Tag: Life at Tech

A Message to Families from President Koubek

Each year at the Michigan Tech Alumni Reunion, the University hosts a special Golden M ceremony to honor those who graduated 50 (or more) years ago. A part of the ceremony that has become a favorite of mine is when the inductees reminisce about their time at Tech.  While many colorful and remarkable tales are told, most often the stories are laced with notastalia of a “special faculty” member who went the extra mile and made a lasting impact on their lives. While much has changed over the last 50 years here at Michigan Tech, our faculty’s enthusiasm and commitment to student success remains steadfast.  

A most recent example of this is evidenced through the Tech Forward initiatives our campus launched last July. The nine initiatives focus on themes that Michigan Tech faculty and staff identified as essential keystones necessary to position Michigan Tech as an educational and research leader in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. One of the initiatives that has the potential for profound impact is Education for the 21st Century led by Lorelle Meadows, dean of the Pavlis Honors College

Recently I had an opportunity to visit with the faculty and staff working group to hear not just their creative ideas, but see and feel the intensity of their commitment to provide the very best, forward-leaning, educational experience for our students. Their goal is audacious—to revolutionize how we deliver higher education, while remaining uniquely Michigan Tech.  Audacious, but they are right. Status quo is not our answer to preparing students to enter the workforce at the very forefront of their professions. We envision an experientially based education that prepares our graduates to adapt to the constantly changing needs of the future workplace, that enables them to define their individual definition of post graduate success and that satisfies our parents’ and families’ want for their student to be challenged and supported throughout their college experience.

Michigan Tech is fortunate to have faculty and staff who are highly creative and are directing that creativity toward re-envisioning the student experience at Tech. I encourage you to check out their website (www.mtu.edu/ideahub) throughout the year as they tackle this challenge.

It’s still too early to tell where this will end up exactly, but after talking with the group, a bit of advice a mentor once gave me came to mind, “Tell me who is working the problem and I can tell you how it will end before it starts.” With this group of Michigan Tech faculty and staff leading the charge, I believe it will end up very well indeed.


Pitch Perfect!

By Husky Innovate

Congratulations to Husky Innovate Idea Pitch contestants and winners. Twenty-six students and 19 teams participated in an Idea Pitch competition held at the Great Lakes Research Center late last fall. Contestants pitched innovative ideas by reframing problems as opportunities. Judges from across campus voted to select Idea Pitch winners, and 14 Floors alums acted as a panel of experts.

Seven cash prizes were awarded. Prize winners include:

  • First Prize – Jacob Soter with Cellular Beach Network, $200 cash award
  • Second Prize – Kyra Pratley with PowerPendants, $100 cash award
  • Third Prize – Mitch DeLong with FreightMate, $50 cash award
  • Honorable Mention – Morgan Flynn with Adult Atlas, $25 cash award
  • Honorable Mention  – Baillie McGirk and Brandon Oja with CartSkis, $25 cash award
  • Honorable Mention – Harrison Shields with Shields Hydrotech, $25 cash award
  • Audience Favorite  – Baillie McGirk and Brandon Oja with CartSkis, $25 cash award

The Pavlis Honors College, Office of Innovation and Commercialization, and College of Business sponsor the Husky Innovate Event Series – a succession of workshops and events that build on each other with the intention of guiding students through key phases of innovation or business development while emphasizing evidence-based strategies for success.


Dress for Success

by Heather Herman, Presidential Communications


“I believe that we not only transform the students’ external appearance with new clothing, but an amazing transformation occurs internally as well—they stand taller, hold their head up higher, and look more confident! I am so grateful to be a part of this transformation in our students during every career clothing event!”  

— Susan Amato-Henderson, Chair and Associate Professor in the Department of Cognitive and Learning Sciences and founder of the Michigan Tech Career Closet


With Career Fair quickly approaching, now’s the time for students to not only polish up their resume but also their wardrobe. Unbeknownst to most students, Michigan Tech opens the Career Closet boutique prior to both the fall and spring Career Fairs. This service allows students to shop (free of charge) for gently used professional attire. Faculty and staff volunteers also provide free coaching sessions on how to dress appropriately for all types of interviews and offer interviewing tips and advice on proper etiquette in social settings. 

The Career Closet is open the Saturday before each Career Fair in the Meese building. In addition, students may also contact Susan Amato-Henderson at any other time to browse the inventory (contact information below). 

Approximately 200 students utilize the service each semester, but recently there has been an uptick in interest due to the lack of retail stores in the area, according to Amato-Henderson.  Because of an expanding interest by our students, the Career Closet committee encourages families to support the program by donating gently used professional clothing or by volunteering to collect clothing from their place of work. They are in particular need of accessories like shoes, ties, belts, jewelry, tights, dress socks, etc. In addition, they work with students to make small sewing repairs and alternations to the clothing, so donations of sewing supplies (needles, thread, pins, etc.) are needed. People interested in donating should contact Susan Amato-Henderson at slamato@mtu.edu or via phone at 906-281-0231.


President Koubek’s Fall Letter to Families:

Welcome class of 2023!

A Message to Families from President Koubek 

The following message is a written adaptation of a speech given to students and families by President Koubek at Michigan Tech’s first year student welcome night on August 24, 2019.  

“Good evening! First, pep band, I am a fan. Thank you. Second, welcome class of 2023. I can tell you that this week campus has been abuzz with excitement about you joining us today because we know the incredible talents you are going to bring to our campus. This incoming class has the highest academic credentials in the history of MTU. Congratulations! 

As you were comparing other universities with Michigan Tech during your college search, I am sure you came to realize just how special Michigan Tech is among the approximately 4,600 universities in the United States. Of the 4,600 new freshman classes engaging in orientation activities just as you are, Michigan Tech is one of two universities in the United States where you have your own ski hill. There is no other university that can lay claim to its very own Mushing team. Your university is the only one in the state of Michigan that has its own College of Computing. And, Michigan Tech is the only public university in the state with a varsity esports team. It’s by no accident that we have been ranked the safest college campus in America. And, lastly – I can suspect that no other university lets classes out early so students can build life-size ice sculptures in the middle of February. Truly, there is no other place like it. 

As mentioned, I’ve been the president of Michigan Tech for a year now. And you will find, like I did, that Michigan Tech is indeed a special place. I talked about the many things that I think are unique, but I will tell you what I believe to be the secret of success at our university. It is not what we are as an institution, but rather who we are. The people are what define our institution. You saw all of those people in yellow shirts today. Those folks came out and volunteered because they are excited for you to be here and they want to help you. What you are going to find at Michigan Tech is that our faculty, our staff, and our students are committed to your success in a special way.  

As I was preparing for tonight’s talk, a colleague asked, “So, are you going to give them the speech? You know…the look to your left, look to your right…only one of us will graduate speech.” 

I said, “Yes, but I am going to give the Michigan Tech version…which is look to your left, now look to your right…because we want all of you to be together at graduation four years from now.” And, that is what this institution is committed to do. That in four years all of you are sitting here again. Only this time, it’s to celebrate graduation. 

So, I have one request for you. 

That is to ask. Everyone here is oriented toward you succeeding. If you are having an issue with your roommate, ask. If you are not sure how to solve a math problem, ask. If you are missing home and need to talk to someone, ask. If you don’t know where a building is, ask. 

Please know our entire university is set up for you to succeed here. All you have to do is ask.” 


MTU’s Moonshot!

Click the image above to watch the Keweenaw Rocket Range team’s amazing journey to liftoff.

The Michigan Tech student organization Keweenaw Rocket Range — aptly named after an isolated NASA launch pad once located on the northern tip of the peninsula — participated in their first Intercollegiate Rocket Engineering Challenge at Spaceport America in New Mexico this past June. The rookie team of ten’s hard work definitely paid off as they successfully launched and recovered their rocket. Click to watch their amazing journey to liftoff.  


It Takes A Village…

By Amber Bennett, Counseling Services

The modern day interpretation of the proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child,” suggests that an entire community of people must interact with children for them to experience and grow in a safe and healthy environment. And, yes, while technically Michigan Tech students are now young adults, we realize the importance of creating an inclusive, caring environment for our students to thrive. As a counseling professional, I know that the years spent in college are typically among some of the most tumultuous times an individual experiences in their lifetime. Normalizing these stressors and validating the feelings that come with these experiences is a simple, but critical component that families can provide. 

We find many students begin to struggle with confidence, sadness, isolation, and academic distress between weeks four to seven. This is typically when their first exams are scheduled, and it may be the point when material in classes is more challenging than anticipated. First year and transfer students are not always prepared for the difficulty of the course material and exams, and therefore may receive lower grades than anticipated. Sleep schedules and healthy diets are often sacrificed to complete homework and study for the next round of exams. 

Families are encouraged to keep a constant dialogue going with their students via regular texts, calls, and video chats. Initiating an open and honest conversation with your student about how they are doing and encouraging them to let you know how they are handling the stressors of college life may set the stage for later conversations when they are struggling. Here are a few questions to help jumpstart those conversations. 

How are you sleeping?

How is your appetite? Are you finding enough to eat in the dining hall?

Tell me about the best part of the semester: What is the biggest challenge you have faced so far? What is your favorite part of the day? 

Signs of distress may include: 

Difficulty getting to class or completing academic work. 

-or-

Difficulty falling or staying asleep, trouble getting out of bed, forgetting to eat, lack of appetite, eating too much or too little, or facing challenges to complete the daily activities necessary to take care of themselves (showering, brushing teeth, doing laundry, etc.). 

-or-

Difficulty feeling connected to others, believing everyone else is making friends more easily than they are and expressing a lack of belonging on-campus. 

You know your student best. If you feel their behavior has changed significantly or you have cause for concern, encourage them to make an appointment with Michigan Tech’s Counseling Services or you may use the Report a Concern tool to express your concerns to us.  We are happy to assist. 


Tech Forward: Policy, Ethics, and Culture

By Heather Herman, Presidential Communications

Ever wonder just exactly how Amazon knows what “you might also like?” It’s all thanks to big data and algorithms. For those wondering, an algorithm is a process or set of rules to be followed in calculations or other problem-solving operations, especially by a computer. And big data—well, that’s simply a warehouse of the world’s data transmitted through the internet. Computer scientists and programmers are putting all of this data to good use through complex algorithms to give consumers a pretty accurate picture of “what they might like,” along with thousands of other applications such as predicting future health outcomes and crimes. But what about the policy and ethics behind it all?   

This July, Michigan Tech will begin planning for the launch of a new institute that will explore the policy implications, ethical considerations, and cultural significance of the massive technological changes and disruptive forces currently underway worldwide. The Institute for Policy, Ethics, and Culture (IPEC) will address such issues as algorithmic culture, medicine and biotechnology, technology and autonomy, surveillance and privacy, and reconfiguring human relationships in and with the environment.

The mission of IPEC is threefold: research, policy, and teaching. Through research, the IPEC will serve as a hub for innovative research and collaboration on policy, ethics, and culture. Through policy, the institute hopes to counsel policy and lawmakers on the societal and ethical implications of innovation. Lastly, through teaching, IPEC will design a University-wide curriculum component that provides students with the tools to act and work effectively, ethically, and proactively in this emerging technological environment.

“I am excited about the future of Michigan Tech’s new Institute for Policy, Ethics, and Culture,” said Rick Koubek, president. “This new institute has the potential to position Michigan Tech as a national leader in this regard, and the knowledge that comes with the curriculum changes will certainly differentiate our graduates amongst their peers.”

 


What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up?

By Heather Herman, Presidential Communications

I think it was around the age of two, when I first asked my children what they wanted to be when they grew up. They are now 15 and I still can’t get a straight answer. Perhaps you can relate. I mean, after all, a career is for life and making the wrong choice—well, that’s not such an easy fix. But fear not. Michigan Tech’s Career Services office can help, thanks to their Career Cruising aptitude assessment program. Recently, I had the opportunity to sit down with Jennifer Wall in the Career Services office to talk about the program.

What is Career Cruising?

Career Cruising is an online self-assessment that lets students explore careers based on their education, interests, skills, and abilities. Anyone with a Michigan Tech email address has free access to the program. Login information can be found on Career Services website.  

Taking the assessment

After students login and create a personal profile, they can begin taking the Matchmaker assessment in two parts. Part one asks students to examine their likes and dislikes with questions like:

How would you like a career that includes…

  • working in an office
  • understanding and using physics
  • presenting ideas and information in writing
  • operating machines

The first section is 39 questions and takes less than 10 minutes to complete. Students then see a list of career options that meet their interests after part one.

Section two asks students to evaluate skills they already have or skills they would like to develop.This section asks 61 questions and takes less than 20 minutes to complete.  

After completing both sections of the assessment, students receive a ranked list of careers that suit their interests and skill set. Each career listing has an associated link that lets students explore job descriptions, work environments, salaries, and education paths for that specific career. Students can also utilize a job search tool that lets them find available jobs with that job title in any given zip code.

When should a student use Career Cruising?

We recommend students take the assessment early in their college education and before they start exploring internships and job opportunities. We also advise students to utilize Career Cruising if they are struggling with multiple courses and are questioning their chosen major.

The assessment can be taken countless times and throughout a student’s college experience.

What will a student learn?

Career Cruising is an idea generator. The right career may be one you’ve dreamed of your whole life or one you’ve never heard of before. The Matchmaker tool builds self-awareness and lets students explore options.

Can a student meet with an advisor to discuss their test results?

Career Advisors are available by appointment to review results with students year round. The role of an advisor is not to tell students what to do, but instead, help them make informed decisions for themselves. Advisors help students talk through their assessment answers and discuss how they relate to careers that top their interests list. Advisors can also give students tips and tools to move forward in their career journey.  

If a student’s career interests and skills don’t match their declared major, advisors will work with students to find out why.   

Jennifer’s Two Cents

Career Services did extensive research before purchasing Career Cruising for Michigan Tech in January 2018. I was thoroughly impressed with Career Cruising. My job title was ranked number one on my Matchmaker, and career counselor was listed in the top 20. The staff and faculty who have also taken the assessment found similar results. It’s also fun to take and easy to navigate. Reviewing assessment results and exploring career options with students is so rewarding. It’s one of my favorite appointment types, second only to job offer acceptance letters!

To learn more or access the Career Cruising website at Michigan Tech, click here.  


Did you know?

  • Michigan Tech alumni have access to the services offered through Career Services for their entire career.
  • Michigan Tech is ranked as the safest college campus in America.
  • Michigan Tech is one of only two universities in the country to have our own ski hill—and we are the only university in the country to offer snow skiing in the winter and surfing in the summer.
  • Michigan Tech’s placement rate for undergraduates is 92 percent (meaning they are employed within their field of study, enlisted in the military, or enrolled in graduate school within six months of graduation).
  • According to the Washington Monthly magazine, Michigan Tech ranked No. 36 in the nation for its contributions to the public good based on social mobility, research, and public service.
  • Michigan Tech ranks No. 18 in the US for Best Return on Investment, according to BestColleges.com.
  • SmartAsset ranked MTU # 1 in the state for Best Value.
  • Forbes.com, a financial news website, ranks Michigan Technological University 12th in the nation for public universities whose graduates earn the highest mid-career salaries.

President Koubek’s Summer Letter to Families

Greetings and congratulations to our spring 2019 graduates and their families!  

With the spring semester, finals, graduation, and (hopefully) the snow behind us, I wanted to highlight a few examples of our faculty’s forward-leaning research, which includes projects such as:

  • Developing biometric clothing and artificial intelligence that will empower each of us to self-diagnose illnesses before real symptoms appear
  • Discovering techniques to diagnose the presence of cancer, as well as its type and malignancy, in less than two minutes

Yes, Michigan Tech research teams are leading the way in developing these new technologies. But our students will be the ones who decide how they get used. And we will all have to live with the consequences of their decisions.   

Complicating those decisions is the rapid and often disruptive rate of change in which we now live.

As technologies continue to advance, how might we prepare the student of today to address the needs of society at a level that machines and technology cannot?

And how might we align our programs to support the economic wellbeing of our future state?

We all know it’s a race to keep pace with the rapid evolution of technology.  Just as our students have adapted how they express their creativity and talents in new ways, we as educators must adapt and change with the times. Yes, universities have on occasion been characterized as traditionalists, but we are, at our core, about growth and opportunity. This is evidenced in our research and development agenda. It is truly part of Michigan Tech’s DNA.

In July, we will open a new College of Computing. Building on our strong foundation, the new college will help continue the University’s transformation into an academic institution that is poised to nimbly respond to—and even predict—the technological, economic, and social needs of the 21st century. The College of Computing will prepare students to be agile and adaptable in a rapidly changing job market. It will allow our faculty to collaborate on high-impact, translational research in new ways, and it will better meet industry’s insatiable demand for talent in AI, software engineering, data science, and cybersecurity. But most importantly, it will provide the next generation of graduates with the skills needed to lead the industries driving our state and national economies.  

We have also engaged in a process to expand our Pavlis Honors College experience across the entire curriculum…for all students. The curriculum cultivates critical reflection, design thinking, and interdisciplinary collaboration. This approach is critical because we realize we are no longer training students for the jobs of today—but equipping them with the skills and competencies to be successful in the rapidly changing economic environment of the future.

These are exciting times at Michigan Tech, and we thank you for your vote of confidence in our mission and future direction.    

Wishing you the happiest of summers!

Sincerely,

Rick Koubek
President