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

Opportunities in Forest Biomaterials Research

Biomaterials Research
Video: Biomaterials Research

According to Mark Rudnicki, a professor of practice in forest biomaterials at Michigan Technological University, Michigan ranks ninth in the nation in acres of forest cover. It’s also home to several forest-related industries, including forestry and logging, wood products manufacturing and paper manufacturing. In 2013, Michigan Tech initiated the development of a broad coalition – with members from Michigan industry, government and academia – to facilitate the cultivation of new ways to use forest biomaterials.

The initiative has evolved into the Michigan Forest Biomaterials Institute (MiFBI) and Rudnicki is its executive director.

Read more and watch the video at Unscripted: Science and Engineering Research, by Stefanie Sidortsova.

The mission of the Michigan Forest Biomaterials Institute (MiFBI) is to enhance quality of life in Michigan by fostering sustainable forests, communities, and economies through innovative and responsible production, use, and recycling of forest biomaterials.

MIFBI invites individuals and corporate entities (businesses, institutions, associations and government agencies) supportive of developing a forest bioeconomy in Michigan to join MIFBI as a Regular or Associate member.


2017 Research Excellence Funding

ResearchThe Vice President for Research Office announced the 2017 REF awards and thanked the volunteer review committees, as well as the deans and department chairs, for their time spent on this important internal research award process.

Infrastructure Enhancement (IE) Grants
Dan Seguin (MSE/IMP)

Research Seed (RS) Grants
Daisuke Minakata (CEE)
Radwin Askari (GMES/EPSSI)

Portage Health Foundation (PHF) Mid-Career (MC)
CK Choi (MEEM)
Megan Frost (Bio Med)
Jeremy Goldman (Bio Med)

Original article by VPR.


Multi-Dimensional Manufacturing is Best Overall Venture

CMU New Venture Competition

Jim Baker, executive director of Innovation and Industry Engagement and co-director of the Innovation Center for Entrepreneurship, and Lorelle Meadows, dean of the Pavlis Honors College, accompanied students Reggie Dillingham (SBE), Sachin Fernandes (ECE), Joseph Ryan (CS and PSY), Cedric Kennedy (SBE), Kyle Ludwig (ECE), Adam Weber (CNSA), Nick Dubiel (ME), Morgan Crocker (STC), Emily Jensen (SBE) and Brandon Talaska (ChE) who competed in the Central Michigan University New Venture Competition. The competition was held March 24, 2017.

Multi-Dimensional Manufacturing, a 3-D printing technology company founded by Nick Dubiel with support from Morgan Crocker and mentored by Jim Baker finished as the Best Overall Venture with a $30,000 cash prize and a year of mentoring from Blue Water Angels in Midland. The team is also a recent graduate of Michigan Tech’s National Science Foundation I-Corps Site Program.


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

Three Engineering Students Awarded NSF Graduate Research Fellows

NSFThree students from Michigan Tech have received fellowships from the National Science Foundation’s Graduate Research Fellowship Program (NSF-GRFP), one of the oldest and most competitive programs in the nation. In addition, three students received Honorable Mention, in the prestigious program.

Rebekka Guyon, Mary Kate Mitchell and Roger Guillory II were named GRFP Fellows. Violet Thole, materials research, Kelci Mohrman, physics, and Breeanne Spalding, biomedical engineering, received honorable mention.

Mitchell is an undergraduate chemical engineering major from Plymouth, Michigan who will graduate this spring. Her research focuses on the water-energy nexus, specifically developing more energy efficient methods to remove boron during seawater desalination.

“Current reverse osmosis methods are energy intensive so it is valuable to explore alternative options,” says Mitchell who is appreciative of the prestigious distinction. “I am very grateful to receive this fellowship and want to thank my many mentors I’ve had, throughout my career in industry as well as Michigan Tech.” She says the GRFP will be an invaluable asset to her graduate school career.

Guillory is a biomedical engineering major from Houston, Texas, whose research focuses on evaluating degradable metals (zinc based) for cardiovascular-stent applications. He says the GRFP award is a validation of sorts for the research conducted at Michigan Tech.

“This fellowship proves to me that the work we do here in our labs, and at Michigan Tech have a considerable impact outside of our University and respective disciplines.”

Guyon is a geological engineering major from Detroit. Her research is focused on reducing dust emissions from mine tailings by utilizing bacteria already present within the tailings. Dust emissions impact human health, especially among the Native population where research indicates these dustings have doubled the risk of lung cancer and cause higher incidences of respiratory disease.

“I feel fortunate to receive this prestigious honor,” Guyon says. “Additionally, this is a significant recognition of the mentors, faculty and students that I have worked with over the past few years. Michigan Tech has a very strong intellectual community, so I’m fortunate to conduct my research here.”

Pushpalatha Murthy, dean of Michigan Tech’s Graduate School says, “Being a recipient of the Graduate Research Fellowship or Honorable Mention status in this very prestigious competition speaks to the high caliber of our students and the dedication they have for both intellectual pursuits and serving society. The NSF-GRFP is unique in that it emphasizes commitment to both intellectual inquiry and service to society and are looking to support individuals who have the potential to be high achieving scientists and engineers as well as have a broader impact on society. These awards are a well-deserved recognition of the superior accomplishments of our students and the quality and dedication of Michigan Tech faculty, staff and programs. Crafting a winning proposal is a lot of effort and I want to congratulate the students for their accomplishments and thank the dedication and passion of the faculty and staff who helped them. I look forward to great contributions for our students.”

THE NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students in NSF-supported science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines who are pursing research-based master’s and doctoral degrees at accredited US institutions.

By Mark Wilcox.


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