Category Archives: Students

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 cee.mtu.edu/sei.


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.

https://doi.org/10.1002/btpr.2931

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.


2019 Lake Superior Water Festival

Students in the Coast Guard boat.

HOUGHTON, Mich. (WLUC) – High school students from all over the western Upper Peninsula took a trip to Michigan Tech Thursday to learn about the science of the Great Lakes.

“We began the year after the Great Lakes Research Center opened, and we thought it would be a great opportunity to get area students, and I mean the western Upper Peninsula area students on campus and hear at the Great Lakes Research Center to learn more about what scientists and engineers do,” said Joan Chadde, the Director of Michigan Tech’s Center for Science and Environmental Outreach.

Read more and watch the video at TV6 FOX UP, by Jake Swope.


Smart Rainwater Collection at the Sustainability Demonstration House

Moisture Sensor inserted into the ground.Many people utilize rainwater collection systems to water their gardens, but Rose Turner at the Michigan Tech Sustainability Demonstration House has taken that idea one step further, programming her collection system to deliver water to the garden exactly when it’s needed.

Turner started with a typical rainwater system.

From there, Turner got smart. She put an electronically controlled valve on the end of the spigot, a moisture sensor in the soil of the garden, and connected them using a small programmable computer from Arduino.

Read more at the Mining Gazette, by Joshua Vissers.

Plant Parenthood: What to expect from a water-based garden

HOUGHTON — There are a lot of reasons to consider growing indoors if you live in the Upper Peninsula. Short summers and increasinly unpredictable storms make growing almost anything outside a risky endeavor. But some reasons aren’t exclusive to the U.P., either.

“It’s easy to keep diseases down,” Lexi Steve said.

Steve is a student at Michigan Tech and a resident at the Sustainability Demonstration House, where she recently assembled a hydroponic grow system along side the aquaponic system started last year.

Read more at the Mining Gazette, by Joshua Vissers.


Ryan Kibler Presents at Michigan Space Grant Consortium Annual Conference

Ryan Kibler
Ryan Kibler

Last Saturday (Oct. 12, 2019), the Michigan Space Grant Consortium (MSGC) hosted its 30th Annual conference at the University of Michigan.

CEE graduate student Ryan Kibler gave a talk pertaining to Daisuke Minakata’s (CEE) NSF funding focused on the Initial Photochemical Transformation of Dissolved Free Amino Acids under Sunlit Irradiation in Water. Kibler is currently working under a MSGC Graduate Fellowship Grant that he was awarded in Spring 2019.


Concrete Canoe Team is Tenth Overall in 2019 National Finals

Concrete Canoe Team 2019 with their canoe

The 2019 National Finals for the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Student Concrete Canoe Competition took place June 5-9 at the Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne.

The students’ efforts to combine engineering excellence and hydrodynamic design to construct water-worthy canoes have culminated in an advanced form of concrete construction and racing technique known as the “America’s Cup of Civil Engineering.”

The Michigan Tech Concrete Canoe Team placed tenth overall at the National competition. In addition to their overall finish, they ranked seventh in the oral presentation, 13th in design paper, 11th in display, and eighth in racing. Great job team!

oncrete Canoe Driftwood 2019


Rail and Intermodal Summer Youth Program Highlighted

Rail and Intermodal Summer Youth ProgramThe Rail and Intermodal Summer Youth Program that has been running for ten consecutive years was highlighted in the May/June Intermodal Insights, a newsletter by the Intermodal Association North America. The Program is a collaboration between the Rail Transportation Program at Michigan Tech and the Transportation Logistics and Management Program at the University of Wisconsin-Superior.

Engaging IANA’s Next Generation

For 10 consecutive years, the Michigan Technological University and the University of Wisconsin-Superior have jointly hosted the week-long Rail and Intermodal Summer Youth Program for high school students. The camp attracts nearly 20 young men and women annually from as far away as California, Florida and New York.

After arriving on the Michigan Tech campus in Houghton, Michigan on Sunday, camp participants get their first look at railroad operations at the Lake Superior and Ishpeming Railroad on Monday. They tour the company’s car and locomotive shops, and climb into the cab of a locomotive.

Read more at Intermodal Operations, Safety & Maintenance Business Meeting 2019 Recap: The Future of Intermodal.
By Pasi Lautala, Michigan Technological University, Richard Stewart, University of Wisconsin-Superior, David Nelson, Michigan Technological University and Daniel Rust, University of Wisconsin-Superior.


Steel Bridge Team Places in Top Fifth in 2019 National Finals

Steel Bridge Team at the 2019 Nationals

The 2019 National Finals for the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) Student Steel Bridge Competition took place May 31 to June 1 at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale.

The student teams are challenged to develop a scale-model steel bridge. The team must determine how to fabricate their bridge and then plan for an efficient assembly under timed construction at the competition.

The Michigan Tech Steel Bridge Team placed eighth (out of 41) overall at the National competition. In addition to their overall finish, they ranked fifth in efficiency, sixth in stiffness, and eighth in construction speed. Great job team!

Steel Bridge Team 2019 with their scale model bridge

Related:

Concrete Canoe and Steel Bridge Teams Finish First at 2019 North Central Regional Competition


EWB Travels to Bolivia to Address Roadway Flooding and Erosion.

Michigan Tech Students with Young Community Members
Young community members receive a lesson on how to fly and take pictures with a drone. Pictured: Maria Carpita, Sarah Hirsch, and Travis Durgan.

The Engineers Without Borders-USA (EWB-USA) Chapter at Michigan Tech has been working with the communities of Santa Barbara and Buena Vista, Bolivia to address the major regional problem of roadway flooding and erosion during the rainy season. When the road becomes impassable, as it frequently does in these months, it can completely cut off community members from access to healthcare, agricultural work, education, and commerce. In May of 2019, five student members and one alumni advisor traveled to Bolivia to assess the situation and the needs of the communities. During their visit, the team utilized drones to topographically map the community and 8 km of road leading to and from Buena Vista. They also met with local government officials to discuss the problem and potential solutions and held an introductory meeting with community members.

 

Students setting up a drone landing.
Students on the May 2019 Assessment Trip stage the Mavic Pro Drone for data collection along an 8-km stretch of road.
Pictured: Sarah Hirsch, Joshua Langlois, Jake Aguado, and Travis Durgan.

In the coming year at Michigan Tech, the team will use the data they collected to design and eventually implement affordable and sustainable solutions, potentially including culverts, drainage ditches, and alternative materials and road resurfacing methods.  EWB-USA community partnerships last for a minimum of 5 years and work to address basic human needs through projects in water distribution, sanitation, energy, agriculture, and transportation infrastructure.