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It’s the Water

Posted on Mar 12, 1999

No, Union College Spring Water does not come from Hans Groots Kill, the “brook
that bounds.” Nor, as one has suggested, is it the melted ice shavings from the
Zamboni at Achilles Rink.

The bottled water sold in Dutch Hollow and the Convenience Store is from an outfit in
West Seneca, N.Y., that offers “certified spring water” to a number of
organizations – hotels, colleges and conference facilities, according to Steve
Pearse, director of dining services. And the firm adds the Union College labels at no
additional cost.

Pearse says the idea came up in Dining Services last fall as a way to promote school
spirit that was “something that would make us different from other schools,”
Pearse said. “I would be curious to see what people from other schools think about
it,” he added.

It's fairly popular, holding its own alongside brands such as Evian or Saratoga,
he says. They have been moving between 30 and 50 cases per week since it was introduced at
the start of winter term.

In other news from Dining Services, spring is just around the corner, Pearse assures.
The mobile food cart, FRED – Fast, Ready, Easy, Dutch – and its friendly driver,
Cathy Georgelas, will be on campus with the arrival of warmer weather sometime next term.
“We're checking with the robins and the groundhogs,” Pearse says.

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Chronicle to Resume April 2

Posted on Mar 12, 1999

This issue of the Chronicle is the last one of the term. Publication will resume
with the start of spring term; first issue is April 2.

To subscribe to the Chronicle on e-mail, complete the form on our Web site.

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‘Dueling Duffers’ Set for Friday

Posted on Mar 12, 1999

While snow still blankets the ground, about 90 first-year students are getting a jump
on golf season. Indoors, that is.

This year's final project for the design module of Fundamentals of Engineering and
Computer Science (ESC 17) calls for teams to design a machine that will navigate a 3- by
8-foot surface covered with artificial turf and deposit up to ten golf balls into a hole
in the middle. The table resembles a putting green, and there are obstacles resembling
trees and berms. What makes it different from golf, however, is that two teams are trying
to “putt” at the same time from opposite ends.

Teams will square off for the competition – nicknamed “Dueling Duffers”
– on Friday, March 12, at 2:30 p.m. in the Reamer Campus Center Auditorium.

Some teams have taken an offensive approach by racing to the hole and depositing as
many balls as possible before the other team's machine shows up. Others are
defensive, with arms that block shots from the other team. One team plans to employ an
unusual feature – a catapult designed to land a rail between the other team's
vehicle and the hole, blocking every shot.

All teams have been given the same parts – two wheels and one swivel wheel, a
motor, and a solenoid to be used for steering or ball release. There are rules limiting
the size of the vehicle.

“Students like the head-to-head competition,” said Andrew Wolfe, assistant
professor of civil engineering. “And they are learning 'by accident' as
they are using their hands and seeing how things go together.”

Wolfe is teaching the module with Richard Wilk and William Keat of mechanical
engineering, and Cherrice Traver of EE/CS.

“Our final design project integrates the theory of design with the practical
aspects of construction and testing through an intense top-eliminator competition,”
said Dean of Engineering Robert Balmer. “This year's contest creates difficult
challenges for the students to overcome, and they rose to the occasion.”

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Calendar of Events

Posted on Mar 12, 1999

Friday, March 12, 2:30 p.m.
Reamer Auditorium.
Students in “Fundamentals of Engineering” compete in final design contest, a
version of indoor golf with robots.

Friday, March 12, 8 p.m.
Memorial Chapel.
Union College-Schenectady Museum chamber series presents Borromeo String Quartet in
All-Beethoven program.

Through March 12.
Social Sciences Lounge.
Exhibit of color photography by James E. Schuck titled “Three Feet From the

Through March 14.
Nott Memorial.
“Twelve Years a Slave” and “Powre Above Powres: Passing Freedom,” dual
exhibits on the American slave experience.

Through March 19.
Arts Atrium.
Photography exhibit “Looking at Youth” features works by Donna Fitzgerald and
Mark McCarty.

Sunday, March 21, 3 p.m.
Memorial Chapel.
Pianist Wu Han performs works by Chopin, Haydn and Debussy in the Union
College-Schenectady Museum chamber concert series.

Tuesday, March 30, 5 to 7 p.m.
Mandeville Gallery, Nott Memorial.
Opening reception and gallery talk with painter Stephen Pace, whose works will be on
display through May 30.

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‘Defining Moments’ Send Michtalik to Medicine, Law

Posted on Mar 12, 1999

Defining Moment One: Janko was dead. The 73-year-old man had flatlined during a routine
hip replacement and, after 20 minutes of unsuccessful resuscitation attempts, doctors were
somberly filing out of the surgery.

Union junior Henry Michtalik, then a mere 17-year-old intern observing the procedure at
a small Slovakian hospital, rushed into the anteroom and in front of the whole operating
team angrily denounced the chief surgeon for not doing more.

Silence. Stunned looks. The room emptied. “OK, now here's a thinking
moment,” recalls Michtalik with some terror. “I'm about to hear every curse
word there is in Slovak, from the man who is in charge of my internship.”

What he heard were not curses, but six words he will never forget: “But you
don't have managed care.”

“That was my first exposure to rationed health care,” he recalls. “And
Janko put a face to it.”

Defining Moment Two: Nine years earlier, at the same Slovakian hospital, a very
frightened 8-year-old Michtalik had been wheeled in for an emergency appendectomy. Two
days before, on the eve of a trip to visit his relatives in the former Czechoslovakia,
American doctors had assured Henry and his mother that the pain in his belly was just a
bad case of indigestion.

“I was only 8 years old, but there I was, angry at the American healthcare system
for overlooking my condition and completely fascinated by the Slovak healthcare
system,” he said. “I was always told the U.S. had the best healthcare in the
world, but why did this happen to me?”

Michtalik calls those two events — Janko's death and his appendectomy –
the “defining moments” that steered the bio-chem major toward a career in which
he can promote national healthcare policy for the U.S. “I saw that although the
Slovak technology was very limited, everyone received healthcare without any worries. If
they can accomplish national health care even with limited technology, why can't we?
That's when I knew I would like to pursue a career in medicine.”

Michtalik has also cultivated an interest in law, spurred by his participation during
high school in mock trials. He also plans to earn a law degree. With an unusual M.D.-J.D.
combination, he says he will be especially suited for a career as a policy maker with an
agency such as Health and Human Services. But, he says, he will always want to practice
medicine to “get a balance.”

He will be interviewed March 17 as a finalist for the Truman Fellowship, a graduate
school scholarship for students with outstanding leadership potential who plan to pursue
careers in government or public service.

At only 19, Michtalik, a native of Middletown, N.Y., is in his third year at Union; he
began college a year early, having fulfilled his high school graduation requirements in
his junior year. Next year, he starts his first year at Albany Medical College under the
accelerated joint-degree program with Union. He plans to do two years of medical school,
take a two-year break to earn a law degree, and then return to med school for two more
years of clinical training.

Having been through his own billing hassles recently with a health insurance firm,
Michtalik is especially keen to do what he can to promote a national healthcare program.

“How are we in the U.S., with all our technology, not able to organize a system of
national healthcare?” he asks. “I see another window of opportunity for national
healthcare. Physicians as much as patients are going to push for it.”

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