Category Archives: News

Anonymous Gift Provides Endowed Department Chair in ME-EM


by Mark Wilcox

An anonymous gift from an alumnus to Michigan Tech will provide an endowed department chair for the University’s largest academic department. The $3 million estate gift from the donor, whom the University refers to as “Jack,” will fund the Endowed Department Chair in Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics (ME-EM). Electrical Engineering also has an endowed department chair.

The position, currently held by William W. Predebon, will be realized and fully recognized by naming the position through Jack’s estate. Until the gift is realized, the position will be known as the “J.S. Endowed Department Chair in Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics.”

Dale Kero, senior major gift officer for ME-EM, says this is not the first example of Jack’s philanthropy to his alma mater.

“Jack has already established an endowed scholarship in the amount of $250,000 for graduating students at his local high school who major in mechanical engineering-engineering mechanics at Michigan Tech,” Kero says.

According to Kero, “Jack really appreciated the ‘hands-ons’ education he received from Michigan Tech that he continues to use in his career.” Kero says Jack believed in “life-long learning” and hopes these gifts to Michigan Tech will provide that same opportunity for future generations.

Predebon says “this is a very important recognition for the ME-EM Department.”

As the department’s current chair, Predebon says he is humbled and honored to receive this named position. “I am very grateful to Jack for his trust and support of the ME-EM Department.”

ME-EM News Briefs

Michigan Tech fourth-year mechanical engineering major Reagan May (Depere, Wis.) was featured in the article, “The Kulwicki Driver Development Program Gives Grass Roots Racers a Shot at the Big Time,” by Rod Fisher. The article appeared in the online magazine Circle Track, published by Hot Rod Network. The article is an in-depth look at May, who is in her second season as a race driver in the TUNDRA Super Late Model Stock Car Series. May is one of just seven drivers nationally, and the only woman, selected for the Kulwicki Driver Development Program.

Korey Kierpert featured in Irish Mirror: “My life really is a roller coaster”: Man behind huge Tayto Park ride tells how he went from making models to real thing” He earned a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering ’97 and Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering ’99 for studying fatigue effects of composite materials., a consumer news website, published an article about the economic value of a master’s degree, quoting Chair Bill Predebon (ME-EM) on why mechanical engineers with a master’s degree earn more than those with bachelor’s degrees.

Troy Bouman and Mahsa Asgarisabet, mechanical engineering graduate students working with Andrew Barnard, (MEEM) were highlighted in an article in Nanowerk, the leading nanotechnology portal. IEEE Spectrum and Lab Manager magazine also reported on the carbon nanotube speakers being developed by Barnard and the graduate students. Carbon nanotube speaker research by graduate students Mahsa Asgarisabet and Troy Bouman was published in Lab Manager. and Controlled Environments Magazine both reported on the carbon nanotube speaker research of Michigan Tech graduate students Mahsa Asgarisabet and Troy Bouman, working with Assistant Professor Andrew Barnard (ME-EM).

Michigan Tech researchers who are using a 3-D printer to regenerate nerve tissue were mentioned in a Fortune online article on the 3-D bioprinter.

Gregory Odegard, professor, associate chair and director of undergraduate studies in the Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics, was interviewed by ScienceAroundMichigan, a science news website, about Michigan Tech being selected as one of five universities in the country to participate in a National Science Foundation engineering education diversity project.

Corp published an article on the future of the high-tech jobs market in Michigan, quoting Jim Baker, executive director of Innovation and Industry Engagement, and Steve Patchin, director of Career Services. The article also features several photos of Michigan Tech students and interns.

The National Science Foundation tweeted that Assistant Professor Nina Mahmoudian (ME-EM) is a “rock star.” The tweet referred to her winning both an NSF Career Award and an Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Program award this year. See the tweet.

Tech Century, a science and technology news website published by the Engineering Society of Detroit, reported on a visit by ESD executives to Michigan Tech and plans to establish a student chapter of the ESD at Michigan Tech.

Tech Century, an engineering and technology news website published by the Engineering Society of Detroit, reported on Michigan Tech’s Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics being chosen by the National Science Foundation (NSF) as one of five nationwide to participate in a new program designed to increase diversity among undergraduate mechanical engineering students (see article: “Michigan Tech 1 of 5 Universities Chosen to Help Improve Diversity in Mechanical Engineering Education”).

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Patrick McCabe applies his ME-EM education as entrepreneur

PMcC_4652-150x202aMichigan Technological University is renowned for their prestigious engineering program as they prepare students to enter a disorganized world with the tools and capabilities to make a constructive difference. Today, green technologies bring innovation and change into our daily lives; and, Michigan Tech alumnus Patrick McCabe continues to utilize his strong engineering background, along with his brilliant entrepreneurial skills to redefine the solar industry.

Patrick is COO and co-founder of GreenLancer, a Detroit-based startup company that utilizes an e-commerce platform to produce high-quality solar design documents. Creating solar designs may seem simple on the surface, but the innovative combination of engineering and virtual manufacturing allows GreenLancer to actively compete with the traditional brick and mortar design firms.

Upon graduating with his BSME degree, Patrick moved to Salt Lake City, then to San Diego to pursue a job in the solar industry. He began to work from home as a freelancer, but that wasn’t enough. Alas, GreenLancer emerged, originally named Stellar PV. Pat, along with a few friends, traveled across the country doing web-based design work for solar electricity companies. After several years on the road, Pat decided to bring the work back to Detroit in hopes of redefining manufacturing and the working class, both of which have plagued the city’s reputation in the past.

The idea of cultivating a remote workforce, managing workflow, and streamlining processes via technology began to attract attention from the city’s evolving tech start-up scene. Through family and friends, Patrick was able to raise $50,000 to bring the company to Bizdom, a start-up incubator on the heart of Detroit. There, generous investors gave an initial investment of $1 million to continue the advancement GreenLancer. In April of 2015, the company finished raising a Series B funding of $5 million from new and existing investors. The trajectory of GreenLancer and its concept is moving upward from solar to potentially all green technologies.

Patrick applauds Michigan Technological University for challenging him during his academic career. “I’m grateful for the education I received at Michigan Tech as it has helped to propel my achievements,” Patrick stated. Similarly, “It is exciting to see fellow alumni contributing to solving problems across the world.” Pat is looking forward to watching the continued success of the engineering program at Michigan Tech.

Article about GreenLancer

“GreenLancer raises Series B funding round of $5 million, expands in Detroit” Article from Crain’s Detroit

“Patrick McCabe, 29: CEO and co-founder, GreenLancer Energy Inc., Detroit” (Article from Crain's Detroit)

For more information about GreenLancer, please visit

Nina Mahmoudian Receives a Young Investigator Program Award from Office of Naval Research

image123120-horizOnly 36 faculty across the US were invited to join the Young Investigator Program (YIP) from the Office of Naval Research this year; additionally, only a small percent of faculty receive the CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation (NSF). Nina Mahmoudian, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering-engineering mechanics at Michigan Technological University, is one of a select few to receive both in the same year.

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ME-EM Hosts High Voltage/Temperature Materials and Structures (HVT) Meeting

Odegard2The week of May 18th ME-EM hosted the semi-annual NSF I/UCRC Industrial Advisory Board meeting for the Center for Novel High Voltage/Temperature Materials and Structures (HVT). The meeting was organized by Site Director Greg Odegard (ME-EM) and Co-Directors Julie King (ChE) and Paul Sanders (MSE).

The meeting was attended by 46 faculty, graduate students and Industrial Advisory Board members from Michigan Tech’s Departments of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics, Chemical Engineering and Materials Science Engineering; University of Denver, University of Illinois Urbana-Champagne and Boeing, Bonneville Power Administration, BP, CTC Global, General Cable, John Crane Inc. Global, Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Southwire Company and Western Area Power Administration.

The mission of the HVT Center is to develop and evaluate new materials and structures for a range of HVT technological applications, particularly for the power transmission and aerospace industries.

The HVT Center has entered its second year of operation; the meeting was focused on the review of the current projects, proposals for future research and discussions on directions for Center growth. The Center is jointly funded by NSF and the Industrial Advisory Board member companies.

Bioprinting in 3D: Looks Like Candy, Could Regenerate Nerve Cells

image121814-horizThe printer looks like a toaster oven with the front and sides removed. Its metal frame is built up around a stainless steel circle lit by an ultraviolet light. Stainless steel hydraulics and thin black tubes line the back edge, which lead to an inner, topside box made of red plastic. In front, the metal is etched with the red Bio Bot logo. All together, the gray metal frame is small enough to fit on top of an old-fashioned school desk, but nothing about this 3D printer is old school. In fact, the tissue-printing machine is more like a sci-fi future in the flesh—and it has very real medical applications.
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Engineering Students Win Air Force Research Lab University Design Challenge

A Senior Design team won top prize at the Air Force Research Lab University Design Challenge with its design for a wearable cooling device for soldiers in the field.

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Winning Senior Design team, from the left: Jessica Buck, Sean Mackey, Sophia Rizzo, Nicholas Sill (in the back), John Schuman, Joshua Kizer (wearing the suit), Jaclyn Johnson, Mikhail Alexander, Kevin Johnson, Bill Endres.
Winning Senior Design team, from the left: Jessica Buck, Sean Mackey, Sophia Rizzo, Nicholas Sill (in the back), John Schuman, Joshua Kizer (wearing the suit), Jaclyn Johnson, Mikhail Alexander, Kevin Johnson, Bill Endres.

Listening Under the Ice

IMG_4429There are two ways to measure sounds: actively and passively. “Passive acoustics is just listening to whatever is out there,” says Andrew Barnard, an assistant professor in mechanical engineering studying acoustics at Michigan Tech. He helped install a passive hydrophone system off the dock at the Great Lakes Research Center (GLRC), which is a unique set-up under the ice.

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PACE Engineering Design Competition ME-EM April 2015

IMG_0044 (1280x853)The Michigan Tech Mechanical Engineering version of the Partners for the Advancement of Collaborative Engineering Education PACE Engineering Design Competition was held on April 23, 2015.

Photo Gallery is on 2015 ME-EM PACE Contest at Flickr

Project Description: The design project is mainly involving CAD modeling of a real world example but designed by the students specially for the competition. The students apply the skill they learned on Modeling, Assemblies, and drafting.  Some of them may include analysis and animations.  The students are required to select a project on their own and it should be original. They as a team will create the parts and assemblies and present at the competition. CAD modeling/assembly with analysis, of any equipment used in the project.

Judges for April 2015 PACE were KVC Rao, Michigan Tech ME-EM; John Baker, Siemens; Radheshyam Tewari, Michigan Tech ME-EM; Christopher Morgan, General Motors; Laura McCausland, General Motors; Andrew Rohr, General Motors; Chris Eaton, General Motors.

Judging Criteria
Form — Design Concept, Creativity, Perceived Value, Safety
Fit — Physical Model (realism, aesthetics, detail, supporting design)
Function — Design Parameters and Performance (math models, simulations, spreadsheets, etc.)
Presentation — Effective, Professional, Credible
Teamwork and Collaboration

1st Place Modular Human Figure John Ford,   Michael Kita,  Cathy Nguyen,   Scott Potrykus
1st Place Modular Human Figure John Ford, Michael Kita, Cathy Nguyen, Scott Potrykus
1st Place Modular Human Figure John Ford,   Michael Kita,  Cathy Nguyen,   Scott Potrykus
1st Place Modular Human Figure John Ford, Michael Kita, Cathy Nguyen, Scott Potrykus

See all the rest of the photos at Photo Gallery is on 2015 ME-EM PACE Contest at Flickr