Category Archives: Students

Local Students Explore the Aquatic Food Web

Kids and Joan Chadde look at a map while on the RV Agassiz.HOUGHTON — “You guys are going to be working today,” Agassiz captain Stephen Roblee informed a group of excited South Range fourth-graders.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018, was a day of scientific exploration for these students, who are among the first to participate in Michigan Technological University’s annual Ride the Waves summer programming.

When not on the water the students focused on lab learning, including examining plankton, bloodworms and demonstrating how a fish might use their swim bladders to impact buoyancy.

MTU students Sara Gustafson, Maya Geiselhart and Ryan Kibler led the lessons and will do so for the summer. All three had experience with similar testing and programs in other areas though MTU has a little extra to offer, they said.

The Ride the Waves outreach program is funded through the Great Lakes Research Center and a grant from General Motors Corporation.

Read more at the Mining Gazette, by Kali Katerberg.


Tech Biosolids Research Featured at National Conference

Jennifer Becker
Jennifer Becker

Jennifer Becker (CEE) and graduate student Karina Eyre participated in the Water Environment Federation’s Residuals and Biosolids Conference 2018 (May 15-18) in Phoenix, Arizona. Becker gave an invited presentation entitled “Pathogen and Indicator Organism Inactivation in Class A Biosolids Produced by Low-Tech Methods,” during a session focused on identifying critical research needs related to biosolids, the treated residuals produced during municipal wastewater treatment. Becker and Eyre each gave podium presentations based on ongoing research sponsored by The Water Research Foundation and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. Eric A. Seagren (CEE) is also a principal investigator on these projects.


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.


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.


American Water Works Association Scholarship Awarded to Erica Coscarelli

Erica CoscarelliErica Coscarelli, a MS student in the environmental engineering program, has been selected to receive the 2018 Bryant L. Bench/Carollo Engineers Scholarship.  The scholarship is sponsored by Carollo Engineers, an environmental engineering firm that specializes in wastewater facilities for municipalities and the public sector.  Erica will be formally presented with the award at the American Water Works Association (AWWA) Annual Conference and Exposition in Las Vegas in June.

Erica’s research studies the fate of organic compound degradation in the aqueous-phase advanced oxidation processes.  She applies the novel computational chemistry method to predict the reactions and kinetics to predict the degradation products of emerging organic compounds. The water treatment process is found in wastewater reclamation process for the application of direct potable reuse of treated wastewater in water scarce regions. The process can be also applied to wastewater treatment processes to mitigate the negative impact of trace organic compounds found in wastewater discharge to natural aquatic environment such as lakes and rivers.


Tech Research Team Gives Invited Presentations on Pathogen Inactivation in Biosolids

Battle Creek Event image showing a facilityOn March 13 and 14, 2018, Jennifer Becker and Eric Seagren (CEE), along with graduate students Karina Eyre (CEE) and Tanner Keyzers (BioSci), participated in the Michigan Water Environment Association 2018 Biosolids Conference, which was held in Battle Creek, Michigan.

Biosolids are the treated solid residuals produced during wastewater treatment. They contain abundant organic matter and nutrients and can be beneficially reused as soil amendments and fertilizers to improve the sustainability of wastewater treatment.

The Michigan Tech team gave two invited presentations on their pilot-scale research evaluating low-cost, low-tech (LCLT) methods for producing what are known as Class A biosolids. Class A biosolids are essentially pathogen-free and thus can be land-applied and distributed without restriction. Increasingly, wastewater treatment facilities are seeking to produce Class A biosolids, but many lack the resources to implement the conventional processes for producing these materials. LCLT processes provide a possible alternative to Class A biosolids production for such facilities.

The presentation by the Michigan Tech researchers was complemented by a presentation by one of their utility collaborators, highlighting the benefits of the university-utility partnership.

Becker and Keyzers presented Pathogen & Indicator Organism Reductions & Biosolids Changes During Storage.

Seagren and Eyre presented Study of Low-Cost Low-Tech Treatments for Biosolids at the PLWSA.


Carnegie Museum Seminar: Students Engaged in Lake Superior Science

Students on the dock engaged in Lake Superior ScienceSeveral Michigan Tech faculty will deliver presentations during the 2017-18 Carnegie Museum Natural History Seminar Series: Citizen Science. All are from 6:30 to 8 p.m. and take place at the Carnegie Museum in downtown Houghton. The next seminar will be:

Students Engaged in Lake Superior Science

By students and teachers participating in the Lake Superior Stewardship Initiative
March 20, 2018
6:30 p.m.
Carnegie Museum
105 Huron St, Houghton, MI

Teachers will describe how their students plan and conduct stewardship projects, how students benefit, and how the stewardship projects are integrated into the curriculum. The Lake Superior Stewardship Initiative has had a significant impact in our area, providing more than $250,000 in grants over the past years, and serving 16 Schools, 103 Teachers, 2189 Students, and more than 50 Community Partners.


Houghton Middle School Eco-Challenge Looking for Help

HMS Backyard Backlash

HMS Backyard Backlash

2017 Lexus Eco Challenge

Houghton middle-school science teacher Sarah Geborkoff, a Michigan Tech alumna and recent inductee into the Michigan Tech Academy of Educators, is turning to the community to help her middle school Eco-Challenge team. The Houghton Middle School team, coached by Geborkoff, is currently collaborating with a student team from Veracruz, Mexico.

Alex Mayer (CEE) was instrumental in facilitating this collaboration. His research and connections with educators in Veracruz made it possible to exchange experiences and information regarding land and water quality with students from this community. The student groups will continue their correspondence in the coming months.

Topics discussed between the student groups include land and soil quality issues, what is being learned in the respective schools about these topics and what members of each community are doing to spread awareness and address these issues. The team will write an article that will be included in the Spring 2018 edition of the Michigan Science Teachers Association (MSTA) Journal.

The team has also continued with grass and soil experimentation, with a focus on comparing the performance of various nonnative perennial grasses used by the Michigan Dept. of Transportation (MDOT) in its roadside rehabilitation projects to that of (native) big bluestem.

The team will go to the Ishpeming MDOT office to present its results, and has also been asked to share the project in Lansing with the Natural Resources Commission.

If you want to help, take a moment to visit the team’s website. As part of their Final Challenge, the team needs to share their project and get as many hits on their website as possible.

By Joan Chadde.