Category Archives: News

Investigate the Great Lakes at the Portage Lake District Library

The Michigan Tech Great Lakes Research Center and Portage Lake District Library hosted a special evening program for all ages on Monday, June 29, focused on the Great Lakes and what lives here. Participants began the program at the library where several activity stations were set up indoors and outside. Participants had the option to participate in a scientific excursion aboard the Agassiz research vessel, traveling from the library to the Great Lakes Research Center where they visited a laboratory to use microscopes in order to peer at the tiny organisms and examine a variety of fish.

Station Activities
Station 1: What Lives in a Stream? (all ages) – Children explore the diverse and sci-fi looking macroinvertebrate organisms that live in the stream and tell us if it’s a healthy stream. Outside at picnic table

Station 2: Fishing: Is it big enough to catch & keep? (all ages) – Did you know there are limits on the size of fish that you can catch and keep? Fish for trout, sturgeon, pike and other Great Lakes fish species—then identify them and check to be sure they’re “keepers”! Community Room

Station 3: Scientific Excursion on Agassiz (7 years & up, youth & adults) Board at dock west of the Library

Station 4: Michigan Tech’s Great Lakes Research Center Lab – Compare fish mouth adaptations, view cool plankton under microscopes, and put together a Lake Trout food chain.

Station 5: What Lives in the Great Lakes Watershed? – Use sidewalk chalk and draw life-size Great Lakes creatures that live in the lakes. Outside on sidewalk

Station 6: Sandy Beaches—Are They All the Same – Make a sand ID card and compare the color, texture, and size of the sand particles from different beaches on the Keweenaw Peninsula, around Michigan, and beyond! Bring in a sand sample from your favorite beach for comparison. Community Room

Station 7: Read a story about the Great Lakes – join a local author to read some special Great Lakes stories. Children’s Reading Corner

Station 8: Could a Fish or Frog Live in This Water? – Measure the pH (acidity) of different liquids and determine whether a fish or frog could survive. Community Room

Chris Alquist, librarian, observed, “Thanks so much for another great event! Every activity was interesting, and the kids were engaged and learning!”

More than 80 attended, there were four full Agassiz scientific cruises with 18 participants each.

Here are a few of the parents’ comments:
It was exciting to ride the Agassiz and we learned a lot (about plankton)! It was interesting for all of us! (2)
I like that there were many activities. I like the college students involved.
It gave my daughter a good feeling of going into a college lab.
Amazing creatures all around!
Great time! Everyone was helpful!!
Your programs are always extremely educational & fun!
Both my children had activities that suited them well—plankton, pH levels.

Michigan Tech Great Lakes Research Center and Portage Lake District Library presented "Investigate the Great Lakes"
Michigan Tech Great Lakes Research Center and Portage Lake District Library presented “Investigate the Great Lakes”

Michigan Tech Great Lakes Research Center and Portage Lake District Library presented "Investigate the Great Lakes"
Michigan Tech Great Lakes Research Center and Portage Lake District Library presented “Investigate the Great Lakes”

See more photos at the Michigan Tech Great Lakes Research Center Flickr Photo Gallery “Investigate the Great Lakes”

For more information, contact: Joan Chadde at 487-3341 at the Great Lakes Research Center or Chris Alquist at 482-4570 at the Portage Lake District Library. This program is funded by General Motors and the Portage Lake District Library.

Portage Library Flyer 06.29.15

Students Doing Summer Undergraduate Research at Michigan Tech

IMG_1174The Center for Diversity and Inclusion sponsored this year’s MiCUP/MI-LSAMP Research Gallery Poster Session held on Thursday, June 20, at the Ballroom Michigan Tech Memorial Union.

The event recognizes the research of students participating in the seven-week Michigan College/University Partnership Program (MiCUP) and the Michigan Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (MI-LSAMP) Program here at Michigan Tech.

Michigan Tech has for many years partnered with MI-LSAMP to continue the shared goal of increasing the number of underrepresented minority and first-generation students in STEM and non-STEM fields. The College of Engineering and Engineering departments participate in the program with several faculty and graduate students, labs and facilities.

A few examples of the research work:

  • “Patient Specific Computer Fluid Models for the Study of Aneurysms”; Crystal Juarez and Dr. Jingfeng Jiang, Biomedical Engineering;
  • “Monitoring Suture Load Post Rotator Cuff Repair”; Paige Raad, Andrew DeRouin (graduate student mentor), and Dr. Keat Ghee Ong, Biomedical Engineering;
  • “Prosthetic Limbs Controlled by Electromyography”; Adam Patrick, Guilherme Ribeiro (graduate student mentor) and Dr. Mo Rastgaar Mechanical Engineering
  • “Improving Glider for Underwater Problem-solving and Promotion of Interest in Engineering”; Duy Nguyen, Donna Fard (graduate student mentor) and Dr. Nina Mahmoudian, Mechanical Engineering

See several more examples and pictures in the Photo Gallery

See Michigan Tech Expo Channel on YouTube for Videos of 2015 Summer Research Students at Michigan Tech

Photo Gallery in Flickr: 2015 Summer Research Students at Michigan Tech

Poster Session
Poster Session
Poster Session
Poster Session

Poster Session
Poster Session

Nina Mahmoudian Receives a Young Investigator Program Award from Office of Naval Research

image123120-horizOnly 36 faculty across the US were invited to join the Young Investigator Program (YIP) from the Office of Naval Research this year; additionally, only a small percent of faculty receive the CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation (NSF). Nina Mahmoudian, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering-engineering mechanics at Michigan Technological University, is one of a select few to receive both in the same year.

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Detroit High School Students Visit Michigan Tech

CIMG58895-Day Trip to Visit Michigan Technological University for 20 Detroit High School Students: June 15-19, 2015

Monday June 15th started an adventure for 20 Detroit high school students who want to explore careers in natural resources, environmental science and engineering—forestry; wildlife; water quality; Great Lakes; environmental, civil and mechanical engineering, and more! Thanks to donations by numerous Michigan Tech departments and offices, students have FREE transportation, food, lodging and an exciting program!

Students had a full schedule while at Michigan Tech where they would identify trees, measure forest plots, inventory invasive earthworms, visit the underground rhizotron, participate in a 4-hour Great Lakes investigation aboard MTU’s Agassiz research vessel in Lake Superior, assess the health of local streams; manipulate underwater autonomous remotely operated vehicles, visit labs, conduct insect and wetland inventories, and explore nearby state and county parks to enjoy the beautiful Keweenaw and Upper Peninsula. Students experienced college life staying and eating at Wadsworth Residence Hall.

These twenty students successfully applied for this program (first of its kind) and were eager to visit Michigan Tech’s campus, explore future careers, and have new experiences. The students are in grades 9-12, and come from eight different Detroit high schools. Many people have helped to make this possible, from help with recruitment in Detroit, to the more than a eighteen experts volunteering their time to present to these youth.

The Program is coordinated by Joan Chadde, director of the Michigan Tech Center for Science & Environmental Outreach, in collaboration with Detroit colleagues at the Belle Isle Nature Zoo, Mike Reed, Curator of Education – Informal Programs, Detroit Zoological Society and U.S. Forest Service Urban Connections Program.

Generous funding from the following have made this program possible:
MTU School of Forest Resources & Environmental Science, Michigan Tech College of Engineering, Michigan Tech Housing & Residential Life, MTU Admissions, Dept. of Civil & Environmental Engineering, Pre-College Outreach Initiative, Michigan Tech Transportation Institute, and the Dept. of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics.

View a YouTube Video Clip of “Detroit High School Students Visit Michigan Tech”

View Pictures on the College of Engineering Photo Gallery Flickr

See the WLUC TV 6 Television News article “Detroit students visit the Keweenaw at Michigan Tech University “

Daily Mining Gazette article “Tech Tour” (cannot be seen without subscription)

Michigan Tech Dean of Engineering Wayne Pennington has lunch with visiting students.
Michigan Tech Dean of Engineering Wayne Pennington has lunch with visiting students.






Great Lakes Investigations Aboard Michigan Tech’s Research Vessel Agassiz

IMG_5772Great Lakes Investigations Aboard Michigan Tech’s Research Vessel Agassiz from June 15 to July 15, 2015 for Students in Grades 4‐12 ~ Fun! FREE! Educational!
Ride the Waves with GM invites Copper Country youth in Grades 4‐12 to join scientists from Michigan Tech’s Great Lakes Research Center in the exploration of Lake Superior, Keweenaw Bay and/or Portage Lake.

Programs are 3‐4 hours in length—with 1.5‐2 hours on the Agassiz and 1.5 hours in the lab. The Agassiz will accommodate up to 17 youth/
chaperones (minimum of 10 is required).

Aquatic Food Web & Lab Investigation ~ Measure water quality and collect samples to examine in the lab to find out “How Do You Make A Lake Trout?” All ages.

To make reservations, call or email:
Michigan Tech Center for Science & Environmental Outreach
Phone: 906‐487‐3341
Email: Lloyd Wescoat
Joan Chadde
Provide number of students and 3 date/time options

RidetheWaves.Flyer 06.10.15 GE


Keweenaw Geoheritage Tours by Water and Land

geoheri2The Keweenaw Peninsula is a place of natural beauty with a fascinating mining history. Join local expert Bill Rose in reading the landscape to learn how the Copper Country came to be the way it is today.

Each one-day field trip explores one of four major events in Earth’s history that make up the strong geoheritage of the Keweenaw: Lavas, the Keweenaw Fault, the Jacobsville Sandstone and Copper Mining Waste of Lake Superior. Participants can expect to cover a lot of ground and be outside all the time.

The trip dates are as follows:

July 27 – Lavas and the Keweenaw Rift
July 28 – The Keweenaw Fault
July 29th – Jacobsville Sandstone
July 30th – Copper Mining Waste of Lake Superior Today

Travel is a combination of van transport, short walks and trips aboard Michigan Tech’s research vessel, the Agassiz. Trips are limited by boat capacity to 17 people. Each day trip costs $145 and includes lunch and snacks, boat and van transport.

For more information, trip descriptions and registration please visit the Keweenaw Geoheritage website. For specific questions, please email Erika Vye at

Minerick Named Associate Dean for Research and Innovation

image122968-horiz2Adrienne Minerick has been named the first associate dean for research and innovation in Michigan Tech’s College of Engineering. Dean of the College of Engineering Wayne Pennington said Minerick will coordinate faculty and staff engagement with each other and with agencies that fund research projects, ranging from single-investigator one-year projects to complex multi-disciplinary projects involving several institutions and spanning years.

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STEM Immersion on Isle Royale

IMG_0702 (2) (1280x853)A group of 13 Keweenaw Bay Indian Community youth took part in an immersion experience in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education and careers, May 26 to 30, 2015 on Isle Royale. The program, entitled “MAAMAADIZI II”, was co-sponsored by the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community, the Cedar Tree Institute of Marquette, the Isle Royale Institute and Michigan Tech’s Ride the Waves with General Motors Program. MAAMAADIZI, meaning “the Journey begins” in the Anishinaabe language, sought to immerse students in a wilderness environment rich in both scientific and spiritual content. A diverse community participated in the Journey, including spiritual advisors, artists, scientists, chaperones, graduate student mentors and KBIC drummers … a grand party of 32 travelers. Isle Royale National Park provided an ideal wilderness setting for this important work.

The Michigan Tech team of 6 members traveled to Isle Royale aboard the R/V Agassiz with Captain Stephen Roblee at the helm; the rest of the party came across on the MV Ranger III. Once on the island, the R/V Agassiz provided transport to campsites, ferry service for on-island field trips and served as a platform for STEM offerings. KBIC students, MTU graduate student mentors and chaperones camped for two nights at Daisy Farm, with the entire party moving to Tobin Harbor Cottages for the last two nights.

STEM Science was presented through water quality measurements (light and temperature sensors, Secchi disk transparency) and collections (plankton and bottom organisms) made in Moskey Basin and in the open lake from the R/V Agassiz. Samples were examined on board using microscopes and dissecting scopes. The STEM Science program was led by Dr. Marty Auer of Michigan Tech supported by graduate student mentors Varsha Raman, Aubrey Scott and Nathan Zgnilec.

STEM Math was presented within the context of mass and compass (on land, Jon Magnuson, Cedar Tree Institute) and vessel navigation (on the water, Stephen Roblee, MTU). Hikes to Mount Ojibway and an R/V Agassiz cruise around ice-encrusted Blake Point to a shipwreck site on the Palisades provided the venue for STEM Math offerings.

Students also participated in Art and Spirit Projects led by artist and illustrator Diana Magnuson of the Cedar Tree Institute. Ken Vrana, Director of the Isle Royale Institute, guided students on hikes and on field trips to Rock Harbor Lighthouse, Edisen Fishery and the Island home of the Isle Royale Wolf-Moose Project hosted by MTU’s Rolf and Candy Peterson.

The Journey was wrapped up with a Feast prepared by the Rock Harbor Lodge, a Ceremony hosted by the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community Drum and an evening campfire with S’mores.

The KBIC, particularly Lori Sherman and chaperones Richard Wickstrom and Katrina Ravindran, deserves special thanks for logistical and financial support. The Isle Royale Institute contributed financial and made other contributions which greatly enriched the experience. The R/V Agassiz and Captain Stephen Roblee were made available through Ride the Waves with General Motors. Wilderness STEM experiences with KBIC youth were originated in 2013 by Jon Magnuson of the Cedar Tree Institute and Marty Auer of Michigan Tech and, with support from General Motors are now in their third year.

Group at Mott Island, Isle Royale National Park, Lake Superior
Group at Mott Island, Isle Royale National Park, Lake Superior
Group on board RV Agassiz, Isle Royale National Park, Lake Superior
Group on board RV Agassiz, Isle Royale National Park, Lake Superior
Group at the the Isle Royale Wolf-Moose Project hosted by MTU’s Rolf and Candy Peterson
Group at the the Isle Royale Wolf-Moose Project hosted by MTU’s Rolf and Candy Peterson
On board the RV Agassiz
On board the RV Agassiz

See More Photos of the STEM Immersion on Isle Royale

Turn That Defect Upside Down: Twin Boundaries in Lithium-Ion Batteries

image122233-horizMost people see defects as flaws. A few Michigan Technological University researchers, however, see them as opportunities. Twin boundaries — which are small, symmetrical defects in materials — may present an opportunity to improve lithium-ion batteries. The twin boundary defects act as energy highways and could help get better performance out of the batteries. This finding, published in Nano Letters earlier this year, turns a previously held notion of material defects on its head. Reza Shahbazian–Yassar helped lead the study and holds a joint appointment at Michigan Tech as the Richard & Elizabeth Henes associate professor in nanotechnology and an adjunct associate professor in materials science and engineering. Anmin Nie, a senior postdoctoral researcher in his group, conducted the study.
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