Category Archives: News

“The Wings of Angels” Film Includes MEEM Capstone Students

The documentary film Wings of Angels” will be Shown During Alumni Reunion.
The public can view “Wings of Angels,” a documentary film featuring Michigan Tech mechanical engineering students, in the lobby of the MEEM building during Alumni Reunion. The movie will be shown on the hour, 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Thursday-Saturday, Aug. 7-9.

Recently the original opening screening and reception of “The Wings of Angels” documentary film was held at the U.S. Navy Memorial & Naval Heritage Center, in Washington, DC. The film is about Michigan Tech’s ME student capstone design teams working with wounded veterans to design a competitive handcycle so these vets can compete in marathons.

Invitees included Achilles athletes (wounded veterans), Michigan Tech ME students, GM Executives, DC policymakers, DC-based military representatives, veteran’s organizations, select media, about 200 invitees. Dr. William Predebon was there representing Michigan Tech and the ME-EM Department.

It was an evening about how Michigan Tech ME students in the senior capstone design program worked hand-in-hand with the wounded veterans to design and build a competitive handcycle so these wounded veterans can complete in the Achilles sponsored marathons (Achilles Freedom Team of Wounded Vets:

Predebon said “It is a heart-moving film about our students and how they made a difference in the lives of our courageous wounded veterans. Although it started as their senior capstone design project it became much more for them- it became their passion.”

Several GM Executives spoke at the screening including former Chairman and CEO, Dan Ackerson. Featured speakers included Travis Wood, wounded veteran, Chad Zunich, student member of the first handcysle senior capstone design team. Travis is one of two wounded veterans featured in the film and worked closely with the senior capstone design teams. He also rode the student designed prototype handcycle in the Detroit marathon, which is featured in the film.

Watch the Video

Watch the Video
The video can be seen at

Former GM Chairman and CEO Dan Ackerson
Former GM Chairman and CEO Dan Ackerson
Chad Zunich, Travis Wood, Achllies Coordinator Chad was an ME student, who was on the first handcycle senior capstone design team and now   works at General Motors
Chad Zunich, Travis Wood, Achllies Coordinator
Chad was an ME student, who was on the first handcycle senior capstone design team and now works at General Motors
Handcycle at screening
Handcycle at screening
Chad Zunich and Joe Traum (Achilles Director)
Chad Zunich and Joe Traum (Achilles Director)

Mobile Lab on the Road for STEM Promotions

11News from Tech Today — July 23, 2014 –

The Michigan Tech Mobile Lab traveled to several college campuses in southern Michigan recently. Instead of a single person providing a lecture, the Mobile Lab team provided a hands-on seminar for the Wayne County Community College Districts ongoing Global Conversations Speaker Series in Detroit and Taylor, Michigan. Attendees included students from both Wayne State University and Wayne County Community College.

With funding from MI-LSAMP, the Mobile Lab continued the southern Michigan tour with stops at the Michigan State University campus in Lansing and the Western Michigan University campus in Kalamazoo where hands-on seminars were provided for incoming engineering freshmen attending Michigan State University, University of Michigan, Western Michigan University and Kellogg Community College. Seminar attendees received a short talk on the importance of STEM careers before working in breakout groups where they learned about modern automotive powertrain technologies and conducted on-road testing of several Hybrid Electric Vehicles.

News from Tech Today — July 15, 2014 –  The Michigan Tech Mobile lab was on the road during the first week of July at the Combat Readiness Training Center in Alpena, MI for an outreach activity with the Michigan Civil Air Patrol Summer Cadet Encampment. The Mobile Lab staff spent two days with 147 cadets, from around the Midwest, discussing STEM career opportunities and performing hands on demonstrations. The outreach event was funded with a Michigan Space Grant Consortium award titled; “High Impact STEM Outreach Utilizing the Michigan Tech Mobile Laboratory at the 2014 Michigan Civil Air Patrol Summer Cadet Encampment,” Marlene Lappeus PI and Jeremy Worm Co-PI.


Mobile Lab on he road (File Photo)

ME-EM Research News

PI Mahdi Shahbakhti (MEEM) was awarded $169,986 from the National Science Foundation for his project “GOALI: Collaborative Research: Easily Verifiable Controller Design.”

An article on how the Michigan Tech Mobile Lab is using cutting edge engineering tools in hands-on professional development education is featured on Wineman Technologies Website. See Inertia and Dynacar Deliver Hands-on Learning in Michigan Tech’s Mobile Lab for the full story.

R&D Magazine has named the automotive phased array radar research of Nikola Subotic, co-director of the Michigan Tech Research Institute, and his research colleagues as a recipient of a 2014 R&D 100 Award. The award recognizes the 100 most significant high-tech products developed in the past year. “On behalf of the R&D staff, I would like to commend the project team on the design, development, testing and production of this remarkable product,” said Lindsay Hock, managing editor of R&D Magazine and R&D Daily. The technology is a new type of collision avoidance radar for cars that achieves high performance at a significantly reduced cost by breaking the problem into two pieces: beam steering and beam refinement. Beam steering enables the radar to look in the general direction of a collision threat, using a simple look-up table. Beam refinement, which is computationally expensive, adaptively focuses the beam on the threat. Subotic explains that current systems try to do both jobs at once as a refinement operation. “By breaking the job into two parts, we have made both the processing and radar quite simple; even the refinement stage, since it has to refine only a little as opposed to having to search the entire space,” he says.

An article on Nina Mahmoudian’s (MEEM) research on autonomous underwater vehicles, “Michigan Tech’s ROUGHIE Gliders Will Follow Their Own Path,” has been published in Environmental Monitor. To read more visit, online.

PI Reza Shahbazian Yassar (MEEM) was awarded $18,042 from UChicago Argonne, LLC for his project “New Sulfur-Carbon Cathode Material with Improved Electrochemical Performance.”

PI Amitabh Narain (MEEM) was awarded $299,781 from the National Science Foundation for his project “Fundamental Investigations for Very High Heat-Flux Innovative Operations of Milli-Meter Scale Flow Boilers.”

A Seminar was held in June titled: Combined Heat and Power At Michigan State University Using Torrefied Biomass to Reduce Fossil Fuels and Green House Gas Emissions; Speaker: Nate Verhanovitz, Performance Engineer, Power and Water Infrastructure Planning and Facilities, Michigan State University. To find out more see seminar story. Michigan Tech will be a supplier to MSU and the T.B. Simon power plant of torrefied biomass pellets produced at the pilot plant of Michigan Tech’s APS Labs. The pellets will be used in the next phase of biocoal test burns at the T.B. Simon power plant. MTU involvement includes: Dr. Ezra Bar Ziv (professor, ME‐EM), Jordan Klinger (PhD candidate, ME‐EM), John Diebel (assistant director, Technical Commercialization).

PI Scott Miers (MEEM) was awarded $130,167 from Minnesota Corn Growers Association for “Enhancement of Corn-based Fuel for Recreational Engines and Vehicles.”

Michigan Tech Research Excellence Fund Awards Announced:
The Vice President for Research Office is pleased to announce the 2015 REF awards and would like to thank the volunteer review committees, as well as the deans and department chairs, for their time spent on this important internal research award process.
Infrastructure Enhancement Grants: Craig Friedrich, MuSTI/MEEM
Research Seed Grants: Mahdi Shahbakhti, MEEM; Tolou Shokuhfar, MEEM

Two ME-EM students are among the three Michigan Tech recipients of a prestigious National Science Foundation’s Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) for 2014. Congratulations to David Deisenroth (MSME) advised by Dr. Jeff Allen and Gregory Hardy (BSME) on these awards. These are extremely competitive awards and continue to show the excellence of our students at all academic levels.

Mo Rastgaar (MEEM), has been awarded $497,393 over five years for “CAREER: Steerable Powered Ankle-foot Prostheses for Increased Mobility in Amputees” from the NSF.

Gregory Odegard (MEEM) has received $59,999 for a potential five-year project “I/UCRC: Novel High Voltage/Temperature Materials and Structures,” from the National Science Foundation.

Assistant Professor Tolou Shokuhfar’s (MEEM) research described in the story “It’s the Water: Graphene Balloon Yields Unprecedented Images of Hydrated Protein Molecules,” has appeared in Science Daily,, Graphene Times and ScienceNewsline.

Research completed by graduate student Brennan Tymrak (ME), alumna Megan Kreiger (MSE) and Joshua Pearce (MSE/ECE) was highlighted in the EE Times article “Measuring Open Source Hardware 3D-Printed Material Strength.”

Research completed by graduate student Brennan Tymrak (ME), alumna Megan Kreiger (MSE) and Pearce (MSE/ECE) was highlighted by 3D Printing Industry in “Michigan Tech Study Suggests Some RepRap 3D Prints Are As Strong as Commercial 3D Printers.”

Nancy Barr (MEEM), technical communications and senior design administrative associate, is featured in the article “Getting it Write,” which was published in the March edition of PE Engineer. The article focuses on her program that teaches teaching assistants how to edit students’ lab reports.
Jay Meldrum has been elected to the Board of Directors of SAE International.
Formerly the Society of Automotive Engineers, SAE International is a global association of more than 138,000 engineers and related technical experts in the automotive, aerospace and commercial-vehicle industries. Meldrum is executive director of the Keweenaw Research Center (KRC) and the Advanced Technology Development Complex (ATDC). He came to the University in 1997 and directs the 30-plus engineering professionals at KRC, which contracts with the US Army to study large-vehicle mobility technologies. He directs Michigan Tech Enterprise SmartZone activities at the ATDC and advises companies looking to commercialize technologies developed at Michigan Tech. He also manages alternative energy research projects at KRC. More

Research Engineer Jeremy Worm (MEEM) was quoted in an article in Design News on the risks and complexities of electronic throttle control in automobiles, and the progression to self driving vehicles” The full article can be found at Design News.

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2014 ME-EM Senior Awards Banquet and Capstone Design Day

The ME-EM Order of the Engineer, Senior Awards Banquet and Capstone Design Day was April 22, 2013 at the Rozsa Center Lobby.

The keynote speaker for the banquet was Ms. Lee Ann Rouse, President and CEO Omni Tech International Ltd. Lee earned a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Michigan Tech in 1987.

After graduating from Michigan Tech, Lee began her career working for Dow Chemical in Midland, Michigan as a Technical Service & Development Engineer in Dow Plastics. She later moved into Environmental, Health & Safety managing Dow’s health promotion and health services functions. After ten years at Dow, Lee started her own consulting firm, On Track Training & Consulting which later merged with Cornerstone Consulting. In 2000, Lee began working with Omni Tech International, Ltd. – a technical and business consulting firm headquartered in Midland, where she is President and CEO.

In addition to managing the company, Lee works as a consultant in the quality and business arena, and has authored and facilitated many training courses. Lee has received several special recognition awards for her client and work efforts and several community leadership awards including the Athena Leadership Award, the Midland Chamber Director’s Award, and the Vista award for Leadership. Under her direction, Omni Tech was named one of the 50 Best Companies to watch in Michigan and also received the Midland Innovator Award.

While a student at Michigan Tech, Lee was a member of the Memorial Union Board, Student Entertainment Board, the Society of Women in Engineering (SWE), and the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME). She has maintained her connection with Michigan Tech by returning to campus as a recruiter for coop and full-time employees and as a speaker and facilitator for different programs.

ME-EM Department Order of the Engineer and Senior Awards Banquet; 6-8 pm Rozsa Center Lobby Keynote Speaker: Ms. Lee A. Rouse, President and CEO Omni Tech International Ltd

Earlier in the day, the mechanical engineering-engineering mechanics department held its hosting its semi-annual Senior Capstone Design Day Program. Seventeen teams will present the fruits of their efforts over the past two semesters during presentations to industry reps, faculty, staff, students and MEEM External Advisory Board members. The teams will also display posters and, in some cases, their prototypes in the rear first-floor hallway of the MEEM building. This year’s project customers include Chrysler, John Deere, the Michigan Tech Rail Transportation Program, the Quincy Mine Hoist Association, The Modal Shop and others. All presentations, except HGS Aerospace, are open to the public.

Photo Gallery of the ME-EM Senior Capstone Design teams and the Senior Awards Banquet.

View a selection of video clips of the ME-EM Senior Capstone Design Teams on YouTube

Dr. Scott Miers ME-EM Faculty of the Year Award presented by Nickolas V. Kill , Chair of the ME-EM Student Advisory Committee
ME-EM Outstanding Enterprise Student Awards for Jay Woodbeck and Derek Turner
ME-EM Outstanding Enterprise Student Award to Michael Carey presented by Dr. William Endres
MEEM Outstanding Enterprise Student Award to Alisha Clark presented by Dr. William Endres
MEEM Outstanding Senior Design Student Awards to Tmothy Cencer and Steven Saliga
MEEM Outstanding Senior Design Student Award to Andrew Reed
MEEM Outstanding Senior Design Student Award to Sarah Daniels

Outstanding Link Coordinator Award to Nancy Barr by ME-EM Chair, Dr. William Predebon

Nancy Barr has been named an Outstanding Link Coordinator by the Recognition Committee of the Order of the Engineer.

Barr, the Senior Design and technical communications advisor for the Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics, is one of four link coordinators in the nation to receive this honor. Link coordinators are instrumental in organizing their units’ Ring Ceremony, inducting graduates into the Order of the Engineer.

Barr has been coordinating the department’s Order of the Engineer events at Michigan Tech since 2007. Since then, she has been responsible for the induction of over 1,200 mechanical engineering graduates during two annual ceremonies.

“Nancy’s been organizing the Senior Recognition Banquet, which includes the Ring Ceremony, since she started with us,” said Bill Predebon, chair of the MEEM department. “She coordinates all the activities seamlessly, and thanks in large part to her efforts, nearly all of our graduates attend and are inducted into the Order of the Engineer.”

Order of the Engineer

Photo Gallery of the ME-EM Senior Capstone Design teams and the Senior Awards Banquet.

View a selection of video clips of the ME-EM Senior Capstone Design Teams on YouTube

Michigan Tech Graduate Students Win NSF Graduate Research Fellowships

by Jenn Donovan, director of news and media relations

Three graduate students have received Graduate Research Fellowships from the National Science Foundation (NSF). Gregory Hardy and David Diesenroth in mechanical engineering and Christa Meingast in environmental engineering won the competitive fellowships. Benjamin Winter in civil engineering received an honorable mention.

“NSF Graduate Research Fellowships are one of the oldest, most prestigious and competitive programs nationally,” said Jodi Lehman, assistant director for research development at Michigan Tech. “It is the fellowship program that other federal programs such as the Department of Defense, Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Energy use as a benchmark,” she noted.

“The Graduate School is happy to see our students honored for their scholarship and achievements in and out of the classroom,” said Debra Charlesworth, assistant dean of the Graduate School and coordinator of the NSF Graduate Research Fellows program at Michigan Tech. “These prestigious awards recognize not only our students, but the faculty and staff who have provided opportunities and mentoring for them to reach their potential. They join an outstanding group of Michigan Tech NSF scholars who are conducting research around the world.”

Charlesworth herself is a former NSF Graduate Research Fellow.

“The recent awards and honorable mention demonstrate the quality of a Michigan Tech education at all levels and disciplines,” said Craig Friedrich, director of graduate studies for the Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics and Richard and Bonnie Robbins Chair Professor of Mechanical Engineering. “Our students are on par with the top research institutions in the US, and the support provided by Jodi Lehman helping students prepare fellowship applications continues to grow our success and recognition with the National Science Foundation and other agencies.”

See previous news article about David Diesenroth NSF award

Deisenroth Receives NSF Fellowship

David Deisenroth, a graduate student pursuing an MS in Mechanical Engineering, has received an National Science Foundation East Asia and Pacific Summer Institute Fellowship to travel to Korea this summer to conduct research.

Deisenroth will conduct an in-depth study on the collision of a falling drop of water and a resting drop of water. He will film the drops at high speeds and observe their characteristics. The results can be used to further the understanding of thermal management systems, aerosols and fuel injection.

An EAPSI award provides science, engineering and education research experiences in Australia, China, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, Singapore, or Taiwan; an introduction to the science, science policy and scientific infrastructure of the respective location; and an orientation to the society, culture, and language. EAPSI awards help students initiate professional relationships to enable future collaboration with foreign counterparts.

Deisenroth’s award includes a stipend of $5,000 and travel expenses. His advisor is Jeff Allen, the John and Joan Calder Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics.

Rastgaar Receives CAREER Award to Develop Ankle-Foot Prosthetic Robot

Mo Rastgaar has received a National Science Foundation grant of nearly $500,000 to make his new artificial limb design a reality. With the five-year Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award, Rastgaar, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering-engineering mechanics, will further develop his powered ankle-foot prosthesis: an artificial lower leg with the unique ability to restore amputees’ mobility and agility.


Michigan Tech to Partner in American Lightweight Materials Manufacturing Innovation Institute

Michigan Technological University is a partner in the newly formed $148 million American Lightweight Materials Manufacturing Innovation Institute (ALMMII). The new facility, to be headquartered in the metro-Detroit area, will be part of the National Network of Manufacturing Innovation, a federal initiative to help US manufacturers become more competitive and encourage investment in the United States.
The Department of Materials Science and Engineering and the Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics are leading the Michigan Tech partnership with ALMMII. MSE Chair Stephen Kampe, Associate Professor Paul Sanders, Professor Walter Milligan and Research Professor Steven Mashl will be primary participants from MSE.


Michigan Tech Students Head to Detroit for Alternative Spring Break

Students from the Michigan Tech National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) visited seven middle and high schools in Detroit over their Spring Break, March 11-14, 2014, to promote college and engineering to K-12 students. Two ME-EM students were in the group, Anza Mitchel and Taylor Driscoll. In the evenings, they conducted Family Engineering Night events at three K-8 schools. NSBE’s Alternative Spring Break is conducted in collaboration with the Detroit Public Schools Office of Science and the Detroit Math & Science Center, and funded in part, with a grant from John Deere.

WXYZ Channel 7 news in Detroit aired a feature story about an interview with Michigan Tech NSBE student chapter members in Detroit, working to motivate middle and high school students in Detroit schools to see college in their futures and to study science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

Read More about Michigan Tech Students Head to Detroit for Alternative Spring Break

Michigan Tech NSBE students Family Engineering session at classroom in Detroit shown here in a photo from 2014

SAE Clean Snowmobile Challenge 2014 Pictures and Videos

The Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics Department is
a partner with the Keweenaw Research Center for the SAE Clean Snowmobile Challenge held at Michigan Tech. A page leading to the results, news stories and photo Galleries is provided by the department. Links to 2014 Results Pictures and Videos

Playlist of Videos of Overview, Dan Hancock, president of SAE remarks, Opening, and other video clips

Also Video Playlist of the Handling Competition.

Photo Gallery of the 2014 Events

Results News Report: Kettering, McGill Win 2014 Clean Snowmobile Challenge

Dan Hancock, the president of SAE International, attended several of events and spoke at the Awards banquet.

Michigan Tech received the Bill Paddleford Founder’s Award for Most Sportsmanlike Conduct.

William Predebon, Chair ME-EM Department, Dave Reed, vice president for research, Michigan Tech and Dan Hancock, the president of SAE International