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.)


MTC Humanities Guest Lecturer Series Presents Laine Nooney

This Tuesday, November 5, the MTC Humanities Guest Lecturer Series presents a talk by Laine Nooney called “How We Compute History: Women, Computers and Gaming in the 1980s Household.”

Laine Nooney is a media archaeologist and cultural historian of computers and video games. She is currently a Ph.D. candidate at Stony Brook University in the Department of Cultural Analysis and Theory. She is the Editorial Assistant to the Journal of Visual Culture, Assistant to the William A. Higinbotham Game Studies Collection, and recently assisted producing a documentary on the early analog computer game, Tennis for Two. She was also co-organizer of the first Different Games Conference, the first conference on diversity, difference and inclusivity in games and culture. Nooney has spoken internationally on women in game history, and has shared her research with NPR’s Marketplace, KillScreen, and NYU’s Game Center.

The lecture is at 5:00 pm in Walker 120. Refreshments will be served.


Northern Lights Film Festival 2013

The ninth annual Northern Lights Film Festival will feature filmmaker George Desort who will present his new film Fifty Lakes One Island and If You Build It, which Desort shot for director Patrick Creadon. We are also proud to present Joshua Oppenheimer’s remarkable documentary, The Act of Killing, as well as many other notable and award-winning independent documentary and feature films. The festival is free and open to the community. All events are in the Rosza Center for the Performing Arts.

Also screening at this year’s festival is Yoopera!, directed by MTU alum Suzanne Jurva and edited by Erin Smith. Much of Yoopera! was shot by recent CCM graduate Justin Jones with key production assistance from VPA graduate Chelsea Leighton and other Cin/Optic Enterprise team members. Visit the festival website or contact Erin Smith at ersmith@mtu.edu for more information.


Advisory Board Member: Karen Koethe

Karen KoetheAs the Director of Web and New Media at the University of Wisconsin Law School, Karen’s job is to effectively tell their story, across online and print formats, including their website, alumni magazine, social media and admissions publications. She develops editorial plans, writes articles, designs their website, oversees photo shoots, manages publications, develops the brand identity, and pitches their stories and faculty experts to the media. One of the things she loves about her job is that she gets to keep learning, whether it’s how to code something new for their website, figuring out best practices, or holding a focus group to learn more about our audiences.


Advisory Board Member: Bryant Weathers

Bryant Weathers

Bryant works in the office of development at Michigan Tech, working on building comprehensive annual giving strategies, including, but not limited to, social media integration/management and marketing. He collaborates with his colleagues on comprehensive annual strategies and manages the telefund program. In the next few weeks, he will be starting in a new position as a Business Systems and Data Analyst for the Office of Development where he will function as an interface between Advancement system users and Enterprise Application Services regarding requirements and functionality for both new development and existing production systems in the Advancement area.


Advisory Board Member: Laura Hernandez

Laura HernandezLaura Hernandez is the Technical Learning Manager-Engineering at Kiewit Companies.  Kiewit is one of North America’s largest and most respected construction and engineering organizations and offers construction and engineering services in a variety of markets including transportation, water/wastewater, heavy civil, power, oil, gas and chemical, building and mining.  Laura currently designs and manages the technical and operations curricula at Kiewit University in Omaha, NE.


Advisory Board Member: Nick Rosencrans

Nick RosencransNick Rosencrans is a usability consultant for the Office of Information Technology at the University of Minnesota. Nick studied communication and computer science while at Michigan Tech. His graduate work at the University of Minnesota focused on scientific and technical communication as well as human factors. Now he puts his skills to use by helping designers identify issues that affect people and their experience with products.


Emily Wolbeck wins Global Literacy Award

Emily Wolbeck is a Senior Materials Science Major at MTU

Global literacy is one of Michigan Tech’s eight student learning goals that were put in place in order to strengthen innovative student-centered programs and activities. Specifically, global literacy is the idea that students should be able to interact in meaningful ways with people of different cultures. In order to accomplish this goal, students are encouraged to strengthen their global knowledge and tolerance through the study of language and cultures.

This year, the Global Literacy Award was given to Material Science major, Emily Wolbeck. Emily will be a Senior in Fall working towards graduating in the Spring of 2014 with a Bachelors degree in Material Science along with an International French minor. She is also enrolled in the Pavlis Institute for Global Technological Leadership certificate program as well as active with IGTAAP – a program involved in aiding international teaching assistants in English skills and presentation strategies.

The money that Emily won will be used for her trip to study in Malta this summer. While abroad, Emily will lead a project with Mind Trekkers as well as student involvement in the Maltese Aviation Museum to help the museum portray American participation in the Air Battle of Malta during World War II.

Last summer, Emily studied art and photography in Paris where she was very comfortable conversing because of her French minor. However, she is looking forward to visiting a country where she doesn’t know the language because it gives her experiences to bring back to her IGTAAP students. “I think that working in a country where I cannot speak the language will give me good experience that I can share with my students” said Wolbeck. “We can compare notes with eachother.”

After graduation, Emily hopes to end up in Minnesota working in the Green Sector, still involved with her favorite hobby – photography, and making use of her experiences abroad.


Nate Anderson, Class of 2013


Nate Anderson
Nate Anderson is a recent graduate of Michigan Tech's STC program

Hello, my name is Nathan Anderson, and I just graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Scientific and Technical Communication (STC). Since the STC program covers so much material, there were many areas I could focus on while at Michigan Tech. My portfolio highlights more of the graphic design and web design side of the program, though I have learned much about writing and rhetoric—two elements that are often very foundational to effective communication.

Beyond the classroom, I have been involved heavily in Cru, formerly Campus Crusade for Christ. Through this organization, beyond learning many leadership skills, I have also been able to practice what I have learned in the classroom in “real-life” situations. As shown in my portfolio, I have made the website for Cru and designed many publications such as table tents, posters, fliers, logos, and more.

Although my current job as a direct care staff at a Christian therapeutic boarding school doesn’t appear to be the best fit for my degree, there are plenty of opportunities for writing technical documentation and I hope to teach some of the teens in my care how to do some web design. I am open to wherever God leads me and I know that what I have learned at MTU has prepared me to face the many challenges that will come in my future.


Melissa Wilber, Class of 2013

Melissa Wilber
Melissa Wilber is a recent graduate of Michigan Tech's STC program.

I graduated from Michigan Tech with a Bachelor of Science degree in Scientific and Technical Communication (STC).  My portfolio demonstrates some of the skills and knowledge that I gained through academic, internship, and personal experiences by highlighting some of the work I completed while attending Michigan Tech.

Beginning with the Digital Imaging course, I was able to learn about DSLR photography and photo editing.  Following the course, I started my own photography business and now I work as a professional wedding and portrait photographer in my spare time.

I also focused on technical writing, from rhetoric, to white papers, and even documentation design.  Usability and instructions writing were two of my favorite components of the STC program and I hope to continue developing these skills throughout my professional journey.

During my last year at Tech, I worked as a marketing and communications intern for Horner Flooring, in Dollar Bay, Michigan.  There, I wrote white papers used as marketing collateral, created renderings of floor designs, and enhanced the overall communication of the company.

I am currently working in the Technical Communications department at Kohler Company in Wisconsin.  I could not be more excited to continue building upon the skills that I learned at Michigan Tech and I am looking forward to my future as a technical communicator.