Category Archives: News

Tech’s World Water Day Celebration to be Featured on Copper Country Today

World Water Day Banner

Joan Chadde (CEE/GLRC) and Katie Closner (SBE/GLRC) were interviewed by host Rick Allen for this Sunday’s Copper Country Today radio talk show. They discuss this year’s World Water Day celebration, “Nature-based Solutions for Water.” Michigan Tech will observe  World Water Day, March 27-29.

This segment will air Sunday (March 25) at the following times and FM Radio stations:

  • 7 a.m. 97.7 FM WOLF
  • 8 a.m.  99.3 FM  LIFT
  • 9 a.m.  102.3 FM K-BEAR

Full World Water Day Schedule for March 2729

LISTEN to Celebrate Diversity and the UP Interview

Dudley Edmonson
Dudley Edmonson is interviewed for Copper Country Today.

On this week’s Copper Country Today, Rick is joined by Joan Chadde, Horst Schmidt and author Dudley Edmondson about the Upper Peninsula’s Environmental Coalition’s Celebrate Diversity and the UP event.

Chadde and Schmidt are event planning committee members. Edmondson is presenting “Black and Brown Faces in America’s Wild Places.”

Even co-sponsors are Upper Peninsula Environmental Coalition (UPEC), Friends of the Land of Keweenaw (FOLK), Lake Superior Stewardship Initiative, Michigan Tech Visiting Women and Minorities Lecture Series, Michigan Tech Departments of Social Sciences and Civil and Environmental Engineering, School of Forest Resources and Environmental Sciences, Great Lakes Research Center and Outdoor Adventure Program.

LISTEN to the interview at the Keweenaw Report, Copper Country Today for March 18, 2018.

Events March 22-24, 2018

John Velat Presents on Federal Traffic Safety Regulations for Tribal Governments

John Velat
John Velat

John Velat, director of the Center for Rural and Tribal Resilience in the department of civil and environmental engineering, recently presented work at the Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC) 2018 annual convention in Kansas City, Missouri, a competitive, peer-reviewed conference.

Velat’s presentation, “When Cultures Collide: Considering Implications of Federal Traffic Safety Regulations for Tribal Governments,” explored how American Indian and Alaska Native governments can improve their participation in federal programs and impact the design of those programs by considering many data collection methods and offering local solutions to traffic safety problems.

Each year the CCCC Convention draws college faculty members from around the world. They gather to hear award-winning speakers, attend presentations by colleagues on the latest innovations in education and network to gain knowledge of best practices in the field.

Zhanping You on Asphalt and Nanotech

Zhanping You
Zhanping You

Zhanping You (CEE) was quoted in the story “Is Nanotech the New Pothole Killer?” on public radio station WHYY in Philadelphia.

Is nanotech the new pothole killer?

There are many culprits for the frequent potholes on U.S. roadways. Potholes can be the result of normal wear and tear, utility work, or volatile temperature swings that disrupt the chemical properties that keep pavement stuck together.

Asphalt is a critical component in road surfaces — but maybe not what most people think it is.

“Basically, the asphalt really looks like a glue, a glue that holds all the stones together,” says civil engineer Zhanping You, a professor and researcher at Michigan Tech University.

You and his team are studying ways to curtail the temperature volatility of asphalt by adding nano-particles.

Read more at WHYY, by Malcolm Burnley.

Carnegie Museum Seminar: Students Engaged in Lake Superior Science

Students on the dock engaged in Lake Superior ScienceSeveral Michigan Tech faculty will deliver presentations during the 2017-18 Carnegie Museum Natural History Seminar Series: Citizen Science. All are from 6:30 to 8 p.m. and take place at the Carnegie Museum in downtown Houghton. The next seminar will be:

Students Engaged in Lake Superior Science

By students and teachers participating in the Lake Superior Stewardship Initiative
March 20, 2018
6:30 p.m.
Carnegie Museum
105 Huron St, Houghton, MI

Teachers will describe how their students plan and conduct stewardship projects, how students benefit, and how the stewardship projects are integrated into the curriculum. The Lake Superior Stewardship Initiative has had a significant impact in our area, providing more than $250,000 in grants over the past years, and serving 16 Schools, 103 Teachers, 2189 Students, and more than 50 Community Partners.

Michigan Tech to Host State of Lake Superior Conference SOLS 2018

SOLS 2018Michigan Tech will host the International Association for Great Lakes Research (IAGLR) 2018 State of Lake Superior (SOLS) conference Oct. 9-12. IAGLR is an international and multi-disciplinary scientific organization made up of researchers studying the Laurentian Great Lakes, other large lakes of the world and their watersheds. The State of the Lake conference series rotates annually throughout the Great Lakes region to facilitate interactions between researchers and managers on diverse topics related to issues relevant for a specific lake.

A local planning committee comprised of researchers and resource managers from Michigan Tech and the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community Natural Resources Department (KBIC NRD) will work with IAGLR staff and volunteers to coordinate the event. A call for sessions will be issued early spring, followed by a call for abstracts. The conference will include associated workshops, meetings and field trips.

The local planning committee includes Michigan Tech professors Gord Paterson and Nancy Auer (Bio Sci); Hugh Gorman (SS); Pengfei Xue and Cory McDonald (CEE); with logistical support provided by Elizabeth Hoy (GLRC). Local planning committee members from KBIC NRD include Lori Ann Sherman, Shannon Desrochers and Timothy Dombrowski.

Save the dates, Oct. 9-12. More information will be posted on the conference website as event details are finalized.

By Great Lakes Research Center.

Houghton Middle School Eco-Challenge Looking for Help

HMS Backyard Backlash

HMS Backyard Backlash

2017 Lexus Eco Challenge

Houghton middle-school science teacher Sarah Geborkoff, a Michigan Tech alumna and recent inductee into the Michigan Tech Academy of Educators, is turning to the community to help her middle school Eco-Challenge team. The Houghton Middle School team, coached by Geborkoff, is currently collaborating with a student team from Veracruz, Mexico.

Alex Mayer (CEE) was instrumental in facilitating this collaboration. His research and connections with educators in Veracruz made it possible to exchange experiences and information regarding land and water quality with students from this community. The student groups will continue their correspondence in the coming months.

Topics discussed between the student groups include land and soil quality issues, what is being learned in the respective schools about these topics and what members of each community are doing to spread awareness and address these issues. The team will write an article that will be included in the Spring 2018 edition of the Michigan Science Teachers Association (MSTA) Journal.

The team has also continued with grass and soil experimentation, with a focus on comparing the performance of various nonnative perennial grasses used by the Michigan Dept. of Transportation (MDOT) in its roadside rehabilitation projects to that of (native) big bluestem.

The team will go to the Ishpeming MDOT office to present its results, and has also been asked to share the project in Lansing with the Natural Resources Commission.

If you want to help, take a moment to visit the team’s website. As part of their Final Challenge, the team needs to share their project and get as many hits on their website as possible.

By Joan Chadde.

Breanna Cornell to receive STEP Ahead award from National Manufacturing Institute

Breanna Cornell
Breanna Cornell, EnvE BS 2014
Process Engineer

Essity Bellemont’s Breanna Cornell to Receive Women in Manufacturing STEP Ahead Award from The Manufacturing Institute

Cornell to be recognized for contributions as an emerging leader in manufacturing

Bellemont, Arizona – March 7, 2018: The Manufacturing Institute announced that Breanna Cornell, Process Engineer at the Essity (formerly SCA) Bellemont, AZ paper converting site, is a recipient of the Women in Manufacturing STEP (Science, Technology, Engineering and Production) Ahead Emerging Leader Award. The STEP Ahead Awards honor women who have demonstrated excellence and leadership in their careers and represent all levels of the manufacturing industry, from the factory floor to the C suite.

Upon her graduation from Michigan Tech University (BS, Environmental Engineering), Breanna was accepted into Essity’s Graduate Onboarding (GO!) Engineer program, which is an 18-month-long rotational employment opportunity in which the GO! candidates are exposed to multiple parts of the business. Following her experience as a GO! Engineer, Essity hired Breanna as a process engineer on the Napkin Resource Support Team.

In her role as a Process Engineer, Breanna is responsible for working with operators, maintenance, and others to develop standards, centerlines, and processes to improve the efficiency and lower the waste on the napkin machines in her group. During her nearly three years in this role, Breanna has already made a positive impact. She has become instrumental in creating a training program for machine operators. Her communications skills serve her well as a liaison for the operators, as well as in her other responsibility of onboarding machine operators on her team, using the training program that she developed. Breanna also serves as a GO! program mentor, as she herself is an alumna of the program.

According to Breanna, “I am honored to not only have been nominated for, but to be a recipient of, the Emerging Leader Award from the Manufacturing Institute. Since my arrival at Essity, it was clear that there are numerous opportunities for women in manufacturing to succeed here, and I am grateful for the contributions I’ve been able to make in training and mentoring. I am excited to be a part of the award event in April, to be among other women leaders, and learn as much as I can to bring back and share with my colleagues at Essity.”

“Breanna is a terrific role model for other women in engineering and manufacturing, both within Essity and as a representative outside of the company,” said Essity Operations Manager Dan Edwards. “She is motivated and goal-oriented, and well deserving of this award.”

“Companies across the U.S. agree there is a talent shortage in manufacturing. Through the STEP Ahead Awards, we hope to take another step toward closing this gap by highlighting the stories of successful women in manufacturing and giving them a platform to encourage other women to join the industry and be role models for the next generation,” said Carolyn Lee, executive director of The Manufacturing Institute. “The women being honored demonstrate what modern manufacturing careers are all about: making an impact in their communities with meaningful careers that offer significant opportunities for growth.”

The STEP Ahead Awards are part of the larger STEP Ahead initiative, launched to examine and promote the role of women in the manufacturing industry through recognition, research, and leadership for attracting, advancing, and retaining strong female talent. In five years, STEP Ahead Award winners have impacted more than 300,000 individuals — from peers in the industry to school-aged children.

Women constitute one of manufacturing’s largest pools of untapped talent. Women totaled about 47 percent of the U.S. labor force in 2016, but only 29 percent of the manufacturing workforce. Not only does the STEP Ahead initiative bolster manufacturing’s attractiveness to women, it also plays an important role in improving the perception of careers in the industry among younger generations.

On April 10, The Manufacturing Institute will recognize 130 recipients of the STEP Ahead Awards at a reception in Washington, D.C. The STEP Ahead Awards program will highlight each honoree’s story, including their leadership and accomplishments in manufacturing.

# # #

About Essity

Essity is a leading global hygiene and health company dedicated to improving well-being through our products and solutions, essentials for everyday life. The name Essity stems from the words essentials and necessities. Our sustainable business model creates value for people and nature. Sales are conducted in approximately 150 countries under the leading global brands TENA and Tork, and other strong brands, such as Jobst, Leukoplast, Libero, Libresse, Lotus, Nosotras, Saba, Tempo, Vinda and Zewa. Essity has about 48,000 employees and net sales in 2017 amounted to approximately $12.8 billion. The headquarters is located in Stockholm, Sweden, and the company is listed on Nasdaq Stockholm. More information at

Essity has nearly 140 employees in the area at its converting plant in Bellemont. In addition to Arizona, Essity has U.S. operations in Alabama, Kentucky, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.


The Manufacturing Institute (the Institute) is the 501(c)(3) affiliate of the National Association of Manufacturers. As a non-partisan organization, the Institute is committed to delivering leading-edge information and services to the nation’s manufacturers. The Institute is the authority on the attraction, qualification and development of world-class manufacturing talent. For more information, please visit

Professor Emeritus George Alger Passes Away

George R. Alger
George R. Alger

A visitation is scheduled tomorrow (March 3, 2018) for Professor Emeritus George Alger, who passed away Tuesday (Feb. 27), at Garden View Assisted Living in Calumet. He was 84.

He was born in Saginaw and attended Midland High School, graduating in 1952. He served in the US Army during the Korean Conflict and was honorably discharged with the rank of First Lieutenant.

Alger earned a bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from what was then the Michigan School of Mining and Technology (now Michigan Technological University) in 1956. He received a master’s from South Dakota State and his PhD from Colorado State University.

Following four years as an associate professor at South Dakota State, he returned to Michigan Tech in 1968. Alger served as a tenured professor in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department until his retirement in 2002.

Over the course of his more than 30 years at Tech, Alger pursued research in water resources, hydrology, sedimentation, erosion, snow and ice engineering, structures, dam design and mining.

Thoughout his career, he served as a consultant on these matters to several Federal agencies including the Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory, Army Corps of Engineers, US Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Great Lakes Basin Commission.

Whatever the subject, Alger loved teaching. His son Russell, project manager and research leader at Michigan Tech’s Keweenaw Research Center, said his father’s direct and to-the-point teaching style earned him the nickname “Easy-A Alger,” from his students.

“It wasn’t that he was easy at all,” Russ Alger says. “He just laid it all out there. He told you exactly what you needed to do to get an A in his class. If you did what he told you, you got an A. If you didn’t do it, then you didn’t get an A.”

In addition to teaching and consulting, Alger served for years on the faculty committee. “When he felt strongly about something he didn’t back down,” his son says. “He had a reputation among some faculty as being a bit obstinate, but it was that he stood by his beliefs.”

Alger is survived by his wife of 63 years, Elsmarie, sons Russ and Peter, daughter Christine, 10 grandchildren, 15 great-grand children and two great-great-grandchildren.

A visitation will take place from 10 a.m. to noon tomorrow (March 3) at the Erickson Crowley Peterson Funeral Home in Calumet.

By Mark Wilcox.