Category: Undergraduate

Charlotte Jenkins, MTU Ice Skate Rental Program

A young woman, Charlotte Jenkins, in a line drawing with rainbow colored hair, glasses, and a smilte.

Charlotte’s portrait by fellow Husky Meg Rotele.

“Ice skating is a winter activity that every Michigan Tech student should be able to experience and enjoy, and a skill every Husky should have by the time they graduate. It also provides a great way for students to be physically and socially active on campus. Recognizing this, MacInnes Student Ice Arena provides open ice time and learn-to-skate programs. These opportunities are wonderful for those who have their own skates, but sadly leaves those without their own equipment, or the means to purchase it, sitting on the bench.

In January 2021, the Michigan Tech community lost Charlotte Jenkins, an undergraduate student and resident assistant in East McNair and active member of our community. Almost immediately after receiving this difficult news, students shared stories of Charlotte’s impact. One oft-repeated anecdote was how Charlotte embraced and involved others, often inviting them to go ice skating. Invariably, she would discover someone didn’t have skates, so she would stop by her room or her car and produce a pair of skates just their size.

Charlotte loved winter sports and never wanted to leave anyone out of the fun, and since there were no skates available at the rink, she purchased them in a variety of sizes and kept them on hand for others. As news of Charlotte’s passing spread, so did the realization that Charlotte’s skate borrowing program would be sorely missed, and so emerged the idea for creating a skate rental program in the Student Development Complex in her honor.

Organizations across the community have come together to pool their resources to make this program a reality. Contributions have come from a variety of sources, including the Undergraduate Student Government, the Inter Residence Housing Council, the Wadsworth Hall Student Association, the McNair Housing Association, Residence Education and Housing Services, Physical Education, the Michigan Tech Parents Fund, the Charlotte Jenkins Memorial Fund and many others.

Of the $63,000 projected cost, including the purchase of skates and helmets, $55,000 has been secured, enabling renovation work on the ice level of the MacInnes Student Ice Arena, just a few dozen feet from the entrance to the rink. This space, which was used as a concession stand in the past, is perfect due to its proximity to the rink and size. Completely revamped, it’s ready to be opened for the fall 2021 semester, beginning on MTU Family Weekend, Oct. 1.

The diverse committee leading this effort represents each part of our community and welcomes your involvement. Please join us at 12:30 p.m. on Oct. 16 at MacInnes Student Ice Arena for the dedication of the Skate Rental Program. This event will feature free rentals and open skating to all who attend. Program sponsors will also say a few words to dedicate the program in honor of both Charlotte and Michigan Tech Sports Hall of Fame inductee Cheryl DePuydt, well-known for her many contributions to both campus and community.

Charlotte S. Jenkins 2000-2021 patch with hockey stick and skates
Tax-deductible donations can be made directly to Michigan Tech at mtu.edu/givenow — reference the Charlotte Jenkins Fund. Students have also created patches and stickers like this one available for purchase via Venmo or Paypal. For details email norcross@me.com

Once complete, the facility will be a well-designed storefront capable of storing more than 300 pairs of skates and helmets with one or two staff members to efficiently serve skaters. The flooring between the space and the rink will be covered in a durable rubber material to provide traction for wearers and protection for the skates. Skate rentals will be $5 for students and community members for an open skate or student skate session. Helmets will also be offered free of charge to all individuals using the rink, even if they don’t need to rent skates. The facility will offer on-site sharpening for $5 during year one, allowing those who currently own skates to get their pairs sharpened before, during, and after their trip to the rink.”

–The Skate Rental Program at MacInnes Student Ice Arena Committee, inspired by Charlotte Jenkins

#mtuhumans


Cosmo Trikes ’22, Electrical Engineering

A lot of people say I bring a good energy to places. I’m excited about life and I love to help. I want to make things better, to learn as much as I can. I try to be remembered and get involved anywhere I go. 

What I believe to be the truth is that it’s easy to be virtuous—exemplifying all virtues—in virtuous situations. It’s easy to be optimistic and positive when things are going well. But when things go awry, when we encounter obstacles, only then is when we truly have an opportunity to demonstrate the strength of our virtues. Everything I am today, all my success, I attribute to being able to hold consistent, even amplify, my virtues in the turmoil of my injury. I could have had more courage, charm, wit, energy, optimism, strength of character, anything, before my injury, but few cared until they saw me joke with my doctor in the hospital, tell my therapists to push me harder in rehab, or to be optimistic—without illusions—of the future with certainty that I can figure things out during times of uncertainty.

I’m an electrical engineer with a minor in mathematics. This summer I did a lot of things I wanted. I had a virtual internship with Oracle working as a software engineer—how I got that job is a crazy story for another time. I’ll be a software engineer at Oracle after I graduate this spring. I really enjoyed my work and when I wasn’t working, I spent lots of time reading outside, hanging with my friends, kayaking, Oshkosh air show plus camping, and exploring. My girlfriend got a van and converted it to a camper, so the last week of summer we traveled around the West. I also wrote for my blog and recorded more videos, which I hope to continue to do during the school year.

To new Huskies—there are a lot of things I wish I had known as a college freshman, some of it trivial like how to best organize your laptop folders. The best advice I can offer is: 

Study abroad. You really won’t get another chance to explore the world for three months like you will doing a study abroad. Going to Australia was one of my best college experiences.

Read. Read books, read quotes, read speeches. Quotes are great—I have 10 pages of my favorite quotes and I read them all the time. I constantly read history, biographies, business, personal development, philosophy, etc. I also have a book of about 300 great speeches. Podcasts are great as well—I mainly listen to Tim Ferriss, who talks to very successful (by many definitions) people and asks great questions.

Go to office hours and establish relationships. Ask questions. Get to know your instructors.

Don’t cheat. You may get away with it, but you can’t get away from yourself, and who wants to be stuck with a cheater? 

Take your humanities seriously. Technology changes rapidly, but philosophy, critical thinking, law, and other humanities are timeless and will give you insane leverage in how you interview, approach tasks at work, and grow in your thinking, way of life, and overall performance. 

Don’t choose easy. Choose interesting classes, but don’t choose courses just because they’re easy. No one values that.

Stop complaining. I used to. A lot of students do. They get a bad grade and blame it on the instructor or something like that. I will not say a course is bad until I’ve read the texts, taken notes in every lecture, gone to office hours, gone to the Learning Center, watched videos online, completed the homework, and reviewed it with the grader or instructor. If I’ve done all I could and still get a bad grade, I look for additional ways to improve. Because it’s been done before. There are students who have gotten an A in every class, some probably as single parents, with English as a second or third language, or with other challenges to learning. All you need to know is that it’s possible.

Attitude is a skill. Determine how you want to be viewed and what success means to you. How you see yourself and how you behave is what others adopt as their view of you. 

It will be hard to remember, but obstacles are the only way to demonstrate your strength and character. Encounter those times as great opportunities. And follow me on Instagram, of course! –Cosmo Trikes #mtuhumans


Jeremy Wales, ’21, Biomedical Engineering

Six young people stand in front of a wall that says Earl E. Bakken Medical Devices Center
Jeremy Wales, third from left, and his fellow interns with their mentor in summer 2019.

“For me, the most exciting part about applying for a patent is the possibility of having my name associated with something I helped create that can help people.

I was introduced to the summer internship program that led to my first patent application by my uncle, who offered to get me a tour of the Earl E. Bakken Medical Devices Center at the University of Minnesota through a former co-worker of his who works there. During the tour, the Center guides pointed out all the cool equipment and tech they have, as well as some of the work they did in the past. 

But the Bakken MDC Internship Program is what really got my attention. It lasts a little over 12 weeks, and it takes you through the entire process from start to finish of what it’s like to develop a novel medical device. The program is on a volunteer internship basis but with the possibility of ending up with something worth patenting. They had a display of over 16 patents resulting from this program, and I was hooked. I thought it would be an incredible way to spend a summer using my degree and gaining some valuable skills for my future. The possibility of a patent before I even graduated college was enough to get me to apply and become interested in the process.

I worked with a team of four other interns in summer 2019, as well as a mentor assigned from the university. Our sponsor, a current MD student at the university close to finishing his degree, asked us to come up with a solution to some of the current criticisms regarding vascular dopplers, a medical device that is used to detect blood flow.

We currently have disclosed the IP with the proper department at the University of Minnesota, as well as submitted a technical brief that was accepted to the 2020 Design of Medical Devices Conference. At this time, we are still in the process of IP and provisional patent applications pending.

Michigan Tech encourages its engineering students to not only understand how the things we make work, but to also think about how they could work better. It wasn’t my initial plan to use my degree in the research and development side of the field, but after getting the experience and seeing what it takes, I definitely would like to have a few more under my belt some day.” –Jeremy Wales, ‘21 #mtuhumans


Cacie Clifford, (third-year bioinformatics major, Blue Key Honor Society)

My decision to come to Michigan Tech was made superficially at first—I fell in love with the area, surroundings and how the campus looked—but as I started my freshman year I was drawn in by the classes and traditions at Tech. I am a bioinformatics major, with minors in computer science, psychology, and microbiology. Bioinformatics is at the intersection of statistics, biology and computer science, which is why I chose it. It’s an up-and-coming branch of science that will give me a great foundation for my career. Not many schools offer it and I’m thankful Michigan Tech does. One of the reasons I love being a coach in the Biological Sciences Learning Center (BLC) is that I can help others and teach my favorite subject: biology.

Involvement outside the classroom comes naturally to me. In high school I was active in most of the clubs and even helped start a couple. At Tech, in addition to the BLC I’m on the Blue Key E Board, I’m a mentor in the Center for Diversity and Inclusion, and I volunteer at the local animal shelter. There were so many people who helped me get to college and so many who have helped since I’ve been here. I really want to give my all to make them proud. Coming from a small community (and school) to a larger place like MTU, I want to do what I can to help others be their best. Huskies help Huskies.

Being active outside the classroom while pursuing my education helps take my mind off the hefty workload here at Tech. It helps me gain new perspectives and connect with other students and faculty. Activities outside of the classroom or lab also allow me to participate more deeply in Tech traditions, especially Winter Carnival.

As an MTU Blue Key Honor Society member, for the past two years I served as chair of Alumni and Membership Relations. Michigan Tech’s Winter Carnival connects our alumni to their alma mater. It’s such a deeply rooted tradition and we try super hard to give people new experiences and stories to tell. I connected with EchoTrek, a local humane society fundraiser in memory of Blue Key member Alec Fisher, who died in an automobile accident in November 2018. Currently we’re working on gathering alumni donations to help make a small scholarship available to our members based on their leadership and volunteering service while serving with Blue Key.

Looking beyond Michigan Tech, my goal is to earn a master’s degree and become a genetic counselor, a person who meets with  people to determine their or their children’s risk of genetic diseases and other health care issues. I’ve had this plan for some time, as my father passed away from cancer when I was nine. I want to help people be less afraid and to do what they can do to prevent diseases. 

My Blue Key involvement, and all my other activities, give me the experiences I need to be a great genetic counselor and to be a great friend to people. –Cacie Clifford, future genetic counselor #mtuhumans


Sydney Skalski ’19 (BS Sports and Fitness Management)

I didn’t plan on transforming an ambulance into a tiny home, but I love living in it. It’s one of the best things I’ve ever done and I’m proud of it. The idea began when I made friends with a few “van-lifers,” who had gone to Tech and I became intrigued by the lifestyle. I liked the sustainability, minimalism, and frugality of it and especially the freedom that accompanied having a home on wheels.

I originally wanted a van for the project and looked at a variety in online market places. I came across an ambulance for sale and immediately thought, “Wow! This is luxurious. I could stand up in that, and it’s in my budget.” I looked at it the next day, took it for a test drive and soon made the decision that it was going to be my home. My goal was to be as self-sufficient as I could. That included building it pretty much by myself.

It took me all summer to complete, finishing the Sunday before the start of the fall semester. I had never built anything in my life before and I wanted everything to be just the way I wanted. My aim was to prove to myself and to those who thought I was crazy that I could make a beautiful home for myself and that I could live well in a non-traditional setting.

Google became my best friend throughout the process. I did almost everything myself, except for the foam insulation. My boyfriend taught me how to do the electrical wiring.  I learned so many useful skills like plumbing, setting up a solar system and how to use power tools.

I’ll admit that living in a portable home may not be as simple or as glamorous as people portray it to be. I heat with a woodstove so when I’m not home everything freezes, including my food. Not having a bathroom can be a little tricky at times but I have a sink and a travel toilet so I’m not fully without. I shower at the SDC and it works perfectly. Michigan Tech has been amazing and so supportive of my lifestyle. I could not have picked a better place to start my adventure.

Soon I’ll be moving to Rhinelander, Wisconsin (where I built my tiny home) and work at my summer job providing in-home care for the elderly and people with disabilities, before pursuing a graduate degree in Dietetics. I love the freedom of going wherever I get a job without question. I can be my own boss and won’t have to deal with landlords.

Without question, the coolest thing about living in an ambulance is the people I meet and their reactions to learning that I built it. To be honest, I really enjoy the shock factor. I only wish I had done it sooner.


Sarah Calvert

Sarah Calvert

I’m a sound design major and I’m minoring in music composition. This is my third year at Tech; I transferred from a community college downstate. My grandfather is an alumnus, and I saw the visual and performing arts department and thought, “These are the careers I want to do.” I applied, I was accepted, I drove up here in the fall, I saw an apartment, signed a lease, drove through town, and drove back home. I moved in December during a snowstorm. A nine-hour drive took us 12.


Maneet Singh

Sometimes my name tag says Taylor 2.0. It’s a running joke with one of my coworkers; basically, we were arguing about who is better at their jobs, and I said, “You’re Taylor and I’m better, so I’m Taylor 2.0 now.” So that’s been my name tag ever since. It’s a fun joke at work and everyone says, “You don’t look like a Taylor.” And I say, “I don’t look like Taylor, but I’m Taylor 2.0, so that’s a different person.”


Emi Colman

Emi Colman with rocket

I’m super into rocketry. In high school, I was the captain of one of the rocket teams and was on the team for three years. Actually, Mr. Ratza, our advisor, also recommended I do the women in engineering Summer Youth Program (SYP), so I attribute a lot to him. I came for SYP the summer into my senior year. Michigan Tech is the only school I applied to. I’m studying mechanical engineering, I’m outreach coordinator of the Keweenaw Rocket Range student organization, and I’m staying over the summer to take classes and be a SYP weekend counselor. In the fall, I’ll be an orientation team leader. I’m a very sociable person, so it’s not hard for me to be outgoing. Just genuine talking—I’m good at that.

The way I got the job (as outreach coordinator) was by raising my hand at the info session. No one else raised their hand. I’m actually really enjoying it. We’re going to New Mexico for a competition in June. Even though I’m really heavy into rocketry and this leadership stuff, I think it’s important to not get focused solely on those things, but rather, be flexible and versatile. I’m also interested in videography. Because mechanical engineering is so broad, I don’t want to specialize myself in the beginning of my college career, I’d rather be open and see where it takes me, and if rocketry doesn’t end up being my career, I can just make it a hobby because I like it; so that’s my advice—flexibility.