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Littlest “Graduate” Celebrates Her Parents’ Commencement

August and Elizabeth Skultety [weren’t] the only ones in their family wearing caps and gowns at  Michigan Technological University’s 2014 Spring Commencement Saturday.  Their 3-year-old daughter, Charlotte, [was] right there with them in a miniature cap and gown in honor of her parents’ graduation from Michigan Tech.

“All of college has been a family experience for us,” said Elizabeth, who is receiving her Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering, “so it feels like she is graduating too. She has put up with all of our studying and other commitments.”

August is receiving a Bachelor of Science in Management with a concentration in supply chain and operations management. Yoopers born and raised—August from Gladstone and Elizabeth from Escanaba—the Skultetys will be moving to Midland, Mich., to start jobs at Dow Chemical.  August will be a supply chain analyst for Dow, and Elizabeth will be a production engineer with Dow AgroSciences.

Both Skultetys have fond memories of their days at Michigan Tech. Elizabeth found the chemical engineering department very hands on and the professors very personable. She is especially grateful for the mentorship of Professor Julia King , under whom she conducted research. King not only helped Elizabeth with her studies, she helped the family find day care for Charlotte when they found themselves struggling with that.

Elizabeth was also very involved in the American Institute of Chemical Engineers and is currently the president of the Michigan Tech chapter.

August said he enjoyed working with the School of Business and Economics. He had special praise for Professor Dana Johnson, who he said was very helpful throughout his Tech experience.

Houghton also proved the perfect place to pursue some of their favorite activities; hiking, camping and playing in the snow.

The couple chose to work with Dow Chemical after positive experiences as interns there. “We both chose Dow because we really liked the company as a whole,” said Elizabeth. “They are a family oriented company, and we like the Midland community for that as well.”

The Skultetys are looking forward to the next chapter of their lives, at Dow. “We were able to both get internships, and I was able to go to a career fair after my sophomore year and immediately get a great internship with Dow,” said Elizabeth. “I was really happy that the job opportunities were so good.”

August called Dow “our first choice, so it [the career fair] enabled us to get positions with our first-choice company,” said August. “We both got hired in August, so we haven’t had to worry all year.”

Though the Skultetys are leaving, they have a bit of advice for the students who come after them: time management and a stable support system are the keys to success at Michigan Tech.

Although the family enjoyed their time in Houghton, they are ready to start the next part of their journey. “It is a relief [to graduate]. We are ready to move on and start the next chapter in our lives,” said Elizabeth. “We are closing on a house this summer in Midland. We are ready to settle down in a community and get some roots.”

As for the littlest cap-and-gown wearer, Charlotte is just a little sad to have to cover up the sparkly new dress she got for the occasion. She’ll get to show off a little bit of sparkle, though, with the sparkly white shoes she got to complete her ensemble.

Michigan Technological University ( is a leading public research university developing new technologies and preparing students to create the future for a prosperous and sustainable world. Michigan Tech offers more than 130 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in engineering; forest resources; computing; technology; business; economics; natural, physical and environmental sciences; arts; humanities; and social sciences.

*This article was written by Erika Vichcales for Michigan Tech News, and was re-posted with the author’s permission.  Please click here to see the original posting.

THE Project 2014

The Michigan Tech team (from left to right): Destine Clark, Cole Smith, Angela Barr, Min Li, Robert Stroebel, and Shivaram Kannimangalamviswanathan

Michigan Tech placed second in THE Project 2014‘s competition on April 14.  The event was held at Davenport University in Grand Rapids, MI and involved ten teams from around the country.  Competing students had been asked to prepare a recommendation to Governor Snyder to make it easier for Michigan’s Military Veterans to connect with their Federal Benefits.

2014 marked the third annual Project competition; both of Michigan Tech’s teams made the final four in 2013 (placing second and third), and Michigan Tech’s Team B placed second in 2012.

For 2014, Michigan Tech sent one team, consisting of:

  • Angela Barr, double major in Marketing and Management
  • Destine Clark, majoring in Operations and Systems Management
  • Shivaram Kannimangalamviswanathan, Graduate student in Mechanical Engineering
  • Min Li, majoring in Operations and Systems Management
  • Cole Smith, majoring in Management
  • Robert Strobel, majoring in Engineering Management

The team worked diligently over the course of two semesters to prepare for the presentations.  Smith noticed that his public speaking skills steadily improved over the course of the year.  He stated, “It was a great experience from the beginning.  I now have a better understanding of project management concepts, and feel confident I can use what I learned from this competition in the real world.  It also helped me become a stronger leader and improved my communication skills.”

Smith offered up some advice for next year’s team: “Preparation is key, and you have to know your audience.”  Want to be involved in THE Project 2015?  Apply by October 2014!

Tech Grads Get Huge ROI

All business students know the value of a high Return on Investment.  But did you know that Tech graduates may earn a larger Return on Investment (ROI) for their education than their peers hailing from other alma maters?

PayScale’s recent findings show that out of all of the public institutions in the United States, graduates from Michigan Tech receive the 13th highest ROI in the nation, and the #1 highest in the state of Michigan.  For comparison, Michigan State University was ranked 66th on ROI, Western Michigan University fell in at #177, and Northern Michigan University ranked at #372.

This news doesn’t just bode well for alumni wallets; these statistics should directly correlate to an increased demand for Tech graduates.  And those graduates are making big impressions on employers nationwide.  215 companies registered to recruit and interview Michigan Tech students at the spring Career Fair last month!

Congratulations, fiscally responsible Huskies!

A website of their very own

MIS students hard at work on the 31 Backpacks website during their web design class.

The non-profit organization 31 Backpacks has been operating for a little more than one year, and is now taking a technical step forward with a website created by Michigan Technological University students.

Begun in October 2012 by Laurel and Melissa Maki, and friend Amy Zadawa, the 31 Backpacks program involves identifying children who may be going hungry over a weekend because there isn’t enough food in the house or apartment, getting parents’ permission to send food home with them, then filling the backpacks with enough food items for the weekend. None of the people involved with the organization know the identity of the students getting the food.

The website for 31 Backpacks is being created by students in a web design class of Russell Louks, Tech professor of practice in the School of Business.

“Laurel and Melissa came to my office one day and said they needed a website,” he said.

He assigned the construction of the website to seven students in two groups, Louks said. The best site from the two groups will be chosen to go online.

There were requirements for the website, including number of pages, Louks said.

“It has to have at least six,” he said. “Most of them will have eight or 10.”

One of the teams working on the website consists of Kaylee Betzinger, Seth Stever and Stacie Studer.

Betzinger said the groups had a choice of two websites to work on.

“This appealed to us more,” she said. “It’s for a charity.”

Studer said their group used the website of Love, INC as the model for their creation.

“Laurel and Melissa said they really liked Love, INC’s website,” she said.

Friday, Betzinger said they had completed six pages for the website. At one point they had seven pages, but they eliminated one.

“It’s not adding anymore value to the website to have more pages,” she said.

Betzinger said the website the group created links to 31 Backpacks Facebook page, and it will have a link to PayPal for donations.

Melissa Maki said the three creators of 31 Backpacks wanted a website right from the beginning, but they weren’t able to set one up.

“We don’t have the know-it-all to do it,” she said.

One of the requirements for the website will be that they can do maintenance and updates themselves, Melissa said. They also would like people to be able to volunteer for 31 Backpacks on the site.

Louks said the other group working on the 31 backpacks website consists of Tony Campbell, Paula Castilho, Emily Christ and Quentin Franke. The two groups began working on their versions of a website at the start of the semester in September, and it should take the entire semester.

“We’ll finish it up before Christmas break,” he said.

The site is expected to go live by the end of December, Louks said.

In other 31 Backpacks news, Laurel Maki said Chassell Township Schools are the most recent addition for the organization. They are now serving 106 students in the Public Schools of Calumet, Laurium & Keweenaw, including the district’s Horizon Alternative High School; Chassell Township Schools; Lake Linden-Hubbell Public Schools; Dollar Bay-Tamarack City Area Schools; Hancock Gordon G. Barkell Elementary School and Hancock Middle School; and Houghton Elementary School. Talks are continuing with Adams Township School District and Stanton Township Public Schools.

Laurel Maki said currently 31 Backpacks is getting food from Tadych’s Econo Foods, Pat’s Foods, the Community Action Agency, Walmart and Gordon Food Service in Marquette.

Monetary donations are important for 31 Backpacks, and Laurel maki said a current fundraising effort is taking place at the AmericInn Lodge and Suites in Calumet.

Dianne Peterson, manager of the AmericInn, said the company has a program called AmericInn Cares, and in the Calumet location they are taking donations for 31 Backpacks and the United States Marine Corps’s Toys For Tots.

Donors can pay $2 and get their name displayed in the lobby, or they can make a larger donation and get a free service.

“If you bring in a $5 donation for 31 Backpacks or Toys For Tots, you can swim for free,” she said.

Peterson said she chose 31 Backpacks as one of the charities the business should support after hearing about what they do from some of her staff members.

“I was a little appalled we had that many kids going hungry,” she said.

Peterson said about 40 people have donated to 31 backpacks at the AmericInn since they started just before Halloween. “It’s going good,” she said.

To volunteer or donate to the program contact Melissa Maki, or 231-0694, or Laurel Maki, or 231-1472. Make checks payable to 31 Backpacks, Inc.

This article was originally published by Kurt Hauglie fro the Daily Mining Gazette on November 9, 2013.

Business Insider Gives Tech High Marks for Graduate Earning Potential

Potential earnings are part of the value of a university education.

More than ever, students choosing where to go to school review the future earning potential of a university’s graduates. But the well-known US News & World Report ranking of colleges and universities doesn’t give that factor much weight. They should, says Business Insider, a business website that analyzes financial, media, technology and other industries. So Business Insider combined the US News & World Report rankings of best universities and the college salary report to develop rankings that reflect both reputation and the salaries earned by graduates.

Analyzing several hundred universities and colleges, Business Insider developed two lists of colleges and universities: “underrated” and “overrated.” The website termed schools with a lower US News college ranking and higher salary ranking “underrated.” These are schools whose graduates rank high on salaries earned but aren’t given due credit in the US News ranking.

Michigan Tech made Business Insider’s list of the top 25 “underrated” schools, coming in at 22.

Business Insider termed schools with a high US News ranking and low salary ranking as “overrated.” These are schools that show up very well in the Best Colleges ranking, but their graduates earn lower salaries than might be expected from their US News ranking.

“We found that most of the underrated schools were engineering and technology schools with relatively low US News rankings but outstanding salary performance,” Business Insider notes on its web site.

For the full story, see Business Insider. This story was written by Jenn Donovan, Public Relations Director, for Michigan Tech’s University Marketing and Communications faculty and staff newletter, Tech Today.