Archives—April 2013

Study Abroad

Summer is fast approaching, though you wouldn’t know it from all of the snow still on the ground in Houghton. However, things are looking up; the weather is getting warmer and the sun is finally showing its shining face just in time to round out the academic year! Soon all of the stress of finals week, studying, and classes will be in the rear-view mirror for students, and summer will hopefully bring time to relax and recharge. The free time of summer also offers a great time to reflect on the past year, and also look ahead to future plans. One of these plans might be studying abroad, and if your student hasn’t thought about it yet, encourage them to look into this awesome opportunity!

Planning Ahead

It is recommended that students begin thinking about studying abroad approximately 12-18 months before they plan to depart on their travels. This may sound like a long time, but there is quite a bit of planning and forward-thinking required to ensure that students can get the most out of their experience. Michigan Tech’s study abroad program is coordinated by the International Programs and Services Office (IPS), and offers a ton of great options for exploring new cultures and places around the globe.

A view of Stonehenge. Just one of the many sights students can see abroad!

The Process

There are some requirements to keep in mind if a student wants to apply for study abroad. Students must have completed at least one full academic year of study at Michigan Tech before they can go on a study abroad. A student must also have a cumulative GPA of at least a 2.75, and must be approved by the Dean of Students as having good academic standing and be free of judicial violations with the University.

If a student meets the above requirements, they can fill out the online application and necessary forms. Students must obtain two letters of recommendation from academic advisors or professors, complete a course planning sheet in cooperation with their academic advisor, and sign waivers. Once all of these are finished, a student can then apply for admission to the university that houses their desired program.

Why study abroad?

Many students wonder why they should consider studying abroad, but there are many benefits that come with participating in this program. “Study abroad gives students a chance to experience a different culture and gain a new perspective of their own way of life here in the U.S. It also introduces them to a new academic environment,” said Darnishia Slade, assistant director of International Programs and Services. Study abroad is a chance to have a unique learning experience and to take the college experience and learning to a whole new level. In addition to the great personal experiences, study abroad can give students an edge professionally. “It definitely gives students distinction on their résumés and can even help in interviews. Many of today’s global companies are are looking for students who are well-traveled and can adapt to new cultures and manage themselves in new situations,” said Slade.

Students exploring abroad

Common Concerns

Personal and professional benefits are great, but many students and parents are concerned about the cost of a semester abroad, how it will affect a students academic path, and whether or not going abroad is safe. It turns out that there is good news in all of these areas! On average, a semester abroad costs about the same as a typical semester at Michigan Tech. Since the cost of living in many destination countries is lower, students pay less for room. Factoring in travel costs, the amount of money is usually the same as a semester at Michigan Tech.

However, if finances are a concern, there are many scholarship opportunities available to students. There are country-specific scholarships, scholarships for visiting countries where government-declared critical need languages are spoken, special diplomacy scholarships, scholarships for STEM students, and financial aid for student who receive Pell Grant aide. All of these come in addition to any scholarships that students already hold at Michigan Tech. In terms of credits, study abroad classes are essentially Michigan Tech classes in a different location. Students work with their academic advisors to plan out courses that will transfer in as classes they would need to take anyway. This way, students don’t have to fall behind by studying abroad. Finally, safety is a priority for IPS when students head abroad. No students are sent to countries that the U.S. Department of State has placed on the “do not travel” list, and there are always contacts on location that students can connect with if they have any problems.

In fact, 70 to 80 students go abroad each year, travelling to more than 30 different countries around the world. From England to Australia, New Zealand to Canada, Japan to Brazil, there are almost countless opportunities to be had. College is a time of growth and development for students, and study abroad supplements this experience in very unique ways. “Students return with more sensitivity and interest in other cultures. They are more confident in themselves and who they are because they get to be ambassadors for their country while they learn about how others live. Overall, they gain a new self-awareness from the experience,” explained Slade.

I hope that you will encourage your student to think about study abroad this summer. This is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to get out and see the world and to take learning beyond the classroom. The world is increasingly global and multicultural, and living in another culture equips students to excel in this emerging environment.

If you have any specific questions or concerns about study abroad, you can visit the study abroad website and check out the frequently asked questions page. However, if you are unable to find what you need there, you may contact Darnishia Slade at

Spring 2013 Commencement

As the 2013 semester is wrapping up, the Spring 2013 Commencement ceremony is fast-approaching for this year’s graduates. In just eighteen days, another class of Michigan Tech students will gather in the John MacInnes Student Ice Arena and join the ranks of Michigan Tech’s alumni. This year’s commencement ceremony will take place on Saturday, May 4th at 10:30 a.m.

Commencement Rundown
Each graduating student can get up to four commencement seating tickets by bringing their student ID card to the Campus Bookstore from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday, April 22 through Thursday, May 2. On Friday, May 3, extra or unclaimed tickets can be picked up at the Student Development Box Office on a first-come, first-serve basis. This is an opportunity for students with many family members to get enough tickets for the ceremony.

To ensure that everything runs smoothly and that students know what to expect on the day of the ceremony, graduating students are asked to attend a rehearsal  on Friday, May 3. This is an informal rehearsal, and students do not need to wear their caps and gowns.

President Mroz
President Mroz at the Fall 2012 ceremony

On Saturday, May 4, graduating students must arrive at the Student Development Complex no later than 9:45 a.m. For information regarding seating arrangements, take a look at the list of degree candidates. There you can find the names of students who will be walking at the Spring 2013 Commencement, as well as where they will be seated during the ceremony.

If you’re concerned about getting a picture that captures the moment for your student, don’t worry! There will be a professional photographer from GradImages present to snap a shot of each student receiving his or her degree on stage. For more information about how you and your student can get the proofs, and for ordering information, check out graduation photos.

This year’s commencement speaker will be David Barnes, the program director for strategy and emergent technologies at IBM. Barnes travels around the world to spread a positive message about new technologies and their potential effects on societies. He greatly enjoys helping college students develop their skills and is inspired by their creative and energetic approach to emerging technology.

In addition to the Commencement speaker, a student speaker will represent the class at the ceremony. This year’s student speaker is Katherine Price. Price is an environmental engineering major with a high GPA and heavy campus and community involvement.

In addition to the main ceremony, there will be receptions held to honor this semester’s graduates. President and Mrs. Mroz will hold the President’s Reception for students and their families on Friday, May 3. The reception will be held in the Memorial Union Ballroom, and will include hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar. Business casual attire is requested for this event.

Blizzard Celebrating with one of last semester's graduates

There will also be a Graduate’s Reception directly after the main commencement ceremony. This reception will be held in the multipurpose room in the Student Development Complex. Light refreshments will be served. This is a great opportunity to learn more about alumni services and benefits and to socialize. There will be a special area reserved for taking pictures of this memorable moment. While supplies last, the Michigan Tech Student Foundation (MTSF) will be selling roses before and after the ceremony to raise funds for the MTSF endowment for students scholarships.

Finally, there will be a Commencement Brunch served from 1:00-3:00 p.m., after commencement. Brunch will be held in the Memorial Union Isle Royale Ballroom. Tickets are $25 per person, with children under 12 eating free. It is encouraged that you purchase tickets in advance online, but there will be a limited number of tickets available for purchase at the door.

I would like to wish my fellow graduates the best of luck as we move forward into the next chapter of our lives! I’m sure that commencement will be a great experience and another memory to add to the collection from our time at Michigan Tech. I’m sure I speak for all of us when I say that we appreciate all of the love and support that you as our parents, family members, and guardians have given us.

The Final Countdown

It’s the final few weeks of the term, and students are hard at work with projects, assignments, and exams. Before heading out for the summer, there are a few things students need to take care of—and there’s also still a lot of fun to be had, too!


Students showing off their skills in an Oozeball game!

Spring Fling

The annual celebration to have some fun before finals, Spring Fling, is always the Friday of Week 13.  Students end the academic year and give a warm welcome to the nicer weather by playing mud volleyball during the annual Oozeball tournament, visiting booths around campus, and other fun activities. Various student organizations participate, offering food and entertainment. This year’s Spring Fling will be Friday, April 19 from noon to 4:00 p.m.

Preparing for summer

With only a few weeks left in the Spring 2013 semester, summer break is approaching quickly! Students in the residence halls will soon be receiving the “You Deserve a Break” newsletter in their mailboxes and inboxes if they haven’t already. This newsletter details all of the important checkout procedures that students must take care of before they leave for the summer.

Before students are able to check out of their rooms, they will need to rearrange all the furniture in their room to its original setup.  It is also required that students do a little spring cleaning! Students will need to vacuum the floors and clean out their dresser and desk drawers before they leave campus.

Forty-eight hours before students leave for the summer, they must make an appointment with their Resident Assistant (RA). The RA will confirm that all of the furniture is back where it should be, that the room is clean, and that there is no damage to the room. The RA will give students a signed yellow checkout form after checking the room; students will take that form to their residence hall reception desk—along with their key—when they are ready to leave campus. Following this process is really important, as improper checkout results in a $25 fee and students who do not turn in their key prior to leaving campus will be charged a $55 to $75 fee.

Students with extenuating circumstances who need a little extra time to move out of their rooms may fill out the Early Arrival/Late Departure Form at to get an extension. A fee will be assessed to students registering for late departure.

All the above information also applies to residents of Hillside Place; the only difference is that those students will need to return their yellow checkout form to the McNair Hall reception desk.

Reminders for Students:

Students who used Residence Hall Council bike storage will need to make arrangements to retrieve their bikes if they have not already. Students must take their bikes home with them for the summer.

There is limited storage available for students who will be returning to the residence halls next year.  Students may keep a maximum of one box or plastic bin in storage. Please note there is not room in storage for large furniture items like futons or chairs. Boxes placed in storage will not be accessible until the fall. Residents who are not returning to live in the residence halls may not keep any items in storage.

Final Exams:

Final exams will take place the week of Monday, April 29. Starting Saturday, April 27 at midnight, twenty-two-hour quiet hours will begin in the residence halls. This means students in the residence halls must remain quiet and be respectful to those who are studying twenty-two hours a day until Friday, May 3 at noon. The consideration hours, in which students can make a normal daytime level of noise, are noon to 1 p.m. and 5 to 6 p.m. daily.

A case of cabin fever

With the end of the semester quickly approaching, many students are experiencing a spike in homework, papers, exam prep, and working on those final projects. During this very busy time of the semester, it can be easy to get burned out from all of the stress and hard work and to forget to take some time to refocus and recharge.

Nara Trails - photo courtesy of the City of Houghton website

When work is piling up, it is often tempting to disregard the importance of taking breaks to recharge the mind. However, many studies have proven that taking occasional study breaks actually increases the brain’s ability to hold attention and perform well on a task. Also, I know that I’m not alone in having a case of cabin fever from the long winter. That’s why I’m going to share some of my favorite outdoor places to go when I need a break from hitting the books and staring at my computer screen.

The Keweenaw is full of amazing and unique natural destinations, but they can be very difficult to find when you only have a couple of hours to step away. An option close to campus is the Nara Nature Trail system. This 100 acre nature park is located just two miles east of campus. The Nara Nature Park is linked to the Michigan Tech trails for a combination of over 50 miles of trails for hiking, running, biking, skiing, and snowshoeing.

A section of Maasto Hiihto - photo courtesy of the City of Hancock website

Another nearby trail system is Maasto Hiihto/Churning Rapids in Hancock. These trails have great scenery, including amazing views of Portage Lake, Ruby Marsh, mature forests, and pleasant meadows. These trails are another awesome place to run, bike, hike, ski, and snowshoe. I personally frequent these trails and love to explore new areas and routes. Plus, these trails offer the added perk of a wilderness feel, while being close to the city.

Middle Hungarian Falls - photo courtesy of

Finally, my personal favorite location in the Houghton/Hancock area. Hungarian Falls consists of the Upper Hungarian Falls, about 10 feet wide, which is located in a beautiful hardwood forest, and drops about 25 feet over a wall of red stone. Downstream another falls drops 25 feet in a shaded canyon with moss covered walls on both sides of the falls. About 400 feet downstream, adventurers will find the Lower Hungarian Falls. This is the largest and most breathtaking of the falls. It drops about 15 feet over terraced rocks.

These are only a few of the trails and natural areas that are scattered around the Keweenaw. These three are pretty close to campus and great to get away for an hour or two. The long Houghton winter always leaves me wanting to get outside and explore, so share some of these places with your student and encourage them to get outside and refocus with a little excursion!