All posts by Sue Hill

Ecker and Mustafa Help You Make the Most of the Latest AISC Manual

Steel Construction Manual book cover and interior

Civil engineering Master’s student Nathan Ecker has co-authored an article “Making the Most of the Manual” in the January 2018 issue of Modern Steel Construction. The second author, Muaaz Mustafa, recently graduated from from Bradley University with an MS in civil engineering. Both were American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) interns this past summer.

The article refers to the 15th Edition of the AISC Steel Construction Manual.


A bevy of resources will help optimize your use of the latest AISC Manual, thus helping you optimize your steel-framed projects.

IN CASE YOU HAVEN’T HEARD, the 15th Edition of the AISC Steel Construction Manual is here! Accompanying its release are some useful, free resources that are at available at These include the new Version 15.0 Design Examples, Shapes Database and Historical Shapes Database, Basic Design Values Cards and Interactive Reference list. These resources will help you make the most of the new 15th Edition Manual as well as the new 2016 AISC Specification for Structural Steel Buildings (ANSI/ AISC 360, available at

Read more at Modern Steel Construction, by Nathan Ecker and Muaaz Mustafa.

Bulleit Comments on Roof Snow

William M. Bulleit
William M. Bulleit

Channel 3-UPMatters aired a story about what you need to know about snow on your roof, quoting Professor Bill Bulleit (CEE).

What to know about snow on your roof

William Bulleit is a structural engineering professor at Michigan Tech. He says, “The more complicated the roof the more difficult it is to decide what you should do with it.”

There are things you can look out for that may be a sign there’s too much snow on your roof.

Read more at Channel 3-UPMatters.

Sproule Named Airport Cooperative Research Program Ambassador

Bill Sproule
Bill Sproule

Bill Sproule (CEE) has been appointed by the Transportation Research Board (TRB) to be an Airport Cooperative Research Program (ACRP) Ambassador for a two-year term.

ACRP is an industry-driven, applied research program that develops practical solutions to problems faced by airport operators. It is managed by TRB and sponsored by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

ACRP Ambassadors are volunteers who serve as liaisons between the TRB and ACRP, the research community, and airports operators at conferences and industry events and will make presentations on the ACRP research process and products, and other airport topics, and promote opportunities for others to be involved in ACRP research panels and projects.

Impact of Toxic Chemicals on Indigenous Communities

A young brook trout at the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community tribal fish hatchery.
A young brook trout at the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community tribal fish hatchery.

Interlochen Public Radio and Michigan Public Radio aired a story about toxic chemicals in fish in the Great Lakes, particularly their impact on indigenous peoples, quoting Noel Urban (CEE) and Jerry Jondreau (SFRES).

When fish advisories threaten a traditional way of life

If you eat wild caught fish from Michigan, you might know about fish consumption advisories. They’re recommended limits on safe amounts of fish to eat, and they’re necessary because toxic chemicals build up in fish in the Great Lakes and inland lakes and streams.

A toxic burden

Around this same time, an invisible problem emerged: toxic contamination of fish by chemicals like methylmercury and poly-chlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).

Noel Urban is a professor at Michigan Technological University who studies pollutants cycling through the environment. He tells me the chemicals that build up in fish are still being emitted around the world.

“So mercury’s primary sources are coal-fired power plants, mining, metal processing. PCBs are emitted from landfills, from wastewater treatment plants, from transformers that are still in use that have PCBs, agricultural chemicals are also in this so there’s a wide variety of sources,” he explains.

Read more and listen to the audio interview at Interlochen Public Radio and Michigan Public Radio, by Kaye LaFond.

U.P. tribe wants to know: “When can we eat the fish?” Researchers try to answer.

“When can we eat the fish?”

That’s what the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula wants to know.

“Culturally-relevant” fish advisories

In 2008, Valoree Gagnon was still an undergraduate student at Michigan Technological University. She learned that toxic chemicals like mercury and PCBs build up in fish in the region. And she learned that not everyone limits their fish intake, especially tribal communities.

“They were consuming fish at rates that were above human health criteria, and that was a really big concern for me,” she says.

Read more and listen to the audio interview at Michigan Public Radio, by Kaye LaFond.

Great Lakes Stewardship Funding from the EPA

Great Lakes NASA Visible Earth

Great Lakes by NASA Visible Earth; Credit: Provided by the SeaWiFS Project, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, and ORBIMAGE

Joan Schumaker-Chadde (CEE/GLRC) is the principal investigator on a project that has received a $91,000 grant from the US Environmental Protection Agency.

Amy Schrank (SFRES/GLRC) is the Co-PI on the project, “Creating Great Lakes Stewards to Promote Clean Water and Healthy Urban Watershed in Detroit.”

This is a two-year project.

By Sponsored Programs.

Students Collaborate with UPPCO for Senior Design

UPPCO and CEE Students

BARAGA COUNTY, Mich. (WLUC) – A group of students are getting real-world experience as part of their senior design project through a collaborative effort between Upper Peninsula Power Company (UPPCO) and Michigan Technological University.

For their project, students are investigating the possibility of adding a new generator at UPPCO’s Prickett hydroelectric generation facility to take advantage of bypass flows that are required under the company’s existing operating license.

Read more at the TV6 FOX UP.

Houghton MS Wins Lexus Eco Challenge

Backyard Backlash
Team HMS Backyard Backlash

Houghton Middle School has done it again for the third time. Their team of eight students has won the 2017 Lexus Eco Challenge. Their project titled “Backyard Backlash” investigates how to prevent nitrate-laden water from reaching Lake Superior, largest of the Great Lakes by surface area.

Much of the surface and groundwater contamination comes from nitrate-rich fertilizers and topsoils (due to lawn and garden care, roadside grass seeding projects, and agricultural practices) and will eventually reach Lake Superior.

In the Lexus Eco Challenge, student teams tackle environmental issues related to land, water, air, and climate, and create practical solutions while competing for amazing prizes. The Lexus Eco Challenge gets students involved in project-based learning, teamwork, and skill building as they identify an environmental issue that affects their community, use their critical-thinking and research skills to come up with a solution, and report on the results by way of an Action Plan. Teams of 5-10 students are led by one or two Teacher Advisors—who are full-time teachers employed at the school.

Houghton Middle School won in 2014 with their invasive species education project, and again in 2015 with their project to identify a grass species that could grow on copper-laden stamp sands.

Teacher Advisor Sarah Geborkoff has participated in the Lake Superior Stewardship Initiative (LSSI) since 2014. She receives biannual grants to support projects that incorporate environmental monitoring and stewardship in the Huron River watershed. “LSSI has been critical to helping me prepare my students to compete in the Lexus Eco Challenge.”

Joan Chadde, Geborkoff’s mentor for the LSSI project, is equally elated at HMS’ success. “Sarah Geborkoff is a phenomenal teacher who continually goes above and beyond for her students. They start these projects during the summer. These are truly student-led projects. Sarah is an excellent teacher and student mentor.”

Learn more about their project here.

Student, Professor Chosen to Lead Silicon Valley Meetup

University Innovation FellowsMagann Dykema, (CEE) a fourth-year civil engineering student and a University Innovation Fellow, has been chosen by the University Innovation Fellows program as one of 23 student leaders for the program’s Silicon Valley Meetup Nov. 16-20, 2017. This is the third time that Dykema has served in this role.

The student leaders were hand-selected out of an international community of more than 1,200 Fellows for the impact they have had at their schools and for their contributions to the movement.

University Innovation Fellows has also asked Mary Raber (PHC) to serve as one of two mentors to the 30 faculty members who will also attend the event. This is the second time Raber has served in this role.

At the Silicon Valley Meetup, Dykema and Raber will represent their schools in front of 300 student and faculty attendees from 82 universities and colleges around the world. They will share their UIF work, modeling for the new Fellows and faculty the kind of impact they can have at their own schools.

University Innovation Fellows (UIF) is a global program run by Stanford University’s Hasso Plattner Institute of Design. UIF empowers student leaders to increase campus engagement with innovation, entrepreneurship, creativity and design thinking.

By Jenn Donovan.