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Nasser Alaraje Receives Fulbright to Teach in Qatar

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Nasser Alaraje will be spending the spring semester halfway around the world.  He is bringing his expertise in reconfigurable computing to Qatar University as a Fulbright Scholar.

Alaraje is an associate professor in the School of Technology and program chair of electrical engineering technology.

“Qatar is a technology hub, and despite its small size it has become a major player in the Middle East,” Alaraje said, in large part because it actively promotes higher education.  Qatar University is the country’s only national university, but in its Education City, Qatar also hosts branch campuses of eight universities from the US, the UK, and France.

This will be Alaraje’s first trip to Qatar, where he will teach reconfigurable computing (in English) both to students and to educators. Reconfigurable computing, a computer architecture combining the flexibility of software with the high performance of hardware, is essential for designing and building high-end electronics.

“I will be training them in the latest technology,” he said, “but the way I see the Fulbright, it’s not only about the impact I can make on the host country, it’s also about what I’ll be able to bring back here.” Ultimately, he hopes to promote faculty and student exchanges and research cooperation between Michigan Tech and Qatar.

Alaraje will be blogging about his trip while he is visiting Qatar. “I expect it will be a remarkable experience,” he said.

The Fulbright US Scholar Program sends approximately 1,100 American scholars and professionals per year to approximately 125 countries, where they lecture and/or conduct research in a wide variety of academic and professional fields. It was established in 1946 under legislation introduced by the late Sen. J. William Fulbright of Arkansas. The program’s purpose is to build mutual understanding between people of the United States and the rest of the world.

Surveying Engineering Accredited

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Published in “American Surveyor”
Thursday, 10 October 2013
Houghton, MI — Michigan Technological University’s bachelor’s degree program in Surveying Engineering has been accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of the Accreditation Board of Engineering & Technology (ABET).

The program has always been accredited in some capacity since its beginning in the School of Technology in 1984; however, the program’s curriculum redevelopment in 2006 required an update because bachelor’s degree engineering courses replaced associate degree courses.

As the field continues to advance, the faculty members in the Surveying Engineering program provide students with cutting-edge technology throughout their coursework. By developing partnerships with industry representatives, students are prepared to work in industry from day one because of their experience with equipment ranging from Robotic Total Stations to GPS to LiDAR scanners. Students also have access to Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and Kite Image Acquisition Systems to map small- to medium-sized areas or locations that are hard to reach on foot.

“We prepare Surveying Engineers of the future here through hands-on experiences in geospatial science,” said Eugene Levin, program chair. “Our students’ combination of training and education makes us confident that they are not only prepared for successful work in the field, but are aware of modern trends in geospatial technology and industries.”

To gain a deeper understanding of the many areas of surveying, students can choose from one of four concentrations, including Geodesy, Cartography, Photogrammetry, and Geographic Information Systems. Students gain an even better understanding of the world of surveying by working through real-world problems in capstone senior design and Digital Mapping Enterprise projects with industry leaders.

Students can take their education a step further at Michigan Tech by completing a master’s degree in Integrated Geospatial Technology, where they will gain an in-depth knowledge of geospatial science, remote-sensing technology, earth observation systems, and the software used to interpret and visualize geospatial data.

“The profession of surveying engineering is changing and has been changing,” said James Frendewey, dean of the School of Technology. “As a result of the new equipment, surveyors are able to achieve higher rates of productivity. Upon graduation, our students are ready to take the Fundamentals of Surveying exam, their first step toward licensure as a professional surveyor.”

Computer Network & System Administration and Surveying Engineering Programs Receive Accreditation

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The School of Technology is pleased to announce that the Computer Network & System Administration (CNSA) and Surveying Engineering programs have received accreditation.  The CNSA program is accredited by the Computing Accreditation Commission of ABET,, and the Surveying Engineering program is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET,

“Accreditation is an important component of building and maintaining quality programs, and it is always satisfying to have external validation of our work,” said School of Technology Dean Jim Frendewey. “It takes a great deal of time and effort to make this happen, from the faculty and staff of the School of Technology, and from others across the University. I am grateful for everyone’s support.”

All undergraduate programs (Computer Network and System Administration, Construction Management, Electrical Engineering Technology, Mechanical Engineering Technology, and Surveying Engineering) in the School of Technology are now accredited by a discipline appropriate commission/agency.

CMG Student Scott Pokornowski Receives 2013 AGC Scholarship

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The AGC of Michigan Educational Endowment Fund Trustees recently announced that Scott Pokornowski has been awarded the AGC of Michigan Louis C. Verrett Memorial Scholarship for 2013.  Scott is a senior in the School of Technology’s Construction Management Program.  Congratulations Scott!

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Teaching the Teachers the Latest Tools for Reconfigurable Computing

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NSF Workshop 2013by Marcia Goodrich, magazine editor

Associate Professor Nasser Alaraje’s (SoT) workshops on reconfigurable computing are so popular that two hours after he announced that he’d be leading another one, he had to close the registration.

Alaraje, who is chair of the electrical engineering technology program, leads the project in cooperation with Associate Professor Aleksandr Sergeyev (SoT). Alaraje is also adept at VHDL and FPGA design, and that is why his fellow academics are beating a path to his door.

Very High Speed Integrated Circuit Hardware Description Language (VHDL) and Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) are tools for reconfigurable computing, a computer architecture that combines some of the flexibility of software with the high performance of hardware, according to Wikipedia.

“Industrial use of FPGA-based logic design is increasing drastically, and the applications are widespread, from aerospace and defense to consumer electronics,” Alaraje said. These skills are essential for designing and building high-end electronics but are taught in only about 20 percent of the four-year electrical engineering technology programs in the US.

Funded by a $269,000 grant from the National Science Foundation, Alaraje has led three workshops on VHDL and FPGA at Michigan Tech, the most recent on May 10-11. The workshops educate the educators from universities and community colleges. Faculty members from 12 institutions in 10 states attended the most recent event, which included hands-on learning in reconfigurable computing.

“We received overwhelmingly positive feedback,” said Alaraje. “So far, we have trained about 35 faculty members in the skills they will need to develop new courses when they return to their home institutions.”

Alaraje, who spent seven years as a FPGA designer in the private sector before coming to Michigan Tech, launched the workshops to help colleges and universities better meet the needs of employers. “When I came to academia, I didn’t see the curriculum needed by industry,” he said. “Technology moves faster than the curriculum; the goal is to always bridge the gap.”

The workshops have been so successful that NSF has awarded $899,686 to expand the program to reach more college-level faculty. Alaraje’s partners in this next chapter are the University of New Mexico, Drake State Technical College in Alabama, and Chandler-Gilbert Community College in Arizona

He expects that the upcoming workshops will be just as popular as the last three. “We know the demand is there,” he said.

Michigan Tech Receives High Marks for Graduate Earning Potential

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Business Insider Gives Tech High Marks for Graduate Earning Potential
by Jenn Donovan, public relations director

More than ever, students choosing where to go to school review the future earning potential of a university’s graduates. But the well-known US News & World Report ranking of colleges and universities doesn’t give that factor much weight.

They should, says Business Insider, a business website that analyzes financial, media, technology and other industries. So Business Insider combined the US News & World Report rankings of best universities and the college salary report to develop rankings that reflect both reputation and the salaries earned by graduates.

Analyzing several hundred universities and colleges, Business Insider developed two lists of colleges and universities: “underrated” and “overrated.” The website termed schools with a lower US News college ranking and higher salary ranking “underrated.” These are schools whose graduates rank high on salaries earned but aren’t given due credit in the US News ranking.

Michigan Tech made Business Insider’s list of the top 25 “underrated” schools, coming in at 22.

Business Insider termed schools with a high US News ranking and low salary ranking as “overrated.” These are schools that show up very well in the Best Colleges ranking, but their graduates earn lower salaries than might be expected from their US News ranking.

“We found that most of the underrated schools were engineering and technology schools with relatively low US News rankings but outstanding salary performance,” Business Insider notes on its web site.

For the full story, see Business Insider.

For the Business Insider article:

EET Student, Antonio Passariello, is AREMA Educational Foundation 2013 Scholarship Winner

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EET Student, Antonio Passariello, is AREMA Educational Foundation 2013 Scholarship Winner.

The AREMA Educational Foundation provides scholarships to engineering students who are specializing in the railway industry and supports other educational and training endeavors that help to ensure the future of the profession.

EET Student, Kurt Kalenauskas, is 2013 MABF Scholarship Recipient

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LANSING, MICHIGAN – The Michigan Association of Broadcasters Foundation (MABF) is proud to announce the recipients of its 2013 MABF Scholarship Program. Recipients were identified by the faculty representatives from each school and ratified by the MAB Foundation Board of Directors. Scholarships were presented during the Great Lakes Broadcasting Conference and Expo on Wednesday, March 13 in Lansing. The following students were the recipients of the 2013 Scholarships:

MABF Endowment Scholarships

The Carl E. Lee Scholarship
Nicole Pascaretta
Western Michigan University

The Charles D. Fritz Scholarship
Philip Maciolek
Henry Ford Community College

& Marks Foundation Scholarship (2)
Cody Boyer
Northern Michigan University


Kurt Kalenauskas
Michigan Technological University

The Nancy Waters and Mark Waters Scholarship
Pamela Croydon
University of Michigan

The Charles D. Mefford Scholarship
Brooks Deihl, III
Specs Howard School of Media Arts

The Gary A. Reid Scholarship
Marites Woodbury
Michigan State University

The James H. Quello Scholarship
Colin Marshall
Michigan State University

The Leicinger/Biederman Scholarship
Kyle Pacynski
Michigan State University

The Dr. Peter Orlik Broadcast Scholarship (2)
Rodney Harris
Central Michigan University


Anna Swando
Central Michigan University

The Jerry P. Colvin Scholarship
Spencer Wheelock
Grand Valley State University

The Alan W. Frank Scholarship
Ashley Allison
Oakland University

MAB Foundation General Scholarships

Meghann Brozowski
Adrian College

Hannah Crouch
Ferris State University

Princess Gabbara
Eastern Michigan University

Eric Iden
Spring Arbor University

Kasidee Karsten
Hope College

Adorabelle Namigadde
Wayne State University

Joshua Pavlik
Delta College

Matthew Shepard
Lansing Community College

MABF Station Scholarship

WXYZ-TV Station Scholarship
Amyra Woods
Wayne State University

MABF High School Scholarships

Caleb Gordon
Marysville High School

Emoni Sholar
Edwin Denby High School

Frederick Smith
Southeastern High School

For more information about the MAB Foundations Scholarship Program or other MAB Foundation programs please visit our website at
Please Contact the MAB Foundation for official photos at


The Michigan Association of Broadcasters Foundation is a 501(C)(3) non-profit educational and research-oriented charitable organization under the Internal Revenue Service Code. The Foundation is involved with broadcast history preservation and industry advancement through education, research and promoting excellence. A major part of the Foundation is to promote the continuation of excellence through a diverse broadcasting work force. This is done by offering scholarships, internships and continuing education opportunities.

Construction Management Program Receives Accreditation

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The American Council for Construction Education (ACCE) has accredited Michigan Tech’s Construction Management program in the School of Technology.

“The Construction Management program at Michigan Tech has maintained the stringent standards of ACCE and has proven to the board, through a visiting team of peers and industry practitioners, that the program is worthy of accreditation,” the accrediting body said in a news release announcing its action.

“Accreditation is an important component of building and maintaining a quality program in Construction Management, and it is always satisfying to have external validation of our work,” said School of Technology Dean Jim Frendewey. “It takes a great deal of time and effort to make this happen, from the faculty and staff of the School of Technology, and from others across the University. I am grateful for everyone’s support.”

Originally, the program was a two-plus-two curriculum, offering an Associate Degree in Civil Engineering Technology combined with courses from the School of Business and Economics and other selected classes. In 2005, the program in Construction Management was approved as a Bachelor of Science degree offering.

“Since then, we have been improving and adjusting the curriculum requirements to insure a quality, current education to prepare our graduates for a career in the construction industry,” said program chair John Daavettila. “We are very pleased that our program has met the high standards for accreditation by the American Council for Construction Education. This accreditation is important to our School because it verifies the quality of the program as judged by a national organization of professionals in academics and the construction industry.”

The ACCE was established in 1974 to be a leading global advocate of quality construction education and to promote, support and accredit quality construction education programs around the world.

It’s Nothing Like Home, but You’ll Like it Here: Recruiting International Students

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Michigan Technological University has a long history of recruiting students from other nations. Michigan Tech’s current international student enrollment is its largest ever—1,024—nearly 15 percent of all students on campus. And several programs are adding to that legacy, according to Thy Yang, director of International Programs and Services (IPS).

One of the newer programs partners with Brazil, she says.

“We are involved with Brazil’s Science without Borders program,” Yang explains. “Currently, we’ve got 10 students on campus who are getting all tuition and room and board paid by the Brazilian government for one year, to see if Tech is right for them.”

Under the program, students must choose from schools that focus on STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math), and they must have a high level of proficiency in English.

“They come as undergraduates, but they can return as master’s students, if they like what they experience,” Yang says.

School of Technology faculty member and Brazilian native Aurenice Oliveira is helping with the program,. Oliveira says it is relatively easy working with the students, as “they are highly selected in Brazil,” before coming to Tech, where they face a much different academic and social culture.

“Brazil has very few small college towns,” Oliveira says. “Most of their universities are in big cities, and then there’s all this snow here, of course.”

She’s helped recruit students from Brazilian universities for several years now, and she’s had friends and graduate students assisting IPS at college fairs in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, discussing the differences in academics here and there.

“Brazil stresses exams more,” Oliveira says. “They give fewer assignments, unlike here where the exams are shorter, but there are many more homework assignments.”

Brazilian students take a five-day common entrance exam just to qualify for universities, she says, similar to students in India and China.

Many Students from China

Speaking of China, it remains Tech’s greatest international success story. This year, 230 graduate students and 236 undergraduates are enrolled, making them the third largest student population on campus. And that ratio of graduate to undergraduate students is unusual, Yang says.

“In tech schools, it is predominately graduate students coming from China,” she explains. Yang has just returned from a visit to Beijing, where they had a predeparture session at the US Embassy, prepping the students for the move. Tech has other programs in place to help students succeed, Yang says, such as English as a Second Language (ESL).

At a recent 8 a.m. session, seven Chinese students seemed eager to learn in Clare Zuraw’s ESL writing class. First, she had them warm up by combining a couple of sentences using “which” or “where.” One student wrote: “New York City, which is often called the Big Apple, is known as a cultural center of the US.”

Next, in a discussion circle led by management major Xiao Luo, they debated: “Should science majors pay less for tuition than art majors?”

Their answers reveal their reasons for choosing Michigan Tech. “I chose economics because I am interested in graduate school here,” says Shang Gao. “I chose mechanical engineering because I don’t like business,” Hao Qin remarks. Around the circle they go. Influencers include their parents, friends, relatives—and the bottom line.

“I would like to go into hotel management in graduate school,” says Ya Luo, a management major. He Xuan wants to be an architect, thus her civil engineering major. A master’s degree is in her future, too, she says.

“Tech is kind to international students,” says Chenxi Wu, an environmental engineering major. “It is progressive. They help international students with their studies.”

The Chinese students also chose this home a long way from their home because it is peaceful, and they can study here. It is great, “except for the weather,” says Wu.

There is a long tradition of Chinese students attending Michigan Tech. The Chinese Student Club existed in 1916. The current group of students was surprised and pleased by that fact.

Successful Thai Recruiting

More and more students are coming to Tech from another part of Asia, through the pipeline the Graduate School has created with Thailand. And, it’s come a long way in a short time.

“We have 14 Thai graduate students on campus,” says Jacque Smith, director of marketing for the Graduate School. “That’s up from zero in the mid-2000s.”

Smith relies on alumni in Thailand and current students at Tech to help bolster enrollment from that Southeast Asian nation.

Recruiting in Thailand this fall, he attended the Royal Thai Scholars Placement Day Event, where 250 of Thailand’s best and brightest students check out graduate schools from around the world.

“As a Royal Thai Scholar, they receive full tuition and stipend from the government for whatever university they choose to attend,” Smith says. “Routinely, the government is targeting the STEM [science, technology, engineering, math] disciplines for their scholarships, so that helps our cause considerably.”

Alumni in Thailand are master recruiters too.

“Prince Chackartnarodom, a 2003 materials science and engineering alumnus, teaches engineering at Kasetsart University, and he is spreading the word about Michigan Tech,” Smith says. “It really helps to have someone there to guide students into our programs. Prince is fluent in English, so he is one of our translators at events over there too.”

Their oldest recruiter is Wera Wongcruawal, who graduated from Michigan Tech in 1960.  He attends every event and puts a living face on a successful Tech alumnus for potential Thai students. Wongcruawal is a retired mechanical engineer. Also helping out is an alumni couple, Jennifer and Mark Bigelow, who are working for General Motors in Thailand.

Sanchai Kuboon, president of Tech’s Thai Student Association and a graduate student in materials science and engineering, talks with students in Thailand about his experiences on campus.

“I tell them Michigan Tech is a really good and warm place,” he says. “It’s got a lot of international students from other countries, which makes you feel good.”

The small group of Thai students is tight-knit, he says.

“We all work together with Jacque to help with recruitment,” Kuboon adds. For example, they advise students back home which courses and instructors to take.

Communications are reality lessons too, Kuboon points out. “We tell them about the winters, how to live here and to adjust to the lack of sun. We tell them to take vitamin D.”

“We’ve got the student association, a support network and momentum,” Smith says. “Students over there can envision themselves here.”

Smith believes it’s a system that will work in other countries too. And, true to Tech’s tradition, other nations will continue to send their most promising students to the snowy hills of the Copper Country.

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