy for land managers to miss the forest for the trees. Just monitoring the many details of localized climate change can overgrow to-do lists. Developing plans to deal with those changes in forests can be a daunting task, especially to landowners and foresters who don’t have access to . . . [ Full Story ]


Thai Students Find Michigan Tech Summers Chilly, Engineering Hot

Pradchaya Wattanaphan, a materials engineering student at Thailand’s Kasetsart University, came to Michigan Tech this summer hoping to improve her English. She got more than she bargained for. Working with a postdoc from China, she’s improving her Chinese too.

“It’s good luck for me,” says Wattanaphan, whose nickname is “Seagames.”  Nicknames are a Thai custom, . . . [ Full Story ]


Bringing Back the Magic in Metamaterials

A single drop of blood is teeming with microorganisms—imagine if we could see them, and even nanometer-sized viruses, with the naked eye. That’s a real possibility with what scientists call a “perfect lens.” The lens hasn’t been created yet, but it is a theoretical perfected optical lens made out of metamaterials, which are engineered to . . . [ Full Story ]


Chuck Wallace Shares How to Break Digital Barriers at White House Conference

Chuck Wallace is all about breaking down digital barriers. And because of his success in doing that, this week, he got to present his work at the White House Conference on Aging.

Conference organizers invited Wallace, an associate professor of computer science at Michigan Technological University, because of his efforts to provide technology training to . . . [ Full Story ]


Girls from Bahrain Attend WIE

In 1982, Michele Kimpel Guzman had what she now calls a “life changing experience.” Then a teenage high school student, she attended Women in Engineering, sponsored by Michigan Technological University’s Summer Youth Programs.

 “The experiences I gained there were so inspirational that I became an engineer,” Kimpel Guzman says.  She pursued her engineering education at . . . [ Full Story ]

Alumni Around the World


Think Winter!

As we’ve hit that week where it’s both hot and humid, it was nice to get a photo in from a Broomball team from 2012. From left to right we have Liz Dreyer, Lindsey Johns, Jade Woiderski, Dagny Joffre, Jackie Harms, and Erin Lehnert. The Stripe’ed Lady DaWGs had a tough start to the season, but . . . [ Full Story ]


Developing High Tech Super-Lenses

Metamaterials are artificial materials that exhibit physical properties not seen in nature. Researcher Durdu Guney is using this type of technology to develop a superior lens. He hopes to work towards the manufacturing of the first super lens for smartphones. Read more about the project here.


Spreading the Husky Spirit in Traverse City

Alumni, friends and family from the Northwest Michigan Alumni Chapter joined forces with the Michigan Tech Huskies Pep Band and the Advanced Motor Sports teams to pull together an epic parade entry for the DTE Energy Foundation Cherry Royale Parade in Traverse City Michigan.

Shaking pom-poms, handing out candy and spreading sunshine the way only . . . [ Full Story ]


KAC 5K Run/Walk for Scholarships

Join fellow alumni and friends for a 5K Run/Walk on Saturday on August 8th. All proceeds go to Keweenaw Alumni and Friends Chapter Scholarship which helps local students attend Michigan Tech.

Pre-register by Wednesday, July 29th and get a free t-shirt!

Don’t miss this chance to run/walk the Tech Trails while supporting our local students!

. . . [ Full Story ]

Register Now: We’ll See You in a Couple of Weeks!

There’s still time to register for for Alumni Reunion (August 6-8)! Bring the whole family and join in on the fun. Just visit www.mtu.edu/reunion and click on the registration link. You can also call toll free at 1-877-688-2586 to register.

Can’t make it up to the Copper Country this year? You can still participate by sharing . . . [ Full Story ]

Alumni Profile

Mary Janet Kachmarsky Knapp ’72


Dr. MJ Kachmarsky Knapp graduated from Michigan Technological University in three years in 1972 with a BS in Biology and Pre-Med. She furthered her medical education at Georgetown University and Wayne State University, earning her master’s in physiology and pharmacology, summa cum laude. Her research in blood coagulation under professor Dr. Walter Seegers included studies . . . [ Full Story ]

Tech Sports

All Quiet on the SDC Front

It’s that rare bit of the year where things are somewhat quiet up at the SDC. But football gets rolling at home on September 12, and volleyball opens their home schedule the next week on September 18 and 19. Check out the athletics webpage for all the details!

Fill in the Blanks

From the Email Bag

Flurries Moving from Possible to Probable Soon!

The weather in Houghton has always been more than just a conversation topic.  Back when we were on quarters, classes began near the end of September. One of my former roommates who was a few years older than I related this story often.

At Freshman orientation which was held the week before classes began, it . . . [ Full Story ]

Featured Alumni Benefits


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Visit www.commercebank.com/michigantech and get the card that rewards you and show your Husky pride everywhere you shop, dine, or travel.

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.