Category Archives: News

Michelle Banonis ’99 Helps Shape Future of California Water

Michelle Banonis
Michelle Banonis

Michelle Banonis was appointed Assistant Chief Deputy Director of DWR (California Department of Water Resources) on May 8. She brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) Mid-Pacific Region where she spent eight years working on the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and Upper San Joaquin River.

We are shaping the future of California’s water environment.Michelle Banonis

Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Banonis spent most of her early years in Michigan. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Engineering in 1999 from Michigan Technological University and in 2015 earned a Juris Doctor degree from Humphreys College, Laurence Drivon School of Law.

Read more at “Banonis Appointed Chief Deputy Director,” DWR Winter 2017-18, p. 29.


Sean Kelley ’86 is President of ACEC of Michigan

Sean J. Kelley, PE
Sean J. Kelley, PE

Michigan Tech alumnus Sean Kelly was recently selected as president of the American Council of Engineering Companies of Michigan (ACEC/M). the story, “ACEC Of Michigan Elects New President And Board Of Directors,” appeared on the Detroit Regional Chamber website.

He received his BSCE from Michigan Technological University and his MBA from Eastern Michigan University and is a registered professional engineer in Michigan and Ohio.



Michigan Sea Grant Supports Pengfei Xue’s Environmental Research

Pengfei Xue
Pengfei Xue

Since invading the Great Lakes, filter-feeding zebra and quagga mussels have brought increased water clarity to lakes Michigan, Huron, and Ontario. This has boosted the growth of bottom-dwelling filamentous algae like Cladophora, which washes ashore in stringy green mats to foul beaches and harbor harmful bacteria. The invading mussels also recycle phosphorus — a nutrient that feeds algal growth — through their feces. Pengfei Xue, an assistant professor in the Michigan Technological University Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, will lead a team building computer models to simulate how wave and current patterns influence the distribution of mussel-boosted phosphorus levels. They will investigate how that cycle affects Cladophora growth near Sleeping Bear Dunes and Grand Traverse Bay.

Read more at Michigan Sea Grant Upwellings April 2018.


Students Design Underground Utilities Corridor for the Straits of Mackinac

Students Who Designed the Utilities CorridorHOUGHTON — A group of Michigan Technological University seniors are working on a possible solution to protect the gas, oil and electrical lines under the Straits of Mackinac.

University Professor Mike Drewyor said his senior capstone project class of 16 is wrapping up a semester of work examining how to build an underground tunnel beneath the straits. They’ll present their findings in May on what they hope could be a way to protect the Great Lakes from environmental disaster.

Chad Brown, a civil engineering major on the class’s geological investigation team, said he thinks there’s a good potential the tunnel could come to fruition.

“I think that there’s so many concerns, environmental concerns for the public that they would actually like this to happen,” he said. “In terms of it being economical, it could have some complications there, but in terms of preserving the beauty of the Mackinac Straits, I think it’s a very good solution.”

Read more at Record Eagle, by Jordan Travis.


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.


mParks Community Service Award for Joan Chadde

Joan Chadde-Schumaker
Joan Chadde-Schumaker

Joan Chadde is a recipient of a mParks Community Service Award by the Michigan Recreation and Parks Association (mParks). The awards were presented on April 18, 2018, at the Hannah Community Center in East Lansing.

The awards recognize individuals and groups who show outstanding support to public recreation and park programs in their community.

This award was specifically for her initiative in designing and implementing a one-week summer program, now in its 4th year, to bring 20 under-represented students from high schools in Detroit to explore environmental science and engineering majors and career paths at Michigan Tech. The mParks award recognizes Chadde’s fundraising efforts in covering costs for all students’ and exploration leaders’ transportation, their housing and meals, the recruitment and selection of  students, and the program planning, evaluation, and publicity.

Chadde, a staff member of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, is the director of the Center for Science and Environmental Outreach and an adjunct instructor in the Department of Cognitive and Learning Sciences.

mParks Award for Chadde


Green Campus Enterprise Final Presentations April 12 and April 19, 2018

Two students carrying insulation in a basement.Join us from 5 to 6 p.m. today (April 12, 2018) in DOW 875 to learn about what Green Campus Enterprise has been working on all year. This event is open to everyone; find us on Facebook for more information.

Teams presenting:

  • GLRC Retrofit—exploring the feasibility of using the water of Portage Lake as a heat sink for the GLRC year round with the greatest application in the warmer months
  • Solar Thermal—evaluating the feasibility of installing a solar thermal collector at Michigan Tech. The solar collector would be used to preheat water for hot water usage on campus.
  • Building Efficiency—investigating how energy is used throughout the DOW and M & M buildings

Next week the following teams will present at the same time and place on April 19:

  • Tiny House Community
  • Campus Culture
  • Wind Power
  • Clean Air-Cool Planet

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.


NSF Funding for Alex Mayer on Sea Level Rise Study

Alex Mayer
Alex Mayer

Alex Mayer (CEE/GLRC) is the principal investigator on a project that has received a $130,093 research and development grant from the National Science Foundation.

The project is titled “Collaborative Research: How Does Groundwater Inundation of Carbonate Island Interiors from Sea Level Rise Impact Surface Water-Aquifer Interactions and Evaporative Losses?” This is the first year of a two-year project totaling $254,330.

Extract

  • Sea-level rise and coastal flooding are well-known to reduce freshwater resources. It is however less recognized that sea level rise can push water tables above the land surface to flood low-lying depressions.
  • During this project, new field data will be collected, and new transient modeling tools will be developed, to test the overarching hypothesis that how groundwater flooding will impact island water resources.
  • The results of this study should improve predictions of freshwater resource loss of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) from groundwater flooding.
  • The modeling tools to be developed as part of this project will be freely distributed to the hydrological community.

Read more at the National Science Foundation.