Lathika Varanasi is a PhD student working with Dr. Daisuke Minakata in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. She presented her research work : ‘Transformation of Dissolved Organic Matter in Engineered Ultraviolet (UV) Photolysis and UV-based Advanced Oxidation Processes’ at the Association of Environmental Engineers and Science Professors (AEESP) conference held in University of Michigan, Ann Arbor between June 20th and 22nd 2017. Co-authors on the research are Erica Coscarelli, David Perram, Dr. Daisuke Minakata (Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering), Dr. Maryam Khaksari and Dr. Lynn Mazzoleni (Department of Chemistry). The research was funded by MTU Research Excellent Fund-Research Seed Grant, MTU CEE startup fund, NSF Major Research Instrumentation and Great Lakes Research Center graduate research fund.
The Rail Transportation Program Director, Pasi Lautala, undergraduate research assistant Aaron Dean (MEEM) and graduate research assistant Soumith Oduru (CEE) presented four papers at the conference. Oduru also received the ASME Rail Transportation Division (RTD) Graduate Student Conference Scholarship of $1100 and Dean received the ASME Rail Transportation Division (RTD) Undergraduate Student Conference Scholarship of $800.
The paper titles were “Incorporating Life Cycle Assessment in Freight Transportation Infrastructure Project Evaluation” (Oduru, Lautala), “Effectiveness of Using SHRP2 Naturalistic Driving Study Data to Analyze Driver Behavior at Highway-rail Grade Crossings” (Dean, Lautala, David Nelson (CEE)), “Selection of Representative Crossings Database for the Evaluation of Driver Behavior Over Highway-rail Grade Crossings” (Modeste Muhire, Lautala, Nelson, Dean) and “Sensor Fusion of Wayside Visible and Thermal Imagery for Rail Car Wheel and Bearing Damage Detection” (Hanieh Deilamsalehy, Timothy Havens (CEE), Lautala).
Ashley Hendricks, a master’s student in Environmental Engineering, was recently awarded the David Dolan Scholarship by the International Association for Great Lakes Research. This scholarship is awarded to a deserving graduate student conducting research using applied environmental statistics or modelling to study the Great Lakes. Because of the large number of applicants this year, Ashley is sharing the award with a student at another university. The scholarship is awarded based on an application submitted by the graduate student and the supporting recommendations for the student.
The Michigan Tech Concrete Canoe Team placed first at the North-Central regional concrete canoe competition held at Lawrence Tech last weekend. The 35-member team swept the competition in all four categories:
- Technical Paper: The team writes a professional quality design paper detailing the engineering that went into designing our concrete mix proportions, hull design, management techniques, testing procedures, and construction methods.
- Technical Presentation: A group of presenters summarize the Technical Paper into presentation which can be no longer than 5 minutes. The challenge is to condense an entire year of work into a concise and dynamic presentation.
- Races: There are 5 races: 2 person Women’s Sprint, 2 person Men’s Sprint, 2 person Women’s Endurance, 2 person Men’s Endurance, and a 4 person Coed Sprint. Michigan Tech has traditionally excelled in the Race Category and successfully defended all 5 Regional race titles.
- Final Product: The canoe is displayed and judged for aesthetics and compliance with official rules of competition which detail dimensions and materials used in construction.
The team will now move on to the national competition to be held June 17 – 19, 2017 at the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, CO.
The Michigan Tech Steel Bridge Team also placed first overall at the 2017 North Central Regional Competition. They also placed first in three out of the six subcategories including: weight, stiffness, and efficiency. The goal of the competition is to design a 20′ long bridge that optimizes weight, constructability, and deflection under a 2500 lb load. The team will now be headed to Oregon State University in Corvallis, Oregon to compete in the National Student Steel Bridge competition in May.
ASCE and the American Institute of Steel Construction co-sponsor the national competition, which began in 1992 at Michigan Tech University.
Congratulations to both teams on a fantastic job and good luck at the National Competition!
David Hand was the recipient of the Fraternity & Sorority Life 2017 Award for Outstanding Contributions as a Faculty Member at Michigan Tech present on Sunday, April 9, 2017. In her nomination, Ashley Baldes writes:
Dr. Hand is deserving of this award because he shows more dedication to his department and students than I thought possible. I have had the opportunity to have Dr. Hand as a professor in an intro to environmental engineering class and my senior lab, an advisor for Concrete Canoe, and just someone to say hi to when I’m walking through DOW and I see his office door open. As a student, Dr. Hand has shown me what it means to be a good engineer, how great it is to learn, and where that knowledge can take you. When I was a freshman, I took my intro to environmental engineering class with Dr. Hand and he really helped me succeed in college by having professionals talk to us about life in the real world. Now 5 years later, Dr. Hand is still helping us by teaching our senior lab and offering endless chances to meet with him for questions. He has an open line of communication between student and professor and that makes the class content an learning so much more enjoyable. Outside of the classroom, Dr. Hand is just as helpful. He traveled to Traverse City with a group of alumni to show Michigan Tech pride in the Cherry Festival parade and he is always willing to stop and talk. I always feel like I can stop in, say hi, and come out 10 minutes later with a lifetime of knowledge. When I think of my professors here at Michigan Tech, I think of Dr. Hand as he has had such a strong impact on my learning and career choices. Because of that, I believe he is an outstanding faculty member.
Congratulations to Dr. Hand!
World Water Day was celebrated at Michigan Tech on March 20 – 23, 2017 with a focus on Wastewater. As part of the festivities, students took part in a poster competition. Here is a listing of the winners:
1st Place ($250): Christa Meingast
“High-Tech Analysis of Low-Cost, low-Tech Methods for Sustainable Class A Biosolids Production: Set up and Initial Pilot-Scale Data”
“Drought Forecast Modeling and Assessment of Hydrologic Impacts of Climate Change on Lower Colorado River”
“Factors Affecting Fish Mercury Concentration in Inland Lakes”
“Reducing Sewer Corrosion Through Holistic Urban Water Management”
“Regulations and Their Role in Human and Environmental Risk Management: Microplastics in the Great Lakes”
3rd Place ($100): Kyle Hillstead, Julianna Mickle, and Caryn Murray
“Using the Four R’s in the design of De Facto Potable Reuse Water for Enhanced Public Health”
The Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) program funds undergraduate students to conduct research under the guidance of a Michigan Tech faculty member. Darian Reed, an undergraduate student in Civil Engineering, has been chosen as a 2017 SURF Award recipient. He will be working with Dr. Pasi Lautala.
Evaluation of Methods to Record Head Orientation in Driving Simulator and In-Vehicle Study Environments
This project concentrates on two aspects; development of a naturally wearable head orientation sensing device using Arduino™ hardware, and development of a methodology that allows a scientifically validated comparison and interpretation of head orientation measurements in both environments. This project is a continuation of the research Aaron Dean performed in his 2016 SURF. It will benefit the outcomes of the current projects such as the current large-scale behavioral study of driver behavior at highway-rail grade crossings that Dr. Pasi Lautala and Dr. Myounghoon Jeon are currently working on . The research uses data from the 2nd Strategic Highway Research Program Naturalistic Driving Study (SHRP2), but will also allow us to make conclusions on the similarity of head orientation measurements in naturalistic and simulated environments. Overall, the results should allow us to improve the accuracy of modeling driver behavior using driving simulators. In addition, it will standardize the data collection platform in future projects, such as expansion of our current study to naturalistic (real-life) environment and other studies requiring a rotational head tracking component.
The winners of the Cleaning Dirty Water Competition are no surprise! They are three members of the Society of Environmental Engineering student chapter at Michigan Tech–seniors no less— Joseph Doyle, Kyle Mischler, and Jeremy Luebke.
They had stiff competition from the runner up team “The Insolubles”— three students from a high school chemistry class at Hancock High School (Mike McParlan, Murphy Mallow, Shannon Nulf) taught by a Michigan Tech grad.
Other teams that competed included Quantum Huskies, a group of international students from MTU Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, the Whiz Kids– a group of three 8th graders from Lake Linden-Hubbell Middle School, and three members of the Copper Country Recycling Initiative task force.
The competition was held in recognition of World Water Day, March 22, 2017. This year’s theme is wastewater, hence the competition!
Event coordinator, Joan Chadde, made the wastewater right before participants’ eyes, as they listed all of the household items that go down the drain. Each team was given a cup of wastewater and directed to clean it as best they could using only the materials provided– screen, sand, gravel, activated charcoal and alum. After 20 minutes, the results were in!
Chadde is the director of the Michigan Tech Center for Science & Environmental Outreach and a member of the World Water Day planning committee.
Dr. Marty Auer, a local wastewater treatment expert from Michigan Tech, served as judge.
All members of the winning team received $25 MTU gift certificates, which they generously handed off to the 2nd place Hancock High School students, explaining ‘they didn’t have time to spend it, since they’d be leaving Houghton soon with graduation just a few weeks away!’
Globally, 2 billion people are without clean drinking water and 3 billion are without wastewater treatment.
After treatment, wastewater is a valuable resource that can be returned to cities for drinking water!
Michigan Tech’s World Water Day events are sponsored by the following Michigan Tech departments and research centers: The Great Lakes Research Center, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences, Social Sciences, Biological Sciences, the Ecosystem Science Center, the Sustainable Futures Institute, Visual and Performing Arts, and The Center for Science and Environmental Outreach.
High school students in Detroit & Wayne County will have the opportunity to explore environmental science & engineering majors at Michigan Tech this summer. This will be the 3rd consecutive year that this program will be offered to up to 20 students selected to participate.
Students will participate in many outdoor activities during their 6 day trip to the UP, including: ID and measure trees, collect frog data, sample aquatic life aboard a Lake Superior research vessel, examine plankton, drive a ROV, design a process to clean water and touring the campus of MTU.
The program will be held from June 26 – July 1 and the deadline for students to apply is March 20th.
How to apply
- Complete application form online 2017 Michigan Tech-Upper Peninsula Trip Application
- Describe what you hope to gain from the experience and your previous experience with natural resources and/or engineering
- Email or mail 2 letters of recommendation (from non-family members; one from a teacher) to:
Joan Chadde email@example.com
115 GLRC – Michigan Technological University
1400 Townsend Drive
Houghton, MI 49931
Coordinated by Michigan Tech Center for Science & Environmental Outreach
Benjamin Winter, a PhD candidate in Civil Engineering, has recently been selected to participate in this year’s Advanced Studies Institute (ASI) at the Los Alamos National Lab (LANL). The ASI is a 3-week program where multi-disciplinary teams of three doctoral and/or postdoctoral students work on challenging problems related to national security. Under the guidance of LANL mentors, teams develop research proposals to sell their solutions to these problems. The program culminates with team presentations on their solution concepts to a committee of LANL staff and program managers for critical review. During the program, students attend a daily technical and professional development lecture series and work on their team research topics.