HOUGHTON - Coming to Michigan Technological University changed Felicia Nip's life.
"I'd never lived independently," said Nip, who is from Woodhaven, Mich., 600 miles from Houghton. "I'd never been far away from home. When I got up here, I didn't know any alumni who lived here, and I didn't know anyone. ... Every single day has been amazing. I love everyone around here. I love the area."
Tech showed some love back Saturday night, when Nip was crowned Winter Carnival Queen after the contest at the Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts. Nip was sponsored by the U.S. Air Force ROTC and Wells Fargo.
Garrett Neese/Daily Mining Gazette
Michigan Technological University Winter Carnival Queen Felicia Nip holds a $1,000 check from the Michigan Tech Student Foundation after her coronation Saturday night.
Kasey Rahn was named first runner-up and winner of audience choice. She was sponsored by Delta Zeta and Swift True Value Hardware. Second runner-up was Jordan Erickson, sponsored by Sigma Phi Epsilon and Hairsmith's.
Miss Congeniality was Rhea-Ann Moses, sponsored by Theta Chi Epsilon and Dairy Queen.
For her talent, Nip performed a science demonstration. It was a natural fit for Nip, a member of Tech's Mind Trekkers group, which performs science shows. It also worked in one of her other loves, tennis, although it didn't play as large a role as it could have.
"I can't sing or dance, so I was thinking about what I could actually do," she said. "It was either tennis or science, and I didn't want to hit anyone on the stage."
During the question-and-answer portion, Nip said the most important thing she had done at Tech came before she arrived. She had e-mailed a worker in the electron microscopy lab at Tech and asked if she could do any research. They didn't have a research position; instead, she got a job where she gets to work with every department.
"I get to help students, graduate students, professors and train them how to use the microscopes ... while I'm doing that, I get to learn about every lab on campus, essentially, and see their samples at a microscopic level. It's just been so rewarding to get to know people from every department."
Nip was also asked where she saw herself in five years. Nip planned to be wrapping up medical school, finding a residency in pathology, starting a family and still finding time to visit Tech - "for Winter Carnival, especially."