May 19, 2015, Vol. 21, No. 19

The Kids are Coming


Welcome! With this issue, we’re welcoming more than 1,000 alumni to our ranks. To them I say congratulations. TechAlum is one of the ways we try to keep in touch with you, alongside our magazines, Facebook page, local alumni chapters, and probably a dozen or two more. Head on over to our alumni website for the full rundown.

My name is Kevin Hodur, and I received my PhD from Tech in 2012. But I never left town, and I’ve worked here as a writer and occasional instructor since. What we do here is try to keep everyone up to speed on what’s happening here in Houghton. Events, places, people, memories, you name it, that’s kind of what we do here. Have any questions or requests? Drop us a line here at and we’ll do our best. I promise!

More than anything, this is your alumni publication. It will pop up at about 11am every other Tuesday. Assuming I got all of the settings in the email right. There are a lot of boxes to check. But don’t be shy. After all, this is the same crew of people who also swayed to the Copper Country Anthem, who survived more inches of snow than should really happen, who got their hands dirty in the lab, and who otherwise called this place home—they’re just like you.

Right. On with the show!

It’s one of the things I look forward to most, the kids coming back to campus.

No, I don’t mean our students. They aren’t kids! I mean literally the school-aged youth who come to campus each summer as a part of Summer Youth Programs. Just about every week a new wave of them arrives, spending the week exploring an area that interests them. They also have popular culture references I don’t get and play games on the sidewalk I don’t understand. Was my time in grade school really that long ago?

These programs are exciting, and it’s the kind of opportunity I wish I had had when I was younger. It was about two years ago that a former designer and I were figuring out how the SYP catalog and application should look and feel. We both agreed that there should be a certain confidence about it all. Like “Summer camp? Yeah, it’s kind of like that.”

Because what they’re doing is so beyond what I remember doing at that age, what I remember being available. I wonder how many parents my age would also be rather floored by what SYP is doing. I mean, just look at some of these program offerings:

  • Video Game Programming
  • Be Your Own Boss
  • Bridges, Dams, and Skyscrapers
  • Mobile Robotics
  • Blacksmithing
  • Mountaineering
  • Aquatic Ecology
  • Rocketry and Space Science

There’s a bunch more, too. Like, a whole lot.

This will run until the beginning of August. By then they’ll know how to forge or program or paddle or control. And by then we’ll be getting ready to welcome a new incoming class of undergraduates, eager to get going in their college careers. Their younger colleagues, back at their respective schools, buzzing about what they’ve done, won’t be all that many years behind them.

One other pretty cool thing to share, courtesy of the good folks at SYP:

Thanks to an anonymous donor, two Waupaca High School students will experience an unforgettable summer educational opportunity at Michigan Technological University.

This scholarship was open to Waupaca High School students in grades 9-11 (as of fall 2014) and was selected on a competitive basis. Students were reviewed based on academics, answers to required questions and teacher recommendations. The selection committee also reviewed involvement in extracurricular activities, outside interests or responsibilities and application neatness and accuracy.  

“We were very excited when we received the call from Michigan Tech about an alumnus wanting to reward Waupaca students with pre-college summer opportunities focused on STEM,” explains Jeff Dolski, Waupaca school counselor. “After seeing the list of high-flyers that applied, we knew the donor would have their work cut out for them in choosing the two finalists.  This is a great example of a community member that has gone out and created success, and is now giving back to the community where their education began.  We look forward to many years of supporting this awesome opportunity.”

While a total of twelve very qualified candidates from Waupaca High School applied for this scholarship in the hopes of attending the summer camp in Upper Michigan, the scholarship program could only cover the costs for two students to attend.

The anonymous donor sponsoring this scholarship is a Waupaca High School alum who feels the camps offered at Michigan Tech are a great opportunity to educate and prepare students for a career they are passionate about.


I’d love your thoughts on this: should colleges and universities have the kind of obsession with Latin that they do? I ask that because I see the term alum becoming the norm, using the root of the word without a suffix. As a refresher, alumnus is male singular, alumna female singular, alumni male/collective plural, and alumnae female plural. I got to thinking of this during commencement when the term cum laude was employed rather than with honors. Granted, so many of the traditions—like robes and their ilk—date from the Renaissance, but have they served their purpose for us? Let me know what you think at, uh,

It’s snowing as I type this. It isn’t sticking, but still…

And finally, check out the story below about the Mineral Museum’s new collections. Make sure to stop by the next time you’re in town!

Thanks for reading.

At Tech


Bioprinting in 3D: Looks Like Candy, Could Regenerate Nerve Cells

The printer looks like a toaster oven with the front and sides removed. Its metal frame is built up around a stainless steel circle lit by an ultraviolet light. Stainless steel hydraulics and thin black tubes line the back edge, which lead to an inner, topside box made of red plastic. In front, the metal . . . [ Full Story ]


Wind Power Duo Wins Bhakta Rath Research Award

Wind turbines appear simple, but it’s the complex engineering behind the technology that makes harnessing the wind seem like a breeze. Bridging the gap between mechanical details and large-scale infrastructure needs of wind turbine technology is also no easy feat.

But that’s the research focus of Antonio Velazquez, who earned his PhD from Michigan Technological . . . [ Full Story ]


Michigan Tech Student Bikes Cross-Country to Help Build Affordable Housing

Rain pouring. Wind blowing. Sun blaring. All these weather conditions making it rough to be outside. Families without a home live with this, and so will Noah Kelly as he bikes to help build those families a place to live.

Kelly, originally from Saginaw, Mich., is a first year mechanical engineering student at Michigan Technological . . . [ Full Story ]


Alex Mayer Receives 2015 Research Award

Water is perhaps the most controversial natural resource in the US. Alex Mayer recognizes that, for all its controversy, water is essential to life and society. Mayer holds the Charles and Patricia Nelson Presidential Professor in civil and environmental engineering at Michigan Technological University and studies water resources. For his dedication to studying water quality . . . [ Full Story ]

Alumni Around the World


Keweenaw Science and Engineering Festival

Fact: Out of 100 Michigan 9th grade students, 73 will graduate from high school on time; 45 will enroll in post-secondary education within 12 months of graduation; 32 will persist from their 1st year to their second year of college; and 18 will graduate with a degree within 6 years.

With the help of . . . [ Full Story ]

Alumni Profile

Stephen F. Hahn ’82


Stephen F. (Steve) Hahn is from Midland, MI and earned his BS in Chemistry from Michigan Technological University in 1982 and an MS in Chemistry from Central Michigan University in 1990. Steve joined The Dow Chemical Company in 1982 and has worked in a variety of research and new business development functions since that time. . . . [ Full Story ]

Tech Sports


Suthijindawong Named to Academic All-District Team

HOUGHTON, Mich. — Michigan Tech women’s tennis player Kwang Suthijindawong (Bangkok, Thailand) has earned Capital One Academic All-District First Team honors from the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) it was released today.

Suthijindawong was selected as one of 13 female Division II student-athletes from the Midwest Region in the at-large category, . . . [ Full Story ]


Soccer Signs Three More for Fall 2015

HOUGHTON, Mich. — Michigan Tech soccer coach Michelle Jacob added three student-athletes to the Huskies roster for 2015. Kate Dorman (Manchester, Mich.), Darby McLaurin (Cadillac, Mich.) and Rachel Wall (Eagan, Minn.) will all attend Tech and play soccer starting next fall.

Dorman, a 5-10 defender, played at Manchester High School and for Michigan Premier . . . [ Full Story ]


Lucchini and Redmond Sign NLIs for Tech Hockey

HOUGHTON, Mich. — Michigan Tech today announced the addition of two hockey student-athletes during the spring signing period. Jake Lucchini (Trail, B.C./Trail Smoke Eaters) and Angus Redmond (Langley, B.C./Salmon Arm Silverbacks) have signed National Letters of Intent to play for the Huskies and coach Mel Pearson.

Lucchini, a 6-0, 176-pound forward, was the most . . . [ Full Story ]

Fill in the Blanks



Summer Youth Programs are kicking off, and that brings up memories of what summer camp meant to you. For me, I generally attended soccer camps, though they weren’t residential or anything. What was your experience like? Did you get the chance to take part in SYP?

From the Email Bag


Huskies and the Vettes (with apologies to Elton John)


I was the Quality Director for a company called Winter’s Industries, Canton, OH from 1985 through 1992. Winter’s had the reputation of building all of the intake manifold systems for Corvette from 1953 through 1992 – no other manufacturer was mounted atop the ‘Vette engine prior to 1992. The assembly consisted of a base . . . [ Full Story ]


Very Like a Prayer

Are you familiar with this? From mid-1960’s.

John Decator ‘69

Heh! I am now! Thanks for sending this in, John. –Kevin

Checking in with Our Ford Friends

Google “Dave Harmison Mustang” and watch the videos.  He’s an ME from the early 80s. We were roommates for a year.  He is the real deal!

Steve Butterfield 
’84 EE

Hi, Kevin.  I work at Ford, but my best friend from MTU works at GM, and he has been there since the late 80’s.  . . . [ Full Story ]

I Don’t Know My Own Town

I looked at the piece on the toys of summer and one of the photos, not related to the title of the article showed cars parked on a street in Hancock.  The photo was in regard to the construction on the bridge and redo of downtown Hancock.  The photo is labeled Quincy St.  It is . . . [ Full Story ]

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Around the Keweenaw

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On Campus

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