Tag Archives: undergraduate students

Meet Kyle Ludwig…

By Amy Karagiannakis

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Planning meals and eating healthy can be challenging for college students. Sometimes finding the time (and money) to go grocery shopping and cooking your own meals can seem like impossible tasks. Yet, studies show that meal planning can lead to healthier eating habits, a more active lifestyle, and a great amount of savings. If there was a mobile app that could recommend healthy meals that you actually want to eat, provide recipes, and generate grocery lists, while tracking your nutrition progress automatically, would you download it? Kyle Ludwig expects you will, and not just students, but also busy, young professionals. He plans to launch his app, Looma on Indiegogo this coming December. Looma didn’t just happen overnight, and really not even in the last year. Looma has been through many iterations, design concepts, ideas, and names since Kyle came to Tech as a transfer student from Traverse City, MI in 2015.

Kyle joined Pavlis Honors College in 2015 as a Custom Pathway student with a focus on entrepreneurship. His Pavlis mentor and advisor, Jim Baker recalled how far Kyle has come, “Kyle has done an amazing job of developing a network of advisors, mentors, and team members to bring his company through a series of transformations and accomplishments on the path from idea to reality.  Entrepreneurship and taking someone’s ideas into the market requires a constructive balance of persistence and agility which Kyle has exemplified and which will serve him substantially throughout his career and life.” Kyle participated in Michigan Tech’s I-Corps Site Program in 2016 with a very different version of Looma, then called TRU. TRU was merely an idea at that time that focused more on personal medical diagnostics than nutrition and wellness. Kyle’s long-term career goal is still to work on blood diagnostics technology for personal health applications, but Looma has taken him on an unexpected, but welcome detour. “The I-Corp Site Program at Michigan Tech helped me realize the direction for my business by introducing me to processes which inspire product development around the customer.”

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 Bob Mark Elevator Pitch Competition.

Since his participation in I-Corps, Kyle has competed in numerous pitch competitions all over the state of Michigan. He won $1000 for Best Technology at the Bob Mark Elevator Pitch in 2016 and competed in the New Venture Competition at Central Michigan University. TRU was also one of 27 semi-finalists out of 70 student company applicants from across Michigan that was selected to compete for up to $20,000 in cash prizes at the 2016 Accelerate Michigan Competition. While TRU did not walk away with a check, the startup’s founder did gain experience and new ideas for how to improve. Now a 2017 semi-finalist, Kyle will have the chance to compete at the Accelerate Michigan competition again, but this time with Looma.

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Ludwig competing at Accelerate Michigan 2016 in Detroit

Kyle was named University Innovation Fellow (UIF) by Stanford University’s Hasso Plattner Institute of Design (d.school) last October, along with two other Michigan Tech students. This global program trains student leaders to create new opportunities for their peers to engage with innovation, entrepreneurship, design thinking and creativity. The Pavlis Honors College Innovation Center for Entrepreneurship funded the fellow’s six week online training and their travel to the UIF Silicon Valley Meetup last March. Kyle, along with the other Tech UIFs are committed to creating opportunities for students across campus to engage in more activities and events that inspire innovation, entrepreneurship, design thinking and creativity.

UIF Meetup in Silicon Valley, March 2017
UIF Meetup in Silicon Valley, March 2017

This past summer, Kyle had the opportunity to intern at Ford’s Research and Innovation Center in Palo Alto, CA. Ford is currently looking to expand into all modes of transportation. Palo Alto focuses on developing technologies that will come in the next 5-10 years, including working closely with self-driving vehicle technology that’s announced for release in 2021. Through his work with Ford, Kyle was able to collaborate with individuals from IDEO at Greenfield Labs, Stanford University, and Argo. While in Palo Alto, he developed mobile apps to improve efficiency for Ford employees. Kyle also conducted a team study to improve Agile workflow and led groups in patent ideation using the design thinking practices he learned from his UIF training.

Kyle is expected to graduate in May of 2018 with a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Engineering. While he always makes time for his school work, Looma has been monopolizing most of his waking hours. When asked about the anticipated upcoming launch, Kyle responded, “We’ll be on Indiegogo in December, just in time for New Year’s resolutions. Looma will launch for iOS after the campaign in 2018.” If you’d like to learn more about Looma or sign up for the limited iOS pre-release, visit https://livelooma.com/.

 


NOAA Undergraduate Scholarship Opportunities

noaascholarshiprecipientsThe National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) recently announced the availability of scholarships for undergraduate students majoring in disciplines related to oceanic and atmospheric science, research, or technology, and supportive of the purposes of NOAA’s programs and mission. Over 100 students are selected each year for participation in the Ernest F. Hollings (Hollings) and Educational Partnership Program (EPP) scholarship programs. These scholarships include support for two years of undergraduate study and summer internship opportunities at NOAA facilities across the country.

For information on program benefits and how to apply, visit the following web sites:

Educational Partnership Program Undergraduate Scholarship: www.noaa.gov/eppscholarship

Application Deadline:  January 31, 2018

Ernest F. Hollings Undergraduate Scholarship: www.noaa.gov/hollings

Application Deadline: January 31, 2018

Eligibility Requirements:

  • US Citizen
  • 3.0 GPA (Hollings) or 3.2 GPA (EPP)
  • Full-time second year student at an accredited four-year undergraduate program or third year student at a five-year undergraduate program
  • Majoring in NOAA mission disciplines, including but not limited to: atmospheric science, biology, cartography, chemistry, computer science, education, engineering, environmental science, geodesy, geography, marine science, mathematics, meteorology, oceanography, physical science, photogrammetry, physics, etc.
  • Enrolled at a Minority Serving Institution (EPP Scholarship only)

For further information, contact the Office of Education Scholarship Programs at: StudentScholarshipPrograms@noaa.gov or (301) 628-2913.


Meet Sarah Martens…

IMG_3017Sarah Jo Martens is fascinated by water. Learning how to conserve this precious resource is one of the reasons that led Sarah to choose a major in Environmental Engineering. The human impact on the Earth and its resources is getting increasingly more difficult to ignore. Sarah is committed to addressing these environmental issues in the field once she graduates, and plans to lead the way to a sustainable future.

Sarah is enrolled in the Pavlis Honors College as part of the Custom Pathway. Sarah has volunteered with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Water Department compiling data on water and soil quality. In 2016, Sarah spent seven months participating in a co-op with Expera Specialty Solutions as an environmental engineer. This hands-on experience not only taught her regulatory standards and processes for the industry, but also lessons that you can’t learn in a classroom, such as project management and the confidence to lead. “The opportunity to be a part of real-world projects and see first-hand the impact of what is taught in the classroom was extremely beneficial to solidify the theories I had previously learned,” Sarah shared.

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This past summer, Sarah completed an internship with GEI Consultants, Inc in Green Bay, Wisconsin as an environmental engineer and staff. The experience focused on technical and communication skills necessary for some of the projects completed by environmental consultants for government and industrial clients. Sarah wrote and contributed to many Phase I Environmental Site Assessments, Phase II Environmental Site Assessments, and completed soil & groundwater sampling & analysis.

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West Side Story (2017)

 

In addition to majoring in Environmental Engineering, Sarah is also minoring in Theatre. She recently wrote a play entitled “Leaving” that was chosen as a regional finalist in the Kennedy Center American Collegiate Theatre Festival. Her play advanced to the regional finals where college theatre students from schools in Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois and Indiana competed in acting, playwriting, design, and more. “Leaving” was inspired by Sarah’s relationship with her sister Rachel, and was given a fully-staged reading, along with four other finalists at the Region III Festival this past January in Indianapolis. Sarah has also been nominated and participated in the Irene Ryan Scholarship Program acting competition three times. Sarah is a member of the Tech Theatre Company and is regularly seen at McArdle and the Rosza acting with the group. Last year, Sarah assisted with starting Michigan Tech’s chapter of Alpha Psi Omega, a national theatre honor society.

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Alternate Realities (2014)

Sarah also plays flute in the Michigan Tech Huskies Pep Band and is President of the Blue Key Honor Society – Michigan Tech Chapter. In 2016, Michigan Tech’s Department of Visual and Performing Arts honored Sarah with the Woman of Promise Award. Women of Promise recognizes current female Michigan Tech students from each academic department who go above and beyond what is expected of them in terms of being well-rounded. It honors students who have demonstrated academic achievement, campus and community leadership, good citizenship, creativity, and other characteristics of high-achieving individuals.

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This past spring, Sarah had the opportunity to complete a short term study abroad adventure with The Green Program and Reykjavik University in Iceland. The ten day sustainability and renewable energy program included lectures, site visits, and experiences focused on the topics of hydroelectric power, geothermal energy, biomass production & usage, and the overall history & geology of Iceland that makes it unique. With nearly 100% of the country’s electricity drawn from renewable sources, the program was a playground of real-world examples of sustainable development. Sarah completed a capstone project with a team of 4 other students from Pennsylvania, Michigan, Virginia, and South Africa tying in concepts related to hydroelectric power discussed during the experience. The team completed a feasibility study for micro-hydroelectric power for small communities in rural Nepal where only 49% of the population is serviced by electricity. The project included research into the current electrical state of Nepal, resources available, cultural expectations, analysis of potential equipment, and cost analysis. The project was presented at Reykjavik University to a panel of professors who provided lecture series to the students throughout the week.

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What’s next for Sarah? She is in her fourth year at Tech, and looking forward to graduation in December of next year. After graduation, Sarah plans to continue her education in the field of environmental engineering by pursuing her Master’s degree. “As an environmental engineer, I will work toward solutions restoring and protecting the Earth from human interaction. I hope to be out making a significant impact on the world and environment.”

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The Pavlis Honors College uses Seelio, a higher-ed portfolio solution for managing and organizing student works and projects. Seelio provides a platform for students to easily and beautifully document their works, projects, and passions. Students can tell their professional story, share their personal brand and improve their online presence. Sarah Marten’s profile has been highlighted by Seelio as being exemplary of what students can do with the technology to better showcase their professional talents and accomplishments.


Constitution Day Student Essay Contest

essay_contest copyThe Michigan Tech Van Pelt and Opie Library is facilitating a student essay contest to celebrate Constitution Day, which will take place this year on Sunday, September 17th. Michigan Tech undergraduate and graduate students are encouraged to submit an original essay.

In 600 words or less discuss these boundaries and the principles you would use in defining them. What is an example of a situation that might justify placing such limits on speech and/or on an organized march? What problems might arise due to such limitations?

Essays must be submitted by email to library@mtu.edu in the form of a .doc or .pdf by midnight, September 10.

Prizes will be determined by a committee of faculty and librarians:

First Prize: $300.00 certificate to the Bookstore/University Images

Second Prize: $250.00 certificate

Third Prize: $200.00 certificate

Fourth Prize: $100.00 certificate

Fifth Prize: $50.00 certificate

 


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!

 


PHC Students Will Receive Priority Admission and Scholarship Consideration for DC Internships

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The Fund for American Studies is currently accepting applications for the Fall 2017 Capital Semester and the Fall 2017 Leadership and the American Presidency programs in Washington, D.C.

Both offer undergraduate students a first-hand look at international affairs and public policy through:
•An internship placement in foreign affairs or public policy
•A full time course load in international economics and government
•Exclusive lectures, briefings and professional development seminars
•Housing just steps from the Supreme Court, Library of Congress and U.S. Capitol building

Students will spend a semester immersed in today’s foreign, domestic, and economic policy. Pavlis Honors College students will receive priority admission and scholarship consideration along with other NCHC members.

These academic internship programs are sponsored by The Fund for American Studies, in partnership with George Mason University.

The goal of these programs is to help students close the gap between theory and practice by developing skills to work on today’s most pressing global and domestic policy issues. The Fund for American Studies is committed to providing an educational experience that will prepare students for a successful career in domestic, economic, or foreign policy and beyond.

Scholarship funding is still available and students should apply by the final deadline of June 1, 2017. Visit www.DCinternships.org/CS for more information on admission and program requirements.


PHC Students Shine at the 23rd Annual Leadership Awards Ceremony

By Amy Karagiannakis

The 23rd Annual Student Leadership Awards were held Friday in the Memorial Union Ballroom. The Student Leadership Awards celebrate and reward the individual and group efforts of students involved in organizations across campus. There are awards for student employees, student organizations, programs and more. Among the fourteen awards that were presented at this year’s ceremony, four of the winners were Pavlis Honors College students.

Magann Dykema was presented with the Pavlis Honors College Departmental Scholar Award. Dean Lorelle Meadows nominated Magann to represent the PHC and to be considered for the Provost’s Award for Scholarship. Magann is an amazing asset to the PHC, not only by academic standards, but also for her motivation, creativity, and communication skills. Magann serves as the Operations Coordinator for The Alley, Michigan Tech’s new makerspace.

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Dykema in The Alley with Milwaukee Tool representatives that presented donations to the new makerspace.

 

Kemin Fena was awarded Exceptional Community Service Project for her Your Story, Our Story project. This was in collaboration with Right Start UP and was made possible through help from Fena and other motivated community members that invested significant time and effort. Fena served as Project Manager for Your Story, Our Story under the direction of the Project Director and Tech instructor, Dr. Sara Thiam.

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Fena’s Your Story, Our Story project served as her honors project for the PHC.

Erin Richie was presented with the Vice President for Student Affairs and Advancement Award for Service. This award is designed to recognize students demonstrating leadership, engagement in community, and a commitment to service. Erin was and continues to be involved in service projects abroad and within the community. Richie was also recently awarded the Pavlis Honors College Dean’s Scholarship for her commitment to recruiting and outreach efforts as an Honors Ambassador.

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Richie with children in a local Ghanaian community where she spent her five-week immersion experience for the PHC Global Leadership Pathway.

Brad Turner was presented with the Clair M. Donovan Award. This award recognizes a Michigan Tech faculty or staff member, student, or an exceptional community member who has contributed the most outstanding service during the preceding year.  This award is in honor of Clair M. Donovan, who made immeasurable contributions to Michigan Tech through his service as national president of Blue Key, as an alumnus, and as a civil leader. Turner oversaw the design and development of the makerspace which was converted from Tech’s old bowling alley in the basement of the MUB. He currently serves as Alley Director. As a University Innovation Fellow, Turner creates opportunities for students across campus to engage in more activities and events that inspire innovation, entrepreneurship, design thinking and creativity.

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Turner works part-time as a product designer for Handshake, headquartered in San Francisco. He will be moving into a full time position upon his graduation at the end of this month.

The Undergraduate Research Symposium winners were also recognized at Friday’s Award ceremony. Stephanie Dietrich, Exercise Science major, took first place for her research, Subjective and Objective Assessments of Sleep Differ in male and Female Collegiate Athletes. Brain Flanagan, Computer Engineering major, placed second for his research entitled, The Effects of Uncertain Labels on Damage Assessment in Remotely Sensed Images. Third place was awarded to Drew Hanover, Mechanical Engineering major, for Building-to-Grid Predictive Power Flow Control for Demand Response and Demand Flexibility Programs.

The Pavlis Honors College would like to recognize all Honors student nominees: Sam Casey, nominated for the President’s Award for Leadership and Exceptional Leadership in Student Governance, Rachel Chard, nominated for the President’s Award for Leadership, Rachel Kolb, nominated for the President’s Award for Leadership and Student Employee of the Year, Shelby Marter, nominated for Exceptional Enthusiasm as a Student Leader, and Jacob Cavins and Neffertia Tyner, both nominated for the Outstanding Future Alumni Award.

 


Design Expo Winners 2017

By Amy Karagiannakis

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More than 1000 students in Enterprise and Senior Design showcased their work last Thursday at Design Expo and competed for awards. A panel of judges, made up of distinguished corporate representatives and Michigan Tech staff and faculty members, critiqued the projects. The College of Engineering and the Pavlis Honors College is pleased to announce the following winners.

Black&Veatch Building a World of Difference® Student Design Awards:

Senior Design Awards (based on poster)

1st place: BME – Enhanced Measurement and Analysis of Gait Disturbances – Aspirus

2nd place: MSE – High Pressure Die Casting Vent Optimization – Mercury Marine

3rd place: BME – Customizing Transcatheter Nitinol Stents for Treatment of Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome in Infants – Spectrum Health

Senior Design Honorable Mention

ME-EM – Improved Inline Component Cleaning System – MacLean-Fogg

ME-EM – Snowmobile Chassis Magnesium Component Design – Polaris

BME – Blubber-Only Implantable Satellite Tracking Device for Humpback Whales

Enterprise Awards (based on poster and presentation)

1st place: Consumer Product Manufacturing Enterprise

Tie for 2nd place: Formula SAE & Wireless Communication Enterprise

3rd place: Aerospace Enterprise

 

Ann Arbor SPARK Design Expo Image Contest:

1st place: Formula SAE Enterprise

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Welding the Formula car chassis together.

2nd place: Customizing Transcatheter Nitinol Stents for Treatment of Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome in Infants

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Deformation of a nitinol stent to investigate the possibility of clinically relevant geometries.

 

Pavlis Honors College Innovation Center for Entrepreneurship Innovation Award:

1st place: BME – Customizing Transcatheter Nitinol Stents for Treatment of Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome in Infants

2nd place: BME – Instrumentation of Manual Medical Devices

3rd place: BME – Posture Correction Device with Haptic Feedback for Parkinson’s Disease

 

Congratulations and thanks to ALL teams for a very successful Design Expo 2017!


Meet Erin Richie…

By Amy Karagiannakis

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Erin Riche and Maddy Duensing on their 5-week immersion experience in Ghana.

Erin Richie traveled to Ghana last summer with a cohort of students from the Global Leadership Pathway within the Pavlis Honors College. The team worked on numerous projects while in country, but Erin took the lead on the Women’s Health and Education project. In many developing countries, the subject of menstruation is still very much taboo. Many parents will not discuss menstrual hygiene with their daughters, which can lead to embarrassment and confusion. Without access to sanitary pads, many women use items such as newspaper, rags, and other materials that are not very efficient at absorbing and can cause infection. Girls will often miss several days of school each month while they are on their period to avoid the potential embarrassment of staining their clothes due to leakage. According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), approximately 10% of African girls will quit school due to issues regarding menstruation. There are solutions available, but making them accessible to small villages, such as those Erin traveled to in Ghana, is difficult. Before leaving for Ghana, Erin first reached out to Diva Cup for donations. Diva Cup manufactures reusable menstrual cups that last several years and can be cleaned and sanitized using boiling water. The company agreed to donate 50 cups, as well as designed posters explaining proper care and use. Erin wanted to do more though. She new that 50 cups, while helpful, would eventually run out. Erin wanted to provide an alternative for the girls and women in the Ghanaian village that they could continue to utilize even after she had left. Using simple, low cost materials, Erin modified a pattern for a reusable menstrual pad that could be washed and then sun bleached. She wanted to offer workshops to teach girls and women how to make their own reusable menstrual pads providing the necessary materials. Through a connection with the nonprofit organization Women of the Pearl, Erin partnered with a local pastor and his wife in Ghana. The couple believed that when women are empowered, their children will prosper. They were very excited about the project and helped Erin solidify a location for her first workshop. The initial workshop was a success and the turn out was very encouraging. The demand for more workshops grew and Erin spent much of her time in country holding these workshops and teaching local women how to facilitate their own. These women could now make their own affordable, reusable pads, allowing them the protection to stay in school during their monthly cycle.

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From left to right: Bob Beynon, Maddy Duensing, Erin Richie, Amanda Vermeer, and Peter Seim in Ghana.

“I’m so thankful for all that I’ve been able to do by being involved with the Pavlis Honors College. Aside from learning about the culture, my time in Ghana also taught me how to be a better teammate. I’m so lucky to have had a great supportive team in Ghana and for all I was able to learn from them that I can apply to future experiences, as teamwork is not only an intricate part of becoming an engineer, but a valuable life skill,” reflected Erin. The next Pavlis Honors College Ghana team will be traveling this summer. They are currently raising money to purchase more materials and supplies to continue teaching Erin’s workshops in local villages. Donations to this and other causes can be made through Superior Ideas, a Michigan Tech crowdfunding site.

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Erin with fellow PHC students and young Ghanaian women who benefited from the workshops.

Erin returned from her immersion experience in Ghana a little less than a year ago, but her devotion to women’s health and education has only grown stronger. She will be spending two weeks this summer volunteering in Uganda with Women of the Pearl to continue her work, as well as contribute to other projects that empower women around the globe. Prior to her trip to Uganda, Erin will be studying abroad for six weeks in Peru to participate in some volunteer work and finish up her minor in Spanish. She will be living with a host family while in country, and hopes to find some time to visit Machu Picchu, Ica, and Iquitos. Erin will be graduating at the end of Fall semester 2017 with a degree in Mechanical Engineering and minors in Spanish and Psychology.

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Erin at the Women’s Solidarity March across the Portage Lake Bridge on Jan. 21.

Erin’s interest in human centered design did not originate in Ghana. As a mechanical engineering major, Erin is passionate about designing and developing products that make daily work and life more efficient and enjoyable. Erin is currently leading the Human Factors Team for the Humane Interface Design Enterprise (HIDE) at Michigan Tech. HIDE is a student-run organization focused on software development and usability research. Erin is now working with the Undergraduate Student Government to develop an RFID voting booth in order to increase student involvement in surveys and elections. Starting in the Fall, Erin will become the co-president of HIDE.

Erin Richie and Nicole Mackey with PHC benefactor Frank Pavlis in Allentown, PA.
Nicole Mackey and Erin Richie with PHC benefactor Frank Pavlis in Allentown, PA.

Erin Richie is an active Honors Ambassador and works as an academic success coach on campus, as well as off campus as an elementary school STEM instructor through the GLRC.  She was recently awarded the Pavlis Honors College Dean’s Scholarship in the amount of $1000. Erin is the first recipient of this award, which was created to recognize Honors students like Erin who go above and beyond. The Pavlis Honors College Dean’s Scholarship will be awarded to one honors student annually in the amount of $1000 to recognize their outstanding commitment to our programs and pathways. Erin consistently volunteers her time to design, plan and implement recruitment efforts to grow the PHC community. She has taken a leading role to ensure the successful implementation of ideas and events. She goes above and beyond to engage with students and faculty on a meaningful level and continues to have a significant positive effect on College enrollment. Overall, Erin is passionate about the PHC and enthusiastically shares her passion with potential future Honors students whenever given the opportunity. On behalf of the entire PHC staff and faculty, I would like to congratulate Erin on her achievements and accomplishments. We could not be more proud of her and look forward to what her future holds.

 

 


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.