Pavlis Honors College Inspires New Entrepreneurial Venture – Airmax Aerial

Michigan Tech’s Pavlis Honors College (PHC) supports highly motivated Michigan Tech students from all programs to achieve the highest standards of academic excellence.

“We encourage the unexpected by challenging the norm. We push you outside of your comfort zone. We urge you not to be a passive player on campus; instead embrace the values of the institution and the reasons you came here. Take charge of your education to create your future.”

These words helped inspire current student, Aaron Kostrzewa, a sophomore majoring in Civil Engineering to enroll in the PHC. The PHC serves highly motivated students to enhance their college experience and take full advantage of the amazing opportunities that Michigan Tech has to offer by customizing their education to suit interests in industry, innovation, research, domestic service and other global engagements.

Airmax Aerial
Michigan Tech students, Aaron Kostrzewa and Max Casler

Aaron and fellow student, Max Casler, a sophomore majoring in Mechanical Engineering, were excited to see the resources available for entrepreneurs in the PHC and that entrepreneurship is encouraged on campus. Both Aaron and Max developed a passion for the emerging technology of unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) during their first year at Michigan Tech. Together they acquired equipment and developed skills to use the drones to photograph the amazing beauty of the Keweenaw Peninsula and their hometown of Traverse City, MI. This led Aaron and Max to start an aerial photography and cinematography company that utilizes unmanned aerial systems to capture the world from a new perspective. AirMax Aerial, LLC, the vision of Aaron and Max, now use top of the line drones to create captivating photos and videos for their clients.

Engineering minds aren’t just good for designing systems and solving problems. Max uses his engineering skills to design a business and learn how to grow an idea into a company. Aaron has previous experience in business ownership from a lawn business he started in his hometown. He combines his existing client interaction skills with the technical skills learned at Michigan Tech to create a business that can compete in 21st century markets.

Aaron and Max are also staying current on all air traffic laws. Because small, unmanned commercially available aerial vehicle use is somewhat controversial, AirMax Aerial is taking all recommended precautions for safe and legal flight. Some of these include filing information with the appropriate governmental agencies, contacting local authorities before flying, clearing flights near airports with air traffic controllers, and educating people interested in these systems.

Aaron and Max realize that the commercial drone market is expected to be saturated in the coming years. Therefore, AirMax Aerial is making ample preparations to stay ahead of the game. Specialization is the key. Through business connections, they have established contacts in the golf and boating industries. However, signing a client is only half the work. Exceptional video editing, customer relations, marketing, and branding are all essentially to future business. AirMax Aerial seeks to be highly professional and to build a high caliber company to compete and excel in the marketplace.

As a member of the PHC, Aaron is able to improve the business through the vast resources available through the PHC and at Michigan Tech. He has a mentor for business advice and support, while classes through the PHC challenge him and allow him to grow as a leader. AirMax Aerial is benefiting from training, mentoring, business counseling, and access to a rich network of resources through the Innovation Center for Entrepreneurship which is housed within the PHC and was recently established to leverage experience in technology commercialization and startup business development on-campus with related off-campus connections to serve students who have a passion for transforming ideas into commercial opportunities and ultimately into capital.

Silicon Valley Experience

It’s become an annual event. Nearly two-dozen Michigan Tech students spend a week in California’s Bay Area learning about companies, culture, and all things California. Selected from a competitive pool of almost one-hundred applicants, these twenty engineering and business students have a self-identified desire to learn more about what it means to be an entrepreneur, and what better place to see what it’s all about than in Silicon Valley. Supported by gifts from alums Rick Berquist and Tom Porter, and organized and supported by the School of Business and Economics, and the Center for Entrepreneurism in the Pavlis Honors College – these students spent the week at Meraki / Cisco, Autodesk, Porter Vineyard, Netflix, Apple, Ford, Brocade, and Clari as well as recent Michigan Tech alumni startup companies Skymind and Handshake. Facebook not only provided an afternoon of tours and discussion, but also hosted  a student, corporate and alumni event on-site to wrap up the week. But don’t take our word for how successful and impactful the week was – read what our students had to say.

Porter Vineyard - Michigan Tech SiV Experience 2016 164946The anticipation for this trip made it difficult to focus in the weeks prior to leaving. I was so excited, mostly because of the things I had heard from students who had previously gone on the trip. Everyone I have talked to that has been a part of this trip in previous years has had nothing but positive comments and it seriously seemed like their mindset moving into careers had changed as a result of the trip. The time finally came.

Cisco Meraki

Meraki definitely set the bar high for several days. We were shown around the workspaces and then had a Q&A with two engineers and an HR representative, which was fantastic. Meraki definitely came off as a 21st century, Silicon Valley company. What was even more unique was that the MTU graduate who spoke with us was a previous Team Leader for the Oculus-ASR Nanosatellite project that I am now the Project Manager for at Michigan Tech. Talk about networking!

Autodesk

 Day 1 showed the variety of startups competing in the same space. From all ends of the spectrum, we viewed well-known leaders optimizing business models in a wide market to growing business accelerating growth over traditional models by leveraging open-source collaboration. Autodesk, an established leader in innovative engineering and design software showed the structure of Shanghai Tower, biomechanics of Nike shoes, and special effects and skin overlays of James Cameron’s Avatar were each accomplished using from the tools AutoDesk offers. As an added bonus, 3D printed projects, a driving simulation, and even interactive science fair project entertained us as we browsed the ever-changing gallery.

Skymind

 Rising in the space of deep learning intelligence is Michigan Tech alum Adam Gibson of SkyMind, navigating the chaos collaborating in an open-source software project for sales in analytics while managing a team worldwide. Inspired by the Terminator’s Skynet, his presence began on Youtube in Houghton, Michigan, testing different projects until they were both profitable and scalable. Now as a collaborator in university research, the intrigue of Fortune 500 companies, and joining in at the Skymind - Adam Gibson - Michigan Tech SiV Experience 2016 195214top-tier incubator Y Combinator, Adam has been doing much more than expected in building the presence of Skymind.

Skymind was something else completely. Adam Gibson left Michigan Tech, moved to Silicon Valley with a couple thousand dollars and a one-way plane ticket, and is now one of the world leaders in his field. His very small startup is based inside of Galvanize, a host for startups and big companies alike who need workspace and a collaborative, innovative environment. Adam took us up to the roof of his building and showed us an incredible view of San Francisco, while telling us that he will do everything in his power to get us all to move out to the Bay Area – an unbelievable gesture.

Handshake

Our second day was spent visiting Garrett Lord at the growing company Handshake – originally started in Houghton. From their recent move in just a week before, the team was hard at work while Garrett and select members of his staff revealed the secret to the success of the business model. Now working with universities like Princeton, Villanova, Michigan, and Stanford the company is rapidly scaling and expanding into new spaces. Understanding the struggle of a multinational and all-inclusive company vision, the team has key metrics in place and features unveiling in the near future to improve the software.

Handshake, a company founded by a few MTU graduates who quickly realized their company had potential and moved to the Bay Area. The office sits atop Bank of America and has an unreal view of San Francisco, something I think every new college graduate dreams of. The employees are all relatively young and the environment is very Silicon Valley – everyone there was willing to do whatever it took to see the company succeed.

Porter Family Vineyards

Tim Porter worked as an engineer for several years before finally moving to take over the vineyard that his father started and made so successful. He led us through the cellar tunnel carved through his very vineyard, where all of the fruit processing,fermenting, and storage is done. The incredible part was that they also had furnished tasting rooms inside the cellar. In the main dome tasting room, they had prepared wine and cheese/chocolate pairs for us all to try and then mingle with a pizza lunch to follow. They were extremely generous and it was a fantastic afternoon in Napa.Porter Vineyard - Tim Porter -Michigan Tech SiV Experience 2016 173435

Netflix

I wake up and my first thought is, ‘I am exhausted’. Day 1 and day 2 were amazing. I have a dozen new Linkedin contacts, and interest in companies I did not know existed 48 hours ago. Today can’t go any better. From the moment we walked in I could tell this place is serious about movies. Each of the rooms were named after movies or tv shows, not that shocking, but there was also extensive theming to match. We were in the Cowboy Bebop room right at the door there was a huge mural of the characters. Dianne, a Tech alumna was our host. She is the Director of Engineering Tools at Netflix. Her and three other engineers gave us a great understanding of how technology behind Netflix works. We got a pretty cool behind the scenes look into all that makes the streaming service work. We even got a little insight to the technical challenges in optimizing streaming quality for a wide variety of internet conditions and streaming platforms.

Netflix hosted us for breakfast and we discussed their jobs doing stream rate optimization, hardware integrations and expanding video streaming into different cultures and remote regions. The part I found most interesting was Netflix exceeded expectation in the viewing habits among different cultures. They found certain shows worldwide were strongly homogenous among viewers regardless of location and culture, something I’m sure anthropologists and sociologists alike would find fascinating. With the conversation never in a lull, the question and answer session scheduled for the intial part of our tour took the entirety of our time.

Apple

The next stop was 1 Infinity Loop. Michigan Tech grad Dan Lykowski was pretty cool. He works on the security stack for pretty much all Apple devices. He was humble, but it sounded like he has a pretty important position. According to Dan all of the positions at Apple come with a high level of responsibility. Even the interns are assigned specific task that play a direct role in ongoing development. There was very little we were allowed to see and even less Dan was allowed to tell us. Dan was able to get us passed the Apple security and inside the infinite loop. This is not small feat and was an absolutely glorious feeling! We got to stand on the same ground at as Steve Jobs. If I had a bucket list that would definitely be a check mark. I asked Dan to sign my Macbook Pro… He said no, but I had to try.

 Seeing Infinite Loop and the Apple campus in person left me a bit star struck. Although we were only allowed in the main lobby and into the courtyard inside Apple - Dan Fuhrmann and Russ Louks - Michigan Tech SiV Experience 2016 142426all of the main buildings, it was still an incredible experience. The MTU graduate who spoke with us told us all of the different projects he had been a part of and different release delays he was responsible for, which was pretty funny. We also walked right under Tim Cook’s office, which left several students a bit starry eyed.

Ford

Our last official stop of the day was the Ford, more specifically the Ford Research & Innovation Center. This Silicon Valley office is Ford’s stab at developing a young technology focused division within their cooperation. I did enjoy hearing the history and success the office has seen. Dave Kaminski was our host for the event, he is the Director of the Research & Innovation Center. He is another very successful tech alum. Ford chose Dave and his partner Dragos Maciuca to start this satellite office, whose focus is autonomous driving. We got a full tour of the faculty and even got a look at some of the development products. Spoiler alert, not all of them have four wheels.

Ford Research and Innovation Center was pretty incredible – although as a mechanical engineer I may have been a bit partial to them. It was very interesting to see all the different projects they were actively working on, including the autopilot or self-driving vehicles. We were led to their garage where they were bench marking the performance of the open source Tesla Model S for Ford’s vehicles, as well as to their driving simulator.

Brocade

From the moment we sat down in the executive dining room, the staff at Brocade made it very clear that their intention is to change the world. In each part of our visit, Brocadians demonstrated a passion for revolutionizing the world’s network and creating success for their customers. Our tour began with a light yet impressive breakfast with the company’s CMO, Christine Heckart. She explained the company’s vision of global innovation for IP technology and answered any questions we had about their place in the network industry. Next was an open panel with four Brocade employees; two software engineering leaders, a university relations specialist, and the director of corporate affairs. After their introductions and a discussion of Brocade’s unique path to success, we were encouraged to ask the panelists any questions we had about their work and the company in general. Following our Q & A, we took a short tour of the facility and then enjoyed snacks, games, and mingling in the company game room.

This is not a trip for the weak. I said I was exhausted yesterday, but today is exponentially worse. This is our busiest day yet. I will say Brocade was the biggest shock of the trip. I knew a bit about the company before the trip. They are a huge communications company with products that include routers and switches optimized for data centers, campus environments, channel storage network fabrics; and network management software that spans physical and virtual devices. It’s pretty technical stuff, but pretty much, they keep the internet working.Brocade - Michigan Tech SiV Experience 2016 141003 When we arrived they impressed me on so many levels. The office was defiantly more mature. We were greeted by their CMO Christine. She gave probably the best speech of the trip. She was extremely passionate and extremely knowledgeable about the industry. After talking with her we had a panel discussion with four employees, ranging from technology to recruiting. Again, they were all very knowledgeable about their positions. After the discussion we went on a tour of the campus which ended in the game room, I knew they had to be hiding it somewhere, it is Silicon Valley.

Brocade raised the bar originally set by Meraki, giving us a full breakfast in the Executive Conference Room and an introduction by Christine Heckart about her journey and role driving technology and innovation. We then had a panel discussion with the engineering director, senior manager of engineering, and university recruiter about their careers, everyday life at Brocade, and what Brocade is all about. Finally, they took us on a short tour of the facility and provided snacks for us in their game room – the bar had been officially raised.

Google

 Our visit with Google took us to the official Google Visitors’ Center, a museum dedicated to both the company’s achievements and the relaxed yet innovative working environment that they have become known for. The attraction is still a work in progress, however we were taken on a lovely tour by two MTU Alumni, and had a fun discussion with members of the Gmail and Google+ development staff. After posing for pictures in the Android garden and a quick trip to the Google shop, we went on our merry way.

Clari

Clari is an up-and-coming sales analytics company whose claim to fame is a powerful email analysis and sales forecasting tool whose intuitive dashboard interfaces seamlessly with the Salesforce CRM platform. What began as an informational meeting with company executives transformed into an inspirational story of one man’s hard work, perseverance, and the importance of mentorship in startup culture. Venkat Rangan, CTO of Clari worked through numerous startup companies, learning the secrets to success and forging connections with the foremost minds in the tech industry. He taught us that everybody has a valuable lesson to teach, that we must always adapt and learn from our experiences, and when in doubt, to trust our guts (even if it means jumping ship).

On our schedule was Brocade, the behind the scenes powerhouse; Google, the leading player in technology today; Clari, the rapidly expanding customer relationship management (CRM) software company; and Facebook, the most recent IPO looking to revolutionize the internet experience. Of these companies, I enjoyed Clari the most during the day as the CTO Venkat Rangan told us how he rose to the level of beginning a company in Silicon Valley. The free t-shirts, snacks and drinks the office provided were a bonus among the story and advice he was able to offer. Many people wouldn’t work for a startup because of the risk, but the culture and experience they offer are often overlooked in small, private companies like Clari.

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 Our final visit of the day was to the Facebook campus, and they had no shortage of excitement planned. After checking ourselves in through another of Silicon Valley’s famous security checkpoints, we were taken on a tour that was nothing short of incredible. The Facebook facility functions like a small city, with every building reflecting the idea of a perfect working environment. Restaurants and artwork lined the main walkway, while behind the scenes engineers and developers work tirelessly to optimize the services of the primary site as well as all of its acquisitions and side projects. After free ice cream, a few false Zuckerberg sightings, and a little fall of rain, we moved into a conference room to discuss the company’s data center operations and construction. Here we learned what Facebook is really all about, they are in business to connect and improve the world, and anybody with passion and talent has a place on their team, regardless if they’re a mechanical or electrical engineer, a business graduate, or even a microbiologist. To end the day, we all enjoyed food and drinks at our alumni mixer event, and had a golden opportunity to network with some of Michigan Tech’s elites and reflect on the entire week’s events alongside many of the people who made it possible.

All things considered, today was an incredible end to an unforgettable week.

Facebook - Michigan Tech SiV Experience 2016 195636And for the last stop on the trip, Facebook. The whole event was amazing. Like really really amazing. We went through the typical security frisk. We all had to show ID and pick up our guest passes to get in. Imagine a college campus, but everyone is a genius/closet nerd and everything is free. The Facebook campus is a fun place to be. Even as a tourist. There was little we could see as far as projects in development, but we got a great overview of projects from the data center team. Alex Johnson, Tech alum and director of stuff and things gave a great presentation about the data centers he helped design. These centers are pretty amazing. There was clearly a lot of thought on efficiency and innovation. The presentation from Alex shockingly involved no web development, not even a reference to computer science. Most people don’t realize the infrastructure required to run a website, especially one as large as Facebook. The data centers are critical to Facebook. They are what allow you to access you data anywhere. The takeaway, Facebook needs civil and power engineers as much as they need web developers. Keep this in mind when you are job searching. I left Facebook impressed. Somehow Facebook has mastered the concept of making things simple, thus inherently making them more efficient and more reliable. I love it.

Oh, and the alumni party. This was the grand finale. Everyone we met this week and the top alumni in the Bay Area all gathered in a meeting room at Facebook. Like the technical legend, behind the TCP protocol, the Pentium processors and the floppy disk, all in one room, all Tech alum. Keep in mind there were like 50 people in this room. Each of them with extremely impressive backgrounds. This experience made me even more proud to be a student at Tech and I am very confident that when I graduate I will accomplish great things.

Finally, the company so many of us were anticipating with great excitement, Facebook. We were greeted by Timur, a university recruiter, and taken into Hacker Square and through some of the buildings. It was raining, but most of us were so amazed at the expanse and beauty of the Facebook campus that we did not care. The campus has coffee shops, restaurants, ice cream parlors, a bike repair shop, a dentist, a bank, therapists, an arcade, and pretty much anything else you can imagine being on a college campus. The best part of it is that almost all of that is free for employees. Timur told us that he honestly felt like he was back in college when he stepped on campus for his first day on the job. He took us into the ice cream parlor so we could all have some free ice cream. We then wandered through some offices and into a conference room where two engineers met us for introductions and a presentation on Facebook Data Centers. Alex Johnson, whose wife showed us around Clari just an hour or two earlier, was one of the presenters. He and Paul, a Data Center Engineer for Facebook, described the need and the locations of some of their new data centers being built all over the world. We got contact information for those two, Timur, and another HR representative with invitations to email them without hesitation.

Last, but absolutely not least, was the Facebook alumni event hosted by Facebook that evening. We were in a small event room with food and drinks provided. I can honestly say that I will always remember that night as the night that made me decide I want to live and work in the Bay Area. I think I speak for all of the students on the trip when I say that we were star struck beyond belief speaking with Kanwal Rekhi, David House, and so many other successful MTU graduates. I even met a lady who worked on the stealth bomber for Northrop Grumman, which excited me particularly because of my interest in aerospace. I also met two current MTU graduate students who are interning at Tesla Motors, and they gave me all sorts of advice for applying and recommended I do so.

 Handshake - Michigan Tech SiV Experience 2016 133309

The Silicon Valley Experience trip was without a doubt the greatest trip and weeklong experience of my life. I met so many incredible and successful people, a lot of whom graduated from MTU, and made some very good friends along the way. I will forever be grateful for the MTU alum who donated to the school to help pay for this trip as well as to all of those who organized it. My mindset has changed greatly with respect to my career and where I want to be in a few years. This week has truly been one for the books.

 

Student writers:
Cole Gingras
Kyle Ludwig
Arick Davis
Alec Holm

Industry Invests in Women’s STEM Summer Programs

Across the United States there is a serious shortage of women enrolled in engineering and degree programs and ultimately entering the work place.  According to the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), only 18-20 percent of engineering students in the nation’s universities are women.  To further compound the problem, only 14 percent then go on to careers in engineering.

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Why are so few women going into STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields?  According to ASME several reasons have been suggested including lack of female engineering role models, misconceptions of what it is like to be an engineer, and having fewer technical problem-solving opportunities through K-12 compared to men. It’s also suggested that there is lack of encouragement from parents, teachers, and counselors.  “The real challenges for reaching out to young women is to get over the stereotype that engineering isn’t something girls do and then to help them build their confidence,” Betty Shanahan, executive director of the Society of Women Engineers, told the Washington Post.

The good news is that over the past decade, universities, K-12 schools, and industry have been working together to encourage more female students to explore science and engineering.  Michigan Tech has a long and successful history of providing unique hands-on programing for young women that addresses the critical need for talent in STEM fields here in Michigan and across the nation. Our Summer Youth Programs (SYP) (http://www.syp.mtu.edu/) provide an on-campus experience for pre-college students designed to ignite their passions in STEM.

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To encourage young women to pursue engineering education and careers, Michigan Tech’s industry partners have stepped up by investing in the university’s signature engineering and STEM summer youth programs geared for young women.

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Over the past two years, Ford Motor Company has provided $40,000 for Michigan Tech’s Women in Engineering (WIE) and Women in Computer Science (WICS) summer youth programs.  The WIE program, which began in 1973, is a week-long summer camp for high-achieving young women in grades 9-11. Led by faculty, staff, and graduate students from Michigan Tech and role model speakers from industry, participants spend the week exploring future careers in engineering. They learn about multiple engineering fields, complete group projects, and more.  In addition to Ford, many companies have supported WIE scholarships over the past 40 years with notable recent significant funding from the 3M Foundation, donating $150,000 over the past 6 years, sending girls from Minnesota for an experience of a lifetime.

“Ford Motor Company is pleased to support the WIE program at Michigan Tech,” said Cindy Hodges, who is chassis supplier technical assistant site manager at Ford. “We recognize how important it is to encourage young women to study engineering. As an alumna of the WIE program myself, I know how the program really helped me determine I wanted to be an engineer. It’s great to be a part of this wonderful program.”

In addition to WIE support, funding will be used to create a Junior Women in Engineering program in 2016.  Similar to WIE, it provides an opportunity for younger women (grades 6-8) to explore fields of engineering through hands-on projects and investigations. This program will serve as preparation for the WIE program.

Related to the engineering summer programs, Ford provided funding for the 2016 Women in Computer Science (WICS) youth program. WICS brings young women to campus for an exploration in computer science (CS) fields, a program on campus which was brought back to life thanks to a donation of $45,000 over the past three years by Lansing, MI based Jackson National Life.  The primary goal is to introduce the students to the many ways that CS profoundly impacts every industry from medicine to e-commerce, engineering to insurance, and much more. By giving high school girls an opportunity to explore computing projects alongside their peers, we build their confidence in their ability to succeed in a field in which women are often underrepresented. WICS students will take their new confidence and skills with them into post-secondary programs — eventually bringing them into STEM professions.

Women in Engineering 2015-310 compressFiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) is also committed to increasing the number of women entering engineering professions, especially in the automotive industry. FCA Foundation donated $30,000 to create a week-long summer youth program in 2016, designed to encourage young women to consider careers in automotive engineering.

Women in Automotive Engineering (WIAE) serves to specifically engage high-achieving young women to experience this field in a hands-on, discovery-based learning environment amongst their own peers, and compel them to consider the immense possibilities that can be found in the automotive industry.

“Although women purchase 60 percent of all vehicles and influence nearly 85 percent of all car-buying decisions, enrollment of women in baccalaureate engineering programs remains stubbornly low at around 18 percent,” said Stephen L. Williams, head of safety compliance and product analysis for FCA North America. “By Sponsoring the FCA Women in Automotive Engineering Summer Youth Program at Michigan Tech, we hope to encourage promising young women to consider engineering as a field of study and a career in the automotive industry.”

WIAE will be modeled after the successful WIE program.  However, WIAE will focus on disciplines and projects directly related to the automotive industry in areas of mechanical, electrical, and biomedical engineering as well as human machine interface.

By hosting programs exclusively for girls, Michigan Tech is trying to change the widespread perception that STEM fields are only for males. The programs also promote diversity by welcoming students from across the U.S. and around the world.

Michigan Tech would like to challenge industry partners and individuals who are passionate about advancing women in STEM fields to fully scholarship all 240 women program participants for 2016.  To learn more about how you and your company can make a lasting impact for the next generation of women leaders, please visit http://www.superiorideas.org/projects/precollege-scholarships or contact:

Cody Kangas,
Director of the Center for Pre-College Outreach
906-487-2219
ckangas@mtu.edu

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Ford Motor Company Donates Support for Women in Engineering Scholarships

Ford Motor Company Donates Support for Women in Engineering Scholarships

Last Modified 10:42 AM on Mon Mar 2, 2015

March 2, 2015—

By Monica Lester

From the left, Women in Engineering alumnae Monica Lester and Rachel Kloc,, Tech alumna and Ford representative Cynthia Hodges, President Glenn Mroz, WIE alumnae  Kara Barakowski and Maggie Stangis.

From the left, Women in Engineering alumnae Monica Lester and Rachel Kloc, Tech alumna and Ford representative Cynthia Hodges, President Glenn Mroz, WIE alumnae Kara Barakowski and Maggie Stangis.

Science, math and classes are normally the farthest things from a high school student’s mind during summer vacation. But every summer about 150 pre-college women trek up to Michigan Tech to participate in Women in Engineering (WIE), a scholarship program and an intensive, exciting week-long look into engineering careers. For some, it’s a life-changing experience.

This year, WIE and the young women attending will be able to do even more, thanks to a $10,000 donation from Ford Motor Company.

Tech alumna Cynthia Hodges, representing Ford Motor Company, presented Michigan Tech with the company’s check. Hodges earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree in mechanical engineering at Michigan Tech and participated in WIE herself in 1980. She is also on a committee at Ford Motor Company called Girls in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math), which encourages women into STEM fields, especially engineering. So when an opportunity came to support another program at Michigan Tech, Hodges knew which one she wanted.

“Ford Motor Company is pleased to support the WIE program at Michigan Tech,” said Hodges, who is chassis supplier technical assistance site manager at Ford. “We recognize how important it is to encourage young women to study engineering. As an alumna of the WIE program myself, I know how the program really helped me determine I wanted to be an engineer. It’s great to be a part of this wonderful program.”

Hodges presented Ford’s check in the John Edgar McAllister Welcome Center. Many people came to celebrate this donation. Brent Burns, director of industry relations at Michigan Tech, introduced the speakers. Cody Kangas, director of the Center for Pre-College Outreach, said, “Every summer we look forward to WIE.”

Then four WIE alumnae – Rachel Kloc, Monica Lester, Maggie Stangis and Kara Bakowski – stepped up to speak on the experience they had at the program and how it changed their lives.

President Glenn Mroz talked about the employment rate and how the number of people earning degrees is ever-changing process but those with degrees are needed. “These kinds of things do make a difference,” he said.

Finally, Hodges spoke, emphasizing the importance of WIE. “When people ask me what has changed my life, WIE did,” she said.

Kangas said, “Ultimately, the short-term effect of this donation is that 10 more women will be getting scholarships for this summer, but long term, these women have a bigger potential to become engineers and to come to Michigan Tech.”

WIE also has a Superior Ideas page, where Ford Motor Company’s contribution is shown along with others. Superior Ideas is a crowdfunding website at Michigan Tech that helps bring university research and public service projects to life. To contribute to WIE, go to http://www.superiorideas.org/projects/women-in-engineering.

 

Michigan Technological University (www.mtu.edu) is a leading public research university developing new technologies and preparing students to create the future for a prosperous and sustainable world. Michigan Tech offers more than 130 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in engineering; forest resources; computing; technology; business; economics; natural, physical and environmental sciences; arts; humanities; and social sciences.

Original URL: http://www.mtu.edu/news/stories/2015/march/ford-motor-company-donates-support-for-women-engineering-scholarships.html

Tech Students Explore Career Options at Medical Career Week

Tech Students Explore Career Options at Medical Careers Week

Michigan Tech students will get to explore a wide variety of careers in the medical and health fields during a four-day event called Medical Careers Week. Medical professionals from diverse fields will be on campus to discuss their professions and the educational pathways to success in those fields and to answer students’ questions.

Medical Career Week topics will be

  • Monday, Jan. 26—Medical Informatics
  • Tuesday, Jan. 27—Allied Health and Medical Laboratory Sciences
  • Wednesday, Jan. 28—Medical Careers
  • Thursday, Jan. 29—Medical Devices

Each day features a Lunch and Learn presentation from noon to 1 p.m., followed by small group discussions with visiting professionals from 6 to 8 p.m. These informal events will take place in the Memorial Union Ballroom. They are open to all students, and no registration is required.

Departments in the College of Sciences and Arts, the College of Engineering and the School of Technology pitched in to help organize the event. Guy Hembroff, director of the medical informatics graduate program in the School of Technology, helped organize Medical Informatics Day. High school students from area schools who are involved in robotics have been invited to participate.

Jason Carter, chair and professor of kinesiology and integrative physiology, and Karyn Fay, director of the medical laboratory science program in the Department of Biological Sciences, helped organize Allied Health/Medical Laboratory Sciences Day.

Stacy Cotey, director of pre-health programs, helped plan Medical Careers Day. Students from the health careers programs at local high schools have been invited to participate.

Sean Kirkpatrick, chair of biomedical engineering, helped put together Medical Device Day. A variety of medical device companies will be at Michigan Tech to discuss the future of the medical device industry.

Many of the speakers are Michigan Tech alumni, including William Karpus ’84 (BioSci), Brad Tomassucci ’84 (MedTech), Erin Thompson ’02 (ClinLabSci), Robert Richards ’77 (MedTech), Tracey Bershing, ’92 (Pre-PharmEd), Michelle Seguin ’07(BioSci), along with current medical students Eric Sturos and Stephanie Rutterbesch.

“Events like Medical Careers Week give students from all fields of study the opportunity to learn more about careers available in the medical field, said Shelley Farrey, coordinator of career development for Michigan Tech Career Services. “Not every student knows what avenue he or she wants to pursue in life when they enter college. Medical Careers Week gives them a chance to learn about the many opportunities available and the paths to get there.”

Michigan Tech Partnering with Local Businesses – GreenForces

Michigan Tech would like to announce its partnership with GreenForces – a consortium of aerospace, technology, and defense companies located in the Upper Peninsula.  The GreenForces consortium provides niche technology capability for developing product solutions in heavy vehicle, off-highway, aircraft, rotorcraft, and marine applications.  The consortium focuses on developing engineering and production solutions that are sustainable and environmentally conscious.  This includes material optimization for weight reduction and increased lifetime as well as performance optimization for mechanical systems, engines, electronics, and power utilization.  Michigan Tech provides material, metallurgy, electrical, and mechanical engineering expertise to compliment the capability and capacity of the other members of the consortium.

Greenforces graphic for blog

Each of the partnering businesses has the versatility and quick response that only small businesses can bring while leveraging the research and development capability of Michigan Tech.  With the combined resources of the companies, the consortium can provide support to any part of the product development process.

GS Engineering – Electrical, mechanical, and material engineering for vehicle and aircraft systems.  They provide innovative solutions for weight/size reduction, FEA and failure analysis, structural optimization, electronic equipment design, and vehicle testing.

Great Lakes Sound and Vibration (GLSV) – Noise, vibration, and harshness analysis, design, and testing services.  GLSV has extensive experience with exhaust systems, suspensions, and isolation systems and has a suite of capabilities for benchmarking, standard tests, and root cause analysis.

Creative Composites – Composite material development as well as component design and fabrication.  With design and development in armor and ballistic protection, Creative Composites brings effective and practical composite solutions.

IR Telemetrics – Advanced testing solutions for rotating equipment and hard to acquire data.  IR Telemetrics provides custom testing solutions for wireless acquisition of strain, pressure, torque, temperature, and fluid flow in harsh environments like those inside engine hot sections.

L’Anse Manufacturing – Precision machining and low volume high mix manufacturing for aluminum, steel, magnesium, titanium, plastics, and other materials.  L’Anse Manufacturing provides the high reliability and quality machining that is needed for aerospace, medical, and military applications.

Calumet Electronics - High Reliability bare printed circuit card fabrication since the dawn of the industry.  Calumet Electronics provides secure, safe, and sustainable PCBs for aerospace, military, and power transmission applications.

For more information on GreenForces, visit their website at www.greenforcesllc.com.  If you have interest in joining GreenForces or working with the members of the organization, please contact Executive Director Rob Cooke at 906-231-7769 or rob.cooke@greenforcesllc.com.

American Transmission Co. Sponsored Senior Design Receives Award

Senior Design projects provide an opportunity for students to apply their skills and knowledge to real life engineering challenges. It also provides companies with a taste of what Michigan Tech students have to offer in developing creative solutions that utilize skills and knowledge acquired throughout their degree pursuit.  Senior design is a win-win for students and industry partners alike.

This year’s American Transmission Company (ATC) Senior Design team was nothing short of fantastic. While they gained experience relevant to their Electrical Engineering course work, they also contributed towards solutions and innovations in the area of motor drives for ATC.  ATC acknowledged the student project in their June newsletter issue of PluggedIn.

Guided by their faculty advisor, Trever Hassell, along with a team of professional engineers from ATC, with their mentorship and support the students not only met all project goals and expectations set by ATC but also earned the Electrical and Computer Engineering department’s “External Advisory Committee Industry Innovation Award”. This award is given annually to the Senior Design team whose project and deliverable are considered most impactful to industry expectations while benefiting the sponsor.

http://blogs.mtu.edu/ece/category/senior-design/

For more information about the Senior Design program please contact Rick Berkey,  rjberkey@mtu.edu, (906)-487-4309.

Chrysler Helps Formula SAE Team Make it to Competition

On the road to competition in Detroit, MI, the Michigan Tech Formula SAE team ran into transmission issues just south of the Mackinac Bridge. Chrysler of Gaylord, MI came to the rescue in good time to help them make it to competition and back safely.

The team is very appreciative of all the assistance they received from Chrysler. “Chrysler has always been a tremendous asset to the Formula SAE team and Michigan Tech” said the teams Chief Engineer, Chais Eliason.  “We are keenly aware that we could not have been successful down at competition this year without the support of Chrysler”. The team earned 61st place overall out of 126 teams.

Students Pull Together to Pull Off BonzAI Brawl

by Dennis Walikainen, senior content specialist, Michigan Technological University

The recently completed Seventh Annual BonzAI Brawl attracted some 120 students, alumni, faculty and staff and was a resounding success, according to organizers and advisors.

“Northern Michigan students even competed remotely, due to weather, and that’s the first time we’ve done that,” said Mike Stefaniak of Husky Game Development (HGD) Enterprise. With Women in Computing Sciences (WiCS), they were the chief organizers. “We hope to do that again in the future.”

According to Stefaniak, in the BonzAI Brawl, teams create autonomous agents (via artificial intelligence, the AI in BonzAI) to overcome challenges and outperform their opponents. Students have no prior knowledge of the game design and mechanics before BonzAI. The morning of the event, students learn about the game and then have eight hours to develop their autonomous agents. In the evening, they watch their agents face off against each other as they compete for first place.

This year’s top three teams were:

1. Slaughterhouse: Kyle Falk (Computer Engineering) and Zachary Dunham (Computer Engineering)
2. Team Dinosaur: Michael Kent (Computer Science), Joseph Ryan (Computer Science) and Matthew Vaught (Computer Science)
3. The Headcrabs: Tim Bradt (Computer Engineering), David Pariseau (Electrical Engineering) and Evan Bajek (Electrical Engineering)

“The main core of students from WiCS and HGD Enterprise put hundreds of hours into creating the game and setting up the event,” said advisor Laura Brown, assistant professor in computer science.

“It is easy to underestimate the huge number of details that need to be taken care of for the event to go smoothly,” said Scott Kuhl, advisor and assistant professor of computer science. “All the planning really adds up and took a lot of effort from students to organize. The students helped with everything including writing the custom software we use for BonzAI, testing the software for bugs, finding sponsors, handling registration, creating artwork for the software and marketing materials, and ordering food and prizes.”

“Outside of this core group, we had volunteers from Michigan Tech’s chapter of ACM (Association Computing Machinery) and UPE, the computer science honor society, helped with many activities,” Brown added. “This year the Copper Country Programmers, a club of middle and high school students learning to program, also got to help beta-test and try out the game.”

“If others in the campus community (faculty, staff, alumni) are interested in participating in or sponsoring the event next year, please stay tuned to http://bonzai.cs.mtu.edu for announcements for BonzAI 2015,” said Brown.

The event was sponsored by Lasalletech, Jackson National Life Insurance Company and ControlTec.

Upcoming Design Expo Showcases Michigan Tech Enterprise and Senior Design Teams

In a recent Business Insider article it was announced that Michigan Tech has been designated the “11th university with the smartest students” in the United States. Among these smart individuals are those who will be presenting and competing in the 2014 Design Expo. This is an opportunity for over 600 undergraduates involved in Enterprise and Senior Design to compete for awards and present their projects to corporate representatives and the campus community. Often sponsored by industry, Senior Design and Enterprise help Michigan Tech students gain professional experience and a better understanding of real industry problems.

Stop by the 2014 Design Expo in the J. Robert Van Pelt and John and Ruanne Opie Library, 3rd floor on Thursday, April 17th from 8am-4pm.

Interested in judging at Design Expo? We need professionals to serve as distinguished Design Expo judges. If you are available to judge please use the online form below to register as a judge, or email Rick Berkey.

Register to be a Design Expo judge at https://michigantech.wufoo.com/forms/rsvp-form-for-guests-and-judges/

This year’s Design Expo is sponsored by ITC Holdings, Black & Veatch, American Transmission Company, Continental, and Cliffs Natural Resources.

To learn more about the 2014 Design Expo http://blogs.mtu.edu/expo/, Read the Business Insiders article http://www.businessinsider.com/public-colleges-with-smartest-students-2014-3 or for more Michigan Tech data by Niche, http://colleges.niche.com/michigan-technological-university/

Winning 2013 Senior Design Team

Team Members: Beau Baldwin, Matt Boersema, Nathan Rogers, Sarah Wells, and Elias Whitley, Electrical Engineering
Advisor: John Lukowski, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Sponsor: ITC Holding and Mitsubishi Electric

Winning 2013 Enterprise Team

Team Leaders: Evan Beckner, Operations and Systems Management; Katy Hickey, Biomedical Engineering
Advisor: Robert Warrington, Institute for Leadership and Innovation; Michael Neuman, Biomedical Engineering