Archives—August 2012

The Last Weekend of Summer

With first-year students settled in to the residence halls, Orientation week underway, and classes about to begin, it’s clear that fall is in the air. This past move-in weekend was a great success; I loved seeing the enthusiasm and excitement new students and their families had for Michigan Tech. Class of 2016, you have four (or more) wonderful years ahead of you at Michigan Tech, make the most of it!

This Week’s Events

Students trying their luck at the tables during Vegas Night.

Students can begin making the most of their Michigan Tech experience right now. With all the fun events of Orientation week, it’s impossible not to have a great time and meet lots of new people. This week’s evening events include Vegas Night, the famous 500-foot banana split, the MHA Dance, and Illusionist Craig Karges.

Tuesday, August 28 is Vegas Night, sponsored by the Wadsworth Hall Student Association, which takes place in the Wadsworth Dining Hall from 10:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m. The activities at Vegas Night include dancing, games, and snacks. Also on Tuesday,  first-year students get to partake in the longest banana split they’ve ever seen! The yummy treat is prepared for them by the Orientation Team Leaders, and it’s a lot of fun.

On Thursday, August 30, students can dance the night away in the West McNair courtyard at the McNair Hall Association Dance from 10:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m.

Illusionist Craig Karges will perform Friday, August 31, at the Rozsa Center at 8:00 p.m. Karges uses full audience participation and will amaze students with various illusions and displays of unbelievable phenomena.

This Weekend’s Events

The fun activities and the opportunity to meet new friends continues this weekend with Orientation trips, the F’All Nighter, and An Afternoon on the Town.

There are several Orientation trips planned for first-year students to participate in. The trips include a community service project, a trip to Copper Harbor, a trip to the Porcupine Mountains, a camping and canoe trip, and more.

For first-year students who stay on campus this weekend, the F’All Nighter will be taking place on Saturday night at the Student Development Complex. The event provides first-year students the opportunity to have a great time and also learn more about Michigan Tech’s student organizations. Students can enjoy using the Student Development Complex facilities or participate in a euchre tournament, dancing, crafts, or another fun activities.

Also on Saturday, students can head downtown for An Afternoon on the Town—a trip to the business district guided by Orientation Team Leaders, Resident Assistants, and more. It will be a great opportunity to find out what’s downtown, check out local businesses, and get some great deals and freebies.

On Monday, September 3, the Inter-Residence Hall Council will be sponsoring the fourth annual Schoolyard Olympics. The event will take place in front of Douglass Houghton Hall on the front lawn from 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.  Students will compete with their houses against the other 60+ residence hall houses. The challenges include an obstacle course, water-balloon toss, steal the bacon, and a sidewalk chalk competition.

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 the first week of classes and Welcome Week.

Students After Tech Part 2

Each December and May, students graduate from Michigan Tech, moving forward with their degrees and lives. Ever wonder what they move on to do, or how the students at Michigan Tech become so successful? Below, Michigan Tech alumni and future graduates share their stories with you.

Dan Madrid

I graduated in the fall of 2010 with a BA in computer networking and systems administration and an international minor in Spanish. In my five and a half years at Michigan Tech, I was involved in McNair Hall Association, Student Entertainment Board, Inter-Residence Hall Council, Michigan Tech Student Foundation, and Michigan Tech Orientation twic–as an Orientation Team Leader in 2008 and 2009 and as a member of the Orientation Executive Staff in 2010. I also was involved in the Homecoming committee in 2009, Sigma Tau Gamma National Fraternity, and Greek Judicial Board. Additionally, I studied abroad in Ireland during the fall of 2008 and in Costa Rica during the summer of 2010, worked in the International Programs office, and also had two internships during the summers of 2008 and 2009 at Ford Motor Company.

All of these things helped me further my personal growth and education in ways that I never thought I would. I learned how to manage teams; interact with businesses and professionals; manage finances and run meetings; plan any kind of event from philanthropic to social; and grow my communication, leadership, and other skills that are vital in the business world. I now work for Ford Motor Company in Dearborn, Michigan, as an IT professional. I attribute my successes to my formal education from Michigan Tech, and also in large part to what I learned outside the classroom with my involvement on and off campus.

Michigan Tech is a phenomenal school both for your education and the opportunities for personal growth through the many student organizations and other ways to get involved. I am a Husky through and through and would not trade my experiences at Michigan Tech for anything in the world.

Anna Miller

AnnaAfter four incredibly amazing years at Michigan Tech, I knew I’d miss it but was also anticipating starting something new. I graduated from Michigan Tech with a degree in mechanical engineering in May and have experienced many exciting changes since. I moved to Saginaw, Michigan, and started working my first full-time at Nexteer Automotive. I have been enjoying the change of pace from school. I love my job so far and have learned so much in the short time I’ve been working. It definitely confirms that all my hard work at school has paid off when I use something I learned at Tech every day.At Tech I was involved with several activities for my major, including an Enterprise team, a semester co-op at SC Johnson, and my International Senior Design project. I put to use many of the things I learned in classes, and most importantly gained a lot of confidence in myself as an engineer. I also did a lot of things for fun, including working for the first-year Orientation programs (the most exciting job on campus!) and coordinating the broomball season (the most exciting sport on campus!). From these experiences I learned a lot about myself, how to manage my time, what I’m capable of, and how to keep a healthy balance. I’m thankful to have had so many opportunities in college to set me up for happiness and success now, in my new job, and in my life after college.

Eric Johnson

Good morning! Eric Johnson here.

This fall, I will be a fifth-year scientific and technical communication (STC) major at Michigan Tech. I switched to STC during my sophomore year when I realized that chemical engineering was not for me. I have been involved in several organizations during my time here at Tech, like Blue Key National Honor Society, Omicron Delta Kappa National Leadership Honor Society, Lutheran Campus Ministry, and the Michigan Tech Pep Band. Upon graduation, I plan to move to Los Angeles to pursue my dream of working in the entertainment industry.

Jess Banda

During my time on campus I was involved in fifteen student organizations. I even helped found five new student organizations, including Mind Trekkers, the Green Campus Enterprise, Camera Club, Art Revolutionizing Tech, and Michigan Tech Taking Education Abroad. My college philosophy was to take advantage of as many of Michigan Tech’s professional development opportunities as possible, and it paid off! This month I’ll be starting my master’s degree program as a fully-funded graduate student in International Non-Governmental Organization Development and Administration at the University of Wyoming. As part of the program I get to travel abroad for two years to found a nonprofit from the ground up. I’m very excited about my future!

A big thank you to the students and alumni who shared their stories with us! I hope that you are able to share these stories with your students, especially incoming first-year srudents. Please do not hesitate to email me if you have any questions or concerns.

Students After Tech Part 1

Each December and May, students graduate from Michigan Tech, moving forward with their degrees and lives. Ever wonder what they move on to do, or how the students at Michigan Tech become so successful? Below, Michigan Tech alumni and future graduates share their stories with you.

Aaron Andersen

When I enrolled at Michigan Tech, there were two things in my life I knew for certain: one, I was fresh out of high school, and two, I had absolutely no idea what was ahead. In the back of my mind, something drew me toward engineering. Maybe it was because it sounded challenging, or maybe it was because I was a closet nerd and I loved to figure things out. No matter the reason, I packed up my life and moved 535.4 miles to a town that most people (even from the Lower Peninsula) are only vaguely familiar with.

Fast forward five years. I am now a design engineer working at Nissan in Farmington Hills, MI (more specifically, the Nissan Technical Center of North America). I graduated with a B.S. in mechanical engineering and a minor in music (more on this later). If you would have asked me where I’d be at this point five years ago, my answer would have ranged from professional Hollywood stunt driver to working in the manned space-flight program (wishful thinking, probably). Nonetheless, I stuck with engineering my first two years at Michigan Tech as I became more familiar with the area and the community.

Let me make one thing clear: this is a school and town like none other, and I say that in the best sense. The ridiculous commute home might be a turnoff for some people, but once I became acclimated with the school and met new people, any sign of homesickness was nonexistent. It’s a very unique college experience that most universities cannot offer—not only are there countless student organizations and things to get involved with, but the school atmosphere and surrounding area are each in their own element. A strong selling point for me was the smaller classroom size—rather than sitting in the back of a giant lecture hall, most classes have 35-50 students. This allows for a more personal learning experience. Professors will know your name after a few weeks and questions are welcome throughout class.

One thing everyone will tell new students at Tech is to get involved with something. My first year at school I joined the concrete canoe and the steel bridge student teams. That summer I was flown to Seattle to compete internationally against other schools. It was an experience that made me want to wear any Michigan Tech shirt I had in my wardrobe with a sense of pride. During my second year I joined the Formula SAE Enterprise, which designs and builds an F1 car that competes against other schools. I was beginning to realize the reputation Tech had earned for itself over the years among other schools as having an elite engineering curriculum.

At about my third year a funny thing started to happen—I was beginning to see what engineering is really like. Classes got harder (understatement), homework got more brutal, and I was beginning to second guess my decision to major in engineering. At around this same time, the right side of my brain began to slowly become more prominent. I had always loved music and the arts, and it was starting to overtake my interest in engineering. I was at a crossroads—these were two very different career paths. Luckily for me, Michigan Tech has programs in both disciplines. So, like most college students, I made a rash decision and dropped my engineering major. I decided that I should give music a shot and began pursuing a degree in audio production, a program that relates music with engineering.

As it turns out, audio production came with its own set of challenges. At the end of my second semester, I met with my advisor about career options and what happens after school is done. The faculty at Tech is all highly qualified and personable, and my advisor noted that an engineering degree would yield many job opportunities; he also suggested that I keep a minor in music so that I didn’t have to drop that interest altogether, and that’s exactly what I did.

One of the best things about Michigan Tech is that students are given many options, from degree programs to classes to student organizations and Greek life. If Tech wouldn’t have had these flexibilities, I wouldn’t have been able to switch my major back so readily and retain a minor that allowed me to balance both interests.

At around the time I switched my major back to engineering, I accepted a position as the resident assistant for the Visual and Performing Arts Learning Community. Learning Communities are communities in the residence halls that have different characteristics geared towards students who have a common interest (performing arts, in my case). Other  examples include Learning Communities devoted to healthy living, first-year students, and international interests/experiences. This decision was one of the best I made throughout my college career. As a resident assistant, not only was I able to meet dozens of new people and get heavily involved with an on-campus organization, but I had a major impact in the experiences of many new college students. It gave me the opportunity to assume a leadership role and have a positive impact. I had an active hall—we did everything from go to hockey games  and skiing trips to singing karaoke. Every Monday we had movie night. These are the kinds of things that make Tech such a tight-knit and personal community.

Prior to my interview at Nissan I put together an engineering portfolio of project highlights from things I had worked on throughout school as well as at internships I held over the summertime. The guys I interviewed with were extremely impressed with the hands-on experience that Tech offers and especially with the different organizations I was a part of. Without question this portfolio aided in securing a job offer from them. Sometimes people ask, “Do you regret anything about going to a smaller school so far away?” And sure, if I thought about it long enough I could probably come up with a thing or two I would change. But when I think back to that time when I was fresh out of high school and didn’t know what to do next, I can say with certainty that I made the right decision.

downloadTori Nemethy

Growing up, I’d always spent my days with my nose securely tucked inside a book. As my childhood progressed closer to college age, I realized that I would only be happy if I was writing. After dabbling in the more “lucrative” career of teaching, I decided I’d rather change my major to scientific and technical communication and utilize my passion for writing in many different facets of the real world.
In STC I wrote technical manuals and instruction sets, scripts and short screenplays, journalism articles, grants, contracts, and academic essays—all with the same vigor and enthusiasm I’d found through reading in my youth. At Michigan Tech I found that there were many more options available to me than just writing the next American novel, although that very well could still happen. My classes shaped how I thought of theory and my campus involvement trained me to crave more experiences than the average college student. Since graduating, I’ve begun a journey across the United States, working various odd jobs and meeting the backbone of American society while detailing each experience through my blog at Each new job comes with obstacles to overcome and friendships that will hopefully last a lifetime. A good writer must have experiences to convey, but a great writer gets you to take the journey with her, to delve into the routine of a housekeeper or the monotony of the conveyor belt worker.

Travis Gendron


Hi, my name is Travis and I am going into my fourth (and final!) year at Michigan Tech. I’m studying communication, culture, and media with minors in journalism and Spanish. Throughout my time here I’ve been involved on campus. I’ve worked at the reception desk, been an Orientation team leader, am currently a coach in the Multiliteracies Center, been the publications coordinator on the Orientation Executive Staff, and have recently been hired as a student writer for University Marketing and Communications.

In addition to my jobs, I’m a member and newly elected secretary of both the Michigan Tech Student Foundation and the Student Standathon Organization, as well as the president and founder of the National Communication Association at Michigan Tech. I also help to plan Winter Carnival as a member of Blue Key National Honor Society and have served on the Residential Life Conduct Board for the past two years. All of these organizations and positions have helped me gain a ton of useful and applicable skills. For example, I know what it’s like to work under deadline, to receive constructive criticism positively, and to work as part of a team. Of course I’ve learned much more than this, but I feel that these skills are the most valuable.

After graduation, I plan to attend graduate school to earn a master’s degree in public relations. My ultimate goal is work in the health communications realm and to make health information more accessible and useful to the public.

A big thank you to the students and alumni who shared their stories with us! I hope that you are able to share these stories with your students, especially incoming first-year students. Next week, I will continue to share student success stories with you. Please do not hesitate to email me if you have any questions or concerns.

Parent and Family Orientation

Parent and Family Orientation

Michigan Tech’s Parent and Family Orientation will take place on Saturday, August 25 and Sunday, August 26. There are many events included, ranging from campus tours and information sessions to a reading discussion, the family picnic, and the University Expo. The events and activities are both fun and informative for parents. Please visit COMPASS to get a detailed schedule.

Saturday, August 25

Family Picnic 2011

When you arrive on Saturday, you and you students will check in at the Rozsa Center. After checking in, you’ll continue to the residence halls to begin moving in.

11:00 a.m.– 4:00 p.m.—The Center for Diversity and Inclusion and Dining Services will host Parent and Family R&R in the Hamar House. This will be a great place for you to take a break from  moving and unpacking to rest, relax, and enjoy some great refreshments!

4:00 p.m.–5:30 p.m.—Join some of our very knowledgeable Orientation Team Leaders who will guide you through Michigan Tech’s campus. The tours begin at 4:00 and 4:30, rain or shine.

7:00 p.m.–8:00 p.m.—If you read Little Princes: One Man’s Promise to Bring Home the Lost Children of Nepal, by Conor Grennan, this is the time to discuss the book with other parents, families, and faculty members in DOW 642.

Sunday, August 26

9:30 a.m.–4:00 p.m.—Michigan Tech will be host an Orientation program for the siblings of Michigan Tech students. While you are attending Parent and Family Orientation, siblings who are in middle school or high school can have their own exciting Orientation experience! Staff and current Michigan Tech students will guide participants through team building exercises, hands-on projects, and creative explorations. Participants will be grouped by grade level. Pre-registration required.

10:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m.—Parent and Family Orientation Welcome and Opening Session: Our dean of students and assistant director of COMPASS welcome you to Michigan Tech for this session, entitled Parents as Partners: Together in Transition! Parents and family members will learn more about common first-year transitional issues, the many resources available on campus, and how to help your student from a distance. You’ll also get some insight about the changing relationship with your college student and get a feel for some real-life scenarios that might happen in your family, portrayed by our Orientation Team Leaders.

10:00 a.m.–1:00 p.m.—Across campus many of the student services offices will be open. This is a great time to get any questions that you may have answered!

11:00 a.m.–12:30 p.m.—Join some of our very knowledgeable Orientation Team Leaders who will guide you through Michigan Tech’s campus. The tours begin at 11:00 and 11:30, rain or shine.

11:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.—The Center for Diversity and Inclusion and Dining Services will host Parent and Family R&R in the Hamar House. This will be a great place for you to take a break from moving and unpacking to rest, relax, and enjoy some great refreshments!

1:00 p.m.–4:00 p.m.—Many Parent and Family Orientation Sessions will be offered. These sessions will help answer nearly any questions you may have about Michigan Tech and life for your student here on campus. Each session runs for 45 minutes and the Parent and Family Orientation website has the list of each session that will be taking place.

4:00 p.m.–6:00 p.m.—Take a break and enjoy the Family Picnic for new students and their families. Tickets are required for family members. Several Michigan Tech staff members will also be present at the picnic and will be happy to answer any questions you may have.

President Dr. Glenn Mroz welcoming new students to campus!

6:30 p.m.–7:30 p.m.—The official kickoff to Orientation week! Join your student and many others at the University Welcom where you’ll the people who will help your student discover their journey to success and hear an awesome welcome from University President Dr. Glenn Mroz and Vice President for Student Affairs Dr. Les Cook.

7:30 p.m.–9:30 p.m.—After the University Welcome, you may join fellow Michigan Tech Parents, local alumni, and University faculty and staff for an informal gathering and light refreshments at the Keweenaw Brewing Company.

Above is only a short overview of what is being offered for parents and  families; check out the website for a complete schedule.

Please feel free to email me with any questions, comments, or suggestions you may have! I hope you and your student enjoy Orientation!

Orientation 2012

Upon Arrival

In about three weeks, students will be arriving on campus, moving into the residence halls, and starting Orientation. As some of you may remember from my introduction to ParentNet, I also work for the Orientation executive staff as the selection and training coordinator. I have been working with other members of COMPASS to plan the first-year student Orientation since last September.

2012 New Student Check-in

When you and your student arrive to campus, the first location you will want to stop at will be the Rozsa Center. The Rozsa Center will be open for new-student check-in on Saturday, August 25, from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., and on Sunday, August 26, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Once you arrive at the Rozsa Center, you will obtain a packet with your student’s room and information regarding Orientation. Your student will receive his or her Orientation team assignment and schedule. Once you and your student have checked in and received your packet, you may then continue on to check into your student’s residence hall room. The Michigan Tech Welcome Team, composed of students, staff, and faculty wearing gold shirts, will be at the entrances of the residence halls to direct you to the unloading areas and to assist you in moving. While you are moving your student in, your student’s resident assistant will be floating around the “house,” or area your student will be living, so please introduce yourself!

Throughout your student’s first weekend at Michigan Tech, he or she can take some time to explore the campus, get to know their roommate, and introduce themselves to the students they will be living near in the residence halls. On Sunday, you and your family can join your student at the family picnic from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. on the lawn in front of the Walker building. First-year students eat for no cost. Family members and guests may purchase tickets in advance. Please visit the Parents and Family Orientation web page for more information.

Orientation Week

First-year students dig into the 500-ft. banana split!

Orientation officially begins on Sunday, August 26, with the University Welcome which will take place in the Student Development Complex. Family members and guests are invited to attend. After the University Welcome, all first-year students will gather together on Sherman Field to have a class photo taken.

On Monday, August 27, first-year students will meet their Orientation team and their Orientation Team Leader. An Orientation team consists of about 20 students who are primarily all in the same degree program. This is a great opportunity for your student to get to know others in their degree program and to build relationships—it is very likely that your student will have at least a couple of courses with the students from their team. Your student’s Orientation Team Leader (OTL) will lead the team through the week’s activities, including getting to know the academic departments, learning about campus resources, understanding campus policies, and having fun! I am still great friends with many of the students who were on my Orientation team. Your student is going to have a blast—whether partaking in a 500-foot banana split, watching a hilarious skit put on by the OTLs, or attending the McNair Hall Association Dance. For a complete listing of Orientation activities, see the First-Year Orientation Schedule.

Don’t forget..

2012 Summer Reading Book

Prior to arriving to campus, students should have completed part one of AlcoholEdu for College and read the Summer Reading as Inquiry book . This year’s book is Little Princes by Conor Grennan. The purpose of Reading as Inquiry is to prepare first-year students for college-level reading and discussion. All first-year students are expected to read the book prior to arriving to Michigan Tech. During Orientation week, each team will discuss the book along with their OTL, a member of the residence life student staff, and a faculty or staff member.

There will also be a Summer Reading as Inquiry session for parents and family members on Saturday, August 25. The book is great, so I would encourage reading it!

Please contact me if you have any questions or concerns. I should be able to answer most any questions that you may have about Orientation. Have a great week!

-Samantha Allen,