Society of Women Engineers Team Shines at WE16

By Electrical and Computer Engineering

SWE win

Michigan Tech’s Blue Marble Security (BMS) Enterprise team CAT/SWE took first place in the WE16 Team Tech Competition (sponsored by Boeing) in Philadelphia over the weekend. Members of the Blue Marble Security team include: Ester Buhl, Sandra Cvetanovic, Cody Kovar, Johnathan Boik, Andrew Tallman, Alex Gall, Alexis Dani and Eman Jazayeri.

The team’s project “Wheel Tractor Scraper Bowl Optimization System,” a joint venture between BMS and Consumer Product Manufacturing Enterprise, was sponsored by Caterpillar, Inc. The Consumer Product Manufacturing team members include: Anna Marchesano, Brianne Anderson, Johnathan Quinn, Jennifer Dzurka and Harley Colburn.

Blue Marble Security is a virtual company of undergraduate students focused on securing the future through thoughtful use of technology. The student-led company combines a rich educational experience in engineering design, team building, project management and original product development.

Blue Marble Security’s win wasn’t the only good news for Tech at the conference. Elizabeth (Cloos) Dreyer, BSEE 2011, was selected SWE Outstanding Collegiate Member for outstanding contribution to SWE, the engineering community and their campus. Dreyer is an electrical engineering PhD candidate at the University of Michigan.

WE16 is the world’s largest conference and career fair for women in engineering and technology. Hosted by the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and a number of corporate sponsors, WE16 provides inspiring and invaluable ways to connect, discover career opportunities and pursue professional development.


Michigan Tech Students to Compete in the Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition

AccelerateMichiganphotoThe Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition is one of the largest business competitions in the country celebrating its seventh year highlighting the best and brightest early-stage business to regional investors. The competition continues to showcase the state as a powerhouse for business opportunity and the next generation of technology.

Paul Jacques, Director of Community and Student Engagement at Spartan Innovations said, “Student Accelerate is an incredible opportunity for Michigan’s young entrepreneurs to step out and take risks. Today’s semi-finalists come from colleges and universities all across Michigan and represent the top student-based startup ideas. I’m honored to announce our 2016 Student Accelerate Michigan Class.”

Seventy student companies applied to compete in this year’s competition from universities across Michigan including Central Michigan University, Grand Valley State University, Michigan State University, Michigan Technological University, Northwestern Michigan College, Northwood University, University of Michigan, Wayne State University, and Western Michigan University.

Out of the 27 semi-finalists that were selected to compete for up to $20,000 in cash prizes, two of the teams were from Michigan Tech and both have ties to the Pavlis Honors College. Kyle Ludwig, a University Innovation Fellow and PHC Custom Pathway student, is a member of the team of student founders for Tru, which is developing tools to enable healthy meal planning. Emmet Eurich is a member of Vacu-Shot which is developing archery technology suitable for disabled people and safer for everyone. Emmet and team member Sankalp Benwa are both members of the Consumer Products Manufacturing Enterprise.

The competition will take place in Detroit, MI this Thursday. We wish Kyle, Emmet and Sankalp the best of luck this week! Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram for live updates throughout the day.


Meet Aaron Dean…

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Aaron, a third-year Mechanical Engineering major, spends most of his free time supporting the Railroad Engineering & Activities Club (REAC), the Michigan Tech Student chapter of the American Railway Engineering & Maintenance-of-Way Association (AREMA). An active member of REAC and newly elected 2016-17 President, Aaron has visited numerous rail industry sites and volunteers locally at the Quincy Mine & Hoist Association (QMHA) and the Houghton County Historical Society.

REAC trip to Union Pacific Railroad Headquarters in Omaha, NE
REAC trip to Union Pacific Railroad Headquarters in Omaha, NE
Volunteering at QMHA Cog Railway
Aaron volunteering at the Quincy Mine Hoist Association (QMHA) Cog Railway

It was through his participation in REAC, that Aaron came to be hired as an undergraduate research and administrative assistant for the Michigan Tech Rail Transportation Program (RTP). His interest in research allowed Aaron to shift from administrative tasks to research activities in a new area related to driver behavior at highway-rail grade crossings. Aaron’s work with the RTP has had a great influence on their ability to advance that research area from an internally funded initiative to an externally funded project by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA).

Aaron’s initial work focused on reducing data from the Strategic Highway Research Program Naturalistic Driving Study (SHRP2 NDS) through a Michigan Tech Transportation Institute (MTTI) minor initiative. Just last summer, he received a Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) to investigate the use of automated head rotation data as an indicator of driver behavior at railroad grade crossings, and his results are showing great promise for the approach. Aaron attended the AREMA conference in Orlando, FL this past August, and won best undergraduate student poster. Following this success and the growing interest in his work, Aaron was invited to present at the 2017 Joint Rail Conference in Philadelphia this coming April and is busy preparing for the opportunity.

AREMA 2016 Conference Orlando FL
AREMA Conference 2016 in Orlando, FL

Aaron was recently selected as a DeVlieg Foundation Fellow for the Undergraduate Research Internship Program (URIP) through the Pavlis Honors College. This will allow for continued research and could potentially lead to published works in a notable transportation journal. Aaron’s URIP mentor, Pasi Lautala, Director of the RTP and an Assistant Professor for the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, shared, “Aaron Dean got involved in our highway-rail grade crossing research almost immediately after we hired him as an undergraduate assistant for the Rail Transportation Program (RTP). He quickly became our leading student researcher. With his help, we were able to secure a small internal grant from the Michigan Tech Transportation Institute (MTTI) which also led to Aaron’s successful proposal for the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF). It was due to his work that we were able to write a successful proposal for the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) for a two year study. Aaron is truly a role model for our other students in taking a task and making it his own, and the results are evident from the awards he’s already received.”

Lake Superior FishingAaron is also an active member and Public Relations Manager for the Michigan Tech Men’s Basketball Club. His team travels all over the Midwest to play in tournaments with other club teams from other universities. In his spare time, he also enjoys hunting, fishing and playing the guitar.

Aaron competing with the Michigan Tech Basketball Club in the Bucky Classic Tournament at the University of Wisconsin - Madison
Aaron competing with the Michigan Tech Basketball Club in the Bucky Classic Tournament at the University of Wisconsin – Madison

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Tech Students Named University Innovation Fellows

UIFs in Silicon Valley for Epicenter Training

Kyle Ludwig and Adam Weber accepting their check for Best Technology at the Bob Mark Elevator Pitch Competition.
Kyle Ludwig and Adam Weber accepting their check for Best Technology at the 2016 Bob Mark Elevator Pitch Competition.

Congratulations to Rachel Kolb, Kyle Ludwig, and Adam Weber who have been named University Innovation Fellows (UIF) by Stanford University’s Hasso Plattner Institute of Design (d.school). This global program trains student leaders to create new opportunities for their peers to engage with innovation, entrepreneurship, design thinking and creativity.

The University Innovation Fellows Program empowers students to become agents of change at Michigan Tech. Fellows work to ensure that their peers gain the knowledge, skills and attitudes required to make a positive impact on the world.

“We believe that students can be so much more than just the customers of their education. They can be leaders of change and they can co-design the higher education experience,” said Humera Fasihuddin, co-director of the University Innovation Fellows program. “This core belief has driven the program since its inception, and we’ve seen the results of this belief put to action at schools around the world. Fellows are collaborating with their peers, faculty and administrators to create more educational opportunities for students at their schools. They are making measurable gains, both in the number of resources and the students served by the innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem.”

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Rachel Kolb received the Rising Star of the Year award at the 2016 Michigan Tech Student Award Ceremony

Rachel, Kyle and Adam were sponsored by Pavlis Honors College Assistant Dean, Mary Raber. The Innovation Center for Entrepreneurship will fund the Fellows’ six week online training along with their travel to the annual University Innovation Fellows Silicon Valley Meetup in March of 2017.

“Through this program, Fellows learn how to analyze their campus ecosystems for new opportunities, understand the needs of stakeholders at their schools, collaborate with peers from different disciplines, and solve open-ended problems,” said Leticia Britos Cavagnaro, co-director of the University Innovation Fellows program. “All of these mindsets and skills will help Fellows make a difference in higher education as well as in the increasingly complex world that awaits them after graduation.”

Tech’s new Fellows will advocate for lasting change by creating opportunities for students across campus to engage in more activities and events that inspire innovation, entrepreneurship, design thinking and creativity.

 

 


Rekhi Innovation Challenge

The Rekhi Innovation Challenge is a crowdfunding competition to help promote and support student innovation and entrepreneurship through the use of Superior Ideas. The team that raises the most money will receive a matching gift to advance their project even further.

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The Robotics Systems Enterprise team is one of four from across campus that are competing in this year’s challenge. The Robotic Systems Enterprise is creating a modular remotely operated vehicle to collect soil samples from the bottom of lakes. In previous semesters, they were able to submerge, emerge, and maneuver the vehicle during underwater testing. They plan to make significant improvements on their vehicle this year by creating a sediment collector, and utilizing it to collect core samples. Your donation can help them purchase the equipment and materials needed to further their research and bring them closer to achieving our project goals.

Check out the amazing projects and support your favorite team today.


Traces of Reading, or A Tale of Two Bookshelves

By Laura Fiss

Anne Fadiman says that there are two kinds of book-lovers: “courtly” and “carnal.” They differ in their attitudes toward the marks and side-effects of reading: creases, dog-eared pages, bent or broken spines, ripped pages, food and water stains. Courtly lovers treat the book with respect and veneration, honoring the book as object. Carnal lovers consume the book enthusiastically, viewing any degradation of the object as a natural result of a delightful encounter. I fall somewhere in the middle, as I suspect most of us do. I treat my books with care – particularly the nineteenth- and twentieth-century volumes in my possession – but I also see the creased spines of some of my more well-loved paperbacks as a badge of honor. The only time I wrote in a library book (gasp!), it was a copy of H. J. Jackson’s Marginalia, and I carefully initialed and dated my notation.

IMG_20161020_123917107The child of bibliophiles, I feel a strong attraction to the book as object. My childhood bedroom, a wood-paneled former study, had one wall of bookshelves and another of windows. I feel a strong sense of comfort when I’m ensconced in a place with nearly-ceiling-high, full bookshelves. Yet as I sit in my new PHC office (with a beautiful view of the fall foliage out the window — come visit us if you haven’t already!), the bookshelf next to me doesn’t have the same effect as the bookshelves of similar height in my office in Walker (come visit there, too!). When I first drafted this post, I thought these books belonged to my office-mate, but I’ve since discovered that they consist the PHC library, which actually changes the way I think about them. At first, I thought that while titles such as The Innovation Killer and multiple copies of Business Model Generation are intriguing and the colorful, mainly paperback spines are aesthetically pleasing, nevertheless these books are, to me, as yet, only objects. Initially, I saw in them the arrangement of another single personality, one who would place Out of Poverty by Paul Polak next to The Seven Layers of Integrity by George P. Jones and June Ferrill for alphabet-defying reasons that make perfect sense to a mind not my own. Now that I know these books are for everyone, I feel less closed-off from them, knowing I could pick one up at any time and begin reading (I suppose I’m too courtly to borrow someone else’s books without their permission).

LauraBookShelves
Each one of these books has a story. I’ve moved several times in the last few years, and I always enjoy the chance to hold each book individually.

Still, these books don’t have the same effect as the ones in my Walker office, particularly my nineteenth-century bookcase (alphabetized by author, then with books ordered by date of publication). There’s my shelf of Jerome K. Jerome, where a few sad print-on-demand titles rub alongside first editions (British and American) purchased for a song online: few people want Second Thoughts of an Idle Fellow as much as I. Above and below lie ranks of black Penguins and white Oxford World’s Classics, slim volumes and doorstoppers with variously creased spines. Particular books remind me not only of the plot but of a moment in my personal and academic life. Little Dorrit changed my mind about Dickens. I finished The Mill on the Floss on a bus in France, tears running down my cheeks. He Knew He Was Right fired up my blood throughout its agonizing, painful, infuriating 900 pages, and I finished it while walking to my graduate seminar. While I’m no stranger to multitasking while reading – in high school I played the flute while reading Mercedes Lackey and knitting got me few several Dickens biographies in the final year of my dissertation – walking while reading has always been a matter of necessity rather than pleasure.

I relish the different traditions of reading I participate in, the different rituals of reading I’ve learned. My parents taught me to “break in” a book, particularly a large textbook, by placing it spine-down on a firm surface and gently creasing pages down from both ends. I’ve done that with several Complete Works of Shakespeare over the years. As a child and young adult, I loved filling up a canvas bag at the public library, and now I do the same thing at Portage Lake District Library with my toddler (who’s very into the Llama Llama books at the moment). As a Jew I engage in rituals of reading around prayer books and scrolls, relishing the moment when a manuscript scroll is lifted above our heads (by a web developer the other week) as we sing triumphantly and hope it stays aloft.

PHCBookShelves
These, too, have their stories; I just don’t know them – yet!

I’ve dedicated my life not only to the practice of reading but to the study of reading practices because the act of reading fascinates me in its potency and its fragility. We invest books and other text-carriers (next time, maybe we’ll talk about our relationships to phones) with all these properties, but at the end of the day, they’re just objects: paper, wood, rag, cloth. In the words of one of my favorite jokes (about a pool table), if it falls from a tree, it’ll kill you.

Why do we do these things? Why do we have rituals around reading, and why do some of us feel so strongly about books and the way they are treated that we might, like the chambermaid in Fadiman’s essay, tell each other, “You must never do that to a book”? Reading is many things: frustrating and fun, arduous and ardent. It can stretch time or make it fly by, make us incredibly conscious of our surroundings or transport us, in Emily Dickinson’s words, “Lands away.” The closed book is itself a metaphor for things we don’t — yet? — know. The books in my office might be closed to me at the moment, but the very fact that they’re books makes me feel at home.


The SMART Scholarship for Service Program

The Science, Mathematics and Research for Transformation (SMART) Scholarship for Service Program is an opportunity for students pursuing an undergraduate or graduate degree in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines to receive a full scholarship and be gainfully employed upon degree completion with a Department of Defense facility. The Program will pay for all educational expenses for a B.S., M.S. or Ph.D. degree, and then provide scholars unique opportunities to work as research scientists or engineers on cutting edge technology in world class Department of Defense facilities.

SMART Scholars receive:
•       Full tuition and educational fees
•       Generous cash stipend ranging from $25,000 – $38,000 per year
•       Paid summer internships, health insurance, and miscellaneous allowance
•       Employment with Department of Defense facilities after graduation

Students pursuing degrees in the following fields are encouraged to apply:
o       Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering
o       Biosciences
o       Chemical Engineering
o       Chemistry
o       Civil Engineering
o       Cognitive, Neural, and Behavioral Sciences
o       Computer, Computational Science, and Computer Engineering
o       Electrical Engineering
o       Geosciences
o       Industrial and Systems Engineering
o       Information Sciences
o       Materials Science and Engineering
o       Mathematics
o       Mechanical Engineering
o       Naval Architecture and Ocean Engineering
o       Nuclear Engineering
o       Oceanography
o       Operations Research
o       Physics

Basic eligibility requirements are as follows:
o       a U.S. citizen at time of application (some exceptions apply),
o       18 years of age or older as of August 1, 2017,
o       able to participate in summer internships at DoD laboratories,
o       willing to accept post-graduate employment with the DoD,
o       a student in good standing with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale and,
o       pursuing an undergraduate or graduate degree in one of the disciplines listed above

The application is currently open and the deadline to apply is December 1st, 2016. For more information and to apply please visit http://smart.asee.org.

SMART_Scholarship_Poster


Silicon Valley to Michigan

GLRCBy Office of Advancement

There will be an open roundtable at noon Wednesday (Oct.26) in GLRC 202. The topic of the roundtable is “Silicon Valley to Michigan—Does the Model Translate?”

This will be an open discussion on business, technology, government and the links between Michigan and California. Automotive, start-ups, app-development – who is taking cues from whom? This roundtable is part of the 14 Floors series.

14 Floors is a series of events and activities designed to build momentum and enable culture change on Michigan Tech’s campus. Core are initiatives focused on fostering entrepreneurism and high-tech innovation—both within the context of a global culture and economy. These activities are cross-disciplinary on and off campus, led by staff and faculty, focused on students and largely enabled by Michigan Tech alumni.


Ownership of student intellectual property – clarifying policies and dispelling myths

By Jim Baker

This is my first blog as a member of the Pavlis Honors College team. I work half time in the Honors College as co-director of the Innovation Center for Entrepreneurship (ICE) alongside Mary Raber. ICE was established in the fall of 2015 to serve as a cross-campus resource to connect entrepreneurially-minded students, faculty and staff to resources and expertise that will help them advance their businesses and ideas into the market. Mary and I have both been involved in startup companies and established manufacturing companies and are building ICE within the Honors College to complement existing campus and community resources. In addition to my new role focused on enabling student innovation and entrepreneurship, the other half of my job involves creating companies and business opportunities around University technologies. I have a technical background with a PhD in engineering and am licensed to practice patent law in the United States.

Among the host of topics rattling around in my head on innovation, entrepreneurship, and various random issues, the ownership of intellectual property for students at Michigan Tech is one that comes up a lot and seems to remain a source of confusion and even mystery. In this post, I will clarify the University’s policies on intellectual property ownership for students.

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The University policy on Patents can be viewed online and provides for two sides of this issue. 1. The University has rights to “any software or invention conceived or reduced to practice by faculty, staff, and students in the course of University employment or research, or through the use of University facilities and equipment”, and 2. The University does not have rights to “inventions developed without the use of its funds, facilities, or equipment.”

University employment is quite simple – did you get a paycheck to do it? University research is also quite simple – is there a contract or other agreement in place that covers the project? The phrase “use of facilities and equipment” is sometimes a cause for concern and is perceived by some to allow the University to claim ownership to anything that a student does while they are at Michigan Tech. That is not the case, and this issue has been formally clarified in a memo issued by Dave Reed, Michigan Tech’s Vice President for Research.

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The memo lays out two very important qualifiers to the facilities and equipment issue. It requires that the facility/equipment be specialized and that the use be substantive. Any facility that is open to the entire student body is outside of the definition of specialized. A dorm room, the library, an open computer lab, and the Innovation Alley Makerspace are examples of things outside of the definition of specialized facilities and equipment because all students have access to them. The supercomputer cluster, electron optics equipment, and any specialized lab facilities would be specialized, however their use alone may not necessarily result in University ownership – the use must also be substantive to the creation of the invention in question.   For example, if you design something on your own computer and then make arrangements to simply have it made in a ‘specialized facility’ then that use is not substantive.

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All policies regarding facilities use still apply so you can’t open a retail store in your dorm room or us a machine shop to manufacture production parts but if you think of the next best invention in your dorm room and email a description to your friend from a University email account it’s all yours to do with as you please. I am hopeful that this post clarifies the policies and practices but if you have any remaining concerns I encourage you to reach out with your specific questions and circumstances. We can answer any questions you have, and through ICE, we can provide guidance on your path forward to customers as well as recommendations to other recourses that will be essential on your way there.

Jim Baker can usually be found at the Pavlis Honors College offices on Tuesdays or Thursdays. If you would like to set up an appointment with him to talk IP, please email Amy Karagiannakis (akaragia@mtu.edu).


Meet Brad Turner…

Brad

By Amy Karagiannakis

Brad works part-time as a product designer for Handshake, the Michigan Tech start-up that is now headquartered in San Francisco. He started as an intern while the company was still located in Houghton in 2014. David Shull, Michigan Tech alumni and Director of University Growth at Handshake, related, “I’ve had the chance to work with Brad on a few different teams now.  At Handshake, Brad crafted major redesigns of the student on-boarding process. Over three months, Brad’s inquisitive nature enabled him to learn about the company, the team, and the users to create a new student experience that has been used by hundreds of thousands of students across the country. From day one, Brad was treated as a full time team member and impressed the entire team with his work ethic, design skills, and technical approach to problem solving.” Brad’s biggest challenge since working at Handshake is trying to involve more actual users in the design process. He’s currently leading many student-focused projects that will help to redesign the job search experience for all of Handshake’s users.

Handshake office in San Francisco

With the new Michigan Tech Makerspace set to open in a little over a week, Brad has been busy trying to get The Alley ready. Next week, Silicon Valley alum will be visiting campus to take part in the Makerspace grand opening. As the Student Director, Brad incorporated a design thinking process to turn the old Michigan Tech bowling alley into a multi-functional makerspace that the entire University community can benefit from.

Preliminary floor plans courtesy of makerspacemtu.github.io/updates.html
Preliminary floor plans courtesy of makerspacemtu.github.io/updates.html

Brad is a fourth year student graduating in the Spring with a Bachelors degree in Software Engineering. A Custom Pathways Innovation student, Brad sits on the Pavlis Honors College (PHC) Undergraduate Student Advisory Board and is very involved with Michigan Tech’s new Innovation Center for Entrepreneurship (ICE). During Homecoming week, Brad gathered a team to construct a cardboard boat for the Pavlis Honors College to compete in the annual races. Dr. Meadows may have captained the boat, but Brad led the charge. The well constructed design stayed afloat, and PHC came in second in their race.

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Named University Innovation Fellow in 2015, Brad continues to bring the entrepreneurial mindset to Tech by increasing engagement on campus through innovation, design thinking, and creativity. He facilitates student workshops and coordinates the Maker Coach training. Brad is also putting what he learned through his involvement with UIF, to use at Handshake, as he develops personas to better understand the students using the platform.

UIFs in Silicon Valley for Epicenter Training

One of Brad’s favorite memories while working in San Francisco this past summer was marching in the Pride parade with a group called the Trevor project, which is a suicide hotline for LGBT youth. Outside of class, Brad enjoys spending time outdoors, hiking, skiing, and taking pictures.  Self-proclaimed Harry Potter nerd, Brad bought the new book this summer on the day of its release and read it all in one day. He also loves volunteering at the Humane Society in his spare time to hang out with the cats.

Brad Turner is redefining what it means to be an Honors student. Have a passion for innovation? Find out how you can get involved with the Pavlis Honors College. Applications are due October 23rd.