Archives—April 2014

Final Exams and Summer Preparations 2.0

Hello Parents,

A view of Michigan Tech's campus during the summer months.
A beautiful view of Michigan Tech’s campus during the summer months.

I hope you’re all having a great week!  As we encroach on the last week of classes, students are burned out and definitely ready for summer. Projects, papers, and last-ditch exams are in full swing now as we prepare for the dreaded week of final exams. But there are a plethora of fun activities that students can participate in to rejuvenate their minds for studying for finals:

The Center for Diversity and Inclusion will be hosting a Pre-Exam Jam 80′s Party on Thursday, April 24. Students can take a break and enjoy the totally tubular retro party in between studying for finals. There will be a photo booth, a best dressed competition, a guitar hero competition, and free food and snacks for students to enjoy!

In addition, Wellness Programs will be sponsoring their annual event Finals Week has Gone to the Dogs, as dogs and puppies are brought outside of the Outdoor Adventure Program House for students to play with as they take a mental break from the stress of preparing for finals. Students can get in some quality dog time and enjoy some free snacks on both Thursday, April 24 and Tuesday, April 29.

Now that finals week is coming up fast (and summer break even faster!), there are a few things that your students should keep in mind as they prepare for the end of the semester:

Quiet Hours
Quiet hours will take place in the residence halls for 22 hours a day starting this Friday, April 25, and extending through Friday, May 2, so students can study for their final exams. This means that residents are required to maintain a low noise level at all times and be respectful and courteous of others trying to prepare for their finals. Consideration hours will take place at meal times from 12:00 to 1:00 p.m. and 5:00 to 6:00 p.m.

Book Buyback
The Campus Bookstore is looking to buy back used books. A table will be set up in each residence hall lobby from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. during finals week (Monday, April 29 to Friday, May 2) so they can restock on their used books that students no longer want to keep. Locations will be as follows:

  • Monday: Wadsworth Hall and Douglass Houghton Hall
  • Tuesday: Wadsworth Hall and McNair Hall
  • Wednesday: Wadsworth Hall and Douglass Houghton Hall
  • Thursday: Wadsworth Hall and McNair Hall

This is a great opportunity for your students to get back some of the money they spent on books this year, and it will also help keep costs down on textbooks for students looking to buy them next semester.

Fall Opening
After the residence halls close on Saturday, May 3, they will not reopen for the following semester until Saturday, August 23.  This will be ten days before the fall semester academic instruction begins. The first meal served will be brunch on Saturday, August 23.  Students will receive check-in information and assignment notices via their Michigan Tech email in mid-July.

Well, that’s it for this week!  I’m sure your students are staying busy with studying, papers, and projects, so I hope they get a chance to look at some of the events going on this week and take a short break before finals. If you have any questions about summer preparations or final exams, please feel free to email me at  Until next time!



Spring Fling and Summer Preparations

Hello Parents,spring fling 2014

I hope you’re all having a great week!  Spring is finally here as the soul-brightening sunshine continues to glow and the snowbanks continue to shrink smaller and smaller. It’s been wonderful to enjoy the outdoors and warm sun during this stressful time of the semester. Although, now that I write this, the weather has switched again this week as below-freezing temps have weaseled their way into this enjoyable spring! Still, I think I’d prefer this rather than the subzero temperatures we endured earlier this semester!

Now that spring is here, Easter Sunday is just around the corner. In celebration, Michigan Tech Dining Services will provide a turkey and steak dinner with mashed potatoes, pasta, dinner rolls, and various desserts on Easter Sunday.  There will also be opportunities for your student to give back. Little Brothers Friends of the Elderly, a local service that provides care to elderly residents, is looking for volunteers to help with their annual Easter Dinner celebration on Sunday, April 20.  Volunteers are needed for food preparation, serving dinner, table set-up, clean-up, and transporting the elderly to and from site locations. For more information on volunteering or if your student would like to sign up, please direct them to Cathy Kass-Aten at 482-6944.

As the semester is approaching its final weeks, it’s important for your students to be aware of a few things before they leave for summer break.

Check out
Before your students leaves for the semester, they must make an appointment with their RA or CA at least 48 hours before they plan to leave, to make sure that their room is in proper order. Students must check out by Saturday, May 3, unless they are a graduating senior, and they may check out by Sunday, May 4. If your student has extenuating circumstances and would like to check out at a later date, please direct them to late departure google form.  After checking out, your student must return their keys in the blue checkout envelope to the front desk of their residence hall.  Fines will ensue for lost or stolen keys. A final inspection of rooms will be made by Housing and Residential Life.  Any damaged or missing items will be charged to both roommates equally unless one assumes full responsibility.

Room Cleaning
In order to pass checkout, your student must adhere to the following:

  • Empty room of all belongings
  • Clean desk and dresser drawers and surfaces

  • Empty closet/wardrobe

  • Clean inside of door and all whiteboards

  • Vacuum floor and empty wastebasket

  • Remove weather stripping and glue from door jams and windows

  • Clean window sills and ledges

If your student is planning on returning to the residence halls next semester, they may leave a limited amount of small items in storage over the summer with their RA. This may be really helpful to students who have a lot of things that they don’t need over the summer but will need next school year. Students will not have access to these items over the summer, and Michigan Tech does not assume responsibility for lost or stolen items. Boxes that aren’t properly labeled will be removed and discarded.

The dining halls will be closed after Friday, May 2, and the reception desk will be closed after Sunday, May 4.  Mail received after Saturday, May 3, will be forwarded to your student’s home address on file. All mail received after May 31 will be returned to sender. In addition, all vehicles must be removed from their lots by 7:00 a.m. on Monday, May 5, or they will be towed at the owner’s expense.

In addition to all of the excitement that comes with the end of the semester, Spring Fling will take place on Friday, April 18!  Spring Fling is a long-time Michigan Tech tradition that takes place on the Friday of Week 13 to celebrate the coming of spring. Sponsored by the Memorial Union Board (MUB Board), Spring Fling is a really fun and exciting event that involves a plethora of activities sponsored by various student organizations and clubs for both the campus and local communities. This year’s theme is Pirates—which was the planned theme for last year before it was canceled due to extreme weather conditions!  If weather the weather is too harsh this year, it will be moved indoors.  Fifty-three student organizations will be hosting different pirate-themed booths while giving out goodies to visitors. The MUB Board will also be giving out root beer floats and fresh-cut french fries during the event.  In addition to all of this fun, there will also be a caricature artist, inflatables, and a t-shirt tie-dyeing station!  Oozeball, which is a high-intensity volleyball match played in the mud, will also take place during Spring Fling. Sponsored by the Michigan Tech Student Foundation (MTSF), Oozeball teams sign up and pay a fee of $15/person to participate in this unique and exhilarating event! All profits of Oozeball go directly into MTSF’s scholarship funds, which are awarded to select Michigan Tech students every spring.

As you can see, there’s a lot to look forward to as the 2014 spring semester comes to an end and gives students a little bit of stress-free break before the agony of final exams.  If you have any questions about end-of-the-semester preparations or Spring Fling, please feel free to email me at I hope you have a great week and enjoy the Easter holiday!

Until next time!


Weekly Happenings of Week 12

Hello Parents,

UP Poet Laureate Russel Thorburn. Photo courtesy of Bill Sampson
UP Poet Laureate Russel Thorburn. Photo courtesy of Bill Sampson

I hope you’re all having a great week! I know Tech students have been happy, as the weather here has been fabulous! The warmth and beautiful bright sunshine have been starting to melt the stubborn snowbanks that loom around campus. Students have been breaking out their shorts and sunglasses as we are finally able to do more outdoor activities and get some fresh air after being cooped up inside all semester.

It’s hard to believe there are only two weeks left of this semester! There’s a lot to do as deadlines are approaching with final papers, projects, and exams before finals week. Although this can be a busy time for students, there are still a lot of fun, events that will take place this week to help student embrace the calm before the storm of finals:

The first event to take place this week is the 1913-1914 Strike Symposium and Finn Forum X. The symposium is designed to honor the 100th anniversary of the Western Federation of Miners Copper Strike in 1913. The FinnForum X commemorates the labor relations of the 20th century, such as strikes, politics, economy, labor movements, and other such topics. FinnForum is an association of researchers who explore the migration of northern European immigrants to the United States. These all-day events will take place from Thursday, April 10 through Saturday, April 12.

The Upper Peninsula Poet Laureate will visit Michigan Tech on Thursday, April 10. Russell Thorburn, who is originally from Marquette, will indulge in a night of reading, workshops, and a presentation for both students and the public to enjoy. Thorburn, a poetry teacher, is the author of four poetry books and winner of various grants and fellowships for his exceptional compositions. He is the editor of middle school poetry anthologies and author of the radio play Happy Birthday James Joyce. For more information on Russ Thorburn, please visit the Thorburn and Company website.

Richard Holz, dean of the Kingler College of Arts and Sciences at Marquette University, will give a seminar on the topic of Biological Nitrile Hydration: Understanding the Catalytic Mechanism of Nitrile Hydratases.  His seminar will take place on Friday, April 11.  This is a great opportunity for students in both the biology and chemistry departments to immerse themselves in current studies and explore professional research options within their area of focus.

ballet and operaThe Night at the Ballet and Opera event will take place on Friday, April 11 and Saturday, April 12. The Keweenaw Symphony Orchestra, Tech Theatre Company, and local dancers will come together for a spectacular night of entertainment. The Keweenaw Symphony Orchestra will play Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake.

The Wadsworth Hall Student Association will host its monthly Coffee House — the last of the semester — on Friday, April 11.  Students are invited to perform in front of their peers in singing, playing an instrument, stand-up comedy, poetry, or anything else they’d like to perform! Coffee and other snacks are provided free of charge for audience members and performers alike. This is a fun and exciting event that gives students the opportunity to express themselves in front of an audience, and welcomes them to challenge themselves to break out of their comfort zones and do something thrilling, as local and professional dancers perform alongside them. In addition, the Keweenaw Symphony Orchestra and Tech Theatre will work together to produce the opera Amahl and the Night Visitors on the same night for breathtaking two-for-one event!

The annual Keweenawesomefest 2014 will take place on Friday, April 11 and Saturday, April 12.  Sponsored by the student-run radio station, WMTU, this concert will bring unique musical stylings from artists around the country to Michigan Tech’s McArdle Theater in various genres including rock, alternative and electronic music.  Students can get a special price for the concert if they attend both nights.  For more information on Keweenawesomefest 2014, please visit the WMTU website.

In addition to these events, there are also exciting events going on throughout the local community.  On Saturday, April 12, the Folk and Food Fundraiser will take place at the Dee Stadium.  The fundraiser is for the organization Don’t Do It Yourself and provides financial assistance to residents facing various illnesses. The public is open to enjoy food and fun activities from 3:00 to 10:00 p.m.

As you can see, there is a wide variety of exciting and entertaining events going on this week! Hopefully your students can take a mental break from the craziness and busyness to enjoy some of the cool things that will be going on; I know I will!  If you have any questions about any of these events or would like to see more information written on a specific topic, please feel free to email me at  Until next week!


Exploring Internships and Co-ops

Hello Parents!

A birds-eye view of a past Career Fair in the multipurpose room of the SDC at Michigan Tech
A birds-eye view of a past Career Fair in the multipurpose room of the SDC at Michigan Tech

I hope you’re all having a great week!  Everything here is going well; the weather has been constantly changing back and forth from warm to snowy, but it’s been nice having a break from the sharp cold we’ve had throughout winter.  Campus is abuzz as we’ve reached the point of the semester where students will continue to get busier and busier until we finish up with the last month of classes.  It’s a surprise every semester how fast it seems to fly!  I’m sure your students feel the same way.

As we are getting closer and closer to summer break, students around the university will be starting to prepare for their co-ops and internships. To be more specific:

An internship is work experience in which the student does not earn academic credit yet may earn a salary with a company. Internships are typically taken during the summer so students do not have to worry about maintaining enrollment status during the academic year.

A co-op, or cooperative education, is a bit different from an internship. Co-ops are joint agreements between Michigan Tech, a particular company, and the hired student, as students on co-ops both work for a company and earn academic credit at the same time. Co-ops typically span the course of a summer and a semester, and students’ grades are based on written assignments and evaluations from the students’ supervisor. In addition to academic credit, students on co-ops may also earn a salary from the company.

Internships and co-ops are fantastic opportunities for your student to gain real-world experience and open their eyes to a career path within their degree that they might not have previously known about. Both internships and co-ops are also extremely beneficial for students as they graduate and enter the search to find full-time work, as they can really enhance a student’s resume. Below are some comments from students who are currently on co-ops this semester as they share a little bit about their opportunities and experiences there.

“I am a second-year chemical engineering major, and I’m currently on co-op with Dow Chemical in Midland, Michigan. I got my co-op using Career Services and recruiting efforts on campus. I went to Evening with Industry, the individual recruiting events for companies, and I finally approached them with my resume at the Career Fair. On my co-op, I am in a run plant engineer type of role. I help with daily manufacturing activities and troubleshooting. This is directly applicable to my major because Dow hires out of college directly into this role.”

“Hello! My name is Ian Hatzilias, and I’m a third-year mechanical engineering student currently on a co-op assignment with DTE Energy. I obtained my co-op after meeting with company recruiters at Tech’s Fall 2013 Career Fair. Although I am an ME, they’ve got me doing computer science related work. I’ve been building and maintaining databases, and coding out queries for them. It’s not a direct application of my studies, but it builds toward my career success because it makes me a more rounded engineer, and I can easily relate to others’ work. I’ve learned that companies love well-rounded people rather than someone who just does one thing very well, and that your major doesn’t always dictate the exact work you can do in your career. It simply builds a knowledge base, and for engineers specifically, a methodology of critical and analytical thinking.”

“I was awarded a 15 month co-op at Packaging Corporation of America (PCA) during the 2013 Spring Career Fair. I work at the Filer City, Michigan, location as the Environmental/Bio-process co-op. I work very closely with the Environmental Manager and other personnel to maintain compliance under MDEQ and EPA permits. I also run an experimental 1/1000th-scale anaerobic digestion bio facility on the side. My work at PCA is completely on par with what an environmental engineer could focus on. Working at PCA has helped cement my desire to pursue a career as an environmental engineer.”

“In the fall semester of this school year I obtained a co-op offer from Toyota Engineering & Manufacturing North America in Saline, Michigan. I received the offer by studying very hard and being proactive. I now get to enjoy working and gaining experience in an industry that I love. I am currently a sophomore in the electrical engineering program at Tech and will certainly be taking the knowledge and motivation I gained back with me at the end of my co-op.”

As you can see, co-ops can be a fantastic opportunity for your students to learn more about what they can do with their degree and learn more about themselves in the process. It can give your student a chance to gain more experience in the professional workforce and to network with companies they may want to work for in the future.  For more information on co-ops and internships, please visit the Career Services website.

That’s it for this week!  If you have any questions or comments, or would like to see more information written on a specific topic, please feel free to email me at  Until next week!