All posts by amkerane

STEM Investigations Aboard Michigan Tech’s Research Vessel Agassiz

Research Vessel Agassiz at White CitySeptember is a busy month for the Ride the Waves (RTW) program – seven UP schools (Chassell Gr. 7 & 8; Lake Linden-Hubbell Middle School Gr. 8, Watersmeet High School Gr. 10, Jeffers Middle School Gr. 8,  Menominee Catholic School Gr. 7 & 8, Sacred Heart School Gr. 5 & 7, and LL Wright Middle School Gr. 8 (Ironwood) will participate in a variety of programs aboard the Agassiz research vessel.

Now in its 7th year, the Ride the Waves program in the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering is supported by a grant from General Motors. RTW’s primary focus is to engage youth in grades 4-12 in learning how scientists investigate the Great Lakes. Programs are fun, free and educational.  Scientific excursions, each 3-4 hours in length, take place on Lake Superior, Portage Waterway and Torch Lake. The program reaches ~600 students and community residents each year.

 

Lake Linden Hubbell students at JacobsvilleThere are 4 programs to choose from:

  • How Do Scientists Assess the Health of the Great Lakes (1.5 hours GLRC lab; 1.5 hours Agassiz)

Investigate water quality and collect samples of organisms to examine in the lab to find out “How Do You Make A Lake Trout?” For Grades 4-12.

  • Mine Waste Remediation & Torch Lake Restoration  (2 hours land; 2 hours Agassiz)

The history of the “Copper Country” is explored ‘by land and water.’ Students visit the Ahmeek stamp mill—‘the last mill standing’ to experience an historic copper milling site, assess the effectiveness of the Torch Lake Superfund remediation using EPA protocols, and sample the sediments and organisms in Torch Lake to evaluate ecological recovery. For Grades 6-12 students.

  • Navigation Exploration: Math in Action  

Students use chart dividers and compasses to determine the Agassiz’s position on a navigational chart and then navigate the Agassiz to a new location. Students use algebra to determine the accuracy of their navigation. For Grades 8-12 students.

  • Jacobsville Geoheritage

Explore the history and geology of historic Jacobsville where sandstone quarries were active from 1883 to 1896, when the sandstone was used to construct many buildings in Michigan, Wisconsin, and all over the eastern U.S.  Students will visit the sandstone cliffs, old quarry docks and South Entry data buoy to pull up live data. For Grades 4-12 students.

 

For more Information, contact: Joan Chadde, Michigan Tech Center for Science & Environmental Outreach   Phone: 906-487-3341 or jchadde@mtu.edu

 


MTU’s research vessel at Chassell Strawberry Festival on July 13

Scientific excursions aboard MTU’s research vessel Agassiz to discover ‘How scientists investigate the health of the Great Lakes?’ at Strawberry Festival, 12:30-6 pm, Saturday, July 13 at Chassell Marina

‘How do scientists investigate the health of Lake Superior’ is the focus of FREE scientific excursions aboard Michigan Tech’s research vessel, Agassiz, that will be offered at the Strawberry Festival from 12:30-6 pm, Saturday, July 13, departing from the Chassell marina.

The public is invited to reserve a space by using this link or call the Center at: (906) 487-3341, or go to the Center’s webpage:https://blogs.mtu.edu/cseo/   The public is also welcome to come to the Chassell Marina dock on Saturday from 12:30 to 5 pm, to get on the list. Spaces go quickly. Each excursion has room for 18 participants. Half of the available spaces will be saved for onsite participants.

On each scientific excursion, Dr. Cory McDonald, a Michigan Tech scientist in the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering at the Great Lakes Research Center, will show how data is collected on water clarity, temperature, and turbidity and explain what that tells us about the health of Lake Superior and Chassell Bay. Dr. McDonald will explain the link between land uses and the health of the Great Lakes.

Space is limited to 18 persons per excursion (children must be at least 7 years of age and accompanied by an adult). Life jackets are available for all passengers. All must wear closed toe shoes.

“Copper Country residents and visitors are encouraged to learn how scientists study the Great Lakes and which  measurements indicate a healthy lake,” explains Joan Chadde, director of the Center for Science & Environmental Outreach, who has coordinated this program as part of Strawberry Festival since 2006.

“These scientific excursions for the public have been extremely popular. Youth and adults enjoy the opportunity to interact with Great Lakes scientists and get their questions answered,” adds Chadde.

The event is funded by the GM Ride the Waves Program which puts 600 Copper Country youth and adults on the water each year to learn about the health of the Great Lakes and Lake Superior, and to promote STEM careers. Financial support for the Agassiz at the Strawberry Festival is also provided by the Chassell Lions Club.

For information on Lake Superior Day festivities and the Agassiz in Copper Harbor on Sunday, July 21st, contact Lloyd Wescoat at lwescoat@mtu.edu  or call the Center at: (906) 487-3341. Center for Science& Environmental Outreach

https://blogs.mtu.edu/cseo/ Michigan Tech’s Great Lakes Research Center       http://greatlakes.mtu.edu/   Lake Superior Stewardship Initiative      http://lakesuperiorstewardship.org/


TAMC Culvert Project Selected as 2019 Project of the Year, Awarded to CTT

APWA 2018 Award with five people including two recipients

Michigan Tech has experts in innovation making a statewide impact: Chris Gilbertson, PhD, PE, and Scott Bershing, both at the university’s Center for Technology & Training (CTT). Gilbertson, associate director, and Bershing, technical specialist, received a 2019 Project of the Year award from the Michigan Chapter of the American Public Works Association.

Gilbertson and Bershing were technical experts on the project team led by the Michigan Transportation Asset Management Council’s (TAMC) Bridge Committee. The Bridge Committee received a charge from the state and responded with the 2018 Michigan Local Agency Culvert Inventory Pilot Evaluation to learn about its county- and city-owned culvert assets.

In seven-months’ time, the project team developed a culvert data collection method and assessment system. They also made updates to Roadsoft, the asset management software developed by the CTT and used by Michigan’s local road-owning agencies. And, they recruited and deployed 49 local road-owning agencies in Michigan to test the data collection and assessment processes on nearly 50,000 culverts.

“The TAMC and Michigan Tech received the award, but the success of the pilot would not have been possible without the efforts of many others around the state,” commented Gilbertson.

Bershing said, “This was a good example of multiple agency cooperation, working together under a tight time frame and deadline to complete the project.” That collaboration helped the TAMC to estimate Michigan’s total number of culverts at 196,000 with a replacement value of $1.48 billion. It also found that Michigan’s local agencies own and maintain 7.3 to 9.2 million feet of culvert assets—or 1,798 miles (the distance from Houghton, Michigan to Miami, Florida)—with most being corrugated steel pipe. Another key finding from the pilot was that a majority—67.2 percent—of culverts held a condition rating of a 6 or better on a 10-point scale.

Participating agencies benefitted not only from the results but also from the processes developed by the project team. These processes gave the agencies useful strategies for managing their assets and guidance for developing proactive management strategies.

“It’s rewarding to be recognized for the hard work we put in on this project”, said Bershing. Gilbertson echoed his colleague, saying, “I’m honored that we were recognized by the APWA for the work that we put into the culvert pilot last year. We are truly thankful to all those individuals who made this possible.”

Gilbertson and Bershing share this recognition with the entire project team and the 49 participating agencies.  Without their support, this culvert project would not have been a success.

The final report for the pilot study is available on the TAMC website: https://www.michigan.gov/documents/tamc/TAMC_2018_Culvert_Pilot_Report_Complete_634795_7.pdf


Michigan Tech Surveying Engineering Attends MiCareer Quest


MiCareer Quest Expo Booth

Michigan Tech Surveying Engineering participated in MiCareer Quest Northwest 2019 in Traverse City on Thursday, May 22 at the Grand Traverse County Civic Center.  MiCareer Quest is a “multi-industry career exploration event” sponsored and supported by industry, employers, trades, and educators throughout Michigan.  The event, primarily put together by Michigan WORKS!, is an effort to expose students to a myriad of career opportunities.  The Michigan Society of Professional Surveyors Outreach and Education Committee, headed by Jason Juilleret, PS, a Land Surveyor with Gourdie-Fraser and Michigan Tech grad, secured a booth for the Society, inviting Michigan Tech to participate along with two Surveyors from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.  Professor of Practice, Joe Foster, was able to bring a virtual sandbox and information about Michigan Tech, specifically the Surveying Engineering program to share with the 2000 9th grade students from 30 different school districts.  The event gave the students the opportunity to experience 60 employers representing 100 different occupations.  Michigan Tech was unique as it was one of the educators in attendance, giving the opportunity to spread the word of Michigan Tech, Surveying Engineering and the Surveying Profession as a whole.

For more information on the event, visit here.


EWB Travels to Bolivia to Address Roadway Flooding and Erosion.

Michigan Tech Students with Young Community Members
Young community members receive a lesson on how to fly and take pictures with a drone. Pictured: Maria Carpita, Sarah Hirsch, and Travis Durgan.

The Engineers Without Borders-USA (EWB-USA) Chapter at Michigan Tech has been working with the communities of Santa Barbara and Buena Vista, Bolivia to address the major regional problem of roadway flooding and erosion during the rainy season. When the road becomes impassable, as it frequently does in these months, it can completely cut off community members from access to healthcare, agricultural work, education, and commerce. In May of 2019, five student members and one alumni advisor traveled to Bolivia to assess the situation and the needs of the communities. During their visit, the team utilized drones to topographically map the community and 8 km of road leading to and from Buena Vista. They also met with local government officials to discuss the problem and potential solutions and held an introductory meeting with community members.

 

Students setting up a drone landing.
Students on the May 2019 Assessment Trip stage the Mavic Pro Drone for data collection along an 8-km stretch of road.
Pictured: Sarah Hirsch, Joshua Langlois, Jake Aguado, and Travis Durgan.

In the coming year at Michigan Tech, the team will use the data they collected to design and eventually implement affordable and sustainable solutions, potentially including culverts, drainage ditches, and alternative materials and road resurfacing methods.  EWB-USA community partnerships last for a minimum of 5 years and work to address basic human needs through projects in water distribution, sanitation, energy, agriculture, and transportation infrastructure.


Azad Heidari Publishes with the Journal of Hydrology

Dr. Alex Mayer, Azad Heidari and Dr. David Watkins
Dr. Alex Mayer, Azad Heidari and Dr. David Watkins

PhD Candidate, Azad Heidari along with his advisors – David Watkins and Alex Mayer recently published “Hydrologic impacts and trade-offs associated with forest-based bioenergy development practices in a snow-dominated watershed, Wisconsin, USA in the Journal of Hydrology. The journal is a peer-reviewed academic publication that is currently ranked first in Google Scholar in the Hydrology and Water Resource category.


Chi Epsilon and ASCE Travel to Wisconsin

A group of five students from Chi Epsilon Honors Society and ASCE traveled to Milwaukee, WI to visit Michigan Tech alumni and see engineers working in the field. The first stop was at the American Transmission Company, where students got a tour of the operations room and a detailed look at the power distribution to the Upper Peninsula. The lecture at this location focused on engineering applications and the challenges engineers face in constructing power distribution.

 

The next stop was Komatsu Mining Corp. where Michigan Tech alumni Jonathon LeCloux greeted the students. The lecture at this location focused on the history of the company and their new sustainable South Harbor Campus. The students were then taken on a tour of the facilities that included heat treating, heavy fabrication, operations, mist collection, VOC handling, and HVAC controls.

 


The third stop was the Jones Island Water Reclamation Facility. Here the students learned about the wastewater treatment process and how they make fertilizer called Milorginate from their dried sludge.

 

 

 

 

Finally, the students were able to meet up with Michigan Tech alumni Kevin LaPean at Aquarius Technologies. Here the students gained more understanding of the aeration tanks within the wastewater treatment plant as Aquarius Technologies designs air diffusers. These four stops were incredibly eye opening, and allowed the students to ask questions about career opportunities, and create networking connections.


Tampa Alumni Event

 

The Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, in collaboration with the Office of Advancement and Alumni Relations, held an alumni event at Maloney’s Pub and Bar to watch the Red Wings battle the Tampa Bay Lightnings.  The event brought together almost 30 alumni and rekindled that ol’ Michigan Tech feeling. Chuck Laurila (BSCE ’59), accompanied by his wife Phyllis, received a hearty round of applause as the most senior MTU graduate in attendance .  Dennis Luoto (‘68 BSCE grad) and his wife Randi, traveling from The Villages, were recognized for traveling the furthest to attend the event. BSCE ‘82 graduate Bill Matkin (or Capt. William Matkin) reunited with two former Army ROTC cadets, Renee Mintz and Rhonda Mintz, both BSME ‘95.  Bill, Renee and Rhonda had not seen each other in over 20 years. No matter how long it had been since they last stepped foot on campus, the Michigan Tech experience brought this new group of friends together. The night fostered good times and good laughs. If you are interested in hosting a Michigan Tech alumni event please contact alumni engagement at 906-487-2400 or go to the following alumni chapter website here Alumni Chapters.

 

While visiting Tech alumni in Florida, Audra Morse, Department Chair, and Marney Kloote, Director of Advancement for the School of Business and the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, met with Doug Geiger, P.E.  (BSCE ‘83), Nick Everson, P.E. (BSCE ‘06), and Bill Downey, P.E. (BSCE ’96) of RS&H at the Wakiva Parkway SR 429 project.  The new 6 mile stretch of elevated divided highway replacing SR 46 and CR 46A just north of Orlando, includes 3 CIP segmental bridge river crossings and 9 conventional bridge wildlife crossings. While easing traffic demands on the existing one lane county road, the project seeks to reduce the number of car accidents involving black bears, who call the Seminole State Forest home.  The project also includes a multi-use trail along CR 46A, nearly 22,000 lineal feet of MSE wall, and a vegetative buffer along a portion of the roadway to reduce drainage, lighting and visibility.

 

The CEE Department is grateful to RS&H for their generous $10,000 gift for three years to support the instruction of the materials lab class.  Many alumni know this class by the name of “smash lab”.


Senior Design Travels To Grand Rapids To See How PFAS Are Being Removed From Water Supply

The senior design section (CEE 4905) advised by Dr. David Hand and Dr. Eric Seagren traveled on February 1, 2019, to visit the Plainfield Township Water Department’s treatment plant outside of Grand Rapids, Michigan.  The plant is operating a pilot-scale study examining the removal of per- and poly-fluoralkyl substances (PFAS) from their water supply using granular activated carbon (GAC).  PFAS compounds were invented in the 1930s and since then have been manufactured for a variety of uses including: nonstick coatings, stain and water-resistant products, protective coatings, and firefighting foam.  These compounds are very stable in water, are persistent, bioaccumulative, and not known to degrade in the environment.  In 2017, Michigan was one of first states in the country to begin to establish a clean-up standard for PFAS in groundwater when used as a drinking water source.  The Michigan PFAS Action Response Team, made up of several state agencies, has worked to identify PFAS contamination in the state.

The purpose of this senior design project is to develop design guidance for the use of GAC for the removal of PFAS chemicals from water supplies.  GAC is a Best Available Technology (BAT) as designated by the USEPA for removal of organic chemicals from water.  In fact, GAC is presently being used in several of the sites identified in Michigan for removal of PFAS compounds.  Design guidance for using GAC for the removal of these compounds is needed as it can provide regulatory agencies, consulting engineers, and water utilities with the tools necessary to effectively and economically evaluate the use of GAC for treatment of these chemicals.  Therefore, the main objectives of this project are to: (1) evaluate the design of the pilot-scale GAC system that has been implemented at the Plainfield Township Water Department’s treatment plant, and (2) to develop a general design guidance for the application of GAC fixed-bed adsorption processes for the removal of PFAS from drinking water.


Completed NSF Project for Minakata & Rouleau

Dr. Daisuke Minakata (CEE)
Dr. Mark Rouleau (SS)

Daisuke Minakata (CEE) and Mark Rouleau (SS) completed the NSF project: “Coupling Experimental and Theoretical Molecular-Level Investigations to Visualize the Fate of Degradation of Organic Compounds in Aqueous Phase Advanced Oxidation Systems“. The final report has been accepted by the National Science Foundation (NSF). The four-year project, that began in 2014, investigated the fate of trace organic compounds degradation in the aqueous phase advanced oxidation process using experimental measurements and theoretical modeling. The project generated 6 paper publications in peer-reviewed journals, 9 invited talks at the international symposiums, workshops and seminars, 13 conference talks at the international conferences, and 6 poster presentations. In addition, it provided a total of 10 sessions through K12 outreach activities to high school students and teachers. Three graduate students were trained under this project.