Category Archives: Education

Adrienne Minerick Chosen for STEM Leadership Fellowship

Adrienne Minerick
Adrienne Minerick

Adrienne Minerick (ChE) has been named as one of 26 women faculty members from 23 different universities across the US and Canada in the 2017-18 class of ELATE at Drexel Fellows.

ELATE at Drexel is a professional development program for women in the academic STEM fields. Each Fellow was nominated by her dean or provost and will contribute to institutional initiatives as she expands her leadership skills.

I’m honored to have been selected as an ELATE fellow and look forward to the opportunity to learn how to enhance Michigan Tech’s mission along with strategies to lead and manage change initiatives. Adrienne Minerick

Minerick is associate dean for research and development in Tech’s College of Engineering.

ELATE at Drexel is a one-year, part-time program that focuses on increasing personal and professional leadership effectiveness, leading and managing change initiatives within institutions, using strategic finance and resource management to enhance organizational missions and creating a network of exceptional women who can bring organizational perspectives and deep personal capacity to the institutions and society they serve.

“Michigan Tech is exceptionally pleased that Adrienne was selected for the 2017-2018 Fellowship program at Drexel University to continue with her leadership and professional development,” said Ellen Horsch, vice president for administration.

Adrienne is one of 10 individuals currently engaged in our Excellence in Leadership Development program, a professional development program designed and tailored to support specific growth and advancement at Michigan Tech. I truly look forward to Adrienne’s success as a leader and as a scholar.Ellen Horsch

By Jenn Donovan.


Nineteen Inducted into Tau Beta Pi Honor Society

Tau Beta Pi 2017
Spring 2017 Michigan Beta – Tau Beta Pi Initiates

The College of Engineering inducted nineteen students into the Michigan Tech Michigan Beta chapter of The College of Engineering inducted nineteen students into the Michigan Tech Michigan Beta chapter of Tau Beta Pi this past last week.

Tau Beta Pi is a nationally recognized engineering honor society, and is the only one that recognizes the engineering profession. Students who join are the top 1/8th of their junior class or top 1/5th of their senior class. The society celebrates those who have distinguished scholarship and exemplary character and members strive to maintain integrity and excellence in engineering.

Spring 2017 Michigan Beta – Tau Beta Pi Initiates:

David Adamovicz – Mechanical Engineering
Adam Augustyniak – Mechanical Engineering
Ryan Beering – Geological Engineering
Kristen Bull – Materials Science and Engineering
Raymond Coyle – Mechanical Engineering
Zachary Garavet – Computer Engineering
Phoebe Glazko – Civil Engineering
Hunter Gulbranson – Chemical Engineering
Benjamin Hubbard – Mechanical Engineering
Rebecca Phipps – Chemical Engineering
Jacob Richards – Mechanical Engineering
Chelsey Rock – Materials Science and Engineering
Lucas Simonson – Electrical Engineering
Riley Stroven – Mechanical Engineering
Victoria Swanson – Civil Engineering
Michael vonKronenberger – Electrical Engineering
Sarah Wade – Computer Engineering
Kayla Wielgus – Civil Engineering
Tyler Wittmann – Environmental Engineering


Michigan Tech Biomedical Engineers take 2nd place at Stryker Engineering Challenge

BME Team Robot
Congratulations to Zac, Peter, Ana-Lisia, and Sterling: the first all-BME team from Michigan Tech to compete at the 7th Annual Stryker Engineering Challenge; and the first Michigan Tech team ever to take 2nd place.

A team of biomedical engineering undergraduates from Michigan Technological University earned 2nd place at the 7th Annual Stryker Engineering Challenge competition in Kalamazoo, Michigan on March 30th and 31st.

Each year Stryker invites engineering student teams to its global headquarters to show off their engineering prowess while competing against 6 rival schools. During an overnight competition, they spent 14 hours planning, designing, prototyping and testing to prepare for a challenge created by Stryker engineers. This year’s challenge consisted of a superhero theme where each team had to design and construct a “semi-autonomous super-vehicle” using a robotics kit and other miscellaneous components.

Ana-Lisia Powdhar, Zachary Vanderstelt, Peter Beach, and Sterling Korstadt made up the Michigan Tech team. Associate Professor Keat Ghee Ong traveled with them and served as mentor. They competed against teams of mechanical and electrical engineering students from Purdue University, Notre Dame, University of Michigan, Michigan State University, Western Michigan University, and the Michigan Engineering Alliance (a combined team from Andrews University and Hope College). The team from Purdue took first place.

“It was the first time that biomedical engineering students from Michigan Tech have competed in the Stryker challenge,” says BME department chair, Sean Kirkpatrick. “Students have competed in the past, but this is the first time a Michigan Tech team has earned 2nd place. It demonstrates the way we approach biomedical engineering education at Michigan Tech—we focus first and foremost on rigorous engineering skills.”

The competition was comprised of three parts: Tech Challenges, a series of rapid-fire Jeopardy-style questions, with points going to the fastest correct answer among the teams. Then came “homework” given to the teams to do on their own time—various word problems pertaining to engineering, computer science, and design team dynamics. And finally, the main challenge: to design, build and test a robot able to complete a variety of specific tasks on Stryker’s challenge course. These tasks— all aimed towards collecting LEGO action figures to earn points in the competition—ranged from activating a magnetic sensor at a specific frequency to completing a circuit using components on the robot.

The teams were given 12 hours to construct their robots. “We worked hard from 8 pm to 2 am, and again the next day from 6 am to noon,” says BME student Peter Beach.

“We had a list of tasks that needed to be accomplished and no base to start from,” adds Ana-Lisia Powdhar. “Everything was built from scratch. Due to time constraints, we built our thoughts instead of writing it out first. The Stryker engineers helped us find flaws and we kept improving what we were doing.

“Sterling was constantly messing with the drive train design. Zac seemed to be downloading a new code every 10 minutes. And Peter and I never stopped working on the robot arm. Even after the challenge, we were all talking about what we would have done differently if we’d had the time.”

“The best part was having a functioning robot at the end of two stressful days,” adds Zac Vanderstelt. “We managed not only to effectively compete, but to also place second ahead of all of the Universities I grew up hearing about like Western Michigan, U of M, Michigan State, Notre Dame, and Michigan College Alliances.”

Simplicity was the key to their success. “We learned it was better to think of a viable solution and go for it instead of debating every step of the way,” says Vandersteldt.

Sterling Korstadt agrees. “The most challenging part of the experience was trying to make sure to keep the design simple and not overthink the situation.”

Korstadt says he would consider Stryker as a possible career choice. “They are on the cutting edge of medical device development, and truly care about helping other people. Stryker also emphasizes team work and collaboration, something I believe is essential to developing a successful product.”

Powdhar’s take away from the experience: “I learned to just try it. If it fails, figure out why, fix it or try something else. Ask ALL the questions no matter how dumb they sound. And don’t give up, as cliche as that sounds. We were vigilant and determined,” she says.

“And I’d like to add that Dr. Ong was great. We were very happy that he was with us and we would do it again with him if we could.”

Stryker Corporation, active in over 100 countries, is one of the world’s leading medical technology companies, offering products and services to help improve patient and hospital outcomes.

BME Robot
Michigan Tech’s 2nd place robot at the 7th Annual Stryker Engineering Challenge
BME Team
L to R: Michigan Tech’s all-BME team: Sterling Korstad, Peter Beach, Ana-Lisia Powdhar, advisor Keat Ghee Ong, and Zachary Vanderstelt
BME Stryker Second Place
The points board at the 7th Annual Stryker Engineering Challenge. Michigan Tech was proud to earn 2nd place.
BME Stryker Engineering Challenge
Testing the robot at the 7th Annual Stryker Engineering Challenge
Styker Engineering Challenge 2017
Teams competing at the 7th Annual Stryker Engineering Challenge

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

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.


Deans’ Teaching Showcase: Martin Auer

Marty Auer
Marty Auer

Upon the recommendation of Civil and Environmental Engineering Chair David Hand, College of Engineering Dean Wayne Pennington has chosen Martin Auer (CEE) as his final spring 2017 Deans’ Teaching Showcase member.

Pennington selected Auer for his ability to influence the career trajectory of both graduate and undergraduate students, as well as his extensive commitment to K-12 outreach programs. Pennington credits Auer’s teaching for “transforming the lives of graduate and undergraduate students and influencing them to pursue careers in environmental engineering related to surface water quality.”

Michael Erickson, an alumnus and now the senior vice president for ARACADIS confirms this, saying “Sometimes you can look back to when someone lifted us to view a horizon we could not see. Dr. Auer did that after singling me out for a high score on a tough modeling exam. His words realized my potential to excel. That triggered a shift in my thinking, gave confidence to shoot higher and opened a graduate school opportunity.”

Another alumnus, Steven Tomaszewski, who is now the director of global facilities at GM and a member of Michigan Tech’s Board of Trustees, credits Auer’s teaching for much of his work worldwide. “My technical base is highly influenced by his teachings. I often leveraged Dr. Auer’s technical and ethical standards while negotiating permits to construct new assembly plants in Russia, India, Mexico, Brazil and Korea. From a small classrom in Houghton, Michigan, his influence has had global ramifications on these billion dollar investments. I suspect that he doesn’t realize the reach of this teachings, but it is far greater than he would have ever expected, and one that I’m proud to be part of.”

Auer has gone above and beyond his graduate and undergraduate teaching responsibilities by spearheading the outreach component of the Great Lakes Research Laboratories. According to Hand, this program “brings in thousands of K-12 students from the local area and under-represented urban areas to learn about the importance of environmental stewardship and lake ecosystems.”

Auer’s leadership includes research trips to Isle Royale with Native American students and seminars for teachers from Flint to learn about water quality and how to educate their students. But perhaps the most influential outreach experience is Auer’s leadership in the GM sponsored “Ride the Waves” program.

In describing Auer’s role, Tomaszewski says “Utilizing a research vessel (the Agassiz) as the platform, Dr. Auer choreographed a program offering students from low-income areas a world class STEM experience. Students and educational institutions that would never have the means to touch the water are now performing experiments with some of the best scientists in the Great Lakes region. In the last four years, this passion for water quality research has brought more than 3,000 students to Michigan Tech. A researcher with marketing skills is a rare combination and one that is sought by many universities. Michigan Tech and General Motors are proud to have his leadership driving this initiative.”

Hand wraps up his recommendation by saying, “Martin Auer is truly deserving of being recognized for his commitment to teaching on a grand scale.”

Auer 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 R. Meyer, Director, William G. Jackson Center for Teaching and Learning.


Tech Enterprise Wins ASME Award for Advances in Mechanical Engineering Education

MEED

The Michigan Tech Enterprise Program has been selected to receive the Donald N. Zweip Innovation in Education Award from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME).

The award recognizes mechanical engineering/engineering technology and closely related programs/departments for exceptional and innovative engagement in and fostering advances in mechanical engineering education, particularly those who have demonstrated exemplary contributions to the advancement of mechanical and multi-disciplinary project-based engineering education.

Donald N. Zwiep, a pioneer and champion of project based learning in mechanical engineering, showed the value of real-world projects and collaborative learning as an exceptional pedagogy. A long-serving mechanical engineering department head at Worcester Polytechnic Institute and a dedicated ASME member and past president, he was uniquely positioned to strengthen the bonds between the Society and the engineering departments through outcomes based accreditation, project based learning, and engagement of both students and faculty in their professional society.

Michigan Tech’s Enterprise Program will receive their award during the Awards Luncheon on Wednesday, April 19, 2017. The ceremonies are part of the ASME Mechanical Engineering Education Leadership Summit, April 18-19 in Washington, DC.

The award includes a $2,000 Honorarium and Certificate to the program and travel support to the conference.

The Enterprise Program will give a 10-15 minute presentation during the awards luncheon.


Engineering Graduate Students Excel at ACS 2017 Student Research Symposium

ACS Local Student ResearchAmeya Narkar received first prize for his poster presentation at the 2017 Upper Peninsula American Chemical Society Student Research Symposium, which was held Saturday, March 25, 2017, in Marquette.

The title of the poster was “Effect of Addition of Acrylic Acid (AAc) on the Wet Adhesion Properties of Mussel-inspired Hydrogels at Multiple pH Values.” Narkar is a PhD student working in the research lab of Bruce Lee.

Muxue Zhang, a graduate student in environmental engineering, was awarded third place at the symposium.

Zhang, a second-year master’s student, presented on her thesis work about predicting the reverse osmosis (RO) rejection of toxicologically relevant organics for direct potable reuse application in wastewater reclamation processes.

She works with Daisuke Minakata (CEE). Her work is part of a funded water reuse project looking at the intrinsic interactions between a wide variety of organics and RO membrane using computational chemistry tools.

The purpose of the event is to provide a venue for students to present their research in chemistry, chemical engineering and related fields. This symposium is an excellent opportunity for students, faculty and the community at large to learn about the interesting research being conducted in the UP. It was hosted by the ACS Upper Peninsula Local Section on the campus of Northern Michigan University.


Gerdau Steel Tour 2017

SteelTwenty-two Michigan Tech students returned from a three-day, all-expense-paid tour of Gerdau’s Long Steel North America facility in St. Paul, Minnesota yesterday. The trip was hosted by Career Services and made possible through a grant from the Association for Iron and Steel and Gerdau, a Michigan Tech corporate partner.

Gerdau is a leading supplier of long steel worldwide and the world’s largest automotive industry supplier. From process engineers to quality managers, Gerdau has a strong tradition of hiring Michigan Tech students for internships and full-time employment.

During the tour, students took a firsthand look at the steelmaking process and networked with Gerdau plant leadership and Michigan Tech alumni. Stacey Donnelly, experiential education and career development assistant in Career Services, accompanied the students on their trip.

Jessica Geroux, a mechanical engineering student, said,

The St. Paul Gerdau Mill graciously hosted us, sharing professional and personal insight from a panel of esteemed Tech alumni, while granting us an inside glimpse into the steel industry through an intensive, educational tour of the mill.

Story by Career Services.


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