All posts by akaragia

Meet Adam Augustyniak…

By Amy Karagiannakis

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Every summer, approximately 100 undergraduate and graduate students from top universities across the country become interns at MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory. MIT’s summer research program offers their interns the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in a cutting-edge research environment. The application and selection process is extremely competitive. Participants contribute to projects in fields such as mechanical engineering, aeronautics, molecular biology, and many more. PHC student, Adam Augustyniak, was recently notified of his acceptance into MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory for this summer’s research internship program as part of the Mechanical Engineering Group. Adam will be working as an intern this summer at the lab in Lexington, MA. Just 14 miles from Boston and a short trek from New England’s beautiful seashore, mountains and Cape Cod, Adam will be able to spend some of his free time this summer enjoying the outdoors. As a paid student intern at Lincoln Laboratory, Adam will have the opportunity to work with state-of-the-art equipment to solve real-world technical problems. At the conclusion of the internship, students present the results of their research to national experts in the field.

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Adam believes that it his curiosity and interest in learning that drove him to become an engineer. He is in his third year at Michigan Tech and is majoring in Mechanical Engineering. Adam is very involved in Michigan Tech’s Aerospace Enterprise. Michigan Tech Enterprises are student-driven, multidisciplinary teams that work like companies on real-world client projects. Adam currently serves as the Structures Systems Engineer for the Aerospace Enterprise. Current projects include the Stratus CubeSat, funded by NASA, and the Auris Microsatellite, funded by the Air Force Research Laboratory. In his student position, he is responsible for a team of 12 student structural engineers that design and test the structures of the satellites. Before acting as lead engineer for these two projects, Adam worked on the Oculus-ASR Microsatellite mission. This nanosatellite was designed and built by Aerospace Enterprise students for space situational awareness research. Oculus-ASR is due to launch sometime in the next couple months aboard a SpaceX Falcon Heavy. Following graduation in 2018, he plans to attend graduate school to further his knowledge in Aerospace Engineering.

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Adam is a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and currently sits on the Pavlis Honors College Undergraduate Student Advisory Board. The USAB facilitates the engagement of undergraduate students in the improvement of their living and learning environments by working closely with the College administration, with student organizations and groups and with University and College offices to identify and implement solutions to critical problems. The PHC Board is a self-directed, collaborative body designed for discussion and raising awareness of key issues. In addition to Adam’s involvement on campus, he has also held internship positions with BACA Systems and Fiat Chrysler while working over the summer in 2015 and 2016. As the supervisor to the base tradesmen at the Fiat Chrysler Warren Truck Assembly Plant, Adam was pushed out of his comfort zone to lead people twice his age. This experience helped him grow as a leader and as an engineer.

What motivates Adam, is the desire to become the best possible version of himself. If he is not constantly working to improve himself, he cannot be satisfied with where he is in life. “I must always strive for self-improvement when it comes to academics, physical activity, and any other aspects to life. The Pavlis Honors College nicely compliments my engineering education. Through reflection, I have been able to determine what I want and do not want to do with my career,” Adam shared. Similar to most students at Michigan Tech, Adam enjoys spending his free time outdoors. He spent some time backpacking and hiking the trails of Isle Royale National Park.

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Meet Karin Wolken…

By Amy Karagiannakis

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Karin Wolken believes that research is vitally important to understanding the altering circumstances Earth continues to undergo. She is honing her data analysis skills as she works on a project concerning the fate of carbon in forest residues, a study that could have implications for carbon cycling and climate change. Karin began working as a research assistant in the Forest Biometrics Lab shortly after beginning her education at Tech in 2014. A Forestry major, on par to graduate in just three years, her current project work involves assessing the fate of carbon present in logging residues. During the summer between her first and second year Karin worked as a crew leader in the field collecting samples from red pine and aspen all over Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Since Fall 2015, Karin has been diligently working through processing the collected samples and analyzing and managing the data. Potentially, logging residues could be used as a source of biofuel, a prospect that would have significant impact on the energy industry. Karin presented her team’s findings at the Society of American Foresters National Convention in Madison, WI last fall. The time and commitment Karin has put into this research project has strengthened her ability to lead a team, as well as improved her communication skills, prowess that she will certainly use in future work.

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Karin lived in Seattle her entire life and came to Michigan Tech to experience something completely different from the urban Northwestern bubble she grew up in. The rugged, unlandscaped Upper Peninsula of Michigan seemed like a drastic but welcome change from the temperate rainforests of Northwestern Washington. Karin’s love of the outdoors and the hope that one day her research may contribute to reversing the effects of climate change is what drew her to Forestry.

“I want to be part of something that can help draw the line between coexisting and overusing the world around us. I want to explore what we don’t understand and help get the necessary information to not only survive in our changing world, but thrive.”

Shifting from recreationally enjoying the large trees of the Pacific Northwest to studying the fate of logging residues in the stands of UP forests seemed like a natural transition for Karin. Outside of what she does academically, Karin enjoys knitting, cooking and visiting the Copper Country Humane Society. Karin is currently playing flute in the Keweenaw Symphony Orchestra and tries to spend as much time enjoying the outdoors as she can.

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Being involved with the Pavlis Honors College has given Karin the opportunity to meet and work with people across departments and disciplines. Her focus is in forestry research, but the Honors College has allowed her to branch out and collaborate with similarly driven people of various majors and interests.

Karin’s Honors project is to improve the Forestry Learning Center (FLC) at Michigan Tech by shifting to a more peer-focused learning platform. The center, in comparison with other learning centers on campus, has lacked the proper attention, funding and support. Karin believes that peer tutoring is extremely effective to learning and understanding. An acting tutor herself, Karin coordinates the current tutoring system at the FLC and focuses on one-on-one and group sessions. Her goal is to identify ways for the center to become more effective in helping SFRES students and implement these practices for future undergraduate classes.


Applications Now Being Accepted for Gilman Scholarship

GilmanThe Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program offers grants for U.S. citizen undergraduate students of limited financial means to pursue academic studies or credit-bearing, career-oriented internships abroad.  This type of experience prepares U.S. students for an increasingly global economy. The Gilman Scholarship seeks students from a diverse range of private and public institutions all over the country across all 50 states. The selection process is highly competitive. Good news for Michigan Tech students, the Gilman panel looks for STEM majors!

Benjamin A. Gilman, retired New York congressman and the scholarship’s namesake, once said, “Study abroad is a special experience for every student who participates. Living and learning in a vastly different environment of another nation not only exposes our students to alternate views, but also adds an enriching social and cultural experience. It also provides our students with the opportunity to return home with a deeper understanding of their place in the world, encouraging them to be a contributor, rather than a spectator in the international community.”

If you are interested in applying, visit the website here for more information. The deadline to apply for Summer 2017 and Fall 2017-18 is March 7th.


Your Professional Network

By Joe Thompson

Regardless of your personal goals and aspirations, it is always a good idea to cultivate and maintain your professional network. This is a network of individuals you can call on when you need a letter of recommendation, a professional reference, or are otherwise looking to grow professionally. This network is unique to you, your experiences and professional interactions. You’ll know you have a strong network and whether you are associated with the right people if they look for professional benefit from you as well.

wordcloud-professional-networkingA professional network is about more than how many LinkedIn connections you’ve attained. A real professional network will include those you’ve had meaningful professional or academic interactions with, not just those you’ve met at a conference or latched onto via a mutual connection or algorithm recommendations. An inner circle of 10-15 people will be worth more to you in long run than 1,000 connections who periodically “like” a press release or article you share!

So where might a Michigan Tech student look when developing a real professional network? If you are like most Michigan Tech students, you are probably involved in a club, student organization, Enterprise Team, Sorority or Fraternity, etc. Maybe you volunteer with a local community non-profit or are an active member of a religious institution. Have you had a leadership role or have you participated on any committees, sub teams, project teams? There is probably someone you worked with who could speak to specifics about how you benefited the team/organization/project by being involved. Those specifics are what makes a real network connection!

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If you’ve had a positive Co-op or internship experience, your manager and those you worked with are real professional connections. Even if you don’t want to work for that company (or in that particular industry) in the future, maintaining a professional relationship with those you’ve had work experience with is important. If you establish yourself on a different career path, being able to show your professional adaptability by your success in a potentially unrelated sector can highlight universal leadership or technical ability.

It is never too early to start developing your real professional network. The experiences you have on campus and off campus during your time at Michigan Tech are valuable and will not only aid you now, but also as you move forward on whatever career path you choose!


Meet Randy Wilharm…

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By Amy Karaginannakis

Randy came from the suburbs of Chicago to Tech in the Fall of 2013. He was excited to move someplace different from the urban home he had grown accustomed to and looked forward to new experiences in Michigan’s beautiful Upper Peninsula. His love of music led him to join the Superior Wind Symphony and the Michigan Tech Pep Band shortly after arriving to campus. Randy plays the clarinet and will graduate Tech this coming Spring with a Major in Chemistry and a Minor in Music. He spoke fondly of his time at Tech, but most memorably enjoys attending the hockey games. In addition to Randy’s passion for new experiences, it was Tech’s reputation as a cutting-edge research university that drew him to the Keweenaw.

wilharmAs a Research Pathway student in the Pavlis Honors College, Randy has been involved in various research projects across campus. During his second year on campus he conducted research with Dr. Bruce Lee and contributed to the article, “Modulating the movement of hydrogel actuator based on catechol-iron ion coordination chemistry” in the scientific journal, Sensors and Actuators B. Over this past summer, Randy worked alongside Dr. Rudy Luck, an Associate Professor for the Department of Chemistry, here at Tech. This experience served as Randy’s Immersion that would fulfill one of the key components of his Honors education. While working in the lab over the summer, Randy synthesized and tested different complexes to learn their properties and determine potential uses. Randy is currently working to produce a catalyst that will improve the process of electrolysis. The process is currently very energy intensive and the complexes him and his fellow researchers are working with may allow electrolysis to occur with just UV light. Randy continues to forge his legacy on campus and beyond.

 

1064226_10203173494759398_713905516_oRandy is always up for a challenge and has never been satisfied with just fulfilling the minimum requirements. That’s part of the reason he decided to apply to the Pavlis Honors College. Always motivated to be his best, no matter what the task, Randy does not accept mediocrity in his daily life. He also enjoys engaging in service projects that afford him the opportunity to help others. He continues to donate his time to service projects in the local community and travels to Florida for his Spring Break every year with Cru, a national Christian community of college students.

 

12719197_10153556594761365_8902995734081003632_oRandy wants to do something no one has ever done before and believes that should be the goal of every scientist. The Pavlis Honors College has fueled his passion for learning and continues to prepare him for graduate school and life after graduation. When asked about his experiences in the Honors College, Randy reflected, “The PHC has pushed me that extra step beyond my classwork to clarify and work to achieve my goals as an independent person. Because of this, I feel more confident and prepared to enter the world after college.” Following graduation this Spring from Michigan Tech, Randy plans to attend graduate school to pursue a PhD in Chemistry.


New Entrepreneur Congressional Intern Program

The National Council of Entrepreneurial Tech Transfer (NCET2) has developed a new University Entrepreneur Congressional Intern Program to start in the Summer of 2017. This eight-week program places exceptional university and college students in Senate and House offices to work on issues dealing with entrepreneurship and startups. The Program also includes meetings with senior federal administration officials, serial entrepreneurs, startups, venture capitalists, angel investors, and corporate venture groups to increase the student’s professional network during the internship and after, when they return to campus to share their experiences and networks with students, researchers, faculty and alumni. In the long term, it is expected that these students will provide entrepreneurship leadership in public service, academia, and the private sector throughout their careers.

More information about the program can be found at ncet2.org/interns. The deadline to apply is January 30, 2017.

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Michigan Tech I-Corps Site Workshop

The Michigan Tech I-Corps Site Program and the Innovation Center for Entrepreneurship will be hosting its next NSF Innovation Corps (I-Corps) Workshop in January over a 4-week period, with the first session starting on Saturday, January 7th.

The I-Corps Site program is a team-based program structure that was developed through a partnership between the National Science logo_nsf-icorpsFoundation (NSF) and successful Silicon Valley entrepreneurs. The workshop provides an introduction to the Lean Start-up business development methodology which focuses on getting out of the lab and using the proven tools of Customer Discovery and the Business Model Canvas to evaluate the commercial potential of innovative technologies.

This is a great opportunity to work with an experienced team of workshop leaders to determine, document, and fully realize the commercial potential of your technology. Teams which successfully complete the program requirements are eligible for $2500 to advance their technology-focused start-up ideas through customer discovery and prototyping. Teams also become eligible for NSF’s National I-Corps program which includes $50,000 in funding.

Participants of I-Corps Site programs and NSF’s National I-Corps have demonstrated significantly higher funding rates from the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer Research (STTR) programs which offer Phase I awards up to $225,000 and Phase II awards up to $750,000. Past participants also report that the I-Corps program had a positive impact on their careers, as well as their approach to research, teaching and mentoring.

Apply today for this great experience! For more information on the Michigan Tech I-Corps Site Program or to apply to the January workshop, visit mtu.edu/honors/ice/icorps/. The deadline to submit your application is January 2, 2017.


Effectively Managing Time

By Paige Hackney

Being a successful and productive student is a combination of many factors and decisions all working in concert to culminate in a fulfilling academic career. To be a well-rounded and successful student requires selecting a major that fulfills your interests and future career plans, balancing academic requirements and pressures, finding time for relaxation and fun, engaging in activities that bring you joy, and making and enjoying friends. When I was a student in the late 70’s, a student’s main “job” was to go to class, study, do homework, perhaps work a few hours a week, and enjoy new friends. In short – be a student. It strikes me that much more is expected of today’s student than the student of my day. Most of today’s students appear to balance studies with more time-consuming and often multiple jobs, involvement in several organizations, and engaging in community service activities, all while setting aside time to spend with friends. This increased demand on the finite resource of time can lead to stress which in turn can lead to the ineffective use of that time.

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How can students develop effective time management skills that minimize stress and provide optimal results in the classroom and/or on the job coupled with a satisfying social life and a positive sense of self? While each student will bring a unique ability to manage time, based in part on personality (Type A versus Type B), there are strategies that any student can implement to improve their use of this all important finite resource that we each have in the course of a day. I would like to explore some simple strategies for effective time management that may help you make more efficient and productive use of your time that should decrease stress and increase performance in your studies and overall satisfaction with life.

The first and most intuitive step is to prioritize tasks. When considering multiple tasks, consider deadlines and magnitude of tasks that need to be accomplished. And by all means, do not procrastinate. Use and regularly check a calendaring system to ensure that nothing slips through the cracks. I like to use the analogy of having multiple Saturday errands to run in a single trip. If I find that I need to go to the bank, pharmacy, grocery store, and drop off garbage, I always think about how best to manage my route and stops. Multiple factors will figure into my chosen route and sequence of chores based on immediate needs (Do I need cash from the bank to complete any of the other tasks on my list or am I getting cash for an upcoming trip in a few days), the season (do I want to avoid smelly garbage and melted ice cream in my car in summer) and ease of negotiating my chosen travel route through busy intersections (stop light placement, on what side of the street are my destinations located). In summer my route is often different than in winter based on logistics, priorities and conditions.

The second, and perhaps the most difficult strategy is: Don’t procrastinate. Few people actually perform better under pressure in a short period compared to a longer span of time. It is easy to fall into this trap especially when having to choose between taking on the task at hand rather than doing something more attractive and fun. Procrastination only leads to stress and leaves little, if any, time to learn from unanticipated results and make corrections to produce a better end product or start over.

sporkMy third suggestion is to avoid multitasking and focus on one assignment at a time and do it well. Studies show it usually takes longer to complete multiple tasks simultaneously than it does to complete several tasks singularly. This phenomenon is due to the additional time required to refocus when transitioning back and forth between tasks.

Don’t forget to take care of your basic needs when you have many things to accomplish. Getting adequate sleep does take time; however, sleep is a source of rejuvenation for the mind as well as the body. Sleep provides the resources to think more clearly, organize thoughts more efficiently and learn and retain information more easily. If you do find yourself stressing over a daunting to-do list, take time to relieve the added pressure by engaging in some form of exercise or meditation. Exercise is not only good for the heart and overall personal wellbeing and health, but also improves brain function to spark memory and general brain function. Engaging in a regular exercise regimen has scientifically-proven long-term benefits including longevity, improved memory and enhanced thinking skills.

On those busiest of days, don’t forget to take time to enjoy life with friends. Social engagement is as basic a human need as eating and sleeping and should be regularly worked into your schedule to foment success. Taking a break to enjoy dinner with friends may be all that is necessary on a hectic day to help you relax, redirect energies and ultimately refocus.

While these strategies seem simple and intuitive, they will require a conscious effort to implement for most people. However, the added benefit you will find in your personal and academic life will be significant.

 


The Herbert Scoville Jr. Peace Fellowship

Scoville Fellows work with one or more than two dozen participating public-interest organizations. They may undertake a variety of activities, including research, writing, public education and advocacy on a range of security issues, including nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, non-proliferation, missile defense, weapons trade, environmental and energy security, and peacekeeping, that support the goals of their host organization, and may attend coalition meetings, policy briefings and Congressional hearings. Fellows are supervised by senior level staff and often have the opportunity to publish articles, blogs, or reports. The program also arranges meetings for the fellows with policy experts. Many former Scoville Fellows have gone on to pursue graduate degrees in international relations and taken prominent positions in the field of peace and security with public interest organizations, the Federal Government, academia and media.

The 6-9 month fellowship in Washington D.C. is open to recent undergraduate and graduate alumni with an excellent academic record and a strong interest in issues of peace and security. Deadline to apply is January 6th, 2017. For more information visit scoville.org


Design Thinking and Makerspaces

By Mary Raber

If you’ve been hanging out around the Pavlis Honors College you’ve probably heard talk about Design Thinking and Makerspaces. And maybe you’re wondering, what are these things and why are they important?

As stated by Tom & David Kelley, co-founders of the product innovation company IDEO and authors of Creative Confidence, “Most people are born creative. As children, we revel in imaginary play, ask outlandish questions, draw blobs and call them dinosaurs. But over time, because of socialization and formal education, a lot of us start to stifle those impulses. We learn to be warier of judgment, more cautious, more analytical. The world seems to divide into “creatives” and “non-creatives,” and too many people consciously or unconsciously resign themselves to the latter category.”

Last fall, the Pavlis Honors College announced the creation of a new Innovation Center for Entrepreneurship (ICE), and as part of our mission we want to help Michigan Tech students, faculty and staff reclaim their “creative confidence.” Design thinking and makerspaces are two great tools that can help.

“Design Thinking is defined as a methodology and a mindset that draws upon logic, imagination, intuition, and systemic reasoning, to explore possibilities of what could be—and to create desired outcomes that match people’s needs with what is technologically feasible and what a viable business strategy can convert into customer value and market opportunity,” explains IDEO CEO, Tim Brown.

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It is an iterative process that starts with Empathy…understanding the needs and challenges of the people who might use the innovative ideas you are developing. By getting out and talking to people, you can learn a lot about their needs and challenges which can help ensure that you are focusing on the right problem. Then through ideation processes such as brainstorming, new ideas are generated. Simple prototypes of these ideas can be created with fast and inexpensive methods such as sketching, role playing, or building models using materials like post-it notes and pipe cleaners. These simple prototypes can then be used to gain valuable feedback by testing a physical model of your idea with prospective users. This allows you to determine whether you’re on the right track before you’ve invested too much time or money, or if you need to go back to a previous step to explore your idea further.

We now have a team of faculty and students (our University Innovation Fellows) who are trained in the design thinking process and are available to help others develop design-thinking skills through facilitated workshops and class sessions. The team has already been working hard to help infuse this process across campus and into the community.

You’ve probably also heard about our new makerspace, The Alley. Makerspaces are popping up all over the world and there are an estimated 400 makerspaces in the US alone. They are intended to be creative, DIY spaces where people can gather to create, collaborative, invent, tinker and learn using a variety of tools and materials. By all accounts, they are not just spaces, they are communities of people from all disciplines and backgrounds who enjoy making things. They encompass making in all forms, whether building with power tools, creating 3D printed prototypes, experimenting with cooking, or creating through more traditional art forms like sewing and painting.

Over the past year, a diverse team of students, faculty and staff have worked to convert the old bowling alley in the basement of the MUB to a really cool collaborative work space where members of the Michigan Tech community can bring their ideas to life.

In September, representatives of Milwaukee Tool came to campus to help facilitate a workbench building event. Milwaukee Tool is a strong supporter of The Alley and helped get the makerspace off the ground with a generous donation of tools. The Alley officially opened with a ribbon cutting ceremony on October 25th, 2016.

The Alley is a student-led makerspace, with a team of Maker Coaches (student, faculty and staff volunteers) who staff the space, maintain the tools & equipment, train new users, and help to make it a safe place to work. It is open to the Michigan Tech community on Monday-Thursday from 3:00-9:00pm. For more info on the space, or how to get involved as a volunteer Maker Coach, check out The Alley’s website or Facebook page.

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