Tag Archives: engineers

I-Corps Site Program at Michigan Tech

The Michigan Tech I-Corps Site Program and the Innovation Center for Entrepreneurship will be hosting its next NSF Innovation Corps (I-Corps) Workshop beginning January 2018. Dates and times for the upcoming workshop are tentatively scheduled for Jan. 17, Jan. 24, Feb. 14 and Feb. 21 from 5pm-8pm.

The I-Corps Site program is a team-based program structure that was developed through a partnership between the National Science Foundation (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.

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Mechanical Engineering Assistant Professor, Dr. Andrew Barnard commented on his experience with I-Corps, “Our participation in the I-Corps Site Program at Tech helped us to understand our potential customers and get answers to questions that will steer our research for years to come. It has propelled us to the National I-Corps Program where we’re excited to learn more from our customers about our product idea.”

Apply today for this great experience. For more information on the Michigan Tech I-Corps Site Program or to apply for the January workshop, visit mtu.edu/honors/ice/icorps/.


Meet Laura Schimmel…

By Amy Karagiannakis

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Schimmel in Montserrat, Spain on a study abroad

Laura Schimmel is driven towards making an impact in the environmental sustainability field. Growing up on a small farm in Oxford, MI laid a solid foundation for her interest and education in sustainable development. Peace Corps Prep, within the Pavlis Honors College Community Engagement pathway, is preparing her for the U.S. Peace Corps after graduation.

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Schimmel volunteering at the Niabi Zoo

Laura’s love of animals, along with her commitment to conservation, drew her to volunteering at the Niabi Zoo in Coal Valley, IL last summer for her Pavlis Honors College immersion experience. The zoo’s name comes from the Native American Osage language and means “young deer spared by the hunter.” Laura’s personal interest in conservation and sustainability paralleled with the zoo’s mission to connect the community with nature through conservation leadership and education. As an interpreter in the zoo’s new ocean exhibit, much of her time was spent teaching visitors about tropical fish, sharks, eels and stingrays. Educating local children and adults about the direct connection they have between the Mississippi River basin and the ocean was one of the most rewarding aspects of the experience. “Even though these animals seem exotic, we are more connected to them than it may seem. I refined my ability to communicate scientific information to people spanning a wide range of ages, nationalities, and socioeconomic statuses,” reflected Laura.

While the experience at Niabi was certainly valuable, Laura is excited to pursue more international endeavors through the U.S. Peace Corps after graduation. The federal U.S. Peace Corps volunteer program is highly competitive, generally only accepting one fourth of its annual applicants. The Community Engagement pathway through the Pavlis Honors College offers Peace Corps Prep certification that aligns closely with the skills and training that the U.S. Peace Corps is looking for in its applicants. Peace Corps Prep lays the foundation for Honors students to specialize in an area of international development such as education, health, or the environment

Laura is an active member of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and Engineers Without Borders (EWB). Through her involvement in SWE since 2015, she has helped organize and participated in various events ranging from pre-college outreach to fund raising. She presented at the 2017 D80 Conference on her EWB team’s work designing and implementing a water system for a rural community in Guatemala. The team is currently trying to organize a trip to Guatemala over the upcoming winter break. Laura’s experiences with EWB have enabled her to apply her engineering education to real world issues that truly benefit communities in need of basic infrastructure.

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Schimmel (right) working with Engineers Without Borders

 

As a member of the Alternative Energy Enterprise (AEE), Laura collaborated on a project with the Keweenaw National Historic Park regarding a geothermal energy system using abandoned mineshafts as the thermal reservoir. She currently writes the blog on the Sustainability Demonstration House project which seeks to retrofit the Kettle Gundlach building (formerly the university president’s residence) with more sustainable energy, water, and gas efficiency. Laura explained her interest in AEE projects, “Living sustainably is not merely a trendy alternative lifestyle for those living in the UP. With electricity costs more than twice as high as the rest of Michigan, and the second highest in the US, living efficiently is absolutely necessary.”

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Alternative Energy Enterprise team photo

Laura Schimmel’s passion for the environment and conservation is fueled by her love for the outdoors. She enjoys hiking and camping and has enjoyed exploring the Keweenaw landscape and other areas of the upper peninsula while at Tech. An avid runner, Laura has accomplished six half marathons and last September completed her first full marathon. Her favorite places in Houghton to run and train are the Tech Trails and along the Portage Canal. Laura is expected to graduate Fall 2018 with bachelor’s degrees in both Materials Science and Engineering and Mechanical Engineering. She is determined to join the Peace Corps after graduation and feels this time in public service will help to build intercultural competency and develop a better understanding of critical global issues. Ultimately, she hopes that her time in the Peace Corps will help give her direction and focus, so that she can continue to make positive impacts in the field of sustainable development. Michigan Tech News recently published a story about Laura Schimmel and the Peace Corps Prep program.

Laura volunteering at the UP Science Fair
Laura volunteering at the UP Science Fair

 


Supermileage Systems Enterprise Wins Technical Innovation Award in the Shell Eco-Marathon

By Amy Karagiannakis

The 33rd annual Shell Eco-marathon Americas competition took place over the weekend, April 27-30 in Detroit, MI. This year’s event was the second season that Michigan Tech’s Supermileage Systems Enterprise team competed.  Shell Eco-marathon challenges student teams from around the world to design, build, test and drive ultra-energy-efficient vehicles. More than 100 teams from universities and high schools across the country and abroad came to the heart of the Motor City to compete on the track located on the city streets surrounding the Cobo Convention Center.

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In order to participate, teams must successfully complete a 4-phase registration process, including submission of technical information about their vehicle and design. There are two vehicle categories: urban concept and prototype. Within these categories there are three energy types: internal combustion (multiple fuel types), battery, and hydrogen. In order to compete, teams must pass a rigorous technical inspection and complete 10 consecutive laps around a 0.6 mile closed course in downtown Detroit, maintaining a minimum average speed of 15 mph. Awards are given for teams achieving the highest efficiency (either mpg or m/kWh). Off-track awards are also given for Innovation, Communication, Safety, Design, and Perseverance & Team Spirit. This year, 119 teams from 8 different countries were approved to compete.

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The Supermileage Enterprise competed in the Prototype/Battery Electric class. Of the 27 teams that participated, 22 made it through technical inspection and 17 completed at least one performance run. Tech’s Supermileage Systems Enterprise was one of those 17 teams. The team’s design included a 500W brushed DC motor and controller using a 48V/20Ah lithium ion battery back and battery management system. The motor controller must be purpose-built and designed by the team (i.e. no off the shelf controllers allowed). The Supermileage Enterprise improved their controller design from last year and upgraded the battery for improved vehicle acceleration. They completed one run with 104 m/kWh…about 3,500 MPGe. The team took 10th place in the BEV prototype category.

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Michigan Tech’s Supermileage Systems Enterprise team also competed for the Communications, Safety, and Technical Innovation Awards at the Shell Eco-marathon.  They won the Technical Innovation Award for their flexible motor controller design. The judges reviewed the application and interviewed the team. They noted the team’s well-defined engineering requirements as one of the key strengths over other applications.

Rick Berkey, Supermileage Systems Enteprise advisor and Director of Michigan Tech’s Enterprise Program, commented, “It goes without saying that I am so proud of our team’s accomplishments, throughout the year and especially at the event. Competing in the electric vehicle category is particularly challenging given that teams must build their own motor controller. This is not a trivial task! Receiving the Technical Innovation Award was a real testament to the team’s motor controller design AND their ability to articulate what makes it innovative and unique. To see us place 10th in only our second year of SEM competition shows the talent and drive of the Supermileage Systems Enterprise. It’s rewarding and humbling to work with such a great group of students and to see them get recognition on a national stage among peers from schools around the globe – that was the highlight for me.”

The $3,000 monetary award will be put to good use, and the Supermileage Systems Enterprise now has an impressive trophy to display on campus.

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The Supermileage Systems Enterprise team will now begin converting their vehicle over to the internal combustion engine for the upcoming SAE Supermileage competition on June 8-9 at the Eaton Proving Grounds in Marshall, MI. Good luck and congratulations!

 


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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The DHS HS-STEM Summer Internship Program

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sanpakit-tnThe Department of Homeland Security sponsors a 10-week summer internship for students majoring in homeland security related science, technology, engineering and math disciplines.

The program provides students with quality research experiences at federal research facilities located across the country and allows students the opportunity to establish connections with DHS professionals. The ultimate goals of the program are to engage a diverse, educated and skilled pool of scientists and engineers in HS-STEM areas and to promote long-term relationships between students, researchers, DHS and research facilities to enhance the HS-STEM workforce.

Undergraduate students receive a $6000 stipend plus travel expenses and graduate students receive $7000 plus travel expenses.

The Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) administers this program through an interagency agreement between the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). ORISE is managed by ORAU for DOE. ORISE will be responsible for the application and review process, notification and implementation of the program. Deadline to apply is December 7th, 2016.


2016 Beautiful Solutions Competition

The Beautiful Solutions Competition is a great launching point for Michigan Tech Senior Design teams who are eager to start their own business.  Solidworks and Venture.co began the competition to help students build the designs of tomorrow. Beautiful Solutions is seeking highly motivated, proactive leaders that are interested in launching their own startup, but may not know where to begin. This competition is open to undergraduate senior design teams with original designs that are ready to start a business. Applicants will compete for $20,000 in seed funding and in-kind prizes. In order to apply, you must first build a profile on Designbook. Applications will be accepted through April 29th.

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There will be a general meeting for Michigan Tech’s Engineers Without Borders chapter Thursday, February 11th at 6pm in Dillman 214.

Engineers Without Borders is an international philanthropy organization. By joining Michigan Tech’s EWB chapter you will learn to use a variety of skills to improve the lives of communities in need around the world. Michigan Tech’s chapter is currently working on well projects in Guatemala and a water distribution project in Panama, with both teams planning on traveling in the next year. Don’t let the name of the organization deter you from joining if you aren’t an engineer. EWB is looking for anyone interested in making a difference in people’s lives, regardless of major. Scientific and Technical Communication, business, language, and biology majors, to name a few, are all welcome. There are opportunities for experience in water resources, Spanish, technical writing, communication, engineering, team building and much more.
If you are interested in learning more about Engineers Without Borders, please attend the upcoming meeting in Dillman 214 at 6pm on Thursday, February 11th. If you can’t make it, feel free to email the chapter president (smbeine@mtu.edu) with any questions!