Mind Trekkers, Moving to Texas?

San Jacinto College hosted over 4,500 middle school students, teachers and community members at the fourth annual “Adventures in STEM” festival in Pasadena, Texas on March 8-9, 2018. But this is a Michigan Tech blog, so why are we covering news from a college campus 1500 miles south of Houghton?

MT1Since 2015, Michigan Tech has partnered closely with San Jacinto College and local industry to provide thousands of Houston-area youth with opportunities to experience and engage in dynamic STEM activities through hands-on immersion. The collaboration was kindled by a long-standing established partner of both institutions: The Dow Chemical Company. Dow, who has been a supporter of Michigan Tech’s Mind Trekkers since 2013, suggested the success of the Dow Great Lakes Bay STEM Festival held at Delta College would be a good fit in the Houston area. Rob Vallentine, then Global Director of STEM Education and Director of North America Sites Public Affairs, connected Mind Trekkers with Dow’s Houston operations, who identified San Jacinto College as an optimal host for the collaboration.


Four years later, this partnership has reached over 25,000 Houston-area youth, with the annual festival offered in the early weeks of March on San Jacinto College’s Central Campus. In both 2015 and 2016, Mind Trekkers brought down more than 50 Michigan Tech undergraduate student volunteers on Spring Break to anchor the event with activities and demonstrations, as well as provide the spark and energy required to put on a STEM festival. In 2017, Mind Trekkers sent a crew of 15 students and staff with a new mission: begin building a blueprint for San Jacinto College to sustain the event long into the future while Michigan Tech cultivates new partnerships across the country. Prior to the festival, volunteers spent a week constructing over 50 activities that would remain in Houston, and dialogue began on what a spinoff of the Michigan Tech Mind Trekkers model might look like at San Jacinto College. Which brings us to 2018, wherein San Jacinto College produced the event on their own, with only three Michigan Tech students and staff attending to offer support and assistance. The San Jacinto College Mind Trekkers launch was a successful event which we hope we can continue to replicate in other communities.


The evolution of the event and partnership has been a pillar of pride for both San Jacinto College and Michigan Tech, and none of it would have been possible without the industry engagement and support provided by the likes of Dow, Chevron Phillips, LyondellBasell, Ineos, Lubrizol, East Harris County Manufacturers Association, and many others that are invested in the Houston-area community.

Read San Jacinto’s Story…

Automotive Talent Acquisition Management (ATAM18)

Michigan Technological University was happy to be invited to participate in the Automotive Talent Acquisition Management (ATAM18) held in Detroit, MI from February 26-28, 2018.


Many thought leaders from traditional automotive companies as well as mobility and new transportation methods were in attendance.  As the industry evolves, the traditional “norms” from talent acquisition and recruitment are being challenged by startups, joint ventures, and skill requirements that didn’t even exist before!  

ATAM18 Presentation 2Because Michigan Tech graduates work in a broad variety of industries that include automotive, we enjoyed being afforded the opportunity to share our efforts related to STEM-outreach.  Our presentation specifically highlighted our Mind Trekkers and Summer Youth Programs and CareerFEST.  Each of these programs is designed to provide real-world examples to the students of today to become the mobility employees of tomorrow.


The American Center for Mobility Career Explorations

IMG_6492Michigan Technological University would like to thank The American Center for Mobility, acmwillowrun.org, for hosting its Career Explorations event last week.  Eight top students from Michigan Tech’s Mechanical Engineering, Data Science, Electrical Engineering, and Computer Science programs traveled over ten hours from Houghton, MI to learn more about career opportunities in autonomous vehicles.  Their passion to use their education and skills to make our roads safer and increase mobility for those in need is inspiring.  Also thanks to PlanetM for bringing the world’s best resources together to solve mobility’s toughest challenges.   Keep an eye on these next top leaders of science and industry.

From left to right: Jacob Robinson, Andrew Wells, Chirag Dave, Mohammad Faiz Pervez, Mohd Yaqzan, Sharvil Patankar, Dilip Ati, Smruti Prasad Dash
From left to right: Jacob Robinson, Andrew Wells, Chirag Dave, Mohammad Faiz Pervez, Mohd Yaqzan, Sharvil Patankar, Dilip Ati, Smruti Prasad Dash


General Motors – A Partnership “Made For More”

General MotorsMichigan Technological University and General Motors share a long-standing partnership dating back to at least 1940, supporting a wide range of activities across campus including scholarships, Senior Design and Enterprise programs, student organizations, sponsored research, recruiting support, youth programs, diversity initiatives and more.  


gm-classroom-1024featureAs the challenges of mobility and autonomy have continued to reshape the automotive industry, General Motors continues to invest in Michigan Tech students.  For the 2017-2018 Academic year, General Motors has provided support for many different programs on campus.  One of their newest areas of support is the Enterprise Manufacturing Initiative.  GM operates hundreds of manufacturing facilities around the globe producing millions of vehicles a year, each with increasing levels of complexity.  Many graduating engineers find their first employment opportunity within one of these modern marvels of production.  Michigan Tech’s hands-on approach to problem-solving and interdisciplinary model through the Enterprise Program, led to great fit in providing the world’s next best engineers with the world’s best in class manufacturing education.

General Motors also recognizes that in order for Michigan Tech to attract the best and brightest students from around the state and country, they need to invest in K-12 STEM education.  GM’s 2017 funding included support for Michigan Tech’s premier outreach endeavor, Summer Youth Programs, by providing week-long scholarships for youth interested in robotics.  They also supported Mind Trekkers, a traveling science and engineering festival, which has impacted more the one million youth since its inception only seven years ago.  

Additional support includes:

Thank you, General Motors for your unwavering partnership and support.

New Listing Showcasing Mobility Resources

FrontMobility is the movement of people, goods and information. In terms of autonomous vehicles, mobility includes everything from the roads to the dashboard to the engine to the LIDAR sensors. The research is inherently interdisciplinary.


Back3Unstructured environments are the gray zones of mobility. It’s where chaos enters the picture.  Michigan Tech is in a remote, snowy region in the Upper Peninsula—our community regularly has to make sense of chaos and a lack of structure, and to some extent, that carries over into our research.


To help make it easier to find the technical help your business needs for research and development, links to the various resources have been assembled on www.mtu.edu/mobility

Internship and Research Funding at Small Michigan Companies has Lasting Economic Impact

Representatives from 15 public universities in Michigan gathered at Michigan State University for a bi-annual meeting to coordinate the Michigan Corporate Relations Network (MCRN).

MCRN, who’s $1.4 million grant through the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) was just renewed, provides access to talent and research for companies in the state of Michigan through Michigan public universities.

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Autoliv – Helping Students Succeed

For the past 5 years, Autoliv has contributed to the Autoliv_logo_72dpiMichigan Technological University Scholarship Fund.

Autoliv is the worldwide leader in automotive safety systems and each year, the company’s products save over 30,000 lives and prevent ten times as many injuries.  Autoliv’s airbags, seatbelts, steering wheels, radar, safety electronics, brake control systems, and camera vision systems can be found on many of the vehicles on the road today.

Autoliv has had an active relationship with Michigan Tech for well over two decades.  Starting in 2013, Autoliv decided to help students studying Mechanical Engineering and Electrical Engineering with funding for scholarships.  Students who demonstrate a financial need and maintain a 3.0 GPA are eligible for this award.

During the past five years, this generous financial assistance has rewarded 14 different students for their dedication to their studies and helped them obtain their degrees.

“Placemaking” – One Community’s Approach

Opening Night Reception held at the Appleton Platinum Flight Center
Opening Night Reception held at the Appleton Platinum Flight Center

In today’s economy, the war for talent requires you to compete against other hiring organizations.  Millennials are also interested in learning about the community itself.  It is extremely difficult for a single company to emphasize culture, volunteerism, work-life balance, and the host of other things that help define a place.  

The Appleton, Wisconsin area’s approach was organized by the Fox Cities Regional Partnership.  2017 marks the the fourth year for the Talent Upload placemaking event which brings college students from a variety of universities into the city.  

A focus on volunteer organizations held at a repurposed church
A focus on volunteer organizations held at a repurposed church

The event is organized by the Fox Cities Regional Partnership and is described as: “an immersive three-day event to for students and employers to build relationships in the Fox Cities.”  During the event, the students were provided plenty of networking opportunities with potential employers, tours of facilities, participated in a scavenger hunt, and had time to explore on their own.

The students who attend the event are surveyed about their perceptions of the region and seeking employment there before and after the event.  The results show a significant positive shift in the attitudes of the attendees.  

Dow Chemical Partners with Michigan Tech Mind Trekkers and Delta College to Present the “2017 Dow Great Lakes Bay STEM Festival”

Mind Trekkers Delta 13… 2… 1… BOOM! Students jump and scream with excitement as they watch a liquid nitrogen explosion send gallons of water and ping pong balls soaring through the air.

In early October, the Michigan Tech Mind Trekkers partnered with Dow Chemical to host the fifth annual “Great Lakes Bay STEM Festival”, an event co-hosted with Delta College in Bay County, Michigan. The two-day event included over 150 exciting and engaging STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) demonstrations for 3,600 Midland area middle schoolers and an estimated additional 3,500 community members. It was made possible by support from partners including Dow, Hemlock Semiconductor, MDOT, Nexteer, local outreach organizations, and numerous Delta College departments.

“The most inspiring thing tome was that all of these people take time out of there day to show us what they do for a living.”

Freeland Elementary School student

Mind Trekkers Delta 2

Our country has a big problem. Industry across the state and nation depends on young people with high-tech skills to grow our economy by solving challenging technical problems globally. Yet, there is a shortage of students pursuing education and careers in STEM fields. You can help solve this and have a measurable impact on student’s interest and engagement with STEM**:

  • 100% of teachers felt the format of this event promoted learning and student engagement
  • 100% of teachers at this event were offered activities and resources that their classroom normally wouldn’t be able to be provided
  • 74% of students are more interested in attending college
  • 63% of students are more interested in science
  • 54% of students are more interested in technology
  • 47% of students are more interested in engineering
  • 66% of students think about what scientists and engineers do in a different way

**Data included represents attendee survey from 2017 Dow Great Lakes Bay STEM Festival.


Mind Trekkers Delta 3

“I didn’t realize all the different things you could make and create as an engineer or scientist.”

Hemlock Middle School student

In order to spark a passion for STEM and to bring events into communities like Midland, we rely on partners like you to host and participate in STEM festivals. Learn how your company can be a Mind Trekker partner and associated benefits here.


Turn of the Century Meets State of the Art


Michigan Technological University’s APS LABS provides a variety of talent, equipment, and expertise to many different customers.  For the first ever annual meeting of the Advanced Light Duty Engine Consortium, APS LABS wanted the experience to go beyond in-depth technical discussions and include informal meetings with student researchers and a touch of local culture.

Michigan Tech - APS LABS - 100517 165651At the turn of the century, “state of the art” technology in Upper Michigan was centered on the mining industry.  The Quincy Mine boasts the world’s largest steam-powered hoist.  It is enclosed in one of the first large reinforced concrete buildings ever built.  This technology was designed to expand the copper mine a distance of almost two miles into the earth.  Fast forward 100 years and the APS LABS Advanced LD Engine Consortium has been formed for the advancement of engine technologies, reducing emissions, improving fuel consumption, and ultimately bettering mobility as a whole. 

Michigan Tech - APS LABS - 100517 185035

The group in attendance at the opening reception of the annual meeting consisted of sixty-five people.  The mix included APS LABS researchers, students, university administrators, corporate consortium members, and other university staff.  After the tour of the steam hoist, our corporate visitors were able to peruse technical posters and talk to every researcher in a unique and relaxed setting.  

Michigan Tech - APS LABS - 100517 184953

Posters included information about current and future engine advancements set against a backdrop of equipment that was the best technology had to offer 100 years ago.  

Wherever future engines takes us, Michigan Tech is committed to being on the leading edge of research and technology.