Author: College of Engineering

Sue Hill is the Digital Content Manager for the College of Engineering.

Modern Languages Film Series Spring 2016

The Humanities Department Modern Language Program Presents

ML Film Series Spring 2016-PosterFacing Violence Film Series

All Films Free and Open to the Public!

Des Filles en Noir

Thursday, February 25
7:00 pm, 134 Walker
A pair of teenager have become so disillusioned with life that they aren’t able to see any of its beauty. They push their adolescent angst into dangerous territory when a suicide pact proves harder than imagined to carry out. (French, 85 min.)

Wild Tales

Thursday, March 24
7:00 pm, 134 Walker
Inequality, injustice and the demands of the world we live in cause stress and depression for many people. Vulnerable in the face of an unpredictable reality, the characters of Wild Tales cross the think line that divides civilization and barbarism. (Spanish, 122 min.)


Thursday, March 31
7:00 pm, 134 Walker
Young exile Victoria longs for some excitement and gets more than she bargains for when a low-stakes robbery goes wrong. A heist thriller with a cinematic twist, Victoria was shot in a single two-hour+ continuous take unfolding in 22 locations. (German, 140 min.)

Form more information about the film series or language study at Michigan Tech, visit Modern Languages.

UP-STEAM Summer Workshops

UP-STEAMMichigan Technological University in the Upper Peninsula is organizing summer week-long workshops starting in June 2016 for academics interested in the interrelation of the liberal arts, humanities, and STEM fields at the college level. Following movements in K-12 education, we seek to address for higher education the observation that STEM plus Arts = STEAM, and that STEAM is crucial to universities, especially tech-heavy ones.

Our first workshop will take place June 13-17, 2016, on the campus of Michigan Tech.  We will bring faculty, campus leaders, and researchers together to discuss the state of the liberal arts, humanities, and sciences in higher education. Located near the tip of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula on Lake Superior, Michigan Tech is a tourist destination for many people from the Midwest and beyond.

Convening Committee

Andy Fiss (Humanities) writes and teaches about the communication of science and the history of STEM education. He is especially interested in mathematics education and in its intermittent partnerships with science education, engineering education, arts education, and language education.

Scott Marratto (Humanities) works on philosophy of technology.

Patricia Sotirin (Humanities) works on communication, language, and gender.

Ron Strickland (Humanities) writes on the cultural politics of the Humanities and higher education. He is Chair of the Department of Humanities at Michigan Tech.

Steven Walton (Social Sciences) is a historian of technology and science with a background in mechanical engineering. He studies how technical systems are developed and how technicians make sense of their systems and their wider role in society.

For questions, please contact Jacqueline Ellenich, UP-STEAM Coordinator at (906) 487-2008 or

Roxane Gay Wins 2015 PEN Center USA Freedom to Write Award

Roxane Gay
Roxane Gay

English professor Roxane Gay will recognized by PEN Center USA, a literary and human rights organization, at the 25th Annual Literary Awards Festival on November 16, 2015. Gay received her PhD from Michigan Tech in 2009 in Rhetoric and Technical Communication. She has received acclaim for her novel An Untamed State and her bestselling essay collection Bad Feminist.

“The freedom to write,” Gay said about winning the award, “has been one of my life’s greatest blessings and it is a freedom that should be available to everyone who wants or needs to share their voice,” says Gay. “I am thankful that organizations like PEN Center USA are doing the necessary work to ensure that such freedom is protected. It is humbling to be considered worthy of such an award. I am thrilled and honored.”

Read more about her accomplishments at the Literary Hub, by Jonathan Russell Clark.

Gay’s recent article in The Opinion Pages of the New York Times, Where Are Black Children Safe?, has been widely circulated.

Technology has made the world a panopticon. It has widened the range of who watches and who is watched. Each day, we learn of a new injustice against the black body and in many cases, we now have pictures, videos. We have incontrovertible evidence of flagrant brutalities though, sadly and predictably, this evidence is never enough. At some point, this evidence, these breathtaking, sickening images, will render us numb or they will break our hearts irreparably. There is no respite from the harsh reminder that our black bodies are not safe. The black bodies of those we love are not safe.

Read more at the New York Times, by Roxane Gay.

Peace Activism Events Co-Sponsored by Humanities

HOUGHTON, MARQUETTE — Just a few weeks before renewed violence between Palestinians and Israelis hit the news this month, audiences at Michigan Tech and Northern Michigan universities heard stories about this long conflict from the perspective of an Israeli-American peace activist and author, Miko Peled, whose dream is not the often cited “two-state solution” but a more optimistic solution that would accept Palestine/Israel as one country — cured of its current apartheid-like colonial occupation.

At the invitation of Miguel Levy, Michigan Tech professor of physics and materials science and engineering, Peled visited Marquette and Houghton on Sept. 16 and 17, respectively, and gave two presentations open to university and community audiences. The events were sponsored by Michigan Tech’s Center for Diversity and Inclusion and departments of Humanities, Social Sciences and Physics; the Michigan Tech Indigenous Issues Discussion Group; and Northern Michigan University’s Center for Native American Studies.

Read more at Keweenaw Now, by Michele Bourdieu.

25 Years of Service for Bergvall and Waddell

Michigan Tech Employee Service Recognition Event

On Wednesday, May 6th, 2015, faculty and staff members, along with their guests, gathered at the Memorial Union Ballroom for an awards dinner recognizing 25, 30, 35, and 40 years of service to Michigan Tech.

Among the employees recognized were Victoria Bergvall and Craig Waddell for 25 years of service.

Read more at Tech Today.

Students Talk About STEM

Michigan Tech students Tanya Juarez and Stephanie Hubble recently appeared on a pod cast on the Website Remarkable Chatter.

The students, who appeared at the C-L-K Schools, talked on the podcast about women in STEM fields and how teachers can incorporate more STEM into their classrooms.

From Tech Today.

Michigan Tech University Students Talk Women In STEM (STEM Everyday 23)

Chris Woods visits with a couple of students from Michigan Tech University from the Women’s Leadership Council. The MTU students presented to the 11th and 12th grade girls of the Public Schools of CLK about STEM. Tanya Juarez, chemical engineering student and Stephanie Hubble, science and technical communication student from Michigan Tech University tries to spread the word that women do belong in STEM careers.

Read more and listen to audio at Remarkable Chatter, by Chris Woods. The podcast is 7 minutes 34 seconds.

2014-15 Rhetoric, Theory and Culture Colloquium Series


On November 7th and 8th, The 2014-15 Rhetoric, Theory and Culture Colloquium Series was pleased to welcome John Russon, Presidential Distinguished Professor of Philosophy from the University of Guelph.

Sue Collins John Russon
Sue Collins asking a question at the Russon talk

On November 7, Professor Russon gave a talk entitled, “The Limits of Money: Phenomenological Reflections on Selfhood and Value.” In his paper, Russon argued that the sense of oneself as an autonomous self presupposes both a nexus of ‘intimate’ associations with others and, at the same time, a sphere of universally recognized value in terms of which we can become conscious of ourselves as members of a community of free individuals. Russon thus uncovered, within our ordinary experience, the roots of the phenomena of private property and money, but also the bases for a critique of the idea that all value can be reduced to market, or exchange value. The resulting tension between the logics of intimacy and economy is an inescapable feature of our personal and political lives. It was a provocative and stimulating presentation. We were pleasantly surprised by the attendance at the talk—our 50 chairs were quickly filled and about 25 more chairs had to be brought in so that we could get everyone seated!

This year the colloquium series has added a new feature to some of its visiting speaker events: we will be hosting workshops, or seminars, with our visiting speakers. In two sessions on Saturday, November 8, twenty-one faculty-members, graduate students, and members of the community met for about four hours to have an open, participatory, discussion of the themes of craft and technology, rhetoric, language, politics, and education through a close examination together of relevant texts by Aristotle, Plato and Heidegger.

Participants John Russon
Participants gathered at the seminar table

As RTC Graduate Student Vincent Manzie commented:

“The talk on the ‘Limits of Money’ and the seminar that followed it was an awesome experience. Not only did Dr. Russon draw participants into a thoughtful reflection together, the discussions, the contributions from other students and faculty members, and the very incisive questions and answers that popped up from the seminar group, gave me new ways to look at the phenomena under discussion from multiple lenses and to connect these with the postcolonial approach that I am interested in.”

John Russon Discussion
John Russon leading a discussion at the seminar

The colloquium committee would like to thank the department and especially Ron Strickland, Jackie Ellenich, Erin Smith, and Devin Leonarduzzi for helping to make these events a success.

This was the third event in our 2014-15 colloquium series. On September 25 the department hosted a talk by Anthony Webster, of the University of Texas at Austin, who gave a very stimulating talk on expressive linguistic devices at work in Navajo poetry (especially in the work of poets Blackhorse Mitchel and Rex Lee Jim). In the course of this discussion he also reflected on questions of orality and literacy, cultural identity, and artistic expression.

Anthony Webster Rex Lee Jim
Anthony Webster with Navajo poet, Rex Lee Jim

On September 7, Randi Gunzenhaeuser gave a very interesting talk to the department entitled “Humor in 20th Century American Art.” In her talk she offered reflections on humor in connection with American popular culture (cinema in particular) and some of its political themes and implications. This very well attended event was followed by a lovely reception at the home of Dieter and Janice Adolphs. We are also grateful for Dr. Guzenhaeuser’s willingness to visit classes and meet with students and other members of the department during her visit.

We will have two more visitors next term:

On March 20, 2015, at 5 pm in GLRC 102, Stacy Takacs ,Associate Professor and Director of American Studies at Oklahoma State University will give a talk on the theme of militarization and media, specifically on the US military and the emergence of the early television industry. A workshop with interested faculty and graduate students will take place on Saturday, March 21.

On April 3, 2015, at 5 pm in GLRC 102, Gareth Williams, Professor of Spanish and Latin American and Caribbean Studies at the University of Michigan, will give a talk (topic: TBA). Professor Williams is the author of The Other Side of the Popular: Neoliberalism and Subalternity in Latin America (2002), The Mexican Exception: Sovereignty, Police, and Democracy (2011), and of numerous articles examining the relation between culture history, literature, and political philosophy. A workshop with interested faculty and graduate students will take place on Saturday, April 4.

This Weekend: 41 North Film Festival

Particle Fever
Particle Fever

The 41 North Film Festival (formerly Northern Lights Film Festival) celebrates its 10th anniversary with a name change and an outstanding slate of recent award-winning films and special guests. It will be held from October 23-26 in the Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts on the Michigan Tech campus.

Mark Levinson
Filmmaker Mark Levinson
10/23, 7:00 p.m.

Kicking off the festival this year will be director Mark Levinson and his documentary Particle Fever. Particle Fever follows six scientists involved in the launch of the Large Hadron Collider — the biggest and most expensive experiment in the history of the planet. The film provides an unprecedented window into this major scientific breakthrough as it happened. Edited by Academy-Award winner Walter Murch, the film celebrates human discovery and raises important questions about the limits of human knowledge.

Mark Levinson, has worked closely with directors such as Anthony Minghella (The English Patient) and on films including Se7en, Cold Mountain, and The Pledge. He also has a PhD in Physics from UC-Berkeley. He will be on hand for a Q&A following the film. Thursday, 10/23, 7 p.m.

Meet the Patels
Meet the Patels

On Friday, 10/24, at 7:30 p.m., director/actor Ravi Patel and his father, Michigan Tech alum Vasant Patel (Mechanical Engineering, class of 70), will present the new documetary, Meet the Patels. When Ravi, the son of Indian immigrants, finds himself at a romantic crossroads in his late 20s, love becomes a family affair and an adventure in cross-cultural understanding. The film recently won the Founders Grand Prize for best film at the Traverse City Film Festival.

Geeta Patel
Filmmaker Geeta Patel
10/24, 7:30 p.m.

As an actor, Ravi is most recognized for his work on SCRUBS, IT’S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA, TRANSFORMERS, POWDER BLUE, and THE NEW NORMAL. In 2013, he co-founded THIS BAR SAVES LIVES – with actors Ryan Devlin, Todd Grinnell, and Kristen Bell – which gives a meal to a starving child for every granola bar they sell. Ravi also co-manages an investment group which focuses primarily on health, wellness, and social enterprise startups. Prior to joining the entertainment industry, Ravi was an investment banker and later founded the popular poker magazine ALL IN. He graduated from The University of North Carolina with double majors in Economics and International Studies.

In addition to these featured events, the festival will offer a great selection of independent films including the critically acclaimed Boyhood (Linklater, 2014), The Overnighters (Moss, 2014), which won the 2014 Sundance Jury Prize for Intuitive Filmmaking, Born to Fly: Elizabeth Streb vs. Gravity (Gund, 2014), Alive Inside (Michael Rossato-Bennett), and the indie sci-fi film, Coherence (2014). There will also be shorts programs and other great events for festival goers.

The event is sponsored by the Humanities Department, the Visual and Performing Arts Department, the Office of Institutional Equity, the College of Sciences and Arts, CinOptic Enterprise Team, and the Visiting Women & Minority Lecturer/Scholar Series (VWMLS) which is funded by a grant to the Office of Institutional Equity from the State of Michigan’s King-Chavez-Parks Initiative. It is free and open to the community. For the full line-up, visit the festival website at Contact Erin Smith at 906-487-3263 or for more information.