HOUGHTON - She may already be an assistant professor at Temple University, but Casey Rudkin was a Husky again Saturday.
Rudkin, with her husband and daughters looking on, received her Ph.D. in rhetoric and technical communications from Michigan Technological University.
After Rudkin got her master's in English/composition from the University of Akron in 2004, her advisor told her Michigan Tech had a strong program for her Ph.D., so she and her family moved up here.
Garrett Neese/Daily Mining Gazette
Blizzard T. Husky greets members of the crowd at the Michigan Technological University mid-year commencement Saturday. More than 400 students received degrees in the ceremony.
Rudkin said her schedule's been flexible enough to accommodate schoolwork, parenting and volunteering.
"Tech's been supportive with that, to raise our kids in a great community while getting our degrees at a great school," she said.
The degree gives her a temporary leg up on her husband, Jim, who's getting his own Ph.D. in rhetoric and technical communications from Tech. They and their daughters Boudicca and Zobeida wore matching Tech hockey jerseys to graduation.
Often, Rudkin said, she and Jim have wound up working on homework alongside their daughters.
"I am so happy," said Zobeida, a student at Houghton Middle School. "I know she's been working so hard, and I'm glad to see it coming to a good end."
Numerous other students got their reward Saturday for years of hard work. Julie Jarvey of Calumet got her degree in wildlife ecology and management.
Her favorite part of Tech was the outdoor labs and field trips, as well as extracurricular activities like volunteering with the Wildlife Society at wolf and bear centers in Minnesota.
Jarvey's university may have been close to home, but her first post-collegiate job is anything but. She's moving to Ethiopia, where she'll be the camp manager for the University of Michigan Gelada Research Project in the Simien Mountains National Park, studying wild monkeys.
"I'm really excited," she said. "I've always wanted to study primates in Africa. It worked out really well for me."
Justin Rhorer could say the same of his last-minute decision to attend Tech.
The Milford, Mich. native and construction management and civil engineering technology major came up because of Tech's reputation as as engineering school.
"I came up here for the first time and absolutely loved the drive up here," he said. "Once I crossed the bridge into the U.P., it was beautiful."
He enjoyed having outdoor activities just minutes away, as well as the camaraderie he found in his fraternity, Sigma Tau Gamma.
Rhorer was hired last week as an assistant roadmaster for the CSX railroad.
"Once I got the phone call, it was a huge weight off my shoulders," he said. "It made today more exciting."
Josh Carlson graduated after eight years at Michigan Tech, receiving a Ph.D. in chemical engineering to go with his bachelor's and master's.
"Why leave home when a good education is in your backyard?" he said.
He's been working at Cliffs Natural Resources in Ishpeming as a chemical engineer, which he likes. But he misses the fishing at Tech, and the people.
"It's almost like a family atmosphere," he said. "By the end of your bachelor's degree, you can kind of feel that environment, but getting your master's degree and being here for four-five years, you develop relationships that make it tough to leave," he said. "You miss the people you see in the office every day, the janitors you stop and talk to every day."
Garrett Neese can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.