Author: Sue Hill

NSF Graduate Research Fellowship for Tyler LeMahieu

Two Michigan Tech graduate students, Tessa Steenwinkel and Tyler LeMahieu, have been awarded National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowships, and one undergraduate student, Jenna Brewer, has been given an honorable mention.

The oldest STEM-related fellowship program in the United States, the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) is a prestigious award that recognizes exceptional graduate students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines early in their career and supports them through graduate education. NSF-GRFP fellows are an exceptional group; 42 fellows have become Nobel Laureates and about 450 fellows are members of the National Academy of Sciences.

The fellowship provides three years of financial support, including a $34,000 stipend for each fellow and a $12,000 cost-of-education allowance for the fellow’s institution. Besides financial support for fellows, the GRFP provides opportunities for research in national laboratories and international research.

The Graduate School is proud of these students for their outstanding scholarship. These awards highlight the quality of students at Michigan Tech, the innovative work they have accomplished, the potential for leadership and impact in science and engineering that the country recognizes in these students and the incredible role that faculty play in students’ academic success.

Tyler LeMahieu

LeMahieu is an environmental engineering MS student under advisor Cory McDonald. LeMahieu’s proposal was titled, “Understanding Wild Rice Site Suitability in a Changing Climate.”

LeMahieu writes: “I plan to dedicate my career to bridging gaps between the scientific body and land managers. I would like to manage public and rural lands for the farmer, the logger and the hunter while managing those same lands for improved water and ecological health into perpetuity. Because fundamentally, rural land managers have the same goal in mind as those studying the environment — a useful, productive and sound ecosystem which will support and be supported by the next generation. That common ground is not always evident to both parties, but I am equipped to act as an intermediary with a foot in both worlds.”

By the Graduate School.

Kim Nowack ’85 Named Woman of the Year

Kim Nowack
Kim Nowack

Mackinac Bridge Director Kim Nowack ’85 (civil engineering) has been named Woman of the Year by the Michigan Chapter of the Women’s Transportation Seminar (WTS).

According to a press release from the Michigan Department of Transportation, the award was presented to Nowack during the WTS Michigan Chapter’s 2022 Scholarship and Recognition Awards Banquet March 10 in Howell. It “honors a woman who is an outstanding role model and has contributed to the advancement of women and minorities in transportation.”

“I have admired Kim Nowack for her professionalism, her technical knowledge, her leadership, and commitment to share her knowledge with future generations about careers in engineering,” said WTS member and past Mackinac Bridge Authority (MBA) member Barbara Arens, who assisted with Nowack’s nomination. “She is a humble and admirable leader, representing women and our industry well as the executive secretary of the MBA and our iconic bridge. The WTS Michigan Chapter is proud to honor her as WTS Michigan Chapter Woman of the Year.”

By Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial Engineering.

Zhanping You is an Exceptional Graduate Mentor

Zhanping You
Zhanping You

This year’s awardees for the Graduate Student Government (GSG) Merit Awards have been decided. A total of 37 nominations were received from departments all across campus. The decision process was not an easy one, as there was a very strong pool of nominations this year. We are very grateful to all of our nominees for all of the work they put in to improve and enrich the life of our graduate students.

In the Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial Engineering, Zhanping You, Distinguished Professor, Transportation Engineering, was awarded Exceptional Graduate Mentor.

Congratulations to all winners and thank you for all you have done for our graduate students.

By Graduate Student Government.

Ride the Waves Program Receives $40K Grant

Teachers and Group Leaders

Michigan Tech’s Ride the Waves Program invites Grades 4-12 students to join scientists from Michigan Tech’s Great Lakes Research Center in the exploration of Lake Superior, Portage Waterway, and Torch Lake. Programs are led by the Center for Science and Environmental Outreach staff and MTU students and funded by General Motors Foundation. There are three programs available for 2022:

  1. Aquatic Food Web Investigation (Portage Waterway)
  2. Mine Waste Remediation and Torch Lake Restoration
  3. Keweenaw Geoheritage (Jacobsville and White City)

Ride the Waves Sign Up 2022

About Ride the Waves

Michigan Tech’s Ride the Waves program, coordinated by the Center for Science and Environmental Outreach, will receive a $40,000 two-year grant from General Motors to conduct Great Lakes education aboard the research vessel Agassiz.

The Center has received funding from GM for the program since 2016 with the assistance of Marty Auer, professor emeritus in the Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial Engineering.

The purpose of the funding is to put rural and underserved youth “on the water” to learn about STEM careers related to the Great Lakes, inland waters, environmental stewardship and sustainability. This will be accomplished through scientific excursions aboard MTU’s research vessel Agassiz paired with laboratory investigations led by Michigan Tech scientists and graduate students.

Since 2016, Ride the Waves with GM has served nearly 3,000 participants, delivering a variety of programs. Attention to inclusion and diversity has been a high priority, and the program has provided opportunities for Keweenaw Bay Indian Community youth and Michigan Tech’s Women in Engineering Program and Muslim Students Association, along with students from Detroit and Flint high schools, to learn how scientists assess the health of the Great Lakes.

For more information, contact Joan Chadde, director of the Center for Science and Environmental Outreach, at jchadde@mtu.edu or visit the Great Lakes Research Center website.

By Joan Chadde, Center for Science and Environmental Outreach.

Listen to the interviews with Joan Chadde on the Keweenaw Report.

Rail Transportation Program Announces Scholarship Winners

The Michigan Tech Rail Transportation Program is pleased to announce the winners of our annual scholarship program! This year our scholarship committee chose four winners from a pool of eight applications.

  • Nigel Soler and Matthew Switzer received $1,500 scholarships from our Michigan Tech Alumni and Friends program.
  • Stanton Schmitz and Alexander Lehnert will receive $1,500 scholarships from our CN Endowment Fund.

Congratulations to all of our winners! You can find more information about these students and our previous winners at our website.

By David Nelson, Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial Engineering.

Judith Perlinger is an ISR Faculty Research Fellow

Judith Perlinger
Judith Perlinger

The Tech Forward Initiative on Sustainability and Resilience (ISR) is happy to announce the selection of two Sustainable and Resilient Communities Faculty Research Fellows!

Judith Perlinger is a professor in the Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial Engineering (CEGE) and an established scholar working in the realm of sustainability and resilience.

Ana Dyreson is an assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics (ME-EM) who works in the realm of energy systems transitions and the energy-water-climate nexus.

Perlinger and Dyreson will both be relieved of one course for the fall 2022 semester in order to focus on developing and submitting research funding proposals that will enhance Michigan Tech’s leadership in impactful sustainability and resilience research.

Perlinger will be working on new proposals for the National Science Foundation (NSF) Coastlines and People (CoPe) program, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Dyreson will be working on proposal submissions for NSF programs, including the NSF CAREER award program, and for the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

With this fellowship program, ISR aims to support researchers in developing new collaborations and opportunities to grow research activities that address contemporary research challenges in sustainability and resilience. This program will propel research leaders at Michigan Tech to pursue new opportunities and increase impactful research activities. ISR is delighted to support these dedicated scholars through the Faculty Research Fellows program.

For more information or with any questions, please contact Chelsea Schelly at cschelly@mtu.edu

By Tech Forward Initiative for Sustainability and Resilience.

C2E2 Awards for Dai and Seagren

The Vice President for Research Office (VPR) has awarded Century II Campaign Endowed Equipment Fund (C2E2) awards at the recommendation of the C2E2 Committee. In Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial Engineering, the recipients were:

Qingli “Barbara” Dai (CEGE) — Purchase of Freeze-Thaw and Internal Frost Damage Test System

Eric Seagren (CEGE) — The VisiSens TD System for 2-D In Situ Measurement of O2, CO2, and pH Using Optical Chemical Sensors: Opportunities for Research and Education

Qingli Barbara Dai
Qingli Barbara Dai
Eric Seagren
Eric Seagren

Freeze Thaw Project Wins AASHTO Sweet Sixteen Award

Zhen Liu
Zhen Liu

Congratulations to Zhen Liu (CEGE) for his MDOT Freeze Thaw project winning an American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) Sweet Sixteen Award.

According to the press release, the Sweet Sixteen Award highlights high-value research from four regions across the country, with four awards possible per region. 

The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) received the award for Liu’s research project, “Develop and Implement a Freeze Thaw Model Based Seasonal Load Restriction Decision Support Tool.”

fact sheet and video summary of Liu’s project are available on the AASHTO award page.

By Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial Engineering.

Play Research: Develop/Implement Freeze-Thaw Model Decision Support Tool – AASHTO RAC 2021 Sweet 16 MDOT video
Preview image for Research: Develop/Implement Freeze-Thaw Model Decision Support Tool - AASHTO RAC 2021 Sweet 16 MDOT video

Research: Develop/Implement Freeze-Thaw Model Decision Support Tool – AASHTO RAC 2021 Sweet 16 MDOT

First Place for Michigan Tech Team on Runway Safety or Incursions Challenge

Map of the Keweenaw Peninsula with KCMX and KSAW marked.

A team of undergraduate students from the Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial Engineering (CEGE) were recognized in a press release from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) announcing the winners of the 15th annual University Design Competition for Addressing Airport Needs competition. The Huskies earned first place in the runway safety or incursions challenge.

Read more at AOPA News, by David Tulis.

The team’s proposal was entitled Graphical NOTAM Interface for Improving Efficiency of Reporting NOTAM Information. The team developed an Electronic Flight Bag user interface that provides a graphical representation of a notice to airmen (NOTAM) and weather information to improve how pilots receive condition changes at airports.

Undergraduate Team Members: Matthew Bacon, Gregory Porcaro, and Andrew Vega

Faculty Advisor: Audra Morse.

Enterprise Team: Built World Enterprise

AGC of Michigan to Recognize Three MTU Undergrads

Contractors at work.

Three Michigan Tech undergraduate students from the Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial Engineering will be recognized with scholarships at the 2021 Associated General Contractors (AGC) of Michigan Brightest & Best Luncheon on July 21.

The students receiving scholarships are:

  • Isaac Fong, civil engineering — Louis C. Verrette Memorial Undergraduate Scholarship awarded by the AGC of Michigan
  • Everhett Biland, civil engineering — Tom & Jan Dailey Scholarship awarded by the AGC of America
  • Kira Olson, construction management — Stanley F. Pepper Memorial Scholarship awarded by the AGC of America

This annual event on behalf of Michigan’s construction industry, is held to recognize AGC of Michigan and AGC of America scholarship winners, AGC of Michigan Summer Work Program students, summer interns employed by AGC of Michigan members, and AGC of Michigan members supporting these programs.

Congratulations to all the winners!