Archives—June 2011

Celebrating Our History

The Fourth of July is truly one of my favorite holidays.  What could be better than spending time with friends and family, enjoying the warm summer weather, watching fireworks, grilling out, and playing with sparklers.  I must say what is even better is celebrating the Fourth of July in the beautiful Keweenaw Peninsula.  This weekend starting on Friday, July 1, there will be several Independence Day celebrations in the local area.


Pasties made by a Michigan Tech student. Photo Credit: AJ Donati

I can’t think of a better way to begin a weekend filled with celebrating the history of the United States than by remembering the history of the Keweenaw Peninsula by going to Pastyfest.  Pastyfest is an annual festival that celebrates the delicious meat pies that were once a popular food for miners and are now a special treat for tourists and locals alike.  This year’s Pastyfest will take place on Friday, July 1, and Saturday, July 2, in Calumet, Michigan.  The activities of Pastyfest include a parade, music, free horse-drawn tours, games, a artisans and farmers market, and of course pasties!  The Pasty Parade begins at 11 a.m. and the Pasty Bake-off judging begins at 1 p.m. on Saturday, July 2.

July 3

On Sunday, July3, the Independence Day Celebrations begin in Dollar Bay and Lake Linden.  In Dollar Bay there will be free horse and wagon rides at 6:30 p.m. and a street dance at  8:0 p.m.  In Lake Linden there will be a fireworks display at dusk in the village park.  Prior to the firework display there will be live music, food, and refreshments in the park starting at 6:30 p.m.

July 4

The Copper Harbor fireworks display will take place at dusk on Monday, July 4. Photo Credit:

On Monday, July 4, there is a wide variety of activities to take part in.  Several of the towns throughout the Keweenaw will have parades, music, refreshments, games, and bazaars going on throughout the day.  The towns of Dollar Bay, Lake Linden, Hubbell, South Range, and Ahmeek all have parades and other activities planned for the day.  To wrap up a day full of events there will be fireworks displays in South Range and Copper Harbor, beginning at dusk.  For a complete listing of the events taking place this weekend checkout the Keweenaw Calendar.

In addition to all the organized Fourth of July events listed above, there are many other fun activities to do with friends and family over the Fourth of July weekend.  Some other fun activities include eating at one of the great restaurants in the local area, bike riding on the trails, hiking, going to the beach, or exploring and sightseeing.  For ideas of local attractions to visit and restaurants to eat at, check out the Keweenaw Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Wherever you choose to celebrate the Fourth of July, I hope you have a wonderful time and find yourself in the company of friends and loved ones!

Please feel free to email me with any questions, comments, or suggestions you may have. Don’t forget to check back for next week’s article in which I will write about Chassell’s annual Strawberry Festival.  In next week’s article I will also be saying my goodbyes to you all as I head out on my next big life adventure and I will be introducing the new ParentNet Weekly Article Writer.

The Summer is Halfway Over!

Bridgefest 2011

The start of the Keweenaw Chain Drive bike race.

This past weekend the Portage Lift Bridge celebrated it’s birthday.  The  annual birthday celebration, otherwise known as Bridgefest, started on Friday, June 17 and lasted through Sunday, June 20.  The weekend’s events included tall ship boat rides, a parade, a fishing derby, the Keweenaw Chain Drive bike race, a water-ski show, live music, a firework display, and several other fun events.  Also, a part of Bridgefest was the Houghton Rotary Seafood Fest which was held in Kestner Park on the Portage Waterfront.  Michigan Tech students and local community members flocked to the downtown area to enjoy a weekend filled with delicious food, great music, and good times.

End of Track A Summer Courses

Believe it or not seven weeks have already flown by since the end of the spring semester.  For those Michigan Tech students taking summer courses that means it is yet again time to prepare for final exams.  Although Bridgefest was a perfect distraction for students who were trying to avoid studying for final exams, it is definitely time to buckle down and prepare to wrap up another semester of classes.  Final exams for Track A Summer Courses are officially scheduled for Friday, June 24, however, some professors due to students requests, are moving the final exams to Thursday, June 23.  After final exams students taking Track B Summer Courses will have a short weekend break and then Track B Summer Courses will begin on Monday, June 27 and will end on Friday, August 12.  From my personal experience, taking summer classes can be a lot of hard work and can take a lot of discipline.  At times, summer courses may seem easier because student organizations are not meeting and there are not as many campus activities, but summer classes are also at a much faster pace than courses during the normal academic year.  During the academic year courses are fourteen weeks long and usually take place every other day.  This provides students not only with more time to take in and study the material but also more time to work on homework assignments.  During the summer, courses are seven weeks long and typically take place Monday-Thursday.  In the summer, students typically get three day weekends with Friday, Saturday, and Sunday off but overall students are still learning the material much faster and therefore, have exams and homework assignments due more frequently.  My advice for students looking to take summer courses in the future is to definitely do it but don’t overwhelm yourself.  It is really a great experience to be in Houghton in the summer and enjoy all the fun activities, but I would recommend taking no more than 6-9 credits each track in the summer.  Leave time to enjoy what the Keweenaw has to offer and also make sure you leave time to do your course work.  Best of luck to students who will be taking exams this week!

Please feel free to email me with any questions, comments, or suggestions you may have. Don’t forget to check back for next week’s article in which I will be writing about how the Keweenaw Peninsula is celebrating the upcoming Independence Day.

Bridgefest 2011


The Portage Lift Bridge that links the towns of Houghton and Hancock.

This coming weekend the local community will celebrate the Portage Lift Bridge’s  51st birthday.  The birthday celebration, otherwise known as Bridgefest, will take place Friday, June 17 through Sunday, June 19.  The Portage Lift Bridge is a very important structure in the community as it serves as a link between the cities of Houghton and Hancock and allows for convenient access to the rest of the Keweenaw Peninsula.  The weekend’s events include tall ship sailing, a parade, a fishing derby, a beach party BBQ, a water-ski show, a firework display, and much more.  Events taking place during Bridgefest that are especially of interest to students are the Keweenaw Chain Drive and the Houghton Rotary Seafood Fest.

Keweenaw Chain Drive

The Keweenaw Chain Drive is a mountain bike race that starts at Magnuson Franklin Square Hotel and ends in the Portage Health Parking Lot. Students who wish to participate in the bike race can choose from the 16 or 32 mile courses that are a part of the Hancock trail system. The registration fee is $50 to participate in either the 16 or 32-mile course. Each racer in the Keweenaw Chain Drive gets a t-shirt, food at the finish, and free photo downloads. The Keweenaw Chain Drive will take place on Saturday, June 18 at 10 a.m.

Seafood Fest

The Houghton Rotary Seafood Fest is also taking place in conjunction with Bridgefest. The Houghton Rotary Seafood Fest will take place in Kestner Waterfront Park Friday, June 17 and Saturday, June 18. On Friday food will be served from 5 p.m to 12 a.m. and on Saturday food will be served from 11 a.m. to 12 a.m. The menu for Seafood Fest includes a wide variety of seafood and sides. Tickets for a lobster dinner that includes lobster and two sides are just $25 and tickets for all the other menu items are sold for $10 a ticket with all ticket sale proceeds going to charity.

If your student is in the Houghton area this weekend, I hope they have the opportunity to head to the downtown area to enjoy the delicious food, great music, and good times.

Please feel free to email me with any questions, comments, or suggestions you may have. Don’t forget to check back for next week’s article in which I will be writing about the end of Track A summer classes.

Summer Youth Programs


A participant in the Blacksmithing Exploration learning to make a candle holder.

Each summer Michigan Tech’s Youth Programs offers over 50 summer camp and career/adventure explorations to provide 6th-11th grade students with the opportunity to learn about various fields and topics they may be interested in.  Each exploration lasts one week, and students can choose to participate in just one week-long exploration or they can participate for several weeks in different week-long explorations.  For each exploration participants will spend approximately thirty-two hours exploring their areas of interest through hands-on labs, classroom activities, and field experiences.  The explorations participants have a wide variety of explorations to choose from.  Some of the options include aquatic ecology, digital photography, video game programming, aviation and aerospace, and more!  The explorations are instructed by Michigan Tech faculty, graduate students, and local specialists.  Summer Youth Programs are truly more than another summer camp.  It provides middle school and high school students with the opportunity to experience what it’s like to take classes on a university campus and what it’s like to learn from university faculty and other experts in the field.  At Summer Youth Programs, exploration participants get to learn about topics they are truly interested in by providing them with insight into areas they may wish to study in the future.  It is also a great place for participants to make friends with similar interests.  Summer Youth Programs is truly an international program.  Last year there were participants from across the United States and even participants from Puerto Rico, Austria, South Korea, Canada, and Columbia.  For a complete listing of the explorations offered click 2011 Summer Camps & Career and Adventure Explorations.


Some middle school and high school students in the local area participate in Summer Youth Programs, and they may choose to commute from their home or from a relatives home each day that they are attending an exploration.  Several Summer Youth Program participants travel from very long distances to attend Summer Youth Programs and choose to stay in one of Michigan Tech’s residence halls, Wadsworth Hall.  Wadsworth Hall is the largest residence hall on Michigan Tech’s campus and during the academic year, it houses approximately 1,000 students.  In the summer Wadsworth Hall is utilized by Summer Youth Programs to house exploration participants and the Summer Youth Programs Office.  Wadsworth Hall is the site of many of the after-class activities where participants can enjoy living, dining, and participating in a variety of recreational activities.

Student Staff

Last year’s Summer Youth Program Counselors and Staff.

In addition to the Summer Youth Programs instructors and professional staff that plan the programs, there are also several student staff members that assist throughout the summer to make Summer Youth Programs a success.  Summer Youth Programs hires several Michigan Tech students and other local college students to serve as activities counselors and residence counselors.  The activities counselors supervise the participants during their free time in the evening.  Activities counselors lead fun recreational activities and games.  Residence counselors supervise the participants during breakfast, lunch, and the evening hours.  The residence counselors live in Wadsworth Hall with the Summer Youth Program Participants.  There are approximately ten students per residence counselor.  The residence counselors hold nightly meetings to update the participants on upcoming recreational activities and other important information.

Two summers ago I had the opportunity to be a residence counselor with Summer Youth Programs, and I had a blast.  I think my favorite part of the experience was holding the nightly meetings and hearing what the participants had done that day in their explorations or in their afternoon recreational activities.  The participants always had something new that they had learned to share with me.  Last summer I had the opportunity to teach one of the week-long explorations for Summer Youth Programs.  I instructed the Psychology in Action course and had the opportunity to share my enthusiasm for the field of psychology with the Summer Youth Programs participants who signed up for the course.  Each day of the week-long exploration held something new!  Whether it was a trip to a mine, a discussion about forensic psychology, or taking part in the low ropes challenge course at the Michigan Tech trails, the participants and I stayed busy and had a great time!  If you have a middle school or high school student of your own or if you know someone in 6th to 11th grade, I would recommend you introduce them to all that Summer Youth Programs has to offer!

Please feel free to email me with any questions, comments, or suggestions you may have. Don’t forget to check back for next week’s article in which I will be writing about Bridge Fest.

A. E. Seaman Mineral Museum


Architect rendering of the A.E. Seaman Mineral Museum

After spending the last 34 years in the Electrical Engineering Resource Center, the A. E. Seaman Mineral Museum will soon have a home of its own on Michigan Tech’s campus.  The relocation of the Seaman Mineral Museum has been considered for several years and approximately every thirty years the Seaman Mineral Museum has moved from one campus building to another.  The long term plan is for the Seaman Mineral Museum to be located near the Quincy Mine and Hoist in Hancock, MI, however this move is subject to funding.  The relocation of the Seaman Mineral Museum was most recently initiated by a plan to renovate the fifth floor of the Electrical Engineering Resource Center.  The space that was once home to the Seaman Mineral Museum is now being redesigned to provide a space, known as the Center for Computer Systems Research, for students and faculty of the electrical engineering, computer engineering, and computer science departments to collaborate and conduct research.  The new home for the Mineral Museum is located at 1404 Sharon Avenue on Michigan Tech’s campus.  Given the long term plan to eventually relocate the Seaman Mineral Museum near the Quincy Mine and Hoist, this new facility will provide another temporary home for the museum until funding is found to move the museum to Quincy Hill.  Ground was broken on October 27, 2010, at the site and now a large portion of the exterior and interior of the building stands completed.  It is expected that the Museum Gift Shop will open on July 5, 2011, and the Copper Country and the Beauty of Minerals Galleries will open that day as well.  Galleries will continue to open as they are ready with the full exhibit hall being open by May 2012.

Features of the Facility

In October 2010, when the Seaman Mineral Museum was being packed up and moved out of the Electrical Engineering Resource Center, it took ten semis to move the thousands of minerals and several display cases that are apart of the museum’s collection to a storage location.  That is a lot of minerals!  The new 9,000-square-foot facility will consist of a largely open space for the exhibit hall so that  the exterior walls can be covered in display cases and the center of the exhibit hall can have tabletop display cases.  The layout of the new facility should provide more display space so that a larger number of the 30,000 specimen can be put on display.  Although the exhibit hall of the new facility is actually smaller in regards to square footage, the space is much more efficient in that there are no interior walls or pillars intercepting the exhibit area.  The facility will also include some office space as well as a special display room for the florescent minerals.  The new location of the Seaman Mineral Museum should make it much easier for visitors to locate and to find close parking.

History of the Museum

The Seaman Mineral Museum is a very special facility and we are so lucky to have it’s presence on campus.  The Seaman Mineral Museum is the official mineral museum of the state of Michigan and has been known since it began in 1904, for having one of the most excellent mineral displays.  The Seaman Mineral Museum has the second largest mineral collection owned by a university and has one of the finest collections of native copper.  The Seaman Mineral Museum truly brings to life the history of Michigan Tech and the Keweenaw Peninsula.  The collection began as early as 1885, when Michigan Tech was founded, and continued to grow as Arthur E. Seaman, a Michigan Tech professor, continued to increase the number of specimens.

As a student, I have enjoyed walking through the Seaman Mineral Museum and I have always found the Museum Gift Shop to be a great place to look for that special gift.  As a campus tour guide, I have always delighted in watching the faces of prospective students and their families light up with interest and intrigue as I turned on the ultraviolet light to show the florescent mineral display.  I encourage you and your student to stop by the Seaman Mineral Museum to see the completed facility and see what makes the collection so special.

Please feel free to email me with any questions, comments, or suggestions you may have. Don’t forget to check back for next week’s article in which I will be writing about Summer Youth Programs.