Andrew Barnard is a Distinguished Teaching Award Finalist for 2018

Andrew Barnard
Andrew Barnard

The William G. Jackson Center for Teaching and Learning seeks input for its annual Distinguished Teaching Awards, which recognize outstanding contributions to the instructional mission of the University.

Based on more than 50,000 student rating of instruction responses, 12 finalists have been identified for the 2018 awards. The selection committee is soliciting comments from students, staff, faculty and alumni to aid in its deliberation process.

Among the finalists in the Assistant Professor / Lecturer / Professor of Practice Category is Andrew Barnard.

Comments on the nominees are due by Monday, March 26, and can be completed online. The process for determining the Distinguished Teaching Award recipients from this list of finalists also involves the additional surveying of their spring classes.

The selection committee makes the final determination of the award recipients. The 2018 Distinguished Teaching Awards will be formally announced in May.

For more information, email Nancy Seely or call 7-1896.


Solar Powered Scooter by Alumnus Brett Belan

Brett Cameron Belan
Brett Cameron Belan

Ashland (Wisconsin) Daily Tidings reported on a solar-powered scooter built by mechanical engineering alumnus Brett Belan.

Sun powers Ashland man’s scooter

It’s a small, standup scooter with a can’t-be-missed 100-watt solar panel bolted to its handle bars. It has a battery but you don’t plug it in. The energy comes directly from the sun and will briefly store in the scooter’s battery.

It’s called the solarolla. Inventor and inveterate tinkerer Brett Cameron Belan put it together in his Ashland shop in a couple weeks, using a drill, chopsaw and a bag of bolts, quickly realizing that it’s unique for one-simple reason: You carry the charging system with you.

Belan, who previously built a large solar panel atop his Volkswagen bus, is a graduate of Michigan Tech, a public research university, where he got his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering in 1997. He went on to work for Ford in Detroit and Jaguar in England.

Read more at Ashland Daily Tidings, by Andy Atkinson.


Brandon Jackson’s Goopy GIF Ferrofluid

Ferrofluid on screw
Photo Credit: Sarah Bird

Live Science website published an article and image of ferrofluids research by PhD candidate Brandon Jackson (ME-EM).

Goopy GIF: You Can’t Look Away from This Mesmerizing Experiment

As a series of goopy platforms climb down a bolt in a mesmerizing GIF posted on Reddit, it almost looks as if Mario should hop from one to another.

But this isn’t 1990’s video-game graphics, it’s real life. The GIF shows a demonstration of ferrofluid, a suspension of nanosize magnetic particles in oil. The magnetic particles are small and coated in a surfactant, which is a substance like soap that helps to keep the particles evenly distributed throughout the fluid, even when they’re put next to a strong magnet, said Brandon Jackson, a doctoral candidate in mechanical engineering at Michigan Technological University, who has studied applications for ferrofluids.

Read more at Live Science, by Stephanie Pappas.


NASA Funding to Study Water Production on Mars

Jeffrey S. Allen
Jeffrey S. Allen

Jeffrey Allen (MEEM/MuSTI) is the principal investigator on a project that has received $200,000 from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Paul Van Susante (MEEM), Ezequiel Medici (MEEM) and Timothy Eisele (ChE) are Co-PIs on the project, “Low Mass, Low Power, Non-Mechanical Excavation of Gypsum and Other Evaporites and Water Production on Mars.”

This is a two and a half year project.

By Sponsored Programs.


Barr’s Short Story Semi-Finalist in State Contest

Nancy Barr
Nancy Barr

A short story written by Nancy Barr, director of the Engineering Communications Program in Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics, was recently chosen as a semifinalist in the sixth annual Write Michigan Short Story Contest. Her story, titled “Peace,” is about a woman coming to terms with her father’s death and heroic, but unsung, service during the Vietnam War.

Barr’s story is one of ten posted for public voting to determine the Readers’ Choice winner in the Adult category on the Write Michigan website. You can vote online for her story the maximum number of times (once per day). The Readers’ Choice Winner will receive a cash prize of $250.

Her story will be reviewed by a panel of judges to determine the Judges’ Choice Winner and Runner-up. These winners will receive $250 and $100 respectively. The Readers’ Choice and Judges’ Choice short stories, along with two additional semi-finalists’ stories, will be printed in the Write Michigan Anthology.

In addition to teaching two graduate engineering communication courses, Barr is the author of the “Page One” mystery trilogy, published by Arbutus Press and set in the western and central Upper Peninsula.


Eddy Trinklein is an Unsung Hero

Eddy Trinklein
Eddy Trinklein

ME-EM Research Engineer and Instructor Eddy Trinklein was recognized at the 2017 Making a Difference Awards reception on January 10, 2018.

“This past spring our Michigan Tech student-built nanosatellite was at risk of missing a technical milestone set by the Air Force. If this milestone was missed our 7 year long program would have come to an end without a launch into space. Ed dropped everything he was working on, rolled up his sleeves, and inserted himself into my laboratory where he discovered complicated errors in our serial communication architecture—which he quickly fixed. The satellite shipped to the Air Force in June and, as a result of Ed’s work, will launch into orbit in April, 2018.”

A total of 47 Michigan Tech staff members were nominated for 2017 Making a Difference Awards. Trinklein received an award in the “Unsung Hero” category. The awards are organized by Michigan Tech Staff Council.

Congratulations to Eddy!


Mahmoudian Named Lou and Herbert Wacker Associate Professor

Nina Mahmoudian
Nina Mahmoudian

Nina Mahmoudian (MEEM) has been selected by Michigan Tech and the donors, who wish to remain anonymous, to be the first holder of the Lou and Herbert Wacker Associate Professor in Autonomous Mobile Systems. This is an endowed professorship through a generous cash gift of $1,000,000.

One of the donors is a BSME graduate from Michigan Tech, and the endowment is named in honor of his parents Lou and Herbert Wacker.

By Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics.


Three Inducted into Academy for Fall 2017

MEEM BuildingIn ceremonies held Oct. 28, the Academy of Mechanical Engineering and Engineering Mechanics at Michigan Tech inducted three new members. The inductees were Christine R. Roberts (Przybysz), Xintan Chang and Thomas J. Bronz.

The Academy honors outstanding ME-EM graduates, recognizing those who exemplify excellence and leadership in engineering and civic affairs, and who will serve as inspirational role models for current and future students.

Christine Roberts graduated from Tech with a BS in mechanical engineering in 1991, later going on to earn a master’s in project management from George Washington University and her MBA in International Business at DePaul University in 2000. Roberts began her career at Motorola, Inc., where she worked for 20 years, rising from production manager to vice president of product management for Motorola Mobility. In addition to Motorola, she also held positions at Google and Netflix.

Currently, Roberts is at cloud communications services pioneer Twilio as vice president and general manager of Twilio’s Super Network and chairman of the board for the Twilio Sweden Group. She volunteers with programs advancing involvement in STEM fields for young women and underrepresented minorities through hands-on teaching.

Xintan Chang earned his master’s in mining engineering and PhD in engineering mechanics at Tech. Before coming to Tech, Chang had worked in Chinese coal mines for 11 years after earning his BS in mining engineering from Xi’an Mining Institute (now Xi’an University of Science and Technology) in 1969. While at Tech, he co-authored the Transient State Mine Ventilation Simulation Program MFIRE for US Bureau of Mines, which remains the most popular mine fire ventilation simulation software in the world.

Chang returned to Xi’an University in 1988, working his way up to full professor within five years. His research focused on mine ventilation, mine/civil fire simulation and fire-fighting, and public safety/safety management, earning a National Reward for his simulation accomplishments. Chang became president of Xi’an University in 2003, leading several expansions and improvements for the university during his tenure.

Thomas Bronz graduated with a BS in mechanical engineering from Tech in 1989, later earning an MBA from Northwestern University. After graduating from Tech, he worked in the commercial vehicles industry in a variety of management positions overseeing suspensions controls processes. In 2006, he served as the director of high performance product development at Brunswick Corporation where he improved development processes for freshwater boat lines.

Bronz returned to the commercial vehicles market in 2010, helping a start-up business to become a successful standalone within four years. He then moved on to become president and CEO of Hadley Products, once again returning to the suspensions controls field, before ending up as director of aftermarket sales at SAF Holland, where he supports hitches and suspensions for trucking fleets across North America.

William Predebon, chair of ME-EM, says that these alumni set a fine example for current students. “When I think about Tom, Xintan and Christine, I am struck by all they have done and continue to do, by their accomplishments, by the challenges they have faced and persevered, and by their leadership,” Predebon says.

“They have set a high standard for our future alumni to emulate. We are very proud of them and look forward to them returning to campus and interacting with our students.”

This induction honors some of the most successful of the more than thirteen thousand alumni of Michigan Tech’s Department of Mechanical Engineering – Engineering Mechanics. Portraits and a brief biography of Academy members are prominently displayed in the lobby of the ME-EM building to serve as inspiration for future mechanical engineering and engineering mechanics students.

By Noah Kozminski.


Michigan Tech Mobile Lab Visits TARDEC

Mobile LabThe Michigan Tech Mobile Lab was on the road in November 2017, stopping in Warren, Michigan at TARDEC (The US Army Tank Automotive Research Development and Engineering Center). While at TARDEC, a professional development short course was given in Hybrid Electric Vehicles.

Students enrolled in the course were full time engineers specializing in vehicle sustainability. They enrolled for this course specifically to help better equip themselves for future effort in electrified applications of vehicles and mobile equipment for the military.

The course itself included lecture materials on the concepts behind the design of hybrid electric vehicles, as well as hands-on interactive activities that allowed students to operate a fully functional powertrain test cell and evaluate a variety of production-intent HEV’s.

Instructors for the course included Lucia Gauchia, Wayne Weaver, Jeremy Worm, and Chris Morgan. Additional support provided by Darrell Robinette, Alex Normand, Tucker Alsup, Tina Sarazin and Nicholas Monette.

For more information about the Michigan Tech Mobile Lab, contact APS Labs or cjmorgan@mtu.edu.


Engineering Ambassadors Plan Dozens of Local Area Visits for Fall 2017

Engineering Ambassadors KidsThe Michigan Tech Engineering Ambassadors (EA) Program is planning 24 visits to local area schools this semester. The program is designed to change the conversation about engineering, starting with creating excitement for engineering disciplines through outreach activities designed for grades 4-9.

Outreach topics for October and November vary from buoyancy and energy in bouncy balls to structures and chemistry in engineering.

Right now there are 21 ambassadors in EA at Michigan Tech, including 10 veteran ambassadors. The program is open to all of Michigan Tech’s engineering majors, who can join at the start of fall or spring semester. The outreach experience is considered to be professional development for University students, allowing practice with brief presentations and hands on activities with kids.

EA is part of a larger network of universities united under one goal: changing the way people talk about engineering.

Learn more about Engineering Ambassadors at Michigan Tech! Contact the program director Jaclyn Johnson if you are interested in participating.

Engineering Ambassadors Presentation