Month: November 2021

Innovators in Industry Aims to Connect Students to Alumni

On October 25, Michigan Technological University launched Innovators in Industry, a project connecting students with MTU alumni in industry. The aim is to give students direct access to industry experts, leaders, and influencers to help shape students’ paths.

The initial three-part series consisted of virtual sessions where featured alumni gave short presentations with Q&A from students and others in the audience.

Recordings of each of the first three sessions are available below.

Future plans for the Innovators in Industry series include in-person sessions and on-location visits for students to industry hubs.


October 25 • The Future of Autonomous Vehicles & Mobility
Co-hosts: Janet Callahan, Dean of the College of Engineering, and Jeremy Bos ’00 ’12, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering.

Featured alumni: Sean Kelley ‘86 of the Mannik & Smith Group, Inc., an engineering and environmental sciences consulting firm; Mark Rakoski ‘95, of Mitsubishi Electric Automotive America Inc.; and Birgit Sorgenfrei ’91 of Ford Motor Company.


November 1 • The Computing Revolution
Host: Dennis Livesay, Dean of the College of Computing

Featured alumni: Dianne Marsh ’86, director of device and content security, Netflix; Austin J. Noronha ’87, managing director, Sony Innovation Fund; Stuart Pann ’81, senior vice president at Intel Corporation; Christine Roberts ’91, senior vice president and general manager, software and services solutions, Poly.


November 8 • Entrepreneurship, Startups, and Venture Capital
Host: Dean Johnson, Dean of the College of Business

Featured alumni: Kanwal Rekhi ’69, managing director of Inventus Capital Partners; John Rockwell ’79, president, CEO, and director of Accelergy Corp.; Chang Park ’73, president, CEO, and founder of Universal Remote Control, Inc.; and Rebecca Ufkes ’87, president of Ufkes Holdings.


Lucas Appointed to AVP of Alumni Engagement Position

Michigan Technological University announces the appointment of Jennifer (Jung) Lucas ’09 as Assistant Vice President of Alumni Engagement, effective November 15. Lucas joins Michigan Tech after an extensive national search.

Jen Lucas ’09

“I appreciate and thank the campus community, members of the Alumni Board, and the Advancement and Alumni Engagement team for their efforts in selecting Jen to lead our alumni engagement activities,” said Bill Roberts, Vice President for Advancement and Alumni Engagement. “Jen has a depth of experience in fundraising and alumni relations and an exciting vision for engaging Michigan Tech Alumni. I am so pleased to welcome her to the team.” 

Lucas brings nearly 10 years of leadership and management experience in alumni engagement and annual giving to Michigan Tech. She got her start in Advancement working as a student caller for the Michigan Tech Telefund, eventually moving into the call center manager role following her graduation. She went on to work in alumni engagement and annual giving roles at several educational institutions before spending the last two years in industry relations at 3M.

“I am both honored and excited to come back and work for an institution whose mission I truly believe in,” said Lucas. “The Tech alumni community is a special one, and I hope to build on the foundation and traditions already in place while engaging in new ways with my fellow Huskies.”

Lucas will lead the University’s alumni engagement efforts including strategic planning, alumni reunion, academic affairs partnerships, and administrative oversight of the Alumni Board of Directors and regional alumni chapters.   

Examples of Lucas’s career accomplishments include maintaining an annual giving pace of over $1 million, volunteer and cross-functional team management, and extensive large-scale coordination and execution of both in-person and virtual events.

A Minnesota native, Lucas earned her B.S. in Scientific and Technical Communication graduating magna cum laude.  Jen was also a standout on the volleyball team earning many honors including all-America honorable mention and all-region. She received Michigan Tech’s Raymond L. Smith Award as the outstanding female senior student-athlete in 2009.

“Michigan Tech quite literally changed my life. My experiences as a student-athlete, Blue Key Honor Society member, and employee all are treasured memories,” said Lucas.

Lucas begins her duties on Monday, November 15. Roberts thanked Brenda Rudiger, Vice President for Advancement Services, for graciously agreeing to assist in the transition following Paula Nutini’s recent retirement.  


Supporting the Student Experience

“Celebrating Traditions. Creating Connections.” That is the mission of your Alumni Board of Directors. This diverse group of volunteers support a wide range of programs for alumni and students to encourage engagement with Michigan Tech. One of these programs is the Student Initiative Support Program (SISP) which provides funds and alumni expertise for student organizations with ideas that promote student involvement on campus.

They look for ideas for programs that positively impact all students and support the alumni mission of “Celebrating Traditions. Creating Connections”. Ideally, these initiatives are inclusive and support a culture of philanthropy among students. The Alumni Board has also helped students acquire equipment that will leave a lasting impact on the University such as the Film Board sound system upgrade.  

In addition to providing funding, they provide connections to knowledge or expertise in a particular area. An example of this was connecting the Sustainability House students with an alumnus with expertise in beekeeping.

Below are the initiatives that the Alumni Board has supported through the history of SISP.

  • Alpha Phi Omega – Epsilon Lambda
  • AMS Enterprise – Cherry Festival Parade
  • Aquanauts Scuba Club- wetsuits for women
  • Arnold Air Society
  • Blue Key e-tablets & software
  • Blue Key Winter Carnival
  • Career Prep Videos
  • CesarChavez Tribute Dinner
  • FilmBoard Sound Equipment upgrade
  • Forest Guild – National Convention
  • GSG Colloquium
  • SDC Ice Skate Rental Program
  • Indian Student Association Diwali
  • Iranian New Years – Norooz
  • IRHC Broomball Trailer
  • Justin Fitch Memorial Ruck March
  • Keweenaw Pride
  • Leaders in Continuous Improvement
  • LeaderShape
  • Makerspace 3D printer
  • Materials Unlimited Conference travel
  • MedLife – Mobile Clinic – international travel
  • Mont Ripley Ski Patrol
  • MTSF Oozeball event
  • MTSF Snow Soccer event
  • MTU Sustainability Demonstration House–beekeeping
  • Mushing Club
  • Outdoor Nation Challenge – OAP
  • Pep Band Cherry Festival Parade
  • ROTCPrecision Drill Team
  • SBE Project Plan Competition
  • SBE DECA conference
  • SIS- MLK Day
  • SIS- SIS/SAAM Reunion bus
  • Sled Heads-WC snowmobile stunt show
  • Society Biomedical Engineers – Conference
  • Society of Optics and Photonics at Michigan Tech
  • Student Veterans Organization
  • University Innovation Fellows
  • USG- Thanksgiving Break Bus
  • Women’s Leadership/Programming Council
  • Women’s Soccer Reunion

Whether it’s on this list or not, tell us what student organization or experience impacted you?