Category Archives: Awards

Annual Snowfall Contest Winner!

snowfall
The Keweenaw Waterway in Winter

Looking back from the comfort of a balmy (64°F) June day, it’s easy to say that this year’s snowfall was nothing compared with the 208.75 inches we got last year. Of course, during the week of sub-zero high temperatures in February, “mild” wasn’t a word anyone was using with regard to winter.

The Copper Country was playful this year and kept us on our toes. Some unexpectedly warm days may have seduced newcomers and eternal optimists into believing spring had sprung, but the more wary kept snowblowers, plows, and shovels at hand until May. As always, such diligence paid off. There were even a few instances of windshield-scraping into mid-May.

This year’s Annual Snowfall Contest received 331 guesses, ranging from 32.5 inches to 394.5 inches. With a total, as recorded by the Keweenaw Research Center, of 181.5 inches, this year fell a little shy of the ten-year average.

This year’s winner, Nathan Wier, a 2010 Mechanical and Electrical Engineering alumnus, had the closest guess with 181.22 inches. He will receive A two night stay in a Memorial Union or Wadsworth Hall guest room on campus and a Michigan Tech Winter Survival Kit (Hoodie, Gloves, Hat, Scarf, Blanket, and Snowbrush).

Our consolation prize winner, Michelle O’Neill, class of 1999, Civil Engineering, was chosen at random from all entries and will receive a smaller Michigan Tech Winter Survival Kit.
Thank you to all of you who entered the contest. Stay tuned for the Fifth Annual Snowfall Contest for the 2014-15 season which will kick off in November on mtu.edu/alumni.

Check out the snow memories of alumni and friends at mtu.edu/memories and post your own stories about winter at Tech.


Students Receive Alumni Association Support

This fall, a select group of 10 graduate students and 20 undergrads received a Michigan Tech Alumni Association Traditions of Giving Fellowship/Scholarship to help them Create the Future for all of us.

The Fellowship/Scholarship program was created by the Alumni Association Board of Directors as part of their mission to celebrate traditions and create connections for students and alumni.

“We are certain that students can see the value of a Michigan Tech education and we want to demonstrate the value of being part of a vast network of Alumni who have shared in this experience. We are proud to be able to support our students and encourage them to explore all that the association has to offer you right now and into their professional career,” says Darnishia Slade ’98, the organization’s president.

This is the second year of the program which will provide a total of $90,000 in support over three years. Alumni have provided the funding for these awards through generous donations to the Alumni Association over the years.

Recipients of this award are asked to connect to the Michigan Tech Alumni Association through its social networks and invited to participate in the local Keweenaw Alumni Chapter (KAC) activities. They are also encouraged to join the Michigan Tech Student Foundation (MTSF), a student-led campus organization whose motto is “Students Helping Students”.

2012 Fellowship recipients with Darnishia Slade
Graduate students visited the Alumni House to meet with Ms. Slade and Alumni Relations staff members.


Alumni Association Recognizes Four Outstanding Alumni

One of the most important activities of the Michigan Tech Alumni Association is the recognition of the achievements and contributions of our many outstanding alumni and friends.

Alumni Association Outstanding Young Alumni graphicOutstanding Young Alumni Award – Kristina Marshall ’98 Business Administration

Kristina is the President and CEO of Winning Futures in Warren, MI, a non-profit school based goal setting, mentoring, and scholarship program for teens.

Since graduating from Michigan Tech in 1998, Kristina has grown the organization to impact 20,000 youth, awarded $1.5M in scholarships, and implemented the Winning Futures goal-setting and evidence-based life skills curriculum into 100 schools and non-profits across 30 states.

Kristina’s accomplishments have also been recognized with Crain’s “40 under 40”, Detroit Young Professional’s “Vanguard Award” and  the Women Official’s Network “Wonder Woman Award” for Distinguished Youth Advocate.

Outstanding Service Award – Tanya Wareham Klain ’90 Mechanical Eng. (deceased)Alumni Association Outstanding Service Award graphic

Besides earning her Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering in 1990, Tanya was active in her sorority, Alpha Gamma Delta, Undergraduate Student Government, Residence Hall councils, the Alpine Ski Club, and was a member of the Michigan Tech Student Foundation.

After graduation, Tanya went to work for General Motors where she was a member of GM’s university relations and recruiting team. She was an ardent supporter and the designated GM key contact for the Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics.

As a Tech alum, she served on the board of directors of the Alumni Association and was very active in Detroit area alumni events. In 2004, Tanya was inducted into the University’s Presidential Council of Alumnae in recognition of her professional accomplishments and University support.

Her stewardship and leadership were based on fond memories and a commitment to serve. On December 7, 2008, Michigan Tech lost a devoted alumna, a stalwart supporter, and a dear friend.

award graphicDistinguished Alumni Award

Dr. Olive M. Cornish Kimball ‘52 General Science ’00 Honorary Doctorate of Clinical and Laboratory Sciences and John Soyring ’76 Electrical Engineering, ’06 Honorary Doctorate of Engineering

Dr. Olive M. Cornish Kimball ‘52 – Olive is a native of Calumet, Michigan and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in general science (medical technology) from Michigan Tech in 1952. She also earned both a masters degree in science education and a PhD in educational psychology from Northern Illinois University, and has studied at Bryn Mawr College and Harvard University.

As CEO of the Chicago-based National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences, Olive was responsible for all of the agency’s operations, including accreditation of approximately 700 academic programs nationwide. She was previously an administrator and professor of allied health programs at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Illinois. Prior to her academic career, Olive worked as a scientist and researcher and has been published in numerous professional journals. She has been honored by the Association of Schools of Allied Health Professionals.

Olive served as a Michigan Tech Fund Trustee and the University has awarded her an honorary degree of Doctor of Clinical Laboratory Sciences (2000), the Board of Control Silver Medal (the first woman to receive this honor), and has inducted her into the University’s Academy of Sciences and Arts. Olive also belongs to the American Association of University Women, the League of Women Voters of Illinois, and volunteers at a shelter home for abused women and children.

John Soyring ’76 After graduation, John joined IBM and during his 36-year career with the company, he held a variety of technical, professional, managerial and executive positions. He later completed graduate studies in the fields of computer science, electrical engineering and business administration at the University of Minnesota and State University of New York. In 2006, he received an honorary doctorate of engineering from Michigan Tech and later received an Honorary Doctorate from Moscow University.

Before his retirement from IBM in January 2012, John was involved in global business leadership for a multi-billion dollar annual revenue portion of the IBM software business. He has now started his own firm, Sisukas Consulting LCC.

Listed as one of Tech’s most notable alumni on Forbes.com, John has been a keynote speaker on campus numerous times and was the Commencement Speaker in 2006. He also supports students through the John Soyring Annual Scholarship. John is a member of the Industry Advisory Council of the American Indian Science & Engineering Society (AISES). He is also a member of the Michigan Tech Fund Campaign Committee and the College of Engineering Advisory Board.

These awards will be presented at the Alumni Reunion Dinner on campus, Friday, August 3. For more information on the Alumni Reunion dinner and other reunion activities, visit www.mtu.edu/reunion or contact Brenda Rudiger, brudiger@mtu.edu or call 906-487-2400.


Help us Recognize Tech’s Excellent Teachers

The Center for Teaching, Learning, and Faculty Development seeks input for its annual Distinguished Teaching Awards, which recognize outstanding contribution to the instructional mission of the University. Based on over 50,000 student “rating of instruction” forms, ten finalists have been identified for the 2012 awards. The selection committee is soliciting comments from students, staff, faculty, and alumni to aid in its deliberation process.

The finalists for the two awards include:

Associate Professor / Professor Category

  • Andrew Burton (Associate Professor) – Forest Resources and Environmental Science
  • Will Cantrell (Associate Professor) – Physics
  • Mary Durfee (Associate Professor) – Social Sciences
  • John Jaszczak (Professor) – Physics
  • Christopher Plummer (Associate Professor) – Visual and Performing Arts

Assistant Professor / Lecturer / Professor of Practice Category

  • Timothy Eisele (Assistant Professor) – Chemical Engineering
  • Philip Kendall (Lecturer) – Mathematical Sciences
  • Elizabeth Reed (Senior Lecturer) –Mathematical Sciences
  • Thomas Werner (Assistant Professor) – Biological Sciences
  • Roger Woods (Lecturer) – Business and Economics

Comments on the nominees should be sent to the Center for Teaching via its comment website: http://www.admin.mtu.edu/ctlfd/awards/DTAFinalistsCommentForm/ .  Comments are due by Monday, March 30, 2012.

The process for determining the Distinguished Teaching Award recipients from this list of finalists also involves the additional surveying of their classes.  The Distinguished Teaching Award Decision Committee makes the final determination of the award recipients.  The recipients of the 2012 Distinguished Teaching Award will be formally announced in the fall.


2011-12 Snowfall Contest now closed!

It has been a strange year for snow in the Copper Country this season but more than 950 alumni and friends participated in our second annual Snowfall Contest by predicting the total amount of snow to fall in the Keweenaw.

Last winter, Ron Streib, a 1969 Metallurgical Engineering alumnus, was the winner with his prediction of 178.3 inches.

The winner of the grand prize of 2 nights at the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge and a Michigan Tech Winter Survival Kit will be selected on June 1st from all entries submitted
. The closest to the Keweenaw Research Center official snowfall total (without going over) wins! A Michigan Tech Winter Survival Kit consolation prize will be chosen from all entries submitted.


Scholarships Available to Career Changers

Michigan Tech alums who are interested in pursuing a career as a mathematics or science teacher in secondary schools are eligible for one-year fellowships, under a Tech program funded by the National Science Foundation until early 2014. Anyone with a degree in engineering, science, or mathematics can apply for these $25,000 awards to study at Michigan Tech for one year. Recipients will take courses in teacher education that lead to student teaching and teacher certification in math or science. The deadline for returning professionals to apply for the 2012-13 academic year is May 1.

Further information is available at the program website – http://noycescholars.mtu.edu Or interested individuals can contact the Michigan Tech Division of Teacher Education (Brad Baltensperger, chair 906-487-2425, or Judy Anderson, certification officer 906-487-3570).


2012 Alumni Award and Board of Director Nominations Open

2012 Alumni Award and Board of Director Nominations open

Help Us Recognize Outstanding Alumni and Friend

Know a great Michigan Tech alumnus/a or friend of the university? Here’s a chance to help get them the recognition they deserve.
The Alumni Association is seeking nominations for the 2012 Alumni Awards:

  • Outstanding Young Alumni
  • Outstanding Service
  • Distinguished Alumni
  • Honorary Alumni
  • Humanitarian

These awards are presented each August at the Alumni Reunion.

Please consider nominating deserving individuals for the 2012 Alumni Association awards program.

Award descriptions and nomination forms are available at http://alumni.mtu.edu/awards/ The deadline to nominate is December 1.

Get involved! Serve on the Alumni Association Board of Directors

The Michigan Tech Alumni Association is calling for nominations for exceptional individuals to serve on its Board of Directors.

As the policy-making body for the Michigan Tech Alumni Association, the Board of Directors establish programs, set priorities for the Association, and work with the Director of Alumni Relations to engage alumni with the University.

The deadline for nominations is December 31. More information about the responsibilities and expectations of Alumni Association Board members as well as the nomination form can be found at: http://www.mtu.edu/alumni/notables/board/about/

For more information, please contact the Office of Alumni Relations at 906-487-2400, toll free at 877-688-2586 or send an email to alumni@mtu.edu


2011 Alumni Association Award Recipients

Michigan Tech Alumni Association recognizes outstanding Alumni and Friends

One of the most important activities of the Michigan Tech Alumni Association is the recognition of the achievements and contributions of our many outstanding alumni and friends.

Outstanding Young Alumni Award –presented each year to alumni under the age of 35 who have distinguished themselves in their careers. The award recognizes the achievement of a position or some distinction noteworthy for one so recently graduated. 2011 recipient: Dr. Katerina E. Aifantis, BS Engineering 2002  Click here for profile.

Honorary Alumni Award  – This award honors individuals who have provided service and support of the University characteristic of dedicated alum. The Association reserves this award to recognize the strongest non-alumni supporters of Michigan Tech. 2011 recipient – Daniel P. Lorenzetti, Hancock, MI  Click here for profile.

Outstanding Service Award  –presented to alumni and friends making significant contributions to the success of the Association and/or the University. 2011 recipient: Russell A. Gronevelt , BS Civil Engineering 1969 Click here for profile.

Distinguished Alumni Award – presented to alumni who have made outstanding contributions both in their careers and to Michigan Tech over a number of years. 2011 recipient: Dr. Bhakta B. Rath, MS Metallurgical & Materials Engineering  1958  Click here for profile.

Humanitarian Award –presented to those alumni who, through their outstanding involvement and dedication, have made a significant contribution of volunteer leadership or service which has improved or enriched the lives of others and the welfare of humanity, and whose accomplishments reflect admirably on or bring honor to their Alma Mater. 2011 recipient:  Dr. Terry J. Woychowski, BS Mechanical Engineering 1978  Click here for profile.

The Outstanding Young Alumni Award will be presented to Dr. Aifantis at a future ceremony. The other awards will be presented at the Alumni Reunion Dinner on Friday, August 5. For more information on the Alumni Reunion dinner and other reunion activities, visit www.mtu.edu/reunion or contact Brenda Rudiger, brudiger@mtu.edu or call 906-487-2400.


If You Have a Michigan Tech Degree…

If You Have a Michigan Tech Degree,
Bhakta Rath Knows You Can Do the Job.

Bhakta Rath, ’58, is the associate director of research and head, Material Science and Component Technology Directorate of the US Naval Research Laboratory. He and his wife, Sushama, a computer analyst for the Virginia Community College System, have endowed an annual research award to an outstanding graduate student and faculty adviser for work that will help meet the nation’s needs and the challenges of emerging technologies. Attending the University’s 2011 Spring Commencement, Rath reminisced about his days at Michigan Tech more than 50 years ago and his vision for the future.

Lucky for Michigan Tech—and generations of graduate students and researchers here—Bhakta Rath, ’58, never did get the hang of speaking German.

“After finishing my bachelor’s degree in India, I got a full scholarship to study in Germany,” Rath recalls. “But after six months trying to learn German, when all I could say was hello, good-by and where is the bathroom, I realized that this was not the way to get a graduate education.”

So he came to Michigan Tech instead, with a BS in physics and mathematics and not a shred of engineering. When he sat down with the chair of the Metallurgical Engineering Department, Corbin Eddy peered at Rath’s transcript and inquired: “Have you ever had a course in blast furnace?”

“No,” Rath replied.

“Open hearth?”

“No.”

“Welding?”

“No.”

He asked about several other undergraduate courses. The response was the same: “No”.

Eddy shook his head.

“You are going to have to take all the undergraduate courses you would need in preparation for this degree and earn at least a 3.0 in them, plus your graduate courses and thesis,” he said. “It’s going to take you nearly six years to get a master’s.

Rath politely but firmly disagreed. “I can’t do that,” he said. “My parents are paying for me to study here. I promised to come home in two years with a master’s degree, and that’s what I’m going to do.”

It took a staggering load of over 30 courses a year, but Rath did what he said he’d do. Then his advisor, Roy Drier, dropped another bombshell. “You need to stay one more quarter and take the mandatory course in Michigan history, so we can give you a BS as well as an MS,” Drier told Rath.

But Rath, who had already been accepted to a PhD program at Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) in Chicago, said no thanks. “I came here for a master’s; I’ll settle for the master’s,” he decided.

Despite his course load, Rath has happy memories of his time at Michigan Tech. He recalls staying in the old Scott Hotel in Hancock over Christmas break, when the university residence halls were closed. “It cost a lot–$1 a day—but with two of us sharing a room, it was only 50 cents each,” he says.

He’ll never forget his first ski adventure either. Some classmates took him up Mt. Ripley. Since Rath had never skied, they wanted to leave him on the easy slope. Rath was having none of that.

“If you are riding the lift to the top, I am too,” he said. It took his friends about 2 minutes to ski to the bottom. “It took me 2 hours,” he says. “on my belly.”

Rath’s determination to complete his graduate degrees took another hit when he actually arrived at IIT. “You can start by forgetting everything you’ve learned at Michigan Tech,” he was told. “You’ll have to start all over and pass a 10-hour oral exam before you can even start on your PhD work.”

At the time, Michigan Tech was known as a practical engineering school, training students to work in heavy industry settings. “The basic engineering Michigan Tech taught was the best in the country, but the University wasn’t preparing students to think about the basic science behind the engineering,” Rath explains. “Now a Tech education is much more science-based, and that’s a good thing, because we are not training students to work in blast furnaces and open hearths any more. We are preparing them to solve engineering problems, to create entirely new materials, processes and products.”

The engineering challenges are different now, Rath points out. “We used to focus on extracting raw materials and converting them to useable products. In what was then called the Metallurgy Department, it was all about metals, from mining to mineral dressing to processing. Now the spectrum is much broader, including polymers, ceramics, composites, semi-conductors and all kinds of novel materials.

One of the most serious challenges facing Michigan Tech and the nation today is the need to motivate more young people to go into science, technology, engineering and math, the so-called STEM fields. Rath has made a commitment to help through his work with the American Society for Materials (ASM) International Education Foundation. He is past president of the foundation and now serves on its Board of Trustees.

ASM develops nearly 50 summer camps for high school students and teachers, sponsored by the foundation, local industries and universities. Michigan Tech sponsored one in 2008.

“We need to excite American students about the STEM fields, and if you excite the teachers, they excite the students,” Rath explains. He has successfully talked the Office of Naval Research into funding summer teachers’ camps.

He’s a big fan of the hands-on approach to motivating the next generation. “Kids need to do things, to analyze real-world problems,” he says. “They need to look at a failed auto part and ask: Why did this shaft fail, and how could we make it better?”

The challenge of attracting young people to STEM studies is compounded by the trend in American business and industry to outsource not only manufacturing, but research and development. “There aren’t enough American graduates to fill the STEM jobs,” says Rath. “Universities are training more and more foreign students in STEM fields, but they are returning to their homelands, not contributing to the intellectual capital of the US. This is a very serious challenge for the future of our country.”


2011 Michigan Tech Distinguished Teaching Awards

The Center for Teaching, Learning, and Faculty Development seeks input for its annual Distinguished Teaching Awards, which recognize outstanding contribution to the instructional mission of the University. Based on over 51,000 student rating of instruction forms, eleven finalists have been identified for the 2011 awards. The selection committee is soliciting comments from students, staff, faculty, and alumni to aid in its deliberation process.  Here are the finalists for the two awards:

Associate Professor / Professor Category

Brian Barkdoll (Associate Professor) – Civil and Environmental Engineering
Andrew Burton (Associate Professor) – Forest Resources and Environmental Science
Will Cantrell (Associate Professor) – Physics
Guy Hembroff (Associate Professor) – Technology
John Lukowski (Associate Professor) – Electrical and Computer Engineering

Assistant Professor / Lecturer / Professor of Practice Category
Philip Kendall (Lecturer) – Mathematical Sciences
Michael Meyer (Senior Lecturer) – Physics
Scott Miers (Assistant Professor) – Mechanical Engineering – Engineering Mechanics
Rupak Rajachar (Assistant Professor) – Biomedical Engineering
David Wanless (Assistant Professor) – Technology
Roger Woods (Lecturer) – Business and Economics

Comments on the nominees should be sent to the Center for Teaching via its comment website: http://www.admin.mtu.edu/ctlfd/awards/DTAFinalistsCommentForm/ .  Comments are due by Monday, March 28, 2011.

The process for determining the Distinguished Teaching Award recipients from this list of finalists also involves the additional surveying of their classes by members of ODK.  The Distinguished Teaching Award Decision Committee makes the final determination of the award recipients.  The recipients of the 2011 Distinguished Teaching Award will be formally announced in the fall.