Tag Archives: CHEM-ENGG

Engineering Faculty on Managing Multigenerational Teams

Scientific teams are more diverse than ever and are often populated by people of varying ages. Understanding how to modify management styles according to the needs of different generations ensures enhanced group productivity, creativity, and collaboration.

Joshua Pearce
Joshua Pearce

Joshua Pearce

At 41, Joshua Pearce, professor of materials science and engineering at Michigan Technological University in Houghton, is a member of Generation X. He leads the Michigan Tech Open Sustainability Technology Lab at the university, which includes a multigenerational team of visiting industrial scholars (whose children are older than Pearce), Baby Boomer research staff, and Millennial or Generation Y interns. Over the years, Pearce has gained insight into how to facilitate a more productive and creative ecosystem for everyone—and it starts with acknowledging the value that each generation brings to the team.

Adrienne Minerick
Adrienne Minerick

Adrienne Minerick

Adrienne R. Minerick, 41, associate dean for research and innovation in the College of Engineering and assistant to the provost for faculty development at Michigan Tech, found that to coordinate a team with professors who are older than her—sometimes by over 30 years—she has to adapt and ensure effective communication.

Read more at Science, by Alaina G. Levine.


Energy on Display and a Power Bus for Hands-on Play

Energy DayCareerFEST continues with Energy Day today, September 15, 2017. Eight companies representing electric, petroleum and alternative energy resources are here to greet students under the tent. CE Power brought their Power Bus, a traveling demo facility and a 6,000 pound, modified Ford Transit 350 for students to see and experience.

The Power Bus includes a retrofill breaker (MV), three LV circuit breakers, SEL relays, AC Pro trip units and GE Multilin Relay. Hemlock Semiconductor (HSC) will display various distillation tray styles used at HSC and will also showcase their raw material and final products using acrylic suspension trays.

HDR is bringing a 3D Oculus Virtual Reality Viewer for students to experience.

Displays and representatives from Systems Control, ITC Holdings, Marathon Petroleum, Flint Hills Resources, Black & Veatch and Michigan Tech’s Alternative Energy Enterprise are also features of this year’s event.

By Career Services.


First-Year Engineering and First-Year Computer Science Lecture Fall 2017: Libby Titus

First Year Lecture

First year engineering and computer science students attended a lecture on September 17, 2017, in the Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts. This year’s speaker was Libby Titus, Environmental Health and Safety Specialist at Novo Nordisk. She is a ’96 Michigan Tech alumna, with a BS in Environmental Engineering and BS in Scientific and Technical Communication.

Her talk was entitled Secrets of Talking (and Writing) Nerdy. The talk was introduced by Jon Sticklen, Chair, Engineering Fundamentals, and Wayne D. Pennington, Dean, College of Engineering. There was a reception after the lecture.

Elizabeth (Libby) Titus is a licensed professional engineer who assists companies with identifying, understanding, and adhering to the environmental, health, and safety rules that apply to their operations. With 20 years of substantive experience, Libby knows that the key to moving projects forward is often effective communication of technical knowledge across the primary stakeholders. Solid engineering designs and high intelligence are irrelevant without good communication skills.

Due to venue capacity, the event was open only to first year engineering and computer science majors.

Sponsored by Visiting Women and Minority Lecturer/Scholar Series (VWMLSS), Novo Nordisk, College of Engineering, Department of Engineering Fundamentals, Department of Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences, and the Department of Computer Science.

Funded by a grant to the Office of Institutional Equity from the State of Michigan’s King-Chavez-Parks Initiative.

VIEW THE PHOTO GALLERY

Students in the audience at Rozsa
The lecture takes place in the James and Margaret Black Performance Hall of the Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts.
Students in audience
Engineering and computer science students are in attendance.
Wayne Pennington
Wayne Pennington, Dean of the College of Engineering, introduces the speaker.
Libby Titus
Libby Titus is an EHS Specialist at Novo Nordisk.
Libby Titus Lecture
Libby Titus lectures on Secrets of Talking Nerdy.
Engineering Faculty
Engineering and CS faculty are among the attendees.

Interventional devices: Improving quality of life

A section of BSC’s drug-eluting Eluvia stent system, designed to restore blood flow in the peripheral arteries above the knee.
A section of Boston Scientific’s drug-eluting Eluvia stent system, designed to restore blood flow in the peripheral arteries above the knee.

As an R&D director at Boston Scientific Corporation, Heather Getty works with a cross-functional team of experts to develop products and solutions for treating diseases using minimally invasive surgical techniques.

Heather Getty '84, R&D Director, Boston Scientific, earned a BS in Chemical Engineering at Michigan Tech
Heather Getty, an R&D director at Boston Scientific, earned a BS in Chemical Engineering at Michigan Tech in 1984.

The scope of these medical devices includes catheters, stents, and other devices for patients with peripheral artery disease, or PAD, a common circulatory problem in which narrowed arteries reduce blood flow to the limbs. PAD affects more than a quarter of a billion people worldwide. Patients with PAD can suffer significant health consequences, including gangrene, amputation, and triple the risk of heart attack and stroke. Boston Scientific is a market leader in less-invasive treatments for PAD.

“As a medical products company, we rely heavily on the experience and wisdom of the physicians who utilize our products,” says Getty. “A big part of my job is understanding the treatment of PAD from the physician’s perspective. We gain knowledge about customer needs by meeting with physicians, observing clinical cases, and having physicians use our products during development.”

Product development can be extremely challenging. “Taking an idea, and moving it from concept to commercialization while navigating through technical challenges as well as financial and time constraints can be daunting,” says Getty. “A product properly commercialized can stay in the market for over 30 years. Despite that realization and pressure, at the same time, it is also our job to recommend cancellation of any idea that can’t meet expectations.”

A critical part of her job: ensuring compliance with regulations across the globe. “We work very closely with our quality engineering department but it is also critical that everyone contributes to the quality and compliance of our products,” she says.

“ A big part of my job is understanding the treatment of PAD from the physician’s perspective.”

– Heather Getty

Getty graduated from Michigan Tech with a bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering, and immediately began working at Honeywell. While on the job she completed an MBA from St. Thomas University. After six years in manufacturing she moved into Honeywell’s Material Test and Analysis (MTAC) group, and later began working on the development of demilitarization concepts, including exploring options to reclaim materials from ammunition dumps around the world. After 11 years, she leapt at the chance to join the R&D group at Schneider, now part of Boston Scientific, to follow her passion of improving lives.

Now, with more than 21 years total at Boston Scientific, Getty leads a team of 60 managers, engineers, and technicians who develop new products for the company. “It’s rewarding to be with a company that offers opportunities to improve patient lives but that also manages to do so with integrity and a respect for work-life balance,” Getty asserts.

“Launching a product and having it do well in the market is one of the most rewarding aspects of my work. I love that our products can help improve a person’s quality of life as well as make a physician’s job easier.”


Phosphorus eaters—Using bacteria to purify iron ore

eiseleresearchMany iron ore deposits around the world are extensive and easy to mine, but can’t be used because of their high phosphorus content. Phosphorus content in steel should generally be less than 0.02 percent. Any more and steel becomes brittle and difficult to work. 

Tim Eisele
Tim Eisele
Chemical Engineering

Beneficiation plant processing, which treats ore to make it more suitable for smelting, only works if the phosphorus mineral grains are bigger than a few micrometers in size. Often, phosphorus is so finely disseminated through iron ore that grinding and physically separating out the phosphorus minerals is impractical.

Tim Eisele is developing communities of live bacteria to inexpensively dissolve phosphorus from iron ore, allowing a low-phosphorus iron concentrate to be produced. “For finely dispersed phosphorus, until now, there really hasn’t been a technology for removing it,” he says.

Phosphorus is critical to all living organisms. Eisele’s experiments are designed so that organisms can survive only if they are carrying out phosphorus extraction. He uses phosphorus-free growth media.

“We’ve confirmed that when there is no iron ore added to the media, there is no available phosphorus and no bacterial growth.”

– Tim Eisele

Eisele is investigating two approaches, one using communities of aerobic organisms to specifically attack the phosphorus, and another using anaerobic organisms to chemically reduce and dissolve the iron while leaving the phosphorus behind. He obtained organisms from local sources—his own backyard, in fact, where natural conditions select for the types of organisms desired. Eisele originally got the idea for this approach as a result of the high iron content of his home well water, caused by naturally-occuring anaerobic iron-dissolving organisms.

On the right, anaerobic bacteria dissolve iron in the ferrous state. On the left, recovered electrolytic iron.
In the beaker on the right, anaerobic bacteria dissolve iron in the ferrous state. On the left, recovered electrolytic iron.

Eisele cultivates anaerobic and aerobic organisms in the laboratory to fully adapt them to the ore. “We use mixed cultures of organisms that we have found to be more effective than pure cultures of a single species of organism. Using microorganism communities will also be more practical to implement on an industrial scale, where protecting the process from contamination by outside organisms may be impossible.”


Chemical Engineering and Materials Science Labs Available to Harvey Displaced Researchers

March for ScienceFour Michigan Tech labs, so far, have responded to a request by scientific honor society Sigma Xi and the March for Science for researchers to open their labs to scientists displaced by Hurricane Harvey. Rudy Luck (Chem), David Shonnard (ChemEng), Paul Sanders (MSE) and the Great Lakes Research Center all have invited researchers and students impacted by Harvey to work in their labs.

In its call for lab space, Sigma Xi wrote, “some researchers in the storm’s path will be displaced from their laboratories for an extended period. These individuals may require extraordinary measures to continue their work. Sigma Xi is joining with March for Science to assemble a list of research laboratories nationwide that are willing to accommodate faculty, postdocs and students who need to temporarily relocate.”

Nationwide, 290 labs have signed up so far. To see the list of labs click here.

By Jenn Donovan.

Biofuels Conversion, Biochemical & Thermochemical

Shonnard Lab @ Michigan Technological University
Houghton, MI
David Shonnard
drshonna@mtu.edu

Alloy Research

Sanders Alloy Research Lab @ Michigan Technical University
Houghton, MI
Paul Sanders
sanders@mtu.edu
Al, Fe, Ni, Cu, Mg alloy development; modeling, casting, thermo-mechanical processing, mechanical testing, SEM/TEM
may be able to provide basic housing (basement bed, bath)


Incoming Engineering Students Interviewed

Michigan Tech welcomed more than 1,400 freshmen Sunday at the MacInnes Student Ice Arena.

Students chose Michigan Tech for a number of reasons, some for academics.
Benjamin Syznowski

I heard it’s a really good engineering school. I was in Gross Point Robotics for four years and it kind of instilled in me that engineer spirit. Freshman Chemical Engineering Major Benjamin Syznowski

Some for the opportunities Michigan Tech offers off campus.
Tyler Arthur

I like the area, I don’t know, it’s a really nice place, just kind of suited me I guess. Just kind of getting out and exploring, learning new things, meeting new people. Freshman Computer Engineering Major Tyler Arthur

Read more and watch the video at WLUC TV-6/UpperMichiganSource by David Jackson.

Huskies Fall 2017

Michigan Tech welcomes newest huskies

Hundreds of new students met on Walker Lawn this evening to become acquainted with Michigan Tech traditions. Some of the activities were broomball and making boats and statues.

Read more and watch the video at WJMN TV3/UPMatters by Rebecca Bartelme.


DENSO Foundation Grant to Michigan Tech

DENSO Collaboration Communication
DENSO Collaboration and Communication Space in the Mineral and Materials Building.

Supporting the communities DENSO serves and providing resources for the next generation of technical workers to succeed are core to DENSO’s success. To fulfill these promises, DENSO’s philanthropic arm – the DENSO North America Foundation (DNAF) – funds programs across the continent each year, providing hands-on learning opportunities in areas from robotics and thermodynamics to design and materials development. Recently, the DNAF board confirmed its 2017 college and university grants, totalling nearly $1 million in overall funding for 22 institutions and educational programs across North America.

DENSO is a global automotive supplier of advanced technology, systems, and components in the areas of thermal, powertrain control, electronics, and information and safety.

Read more at Progressive Engineer, by Tom Gibson.

Some of the DENSO educational grants for Michigan Tech supported:

  • Dust Collection System
  • Enterprise Future Truck
  • Enterprise & Youth Outreach
  • Challenge X Enterprise
  • Chassis Dynamometer
  • Automotive Enterprise / Plasma Cutter and ops
  • Student Design Center
  • Keweenaw Research Center and Enterprise Program

Tayloria Adams—Taking Dielectrophoresis to the Next Level

Tayloria Adams
“I am the first black woman to receive a PhD in chemical engineering at Michigan Tech. I hope this will encourage others!” —Tayloria Adams ‘11 ‘14

Last year the National Science Foundation awarded Michigan Tech alumna Tayloria Adams a prestigious Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in Biology. Adams earned her Master’s and PhD in Chemical Engineering here at Michigan Tech, graduating with nine scholarships, fellowships and awards, three peer-reviewed journal publications, a book chapter, and a patent—No. WO2015051372-A1, to be exact. Her doctoral research examined the dielectric behavior of human mesenchymal stem cells, for the purpose of cell sorting in microfluidic devices.

How did you come to Michigan Tech? 

While on the hunt for a graduate school I was drawn to Michigan for two reasons: my mother lived in Detroit for a while before I was born, and affirmative action was started in the state. I applied to Michigan Tech and scheduled a visit. The environment was very welcoming, which got me hooked! Meeting Dr. Adrienne Minerick during the last year of my master’s degree was icing on the cake. My first interactions with her were in the classroom as I took her Advanced Reactive Systems course. I enjoyed her teaching style. She put a lot of effort into giving meaningful lectures and keeping students engaged. I looked into her research and I was very interested in dielectrophoresis, especially its use in studying red blood cells. The rest is history!

“I am passionate about three things: healthcare-related research, minority student success in STEM, and social justice. These areas are my calling.”

– Tayloria Adams

What was the most challenging aspect of your studies?

Research. There is a huge learning curve when entering a new research field. Learning how to design experiments effectively and accepting that there is no such thing as a perfect experiment are both great challenges. Something will always go wrong, but working through it to still collect the necessary data is what builds character and improves research skills.

What have you done since graduation?

I worked in the Michigan Tech Center for Diversity and Inclusion (CDI) for one year after graduation, as the outreach coordinator. That year gave me the opportunity to grow as a mentor and advocate for underrepresented minority students. I am now conducting postdoctoral research in the Department of Neurology at the University of California, Irvine, in Lisa Flanagan’s lab, studying neural stem and progenitor cells (NSPCs) and their therapeutic potential. NSPCs are desirable because they form the three cell types of the central nervous system, astrocytes, neurons, and oligodendrocytes. However, one challenge is that NSPCs are grown as heterogeneous mixtures and we have little information regarding, which cells are best for neural repair. I’m using dielectrophoresis, an electrokinetic separation technique, as a method to target and enrich specific cells NSPCs. My goal is to effectively sort and characterize them.

You worked hard to educate and engage diverse people about the challenges facing underrepresented students at Michigan Tech. How would you describe the difference you made?

Working at Michigan Tech’s CDI provided me an outlet to engage in important conversations and be a part of the work. CDI was also very supportive of my research. I was able to practice research presentations in the center, use the space as a writing sanctuary when I was completing my dissertation, and almost all of the staff was present at my dissertation defense, which was immensely important to me. One of the best parts of my graduate education is that my daughter Aiyanna experienced college life at the undergraduate and graduate level before reaching college age. She’s learned about important campus resources such as CDI, and I am confident that this exposure has played a part in preparing her for college. As a parent this is something I am very proud of and would consider a success. My greatest frustration was the decline I saw in the number of African American students enrolled at Michigan Tech during my time there. A second frustration is the representation in faculty members. Michigan Tech is a great institution but these are areas where growth would make a huge impact on the community. I would say the difference I’ve made so far is showing what’s possible; but there is much more work to be done.

To learn more about Dr. Adams’s research, visit tayloriaadams.com.


eCYBERMISSION Team Thanks Michigan Tech for Support

eCYBERMISSION Winners 2017
The Whiz Kids stand with Army personnel to accept the winner’s trophy for 2017.

BREAKING NEWS—WE WIN!!!

The Whiz Kids presented their work at the eCYBERMISSION National Competition on Thursday, June 29, 2017, and learned that they had won the 8th grade competition on Friday, June 30.

Lake Linden-Hubbell “Whiz Kids” Win National Competition

Three eighth grade students at Lake Linden-Hubbell Middle School not only won a national championship, but may have helped create a solution to a local issue.

Although winning was great, Whiz Kid Gabe Poirier said that wasn’t the only benefit of completing the project.

“I think that one of the greatest parts was the realization that people like us that live in such a small area can do something bigger to benefit a lot of people,” said Whiz Kid Gabe Poirier.

Advisor Gretchen Hein said the trio plans to continue their work with stamp sands next year.

Read more at Keweenaw Report. View the Facebook video.


The Whiz Kids (Siona Beaudoin, Beau Hakala and Gabriel Poirier), an 8th grade eCYBERMISSION Team from Lake Linden-Hubbell High School greatly appreciated the support they received from Michigan Tech over the past year.

From October through June, they were advised by Gretchen Hein (CoE), faculty in engineering fundamentals, and Ryan Knoll, fourth-year chemical engineering student.

eCYBERMISSION is sponsored by the Army Educational Outreach Program (AEOP) and is for sixth through ninth grade teams. This is our second year participating in this competition.

This year we competed at nationals, whereas last year we made it to regionals. Since we made it to the national level, we went to Washington D.C. this week.

As part of the week-long activities, we participated in STEM workshops, visited the National Inventors Hall of Fame, went on a tour of the Capitol building, participated in activities with the Army and presented our project for judging purposes.

From 1:30-4 p.m. today (June 29, 2017), you can vote for our team to receive the People’s Choice Award. The link to vote is here. You can also view our presentation, along with the other teams and the Awards Luncheon here. We’d like to win this award for our school and community.

eCYBERMISSION’s goal is for student teams to research and develop a process that will benefit their community. Because we live in the Copper Country, we wanted to focus on something related to that industry. Our elementary school, playground and football field were constructed on top of stamp sands which are materials that are left over from stamping the copper out of the mine rock. Also, many of our grandparents worked in the area mines. When we went to areas containing stamp sands, we noticed that few plants were growing on them. Then we visited places where the stamp sands had been remediated by placing 6″ – 12″ topsoil on top of the stamp sands and then planting various plants.

We wanted to see how plants would grow in different mixtures of stamp sand and topsoil, and how soil stressors would affect that growth. To test this, we completed two experiment.

For our first experiment, we planted four types of plants (Red Fescue, Red Clover, Alfalfa, and Trefoil) in five different quantities of stamp sand and topsoil. Our results showed that Alfalfa and Red Fescue had adequate plant growth in 100% stamp sand, with Red Fescue being the best.

In our second experiment, we tested different stressors with the plant types selected from the first experiment, which were Fescue and Alfalfa. These plants proved to grow the best in 100 percent stamp sand. The stressors were wind, wheel tracks,l and high water table.

Participating in eCYBERMISSION the past two years has been an enjoyable learning experience for us, and we will be able to apply what we have learned in our future endeavors. We were recently interviewed on the Keweenaw Report that can be read here.

When we competed at the regional competition, we came to Michigan Tech where Jeff Toorongian from the Jackson Center for Teaching and Learning set up and ensured our virtual presentation worked with the eCYBERMISSION software.

When we made it to the national competition, we learned that only one adviser would be funded to travel with us. We were so happy when Chemical Engineering, Engineering Fundamentals and the Parent Fund supported Ryan’s travel. Ryan makes our team better. He has spent the school year and his summer working with us. He came to the regional competition even though it was his finals week.

In addition to funding Ryan’s travel, Engineering Fundamentals and the College of Engineering supported the poster printing costs. If they had not, our display would have just been print-outs. Instead, we learned how to make a Powerpoint poster and they funded the printing.

We are very thankful that the Parent Fund, Chemical Engineering, Engineering Fundamentals and the College of Engineering supported our project and helped to make us a successful team.

By Gretchen Hein.

ecybermission