Chinese Calligraphy Workshops

Last semester, the Chinese Language & Culture Club along with the East Asian Cultures Club hosted two Chinese Calligraphy workshops for students in the HDMZ. The calligraphy workshops are led by Chinese Language Lecturer, Hana Kang. They plan on offering two more workshops this semester. All students are welcome! brushes, ink, and rice paper will be provided!

If you have any questions about the events, contact Hana Kang at hanak@mtu.edu


Usability Workshop: University of Minnesota’s Nick Rosencrans

On February 7th, Nick Rosencrans, a senior usability specialist from U Minn, came to talk to the STC Steering Committee, and folks from the Humanities Department. Nick is a usability consultant for the office of Information Technology at the University of Minnesota. He primarily works with web developers and software purchasers to conduct task-based usability evaluations. During his visit with the department, Nick discussed the best educational practices with our new Morae usability software. He conducted a workshop that demonstrated usability scenarios and provided guidance and materials for those incorporating usability into their class projects.


Dr. Patricia Sotirin’s Book Honored

Patricia Sotirin's Aunting: Cultural Practices That Sustain Family and Community LifeAunting: Cultural Practices that Sustain Family and Community Life by Laura Ellingson and Humanities faculty member Dr. Patricia Sotirin (2010) was awarded the honor of “Outstanding Academic Title” by Choice magazine on New Year’s Day. Aunting was selected from among more than 7,000 other academic books reviewed by Choice this past year. To read more about Aunting and the Outstanding Academic Award Title, please visit the Baylor University Press website.


Northern Lights Film Festival

The Eighth Annual Northern Lights Film Festival will be held November 1-3 at the McArdle Theatre on the Michigan Technological University campus. This year’s festival features the award-winning Beasts of the Southern Wild, with its special effects director, filmmaker Ray Tintori, on Friday, November 2. For a full list of festival films and events, visit the festival website. For more information, contact Erin Smith at smitherin@mtu.edu or (906) 487-3263. Admission is free.


Spring ’12: Justin Jones

I am a senior in the Communication, Culture and Media program, with a media concentration. An Upper Peninsula native, I grew up in Calumet and have a deeply rooted love for the area. For that last two years I have had the opportunity to work for director Suzanne Jurva on Yoopera!, a documentary about creative growth around cultural heritage in the Upper Peninsula. The film specifically looks at the Pine Mountain Music Festival and the commissioning of an opera based on the story of a mining tragedy from the early 1900’s in the town of Rockland Michigan. The film also tells the story of a joint project by community artist Mary Wright and the impact her Storyline project has had on local residents and their sense of collective self, young and old alike.

As a sophomore I had the opportunity to first try my hand at film making in Erin Smith’s documentary course, producing a short film about PANK Magazine with three of my fellow students (see the video below). Being involved in the Cin/Optic Communication and Media Enterprise since my freshman year, I have worked on various video productions across campus as well as a book cover for the Keweenew Research Center and a shirt for the CCM major. I currently work as a media lab consultant at the HDMZ in Walker and as a graphic designer for University Marketing and Communications.

Sharing an affinity for the hat they call the Stormy Kromer, Andrew Benda and myself have been a tremendous team in the past year or so. Our short film “Ouroborus” was a winner for story (ten total) and top ten finalist in the Hint Fiction Film Competition at the Vail Film Festival. Winner will be announced at the end of March during the festival. We have collaborated on both video production and design – the trailer for NLFF is a good example (we did all the filming and music). We are also currently collaborating on a brochure for our major and a hodgepodge of other creative endeavors.


Spring ’12: Andrew Benda

Andrew Benda and Justin Jones have collaborated on a number of video, music, and art projects during their time as CCM students.
Andrew Benda
Born and raised in the Keweenaw, the things that I have pursued while attending Michigan Technological University are (in order): lakes, stories, and saunas. Exploring expression in the arts, particularly film and music, I have worked on several projects including two trailers for MTU’s Northern Lights Film Festival for which I serve as project manager as well as working with Justin Jones on a series of short films marrying footage with music and more abstract sound design.

Serving as former President of MTU’s Rotaract Club, I spoke at last years Rotary 6220’s District Conference on Rotaract, Media, and the Future of Rotary. While president I led a fundraising initiative to send our representatives to Rotary’s International Conference which was held last year in New Orleans. At the conference I was intrigued by ShelterBox, a disaster relief non-profit, and I am now one of district 6220’s representatives.

I work during the summers at Camp Manito-wish YMCA where I do leadership initiatives in a wilderness setting with youths from around the midwest paddling lakes and rivers of Northern Wisconsin for four to five day routes.

Justin and I wrote directed, and produced a short film for the Hint Fiction Film Contest, where we were given a poem under 25 words and were given 1 minute of film to tell its story. The film has been selected as a finalist, and we will be traveling to Vail, CO at the end of March to see it screened.

I also play guitar in the band Two Sunrises. We play around town.



“Khipu” from Communication & Culture (HU2820)

Tom Maynard created a record of his work schedule using a khipu, a system of writing developed by the Inca people of South America prior to the Spanish conquest. Although khipus are still not fully understood, researchers have discovered that khipus use knots and cords to signify different types of data.

From Tom’s description of his project: “Short cords indicate date, and overhand knots indicate punctuation. Ashley’s Stopper Knots indicate a quantity of 10. The number of turns in each Barrel Knot equates to a number (between 1 and 9). Work hours are indicated with the task signifier (a particular type of knot) followed by the number of hours worked in that day. Figure 8 Knots: Challenge Course. Masthead Knots: Domino’s Pizza. Alpine Butterfly: Outdoor Adventure Program. Square Knot: School Work. All strings between the date strings signify one day, and are arranged chronologically.”