The 2015 Michigan Tech Concrete Canoe Team

Hello Parents,

The 2015 Michigan Tech Concrete Canoe team's canoe: Talvi Sielu, meaning Winter Soul in Finnish
The 2015 Michigan Tech Concrete Canoe team’s canoe: Talvi Sielu, which means “winter soul” in Finnish. Photo courtesy of Brad Roberts.

I hope you’re all having a great week! Everything in Houghton has been going wonderfully this week, as students are preparing to  take their Track A final exams, Summer Youth Program campers have taken hold of the campus, and prospective students tour the campus to learn more about Michigan Tech. The weather here has been pretty finicky; mother nature can’t decide if she wants the sun to shine or if she wants it to rain and the last few days it’s been raining while the sun is out (which makes for absolutely beautiful scenery!). But as usual, there’s been a lot going on this week. It was pointed out to me in an email from a parent that the Michigan Tech Concrete Canoe team went to nationals last weekend at Clemson University in Seneca, South Carolina!  In response, I’d like to write a short piece to congratulate the team and spread the word of the Concrete Canoe team.

Sponsored by the American Society of Civil Engineers, the concrete canoe competition consists of both a regional and national contest that judge undergraduate teams in four components:

1) Technical Paper
This professional paper outlines the engineering and design of the canoe, including the concrete mix proportions, design of the boat, construction methods, and everything else that went into creating the canoe.

2) Technical Presentation
The team must summarize the technical paper in a five-minute presentation in front of a board of judges.

3) Race
The team must compete in the following five races: Two-person Women’s Sprint, Two-person Men’s Sprint, Two-person Women’s Endurance, Two-person Men’s Endurance, and Four-person Co-ed Sprint.

4) Final Product
The canoe is then judged based on appearance and adherence to the official rules of dimensions and components of the concrete mix.

A photo of the female race in the National Concrete Canoe competition. Photo courtesy of Brad Roberts
A photo of one of the 2015 Women’s Races in the National Concrete Canoe competition. Photo courtesy of Brad Roberts.

The regional competition that Michigan Tech competes in includes teams from universities such as Western Michigan University and Michigan State University. There are over 200 other teams from across the nation that compete in their own regional competions. The top 10 teams from each regional competition then go on to compete at the national level.

Every year, the Michigan Tech team chooses a theme for the canoe that represents the team in an inspirational and creative way, and this theme is incorporated into the design of the canoe. The Concrete Canoe team works year-round during the academic year to design and build a well-engineered canoe; each member contributes over 3,000 hours of work to complete the final product!

This year, the Michigan Tech Concrete Canoe Team finished 13th overall in the national competition with their canoe, Talvi Sielu! They deserve to be recognized and congratulated for all of their hard work! For more pictures of the 2015 National Concrete Canoe Competition, feel free to visit this informative blog, written by Mr. Roberts, a parent himself. For more information about the National Concrete Canoe competition, please visit the official NCCC website.

As I mentioned last week, this will be my last ParentNet Weekly post and the new writer, Erica LeClaire, will be taking over next week. I will be leaving for Grand Rapids, Michigan to begin medical school at Michigan State in August. I just wanted to extend my heartfelt appreciation to all of you as I conclude my last post; writing for ParentNet has been a great learning experience for me and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time on the site and hearing from some of you through email. I wish you and your students the best of luck as they continue their careers here at Michigan Tech, and if you have any questions about anything, please feel free to email me at Thank you all so much!


2015 Bridgefest/BridgeFEAST Celebration!

Hello Parents,

I hope you’re all having a fantastic week! Everything is going well here, as the  sun continues to shine and the summer continues to fly by. Track A courses are almost over, as final exams quickly approach next week. Track B courses will begin Monday, June 29, and the new ParentNet Weekly writer, Erica LeClaire, will take over.

A beautiful photo taken of the Portage Lake Lift Bridge, courtesy of The annual celebration of this fantastic structure will take place this weekend from Friday, June 19 - Sunday June 21
A beautiful photo taken of the Portage Lake Lift Bridge, courtesy of The annual celebration of this fantastic structure will take place this weekend from Friday, June 19 – Sunday June 21

There’s a plethora of exciting events taking place this weekend, most notably the Bridgefest festival starting on Friday, June 19 and spanning through Sunday, June 21!  Bridgefest is an annual celebration of the Portage Lake Lift Bridge. Opening in 1959, the Portage Lake Lift Bridge is the widest and heaviest double-decked vertical lift bridge in the world. The ancestral structure of the modern day bridge was a wooden swing bridge in 1875. It was eventually replaced by the Portage Canal Swing Bridge, a steel swing bridge, in 1905. The Portage Canal Swing Bridge was finally replaced by the Portage Lake Lift Bridge, and continues to serve the Houghton and Hancock residents today. Bridgefest has been an annual tradition in the Houghton and Hancock communities since 1987 and includes an fun-filled weekend of local festivities and activities. Special events will begin on Friday, June 19 at 10:00 am and the celebration will continue until Sunday, June 21 at sunset. Some of these events include helicopter rides, a parade, sport contests such as hockey, volleyball, and ping pong, outdoor concerts, street vendors, fireworks, and the most important thing: the food!

Which brings me to the next celebration: in conjunction to the Bridgefest celebration, BridgeFEAST will be taking place from Friday, June 19 through Saturday, June 20! Known previously as Seafood Fest, BridgeFEAST is an annual food festival that is celebrated every year alongside Bridgefest to provide for one magnificent and delicious local celebration, and now includes a wide variety of other tasty meals in addition to its seafood roots. BridgeFEAST will be catered by some of the best restaurants in the local area, including the Library restaurant, Fitzgerald’s, Habeneros Mexican restaurant, and many more! Tokens for the BridgeFEAST celebration can be purchased on the BridgeFEAST website, and all of the proceeds go towards the Rotary Club of Houghton.

This annual festival has had a long-standing history in the local area and it is not a celebration that will go away anytime soon. The fun it brings and the appreciation for the bridge that comes along with it goes a long way for our local residents. The Portage Lake Lift Bridge is an iconic local landmark that holds emotional and sentimental ties to the area, especially for Michigan Tech students. I hope that if your students are in Houghton for the summer that they partake in this dazzling and memorable event!

That’s all I have for you this week! If you have any questions about the Bridgefest of BridgeFEAST festivities, or would like to see more information written on a specific topic, please feel free to email me at I look forward to writing for you next week, which will be my last article. Have a great weekend!


Outdoor Activities in the Keweenaw

Hello Parents,

A group of students taking advantage of the outdoor activities in the Copper Country as they kayak around the Portage Canal
A group of students taking advantage of the outdoor activities in the Copper Country as they kayak around the Portage Canal

I hope you’re all having a great week! The summer weather is finally here to stay which means the adventurous outdoor activities that the Keweenaw has to offer are more popular than ever. There are a plethora of activities for students and community members alike to enjoy during the summer months. Some of the most popular activities include hiking, mountain biking, kayaking, and canoeing. As promised last week, I’ll outline a more detailed description of these activities with various locations below.

Hiking is probably the most popular local outdoor activity and we have an incredible number of venturesome trails to explore. The Keweenaw and surrounding areas have over 30 established hiking trails with an extensive amount of backpacking trails as well. Here are some of the most beautiful and popular hiking trails. (For more details on these trails and for the trails not listed, please visit the Keweenaw Visitors Bureau website.)

1.) Marsin Preserve
The Marsin Preserve is owned by the Keweenaw Land Trust and is located along the Portage Canal. The sanctuary was designed to make the natural land open to the public to explore and enjoy the outdoors. There is both a preserve and a short hiking trail that includes shrubby areas, wet meadows, and a wide variety of wildlife to observe.

2.) Gratiot Lake Overlook Sanctuary
These trails include over 100 acres of Michigan Nature Association Sanctuary and one mile of nature trails. The terrain is fairly strenuous and includes a gradual 400-foot hike. This beautiful trail also encompasses a panoramic view of Gratiot Lake from a high peak as well as a gorgeous view of the waterfall on Eister Creek.

3.) Central Mine and Village
The Central Mine site houses two hiking trails of various length and difficulty. Sponsored by the Keweenaw Historic Society, these trails explore the woods and the historic site of the Central Mine, an early copper mine that was in operation from 1854 to 1898. The Central Mine and Village is especially unique because it not only encompasses wooded areas in its trails, but explores a historic copper mine as well.

4.) Estivant Pines
Estivant Pines Wilderness Nature Sanctuary in Copper Harbor is an absolutely gorgeous woodland that constitutes over 510 acres of hardwood and eastern white pine trees. Some of these trees have a diameter of over 3 feet! This Nature Sanctuary includes three looped trails of  rugged terrain. These incredible trails are open year round to for hiking, cross country skiing, and snowshoeing.

5.) Grinnell Memorial Nature Sanctuary
This most beautiful and challenging hike to Bare Bluff in Bete Gris is one of the most phenomenal sites in the Keweenaw. This robust and demanding three mile hike is at a high difficulty level, and it’s advised to allow three hours for the trip. The top of Grinnell Memorial Nature Sanctuary overlooks the southeast view of the Keweenaw Peninsula in an absolutely stunning view of Lake Superior and the surrounding areas of the Keweenaw. The trek is worth the challenge, however, as this is truly one of the most breath-taking locations in the area.

Mountain Biking
We have some fantastic mountain biking trails here in the Keweenaw with some nationally recognized courses! Michigan Tech students have the Michigan Tech trails right in their backyard, but if they are avid mountain bikers they might want to check out some of the other local trails. (For more details on the mountain biking trails and to explore more areas, please visit the Keweenaw Visitors Bureau website.)

1.) Copper Harbor
The Copper Harbor mountain biking trails has some of the best trails in the nation. Spanning over 30 miles, the trails range in difficulty from beginner to expert with most of the trails being for the advanced rider. The trails are very scenic with paths going along various inland lakes and beside the shores of Lake Superior. For more information on the Copper Harbor mountain biking trails, please visit the Copper Harbor Trails Club website.

2.) Bill Nichols Trail Rail
The Bill Nichols Trail connects Houghton to Mass City and spans a distance of 41 miles. The trail coasts along the former Copper Range Railroad for a smooth and adventurous ride around the Keweenaw. The trail crosses 3 bridges over the Firesteel River. This grade is also open to off-road vehicles.

3.) Swedetown Trails
The Swedetown Trails are located near Calumet, Michigan and span a total of 22 miles of single-lane trails. These trails are fantastic for both the beginner and advanced rider, and offer a plethora of loops and segments to allow riders to customize their own ride. In addition, there are also 8 miles of two-track trails to allow for side-by-side riding and running.

Kayaking and Canoeing
The Copper Country is also an absolute paradise for kayaking and canoeing. Because Houghton is an area surrounded by a variety of lakes, rivers, canals, and streams, kayaking and canoeing are a huge part of culture here. There are countless places for students to stick a kayak or canoe in the water and start paddling. Here are some of the more popular places where paddlers like to visit:

Copper Harbor
Copper Harbor offers a wide variety of waterways to explore. Most of these are inland lakes that are all within a ten-mile radius of the Harbor’s village limits. These lakes include Lake Fanny Hooe, Lake Manganese, Lake Medora, Lac La Belle, Schlatter’s Lake, and Lake Bailey. These lakes provide beautiful scenery and a wide variety of wildlife to observe along the way, all within a short drive from the Houghton/Hancock area.

Chassell: Sturgeon River and Sloughs
The Sturgeon River also offers an exciting adventure for local kayakers and canoers to paddle. The site offers a ramp for launching and landing small boats, which is especially convenient for launching a canoe. Explorers can make their way around the bay, down the Pike River, or Sturgeon River. The Sturgeon River offers beautiful scenic views, complete wildlife and animals.

Keweenaw Water Trail
The Keweenaw Water Trail runs along a beautiful, rugged coastline of the Keweenaw Peninsula and explores wilderness areas with parks, nature preserves, and sheltered harbors for camping spread intermittently throughout the trail. This waterway is unique because it allows the paddler to make a loop without having to backtrack along the pathway. The entire route can be paddled between six and eight days, so it’s a great trip for the adventurous paddler!

In addition to these exciting waterways, there are also plenty of kayaking and canoeing options right here in Houghton. One obvious choice for many paddlers is the Keweenaw Waterway, which includes Portage Lake on one side and the Portage Canal on the other. Paddlers can launch from anywhere along the canal and enjoy a beautiful trip that’s a little closer to home.

That’s everything I have for you this week! As you can see, there’s so much to do in the Keweenaw during the summer months. It’s such a beautiful outdoor paradise and I hope your students take advantage of these activities if they are up here for the summer! If you have any questions about outdoor activities in the Keweenaw or would like to see more information on a specific topic, please feel free to email me at Have a wonderful weekend!


Quincy Mine Tours and Other Local Happenings

Hello Parents,

A glowing photo of the historic Quincy Mine, located in Hancock, MI. Public tours of the Mine begin on Friday, June 5.
A glowing photo of the historic Quincy Mine, located in Hancock. Public tours of the Mine begin on Friday, June 5.

I hope you’re all having a great week! It’s been warmer here this week and it’s finally starting to feel like summer as we begin June and mark the halfway point through Track A courses. Campus has been lively and flourishing with busy students as they continue their hard work with classes, assignments, homework, and exams. Community life has been humming as well with various events taking place including the weekly Wednesday night Car Show at our local Culver’s restaurant, outdoor activities such as fishing, hiking, kayaking, and mountain biking, and a plethora of other special events.

Speaking of local special events, the famous and historic Quincy Mine Hoist will begin its public tour season starting this Friday, June 5. The Hoist will be open daily for tours from 9:30 am – 5:00 pm until Saturday, October 17. Located across the Portage Lift Bridge in Hancock, The Quincy Mine was established in 1846 and continued action for almost 100 years until 1945. It’s the world’s largest steam hoist and was one of the most successful commercial copper mining companies in the nation. Quincy Mine Tours take guests around the shaft house and continue down below ground into the actual hoist itself, where guests can get a glimpse of where the action took place during the mining era. It’s a very educational and engrossing trip that brings its tourists into a captivating excursion through time. For more information on the Quincy Mine and its tours, please visit the Quincy Mine Hoist Association website.

On Saturday, June 6, UP Cruising will be hosting a charity ride for war veterans. UP Cruising is a website dedicated to the avid motorcyclists in Michigan and provides a guide to biking in the UP. The website is one large road map of all the greatest biking routes in the UP, and offers suggestions for tourist stops, provides information on local fishing and snowmobiling, and much more! This Saturday, the organization is hosting an an all-day motorcycle riding event that will be dedicated to various charities in the Upper Peninsula that benefit local veterans. The ride will be based out of Gladstone, Michigan, and will span the entire day and include lunch, dinner, and a wide variety of prizes for its participants. For more information on the organization and the charity ride, please visit the UP Cruising website.

That’s all I have for you this week! Stay tuned for next week’s more lengthy post, as I dive into a more detailed article about some of the local hot spots for popular outdoor activities. I hope you all try take advantage of the summer weather, and enjoy the rest of your week! Until next time!


Upcoming Summer Events

Hello Parents,

A photo of Quincy St. in Hancock circa 1890. The Fourth Thursday in History will on May 28 will center around 19th and 20th century photos of Hancock, Michigan. Photo courtesy of ViewsOfThePast.
A photo of Quincy St. in Hancock circa 1890. The Fourth Thursday in History presentation will on May 28 and will center around 19th and 20th century photos of Hancock, Michigan. Photo courtesy of ViewsOfThePast.

I hope you’re all having a great week! It’s been a few weeks since I’ve written to you, and a lot has happened. The “summer weather” still comes and goes (as usual), and Track A is on its way to being halfway complete, and will be by next Wednesday, June 3. It’s hard to believe how fast it goes by; it seems like the summer flies even faster than the school year!

We have a lot of great events coming up this week. On Thursday, May 28 we have a plethora of events taking place. The seventh annual Bike to Work Day will be underway, where local residents are invited to go green and reduce their carbon footprint by riding their bicycle to work rather than driving their vehicles. Rest stops and refreshments booths will be posted along the way in various areas throughout the Copper Country, both in the morning and the evening, so participants may enjoy a light refreshment and conversation with friends on their way to or from work. There will also be information on local bike transportation available so residents can learn more about environmentally friendly ways of travel. This is an awesome local event that celebrates both fitness and environmental health in a fun and enjoyable way. If your students are in Houghton for the summer, I would encourage them to participate by biking to school or work!

In addition, a workshop on driving research will also take place on Thursday. The Michigan Tech Transportation Institute (MTTI) will host a symposium on “Developing Partnership and Advancing Driving Research”. They are inviting all researchers interested in applications and user interfaces for in-vehicle purposes to participate. The workshop is designed to help determine and establish reasonable project ideas and collaborators for each project, determine funding options and logistics for each proposed project, and help create opportunities make the project proposal as competitive as possible. A catered lunch and refreshment reception will be provided. There will also be a demo session of the reserach facilities in the Mind Music Lab Machine the day before and after the event. There will be various guest speakers from all over the country present, including Andrew Kun from the University of New Hampshire, Bruce Walker from Georgia Technological University, Colln Castle from the Michigan Department of Transportation, and more. For more information on the Developing Partnership and Advancing Driving Research workshop, please visit the MTTI website.

Another event taking place this week is the Fourth Thursday in History. Throughout the summer, there will be presentations and symposiums on local and regional history that take place on the fourth Thursday of every month. This month’s Fourth Thursday in History is “Lost in Hancock”. This presentation focuses on early 20th century photographs of the City of Hancock that center around the buildings and structures that are no longer standing. Author John Haeussler will give the presentation and will show his own photographs from his book Hancock. For more information on the Fourth Thursday in History, please visit the Keweenaw Visitors Bureau website.

In addition, The Calumet Players will be performing the beloved story of Anne of Green Gables at the Calumet Theatre from Thursday, May 28 through Saturday, May 30. The story is centered around a young orphan, Anne, who is accidentally sent to an island in Nova Scotia to help an elderly family run their farm. Performances will be at 7:30 pm and tickets cost $12. For more information on the Anne of Green Gables, please visit the Calumet Theatre website.

There is a lot going on this week and weekend, and if your students are up here I hope they take advantage of these opportunities and enjoy the Houghton summer! If you have any questions about any of the above events, or would like to see more information written on a specific topic, please feel free to email me at Have a great remainder to your week! Until next time!



Welcome to Summer!

Hello Parents,

My brother and I at the commencement ceremony on May 2

I hope you’re all having a great week! Now that spring classes are completed and final grades are submitted, summer has officially begun! And with the start of summer comes the start of summer courses, which began last Monday. Students taking courses over the summer take them in an accelerated manner; we cram a typical 14 week course into 7 weeks to provide two summer semesters: Track A and Track B. Track A will extend through June 26 and Track B will begin on June 29. I will continue to write for ParentNet through Track A, but the new ParentNet Weekly writer will begin in Track B.

Spring Commencement took place just over two weeks ago on Saturday, May 2. Over 800 undergraduate students walked during the ceremony, including myself and my twin brother, who graduated with a degree in Civil Engineering (the two of us are pictured). It was a fantastic ceremony with wonderfully eloquent speakers. I hope that those of you who attended thought the same! We were extremely lucky and had delightful weather; the last few commencement ceremonies had less-than-ideal weather, so this year’s families were able to see the Copper Country with its beautiful atmosphere. I hope your own students’ commencement ceremonies are just as great!

Students should have received their final grades for the spring semester. To check final grades, students must log into Banweb. Once logged in, students can click the Students tab → Student Records → Final Grades. When you see the drop down menu, click Spring 2015. As a parent, you may also be able to log onto your student’s account and access this information via Guest Access. Through Guest Access, your student can grant you access to not only their final grades, but you may have access to their electronic bill notification, tuition bill and associated holds, emergency contact information, financial aid awards, an unofficial academic transcript, midterm grades, term end grades, and class schedules. For more information on how to be granted guest access to your student’s account, please visit the Guest Access website or contact the Registrar’s Office.

This summer is filled with excitement as summer courses, campus tours, Summer Youth Programs, and Athletic camps take place throughout the four-month break, before the 2015-2016 academic year begins. Wadsworth Hall is humming with excitement as undergrad students and students from these camps live there throughout the summer. There’s also a lot to look forward to within the local community as well. A plethora of fun summer events such the annual Bridgefest celebration, the Pine Mountain Music Festival, and the SISU Challenge will take place during this time. Many of these special events are local traditions, and I look forward to sharing more information about them as they approach this summer!  For more information on these and other events taking place in the Copper Country this season, please visit the City of Houghton Website.

There’s so much to look forward to this summer and so many activities to explore! As the summer continues, I will write about outdoor activities, local events, and campus happenings that take place throughout the break. If you have any specific questions or would like to see more information written on a specific topic, please feel free to email me at I hope you’re all enjoying the summer in your own hometowns! Until next week!


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!