Archives—April 2015

2015 Spring Commencement

Hello Parents,

A photo of a previous spring commencement taking place at Michigan Tech. This year's spring commencement will take place on Saturday, May 2 at 10:30 am.
A photo of a previous spring commencement taking place at Michigan Tech. This year’s spring commencement will take place on Saturday, May 2 at 10:30 am.

I hope you’re having a great week! Final exams have come and gone and students are ready for summer vacation.

With the conclusion of finals comes the beginning of commencement. I, myself, will be graduating this spring with a BS in Medical Laboratory Science. I have been accepted to medical school at the Michigan State College of Human Medicine where I will continue my education to become a physician, and will start my education there in late August. Although I am graduating this week, I will be in Houghton for the summer and will continue to work and write for ParentNet through Track A, which ends on June 26.

The 2015 Spring Commencement will take place this Saturday, May 2 at 10:30 am in the McInnis Student Ice Arena.  A complete list of all graduation candidates can be found on the commencement website, and include almost 900 undergraduate and almost 300 graduate students! This year’s commencement speaker will be Dr. Susan E. Skochelak, MD, MPH, and the student speaker will be Applied Ecology and Environmental Science major Kyle Yarusso.  If you are unable to attend commencement but would still like to take part in the activities, a live-stream commencement video is available to watch from the comfort of your own home.

Graduates can claim up to four commencement tickets at the Campus Bookstore from 8:30 AM – 4:30 PM through April 30.  Beginning May 1, students can receive additional, unclaimed tickets from the SDC Central Ticket Office on a first-come, first-served basis.

Graduates are expected to arrive no later than 9:45 am on the day of commencement.  Family members are not permitted to sit with their graduate and must sit in the appropriate seating for audience members.  It’s important to note that the SDC Ice Arena is an alcohol-free facility.  For guests with mobility limitations, special seating will be available.  However, Michigan Tech is unable to provide wheelchairs.  A Signer will be present to to assist the hearing impaired throughout the commencement ceremony.

Commencement photo arrangements have been made with a professional photographer to take a photo of each degree candidate as he or she receives their diploma on stage.  Ordering information will be mailed to each graduate’s home within four to six weeks of commencement.

If you have any questions regarding commencement, please contact the Registrar’s Office by phone at 906-487-2319.

In addition to commencement, there are also a plethora of receptions and celebrations for undergraduate candidates to attend as well.  The President’s Reception for Graduates will be hosted for graduates and their families on Friday, May 1 from 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm in the MUB Ballroom.  Hosted by Dr. Glenn Mroz, this reception will provide hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar.  Business attire is requested.  The Graduate Reception will also take place directly after commencement in the SDC Multi-purpose room.  Special areas for taking photos will be available and light refreshments will be provided.  Commencement flowers will also be available for purchase before and after the ceremony while supplies last.  Funds from the flower sales go towards the Michigan Tech Student Foundation endowment for student scholarships.

In addition to these receptions, the 2015 Champagne Commencement Brunch will take place on Saturday, May 2 at 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm in the MUB Isle Royale Ballroom.  Tickets can be purchased online, at Central Ticketing Operations in the SDC, or may be purchased at the door for $26.00 per person (admission is free for children under ten years of age).  A full menu can be viewed at the Commencement Brunch Website.

That’s all I have for you this week! If you have any questions about commencement, please feel free to email me at I will not be writing an article next week but will continue to write when Track A courses begin on Monday, May 11. I hope you all have a great week, and congratulations to any of you who have students who will be graduating!



Getting Ready for Finals Week

final-examsHello Parents,

I hope you’re all having a fantastic week! The last week of the semester has finally come, and students are busier than ever as they try to finish up their final assignments, wrap up their end-of-the-semester projects and presentations, and prepare for final exams. These last two weeks may be the most stressful weeks of the semester, but the coming summer break gives students hope and motivation to endure the work and continue to the end. The weather isn’t helping our situation, either, as snow has returned to the Keweenaw! Although none of it has stuck, there’s been a rain/snow mix the past few days that keeps students wanting to stay inside and study. Although last week was beautifully sunny and warm with temperatures in the 70s, this rotten weather keeps students inside and helps us focus on our studies rather than tempting us to soak up the sun.

Finals are fast approaching with less than one week left to prepare! Students can check their final exam schedule by logging on to Banweb, then clicking Students → Registration → Student Final Exam Schedule. They can also check on the Michigan Tech Registrar’s Office scheduling document. Preparing for final exams can be a doozy, so here are some tips that I’ve accumulated over the years that have helped me prepare with confidence and composure. PLEASE SHARE THESE WITH YOUR STUDENTS!

1.) Start preparing early!
The earlier you prepare, the more confident you will feel on the exam. Even if you look at the material for just a short time, it will make “cramming” for the final much less stressful. Repetition is the key to studying, so even if you passively go over the material even once before you hit the books hard next week, it will make an immeasurable difference.

2.) Schedule your study time
Scheduling out when you will study for each final will not only maximize your study time, it will help you feel less stressed in trying to find time to study. It will also keep you organized and from getting too exhausted. No one wants to feel burnt out right before you take a final!

3.) Utilize the Learning Centers
Even if they’re not open during their normal hours, most learning centers are open for at least part, if not all, of finals week. Learning Centers are fantastic resources to use to stay ahead in your classes during the academic year, and they serve as fantastic study spaces to prepare for final exams, too. Studying in the learning centers is extremely beneficial because they not only serve as quiet spaces with no distractions, the coaches there can help you if you realize you’re having trouble with a certain topic.

4.) Study in a way that works for you
Everyone has their own preferred method of studying. Some people work better in a group setting and some work better on their own; some people work best by working out practice problems, while others learn better by rewriting terms and definitions. Identify how you learn best and use that method when preparing for exams. If you study best by learning with other people, organize a study group. If you work best by re-working through problems, find sample problems or old exams and work through those. Don’t waste your time with techniques that aren’t effective for you, but maximize your time by studying in a way that you learn best.

5.) Organize your study space.
Trying to study in a cluttered area with papers from other subjects is not only distracting, it can be extremely stressful. Having a clean and organized space will maximize study time and keep your brain free of distraction.

6.) Stay healthy

  • Get enough sleep! Sleep is essential to retain and process the information that you already learned. Pulling all-nighters may seem tempting to do during finals week, but getting a good night’s rest will actually help you study way more effectively! It will help you focus, feel less anxious, and feel more ready to face your final.
  • Exercise. Even if it’s just for a half hour, you will feel less stressed, more focused, and you’ll actually retain more information. The increased oxygen to your brain that comes with aerobic exercise will increase both your brain-power and memory. Even doing less strenuous exercise such as going for a walk, doing yoga, or shooting free throws will help you de-stress and keep you sane.
  • Put down the junk food! Your body and mind slow down when you jump for the bag of chips or a cupcake. Keeping a healthy diet will increase energy and brain power. So if you’re going to stress-eat, go for the bag of baby carrots instead of the french fries.

Freaking out and driving yourself nuts with worry is no way to complete your finals successfully. Anxiety is probably one of the easiest mindsets to fall into during finals week, and it’s definitely the most dangerous. Never second-guess yourself and always go with your gut. Staying calm and confident is the key to acing your exams, which I know is much easier said than done. If you feel that your anxiety over your finals is starting to distract you from your everyday life, talk to Counseling Services on the third floor of the Administration Building, and they will be able to help. Following the tips that I talked about above will significantly help with managing your worry keep you cool and composed during exams.

8.) Look at the light at the end of the tunnel!
As daunting as your final exams might seem now, think of everything you have to look forward to when you’re done! You have four months of summer break to enjoy the sunshine, whether you will be working a summer job, going on to an internship or co-op, studying abroad, taking classes, or just relaxing! Looking at the bright side will help bring calmness and serenity into your mind as you take your finals. Something that helps me is to realize that no matter what happens, the worst possible scenario isn’t the end of the world. That keeps the anxiety and worry away and leaves room in my mind for studying.

Although all of these behaviors are really easy to succumb to during finals week, your brain works much better by following a healthy lifestyle! Try to keep these tips in mind as you prepare for your finals, and it will help you exponentially in achieving the grade that you want.

That’s all I have for you this week! If you have any questions about final exams or would like to see more information written on a specific topic, please feel free to email me at I wish your students all the best as they get ready for finals week! Until next week!


Spring Fling and Summer Preparations

Hello Parents,

I hope you’re all having a great week! It’s hard to believe that there is only one more week left in the 2014 – 2015 academic year! I don’t know about you, but this year definitely flew by! The gorgeous warm weather and soul-brightening sunshine make it almost impossible to say inside and study, even as we’re getting down to crunch time. Although we’ve been waiting for this weather all year, it couldn’t have come at a worse time, as this point of the semester is always the busiest and requires a great deal of study time. At least the snow will be melted as some of you make your way up for commencement in few weeks!

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 leave for the semester, they must make an appointment with their RA at least 48 hours before they plan to leave to make sure that their room is in proper order. Students must check out by noon Saturday, May 2 unless they are a graduating senior, and they may check out by Sunday, May 3. If your student has extenuating circumstances and would like to check out at a later date, they need to complete the late departure form found at After checking out, your student must complete an inventory card and return their keys in the blue checkout envelope. Fees will occur for improper check-out and 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. Remember to remove all tape marks, stickers, and signs.

  • Vacuum floor and empty wastebasket

  • Remove any tape or glue from door jams and door surfaces
  • Clean window sills and ledges

  • Close and lock window and door

The dining halls will be closed after dinner on Friday, May 1, and the reception desk will be closed after Sunday, May 3.  Mail received after Saturday, May 2, 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 4, 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 this Friday, April 17!  Spring Fling is a long-time Michigan Tech tradition that takes place on the Friday of Week 13 every year 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 Superheroes! Held outdoors on the main campus, student organizations will be hosting different superhero-themed booths and give out goodies to visitors. The MUB Board will be giving out superman ice cream, superhero mac ‘n’ cheese, t-shirts, a caricature artist, inflatables, a green screen, and much more!

That’s all I have for you this week! If you have any questions about summer preparations or Spring Fling 2015, please feel free to email me at I hope you all have a fantastic week and enjoy the beautiful spring weather! Until next week!


The Producers and BonzAI Brawl

Hi Parents,

The BonzAI Brawl, an artificial intelligence battling competition, will take place on Saturday, April 11
The BonzAI Brawl, an artificial intelligence battling competition, will take place on Saturday, April 11 here at Michigan Tech

I hope you’re all having a great week. The weather here has been tricking our minds as the temperatures cool down again. Despite the chillier weather, the sun is still out and gives students hope and inspiration to continue through to the end.

As the sun continues to shine, its bright rays are starting to clear out the snow from the ground and returning the grass and sidewalk! With the coming spring time, students are opting to ride their bikes to campus again instead of trudging through the slush and snow to go to class. However, if students do choose to ride their bikes, they must have it registered with the Department of Public Safety and Police Services starting on April 8. There is no charge to your students to register their bikes, and the registration will help with storage purposes or if it were to get moved or stolen. Your students can go to Public Safety to have their bikes registered.

The Michigan Tech Theatre Company will perform their last show of the year this weekend. They will perform the musical, The Producers, on Thursday, April 9 – Saturday, April 11 at 7:30 pm in the Rozsa Center. As Mel Brooks’ new show, The Producers follows protagonist Max Bialystock, a failed Broadway producer, and Leo Bloom, a down-on-his-luck accountant, as they strive to make a profitable show with the world’s worst musical. They pick up a string of eccentric and zany characters along the way to make for a truly comical and entertaining performance. The Michigan Tech Theatre Company consists of Michigan Tech’s own students, giving seasoned actors and beginners alike an opportunity to dabble in the performing arts. The show is free for students the Experience Tech fee, and is a fantastic opportunity to get some live entertainment and cheer on their peers. For more information, please visit the Visual and Performing Arts website.

In addition to the performance, Michigan Tech will be hosting the BonzAI Brawl on Saturday, April 11. The BonzAI Brawl is an all-day artificial intelligence programming competition, meaning that the agents the teams build must be autonomous and function independently of a controller. Teams of students studying Computer Science, Computer Engineering, Computer Network and System Administration, and many other majors across campus participate in the event, as well as students from other universities. These teams will compete with each other in a brawl of their very own AIs. Teams have eight hours to mold and refine their strategies to face off in a sudden-death tournament. There is a snag, however. Teams aren’t given the game design or mechanics of the competition until the morning of the event! Teams will learn about the design and goals before coding for the AIs has begun to make for a truly challenging competition. Below is the schedule of the BonzAI Brawl:

Registration Check-in / Breakfast – 9:00am
Opening Ceremonies (Fisher 135) – 9:30am
Coding (computer labs) – 10:00am – 6:00pm
Dinner Break – 6:00pm – 6:30pm
The Brawl (Fisher 135) – 6:30pm

For more information on the BonzAI Brawl, visit the Michigan Tech website.

That’s all I have for you this week! If you have any questions or comments about the events listed above, or would like more information written on a specific event, please email me at Enjoy the weather, and have a great remainder of the week! Until next week!



It’s Not Too Late!

Hello Parents,

Michigan Tech's Outdoor Adventure Program is a great way for your students to get outside and stay active
Michigan Tech’s Outdoor Adventure Program is a great way for your students to get outside and stay active

I hope you’re all having a fantastic week! Campus has been busy here as projects, presentations, exams, and homework assignments are getting squeezed in these last few weeks of the semester. This period between spring break and finals week can be a doozy for a lot of students. Keep sending them good thoughts and energy as they push through to the end!

As we begin to finish up this semester, there are a few things we have to start thinking about for next year. The Online Roommate Matching program for new students begins on Wednesday, April 1 and will go through Saturday, May 30. Incoming students for the 2015 – 2016 academic year, who have already completed their housing applications, will be able to log on to begin their roommate matching process. Students will be able to create a profile and search other student profiles to find a suitable roommate for next year. You may remember your own students completing this process last year! On August 1, students will be able to log back in to MyMichiganTech to see details about the room assignment.

Although the end of the semester is in sight, it’s still not too late for students to find employment for the summer. If your student didn’t get an internship or co-op at the Career Fair this year, they can still check out HuskyJobs as positions continue to be posted. HuskyJobs is an online job-posting site where local and nation-wide job opportunities are listed for students to apply to. These jobs range from general employment, internships, co-ops, and even full time positions! It’s not too late for your student to take advantage of some of these opportunities to gain experience and enhance their resume and leadership skills.

It’s also not too late for students to get extra help in their courses this semester. We have over 15 learning centers on campus ranging from subjects such as Math and Chemistry, to First Year Engineering, Computer Science, Business and Economics, Technology Tutoring and even Academic Success! These learning centers are staffed with student coaches who are experts in their field that can help students in a walk-in setting, group study session, or a one-on-one appointment. The best part about the learning centers on campus is that because they’re staffed with students, the instruction that they give is much more relatable, and it can be less intimidating than visiting a professor one-on-one (although that can also be extremely helpful!). Learning centers are a great way to not only helping your students catch up in a course, but to stay ahead and remain on track. For more details about each of the learning centers we offer on campus, please visit the Waino Wahtera Center for Student Success Website.

Don’t forget about some of the other important campus resources we have here as well. If your student feels as though he/she are getting too overwhelmed with the stress and anxiety that may come with the end of the semester, please encourage them to visit Counseling Services. Counseling Services is staffed with licensed professionals to help your students with a wide variety of challenges, ranging from test anxiety, stress, depression, academic problems, and even social skills. In addition, the Outdoor Adventure Program and Wellness can also be great resources for your students to utilize this time of year! The Outdoor Adventure Program strives to get students, faculty, and staff outside to enjoy the beautiful and natural environment that we all live in. They offer equipment rentals for items such as kayaks, camping equipment, hammocks, and mountain bikes, and offer clinics and seminars to help build skills in various outdoor activities. Wellness is designed to help students and faculty stay healthy within the Seven Dimensions of Wellness: Social Wellness, Emotional Wellness, Spiritual Wellness, Financial Wellness, Occupational Wellness, Intellectual Wellness, and Physical Wellness. They offer workshops and clinics on a wide variety of topics including nutrition and healthy eating habits, lifetime fitness, alcohol education,  and even study skills. These resources are fantastic ways to help make sure your students stay happy and healthy.

That’s all I have for you this week! If you have any questions about any of the resources I mentioned or the upcoming events, or would like to see more information written on a specific topic, please feel free to email me at Until next week!