Category Archives: Announcements

Two 2017 NSF CAREER Awards Within the College of Engineering

Lucia Gauchia
Lucia Gauchia

Biomimic Batteries
Lucia Gauchia

2017 NSF CAREER Award

When batteries drain, people say they’re dead. Recharging them is not the only way to bring them back to life. Lucia Gauchia studies what’s called a battery’s second life, when it is repurposed for a new use.

In engineering, we take the fish out of the pond and expect to be able to tell how it’s going to live in the pond; ecologists do not extract their subjects from their environment.

So, Gauchia turned to systems designs and population analyses that quantify individuals, groups and their interactions with their environment.

With her NSF CAREER award Gauchia will test a number of batteries in first and second life stages under a variety of conditions. She will then use Bayesian networks to inform ecology-based methods to discern patterns in the data; with those patterns she can do cross-level testing to see what holds true from batteries to packs to modules. The analyses should help better predict when a battery might fail in any of its life stages. “Batteries are interesting systems and they have peculiar behavior—and you just don’t believe that until you test them yourself,” she adds.

Gauchia is an assistant professor with a dual appointment in electrical engineering and mechanical engineering. Read the full story here.


Zhaohui Wang
Zhaohui Wang

Eco-friendly Marine Acoustics
Zhaohui Wang

2017 NSF CAREER Award

From monitoring whale populations to tactical surveillance, underwater acoustic communication networks are handy systems to have in place. But their greatest feature—being underwater—is also their greatest challenge. Zhaohui Wang has a plan for improving underwater acoustics networks to maximize information delivery.

The ambient soundscapes of the ocean floor or Lake Superior or even small inland lakes are full of background noise, which can interfere with an acoustic signal—or a signal can interfere with natural sound, such as whale whistles. In addition, underwater environments change seasonally, daily or even hourly, which can alter a signal’s strength by the time it reaches the receiver. With her NSF CAREER award, Wang will model, understand, and even predict underwater dynamics in real time.

One of my main goals is to develop a system that allows for harmonious co-existence with other acoustic systems—especially marine animals.

Wang is an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering. Read the full story here.


Service Recognition for Faculty and Staff

Tuesday (May 9, 2017), faculty and staff members, along with their guests, gathered at the Memorial Union Ballroom for an awards dinner recognizing 25, 30, 35 and 40 years of service to Michigan Tech. Within the College of Engineering, the following employees were recognized:

25 Years

  • John Beard, Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics
  • Allison Hein, Materials Science & Engineering
  • Alex Mayer, Civil & Environmental Engineering

30 Years

  • Robert Barron, Geological & Mining Engineering & Sciences
  • Stephen Hackney, Materials Science & Engineering

35 Years

  • William Bulleit, Civil & Environmental Engineering
  • Gopal Jayaraman (retired), Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics

This year’s Staff Service Recognition luncheon will be held on Wednesday, June 14. Congratulations to all the honorees.

Gopal Jayaraman
Gopal Jayaraman
William M. Bulleit
William M. Bulleit
Stephen A. Hackney
Stephen A. Hackney
Robert J. Barron
Robert J. Barron
Alex S. Mayer
Alex S. Mayer
Allison M. Hein
Allison M. Hein
John E. Beard
John E. Beard

Engineering Faculty Among Those Recognized by Fraternities and Sororities

On April 9, more than 320 students gathered for the 11th Annual Fraternity and Sorority Life Awards Ceremony held in the Memorial Union Ballroom.

In addition to the many student awards presented, Order of Omega, the Greek Life Honor Society that coordinates the awards, took the time to recognize some exceptional faculty and staff members.

There are more than 560 students in fraternities and sororities at Michigan Tech, and Order of Omega wanted to emphasize that these awards were coming directly from the students.

When writing a nomination for the Outstanding Faculty Award, students were asked to consider faculty who:

  • are dedicated to supporting students and helping them succeed academically
  • demonstrate a passion for teaching and/or research
  • utilize innovative teaching methods
  • promote academic integrity among students

When writing a nomination for the Outstanding Staff Award, students were asked to consider staff who:

  • are dedicated to supporting students and helping them succeed both inside and outside the classroom
  • demonstrate a passion for working with students
  • promote and inspire the Michigan Tech Values of Community, Scholarship, Possibilities, Accountability and Tenacity

The following faculty and staff members were nominated by members of the Greek community and were recognized at the 2017 Fraternity and Sorority Life Awards Ceremony:

Faculty:

Staff:

  • Laura Bulleit (Dean of Students Office)
  • Rochelle Spencer (Student Activities)

These nominations were written by individual students and were supported by an entire fraternity or sorority. In the end, the Outstanding Faculty Award was presented to Evelyn Johnson and the Outstanding Staff Award went to Laura Bulleit.

Advisor of the Year was also awarded to a staff member, Heather Simpson (Wahtera Center). Congratulations to all of these faculty and staff members who were nominated and thank you for inspiring and motivating students.

A special congratulations to Jessie Stapleton, director of student activities, for winning the first-ever Unsung Hero Award. She was recognized for all of her hard work and dedication to the students in the Greek community.

By Student Activities.

Scott A. Miers
Scott A. Miers
David Hand
David Hand
Noel R. Urban
Noel R. Urban

ME-EM Nonlinear and Autonomous Systems Lab Live Tour

NAS Lab Tour
Nina Mahmoudian and the NAS Lab Tour

To celebrate National Robotics Week, a team from University Marketing and Communications will host a live lab tour of the Nonlinear and Autonomous Systems Lab

Nina Mahmoudian (MEEM) and Donna Fard (MEEM) will talk about their research followed by students demonstrating robots they designed to better navigate an obstacle course in the lab. Join in from 11:15 a.m. to noon Wednesday (April 12, 2017) on Facebook Live and Twitter.

#mtulive

VIEW THE VIDEO TOUR ON FACEBOOK

VIEW THE VIDEO SCREENSHOTS


Michigan Tech Design Expo is Thursday, April 13, 2017

Design Expo

VIEW THE PHOTO ALBUM

What do a satellite tag anchoring system for humpback whales, a pandemic ventilator for third-world countries, a 793 mpg supermileage vehicle and an innovative, low-cost avalanche beacon have in common?

They’re all student projects on display at Michigan Tech’s 17th annual Design Expo from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Thursday (April 13, 2017) in the Memorial Union Ballroom. The event is free and open to the public.

At the Expo, you’ll have a chance to explore the breadth and depth of undergraduate project work with more than 1,000 students from Michigan Tech’s Enterprise and senior design programs participating.

Projects and posters will be on display throughout the day. A panel of judges comprised of corporate representatives and University faculty and staff will critique the projects. Many of the projects are sponsored by industry.

Design Expo event sponsors include ITC Holdings, Black & Veatch, American Transmission Co, Code Blue, Kimberly-Clark, Miller Electric, as well as Michigan Tech Career Services, the University’s Office of Innovation and Industry Engagement and the Innovation Center for Entrepreneurship.

Michigan Tech’s innovative Enterprise program is open to all majors and facilitates interdisciplinary learning, leadership development, and team-based project work. Diverse teams of first-year through graduate-level students develop products, processes, and services within their market space, with multiyear participation.

Senior Design challenges teams of highly dedicated senior-level students to explore and address real-world design challenges in their final year. The program connects students and industry sponsors through open-ended projects where teams follow the complete design process from ideation to realization.

For more information and a complete schedule of events, visit the Design Expo website.


Sniffing Volcanoes from Space: Simon Carn at the Michigan Tech Research Forum

Simon Carn
Simon Carn

VIEW THE PHOTO ALBUM

The Michigan Tech Research Forum was developed to showcase and celebrate the work of Michigan Tech researchers and to strengthen discussions in our community.

It is a privilege and honor to announce Associate Professor Simon Carn (GMES) was selected from nominees across campus as the 2017 Distinguished Lecturer.

Carn will give his lecture at 4 p.m. Thursday (April 6, 2017) in the MUB Ballroom. He will present “Volcanology — Multidisciplinary Science for a Versatile Campus.” The session will feature ample time for mingling over snacks and refreshments before and after the lecture. All are welcome. In addition, on-site, low-cost childcare at the MUB is available for those who need it during the Distinguished Lecture. Learn more online.

John Gierke, chair of the Department of Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences nominated Carn for the award.

According to Gierke, Carn, “was a leading scientist in the application of sensors on the satellites forming what is called the Afternoon Constellation or ‘A-Train’ to Earth observations and specifically to volcanology.

“Simon possesses a unique knack for compiling and presenting information on satellite sensors and volcanic processes in visually appealing ways and for making compelling arguments in support of scientific observations of volcanoes.”

Quoting from the NASA website that features the A-Train, “This coordinated group of satellites … are in a polar orbit, crossing the equator … within seconds to minutes of each other. This allows near-simultaneous observations of a wide variety of parameters to aid the scientific community in advancing our knowledge of Earth-system science and applying this knowledge for the benefit of society.“

Carn joined the faculty of the Department of Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences as an assistant professor in 2008. He came to Michigan Tech from the Joint Center for Earth Systems Technology of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. He holds a PhD in volcanology from the University of Cambridge, UK, a DEA in volcanology and magmatic processes from the Université Blaise Pascal in Clermont-Ferrant, France and a BA in geology from the University of Oxford, UK.

He has received multiple research grants totaling more than $2.8 million from NASA, the National Science Foundation, the National Geographic Society Committee for Research and Exploration, the Royal Society and the European Union.

He has taught, lectured and supervised students since 1994 at Michigan Tech and across the world at the International Volcanological Field School in Russia, Cambridge University, the Philippines Institute of Volcanology and Seismology and at international workshops in France, Italy, Iceland, Indonesia, Singapore and Costa Rica.

Carn has been a member of the International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth’s Interior and the American Geophysical Union since 1994. He recently served on a National Academy of Sciences Committee on Improving Understanding of Volcanic Eruptions.

His current research focus is the application of remote sensing data to studies of volcanic degassing, volcanic eruption clouds and anthropogenic pollution. His main focus: SO2, a precursor of sulfate aerosol, which plays an important role in the atmosphere through negative climate forcing and impacts on cloud microphysics.

7 questions with Volcanologist Simon Carn

 

Q: When was the moment you knew volcanology was for you?

A: The first active volcano I encountered was Arenal in Costa Rica during my travels after finishing high school. However, I think the point that I first seriously considered volcanology as a career was during my MS degree in Clermont-Ferrand, France. The first field trip of that course was to Italy to see the spectacular active volcanoes Etna, Stromboli and Vesuvius.

Q: What do you like most about volcanology?
A: Studying volcanoes is undeniably exciting and exotic, and we are lucky to visit some spectacular locations for fieldwork and conferences. New eruptions can occur at any time, so there’s always something new and exciting to study. We are also fortunate in that it is relatively easy to justify studying volcanoes (e.g., to funding agencies), given their potentially significant impacts on climate, the environment and society.

Q: What is the biggest challenge in this field?
A: Accurate prediction of volcanic eruptions is a significant challenge, and will remain so until we can increase the number of global volcanoes that are intensively monitored.

Q: What has changed the most in volcanology over the past decade (or two)?
A: The amount of geophysical data collected from the ground and space has increased exponentially, along with the computational capacity to process the data and construct numerical models of volcanic processes. This has significantly advanced our understanding of the potential impacts of volcanoes.

Q: How do your two specialties—volcanology and teaching—complement each other?
A: I think volcanoes are a very effective tool for recruiting and engaging students, e.g., by using some dramatic eruption footage to pique their interest in the underlying physical processes. There are many different aspects of volcanic activity, ranging from the geological origins of volcanoes to their impacts on the atmosphere, so effective teaching of volcanology requires some expertise in multiple fields of science. Gathering the relevant information is personally very rewarding and frequently opens up new avenues for research.

Q: You studied and worked in England, France and Europe. How did you come to Michigan Tech, and how does it work as a home base?
A: After finishing my PhD in the UK, I worked on the island of Montserrat (West Indies) for several months monitoring the active Soufriere Hills volcano. This got me interested in the use of remote sensing techniques for monitoring volcanic gas emissions. I then moved to the US for a postdoc at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, using satellite data to measure volcanic emissions, and whilst there I started collaborating with the Michigan Tech volcanology group. Michigan Tech has been highly regarded for its volcanology program, and in particular for remote sensing of volcanoes, for many years and so it was an ideal fit for me when I was looking for a faculty position.

Q: I noticed the photo your grandfather took of a smoking Mt. Vesuvius during WWII (at the very bottom on your website. Was he a volcanologist, as well? How did you come across that photo?
A: He wasn’t a volcanologist, though he was a high school science teacher and a conservationist. The photo of Vesuvius was always one of his favorites, from a time when photographs were quite rare, and he often showed it to me in my youth.


2017 SURF Awards to Eight Engineering Undergraduates

SURF StudentsThe Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) program will fund 20 students from across the University with funds from the office of the Vice President for Research. Previous SURF award recipients have included Goldwater Scholarship and NSF Graduate Research Fellowship recipients. Since 2002, SURF students have co-authored 71 peer-reviewed publications. This year’s recipients, project titles and advisors are listed on the SURF webpage.

Kaylie Butts, Rachel Schlicker and Quelyn Bekkering received Honorable Mention.

By Will Cantrell.

2017 Award Recipients in Engineering Programs

Student Name Student’s Major Advisor/Department Project Title
Jessica Benson Biomedical Engineering Jeremy Goldman / Biomedical Eng. Evaluating Biodegradeable Zinc Stent Materials
James Gooding Chemical Engineering Shiyue Fang / Chemistry Digital History of Historic Mineralogical Instruments at the A.E. Seaman Museum
Amanda Kautzer Biomedical Engineering/Eng. Management Rupak Rajachar / Biomedical Eng. Multi-arm PEG-based Hydrogels for Tendon and Ligament Repair
Darian Reed Civil Engineering Pasi Latula / Civil & Environmental Eng. Evaluation of Methods to Record Head Orientation in Driving Simulator and In-Vehicle Study Environments
Marissa Schorr Geology Chad Deering / Geological & Mining Eng. Filling in the Gaps: Finding the Missing Detrital Zircon Puzzle Pieces to the Magmatic Evolution of the Mt. Princeton Batholith, Colorado
Luke Weidner Geological Engineering Thomas Oommen / Geological and Mining Eng. Validation of a Landslide Susceptibility Model Using Ground Movement Image Correlation in Parwan Province, Afghanistan
Travis Wigstrom Chemical Engineering Shiyue Fang / Chemistry A Novel Carboxylic Acid Protecting Group Deprotectable Under Mild Neural Conditions
Aubrey Woern Mechanical Engineering Joshua Pearce / Materials Science Techno-Economic Analysis of Flexible Filaments Used in 3D Printing vs. Traditional Manufacturing

Sutter, Ahlborn Honored by ACI

Lawrence Sutter
Lawrence Sutter

Two Michigan Tech faculty will be honored by the American Concrete Institute at its Spring Concrete Convention and Exposition, Saturday through Wednesday (March 25-29) in Detroit.

At the convention, Larry Sutter (MSE) will be inducted as a Fellow of ACI. According to the Institute’s website, Fellows are those who have made outstanding contributions to the production or use of concrete materials, products and structures in the areas of education, research, development, design, construction or management.

Theresa M. Ahlborn
Theresa M. Ahlborn

Also at the convention, Tess Ahlborn (CEE), who was inducted as a Fellow in 2015, will receive the Delmar L. Bloem Distinguished Service Award, which recognizes exceptional service on ACI technical committees.

Alborn is being recognized because she established and led the first ACI Technical Committee on Ultra-High Performance Concrete. Learn more here.

Wayne Pennington, dean of the College of Engineering says recognition by professional organizations is important to the University.

Michigan Tech prides itself in attention to real-world applications and solutions. Awards like these, to two outstanding researchers, contribute to the foundation of that pride, and we are pleased that Doctors Ahlborn and Sutter are being recognized for their contributions.

The American Concrete Institute (ACI) is a leading authority and resource worldwide for the development and distribution of consensus-based standards, technical resources, educational programs and proven expertise for individuals and organizations involved in concrete design, construction and materials, who share a commitment to pursuing the best use of concrete.


Michigan Space Grants for Guadagno and Oppliger

Marcello Guadagno
Marcello Guadagno

Michigan Tech faculty, staff members and students received awards tallying $30,000 in funding through the Michigan Space Grant Consortium (MSGC), sponsored by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) for the 2017-18 funding cycle. Award recipients within the College of Engineering include:

Undergraduate Marcello Guadagno (ME-EM) received a $2,500 research fellowship for “Stratus Meteorological CubeSat: Payload Integration and Mission Level Design” with Lyon Brad King (ME-EM).

Douglas Oppliger
Douglas Oppliger

Douglas Oppliger (EF) received $5,000 or more for “Underwater Remotely Operated Vehicles for Teaching STEM Concepts” (includes augmentation).

NASA implemented the National Space Grant College and Fellowship Program in 1989 to provide funding for research, education and public outreach in space-related science and technology. The program has 52 university-based consortia in the United States and Puerto Rico.

As an affiliate of the Michigan Consortium, Michigan Tech has been an active participant in MSGC for approximately 20 years. MSGC funding is administered through Michigan Tech’s Pavlis Honors College.

For more information, contact Paige Hackney in the Pavlis Honors College at 7-4371 or visit the MSGC website.


Deans’ Teaching Showcase: Julie King

Julia King
Julia King

In week nine, the new Deans’ Teaching Showcase member is from the College of Engineering. Dean Wayne Pennington has selected Julie King, professor of chemical engineering based on recommendations from co-workers, students and her chair.

Adrienne Minerick (ChE), associate dean for research and innovation, who was Julie’s student as part of her bachelor’s degree and is now a colleague, calls King a “highly influential role model for me” as well as for many other students.

More specifically, Minerick says “Julie consistently is recognized by her students for her personal interest, advice and interactions. She stays invested in student success after they leave her classes, approaching those teaching subsequent classes with insights and advocacy strategies. I’ve never met a stronger advocate for students.”

S. Komar Kawatra, chemical engineering chair, praises King for her dedication, especially in the demanding Unit Operations Laboratory, saying “She spends a great deal of time with students, and always takes on additional teaching duties at the time of need.”

Kawatra calls King a “model professor,” and indicates that she has received similar praise from the Mack family as the Lorna and James Mack Chair Professor in Continuous Processing.

King’s current students confirm her great mentoring, but also appreciate her passion for excellent teaching and continuous improvement. One student comment read “She continuously asks students what she can do to improve their hands-on learning experiences or what areas she can provide more practical examples of chemical engineering applications to prepare them for full-time positions. She actively listens to her students and genuinely considers their feedback for future lessons or experiments.”

This same student believes that King is “part of the reason why chemical engineers from Michigan Tech are some of the best in the world.”

King will be recognized at an end-of-term luncheon with 11 other showcase members, and is now eligible for one of three new teaching awards to be given by the William G. Jackson Center for Teaching and Learning this summer recognizing introductory or large-class teaching, innovative or outside-the-classroom teaching methods, or work in curriculum and assessment.

By Michael Meyer, Director, William G. Jackson Center for Teaching and Learning.