Lake Superior State University
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Alum Success

Ben Mitchell

Ben Mitchell
Mechanical Engineering '06

Ben Mitchell grew up in a devout household in the central Upper Peninsula of Michigan where emphasis was placed on helping others. He traveled with his father to places such as Kenya and Peru on short-term medical missions. When he was in Kenya, a missionary explained that engineers have the greatest potential to influence the largest number of people. During high school, Ben participated in a youth mission trip to Tijuana. A result of the mission trips, his family decided to adopt three Vietnamese children when he was a junior.

All of these experiences had a great influence on Ben’s outlook on life. He decided to major in mechanical engineering and enrolled at Lake Superior State University. Near the end of his senior year, he decided to volunteer for the Peace Corps to help others.

His two-year commitment began in the fall of 2007 and took Ben to Burkina Faso in western Africa. He resides in the village of Tansila, population 3,000, approximately 10 km from the Mali border. His host organization is the local cotton growers union. It works cooperatively with other villages to improve and expand their production techniques. He serves as an agribusiness advisor as a part of the Small Enterprise Development program which helps create market linkages and assists with the advancement of business skills.


Welcome Future Laker Parents!

I Wish I Had Known…

Just as there are many things that students wish their parents had known in their transition period to college, there are also many things that parents wish they had known as their student started school. The parents of LSSU students offer some words of wisdom.

As a parent, I wish I had known…

  • that my son didn’t necessarily pay attention when I told him how to do laundry—written instructions are helpful.
  • that I was not bothering my daughter by calling—she actually loved to hear from me.
  • that my son was actually growing up and leaving home, not just going on vacation.
  • that when my daughter called with problems it was better to provide support and a listening ear than my solutions.
  • that on-campus residence halls provide students with an opportunity to learn how to get along with a wide variety of personalities…a skill necessary in “the real world.”
  • that e-mail is the BEST way to keep in touch with my daughter—easy, fast, fun to look forward to, and she tells me things I don’t think she would if we were talking on the phone.
  • to plan a trip to LSSU about a month before the summer vacation begins to bring things home—it makes the final move much easier.
  • that the Sault has a variety of cheap, convenient places to stay when we’re visiting our student and that it is important to reserve rooms in advance if we plan to come up for graduation, Parents’ Weekend, and other key times of the year.
  • that, when my son came home for a visit, he would also want to spend time with his friends.
  • that security officers are available to escort my daughter anywhere she needs to go on campus.
  • not to get discouraged when my student vented many of the “bad” experiences with us at first, because things did get so much better.
  • not to be offended when my daughter didn’t feel homesick until a month had passed, and the dust had settled.
  • that my son would always want money.
  • that our student would change no matter how much we thought she wouldn’t (including appearance and attitude!).
  • not to be offended when my daughter went home with her roommate during the long weekend. It turned out to be a fairly common thing to do.
  • how much our son likes receiving mail, especially near the holidays.
  • that LSSU had activities and organizations that would interest just about any student and encourage my daughter to join in at least one, but not too many.
  • that it would be okay to trust my child, and s/he would turn out just fine even if I didn’t worry about him/her all the time.

I Wish My Parents Had Known…

There are many things we wish our parents had known during those first days, weeks, months of college. The summer orientation staff would like to share these hints with you to make your family’s transition to LSSU easier. I wish my parents had known…

  • that calling in the early morning on weekends will usually wake college students prematurely
  • that it is better to encourage me to follow my interests rather than discouraging me from trying new things
  • that I would be going to school with all the other “A” and “B” students in Michigan, so I may not always earn “A’s”
  • that there is more to going to college than studying and going to classes
  • how important and wonderful care packages, letters, and real emails are
  • that we would become closer even though I moved away
  • that, in going away, I would not forget the values and morals my parents had instilled in me
  • that rolls of quarters are greatly appreciated
  • to let me make my own mistakes
  • that college-level courses are intense
  • that I really needed words of encouragement when school wasn’t going so well
  • that any major will teach me important critical thinking, writing, and analytical skills and that I will do much better academically if I really like my major
  • that many students change their major at least once
  • that it is best that they don’t know all the details of my life
  • that I miss them a lot more than I let on
  • to remind me that sometimes it takes awhile to make good friends
  • that it is hard for me to ask for money or help, but I sure need it and appreciate it
  • that they could put money in my debit account, and teach me money management
  • that courses from special interest areas/disciplines are often incredible learning experiences
  • that there are no 100-level or above classes I can take that don’t count toward graduation
  • that LSSU has lots of fun things to do
  • when figuring out how much spending money to give me to remember little things like haircuts and toothpaste
  • that coming home again is a big adjustment (for all of us)
  • that I would be stressed during midterms and finals, and not to take my grumpiness personally
  • that, yes, I was taking my medicine, wasn’t getting sick, was wearing a sweater, and that I was missing them just as much as they were missing me my freshman year

Intense Competition

Brittany Currie

Second Place
Lake Superior State University

Automation of Brake-Rotors Sand-Cores Manufacturing Process

2004 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition: ASME Manufacturing Engineering Division

Student Manufacturing Design Competition

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