Category Archives: MIchigan Tech

Meet Brad Turner…

Brad

By Amy Karagiannakis

Brad works part-time as a product designer for Handshake, the Michigan Tech start-up that is now headquartered in San Francisco. He started as an intern while the company was still located in Houghton in 2014. David Shull, Michigan Tech alumni and Director of University Growth at Handshake, related, “I’ve had the chance to work with Brad on a few different teams now.  At Handshake, Brad crafted major redesigns of the student on-boarding process. Over three months, Brad’s inquisitive nature enabled him to learn about the company, the team, and the users to create a new student experience that has been used by hundreds of thousands of students across the country. From day one, Brad was treated as a full time team member and impressed the entire team with his work ethic, design skills, and technical approach to problem solving.” Brad’s biggest challenge since working at Handshake is trying to involve more actual users in the design process. He’s currently leading many student-focused projects that will help to redesign the job search experience for all of Handshake’s users.

Handshake office in San Francisco

With the new Michigan Tech Makerspace set to open in a little over a week, Brad has been busy trying to get The Alley ready. Next week, Silicon Valley alum will be visiting campus to take part in the Makerspace grand opening. As the Student Director, Brad incorporated a design thinking process to turn the old Michigan Tech bowling alley into a multi-functional makerspace that the entire University community can benefit from.

Preliminary floor plans courtesy of makerspacemtu.github.io/updates.html
Preliminary floor plans courtesy of makerspacemtu.github.io/updates.html

Brad is a fourth year student graduating in the Spring with a Bachelors degree in Software Engineering. A Custom Pathways Innovation student, Brad sits on the Pavlis Honors College (PHC) Undergraduate Student Advisory Board and is very involved with Michigan Tech’s new Innovation Center for Entrepreneurship (ICE). During Homecoming week, Brad gathered a team to construct a cardboard boat for the Pavlis Honors College to compete in the annual races. Dr. Meadows may have captained the boat, but Brad led the charge. The well constructed design stayed afloat, and PHC came in second in their race.

BradCardboard

Named University Innovation Fellow in 2015, Brad continues to bring the entrepreneurial mindset to Tech by increasing engagement on campus through innovation, design thinking, and creativity. He facilitates student workshops and coordinates the Maker Coach training. Brad is also putting what he learned through his involvement with UIF, to use at Handshake, as he develops personas to better understand the students using the platform.

UIFs in Silicon Valley for Epicenter Training

One of Brad’s favorite memories while working in San Francisco this past summer was marching in the Pride parade with a group called the Trevor project, which is a suicide hotline for LGBT youth. Outside of class, Brad enjoys spending time outdoors, hiking, skiing, and taking pictures.  Self-proclaimed Harry Potter nerd, Brad bought the new book this summer on the day of its release and read it all in one day. He also loves volunteering at the Humane Society in his spare time to hang out with the cats.

Brad Turner is redefining what it means to be an Honors student. Have a passion for innovation? Find out how you can get involved with the Pavlis Honors College. Applications are due October 23rd.

 


Learning How to De-Stress

By Amy Karagiannakis

We all encounter stress in our daily lives, but some of us are able to cope with it better than others. Dave is on the football team, USG representative, serves as project manager for his Enterprise team, works part-time as an intern, stays active in his fraternity, serves on the MUB Board, is a member of the Pony Brigade, maintains a 3.97 GPA, and is probably one of the most laid back, got-it-together people you’d ever meet. Ok, ok, Dave is not a real person, but for the record, the Pony Brigade is a real Michigan Tech Student Organization. The point is that all of us know someone like Dave or have encountered someone like him in our past. How do they not have daily nervous breakdowns?

 Picture from: http://www.theplaidzebra.com/it-turns-out-that-selflessness-is-the-easiest-way-to-save-you-from-stress-and-extend-your-life-2/

Picture from: http://www.theplaidzebra.com/it-turns-out-that-selflessness-is-the-easiest-way-to-save-you-from-stress-and-extend-your-life-2/

Understanding how our body deals with stress is a good first step to managing it, so let’s review 8th grade science. Our nervous system is made up of the sympathetic and the parasympathetic nervous system. We will focus on the former. The sympathetic nervous system regulates what Walter Bradford Cannon called our fight-or-flight response. When this process is stimulated, your blood pressure rises, your heart begins to race, muscles tense up, and your breathing intensifies. If your typical day-in-the-life is consistently stressful, you may be conditioning your sympathetic nervous system to stimulate the fight-or-flight response for every minor circumstance. Experiencing this reaction multiple times a day can really wreak havoc on your mind and body. Finding ways to bring your heart rate down and relax your mind is important to managing stress and the triggers that cause it.

Picture from: http://users2.unimi.it/fens_stress/index.html
Picture from: http://users2.unimi.it/fens_stress/index.html

I find the most effective way to deal with stress is meditation. Meditation can be practiced by anyone. There is no wrong way to meditate, but here are some guidelines that can help you benefit from it. Finding a place for meditation during the day can sometimes be a difficult task. However, these are when our stress levels are highest. If you can’t be at home and you are looking for a place to meditate, consider the following options around campus: library study room, an empty classroom, Counseling Services Relaxation Room, empty common areas in the residence halls, or even outside in the warm sun on a nice day. Your meditation spot doesn’t necessarily need to be quiet. Some people prefer background noise or music to complete silence. Once you have your spot, get comfortable. Despite popular belief, you do not have to sit in full lotus position to meditate. In fact, I wouldn’t recommend it.

Men-and-meditation
Jagged rocks, on the edge of a cliff, in full lotus? Not my idea of comfortable, but to each their own…

Close your eyes and slow your breathing. Focusing on your breathing will help eliminate the negative thoughts and feelings that triggered your stress. If you are still having trouble freeing your mind from negativity, try focusing on an object or image that relaxes you. Others may find that the repetition of a single word said softly and slowly helps to relax them. Whatever you choose, the point is to find something that doesn’t require a lot of thought, but enough that your mind is able to focus on that instead of the negative thoughts and stressors. As you continue to breathe slowly and deeply, your heart rate will begin to slow, your muscles will relax, your mind will clear. Meditate for as long as it takes to reach this point of tranquility.

Statistics show that stress among college students is on the rise. The demand to be involved in multiple extracurriculars, getting internships and/or co-ops, keeping that GPA up, applying for graduate school, exams, getting a job, the availability of immediate communication via email, text, and social media all contribute to the stresses of today’s generation of college students.  Recurrent, long-term stress and anxiety can lead to a long list of physical and emotional ailments.

Photo courtesy of Flickr contributor Lee Winder
Photo courtesy of Flickr contributor Lee Winder

If you feel stressed and need help, remember that you are not alone. Michigan Tech offers one-on-one and group counseling services that are free to all Michigan Tech students. If you find meditation or other relaxation techniques to be unhelpful and you are experiencing physical and/or emotional symptoms of stress, please seek help from a counselor or doctor.


Have you registered to vote yet?

There is still time! To vote in Michigan, students must register by tomorrow with their home or local address. Visit the Campus Vote Project (CVP) website for more information and answers to commonly asked questions. This Michigan-Student-Voting-Guide from CVP can also help guide you through the registration process. Don’t let your voice go unheard. Register today!

college-vote


Filling the Pool…

By Lorelle Meadows, Dean Pavlis Honors College

For the past few weeks, I’ve been trying to find time to read a book that was recommended to me by a PHC student. It’s called Crucial Conversations. It’s about developing the skills for engaging in the day-to-day conversations that affect your life. But not just any conversation – crucial ones: the kind when opinions vary, the stakes are high and emotions run strong. Yikes!! Sounds like something we like to avoid!

Crucial Conversations

One of the first things the authors mention is the importance of the free flow of relevant information – the open and honest sharing of perspectives and ideas – because only then will the best decisions be made and only then will everybody buy in to and respect the decisions. The authors call this filling the pool of shared meaning. I like this analogy and the image that it takes all of us to fill this pool. It also fills much quicker if we are all pouring in our thoughts and ideas.

puppies

When people have a chance to share their ideas – no matter how controversial they might appear at first glance, no matter how challenging to others beliefs – people feel valued and engage in making meaning together – in understanding. Even though not everybody is guaranteed to be completely happy with whatever decision is made, the deeper the pool, the better the choice and the stronger the belief in the decision and the understanding of why the decision was made.

What I hope to always remember as I continue to meet and work with others, is that in that instant when I feel challenged or faced with controversy, and my heart begins to race and I start to think about running or hiding, that I am engaging in the beginning of filling that glorious pool of shared meaning. And, soon, that pool will be overflowing with unique perspectives, amazing ideas and all I have to do is dive in!!


Michigan Tech Ranked #18 for Return on Investment

michigan-technological-universityReturn on investment or ROI compares the cost of a college education with what that graduate can expect to earn. Bestcolleges.com recently released a report on the 50 best colleges and universities in terms of ROI. With a 30-year net ROI of just under $1,000,000, Michigan Tech ranked 18th in the nation. This number is calculated by taking the average net earnings a graduate can expect to make over a 30 year period and subtracting the cost of their education.

Find out how the Pavlis Honors College can help make that number grow. Our Scholars and Leaders Programs prepare students for success after graduation. We address society’s need for graduates who possess both depth of knowledge in their chosen field and intellectual breadth obtained through interdisciplinary collaboration, experiential learning and deliberate reflection. Graduating with recognition from the Honors College provides students with what Frank Pavlis calls the “plus factors” that put them at a noticeable advantage above their peers when applying for jobs.

Read the full report from Bestcolleges.com.