Lake Superior State University
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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.


Sketched photograph was engraved in metal in the early 1840's for the Soo News (the local newspaper of the time.)

After the War of 1812 ended and the Treaty of Paris was signed with Great Britain, the Falls of the Saint Mary's River were left unoccupied, controlled by the British garrison stationed on Drummond Island. General Hugh Brady moved his troops from Sackett's Harbor to Sault Ste. Marie in 1822 to construct a stockade and barracks on the land ceded by the treaty of 1820 to the Chippewa Indians. Brady first took over the former Nolin house and began the erection of a stockade, with blockhouses at the southwest and northeast corners. Pickets twelve feet high set four feet in the ground enclosed the principal buildings of the post in a solid stockade. Fort Brady was completed before the close of 1822 and stood on that location until 1892 when it was moved to Ashmun Hill.

Sault Life Revolved Around Fort Brady

Fort Brady was very important in the life of Sault Ste. Marie, occupying 26.14 acres extending 550 feet along the bank of the river and running parallel to Portage Street. The fort had a large garden, a cemetery, and a grove of large trees lying south of Portage. The main entrance was located on Portage Street, where a sentry with a rifle would pace back and forth. Just inside the entrance and to the right were long piles of cordwood used for heating the fort buildings because little, if any coal was used for heating. On holidays people would gather to watch the soldiers parade down Portage Street. The cannon would be fired and bugle calls called at random. Every spring activities were held at the fort including foot races, horse races, dog races, and canoe races. The races would take place on Water Street and at the base of the Saint Mary's River, starting at Sugar Island. Indian men frequently defeated American soldiers in canoe races.

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Majoring in Liberal Studies...

Eliza Carte

Eliza Carte
Liberal Studies
Remus, MI

It is a smaller school so it is easy to get to know everyone. It has smaller class sizes so the faculty can get to know the students. [ more ]

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