Category: News

Chaitanya Bhat on Pavement Life-Cycle Assessment

Chaitanya Bhat
Chaitanya Bhat

PhD Candidate, Chaitanya Bhat, was featured in the National Asphalt Pavement Association’s (NAPA) Action News. Chait was a NAPA intern in 2018 and was featured in NAPA’s Action News for presenting at the 2020 Transportation Research Board (TRB) 99th Annual Meeting held January 12–16, 2020, at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, in Washington, D.C.

The meeting program covered all transportation modes, with more than 5,000 presentations in nearly 800 sessions and workshops, addressing topics of interest to policy makers, administrators, practitioners, researchers, and representatives of government, industry, and academic institutions. A number of sessions and workshops focused on the spotlight theme for the 2020 meeting: A Century of Progress: Foundation for the Future.

Bhat’s attendance at last year’s annual meeting involved a notable 3-Minute Thesis (3MT) presentation.

Structural Engineering Institute at L’Anse Area Schools

SEI Graduate Students teach kids in the classroom
From the L’Anse Area Schools Facebook page:

As 5th grade wrapped up their engineering unit with a visit from leaders of the MTU Structural Engineering Institute, Graduate Student Chapter. Our students reviewed the engineering design process while observing and suggesting improvements to structures being tested on an earthquake table. Students learned about competitive bridge building and previewed up coming concepts including plate tectonics and material properties.

Chadde Named Informal Science Educator of the Year

Joan Chadde-Schumaker
Joan Chadde-Schumaker

The Board of the Michigan Science Teachers Association (MSTA) has announced that Joan Schumaker Chadde, director of the Michigan Tech Center for Science and Environmental Outreach, has been selected as the 2020 Informal Science Educator of the Year.

Chadde was chosen for her unique and extraordinary accomplishments, active leadership, scholarly contributions, and direct and substantial contributions to the improvement of non-school based science education over a significant period of time.

She will be honored at an Awards Ceremony at the 2020 MSTA Conference.

By Angela Keranen.

New Structural Engineering Institute at Michigan Tech is First in Michigan

Beginning this year, the Structural Engineering Institute (SEI) of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) is now in Michigan! Graduate students in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Michigan Technological University have founded the first SEI group in the state of Michigan: the SEI Graduate Student Chapter at MTU. SEI consists of local groups and graduate student chapters, and is now located in 33 out of the 50 states, as well as in Washington DC, Puerto Rico, Mexico and Israel. The mission of the new MTU chapter is to help educate young professionals in the field of Structural Engineering by providing a collaborative environment for technical innovation, while encouraging lifelong professional growth and development.
The SEI Graduate Student Chapter here at MTU is geared towards graduate students but open to undergraduates as well, and is looking for new student members to kick off its inaugural year. Student members will have opportunities to network with structural engineering professionals, have access to technical presentations and webinars, and collaborate with other structures-focus students and professionals. If you are a student and would like to join, click the “New Member” link on our website.
To further the goal of professional growth, the SEI Graduate Student Chapter is also open to MTU alumni as associate members. The SEI Graduate Student Chapter aims to connect the current student body with alumni in their field, which will enrich the education of students and provide an opportunity for alumni to give back to MTU. If you are an alum in structural engineering and would like to partner with the graduate student chapter, please contact our leadership board.
The current leadership of the SEI Graduate Student Chapter is Arman Tatar as Chair, Nabhajit Goswami as Vice-Chair, Julie Bouwens as Secretary, Alex Baker as Treasurer, and Dr. Daniel Dowden as Faculty Advisor. If you would like to learn more, visit our website at

Multiple Projects Funded by MDOT

MDOTTim Colling (CEE/CTT) is the principal investigator on a project that has received a $1,300,080.64 contract with the Michigan Department of Transportation. The project is entitled, “Bridge Design System Ongoing Modernization and Support – Phase 3.” Chris Gilbertson (CEE) and Gary Schlaff (CEE) are Co-PI’s on this potential five-year project.

Colling is also the principal investigator on a project that has received a $518,050 contract with the Michigan Department of Transportation. The project is entitled, “2019 Michigan Local Technical Assistance Program.” Chris Codere (CEE) and Pete Torola (CEE) are Co-PI’s on this potential 15-month project.

Colling is the principal investigator on another project that has received a $115,012 contract with the Michigan Department of Transportation. The project is entitled, “2020 Transportation Asset Management Council Technical Assistance Activities Program.” Mary Crane (CEE) is the Co-PI on this one-year project.

Chris Gilbertson (CEE/CTT) is the principal investigator on a project that has received a $491,229.52 contract with the Michigan Department of Transportation. Zack Fredin (CEE) and Tim Colling (CEE) are Co-PI’s on this 23-month project entitled, “Michigan Local Bridge Load Rating & Inspection Support and Technology Transfer FY 2019-2022.”

Tim Colling (CEE/CTT) is the principal investigator on a project that has received a $224,280.94 contract with the Michigan Department of Transportation. The project is entitled, “2020 Transportation Asset Management Council Education Program Work Plan.” Pete Torola (CEE) and Chris Gilbertson (CEE) are Co-PI’s on this one-year project.

Tim Colling (CEE/CTT) is the principal investigator on a project that has received a $896,267.05 other sponsored activities contract with the Michigan Department of Transportation. The project is entitled, “2020 Roadsoft Asset Management Development & Support.” Gary Schlaff (CEE/CTT), Nick Koszykowski (CEE/CTT) and Luke Peterson (CEE/CTT) are Co-PI’s on this one year project.

Construction Management Student wins Kiewit/NECA Sophomore Scholarship for the ASC Competition

Wyatt Bisballe (second from left) is a Michigan Tech Construction Management sophomore.
Wyatt Bisballe (second from left) is a Michigan Tech Construction Management sophomore.


Wyatt Bisballe, a sophomore in Construction Management, was given the opportunity to attend a two day workshop at the 2020 Region #3 Associated Schools of Construction (ASC) competition October 14-17 in Downers Grove, Illinois by winnig a Kiewit/NECA Sophomore Scholarship.

Wyatt submitted the following report to document his experience:


The ASC Region 3 Sophomore Summit was no doubt a positive experience that gave an impression into what the future holds for those studying Construction Management, or similar.

Day one was sponsored by Kiewit. Kiewit is a design-build employee-owned corporation, that in 2018 allocated nearly $9 billion in revenue. Courtesy of Kiewit, we were able to tour an active construction site, that consisted of replacing an existing dam. A challenge on this project was unsurprisingly the government. This dam project was awarded by The Illinois Department of Natural Resources. One year into the project, the State of Illinois did not pass the state budget and ordered all construction on the dam to be immediately halted until the budget was passed. Now that they are back to work on the project, a current challenge is not interrupting water flow. If too much water flow is interrupted, homes on the nearby lake will be flooded.

After touring the dam project, we were taxied to Kiewit’s Chicago headquarters. The networking that can be done by attending this event is second-to-none. After being given a brief presentation on Kiewit, we were given a mock-bid exercise that needed to be completed within four hours. The bid was on the dam we had toured. Reading through the material, you would notice, for example, that the concrete quantity had not counted for Pier 3 of the dam. Or that the labor and time could be saved by not self-performing the gate installation, and that if you were going to adjust concrete, adjusting rebar would also be in your best interest. The main challenge for my group was to choose subcontractors that would meet Chicago’s Disadvantaged Business Requirement (DBE). After spending time at Kiewit’s headquarters, we went bowling, and I am extremely grateful that I am better and calculating cubic yards of concrete than bowling.

The second day of the sophomore summit was sponsored by NECA. The National Electrical Contractors Association. Throughout the day, we were accompanied by industry representatives, from NECA, from individual companies, and company owners. They were always open to questions, and many were interested in hosting interns. We started with a site tour, which took us to a massive project at O’Hare International Airport. This project consisted of multiple contractors and highlighted the replacement and modernization of the ATS (Airport Transit System) and the construction of a new terminal. The main challenge that was highlighted by each representative hosting the tour, was the coordination of construction with the airport. Any delays in airport activities due to construction would result in a fine of $20,000 per minute. To combat this, many prefabrication was done off-site. For example, the planning and prefabrication for laying conduit along the ATS route took six-months. The act itself only took one week. This tour exhibited the challenges around such a large, yet a needlingly small footprint that certain projects require.

After touring O’Hare, we traveled to Preferred Electric, a Chicago-land electrical contractor. Here, we toured the office. We were then presented with another mock-bid challenge. Calculate power demanded, calculate solar panels needed to reach that demand, calculate labor to install the panels, then find a subcontractor to prepare the site, etc. We ended our day by going go-kart racing with electric go-karts. I had not raced electric go-karts until this point, but I can attest they are fast as hell.

I STRONGLY encourage anyone who wants to network, learn, skip-classes, and engage in the construction industry to attend the ASC event this coming year. Whether it be the Freshman Summit, the Sophomore Summit, or the competition itself. In all, I learned plenty, but most of all came away with a desire and motivation to learn more in the construction industry and to eventually be part of the process of completing such projects.

Meingast and Heldt Publish in Biotechnology Progress

Christa Meingast
Christa Meingast

Environmental Engineering PhD Candidate Christa Meingast published a paper in Biotechnology Progress titled “Arginine Enveloped Virus Inactivation and Potential Mechanisms.” The work was co-authored by James and Lorna Mack Chair in Bioengineering Caryn Heldt.

Meingast is a King-Chávez-Parks Future Faculty Fellowship Program Fall 2018 recipient and a Portage Health Foundation Graduate Assistantship Fall 2019 recipient.

Article Extract

Arginine synergistically inactivates enveloped viruses at a pH or temperature that do little harm to proteins, making it a desired process for therapeutic protein manufacturing. However, the mechanisms and optimal conditions for inactivation are not fully understood, and therefore, arginine viral inactivation is not used industrially.

Once the mechanisms of arginine viral inactivation are understood, further enhancement by the addition of functional groups, charges, or additives may allow the inactivation of all enveloped viruses in mild conditions.

Read more at Biotechnology Progress.