Day: December 8, 2011

Over 400 Michigan Tech Grads to be Honored at Midyear Commencement

Michigan Tech will hold Midyear Commencement at 10:30 a.m., Saturday, Dec. 10, in the Wood Gymnasium at the SDC.
At the ceremony, the University will honor the achievements of more than 400 graduating students, including 336 students receiving undergraduate degrees, 107 master’s degree candidates, and 27 PhD recipients.

Chang K. Park ’73, founder, president and CEO of Universal Remote Control Inc., will give the commencement address as well as receive an Honorary Doctorate in Philosophy. His Harrison, N.Y.-based company is a world leader in technology and innovation and has supplied more than 80 million remote controls and home automation devices in the past 10 years alone.

Born and raised in South Korea, Park came to the US as a teenager. He soon developed an interest in mathematics–the only language he could understand. After enrolling at Michigan Tech, he received bachelor’s degrees in electrical engineering and engineering administration and went on to earn an MBA at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He began his career with an engineering consulting firm specializing in mass transit and for several years was employed in corporate finance. Then he started a business in his sister’s garage and steadily expanded it to market and develop remote controls and related devices.

He chairs the Chang K. Park Foundation, an organization that supports human rights, the elimination of poverty and hunger, political reform and economic justice. He is also a member of the board of Common Cause.

Written by Marcia Goodrich, senior writer

Published in Tech Today.

Archives’ Historical Collections Now Searchable

A group of new online search tools has enhanced the search and discovery of historical records in the collections of the Archives.  The improved access is the result of a two-year project to improve description of the Archives’ extensive holdings of regional manuscript material. The initiative was funded through a $167,600 grant from the National Historical Records and Publications Commission, a division of the National Archives and Records Administration.

During the project, Archives’ staff conducted a box-by-box survey of its entire collection, totaling more than 7,000 cubic feet and including personal papers, diaries, organizational records, business materials, mining company records, maps, newspapers and other historical documents.  The project identified more than 700 discrete collections and created standardized descriptions, providing information about the size, content and dates of coverage for each collection. These descriptions have been revealed to potential researchers throughout the world via a number of online tools.

A full listing of the collections, including collection number, title and brief description, is now available on the Michigan Tech Archives blog. See Collections.

Catalog records for each collection are also available in the Van Pelt and Opie Library catalog. See Catalog.

Researchers may limit their searches by the location “Archives Manuscript Collection.” These records allow searching of collection names, keywords in their brief descriptions and histories, as well as standardized subject headings. Versions of these catalog records are also searchable through WorldCat, an international bibliographic database maintained by the Online Computer Library Center (OCLC), a global cooperative of libraries, archives and museums.

To search the main WorldCat catalog, see WorldCat.

As an OCLC member, Michigan Tech community members may also search these records through the FirstSearch version of WorldCat. See FirstSearch.

This allows researchers to limit type to “Archival Materials” and limit availability to library code “EZT” for Michigan Tech archival collection records. For further information, contact the Archives at 487-2505 or at

Published in Tech Today.

Geology Graduate Student Helps National Geographic Talk About African Rifts

When National Geographic needed some explanation about the Albertine Rift, a geological formation in Africa, they came to a Michigan Tech graduate student. Again.

It’s the second time that Alex Guth, a PhD student in geology, has been tapped by the world-famous magazine to offer geological expertise in Kenya and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

National Geographic sought an answer to why such a geological rift exists and its impact on the local people–a people in crisis–and the delicate ecosystem that coexists. Guth’s expertise includes the rift valley and its extremes in topography caused by the East African Rift System, where the Nubian plate is moving west away from the Somalian plate.

“There are mountain ranges with a mountain forest and a rain forest extremely close by,” she says. “The extreme topography, caused by the rift, impacts the animals. They can’t move, since the area around them won’t sustain them.” The same can be said of the people, many of whom live in a densely populated region near the city of Goma and Lake Kivu, which is poisoned by volcanic gasses.  “And the fishing in nearby Lake Albert can’t sustain the population, which helps fuel conflict,” Guth says.

That conflict, between the Bashali people, in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and invading Tutsi, Hutu, and Hunde, has become so intense that other research teams have left early. “They were murdering women, specifically,” Guth says, “and recent elections have made the future ‘iffy’ at best. Intertribal conflicts, and now terrorism–there was a bombing in Nairobi Monday–make the work there even more dangerous.” The people initially moved to the valley because of the fertile land, but they have over-logged it, and the subsequent population boom created a land shortage, according to the National Geographic article, “Africa’s Albertine Rift,” which appeared in the November 2011 issue.

The magazine came to Guth for the geologic story, and she chose to tell them about the evolution of the rift valley and the “intense area,” replete with volcanoes, one of which destroyed great parts of Goma. “Working with them was interesting,” she says. “My research actually appears on a poster that is in the magazine, and they also wanted me to look at definitions they had used for a children’s edition of the magazine, for quality control.” She also had to do a little educating of the National Geographic writers. “They kept saying the mantle was ‘fluid,’ which is not accurate,” she says.

Guth hopes to return to do more research for her dissertation, opting for Kenya, where the real focus of her work exists.

Written by by Dennis Walikainen, senior editor

Published in Tech Today.