Dr. Michael Latusek
Class of 2000
Career Pathway: Engineering/Manufacturing & Industrial Technology
Dr. Michael Latusek was nominated by Jim Tobin.
Mike graduated from Grayling High School in 2000 among the top ten graduates. At GHS, he was a member of the National Honor Society and played golf his senior year. He took three Advanced Placement courses in high school, earning a 3 on the AP history exam, a 4 on the AP calculus exam and a 5 on the AP chemistry exam.
"A 5 is the highest score attainable, so I was pretty proud of that one in particular," said Dr. Latusek. "It enabled me to skip the entire first year of chemistry in college and start at sophomore-level chemistry."
He graduated summa cum laude from Michigan Technological University in Houghton in May of 2004 with a bachelor of science degree in chemical engineering. The next fall he started work on his Ph.D. in chemical engineering, also at Michigan Tech. He earned a doctorate degree in December of 2008. During his years in graduate school, he had three papers published in peer-reviewed journals, on two of which he was the lead author. His Ph.D. thesis was entitled "Directed Synthesis and Characterization of Supported Bimetallic Overlayer Catalysts."
After completing his Ph.D., Dr. Latusek landed a job at First Solar, Inc. in Perrysburg, Ohio. The company is currently the world’s largest thin-film solar panel manufacturer, one of the largest solar companies in any technology and producer of the lowest cost solar panels of any company in the world. His current title is metallurgical engineer. He performs basic research on semiconductor materials used to make their solar panels to help advance the strategic goals at First Solar. "I wish I could elaborate," he wrote, "but my research is very secretive." As of today, he celebrates his one-year anniversary with the company.
Several members of Dr. Latusek’s family are GHS graduates: father Tony in 1972, brothers Scott in 2002 and Danny in 2006, cousins Jeremy in 2000 and Sasha in 2002, as well as other relatives on his father’s side.