Category Archives: Alumni

Anna K. Swartz Participates as Invited Panelist

Anna K. SwartzAnna K. Swartz, a graduate of Rhetoric, Theory & Culture, participated as an invited panelist at the 2018 Saks Institute for Mental Health Law, Policy and Ethics Spring Symposium: “Held Against My Will: Conversations About Involuntary Commitment and Forced Treatment” at the University of Southern California Gould School of Law in Los Angeles, California on April 16.



Michigan Tech Alum in episodes of “This Is Us”

Eric Michael JohnsonEric Michael Johnson, who graduated with a degree in Scientific and Technical Communication in 2012, was featured in an article in the Duluth News Tribune for earning a role as the drumming instructor in two episodes of the NBC drama “This Is Us” (Season 1, Episodes 13 and 14).

While at Michigan Tech, Johnson created a parody video of Al Yankovic’s “White and Nerdy” for a digital media course. In the article, Johnson recalls his time filming the video:

“It celebrates the geek, nerd culture at Michigan Tech. It is a celebration of that because I absolutely identify as a big sci-fi geek,” he said. Being in front and behind the camera in creating the video, he said “it was right around then that I really started to fall in love with the idea of filmmaking.”


Tech Faculty and Grad Students Hit the Road

On the weekend before orientation, the Industrial Archaeology Program (SS) made a graduate-study tour to Milwaukee. Five Social Sciences faculty and five graduate students (SS and HU, both MS and PhD) investigated industrial production, adaptation to industrial decline and how urban patterns have been affected by industry, both historically and today.

The five-day trip, partly underwritten by the Chipstone Foundation of Milwaukee, included factory process tours, museum visits, and a day at Chipstone discovering explanatory and interpretive strategies for material culture, primarily using the history of the ceramics industry as the focus for the day.

Visits included the Kohler Company, which produces ceramic and cast iron bathroom fittings; Caterpillar Global Mining (formerly Bucyrus-Erie), which builds some of the largest earth-moving machinery on the planet; Harley-Davidson Powertrain Operations, where we saw engines and transmissions being assembled on a state-of-the-art assembly line; La Lune designer rustic furniture company, where small-batch artisanal woodworking is still practiced; and the Falk Foundry (Rexnord Industries) in Milwaukee, which has sadly been decommissioned in the last six months, but which offered a glimpse of active deindustrialization.

Museum visits included the Hamilton Wood Type Museum in Two Rivers (WI), the Grohmann Museum at the Milwaukee School of Engineering, which has an extensive collection of artwork depicting industrial work, and the Iron Mountain (MI) Pumping Museum. The final stop of the whirlwind tour was the Wisconsin Historical Society’s Herrling Sawmill in Greenbush (WI), a reconstructed 1850s vertical sash sawmill. The historically accurate sawmill has been reconstructed on the basis of archaeology done by Michigan Tech’s Industrial Archaeology Program in the 1990s. Sadly, the day we visited the saw blade was misaligned and a main bolt had sheared, so it was not running, but it was wonderful to see the final result of our archaeology of 20 years ago.

(This article originally appeared in Tech Today)




MTU Alumna Cheryl Ball Receives Grant From the Mellon Foundation

WVU photo by Brian Persinger
WVU photo of Dr. Cheryl Ball by Brian Persinger

Twenty-first century research and scholarship is changing. At one time, researchers could only submit written manuscripts to academic journals. The journals would send copies of the text to experts in the field who would determine if the manuscripts were fit for publication (peer review). Nowadays, both the content of those manuscripts and the process for evaluating them is changing.

Cheryl Ball is a 2005 PhD alumna of MTU’s RTC graduate program, and she’s now  an associate professor of digital publishing studies in the Department of English in the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences at West Virginia University.

Ball has been rethinking the process for publishing multimedia-rich scholarship. Along with Andrew Morrison, professor of interdisciplinary design and director of the Centre for Design Research at the Oslo School of Architecture and Design in Norway, Ball is co-principal investigator for a project that that will build a digital tool that will allow experts in a variety of disciplines to review, critique and edit these 21st-century manuscripts.

To support these innovations the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded West Virginia University a $1 million grant, the University’s first Mellon grant. The three-year Mellon Foundation grant will support the development of Cairn, an online, free and open-source system that will help editors of scholarly multimedia journals, books and data sets engage in building and reading multimedia-rich, peer-reviewed content.

You can learn more about the Ball’s work and the grant here.



Bad Feminism Makes Good Reading!

BF Sized

The collection of essays, Bad Feminist, by RTC alumna Roxane Gay (PhD 2010) has just been named to The Atlantic’s “The Best Book I Read this Year” list. Here’s an excerpt from Tanvi Misra’s review:

The essays jump from her childhood obsession with Sweet Valley High to why she hates Django Unchained. (“My slavery revenge fantasy would probably involve being able to read and write without fear of punishment or persecution coupled with a long vacation in Paris.”) She’s hilarious. But she also confronts more difficult issues of race, sexual assault, body image, and the immigrant experience. She makes herself vulnerable and it’s refreshing.

Here’s the link to the full article.


On the Road

The Center for Science and Environmental Outreach, along with the Michigan Tech Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers student chapter, conducted a Family Engineering Night at Escuela Avancemos Academy in Southwest Detroit (Mexicantown) on Nov. 24. John Deere provided support for the event, which featured activities in both English and Spanish and offered a free dinner in the school’s cafeteria. Approximately 180 participated, including students in grades K-5 and their family members.

The following members of the Michigan Tech community presented at the event:

  • Uzi Mendez ’13 (Bio Med)
  • Michael Briseno (Bio Med/ECE), undergraduate student
  • Zoe Miller (CEE), master’s student
  • Gabriella Shirkey ’13 (HU)
  • Joan Chadde, director of the Center for Science and Environmental Outreach