Michael Woudenberg ’05 Authors Science Fiction Novel Exploring Advanced AI

Michael Woudenberg is a senior manager of software engineering at Chainalysis, based in New York City. He works remotely from Sahuarita, Arizona. Woudenberg graduated from Michigan Tech in 2005 with a degree in management information systems and was commissioned through the ROTC program. He spent six years in the US Army, climbing to rank of captain. Woudenberg went on work for Honeywell Aerospace, Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, and a variety of tech startups and has received several trade secret patent awards and innovation awards.

Michael Woudenberg
Michael Woudenberg ’05

Woudenberg recently completed his first novel, Paradox, a science fiction work exploring advanced artificial intelligence and what it means to be human.

Following is a Q&A with Woudenberg on his latest project and ties to Michigan Tech.

Q: What spurred you to write a book?
A: I love the exploration of what it means to be human especially when confronted with ever-evolving technology. Too often we lose focus of what gives us superpowers as we see old careers, skills, and capabilities being replaced or automated. This book is an adventure diving into these topics.  In the battle over advanced AI will we lose our humanity, or will we learn what really makes us human?

I’ve had the idea for this book since 2018 and it’s rooted in a group I was part of called Mixed Mental Arts which was focused on really learning what it means to be human. The original idea was to novelize these concepts to make them more accessible for people to pick up and enjoy while learning more about themselves.  When AI started exploding this past year, I decided to take a sabbatical and knock out the book since it was exceptionally timely. Letting it set for a couple of years also allowed some of the technology to mature to a point where the storyline is even more fun than I originally thought.

Q: What was the timeline and process for completing the book?
A: As I mentioned, the idea started in 2018. I then ruminated over the ideas for a few years. Last year I started writing professional essays on Substack at www.polymathicbeing.com where I explore everything from technology to psychology, leadership, biomechanics, health, and much more. This created some of the technical and contextual underpinnings I then pulled from to write the novel while having much of the research already done.  When I finally sat down and started cranking out the story it took me about four weeks of writing and another four of editing before I sent it off for professional review.  Two months of writing; Five Years of prep. 

What was the most fun was a comment someone told me as I started “Good writing should surprise the author.” I won’t deny, there were a lot of times as I wrote the book that I was surprised at how pieces fell together or plot twists emerged that naturally flowed vs. being designed in from the beginning.  What I like most is the interplay between the two main characters Kira and her brother Noah. I didn’t know how it would play out since Noah is anti-AI and Kira is the one developing it. What I loved was how their relationship tension results in a series of twists and tangles that really move the adventure forward.

A lot of people ask whether I used AI to write a book about AI and the answer is Yes, but… I used ChatGPT to help kick me off of a blank page. It worked great as a collaborator in helping with character development, counter-arguments, descriptions from other perspectives, and more. The first chapter was started by ChatGPT but its a terrible writer. It did get me going and 22 chapters of my own writing later, I went back and ripped out all the AI-authored content because I had found my own voice.  AI helped as an assistant but I learned that AI can’t replace good, unique, and insightful writing. (Just another part of what makes humans unique)

The cover art is AI-generated. Originally by me and then, with the prototype, perfected by my friend Matt Madonna. Like the writing, AI is a collaborator and it takes a lot of human effort to get it to work right. The cover is a compilation of four different images which we blended. The fun part is creating art beyond my expertise but being able to use my expertise with AI to do it. We did use Adobe Firefly to ensure the ethical use of art from licensed sources.

Q: What do you hope people take away from reading the book?
A: I’d really like people to walk away wondering which side they’d pick between pro or anti-AI. I’m still not sure if I’d be on Kira’s or Noah’s side. There are compelling arguments for both. I’d really hope that readers walk away with a better understanding of what really makes us human and what that means for us in the future as AI continues to be developed. 

Q: Why did you choose to attend Michigan Tech?
A: The computer science program

Q: Tell us about a memorable experience you had with a class or about a favorite professor
A: And interesting experience was with Dr. Christa Walck on business psychology which I didn’t enjoy… Until years later. I remember buying the same book she had us use and then starting to study human psychology like crazy. I took a couple more of her classes and enjoyed them greatly.

Q: Now, how about a memorable experience outside of class?
A: For 5 years I lived at Michigan Tech, making the Keweenaw my home. I was highly involved with snowboarding, mountain biking, and all things outdoors. One summer I camped out in the woods outside Copper Harbor while working and biking.

Q: How well did Michigan Tech prepare you for your career?
A: Tech provides a unique experience that completely differentiates us from other engineering schools. It’s uniquely elite.

Q: What was your first job after graduation and how has your career progressed?
A: I commissioned from ROTC and went into the US Army. From there I’ve worked at Honeywell Aerospace, Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, and a variety of Tech Startups.

Q: What are a few of your career highlights and notable achievements?
A: I’ve been awarded several Trade Secret patent awards, numerous innovation awards, and have been published and given numerous symposium presentations across a variety of topics.

Q: Why do you share your time, talent, and treasure to support Michigan Tech students and/or alumni or volunteer in your community?
A: I’ve volunteered as a math tutor and keep myself busy with pro bono career coaching among a variety of other volunteer activities because being helped by others is how I was able to succeed in my undergrad and career in general.

Q: What advice on being successful would you give to Tech students and young alumni?
A: Be adaptable and agile in your studies and careers. The increasingly complex problems in technology and society will be solved by cross disciplinary and cross domain collaboration and not individual specialization alone.

In Memoriam

April 1 – June 30, 2023

Class Full Name Degrees
1888 John L. Harris BS Mining, EM Mining
1888 Edmund J. Longyear BS Mining, EM Mining
1888 Samuel A. Parnall BS Mining
1888 William E. Parnall BS Mining, EM Mining
1932 Wesley W. Wiechmann BS Mining Engineering
1935 Robert J. Cosgrove BS Mechanical Engineering
1935 Francis M. Jakovich BS Electrical Engineering
1935 Alfred J. Nault BS Mechanical Engineering
1935 George L. Raftis BS Chemical Engineering, BS Metallurgical Engineering
1937 William T. Horton BS Mining Engineering
1938 Enno Van Gelder BS Mining Engineering
1938 Samuel I. Wright BS Geology, BS Mining Engineering
1939 Edward B. Connors BS Mining Engineering
1939 Hartley R. Graham BS Mining Engineering
1939 Albert R. Hancock BS Metallurgical Engineering
1939 George A. White BS Mining Engineering
1939 Louis J. Zadra BS Metallurgical Engineering
1940 Loyle H. Gay BS Civil Engineering
1940 Lucille M. Howard BS Chemistry
1940 Ray V. Jarvi BS Chemical Engineering, BS Metallurgical Engineering
1940 John Plecash BS Mining Engineering
1940 Arnold B. Raninen BS Mechanical Engineering, MS Mechanical Engineering
1940 Oswald A. Vispi BS Civil Engineering
1941 Ervin Bellack BS Chemical Engineering
1942 John K. Brozo BS Mining Engineering
1942 Arvo E. Kujala BS Mining Engineering
1942 Gerard M. Poliquin BS Civil Engineering
1942 Roger A. Teal ’42 BS Mining Engineering, ’51 BS Civil Engineering
1942 Norton Terry BS Mining Engineering
1943 Alex Barvicks BS Electrical Engineering
1943 Raymond F. Cornborough BS Electrical Engineering
1943 Raymond W. Cronshey BS Electrical Engineering
1943 John O. Mandley Jr BS Chemical Engineering
1943 Frederick A. Nolte BS Mechanical Engineering
1943 Clifford B. Stone BS Mechanical Engineering
1943 Charles F. Wicht BS Metallurgical Engineering
1944 Huseyin Ozukurt BS Civil Engineering, BS Mining Engineering
1944 William R. Penegor BS Metallurgical Engineering
1945 Orhan Baykal BS Mining Engineering
1945 John D. Dawson BS Electrical Engineering
1946 Ellen N. Aslin BS Chemistry
1946 Merrill B. Dillon BS Mechanical Engineering
1946 Lawrence H. Smith P.E. BS Mining Engineering
1947 Iris C. Ferrell BS Chemistry, MS Chemistry
1947 Robert L. Heasley BS Chemical Engineering
1947 Donald S. Huhta BS Mechanical Engineering
1947 Ralph E. Krellwitz BS Chemical Engineering
1947 Henry A. Laforet BS Metallurgical Engineering
1947 Lloyd A. Nault BS Chemical Engineering
1947 Joseph R. Osterman BS Mechanical Engineering
1947 Howard E. Roscoe BS Mechanical Engineering
1947 Richard H. Snell BS Mechanical Engineering
1948 Frederick W. Coon BS Electrical Engineering
1948 Floyd G. DellaCorte BS Electrical Engineering
1948 Michael J. Dunn BS Mechanical Engineering
1948 Dr. Gilbert J. Sloan BS Physics
1949 Wesley E. Bush BS Mechanical Engineering
1949 E. Hank Hamalainen BS Forestry
1949 Richard M. Harris BS Chemical Engineering
1949 Donald J. Leonard BS Chemical Engineering
1949 Phillip A. Pearson BS Civil Engineering
1949 Roger T. Penman BS Mechanical Engineering
1949 Howard M. Pollari BS Mechanical Engineering
1949 Jon R. Wiseman BS Electrical Engineering
1949 Herman P. Zanoni BS Business Engineering Admin, BS Civil Engineering
1950 Thomas E. Besemer BS Mechanical Engineering
1950 Ralph G. Burgess BS Electrical Engineering
1950 John C. Christensen BS Civil Engineering
1950 James R. Eaton BS Civil Engineering
1950 Donald K. Holland P.E. L.S. BS Civil Engineering
1950 Jimmie L. Jenkin BS Mechanical Engineering
1950 Walter L. Johnson BS Metallurgical Engineering
1950 William L. Johnson BS Chemical Engineering
1950 Paul J. Kestner BS Electrical Engineering
1950 B. Kenneth Larm BS Civil Engineering
1950 Wallace J. Lewis BS Metallurgical Engineering
1950 Philip A. Lindberg BS Mechanical Engineering
1950 Paul A. Lundborg BS Civil Engineering
1950 Raymond D. Peterson BS Forestry
1950 William H. Reinhardt BS Mechanical Engineering
1950 James E. Tollar BS Mechanical Engineering
1951 Jerry R. Allen BS Chemical Engineering
1951 John O. Anderson BS Mechanical Engineering
1951 Donald G. Chinnery P.E. BS Chemical Engineering
1951 William H. Glidden BS Mechanical Engineering
1951 John R. Jackson BS Mechanical Engineering
1951 James J. Messink BS Civil Engineering
1951 Ronald J. Pearce BS Mechanical Engineering
1951 George A. Premo BS Civil Engineering
1951 William H. Risteen BS Mechanical Engineering
1951 Charles R. Thurner BS Metallurgical Engineering
1951 Lt. Col. David G. Uitti BS Mechanical Engineering
1951 Zygfried R. Wolanski BS Metallurgical Engineering
1952 Muriel F. Blankenship BS General Science
1952 Robert J. Denzer BS Civil Engineering
1952 Wilber C. Farmer BS Geological Engineering
1952 Leo C. Fende BS Civil Engineering
1952 Mary K. Froehlich BS General Science
1952 William C. Green BS Mechanical Engineering
1952 Kenneth W. Heehn BS Mechanical Engineering
1952 Raymond W. Marttila BS Mechanical Engineering
1952 Arthur A. Nacke BS General Science
1952 Carl F. Roser BS Civil Engineering
1952 R. Clarke Stanley BS Metallurgical Engineering
1953 Gerald T. Baker BS Electrical Engineering
1953 Richard J. Barabino BS Civil Engineering
1953 Kenneth A. Grenquist BS Civil Engineering
1953 Jack L. Richards BS Electrical Engineering
1953 Reginald Skiles BS Geological Engineering
1953 Wesley K. Tervo BS Mechanical Engineering
1954 Charles S. Anderson BS Geological Engineering
1954 Dr. David M. Knowles BS Geological Engineering, MS Geology
1954 Kenneth M. Kulju BS Metallurgical Engineering
1954 Joseph W. Rosenbery BS Metallurgical Engineering
1955 Bruce S. Karinen BS Geological Engineering
1956 Dr. James A. Bailey BS Forestry
1956 Howard O. Barikmo BS Electrical Engineering
1956 Charles A. Elkert BS Mechanical Engineering
1956 Thomas A. Gildersleeve BS Electrical Engineering
1956 David L. Goulette P.E. BS Civil Engineering
1956 Jack R. Karpinen BS Civil Engineering
1956 John D. Latva BS Metallurgical Engineering
1956 Donald J. MacDougall BS Civil Engineering
1956 William A. Mossner BS Metallurgical Engineering
1957 Peter L. Fryzel BS Business Engineering Admin, BS Electrical Engineering
1957 John W. Koski BS Civil Engineering
1957 Edgar J. Kushan BS Mechanical Engineering
1957 Fabian D. LaTocha P.E. BS Civil Engineering
1957 Charles P. Mulcahey Jr BS Mechanical Engineering
1957 Edsel L. Walitalo BS Civil Engineering
1958 Eugene S. Dipzinski BS Chemical Engineering
1958 Martin J. Feira BS Business Administration
1958 Paul C. Hendrickson BS Mechanical Engineering
1958 Leslie L. Henriksen BS Electrical Engineering
1958 Marvin J. Hyma BS Mechanical Engineering
1958 Joseph G. Kirk BS Business Administration
1958 Alvin R. Krick BS Mechanical Engineering
1958 Ernest F. Kuhary Jr BS Business Administration
1958 Jerry W. Oja BS Mechanical Engineering
1958 Carleton O. Pederson BS Mechanical Engineering
1958 Donald V. Revello BS Civil Engineering
1958 Calvin R. Rushford BS Mechanical Engineering
1958 Floyd W. Schnell BS Chemistry
1958 Gary R. Steiner BS Mechanical Engineering
1958 Conley O. Swee BS Electrical Engineering
1959 John R. Becker BS Civil Engineering
1959 Charles E. Guy BS Geological Engineering, MS Nuclear Engineering
1959 Ronald J. Hernke BS Civil Engineering
1959 Dr. Harry E. Hootman P.E. BS Chemistry, MS Nuclear Engineering
1959 Donald N. Hopper BS Civil Engineering
1959 Wilbur W. Jarvis Jr BS Mechanical Engineering
1959 Donald D. Johnson BS Civil Engineering
1959 Vernon A. King Jr BS Metallurgical Engineering
1959 James K. Lee BS Business Engineering Admin, BS Metallurgical Engineering
1959 John J. Osborne BS Civil Engineering
1959 James M. Rasmussen BS Electrical Engineering
1959 Robert W. Rushford BS Business Administration
1959 Jens E. Simonsen BS Civil Engineering
1960 Frederick R. Appleton BS Metallurgical Engineering
1960 Gary B. Fort BS Electrical Engineering
1960 Thomas C. Fredrickson BS Electrical Engineering
1960 Raymond J. Gimmey BS Electrical Engineering
1960 Richard E. Locke BS Electrical Engineering
1960 John W. Paige P.E. BS Chemical Engineering
1960 David L. Shiroda BS Business Administration
1960 Michael J. Sullivan BS Civil Engineering
1960 James J. Wisniewski BS Metallurgical Engineering
1961 Carlo J. Cattarello BS Metallurgical Engineering
1961 Scott S. Collins Jr BS Mechanical Engineering
1961 Donald E. Fritzsche BS Mechanical Engineering
1961 Carl V. Hajek BS Mechanical Engineering
1961 Rodney S. Kopish BS Engineering Physics
1961 Louis N. MacDonald BS Civil Engineering
1961 William J. Newsted BS Electrical Engineering
1961 Dewayne H. Thompson BS Electrical Engineering
1962 R. James Federighe BS Mechanical Engineering
1962 Lt. Col.Paul E. Gauthier, (Ret) BS Business Administration
1962 Thomas A. Heuss BS Metallurgical Engineering
1962 Clarence H. Hoppe BS Electrical Engineering
1962 Robert S. Ray BS Metallurgical Engineering
1963 Maj. Thomas N. Daniele (Ret) BS Mathematics
1963 Geoffrey G. Huggins BS Electrical Engineering
1963 William E. Mokomela BS Civil Engineering
1963 Gordon W. Somsel BS Electrical Engineering
1963 Charles W. Streicher BS Civil Engineering
1964 W. J. Fournier ’64 BS Civil Engineering, ’65 BS Business Engineering Admin
1964 James C. Gauss BS Chemistry
1964 Joseph Guzek BS Chemical Engineering
1964 R. Thomas Johnson BS Business Administration
1964 Howard L. McKee BS Business Administration
1964 Daniel J. Meddleton BS Business Administration
1964 Jack R. Rose BS Civil Engineering
1964 James H. Schopf BS Mechanical Engineering
1964 Larry C. Tohm BS Mechanical Engineering
1964 Sterling P. Toman BS Civil Engineering
1965 John R. Brauer BS Forestry
1965 Paul D. Fritz BS Chemical Engineering
1965 Vinodrai P. Sompura BS Civil Engineering
1966 Thomas J. Freeman BS Physics
1966 Rakesh K. Kansal BS Business Engineering Admin, BS Chemical Engineering
1966 Curtis G. Larsen BS Business Administration
1966 Steve E. Soltis BS Business Administration
1966 Bruce M. Usimaki BS Metallurgical Engineering
1966 Rev. Francis Zakshesky BS Electrical Engineering
1967 Richard Z. Bladek BS Chemistry
1967 John D. Cress BS Metallurgical Engineering
1967 Robert L. DeLong BS Civil Engineering
1967 Jussi T. Lapinoja BS Chemical Engineering
1967 Philip P. Marcotte BS Electrical Engineering
1967 Earl L. Pound BS Business Administration
1967 Denis L. Richards BS Civil Engineering
1967 Dennis G. Tachick BS Electrical Engineering
1968 Ronald D. Brown MS Chemistry
1968 David A. Dreisbach BS Mechanical Engineering
1968 Thomas A. LaRue BS Metallurgical Engineering
1968 Patrick E. Mullins BS Civil Engineering
1968 Thomas E. Nowak BS Biological Sciences
1969 Karl D. Bergquist BS Metallurgical Engineering
1969 Clifton T. Dawley BS Medical Technology
1969 Roy S. Etelamaki BS Electrical Engineering
1969 Robert E. Fairbanks BS Civil Engineering
1969 Gordon H. Mitchell BS Mechanical Engineering
1969 Donald L. Schwandt BS Forestry, ’71 MS Forestry
1970 Lundy J. Castro BS Mathematics
1970 Joseph A. Krismanick BS Mechanical Engineering
1970 Gary V. Martin BS Electrical Engineering
1970 John C. Moden BS Civil Engineering
1970 William K. Wilke BS Forestry
1971 Gary M. Brazo BS Geological Engineering
1971 Dr. David R. King ’71 BS Applied Physics, ’71 BS Business Engineering Admin, ’81 MS Mechanical Engineering, ’85 PHD Mechanical Engineering
1971 David L. Soncrant BS Business Administration
1971 F. Walter Turino BS Mathematics
1971 David L. Zelinski BS Metallurgical Engineering
1972 Loren L. Howerter MS Civil Engineering
1972 Catherine L. Priest BS Biological Sciences
1972 Kathryn E. Wirtala C.P.A ’72 BS Mathematics, ’79 BS Business Administration
1973 Robert C. Bosio BS Mechanical Engineering, ’75 MS Mechanical Engineering
1973 Larry G. Bowerman AAS Forest Technology
1973 Gary H. Goll BS Business Administration
1973 Pamela J. Hoopes BS Medical Technology
1973 Craig B. Lindquist BS Electrical Engineering
1973 Jeffrey S. Newman BS Chemical Engineering
1974 Terry G. Broemer BS Civil Engineering
1974 William A. Compton BS Mechanical Engineering
1974 Michael R. Haapala BS Civil Engineering
1974 Stanley R. Johns BS Forestry
1974 Henry Klukos Jr BS Mechanical Engineering
1974 Darwin J. Kuch AAS Electrical Eng Tech (AAS)
1974 Dr. Thomas A. Naegele BS Biological Sciences, ’79 MS Biological Sciences
1974 Mary A. Nye BS Biological Sciences
1974 James M. Paternoster ’75 BS Metallurgical Engineering
1975 Michael A. Graf BS Mechanical Engineering
1975 Neil W. Nitschka BS Forestry
1975 Jeffrey B. Smith BS Electrical Engineering
1976 Bradley K. Abel AAS Electrical Eng Tech (AAS), AAS Electromechanical Eng Tech
1976 Kevin M. Claire BS Biological Sciences
1976 Edward D. King BS Mechanical Engineering
1976 Joseph D. Kovacich BS Mechanical Engineering
1976 Walter D. Lehman BS Civil Engineering, ’77 MS Civil Engineering
1976 Charles K. Ludwick BS Forestry
1976 Leslie W. Niemi BS Metallurgical Engineering, ’77 MS Metallurgical Engineering
1977 Thomas R. Asiala ’84 BS Civil Engineering
1977 James J. DeSautelle BS Mechanical Engineering
1977 James P. Felch AAS Electrical Eng Tech (AAS)
1977 Howard E. Herrygers AAS Electrical Eng Tech (AAS)
1977 Scott B. Holland BS Electrical Engineering
1977 Susan W. Jennings BS Fish Biology
1978 Bryan E. Carlson AAS Forest Technology
1978 David A. Crockett BS Metallurgical Engineering
1978 Kathy P. Rice BS Metallurgical Engineering
1978 Laura M. Rock AAS Nursing Technology
1978 Dr. David E. Ugwu BS Chemical Engineering
1978 John H. Williams BS Computer Science
1979 Robert G. Carter BS Applied Physics
1979 Laura M. Grossman BS Business Administration
1979 Dianne S. Ledel BS Medical Technology
1979 Steven J. Long P.E. BS Civil Engineering
1979 Jeffrey F. Tempas BS Mechanical Engineering
1980 Robert K. Barnes BS Mechanical Engineering
1980 Keith G. Kraft BS Chemical Engineering
1980 Kathleen E. Mullen BS Mechanical Engineering
1980 Douglas A. Shown BS Forestry, ’82 MS Forestry
1980 Timothy D. Williams BS Forestry
1981 Emile J. Tayar MS Mechanical Engineering
1982 Daniel A. Boucher P.E. BS Civil Engineering
1982 Jeffrey L. Crane BS Geological Engineering
1982 Jerald L. Elya AAS Electrical Eng Tech (AAS)
1982 Gregory J. LaBonte AAS Electrical Eng Tech (AAS)
1982 James E. Nave BS Electrical Engineering, ’86 MS Electrical Engineering
1982 Loretta Shea BS Business Administration
1982 Michael D. Wank BS Mechanical Engineering, ’85 MS Engineering Mechanics
1983 Richard P. Gallagher BS Business Administration
1983 Kevin J. Munson BS Electrical Engineering, ’84 MS Electrical Engineering
1983 Kevin C. Traven BS Civil Engineering
1983 Lesa D. Wilke BS Metallurgical Engineering
1984 Franck Green BS Electrical Engineering
1984 Kimberly A. McGuire AAS Electrical Eng Tech (AAS)
1984 S/Amn.Guy J. Rabey BS Chemistry, ’93 BS Medical Technology
1985 Gary M. Bianchi BS Chemical Engineering
1985 Andrew H. Porter BS Mechanical Engineering
1986 Linda S. Crump AAS General Studies, ASC General Studies
1986 Kurt J. Muehlmann ’87 BS Economics
1986 Steven J. Shorkey AAS Electrical Eng Tech (AAS)
1986 Lisa A. Taavola BS Biological Sciences, BS Mechanical Engineering
1987 Mark J. Foley ’89 BS Business Administration
1987 Michael J. Massey BS Electrical Engineering
1987 Ingrid B. Shepherd BS Scientific & Tech Comm (BS)
1987 Gerald D. Solgat BS Metallurgical Engineering
1990 Joseph B. McDonald BS Computer Science
1990 Julie A. Smith ’90 BS Business Administration
1992 Christopher C. Zank BS Mechanical Engineering
1994 Mark N. Mackie BS Civil Engineering
1996 Brooke A. Werner BS Geological Engineering
1997 Scott F. Assenmacher BS Civil Engineering
1997 Carolyn R. Hunter BS Surveying
1997 Li Liu MS Civil Engineering
1997 Cynthia A. Thurston BS Engineering-Mechanical Design
2000 Paul A. Daniels BS Surveying
2000 Laura M. Hivala BS Environmental Engineering
2000 Craig A. Pelletier BS Electrical Engineering
2009 John C. O’Neil BS Computer Science
2012 Alex Kaidan BS Mechanical Engineering
2013 Brian K. Kaufman BS Chemical Engineering

In Memoriam for January 1 – March 31, 2023

Reflecting on Connections

Alumni Reunion is less than a month away and we can’t wait to welcome you to campus. Reunion is a time to reflect on our connections to campus, strengthen our connections to one another, and share our Husky heritage! To get you excited for Reunion, we have a few photos to spark your memory (and a sneak peek of the Honored Classes Exhibit that will be featured in the Library during the weekend), including football coach Omer LaJeunesse, prepping for the Mankato State Game in mid-September 1958, a mid-century Brockway Mountain vista, and campus scenes from 1983. What places are you most excited to visit this year during Reunion? What memories are you excited to share? Let us know in the comments!

Summer Has Arrived!

From Copper Harbor to White City, and from Brunette Park all the way to McClain State Park and the Breakers, there is no shortage of beautiful Superior beaches to explore in the Copper Country. As summer gears up, our historic image this month—from the Harold Putnam Photograph Collection—from Eagle Harbor, Michigan shows that while landscapes change, our love of these beautiful shorelines stands the test of time. Did you have a favorite beach to visit while you were attending Michigan Tech? Let us know in the comments!

Remembering Professors Laszlo Valentyik and Sung Mook Lee

Dr. Laszlo Valentyik, 87, a resident of Houghton passed away Friday, October 28, 2022.

He was born on September 13, 1935, in Budapest, Hungary, son of Laszlo and Erzsebet Valentyik.

Laszlo grew up in Budapest during World War II and the post-war years, and enjoyed academics, sports, and working on cars/trucks and all things mechanical. He was especially interested in table tennis and achieved the title as Hungarian National Table Tennis Champion.

Laszlo escaped from Hungary during the 1956 Hungarian Revolution and immigrated to the United Kingdom.

He graduated with a Doctorate in Mining Engineering from Nottingham University and worked as an engineer for the UK government. In 1967 Dr. Valentyik accepted a position with Michigan Technological University (MTU) as a professor in the Mining Engineering Department teaching and conducting research.

In 1981 he collaborated and shared receipt of the Neil Rice award at MTU for the research publication, “Production and Evaluation of Lignite Pellets”.

In 1982 Dr. Valentyik married Louise Helene Fortin, from Quebec, Canada. They lived in Houghton and were active members of St. Ignatius Loyola Catholic Church. In March of 2007, Helene preceded Laszlo in death following a battle with breast cancer.

Laszlo was perpetually optimistic, friendly, and immensely enjoyed connecting with people in his community. He loved gardening, winemaking, fixing vehicles, traveling and staying physically active. His intense desire for continual learning was evident in every aspect of his life. Including learning several languages such as French, German, English, Russian, and completing multiple educational certificates beyond his PhD.

He is survived by his two children Terez Valentyik (Ted) Grady and Peter Valentyik; grandchildren Ryan, Jonathan, and Sarah Grady.

Laszlo’s family plans to gather for an informal remembrance in the Alumnae Room A in the Memorial Union on the campus of MTU on Saturday, May 20th at 4:30 p.m. All are welcome to stop by to share a story or memory of Laszlo with immediate family.

To view Laszlo’s obituary or to send condolences please visit memorialchapel.net.

The Memorial Chapel Funeral & Cremation Service – Hancock Chapel has assisted the family with arrangements.

Dr. Sung Mook Lee, a respected scientist, devoted father, and esteemed former member of the Houghton community, passed away peacefully on April 26, 2023, in Santa Ana, California. He was 90 years old.

Born on March 2nd, 1933, in Seoul, South Korea, Dr. Lee came to the United States after completing his Bachelor of Science degree in Physics from Yonsei University. He continued his studies at The Ohio State University, earning a Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degrees in 1961.

Dr. Lee began his academic career as an Assistant Professor at Denison University in Ohio before joining Michigan Technological University (MTU) in Houghton, Michigan, in 1965. He made significant contributions to the University, ultimately serving as the Director of the Keweenaw Research Center in 1976 and later as Vice Provost for Research and Dean of the Graduate School in 1991.

Following his retirement from MTU in 2000, Dr. Lee remained active in the academic community, serving as a Visiting Scientist for the Software Engineering Institute at Carnegie Mellon University until 2011. He was also a proud member of the Army Science Board (ASB) during two separate stints, from 1991 to 1998 and again starting in 2008.

Dr. Lee was a dedicated public servant, providing invaluable advice on advanced science and engineering education and research to governments worldwide, including Korea, Japan, China, the United Kingdom, France, and Russia, as well as multiple US state governments, boards, and professional societies.

His love for adventure and discovery led him to Antarctica, where he studied the physics-based structure of snow and Antarctic ice. He served on the Arctic Research Consortium of the United States, the International Aviation Snow Symposium, and other professional councils. His outstanding work earned him the Antarctica Service Medal of the US Navy in 1987 and the Certificate of Appreciation for Patriotic Civilian Service, US Army Antarctic Service Medal of the United States in 1997.

Dr. Lee was a loving father to his three children, Peter, Patty, and Janet, who have all built successful careers in science, engineering, and law. He was a dedicated husband to Chungmi Kim and always remembered his first wife, Incha Lee, the mother of his children. Dr. Lee also leaves behind his brother, Yung Mook, and sister, In Mook, and six grandchildren.

In addition to his professional accomplishments, Dr. Lee had a passion for classical music and cherished attending live performances of symphony orchestras and grand operas.

Many people around the world will remember Dr. Sung Mook Lee as an extraordinary individual who dedicated his life to serving others, advancing scientific knowledge, and enriching the lives of those around him. His unwavering commitment to excellence and his warm, generous spirit will be dearly missed.

The family requests that In lieu of flowers, a donation to Crush Rett Syndrome will help lead to a cure for one of Dr. Lee’s grandchildren, who suffers from Rett Syndrome. Donations can be mailed to Crush Rett Syndrome, 602 E. Rawhide Ave., Gilbert, AZ or online at mightycause. com/donate/Crush-Rett- Syndrome.

Celebrating Success and Driving Michigan Tech Forward

Rick Koubuek
Rick Koubek, President

In late April, we celebrated the success of nearly a thousand graduates at our 2023 Spring Commencement exercises. We are extremely proud of their accomplishments and have every confidence that their future endeavors will reflect well on Michigan Tech.

Today, I would like to call attention to the alumni, faculty, and staff who undoubtedly contribute to the success of our graduates by providing just a few examples of the transformative work happening here on campus.

This past year,

  • Michigan Tech’s Army ROTC program and the University were unanimously selected to receive the MacArthur Award for the 2021-22 academic year. Earning the MacArthur Award means we are the No. 1 overall ROTC program and institution among the 42 universities in our Midwest Region.
  • Our men’s cross country team had their best finish in the history of the program, placing 10th at the NCAA Division II Cross Country Championships.
  • Our men’s hockey head coach, Joe Shawhan, was named the CCHA Coach of the Year, and our Nordic ski team head coach, Tom Monahan Smith, was named CCSA Men’s Coach of the Year and shared the award for CCSA Women’s Coach of the Year.
  • President Joe Biden announced a US Department of Energy grant of $8.3 million in funding for Michigan Tech to help developing technology to recycle batteries in his remarks in Bay City, Michigan.
  • Our fall 2022 incoming first-year student class was the second-largest in University history and the most academically proficient on record as measured by high school GPA and SAT.
  • The fall 2022 Career Fair was the largest in MTU’s history.
  • Our research expenditures are up by about 8 percent over 2022’s all-time historic high.
  • And finally, last year the Michigan Tech Fund recorded its second-largest fundraising total in University history.

Behind each of these accomplishments are the men and women who drive Michigan Tech forward. They are dedicated, smart, hardworking, and passionate about our students’ success. Thank you for being part of this community and thank you for your continued support.

I hope to see you at Alumni Reunion in August.


Rick Koubek

In Memoriam

January 1 – March 31, 2023

Class Full Name Degrees
1946 George C. Tackels P.E. BS Civil Engineering
1947 Robert C. Hendrickson BS Metallurgical Engineering
1947 Leland G. Rodgers Jr BS Metallurgical Engineering
1948 Clinton A. Phalen ’48 BS Mechanical Engineering
1949 Anthony B. Bartoszek BS Forestry
1949 Samuel W. Cota BS Electrical Engineering
1949 James B. Vittone BS Mechanical Engineering
1950 Marvin V. Lefens BS Civil Engineering
1950 Robert M. Swanson BS Mechanical Engineering
1950 Paul T. Watts BS Chemical Engineering
1951 Fransis J. Siller BS Civil Engineering
1952 Jack P. Johnson BS Civil Engineering
1953 Charles D. Anderson BS Mechanical Engineering
1953 Victor M. Castro BS Civil Engineering
1953 John F. Pohlman BS Business Engineering Admin, BS Mechanical Engineering
1953 Wallace G. Renn BS Mechanical Engineering
1954 William O. Drummond BS Civil Engineering
1954 Elmer F. Werhane BS Forestry
1955 William S. Burke BS Mining Engineering
1955 John M. Smuk BS Chemical Engineering
1955 Daniel L. Stember BS Civil Engineering
1956 Arthur S. Hamman BS Forestry
1956 George T. Matthews BS Metallurgical Engineering
1956 Thomas R. Valentine Sr P.E. ’56 BS Civil Engineering
1957 Harlan B. Niles BS Geological Engineering
1957 Jack F. Shefchik BS Civil Engineering
1958 Paul A. Erickson BS Mechanical Engineering
1958 Ulyses S. St Arnold BS Forestry
1959 Robert G. Langlois BS Civil Engineering
1959 Wilfred J. Phillips BS Electrical Engineering
1960 Thomas R. Forsch ’60 BS Chemical Engineering
1960 Alvin J. Gebeau, Jr. ’60 BS Mechanical Engineering
1960 Ronald O. Harma BS Business Engineering Admin, BS Metallurgical Engineering, MS Metallurgical Engineering
1960 Thomas W. Schmucker BS Mining Engineering
1961 Richard P. Baker BS Civil Engineering
1961 Col. James L. Baushke Ret. BS Civil Engineering
1961 Merton F. Dibble P.E. BS Metallurgical Engineering
1961 Dr. Robley H. Morrison III BS Mathematics
1961 Walter W. Tacke P.E. BS Civil Engineering
1962 Anthony F. Raimondo BS Mechanical Engineering
1962 Carl G. Schwenk ’62 BS Geological Engineering, ’65 BS Geophysical Engineering
1962 Kerry S Shoemaker BS Chemical Engineering
1963 John M. Gogin BS Forestry
1963 Jon H. MacLeod P.E. BS Applied Physics
1963 Julio C. Raphel BS Electrical Engineering
1963 Darryl K. Tubbs BS Geological Engineering
1964 James E. Belmore ’64 BS Business Administration
1964 Ronald J. Gerlock BS Metallurgical Engineering
1964 Ronald O. Kay BS Mechanical Engineering
1965 James A. Niemi BS Civil Engineering
1965 Dr. Joseph L. Roti Roti BS Physics
1966 Paavo K. Alasimi ’66 BS Chemistry
1966 Daniel D. Astleford BS Electrical Engineering
1967 William H Webb BS Mechanical Engineering
1968 Mark J. Arnold BS Business Administration
1968 Alan D. Bockrath BS Business Administration
1969 L. James Barnard ’69 BS Metallurgical Engineering
1969 Timothy D. Burtrum BS Electrical Engineering, MS Business Administration
1969 Leon J. Draxler BS Mathematics
1969 William J. Gobert P.E. BS Business Engineering Admin, BS Civil Engineering
1970 Ted A. Brzezinski BS Mechanical Engineering
1971 Joseph Mark Krcmarik BS Civil Engineering
1971 Terry M. Lane BS Forestry
1972 Rodney J. Klingenberg BS Electrical Engineering
1973 Ross H. Jury ’73 BS Business Administration
1973 Scott J. McKeough BS Electrical Engineering
1973 Kenneth G. Van Kley PE BS Mechanical Engineering
1974 Robert W. Duncan III BS Business Administration
1974 Murli L. Hinduja BS Chemical Engineering
1975 Kathleen L. Parker ’75 BA Liberal Arts
1975 Gerald J. Ryszka ’75 BS Forestry
1976 James N. Lehman ’76 BS Civil Engineering
1977 Richard W. Dobie ’77 MS Biological Sciences
1977 Zoe Ann R. Vicory ’77 AAS Nursing Technology
1978 Steven R. Vanden Brink ’78 BS Civil Engineering
1979 Phillip J. Hendrickson ’79 BS Mining Engineering
1980 David T. Windmuller ’80 BS Mechanical Engineering
1981 Gilbert A. Brown ’81 BS Forestry
1983 Kathryn R. Rautio ’83 AAS Mechanical Design Eng Tech
1984 Kevin P. Erickson ’84 BS Electrical Engineering
1984 Geoffry C. Kotila ’84 BS Business Administration
1985 Susan A. Gillespie ’85 BA Liberal Arts with History Opt
1985 Keith E. Moyle ’85 BS Electrical Engineering
1991 Sharon I. Joles ’91 BS Chemistry, ’95 MS Chemistry
1992 Jeffrey J. Morse ’92 BS Forestry
1993 Douglas W. Stage ’93 BS Chemical Engineering
1994 James T. Green ’94 AAS Forest Technology, ’96 BS Forestry
1997 Matthew E. McPherson ’97 BS Mechanical Engineering
2007 Jill M. Recla ’07 BS Bioinformatics

In Memoriam for October 1 – December 31, 2022

Time and Talent Initiative a Perfect Fit for Green

To say Dan Green ’83 is passionate about connecting with Michigan Tech students and sharing his experiences is an understatement. He volunteers in numerous ways, sharing his story and experience to help the next generation of Huskies succeed.

“I know all this stuff, and I didn’t want it to go to waste when I retired,” said Green. “It’s so energizing to be able to share with current students to help them understand better what to expect after graduation.”

The reconnection to Tech all started two years ago for Green, who earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in 1983. Dean Johnson, dean of the College of Business, was working with volunteers Jenny Johnson and Scott Pattullo ’81 in looking for alumni willing to share how they had used their degree.

“Two weeks later, I was on campus guest lecturing in a classroom,” said Green. “On the way home, I was asking why we weren’t doing more of this.”

Green’s experience comes from a career in the banking and financial technology industries. He worked the first half of his career at credit unions, specializing in mortgage banking. While working for Boeing Employees Credit Union, Green was involved in a startup called Prime Alliance, a FinTech specializing in mortgages.

“BECU was building this software for themselves, but after showing it to other credit unions, a company was formed. After acquisitions and by the time I left, it was a $100 million business.”

He credits former professors Jim Gale, Tom Merz, Terry Munson, and others with being influential in his education. An econometrics class was a light bulb moment as it tied all the pieces together on “how to pull important pieces of information from a pile of numbers.”

Green believes there is a lot of untapped potential with the Time and Talent program. “I had been gone from Tech for 40 years before Jenny contacted me. I got to thinking that there have to be a lot of us with a lot to offer—not necessarily in terms of money, which is important, but in terms of human capital. Experience. Time.”

Green has found it easy to form connections with students because of the shared Michigan Tech experiences—the remote location and traditions. “You kind of can’t help but have things in common,” he said.

Green met his wife, Jane Mooney ’83 at Michigan Tech. Her experience with Summer Youth Programs as a child led to her attending Tech as a student. The Greens have committed to volunteering for a full week during SYP each summer.

“It’s one of my favorite weeks of the year,” he says.

The goal moving forward is to expand Time and Talent to develop alumni and student connections across all departments.

Jennifer Lucas (Jung) ’09, Tech’s Assistant Vice President of Alumni Engagement, lauds the work of Green and Johnson. She encourages others to get others involved.

“It is our mission in the Office of Alumni Engagement to provide meaningful programs for our alumni to connect with each other and the University, and the Time and Talent initiative that Dan is championing is a perfect example of that. It’s a pleasure for our team to offer opportunities to our amazing alumni who are willing to share their wisdom directly with current students to come back to campus for a guest lecture. We are so lucky to have Dan working side by side with us on this, and are very grateful to him and to Jenny for the effort they put in!

“We look forward to growing this initiative by enabling more alumni to join our Time and Talent roster, and being able to match them with the right classes and student groups on campus.”

More information, visit: mtu.edu/alumni/volunteer/time-talent.