Category: Humanities

Humanities in Michigan Tech News

Ten Times Over
May 7, 2014
Humanities Professor Explores the Assumptions, Usefulness of Pregnancy Manuals
April 4, 2014
What do We do Now? Family Members and the Brain Dead
February 25, 2014
Bob Johnson Garners NCTE National Book Award
February 13, 2014
Michigan Tech Helping People Cross the Digital Divide
January 17, 2014
Faculty Take Students Abroad
October 24, 2013
Women at Tech Have Things to Say
September 16, 2013
The Last Class: Beth Flynn, Humanities
April 30, 2013
High-Tech Classrooms Usher in a New Era of Teaching
February 22, 2013


Jane Kirby, Intern for Kohler’s Kitchen and Bath Department; Further Thoughts

My co-op as a technical writer in Kohler’s Kitchen and Bath department is coming to a rapid end. I can’t believe how fast it’s gone, and how much I’ve learned in the last 6 months, from writing skills to professional skills and even plumbing installation skills. I’m constantly learning new things, meeting new people, and gaining valuable skills I know I’ll need for my career development.

As my experience comes to an end, many people are asking me what I think of Kohler, my job, and my overall experience here. In short, I’ve been telling them that Kohler is a remarkable company, my job here has had its ups and downs, and I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything.

The people I’ve met and worked with here have been nothing but supportive and welcoming. I was nervous going into this job, knowing that I could run into some people who hear “co-op” and automatically place me on the bottom of the totem pole, if even on the totem pole at all.

But I’ve hardly run into this. Every engineer, writer, and manager I’ve met has been truly interested in my time here, what I’m doing, how I’m liking it, and even my future plans. I couldn’t have asked for a better company to work for and better people to work with.

I’ve still got a month and a half to crank out, so it’s not over yet. Needless to say, I can’t begin to express how grateful I am for this cool opportunity.


Sarah Ingold, Intern for BB Marketing Group

This summer I have been given the opportunity to work for BB Marketing Group based out of Libertyville, IL. BB Marketing was started in 2008 and specializes in working with in the technology channel. I was given the chance to work for them last summer and am grateful to have to opportunity to do so again. My aunt who is the president of the company gave me the offer a few years ago and I finally took her up on the offer last summer and was their first intern. It has been quite the learning curve both for me and for them. I work remotely as a consultant, which adds a different view and dynamic than going into an office every day.

I work on a variety of projects with varying levels of creativity. Ranging from research and creating excel spreadsheets to designing layouts in Word. I am becoming well versed in Microsoft Office applications, and learning many things beyond the basics of the programs. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time working for BB Marketing and have been learning many valuable things. During this time I have truly learned the importance of time management and communication. It is very interesting and eye opening to only be in contact with ones coworkers through email or phone, but it brings a different perspective on working in the world outside of college. It has greatly helped my confidence in working independently. Working for a family member has also been a wonderful experience, as my supervisor my aunt and I now have gained a wonderful professional relationship outside the familial one we already have. I am excited about what the rest of my time with BB Marketing will bring.


Theresa Tran, Intern for KOHLER Kitchen and Bath Americas

Working as an intern in technical communications for KOHLER Kitchen & Bath has been a great learning experience for me even though I have only been here for a little over a month. I have met so many people as well as have been able to help many people. It is very rewarding to know that the work I do has the potential to help a wide range of people near and far.

My first day at Kohler mainly consisted of meeting everyone in the office but I was quickly given a numerous amount of shower door projects that required attention to detail as well as frequent communication with an engineer. At first, this was overwhelming for me but I quickly learned that the engineer I was working with would be an extremely resourceful and patient person to work with. Around the same time, I was also given the opportunity to assemble one of the shower doors that I was writing an installation guide for which gave me insight into how a customer would see the document but also how usable the document was. After putting myself in the shoes of a customer, this was a great way for me to understand how important my role as a technical communicator can be.

There are still so many things for me to learn and I have already had the chance to experience different Kohler products that can play music, be heated, and even adjust according to gender! I would be lying if I said that I did not check to see what kinds of toilets and faucets are in a bathroom whenever I go into one. Kohler has already made a significant impact in my life. My work experiences have already affected the way that I view the world and I am looking forward to what else Kohler has to offer me but also what I have to offer Kohler.


Shelby Marter, Intern for MTU Policies and Procedures Department

Do you know the difference between a policy and a procedure? I didn’t either when I started my internship through the University Policies and Procedures Department here at Michigan Tech, but this opportunity has changed my perspective on how I can learn through professional experience and use my major, Scientific and Technical Communication (STC), to help make confusing information compelling and easy to understand.

My internship is located in Houghton at the Michigan Tech Lakeshore Center, where I work closely with individuals in Business Operations. My supervisor, Ann Kitalong-Will, is director of the department, and guides me through the various projects I’m assigned. Most of the time I work independently, either researching or writing content for my projects, but I also attend quite a few meetings that keep everyone in our office updated and on-task.

The projects I’m working on are interesting, especially because they all relate to STC. I’ve updated the official policy format used for publishing policies so that they’re visually appealing and easier to navigate, and I’ve also developed a how-to guide for writing policy. Both of these require user analysis, which is a rhetorical principle I learned through my courses at Tech. Additionally, I’ve been given the task of updating my department’s web page, so I’m learning how to manipulate the site development system, as well as how to use HTML and CSS. I have no experience in web design, so this internship is a great opportunity to develop technical skills. I also have the chance to oversee the policy development process, and I’m learning that technical writing requires multiple draft cycles—and lots of teamwork!

Overall, I think this internship has been an awesome way to get a feel for my major because I’m directly working on real projects that will affect the campus community. I’ve learned a lot by applying my in-class learning to a real-world situation, and am excited to follow the path that this experience has laid out for me.


Katherine Baeckeroot, Intern for Quicken Loans

Katherine Baeckeroot at Quicken LoansThis past summer I had the wonderful opportunity to obtain an internship with Quicken Loans. Quicken Loans is a mortgage-lending company that operates out of Michigan, Ohio, and Arizona. For three months I worked alongside Quicken team members in downtown Detroit in what turned out to be one of the most fulfilling and rewarding experiences of my life. My position title was that of a Technical Writer. I was on a team called Rock Docs, working alongside business analysts and other technical writers within the IT department. My main task as an intern was to create documentation for the systems within IT. This included all functioning parts of a process ranging from change management, risk management practices, to testing and implementation of applications. I mediated the information between the subject matter experts and the business analysts, creating usable documentation as a means of tracking information and for knowledge management purposes. The skills I learned at Michigan Technological University have been solidified by this experience.

Alongside the actual experience in the field, my time at Quicken Loans was incomparable. The company culture is absolutely phenomenal and the values that they hold most important are lifelong skills that are applicable in any situation. In addition to these aspects, I discovered a new-found love for the city of Detroit, as there were numerous opportunities to volunteer in the community in which we worked. My internship with Quicken Loans was one of the best experiences of my life; I grew immensely as a person from this opportunity.


Jane Kirby, Intern for Kohler’s Kitchen and Bath Department

I’ve been a technical communications co-op at Kohler’s Kitchen and Bath department for a little over a month now, and as geeky as it is, I will never look at a bathroom or kitchen the same way again. In addition, I have already gained valuable knowledge about what being a technical communicator is like, and I feel like my professional skills, as well as my communication skills, are developing immensely.

On my second day here, I was tossed right into a real project that put the company’s relationship with one of their biggest distributors on the line. I wasn’t quite ready to get so involved so fast, but I am always down for a good challenge.

I was put in charge of the project, and my supervisor guided me through as I needed, as did my co-workers. I had to ask for help if I needed it though—no one was here to hover and make sure I was doing everything I needed to be doing. Although pretty scary, the benefits of being on my own were huge, looking back on it. It made me feel like a real employee here, and not just the co-op. Being thrown into it right away, I learned the ropes of how things operate here very quickly, and am already deep into several other projects too.

Plus, I get to play around with really cool products like a bath that plays music, toilets that I could never afford, and more! I have also gained home-installation skills, and can proudly say I can now install toilet seats without even thinking. Like I said, I’m definitely geeking out, but I’m really learning a ton here at Kohler, and can’t wait to see what’s in store for me in the next 6 months.


Megan Walsh Named This Year’s Humanities Departmental Scholar

Megan Walsh

Each year, Michigan Tech honors an outstanding student from each academic department with the prestigious Departmental Scholar award. On April 18, 2014, at the 20th Annual Student Awards Ceremony, Megan Walsh, in recognition of her exceptional record of achievement in 2013, was named as this year’s Departmental Scholar for the Humanities Department.

In Spring 2013, Megan co-founded Beyond the Glass Ceiling, a student publication that addresses issues of interest to women, and which has received expressions of enthusiastic support from former students and faculty all over the country. The publication was recently renamed UNDER_WIRE, and Megan serves as its editor and president. This Fall, Megan presented her paper “Speak Up: Finding a Feminist Voice in a Field of Resistance,” at MTU’s academic OSCLG conference. This paper focused on challenges she’s faced in effecting productive social change with UNDER_WIRE.

Megan also served as the Opinion Editor of The Lode, where she collaborated with other editors to improve the quality of the paper and help increase its readership. Her Opinion section was singled out for praise at a national conference on student newspapers in Chicago.

Finally, as an intern at PANK Magazine since last June, Megan’s performed a range of tasks, from copy editing to design consultation to mailings.

Megan is looking forward to working with GLAAD in Los Angeles this summer as an Entertainment Media intern. She’ll be writing reports and blog posts on the representation of LGBT characters in the media. She’ll also contribute research to GLAAD’s “Network Responsibility Index” and their Where We Are on TV publication.


Inaugural Poet Richard Blanco to Visit Michigan Tech

In Friday, April 4, Presidential inaugural poet and civil engineer Richard Blanco will visit Houghton for some special events on the Michigan Tech campus, including a reading and book signing.

From 1-3 pm in the Van Pelt & Opie Library’s East Reading Room, there will be a student forum and presentation. This is free, and open to the public. You can RSVP on our Facebook event page.

Blanco will be holding a reading and book signing from 7-9 pm in the Van Pelt & Opie Library’s East Reading Room. This is event is also free, and also open to the public. Please RSVP for the reading and book signing on our Facebook page.


Up to Our Necks in Plastic

Melissa Michaelson
Student makes a graphic point about water bottles
To make people think twice about their role in generating plastic waste, undergraduate Liberal Arts student Melissa Michaelson created a cascading display of six hundred plastic bottles she collected from recycle bins and dumpsters. Michaelson made the head-turning display last spring for a social-change assignment in a Humanities course, The Rhetoric of Everyday Texts. The exhibit was located at the Portage Lake District Library in Houghton.

“Seeing pictures of plastic pollution and noticing how big a problem it is made me think, ‘Where can we start?’” Michaelson said. “As I researched the topic, there was a lot of information on water-bottle consumption, so that made it an easy place to start and maybe an easy habit to change.”

The six hundred water bottles in the display represent less than one-half of what is consumed nationwide in one second, Michaelson said. And the plastic waste that accumulates is not the only negative effect. Each year, 17 million barrels of oil are used to produce plastic bottles.

All of the bottles used in Michaelson’s project were collected at Michigan Tech, although the University is doing its part to combat plastic-bottle waste; currently, there are water-bottle refill stations with filtered water in twelve locations on campus.

Michaelson’s exhibit aims to shock viewer and encourage them to change their plastic-bottle habits. He biggest challenge was finding an effective way to raise awareness without being there to talk to her audience. “just look at this,” she want her exhibit to say. “This is an issue. This is real. Let’s just take one small step.”

(This article originally appeared in the Fall 2013 issue of Michigan Tech Magazine.)