Category Archives: Alumni

PCA Panel Discussion for Chemical Engineering Students Fall 2016

The Presidential Council of Alumnae at Michigan Tech held a panel discussion in Chem Sci 101 on September 22, 2016. Alumnae gave presentations about their careers.

  • Christine Cowell: Introduction
  • Laurie Dorschner: Identifying and selecting career opportunity
  • Heidi Gieger: PIE to power your career: Performance Image Exposure
  • Sally Heidke: How to seek out and use a mentor
  • Jill Meister: Skills you gain throughout your career, balancing work/family
  • Adrienne Minerick: Work hard play Hard, be in the moment
  • Karen Wallace: “Oh the places you will go….”
  • Tina Schmiedel: The power of understanding the financials – professionally and personally


PCA CHE Fall 2016

John Patton to Receive Honorary Alumni Award

Dr. John Patton was presented with his award during a wine and cheese reception on September 21, 2016. The Honorary Alumnus/a Award was for:

Strongest non-alumni supporters of Michigan Tech; provided service and support of the University characteristic of dedicated alumni

The reception was held on the first floor of the Chem Sci Building, near the Unit Operations Laboratory Window. Dr. Patton gave a speech, “Advice for a successful undergraduate career.”



Dr. John Patton Award Presentation
Dr. John Patton Award Presentation

Alumni Reunion 2016

Outstanding alumni and friends will be recognized at the Alumni Reunion Awards Dinner on August 5, 2016.

The Honorary Alumni Award will be presented to John Patton, former Professor of Chemical Engineering 1968-77 of El Paso, Texas when he is on campus this fall.

The Fort Worth, Texas native, earned his bachelor’s, masters and PhD in Chemical Engineering from Oklahoma State University. He joined Exxon USA as a section head responsible for research on enhanced petroleum operations in 1959. In 1968 he brought his extensive process design and operations experience to Michigan Tech as professor of Chemical Engineering plant design and economics. Within three years his design students started receiving national recognition from AIChE. During his tenure at Michigan Tech his students twice won the national AIChE Design Contest for undergraduates. He also initiated a viable graduate program and elevated the quality of the undergraduate curriculum to the point of its receiving full national accreditation.

Read more at Tech Today, by Brenda Rudiger.

Chemical Engineering Inducts Seven into Distinguished Academy

Distinguished Academy of Chemical Engineering 2016
Distinguished Academy of Chemical Engineering 2016

Michigan Tech’s Department of Chemical Engineering inducted seven members into the Distinguished Academy of Chemical Engineering. All of this year’s inductees are alumni of Michigan Tech

The 2016 inductees are:

Robert D. Carnahan ’53: Carnahan got his professional start with the U.S. Navy working with underwater ordnance. Over his career he has authored more than 60 referred technical publications and has been granted 16 patents. Carnahan was awarded the Michigan Tech Board of Control Silver Medal and has been inducted in two other academies at Michigan Tech, Business and Economics and Materials and Metallurgical Engineering.

Michael J. Cleveland ’82: Currently he is the global business director for refining technology in the Process Technology and Equipment business of Honeywell UOP. Before assuming his current position last year, he served as the vice president and general manager for Latin America of UOP LLC based in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Cleveland and his wife Marie are members of the Michigan Tech McNair Society and Founders Society.

William M. Colton ’75: Colton is vice president, Corporate Strategic Planning for Exxon Mobil. In this role, he oversees the corporation’s strategic planning activities and the development of its Energy Outlook, Exxon Mobil’s assessment of global energy trends. Colton is on the board of the Natinal Bureau of Asian Research.

Christopher Copeland, ’05 (MS), ’07 (PhD): Working with Komar Kawatra, Chair of the Department of Chemical Engineering at Michigan Tech, Copeland designed and developed a new laboratory test method for evaluating the effectiveness of dust suppressants. After leaving Michigan Tech, Copeland accepted a position as a research engineer at ConocoPhillips. In 2014, Copeland was charged to lead a team of engineers responsible for the bitumen and gas treating facilities.

Laurie Couture-Dorschner, ’79: She began her career with Bemis Company in Minneapolis holding various engineering and manufacturing positions. She joined Kimberly-Clark in 1984 earning patents for her innovative materials and processes. She was the lead product developer for the launch of the highly successful HUGGIES Little Swimmers swim pants. Throughout her career she was actively involved in recruiting for Kimberly-Clark and led the semi-annual recruiting events at Michigan Tech. She is a member of the President’s Council of Alumnae.

Kerry Irons ’ 72: Irons holds a BS in Chemical Engineering and an MBA from Michigan Tech. He joined the Dow Chemical Company in 1973 and retired in 2004 after a 30-year career in chemical process research with his final role as Senior Technical Leader in Core R&D, Engineering Sciences Market Development. For 10 years Irons was on Dow’s Michigan Tech recruiting teams, serving as team leader. In 2013 he was elected to the Michigan Tech Alumni Association Board of Directors and is now serving as Secretary.

Karen Mikkola Swager ’92: As Vice President, Concentrates for the phosphates business unit of the Mosaic Company, she provides overall direction and guidance and day-to-day support for all concentrates operations in the phosphates business unit. She was appointed by then-Florida Governor Charlie Crist to serve on the Board of Directors for the Florida Institute for Phosphate Research. She was recognized by the Florida Chapter of the Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration with the “Hero of the Year Award.”

Ceremonies were held April 6 in the Lobby of the Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts. Remarks were made by Kawatra and Academy Member James Brozzo.

From Tech Today, by Chemical Engineering.


Order of the Engineer Induction Held

On April 18, 2016, the Department of Chemical Engineering hosted its Order of the Engineer induction ceremony.

The ceremony welcomed 53 new members to the order, including two biomedical engineers and three faculty and staff members.

In 2015, 27 members were inducted, bringing the total of the Michigan Tech Chemical Engineering cohort to 134 since 2014.

Following the lead of Canadian Engineers, the Order of the Engineer was initiated in the U.S. in 1970 to foster a spirit of pride and responsibility in the engineering profession, to bridge the gap between training and experience and to present to the public a visible symbol identifying the engineer.

The Obligation is a creed accepted by initiates, and is similar to the medical profession’s Hippocratic oath. The Obligation sets forth an ethical code and contains parts of the Canon of Ethics of major engineering societies. Initiates, as they accept it voluntarily, pledge to uphold the standards and dignity of the engineering profession and to serve humanity by making the best use of Earth’s precious wealth. Members of the Order of the Engineer wear a stainless steel ring on the small finger of their working hand.

For more on the Order of the Engineer, see their website.

From Tech Today, by Chemical Engineering.

Michigan Tech at AIChE Annual Meeting Atlanta

aicheCome and see how Michigan Tech is creating the future in Chemical Engineering at the American Institute of Chemical Engineering (AIChE) Annual Meetiing in Atlanta Georgia on Monday November 17 at the Hilton Atlanta Room 306, from 7-9 p.m..
Come visit with our faculty over food & drinks, learn about our innnovative research,
our outstanding lab facilities, our undergraduate and graduate education, and how we are
creating the future.
Tne featured speaker will be Prof. David Shonnard, Director of the Sustainable Futures Institute.
Michigan Tech AIChE Atlanta

Ed Fisher led Chemical Engineering in 80s and 90s

fisherEdward Fisher, whose visionary leadership helped lay the foundation for the modern Department of Chemical Engineering, passed away Saturday, Aug. 2, at Aspirus Keweenaw Hospital. He was 76.

Fisher came to the University in 1985 as head of what was then the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering. When a separate Department of Chemistry was formed in the College of Sciences and Arts, he continued as chair of chemical engineering. In 1995, Fisher served as interim dean of engineering and then, after a final year as chair, returned to the faculty in 1997. He retired in 2003. Continue reading

Alums at the Society of Rheology meeting in Montreal

At the Society of Rheology meeting in Montreal Canada in October 2013, Dr Faith Morrison met with James Eickhoff, Michigan Tech class of 2004, and Mark Cieslinski, Michigan Tech class of 2011. James works for Anton Paar, a rheometer manufacturer. He travels all over the world. Mark is a graduate student in Don Baird’s group at Virginia Tech, set to get his Ph.D. in chemical engineering/rheology in two years. Both students took CM4650 Polymer Rheology from Dr. Morrison when they were at Tech.

Michigan Tech at AIChE Annual Meeting

Come visit with our faculty over food & drinks, learn about our innnovative research, our outstanding lab facilities, our undergraduate and graduate education, and how we are creating the future.
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 4, 2013 • 7-10 PM
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