Day: June 23, 2011

Meet new graduate students and help the Graduate School!

Would you like to meet new graduate students and help them become familiar with the expectations of graduate school? If your answer is yes – you may be interested in being a facilitator for our orientation program.  Faculty, staff, and graduate students are welcome to serve in this role.

Orientation is August 24th, 2011 beginning at 8:30am and ending after lunch (no later than 1pm).  We need facilitators to help lead discussion at a table with 7 new graduate students.  We offer training to new facilitators, and our graduate students consistently rank the discussions at their tables as one of their favorite parts of our program.

If you’re interested in participating, sign up at:

Contact Debra Charlesworth ( if you have questions or need
more information.

Peace Corps Volunteers Talk about Their Experiences

Graduate students Patricia Butler and Michelle Cisz (both of SFRES) will be at the Portage Lake District Library from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, June 28, to present their experiences as Peace Corps volunteers.

Butler was a volunteer in Armenia, and Cisz volunteered in Paraguay. Both participated in Tech’s Peace Corps Master’s International Program that allows students to earn a master’s degree while serving in the Peace Corps. Professor Blair Orr (SFRES), is one of program coordinators, and has volunteered in Lesotho.

Slides of Armenia, Paraguay, and Lesotho will be shown. The presenters will describe their experiences in the countries where they volunteered, discuss the projects they worked on and read or tell a folk tale from each country. There will also be displays of items or photos from the countries they visited. Orr will also talk about the Peace Corps in general and provide information on how to join.

This presentation is a part of the Library’s Summer Reading Program, “Reading Takes You Around the World.”

Library programs are free to the public. For more information, contact Chris Alquist at 482-4570, or visit Library.

Published in Tech Today.

Distinguished Alumnus Voted National PTA President-Elect

Otha Thornton, who earned a Master of Science in Rhetoric and Technical Communications in 2001, has been voted president-elect of the National PTA. He will take office in 2013.

The National PTA comprises millions of families, students, teachers, administrators and business and community leaders devoted to the educational success of children and the promotion of parent involvement in schools.

Thornton was stationed at Michigan Tech from 1999 to 2002, serving as an Army ROTC recruiter, public affairs officer and assistant professor of military science. He received the Outstanding Alumni Award in 2003 and was Commencement speaker in 2009, when he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters.

Thornton is the former director of human resources and presidential communications officer for the White House Communications Agency, where he handled technical communications for the presidential team. He served more than 20 years in the military, attaining the rank of lieutenant colonel. In 2009 he became chief of personnel plans and operations in Iraq, earning the Bronze Star Medal for exceptional performance in combat operations. He has retired from the Army and now lives in Smyrna, Ga.

Published in Tech Today.