A paper by Yun Hang Hu and graduate student Yan Huo was among the most-read articles in the Journal of Physical Chemistry during the second quarter of 2012. “Fast and Exothermic Reaction of CO2 and Li3N into C–N-Containing Solid Materials” showed that carbon nitride could be made in an exothermic reaction of carbon dioxide and a lithium compound. Read more about Hu’s discovery at Carbon Nitride.
Martha Sullivan, the president of Sensata Technologies, will address more than 1,000 graduates during Michigan Tech’s Spring Commencement.
The University will honor the achievements of 854 undergraduates and 199 master’s and PhD candidates during ceremonies on Saturday, April 28.
Sullivan, who earned a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Michigan Tech in 1983, was named president of Sensata in 2010, in addition to her role as chief operating officer and director of several of the company’s subsidiaries. Previously she was executive vice president and chief operating officer, a position she had held since Sensata was purchased by Texas Instruments in 2006.
Sullivan joined Texas Instruments in 1984 and rose through the ranks, attaining the post of vice president of Sensors in 1997. During her tenure, sensors revenue grew at a compounded annual growth rate of 11.2 percent with 10 consecutive years of growth, while profits increased by 23 percent annually.
Sensata Technologies is one of the world’s leading suppliers of sensing, electrical protection, control and power management solutions. The company, with revenues of $1.8 billion, has manufacturing and technology development centers in 11 countries and employs 11,500 people.
Sullivan is a member of the Presidential Council of Alumnae and the Academy of Mechanical Engineering and Engineering Mechanics at Michigan Tech and serves on the University’s Generations of Discovery Capital Campaign. She and her husband, Michael, have two children and live in Westport, Mass.
Published in Tech Today
Gerald Savage, professor emeritus at Illinois State University, will present “Beyond Politeness: How Might We Make Social Justice a Central Value in Technical Communication Education” at 7 p.m., Thursday, March 29, in the Noblet Forestry Lecture Hall. There will be a reception to follow in the atrium.
Savage received master’s and PhD degrees in rhetoric and technical communication from Michigan Tech in 1991 and 1995. He will discuss communication across national and cultural boundaries and focus on “inequities of power and hierarchy.”
Savage comes as a part of the Humanities Distinguished Lecture Series
Roxane Gay, who received her PhD in Rhetoric and Technical Communication from the Department of Humanities in 2010, has had a story, “North Country,” selected for the 2012 edition of Best American Short Stories, published by Houghton Mifflin Co.
Gay is the coeditor of [PANK] Magazine, along with Assistant Professor M. Bartley Seigel (Humanities). Her stories and poems have appeared or are forthcoming in New Stories From the Midwest 2011 and 2012, Best Sex Writing 2012, Salon, NOON, American Short Fiction, Indiana Review, Cream City Review, Black Warrior Review, Brevity, The Rumpus and others.
Gay is the author of Ayiti, a collection of writing about the Haitian diaspora experience. She is also a contributing writer at HTMLGIANT. She is an assistant professor of English at Eastern Illinois University. She can be found online at Roxane Gay.
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Randall (Randy) Isaacson took a BS in Biological Sciences (’86) and an MS in Rhetoric and Technical Communication (’88) from Michigan Tech and turned them into a successful health care marketing and advertising career. On March 1 and 2, he will return to campus as the third speaker in the Scott Patullo Visiting Executive Series, to share his experiences with current students and the University community.
Isaacson will talk about “The Biology of Business: Making Your Way in a World of Systems, Relationships and Emotions” from 6 to 7:30 p.m., Thursday, March 1, in Memorial Union Ballroom A. Hosted by the College of Sciences and Arts, the presentation is open to the public.
While at Michigan Tech, Isaacson will meet with biological sciences, humanities and School of Business and Economics undergraduates, graduate students and faculty, as well as engineering and Enterprise students.
Isaacson began his career as a medical copywriter at Roche Pharmaceuticals in New Jersey, and later joined VICOM/FCB, a medical advertising agency in New York. After moving to Chicago in 1990, he worked as a copy supervisor at Frank J. Corbett before joining a new agency, Williams-Labadie, where he now is executive vice president.
Isaacson and his team have won numerous awards in health care advertising, including recognition from Medical Marketing and Media for creating the best pharmaceutical advertisement in 2003 and the best professional digital campaign in 2007. He credits his multidisciplinary background in biology and technical communication at Michigan Tech with preparing him for a very successful career in health care marketing and advertising.
Last fall, Michigan Tech inaugurated the Patullo Visiting Executive Series, which is designed to let Tech students interact with alumni who are emerging business leaders and executives in science, technology and business. Scott Patullo ’81 is funding the campus visits in the hope that students here can gain a strengthened sense of the nature of business and entrepreneurial leadership.
by Jennifer Donovan, director, public relations
Published in Tech Today
The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) has elected Bhakta Rath to the rank of Fellow, honoring him for his “outstanding contributions in materials science and engineering and for leadership in advancing research and technology to support national security.”
Rath, who graduated from Michigan Tech in 1958 with a master’s in metallurgical and materials engineering, is the associate director of research and the head of the Materials Science and Component Technology Directorate of the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, DC.
He was speaker at the 2007 Midyear Commencement, when he was awarded an honorary doctorate in engineering.
The AAAS honor will be bestowed at a ceremony at the organization’s annual meeting in Vancouver, BC, Canada, later this month.
The mission of the AAAS is to “advance science and serve society” through initiatives in science policy, international programs and science education.
A native of India, Rath has also been elected to the National Academy of Engineering and is a fellow of the Minerals and Materials Society, the Materials Research Society of India, and the Institute of Materials of the United Kingdom.
For the first time at Michigan Tech, graduating student veterans will be honored at commencement with red, white and blue cords in recognition of their service to the country.
Three graduates will wear the cords this fall and be recognized by President Glenn Mroz during commencement on Saturday, Dec. 10, in the SDC Wood Gym. The students are:
- Mike Geiersbach of Wheeler (Marine Corps/Military Police), who served more than four years and is graduating with a BS in Mechanical Engineering.
- Sue Larson of Waupaca, Wisc. (Air Force), who served six years and is receiving an MS in Environmental Engineering Science.
- Matt Smith of Hancock (Air Force/Security Forces), who served two years and is receiving a BS in Electrical Engineering Technology.
Larson, a graduate student, said: “I think it’s great that Michigan Tech is so supportive of the student veteran population and has chosen to distinguish us in this way. It will be an honor to be among the first veterans to wear the new red, white and blue cords.”
The presentation of the cords reflects the growing number of activities and services on campus that focus on students who are veterans or children of veterans. This initiative is being coordinated by Veterans’ Services/Registrar’s Office and the Vice President for Student Affairs Office.
Submitted by Kathy Pintar, veteran school certifying official, registrar’s office
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The International Association for Great Lakes Research has honored five Michigan Tech faculty members and students.
The Chandler-Misener Award for the outstanding article published in the Journal of Great Lakes Research (JGLR) in 2010 was given to coauthors Professor W. Charles Kerfoot, PhD student Foad Yousef (Biological Sciences), Professor and Chair Sarah A. Green (Chemistry), former faculty member Judith W. Budd (GMES), and David J. Schwab and Henry A. Vanderploeg of NOAA.
Their paper, “Approaching Storm: Disappearing Winter Bloom in Lake Michigan,” documented the disappearance of a “doughnut” of phytoplankton in southern Lake Michigan associated with the proliferation of quagga mussels.
The award was presented to Kerfoot at the 54th International Conference on Great Lakes Research in Duluth, Minn. The Chandler-Misener Award acknowledges the most notable paper based on originality, contribution and presentation.
Cory McDonald, a recent PhD graduate in environmental engineering, received the JGLR/Elsevier Young Student Award. This award is given to “emerging young scientists with a JGLR article ranked in the top 10, as determined by the IAGLR Chandler-Misener Review Committee.” Recipients receive a complimentary one-year IAGLR membership and a $750 cash prize.
Published in Tech Today
Computer science alum Ernie Fessenden wanted to do something to help out his soldier-brother. He didn’t expect to save six lives
by Marcia Goodrich, senior writer
Published in Tech Today
Bhakta Rath ’58 is the associate director of research and head of the Material Science and Component Technology Directorate of the US Naval Research Laboratory. He and his wife, Sushama, a computer analyst for the Virginia Community College System, have endowed an annual research award to an outstanding graduate student and faculty adviser for work that will help meet the nation’s needs and the challenges of emerging technologies. Attending the University’s 2011 Spring Commencement, Rath reminisced about his days at Michigan Tech more than 50 years ago and his vision for the future.
Luckily for Michigan Tech–and generations of graduate students and researchers here–Bhakta Rath never did get the hang of speaking German.
“After finishing my bachelor’s degree in India, I got a full scholarship to study in Germany,” Rath recalls. “But after six months trying to learn German, when all I could say was hello, good-bye and where is the bathroom, I realized that this was not the way to get a graduate education.”
So he came to Michigan Tech instead, with a BS in physics and mathematics and not a shred of engineering. When he sat down with the chair of the metallurgical engineering department, Corbin Eddy peered at Rath’s transcript and inquired: “Have you ever had a course in blast furnace?”
“No,” Rath replied.
He asked about several other undergraduate courses. The response was the same, “No.”
Eddy shook his head.
“You are going to have to take all the undergraduate courses you would need in preparation for this degree and earn at least a 3.0 in them, plus your graduate courses and thesis,” he said. “It’s going to take you nearly six years to get a master’s.”
Rath politely but firmly disagreed. “I can’t do that,” he said. “My parents are paying for me to study here. I promised to come home in two years with a master’s degree, and that’s what I’m going to do.”
It took a staggering load of over 30 courses a year, but Rath did what he said he’d do. Then his advisor, Roy Drier, dropped another bombshell. “You need to stay one more quarter and take the mandatory course in Michigan history, so we can give you a BS as well as an MS,” Drier told Rath.
But Rath, who had already been accepted to a PhD program at Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) in Chicago, said no thanks. “I came here for a master’s; I’ll settle for the master’s,” he decided.
Despite his course load, Rath has happy memories of his time at Michigan Tech. He recalls staying in the old Scott Hotel in Hancock over Christmas break, when the University residence halls were closed. “It cost a lot–$1 a day–but with two of us sharing a room, it was only 50 cents each,” he says.
He’ll never forget his first ski adventure either. Some classmates took him up Mt. Ripley. Since Rath had never skied, they wanted to leave him on the easy slope. Rath was having none of that.
“If you are riding the lift to the top, I am, too,” he said. It took his friends about two minutes to ski to the bottom. “It took me two hours,” he says, “on my belly.”
Rath’s determination to complete his graduate degrees took another hit when he actually arrived at IIT. “You can start by forgetting everything you’ve learned at Michigan Tech,” he was told. “You’ll have to start all over and pass a 10-hour oral exam before you can even start on your PhD work.”
At the time, Michigan Tech was known as a practical engineering school, training students to work in heavy-industry settings. “The basic engineering Michigan Tech taught was the best in the country, but the University wasn’t preparing students to think about the basic science behind the engineering,” Rath explains. “Now a Tech education is much more science-based, and that’s a good thing, because we are not training students to work in blast furnaces and open hearths any more. We are preparing them to solve engineering problems, to create entirely new materials, processes and products.”
The engineering challenges are different now, Rath points out. “We used to focus on extracting raw materials and converting them to useable products. In what was then called the metallurgy department, it was all about metals, from mining to mineral dressing to processing. Now the spectrum is much broader, including polymers, ceramics, composites, semiconductors and all kinds of novel materials.”
One of the most serious challenges facing Michigan Tech and the nation today is the need to motivate more young people to go into science, technology, engineering and math, the STEM fields. Rath has made a commitment to help on that front through his work with the American Society for Materials (ASM) International Education Foundation. He is past president of the foundation and now serves on its board of trustees.
ASM develops nearly 50 summer camps for high school students and teachers, sponsored by the foundation, local industries and universities. Michigan Tech sponsored one in 2008.
“We need to excite American students about the STEM fields, and if you excite the teachers, they excite the students,” Rath explains. He has successfully talked the Office of Naval Research into funding summer teachers’ camps.
He’s a big fan of the hands-on approach to motivating the next generation. “Kids need to do things, to analyze real-world problems,” he says. “They need to look at a failed auto part and ask: ‘Why did this shaft fail, and how could we make it better?'”
The challenge of attracting young people to STEM studies is compounded by the trend in American business and industry to outsource not only manufacturing, but research and development.
“There aren’t enough American graduates to fill the STEM jobs,” says Rath. “Universities are training more and more foreign students in STEM fields, but they are returning to their homelands, not contributing to the intellectual capital of the US. This is a very serious challenge for the future of our country.”
by Jennifer Donovan, director of public relations
Published in Tech Today