Author: amkerane

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.


7th Annual Lake Superior Water Festival was Held Oct. 17th for Gr. 4-8 at Great Lakes Research Center

More than 700 students in grades 4-12 in thirty classes from ten schools in Houghton, Baraga, and Gogebic Counties descended upon Michigan Tech’s Great Lakes Research Center on Wednesday, October 17, from 9am to 3 pm, for the 7th Annual Lake Superior Water Festival. Students from the following schools participated :  Baraga High School, Barkell Elementary, CLK Elementary, EB Holman School, Houghton Middle School, Ironwood High School, Jeffers Middle School, Lake Linden-Hubbell Middle School, South Range Elementary, and Washington Middle School.

Twenty-four different sessions were presented throughout the day, presented by Michigan Tech scientists (including Dr. Audra Morse and Daisuke Minakata’s graduate Student, Ryan Kibler) and graduate students, along with U.S. Coast Guard, Ottawa National Forest, Isle Royale National Park, Keweenaw Bay Indian Community, BHK AmeriCorps and Copper Harbor Trails Club. See attached list of presenters/locations.

The Water Festival provides an opportunity for students to learn about and celebrate our most precious natural resource – the Great Lakes! A wide variety of topics from science and engineering to creative writing will be presented.  Students attend four 35-minute activities. Some of the topics to be presented include Remotely-Operated- Vehicles, Leave No Trace Outdoors, cleaning wastewater, Careers with the U.S. Coast Guard, the Chemistry of Corrosion, Design a Fog Harvester, and more.

The 2018 Water Festival is coordinated by the Michigan Tech Center for Science & Environmental Outreach, with funding from the Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative and Michigan Tech’s Great Lakes Research Center.

“Thank you so much for the opportunity to present at Water Festival. It was a blast to teach all of the students. Thanks for all your hard work in organizing such a wonderful event. It’s so exciting to see kids getting hands-on experience in labs and introduced to science at a young age.”  – Ryan Kibler, ENVE MS Student


International Senior Design Program Marks 10th Year in Panama

International Senior Design students and instructors at the City of Knowledge in Panama City, Panama. From left to right: Anthony Jaksa, Henrique de Melo e Silva, Erin Lau, Jacob Herzog, Christine Wood, Ryan Olsen, Melody Harmon, Daniel Woodall, Nathan Priest, and David Watkins.
International Senior Design students and instructors at the City of Knowledge in Panama City, Panama. From left to right: Anthony Jaksa, Henrique de Melo e Silva, Erin Lau, Jacob Herzog, Christine Wood, Ryan Olsen, Melody Harmon, Daniel Woodall, Nathan Priest, and David Watkins.

The CEE International Senior Design (iDesign) program traveled to Panama again this year to assist indigenous communities with basic infrastructure needs.  Eight students (6 CEE, 2 ME) divided into two teams and traveled to rural sites in western Panama, where they were hosted by Peace Corps Volunteers.  Students met with community members and collected data for their fall semester senior design projects.  One team is designing a pedestrian river crossing, and the other team is designing improvements to community water systems.  The group also visited the Panama Canal and the biodiversity museum in Panama City.

The trip was led by Professor David Watkins with assistance from Research Engineer Henrique (Kiko) de Melo e Silva.  Professor of Practice Mike Drewyor is helping to mentor the design teams in the fall term.

The water team poses with community members and their Peace Corps Volunteer host, Micah Koller (center). Micah is a Peace Corps Master’s International student in Mechanical Engineering at Michigan Tech.
The water team poses with community members and their Peace Corps Volunteer host, Micah Koller (center). Micah is a Peace Corps Master’s International student in Mechanical Engineering at Michigan Tech.

Michigan Tech’s NSBE Student Chapter conducts 7 th Annual ‘Alternative Spring Break’ Bringing STEM and Family Engineering to Detroit K-12 schools

NSBEMembers of the Michigan Tech Student Chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers Pre-College Initiative (NSBE-PCI) visited six middle and high schools in Detroit where they made classroom presentations that encouraged students to consider college and a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) career. In addition, the NSBE students conducted three Family Engineering events at K-8 schools on March 12-14th.  The NSBE students reached 575 middle and high school students and 200 elementary students and their families.
These outreach programs, conducted in partnership with Detroit Public Schools Community District, target under-represented students with the goal of addressing our country’s need for an increased number and greater diversity of students skilled in math, science, technology, and engineering. The Family Engineering Program was developed by faculty and staff in the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering at Michigan
Technological University (2011) in collaboration with the Foundation for Family Science & Engineering (familyengineering.org).
“The teachers and students both thought the classroom presentations were great and want to invite the students back,” explained Mr. Kenyuano Jones, Principal at Northwestern High School. “I definitely would recommend it for next year and hopefully expand the hours to include the entire day.”
At Bethune Middle School, nearly 50% want to learn more about engineering, 35% think engineering could be a good job for themselves, and 55% want to go to college.
One student observed, “I would recommend the classroom presentation to my friends because it would give them an idea of what they want to do in life.”
This NSBE-PCI outreach effort is funded by the John Deere Foundation and the Michigan Tech Office of Admissions and College of Engineering, and coordinated by Joan Chadde, Director, Michigan Tech Center for Science & Environmental Outreach in the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering.


Environmental Engineering Undergraduate Receives John A. Focht National Scholarship

Christine WoodAt the Chi Epsilon national conclave in Arlington, Texas this March, CEE Environmental Engineering undergraduate student Christine Wood received the John A. Focht National Scholarship to help further her education at Michigan Tech.  She has always felt passionate about the environment and public well-being. The Environmental Engineering program at Michigan Tech is allowing her to turn that passion into a career. Improving the relationship between humans and the environment has become Christine’s primary goal. This passion is what lead her to being presented with this national award.

Christine grew up in East Lansing, MI and began her college experience at Olivet College located in south central Michigan. As part of the transfer program, she transferred to Michigan Tech in the fall of 2016 to major in Environmental Engineering. Christine became involved in the Pavlis Honors College, Society of Women’s Engineers and the Young Women Leaders Program at Tech. Christine is also currently involved in a research study which will serve as her honors project component titled “Reduction of Stream Erosion through Air Injection”, working alongside Dr. Brian Barkdoll and PhD student, Jennie Tyrell.

Christine is expected to graduate with her BS in Environmental Engineering in the fall of 2018, but plans to stay in Houghton to complete her MS in Environmental Engineering through Tech’s accelerated master’s degree program. Christine interned with the Wastewater Treatment Plant in Charlotte, MI and the Wastewater Department for Fishbeck, Thompson, Carr & Huber in Lansing, MI which both helped her realize her desire to focus on water and wastewater processing. Her ultimate goal is to work in wastewater consulting within the state of Michigan.


American Water Works Association Scholarship Awarded to Erica Coscarelli

Erica CoscarelliErica Coscarelli, a MS student in the environmental engineering program, has been selected to receive the 2018 Bryant L. Bench/Carollo Engineers Scholarship.  The scholarship is sponsored by Carollo Engineers, an environmental engineering firm that specializes in wastewater facilities for municipalities and the public sector.  Erica will be formally presented with the award at the American Water Works Association (AWWA) Annual Conference and Exposition in Las Vegas in June.

Erica’s research studies the fate of organic compound degradation in the aqueous-phase advanced oxidation processes.  She applies the novel computational chemistry method to predict the reactions and kinetics to predict the degradation products of emerging organic compounds. The water treatment process is found in wastewater reclamation process for the application of direct potable reuse of treated wastewater in water scarce regions. The process can be also applied to wastewater treatment processes to mitigate the negative impact of trace organic compounds found in wastewater discharge to natural aquatic environment such as lakes and rivers.


STEM Career Exploration for Detroit High School Students

Joan Chadde-Schumaker

The national need for STEM-trained employees is growing. African-Americans, Hispanics and American Indians’ percentage of degrees in science and engineering is low compared to the general population. The Detroit school system, which is >90% under-represented students, is a good place to start. This project aims to increase the interest of Detroit high school students in STEM college majors and future careers and maintain their interest through their high school years. The Michigan Space Grant Consortium has awarded a $10,000 grant to the Center for Science & Environmental Outreach to bring 20 Detroit area students to participate in a 6-day STEM Career Exploration at Michigan Tech and in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, including visits to state and federal agencies that employ STEM professionals. Students who participate in the 6-day exploration are encouraged to apply for a one-week STEM summer internship at MTU and/or attend a summer youth STEM program to further their STEM interests the following summers. The program will take place next summer.