Category Archives: Graduate Studies

Graduate Student Prehoda In the News

image144321-persABC-10 News aired a story, about the potential for using solar energy in the UP, quoting Michigan Tech graduate student Emily Prehoda.

She is working on a survey that will be conducted in L’Anse next fall, a collaborative effort of the Western Upper Peninsula Planning and Development Region, the Village of L’Anse, WPPI Energy, and Michigan Tech’s Keweenaw Research Center and Department of Social Sciences.

Residents of the village buy their power from WPPI Energy, a non-profit company.

Prehoda was also featured in USA Today (“The US could prevent a lot of deaths by switching from coal to solar“), and on NBC and CBS with researcher Joshua Pearce (MSE/ECE).

Also in print, Joshua Pearce (MSE/ECE) and social sciences PhD Student Emily Prehoda coauthored, potential lives saved by replacing coal with solar photovoltaic electricity production in the U.S., in Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews that can be read here.



Will Solar Power Work in the U.P.?

Emily Prehoda
Emily Prehoda

ABC-10 News aired a story about the potential for using solar energy in the UP, quoting Michigan Tech graduate student Emily Prehoda. She is working on a survey that will be conducted in L’Anse next fall, a collaborative effort of the Western Upper Peninsula Planning and Development Region, the Village of L’Anse, WPPI Energy, and Michigan Tech’s Keweenaw Research Center and Department of Social Sciences. Residents of the village buy their power from WPPI Energy, a non-profit company. See here.

Pischke Receives Graduate Student Leader Award and Graduate Student Service Award

Erin Pischke, Jessie Knowlton, and Jill Fisher.

Erin Pischke (EEP) received two graduate student awards at the Graduate Research Colloquium Banquet held on February 16, 2017.  Pischke won a Graduate Student Government merit award for Exceptional Graduate Student Leader and the Graduate Student Service Award.

Congratulations Erin!

Read more and watch the video at ABC10 UP, by Rick Allen.

Complete list of winners:

Oral Presentation Competition

  1. 1st Place: Kevin Sunderland, Department of Biomedical Engineering
  2. 2nd Place: Teresa Wilson, Department of Physics
  3. 3rd Place: Andrew Chapp, Department of Kinesiology and Integrative Physiology
  4. Most Attended: Muraleekrishnan Menon, Department of Mechanical Engineering – Engineering Mechanics
  5. Most Attended: Niranjan Miganakallu, Department of Mechanical Engineering – Engineering Mechanics

Poster Presentation Competition

  1. 1st Place: Matthew Kilgas, Department of Kinesiology and Integrative Physiology
  2. 2nd Place: Brian Page, Department of Mechanical Engineering – Engineering Mechanics
  3. 3rd Place: Zichen Qian, Department of Biomedical Engineering
  4. People’s Choice: Mugdha Priyadarshini, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Graduate Student Service Awards

  1. Gorkem Asilioglu, Department of Computer Science
  2. Hossein Tavakoli, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
  3. Kate Glodowski, Department of Kinesiology and Integrative Physiology
  4. Erin Pischke, Department of Social Sciences

The GRC is held each year by the Graduate Student Government at Michigan Tech.

PhD Research Assistantship Opportunity

Energy Conservation PhD Research Assistantships at Michigan Technological University – Drs. Chelsea Schelly and Kathleen Halvorsen seek motivated applicants for two fully funded three-year research assistantship positions available for students pursuing a PhD in Environmental and Energy Policy at Michigan Technological University (MTU).

 Students will be involved in a National Science Foundation Innovations at the Nexus of Food, Energy, and Water (NSF INFEWS) funded interdisciplinary research project.  The project focuses on understanding and seeking ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through conservation of household-scale food, energy, and water. FEW PhD Position Description-1

John Baeten

John Baeten (Ph.D. candidate, IHA) has received a research grant from the Mining History Association to study the industrial heritage of the Mesabi Iron Range of Northern Minnesota. Baeten’s research project investigates the historic context of low-grade iron ore mining and processing in the Mesabi Range through the lens of industrial heritage and environmental history. His project will consist of  both archival and field research. While in the field he will be conducting a driving and pedestrian survey of the western Mesabi Range, documenting the historical footprints of iron ore “beneficiation” plants that produced both “washed ores” and the more familiar taconite, concentrated iron ore pellets, before shipment to the steel mills of the Great Lakes and beyond. The landscape he is investigating has undergone extensive abandonment and scrapping. This project hopes to connect the stories of direct shipping iron ores to taconite by exploring how the development of washable iron ores in the Mesabi Range helped pave the way for the eventual success of the taconite industry.


Industrial Archaeology Summer 2015 Field School: Isle Royale

IsleRoyaleThe Industrial Archaeology Summer 2015 Field School participated in excavation work at the Ransom Smelter on Isle Royale National Park.  Their work was captured in the production titled  Beneath the Wilderness: Revisiting Isle Royale’s Industrial Past from Ravenswood Media.

Video SummarySeth DePasqual, Cultural Resources Manager National Park Service, partners with a team of industrial archeologists from Michigan Technological University to uncover a 19th century smelter on Isle Royale National Park. Known primarily as a wilderness area, Isle Royale was, for a short time, the center of copper mining in the United States. The National Park Service provides the student archeologists with a valuable experience in industrial archeology while gathering important information for park visitors about the island’s gritty industrial past.

US Peace Corps’ Peace Car visits Michigan Tech

Peace CarHOUGHTON — Michigan Tech’s mascot, Blizzard T. Husky, met the challenge of squeezing into the driver’s seat of the US Peace Corps’ Peace Car, which arrived on the Michigan Tech campus this afternoon — one of many stops on a Midwest Tour by representatives from the Peace Corps Midwest Region office in Chicago. The Peace Car enables Peace Corps staff to share their mission while limiting their carbon footprint.

Michigan Tech has the greatest number of Peace Corps Masters International programs in the US. The programs — from Forestry to Environmental Engineering, Geology and more — are now in ten different MTU departments that offer a Master’s Degree combined with Peace Corps service.

Kari Henquinet, Michigan Tech Peace Corps Master’s International Program director and senior lecturer in Social Sciences, was on hand to welcome the Chicago Peace Corps team.

“They’ll come back in the fall for recruiting,” Henquinet said.

Read more at Keweenaw Now, by Kari Henquinet.

Henderson Wins Award for Paper on Hunting Trends in Michigan

HendersonChris Henderson, MS student in Environmental and Energy Policy, won the Rural Sociological Society’s Natural Resource Research Group’s Student Paper Award for his paper entitled “A Quantitative Analysis of County Hunting Trends in Michigan.” Chris will present this paper at the Rural Sociological Society’s annual meeting in Madison, Wisconsin on August 9, 2015. The award comes with a $100 cash prize.

Social Sciences Participates in ISSRM 2015 and 2016

ISSRM 2015Members of the Department of Social Sciences and the School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science (SFRES) attended the recent 2015 International Symposium on Society and Resource Management (ISSRM). The event took place in Charleston, SC, June 13-18, 2015.

Participants included nine graduate students in the Environmental and Energy Policy (EEP) program, Erin Pischke, Mayra Sanchez, Brad Barnett, Zoe Coombs, Aparajita Banerjee, Chris Henderson, Jenny Dunn, Erin Burkett, and Rhianna Williams, and Andrew Kozich of SFRES. Also attending were Professor Kathy Halvorsen, Associate Professor Richelle Winkler, and ISSRM 2016 Conference Coordinator/Ecosystem Science Center Research Scientist Jill Fisher.

The conference is the annual meeting of the International Association for Society and Natural Resources (IASNR). IASNR is an interdisciplinary professional association open to individuals who bring a variety of social science and natural science backgrounds to bear on complex environment and natural resource issues.

Michigan Tech students created the newest IASNR student chapter. The new student chapter, named the Association of Students for People, Environment and Nature (ASPEN), was represented by a team of EEP students in the ISSRM 2015 Quiz Bowl.

Michigan Tech will host ISSRM 2016 from June 22 to June 26. The symposium theme is Transitioning: Toward Sustainable Relationships in a Different World. The conference coordinator is Jill Fisher, and the co-chairs are Kathleen Halvorsen and Richelle Winkler.

ISSRM 2015 Quiz Bowl
Michigan Tech students participate in the ISSRM 2015 Quiz Bowl.

Walton noted for historic testing instrument

The original 17th-century gunpowder testing eprouvette of Joseph Furttenbach
The original 17th-century gunpowder testing eprouvette of Joseph Furttenbach

Asst. Professor Steven Walton (Social Sciences) was noted for his contribution to an ongoing project on the “Origins of Firepower” at the Royal Armouries and National Firearms Centre, Leeds [UK] in the Jan. 17-23, 2015 issue of New Scientist.  In “Do it Again: What can we find out by re-enacting the science of yesteryear” [paywall*] (pp. 31-35), Richard Webb reported on replication work with early gunpowder testing apparatus being undertaken by Haileigh Robertson, a Ph.D. student at the University of York, and one of Walton’s advisees. Robertson is exploring the philosophical and technical knowledge about gunpowder int eh early 17th century for a Ph.D. in the history of science, and Walton, an expert on historic gunpowder, built a replica of Joseph Furttenbach’s eprouvette from 1627 (see image) for her to use in testing. The New Scientist article says of their work:

Today Robertson is aiming to repeat the eprouvette work using a replica device built by historian Steven Walton of Michigan Technological University in Houghton. It has two vertical supports about 60 centimetres high, with a post suspended between them. Attached to the bottom of the post is a brass lid which sits atop a small powder chamber and priming pan. When gunpowder is ignited in the powder chamber, the force of the explosion should propel the brass lid and post up past a series of ratchets that flip up, and then catch the lid as it begins to fall. The height the lid reaches is a measure of the gunpowder’s relative potency. Robertson’s collaborator Peter Smithurst, an emeritus curator of firearms at the National Firearms Centre, first packs the chamber with modern “black powder”. Technician Trevor Weston approaches cautiously with a long lit taper. I stand ready with the video camera. “I wouldn’t want to stand too close,” says Robertson, “until we know what it does.” What it does, besides make an almighty flash and bang, is hard to discern at first. But when the smoke disperses, the lid is balancing 13 ratchets up, half a metre off the floor. So far, so good. Less successful are gunpowder mixtures prepared using old recipes by Smithurst, a trained chemist. There is the odd fizzer like a Roman candle, and quite a few proverbial flashes in the pan. No one is sure why these mixtures don’t work as well – perhaps the modern stuff is finer-grained, with a larger surface area to encourage ignition. Or maybe the samples have got damp somehow. Archaeologists and historians alike want to understand the factors affecting the potency of early gunpowder. The power and range of early guns depended on the energy it could generate, so gunpowder influenced not only the design of cannons and armour, but also the evolution of battlefield tactics. By reproducing these experiments we get a feel for what was possible – and an idea of the frustrations.

Further experimental and simulation work is planned.

* online this is part of a series of “Reliving five eureka moments lost in history”