Category: Student Spotlight

My Life On Campus During COVID-19

Emily Kughn is a second-year student in Michigan Technological University’s College of Business, dual majoring in marketing and management with a concentration in supply chain and operations management. The Horton, Michigan, native is also a member of the American Marketing Association. Below is her piece about what it’s like living and learning on campus during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Walking onto campus to start my first year, I felt a huge mix of emotions: happy to start a new chapter, sad to leave my family and friends back home, anxious about what’s to come, and excited about my new independence. Just like any other first-time college student, I had my guesses about what college might be like, but I really had no idea what to expect. I can assure you the last thing I anticipated was a global pandemic!

Fast forward now into my second year at Michigan Tech—my everyday campus life looks much different than it did last year. Obviously, I wish more than anything that this virus never existed, but I’ve learned to forge a new path and create a new normal.

The sense of community on Michigan Tech’s campus is especially strong this year. We’ve found creative ways to come together and show support for one another. Since we can’t attend sporting events, have large gatherings, or socialize much outside of class, it makes the interaction we do get extra special. My favorite ways to safely socialize now include our outdoor movie nights, bonfires, going on hikes, and Zoom calls with my friends.

In order to thrive in online classes, I find it vital to establish a routine to stay organized. I treat my classes the same way I would if they were all in person. I make sure to mask up and head to the library at least twice a week in order to get a change of scenery while studying. I am also still very much involved in student organizations, which keeps me busy.

In the American Marketing Association, we participated in a virtual marketing competition and the Women’s Rugby Club competed against our conference in a virtual season. My student org involvement has been a major blessing; being able to stay connected with others in new ways while also staying involved in things I enjoy.

The most challenging part of the year so far has been not being able to attend all classes in person, not being able to see all of my friends, trying to meet new people, and constantly dealing with the many unknowns.

Finding opportunities to learn and grow given our current circumstances is important. Living and learning on campus during a pandemic definitely comes with challenges. However, I am thankful to be on the campus I love, still doing the things I enjoy (even if virtual for now).


Business Students Place Third in Annual Marketing Conference

Three student members of the Michigan Tech chapter of the American Marketing Association (AMA)—Ryan Calkins (Management), Emily Kughn (Marketing), and Jaxon Verhoff (Marketing)—recently demonstrated their marketing strategy competence at the 2020 AMA regional conference hosted virtually by the University of Wisconsin–Whitewater.



The students were selected as top-10 finalists at the online conference where more than 800 students from 64 universities participated. They went on to place third on October 9, winning a cash award of $250.

In addition to this achievement, Michigan Tech was represented in the AcuRite Digital Marketing Strategy Competition and Gartner Sales Competition, where managers from the sponsoring companies served as judges.

Although COVID-19 disrupted the learning environment, Associate Professor of Marketing, Jun Min, who advises the marketing organization on campus, states, “I am continually impressed with our students’ willingness to try something new.”


My College Internship in the Time of COVID-19

By Mitchell DeLong

My name is Mitch DeLong, and I am excited to share information about my summer 2020 internship with Plexus Corporation. I am a fourth-year Michigan Tech student studying management with a concentration in supply chain and operations management in the College of Business.

MTU business student Mitchell DeLong

Despite the many challenges COVID-19 has presented, I was fortunate to find an opportunity to learn and grow with Plexus at their Neenah, Wisconsin, operations. While completing work with a mask on and undergoing regular temperature checks has not previously been routine during an internship, I am thankful for the safety precautions Plexus established.

Due to the pandemic, all in-person gatherings for interns were canceled. However, Plexus took steps to ensure we could still connect and have a great experience. They offered safe and engaging activities from virtual game nights to book clubs. Overall, my internship relied heavily upon the use of computers to do my work and connect with peers. Training from both Plexus and Michigan Tech prepared me for these technology-centered interactions. 

I held the title of materials intern. The title may sound simple, but the work I was exposed to was beautifully complex. In the center where I was based, low-volume, high-complexity circuit boards are manufactured for use in advanced electronic equipment. The circuit boards Plexus makes are found in equipment ranging from advanced medical machinery to airplane controls. Some of the circuit board assemblies I worked with contain more than a thousand individual parts!  

Coordinating the movement of so many parts was challenging and it was also rewarding knowing that the assignments I completed helped provide end-users with a risk-free experience.

https://connect.plexus.com/sites/Communications/MMD/Approved%20Images/_w/Markets_AD_02_jpg.jpg

My tasks entailed procuring parts within the aerospace and defense market sector. I made connections with supply chain professionals and practiced techniques I learned in my courses at Michigan Tech.

Interning during a pandemic also provided the unique opportunity to learn firsthand about extreme fluctuations in supply chains. Some parts experienced a “Bull-whip” effect and were directly impacted by manufacturing changes related to the public health crisis. As a purchaser of those parts, it was my job to minimize the negative impacts of the supply chain so that production managers and customers could get the products they need on-time and at a fair cost. 

Beyond that, I worked with mentors to develop a long-term agreement project to stabilize and guarantee the supply and demand for critical components for circuit board assemblies.

While my internship only lasted 11 weeks, I am grateful that Plexus provided me with a project that will make a difference for years to come.

https://connect.plexus.com/sites/Communications/MMD/Approved%20Images/_w/Markets_AD_06_jpg.jpg

Securing Your First Business Internship as a Husky

By Matt Chard, third-year management information systems student

The first moment I stepped onto Michigan Tech’s campus, I became overwhelmed with emotion. It was an exciting time—balancing classes, joining student organizations, and making new friends—all while looking to secure my first summer internship. With so much going on, you may wonder where to begin to find that first internship. Let me share my story and help answer some of your questions.
Photo of MTU student Matt ChardMy first introduction to Michigan Tech Career Services was only weeks into my first semester. I walked out of class to find the center of campus filled with the newest vehicles from Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) and Ford Motor Company. As a motor enthusiast, I was interested in learning more, so I took the initiative to talk to the company representatives. I had a casual conversation about the new vehicle features and I ended up learning about career opportunities, which got me fired up to apply what I was learning in class to industry. I was now determined to get an internship! 

As the semester continued and the Fall Career Fair approached, I attended several résumé help sessions, where company representatives spent time providing feedback to strengthen my résumé and help me create an effective elevator pitch.

I felt ready for my very first Career Fair. Dressed head to toe in professional apparel, improved résumé in hand, ready to deliver my pitch. After more than four hours, I talked to about 20 companies. Feeling confident, I was getting ready to leave when I saw that the Harley-Davidson booth line had dwindled down to just a few folks. I saw on their Handshake page that they were only recruiting engineers. Still, my passion for riding motorcycles brought me to the booth. The conversation started with a brief introduction, quickly moving the topic to the motorcycle on display. I gradually shifted the conversation to how business students provide value even in an engineering workspace. I handed the representative my résumé before departing.

That evening, I received a few phone calls to set up interview times for the next day. Fortunately, I attended a Career Services’ mock interview practice session and was prepared. After the interview, I felt that I nailed it, but what was next? After sending follow-up emails thanking the representatives and reiterating my excitement for the positions, I received an offer letter for a summer internship with Amway and a four-month co-op with Harley-Davidson during the fall semester. All of my hard work and preparation paid off! I reached my goal of securing my first internship.

I found that the best strategy was to utilize Career Services, emphasize your passion regardless of its relevance to the job, and, most importantly, work on interpersonal communication and the ability to engage in small talk to develop relationships. 

In addition to campus-wide programs like Career Servies, to help facilitate the process of getting prepared for your first internship, the Michigan Tech College of Business has a program called Professional Blueprint. It is a series of steps and resources to guide you toward reaching your dream career. Plus, as you progress through the Blueprint, you earn College of Business swag and get an honors cord to wear at commencement!

I am glad I took advantage of every opportunity available to me. Michigan Tech prepares you not only in the classroom but through a variety of career experiences. There is no doubt you will be ready to create the future after leaving Michigan Tech!


My First Year at MTU: Marco Marquez

MTU student Marco Marquez stands at a podium
Having grown up in Detroit, Michigan, Marco Marquez felt ready for the natural, rugged beauty of the Keweenaw Peninsula. The unique location, along with Michigan Tech’s STEM focus, led him to enroll in engineering management.

Since starting at Michigan Tech in the fall of 2019, Marco has adjusted and loves his second home. At first, he wasn’t sure what to expect and found it difficult to leave behind access to shopping, family, and friends. However, he says that meeting new friends and exploring the Upper Peninsula made the transition to college easier than expected. 

Marco has enjoyed getting to know students from other cultures and connecting through language. As a bilingual student, Marco finds language to be a starting point in learning about other people. Of his new connections, meeting a fellow Husky from Spain in Intro to Finance has been one of the most rewarding. He finds that collaborating on homework in Spanish to be a helpful way to continue using his second language.

Joining student organizations has also helped Marco gain new perspectives. One impactful experience was visiting Chicago with the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers to speak with pre-college students in primarily Hispanic schools. The group encouraged students to think about their lives after high school and the opportunities that are available to them in STEM and college. Marco also traveled to Minneapolis with the Accounting Club, which prompted his decision to switch majors to accounting and finance. He is also a member of the Society of African-American Men, which participates in community service activities on campus. 

In his first year at Michigan Tech, Marco’s vision for his future has evolved. Initially, his goal was to get a degree and a well-paying job to help support his family. Since then, he has learned to aim even higher. Marco now aspires to create his own company in the automotive industry, where he will work to make travel easier, faster, and more affordable. He would also love to use his passion for language to connect with others while undertaking this journey.

Marco credits his growth to the encouraging culture at MTU, and wants to let other students know that stepping outside their comfort zone just might change their perspective for life.