Category Archives: News

Presentation: Dr. James H. Comfort, General Manager, Cloud Services, IBM Cloud Division

Mar31

The Chemical Engineering department presented a talk by Dr. James H. Comfort,  General Manager, Cloud Services, IBM Cloud Division. The title was “Crafting a Career in Uncharted Waters: A Journey from Chemical Engineering to Cloud Computing and Back.” The presentation was in Fisher 135 at 5:00 p.m. Tuesday March 31st. The university was invited to attend.

Dr. Comfort, a native of St. Paul, Minnesota, received his B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Michigan Tech in 1983 and Ph.D in Chemical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1988. His work at M.I.T. was multi-disciplinary in nature across Chemical Engineering, Electrical Engineering and Business Administration, and he was awarded a full Fellowship from the Semiconductor Research Corporation.

Dr. Comfort joined IBM Research in 1988 as a Research Staff Member where he was part of a team pioneering the demonstrations, development, and production of the first commercially viable, fully integrated SiGe semiconductor technologies. He held a series of management and executive roles from 1991 to 2003 encompassing SiGe technology, CMOS technology, three generations (0.22um, 0.20um, 0.18um) of DRAM technologies in a multi-national collaboration between Toshiba, Siemens and IBM, and Wireless ASIC technology development. From 2003-04, he was part of IBM’s Corporate Strategy team implementing structured business strategy development programs and from 2004-06 he was Vice President responsible for development and manufacturing of the IBM microprocessors that powered the XBOX 360 game consoles.

In 2008, he was part of the Enterprise Initiatives team that shaped IBM’s transformational Cloud Computing strategy, joining IBM’s Global Technology Services in 2010 as Vice President to help create IBM’s Cloud Services, and was then named General Manager, IBM SmartCloud Platform Development and Delivery in 2013. Over his 25 years at IBM, Dr. Comfort’s many roles have always involved collaboration across multiple groups or divisions, and constantly pushing the boundaries of what was believed possible, blending engineering, business and communication to build effective teams; all skills built on a foundation established at Michigan Tech.

PDF Flyer for Dr. James Comfort Talk on Tuesday March 31st

Watch the video on Engineering Michigan Tech Channel on Vimeo Crafting a Career in Uncharted Waters: Dr. James H. Comfort

Julia Zayan and Dr. James Comfort
Julia Zayan and Dr. James Comfort

Dean’s Teaching Showcase: Kit Cischke

Christopher-Cischke1The Dean’s Teaching Showcase nominee for this week comes from the College of Engineering. Dean Wayne Pennington has chosen to recognize Kit Cischke, a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and faculty advisor for the Wireless Communication Enterprise.

Associate Dean Leonard Bohmann indicates that the “students love Kit because he brings his practical experience into the class, showing the practical applications of the theory.” As evidence, Eta Kappa Nu, the Electrical and Computer Engineering student honor society, selected Kit as their Professor of the Year in both 2013 and 2014. Bohmann continues: “Kit has the ability to make complex topics easy to understand. He works hard to get students to understand and have fun doing it.”

Kit indicates that he does this through analogies, humor, and being open and approachable to students. He strives to be a “complete human being” with his students, sharing stories about his family and life. He also tries to “embrace technology”, using an iPad to deliver his lectures and an audio recorder so students can review them.

Kit has a long history of excellent teaching contributions at Michigan Tech. Brian Broeders, an alumnus who has been working as a product engineer for Plexus Engineering Solutions since 2009, praised Kit in a 2010 Linked In post for similar reasons. “He teaches class material in a clear and easy to understand format and his lab exercises help students make use of topics learned in class…I wish I had more instructors like him when I was in school.” Current students also praise his involvement as an organizational advisor and the fact that he really cares whether students are learning the material.

Cischke will be formally recognized with the 11 other Dean’s Teaching Showcase nominees at a luncheon near the end of spring term. Please join Dean Pennington and the Jackson Center for Teaching and Learning in thanking Kit for his outstanding contributions to the teaching mission of the College of Engineering.

Michigan Tech World Water Day: Awards and Photos

IMG_3709Michigan Tech celebrated World Water Day on March 23, 2015. Professor Peter Goodwin presented a lecture on “River Restoration and Flood Management”. Goodwin is the director of the Center for Ecohydraulics Research at the University of Idaho and also served as the science director for the California Delta Program. He is the DeVlieg Presidential Professor in Ecohydraulics and Professor of Civil Engineering at the University of Idaho.

The Center for Water & Society World Water Day poster competition was held at the Great Lakes Research Center. Awards were made in two categories: Original Research (presentation of thesis or project research) and Coursework/Informational (presentation of coursework or literature-based research).

Original Research
1st place: Jennifer Fuller
Developing a Sustainable Solution to an Urgent Problem: Pharmaceuticals in the Water Cycle
2nd Place: Anika Kuczynski
Shining Light on Cladophora in the Great Lakes
3rd Place: Marcel Dijkstra
Ecosystem function in Lake Superior: The impact of “big heat” (2012) and “big chill” (2014)

Coursework/Informational
1st place: Hayden Henderson group
Decentralized Wastewater Treatment (DEWATS): San Francisco del Valle, Panama
2nd Place: Erica Coscarelli group
LEED Certification of the Van Pelt and Opie Library
3rd Place: Sarah Harttung
Hawai’ian Coral Reef Sedimentation from Industry and Its Impacts

More Details, News Articles, Photos and Video

Michigan Tech Celebrates World Water Day
Michigan Tech Celebrates World Water Day
Panel "What role will dams play in future water resource management?"
Panel “What role will dams play in future water resource management?”

Tech College of Engineering Joins Grand Challenges Engineering Education Initiative

wayne800College of Engineering Dean Wayne Pennington joins representatives of more than 120 other engineering schools and colleges at the White House today to celebrate a commitment to educate a new generation of engineers expressly equipped to tackle some of the most pressing issues facing society in the 21st century.

In a letter of commitment presented to President Barack Obama yesterday, 122 US engineering schools pledged to each graduate a minimum of 20 students per year who have been specially prepared to lead the way in solving large-scale societal challenges such as engineering better medicines, making solar energy cost-competitive with coal, securing cyberspace and advancing personalized learning tools to deliver better education to more individuals.

These Grand Challenges were identified through initiatives such as the White House Strategy for American Innovation, the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) Grand Challenges for Engineering and the United Nations Millennium Development Goals. The goal of the 122 signing schools is to train more than 20,000 formally recognized Grand Challenge Engineers over the next decade.

At Michigan Tech, Dean Pennington said, the Scholars and Leaders program within the Pavlis Honors College will work to align with the Grand Challenges program. “We will identify engineers in all of the pathways and assure that through this program they are meeting the exposure requirements in their expertise area,” he explained. “We will also work with students in the program to identify their applicable Grand Challenges, leading to a notation within the recognition conferred at graduation indicating this distinction.”

The Scholars and Leaders program offers creative and experiential learning within an interdisciplinary framework, providing guidance and a platform for integrative learning.

Michigan Tech Grand Challenge Format 06March2015

M–TRAC Commercialization Roundtable March 19

image11264-persby John Diebel, M-TRAC program director, Innovation and Industry Engagement
Faculty and student inventors will have an opportunity to learn the secrets of commercializing technology at an all-day roundtable offered in the Advanced Technology Development Complex Large Conference Room starting at 9 a.m. on March 19. The M-TRAC program in Michigan—with support from the 21st Century Jobs Trust Fund and Michigan Strategic Fund—will be sponsoring the event.

M-TRAC roundtables are designed for university PIs, post-docs and graduate students who want to commercialize their research or take the steps toward launching a new venture. The sessions provide a practical understanding of how innovations move from the laboratory to market and help to identify the necessary steps to select and guide the commercial potential of their research. Taught by leading venture capitalists, angel investors and entrepreneurs, the roundtables provides intellectual engagement with the teaching materials as well as active discussion and hands-on participation. Participation in the program will be available through an interactive feed originating from Lansing, MI. Faculty interested in Michigan Tech’s M-TRAC program and the Research Excellence Fund–Technology Commercialization program are strongly encouraged to attend for as much of the session as possible.

Speakers will include:
Peter Adriaens, UM Center for Entrepreneurship
Lauren Bigelow, Growth Capital Network
Matt Bower, Varnum Law
Jonathan Fay, University of Michigan I-Corps
Adrian Fortino, Mercury Fund
Tom Porter, Trillium Ventures
Melda Uzbil, University of Miami

MTRAC_Roundtable_031915

A detailed agenda and free registration are available online.

Contact John Diebel at jfdiebel@mtu.edu or 7-1082 for more information.

National Society of Black Engineers Spring Break to Promote STEM Education and Careers

NSBE4aNational Society of Black Engineers students from Michigan Tech are going to present science, technology and engineering talks in the Detroit area for middle- and highschool students at five different schools by day, and presenting three family engineering nights for elementary students at night. The spring break trip is supported by John Deere.

The Houghton Michigan Daily Mining Gazette had an article: “Doing good downstate: Six Tech students will spend break sharing with youngsters.

Family Engineering Activities & NSBE Presenters

  Activity Presenters Major School attended
1 Blast Off (Mechanical) Yomi Famuyiwa Mechanical Engineering, M.S. Atlanta, Georgia
2 Give Me A Hand? (Biomedical/Mech) Anza Mitchell Engineering Education PhD candidate Atlanta, Georgia
3 Launcher (Mechanical) Rebecca Spencer Mechanical Engineering, 1st year Redford Union High School, Detroit
4 Brain Saver (Biomedical) Bruce Brunson Biomedical Engineering 2nd year Renaissance High School, Detroit
5 Sparkling Water (Environmental) Terrianna Bradley Environmental Engineering 3rd year Cass Tech High School, Detroit
6 Short Activities Nathan Saiyed Computer Science, M.S. Nigeria
Michigan Tech Student Chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers are heading to Detroit to share their love of engineering  with elementary, middle and high-school students.
Michigan Tech
Student Chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers are heading to Detroit to share their love of engineering
with elementary, middle and high-school students.
Michigan Tech Student Chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers are heading to Detroit to share their love of engineering  with elementary, middle and high-school students.
Michigan Tech
Student Chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers are heading to Detroit to share their love of engineering
with elementary, middle and high-school students.

2015 Graduate Research Awards

IMG_6237 (400x252)Dr. Greg Odegard was recently presented wit the 2015 Exceptional Graduate Faculty Mentor Award from the Graduate School at the 2015 Graduate Research Awards Banquet. This Merit Award for Exceptional Graduate Student Mentor recognizes advocacy for graduate students, being available and encouraging to students, and creativity/interdisciplinary collaboration in new opportunities for graduate student.

Greg Odegard is Richard and Elizabeth Henes Professor of Computational Mechanics in the Department of Mechanical Engineering–Engineering Mechanics at Michigan Technological University. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Colorado at Boulder, a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Denver, and a PhD in Materials Science from the University of Denver

 Exceptional Graduate Faculty Mentor Award: Dr. Greg Odegard of ME-EM presented by Jay Meldrum

Exceptional Graduate Faculty Mentor Award: Dr. Greg Odegard of ME-EM presented by Jay Meldrum
1st Place Oral Presentation Award Winner:   Jennifer Fuller Civil and Environmental Engineering Developing a Sustainable Process for Removal of SyntheticHormones in Wastewater Treatment
1st Place Oral Presentation Award Winner:
Jennifer Fuller (center) Civil and Environmental Engineering
Developing a Sustainable Process for Removal of SyntheticHormones in Wastewater Treatment
Exceptional Graduate Student Scholar Award to Xu Yang, Department of Civil Engineering, Graduate Research Colloquium 2015 at Michigan Technological University; Presented by Dean of Students Bonnie Gorman and Dr. Zhanping You
Exceptional Graduate Student Scholar Award to Xu Yang (center), Department of Civil Engineering, Graduate Research Colloquium 2015 at Michigan Technological University; Presented by Dean of Students Bonnie Gorman and Dr. Zhanping You


See the complete summary and more photos and information for all the awards from the 2015 Graduate Research Awards and photos of the posters and presenters

Dean’s Teaching Showcase and Career Award: Caryn Heldt

carynheldt2by Mike Meyer, Jackson CTL director

We return to the College of Engineering for this week’s Dean’s Teaching Showcase nominee. Dean Wayne Pennington has chosen to recognize Caryn Heldt, an Assistant Professor in the Chemical Engineering Department.

Dean Pennington notes that Caryn has consistently received “excellent” ratings for her teaching both from her peers and from students. But her teaching contributions don’t stop there; Heldt has a strong record of instructional innovations. Most notably, Caryn developed an online version of a required course which allows students on co-op to “stay on pace” during their time away from campus.

Dean Pennington also asked Tony Rogers, a colleague familiar with Caryn’s instructional work in Chemical Engineering, to weigh in. Tony emphasized that Caryn “cares deeply that her students learn and grow.” This caring is highlighted, he says, in her success in training and mentoring undergraduate students for research careers within her group. Rogers notes that Caryn’s high standards, mentoring abilities, industrial experience, biomanufacturing knowledge, and instructional innovations have benefited all chemical engineering students, but especially seniors in the plant design laboratory.

Caryn will be formally recognized with the 11 other Dean’s Teaching Showcase nominees at a luncheon near the end of spring term. Please join Dean Pennnington and the Jackson Center for Teaching and Learning in thanking Caryn for her outstanding contributions to the teaching mission of the College of Engineering.

Caryn Heldt Receives NSF CAREER Award

Caryn Heldt, Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering, has won a Faculty Early Career Development Award (CAREER) from the National Science Foundation. This prestigious award supports junior faculty who demonstrate the ability to integrate outstanding research with excellent educational programs. Heldt will use the $500,000, five-year award, to further her research on the surface characterization of viruses with a future application to engineer more effective virus removal methods for water purification and biotherapeutic manufacturing. Current virus removal technologies often use expensive filters or harsh chemicals and are selected after a large screening effort. Heldt proposes to start by studying the virus surfaces first and then move on to design better removal technologies. The goal is to remove viruses in a cost effective manner. The research program will be integrated into an outreach program with Wayne County Community College District and MICUP/MI-LSAMP at Michigan Tech to expose community college students to research and alternative career opportunities and increase the transfer of underrepresented students from community colleges to four-year institutions.

Caryn Heldt joined the faculty at Michigan Tech in 2010 after receiving her B.S. in Chemical Engineering and Chemistry in 2001 from Michigan Tech, a Ph.D. from North Carolina State in Chemical Engineering in 2008 and postdoctoral training at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Community Lecture: Natural History and (un)natural future of plants in Keweenaw and Isle Royale

mar17On Tuesday, March 17, Kareena Schmidt, expert on natural plant communities, will lead a discussion about Keweenaw plants. The event is part of a monthly series of sessions on the Geoheritage and Natural History of the Keweenaw, at the Carnegie Museum in Houghton. The discussions are aimed at the general public, but discuss current research and science.

Ms Schmidt explains her discussion: “Geologically, Isle Royale and the Keweenaw Peninsula reflect each other quite nicely. Bedrock twins one could say. Botanically, too, the spare acidic soils maneuvered by glaciers are the substrate to a host of plants that manage to survive dynamic influences of Lake Superior. Historically humans, in their quest for cash, mined for copper and harvested magnificent old-growth forests; their actions radically altered the vegetative landscape, even more than a beaver or moose could ever dream. Isle Royale and the Keweenaw have recovered quite differently from these ventures for a variety of reasons we will explore.

There is no end to the botanical delights that await discovery and understanding. Many plants here are western disjuncts, primarily having home base in the Pacific Northwest. Many arctic species reach their southern-most limit. Plants readily identified with more southerly climes reach their northern-most limit, putting down roots yet declaring thus far and no farther. Unique too are large and diverse populations of orchids, heathers and lichens all of which have evolved unique and admirable adaptations to abide in the spectacular Keweenaw terrain..”

The Carnegie Museum of the Keweenaw, located at Huron & Montezuma in downtown Houghton. Seminars are held in the recently restored Community Room on the ground level of this historic building. Lectures are free, open to the public, and barrier free (wheelchair accessible). For each monthly lecture, the museum will open at 6:30 pm for refreshments; lectures and discussion occur from 7:00 to 8:00 pm. Please contact the Museum for further information, 906-482-7140.

Winter Baja at Michigan Tech Results Saturday Feb. 21st

IMG_5650640The 2015 Winter Baja was held Saturday, Feb. 21, near the Student Development Complex at Michigan Technological University.

The University of Iowa car #48 came in first place, followed by Northern Michigan University car #40 at 2nd Place and Ferris State University car #76 at 3rd Place. Other standings are listed below showing the place and laps completed. In the dynamic event University of Michigan Car #1 came in first followed by University of Iowa Car # 68 at 2nd and University of Michigan Car #161 at 3rd.

The event was held during the National Engineers Week at Michigan Tech. This year there were 33 off-road vehicles from 18 universities. The event is an informal, but competitive Winter Baja race held on a motocross-style track made out of snow.

Here are some of the University of Iowa Hawkeyes  that came in First Place in Endurance  Contest
Here are some of the University of Iowa Hawkeyes that came in First Place in Endurance Contest

More photos of the The 2015 Winter Baja on Flickr Photo Sharing.

Video Clip from 2015 Winter Baja

The line up was at 1130 am and competition endurance race started at 12 Noon, and the action went till 4 pm.

The Endurance Race results:

Position School Car # Laps
1 UNIV OF IOWA 48 63
2 NORTHERN MI UNIV 40 56
3 FERRIS ST UNIV 76 54
4 CENTRAL MICHIGAN 34 54
5 MICHIGAN STATE 42 53
6 MICHIGAN TECH 906 53
7 NORTHWESTERN MIICHIGAN 69 53
8 UNIV OF WI MILWAUKEE 43 52
9 SANILAC CAREER CENTER 061 52
10 UNIV OF IOWA 68 50
11 MICHIGAN TECH 52 48
12 UNIV OF MI ANN ARBOR 1 48
13 MICHIGAN STATE 8 48
14 CENTRAL MICHIGAN 65 46
15 MARQUETTE UNIVERSITY 17 43
16 UNIV OF ILL URBANA‐CHAMPAIGN 49 42
17 UNIV OF WI STOUT 58 42
18 MICHIGAN STATE 101 42
19 SANILAC CAREER CENTER 20 41
20 CENTRAL MICHIGAN 73 41
21 UNIV OF MI ANN ARBOR 076 40
22 UNIV OF ILL URBANA‐CHAMPAIGN 37 39
23 SANILAC CAREER CENTER 56 39
24 SANILAC CENTER 46 38
25 UNIV OF ILL CHICAGO 29 37
26 MICHIGAN TECH 77 34
27 SOUTHERN ILL UNIVERSITY 92 32
28 UNIV OF IOWA 57 32
29 WESTERN MI UNIV 61 30
30 LAKE SUPERIOR STATE UNIV 28 27
31 UNIV OF MI ANN ARBOR 161 25

Dynamic Event
School and Car #
1 Univ of Michigan 1
2 Univ of Iowa 68
3 Univ of Michigan 161
4 Ferris State Univ. 22
5 Michigan Tech 906
6 Ferris State Univ. 76
7 Central Michigan Univ. 65
8 Michigan Tech 77
9 Univ. of Illinois Chicago 29
10 Northwestern Mich Coll 69

Others that competed
UW Stout 58
UW Milwaukee 43
Univ Of Illinois 37
Univ of Michigan 76
SCC 46
Southern Illinois 92
Michigan State 8
Western Michigan 61
Central Michigan 34
Michigan State 101
Lake Superior St 28
Ferris State 76
Western Michigan 61
Central Michigan 73
University off Illinois 49
Northwestern Mich Coll 69
Ferris State 22


ARCHIVES from the Past

A video playlist features scenes from past Winter Baja events.

Highlights from the 2013 Winter Baja