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

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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.


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

Simon Carn
Simon Carn

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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.


Outstanding Alumni and Friends to be Recognized at Alumni Reunion Dinner Summer 2017

The following outstanding alumni and friends will be recognized at the Alumni Reunion Awards Dinner on campus August 4, 2017:

University Awards

Board of Control Silver Medal: Presented to persons who, through personal and professional achievement, are outstanding examples to Michigan Tech’s more recent graduates

  • John Drake ‘64 BS Mechanical Engineering, ‘68 MS Business Administration, Hancock, MI
  • Norbert Verville Sr. ‘60 BS Business Administration, Houghton, MI

Alumni Board of Director Awards

Outstanding Young Alumni Award: Presented to alumni under the age of 35 who have distinguished themselves in their careers. The award recognizes the achievement of a position or some distinction noteworthy for one so recently graduated.

  • Kevin Baker ‘04 BS Biomedical Engineering, ‘05 MS Materials Sciences, Royal Oak, MI

Outstanding Service Award: Presented to alumni and friends making significant contributions to the success of the Association and/or the University

  • Paul Mikkola ‘66 BS Metallurgical and Materials Engineering, ‘89 Honorary PhD, Bedford, NH

Distinguished Alumni Award: This award recognizes alumni who have made outstanding contributions both in their careers and to Michigan Tech over a number of years.

  • John Rockwell ‘79 BS Business Administration, San Jose, CA

Humanitarian Awards: Presented to those alumni and friends who, through their outstanding involvement and dedication, have made a significant contribution of volunteer leadership or service which has improved or enriched the lives of others and the welfare of humanity, and whose accomplishments reflect admirably on or bring honor to their Alma Mater

  • Sanna Roling ‘67 BS Biological Sciences, Spring, TX
  • Nicholas Schreiner ‘11 MS Environmental Engineering, Ankeny, IA

Honorary Alumni Award: This award honors individuals who have provided service and support of the university characteristic of dedicated alumni. The Association reserves this award to recognize the strongest non-alumni supporters of Michigan Tech.

  • John Dau, Clinton Township, MI

For additional information, contact the Alumni House.

By Alumni Engagement

John Drake
John Drake
Paul H. Mikkola
Paul H. Mikkola

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.


Virus Hydrophobicity is a Science360 Top Story

Science360

The Michigan Tech News story “Virus Hydrophobicity Can Help Purify Vaccines” concerning the research of Caryn Heldt made the top story of the online news magazine Science360. Heldt is an associate professor of chemical engineering at Michigan Tech.

The vaccine story, written by Michigan Tech science and technology writer Allison Mills, appeared in Science360 five days after it was published. This multimedia source is edited by the National Science Foundation in order to gather breaking STEM news from scientists, universities, and science and engineering centers.


Summer 2017 Keweenaw Geotours by Land and Boat

Geoheritage TourThis is the fourth year of summer Geotours of the Keweenaw, led by Bill Rose (GMES) and Erika Vye. The tours are all about Keweenaw Geoheritage and feature the RV Agassiz.

Five different one-day geotours are offered (see links for more details):
July 22: Glacial Geology
July 24: Lavas and the great rift
July 25: The Keweenaw Fault
July 26: Redbed sediments filling the Rift
July 27: Mining wastes and Lake Dynamics

For registration and more information, see this link.