Category Archives: Outreach

Watkins and Mayer Discuss Father’s Day Flooding

Father's Day Flood showing a destroyed streetHOUGHTON — As high rain or flood events become more prevalent, many areas are putting a renewed focus on natural methods to mitigate flooding.

Michigan Technological University researchers spoke to a standing-room-only crowd at the Carnegie Museum Thursday on the changing climate patterns and extreme weather conditions which contributed to the severity of the June 17 flood.

As air gets warmer, it holds more water vapor, said David Watkins, a Tech civil and environmental engineering professor. At the same time, accelerated warming in the Arctic has shifted the jet stream that circulates air globally, turning it from a direct path to a “lazy river,” Watkins said.

By 2030, extreme weather events will be more likely, and urbanization will have accelerated, said Alex Mayer, professor of geological and mining engineering sciences and civil and environmental engineering at Tech. In 2030, a projected 60 percent of all urban areas will have been built in the past 30 years.

The talk is the first in a series of Father’s Day Flood presentations held by the Keweenaw Land Trust and Carnegie Museum.

Read more at the Mining Gazette, by Garrett Neese.


Stan Vitton Works to Stabilize Redridge Dam

Redridge Dam
Redridge Dam

STANTON TOWNSHIP — In the June 17 storm that caused flash flooding in many areas, the steel dam at Redridge suffered accelerated and aggravated damage and distress.

Stan Vitton, of the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at Michigan Technological University, is now the principal investigator for stabilization project to be funded by Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Vitton and his team have worked to monitor the dam’s condition, needed repairs, and other stabilization procedures, Vrana said, and their work has been instrumental in keeping the project on the front burner since the study and restoration programs started in 2008.

Read more at the Mining Gazette, by Graham Jaehnig.


7th Annual Lake Superior Water Festival was Held Oct. 17th for Gr. 4-8 at MTU Great Lakes Research Center

More than 700 students in grades 4-12 in thirty classes from ten schools in Houghton, Baraga, and Gogebic Counties descended upon MTU’s Great Lakes Research Center on Wednesday, October 17, from 9am to 3 pm, for the 7th Annual Lake Superior Water Festival. Students from the following schools participated :  Baraga High School, Barkell Elementary, CLK Elementary, EB Holman School, Houghton Middle School, Ironwood High School, Jeffers Middle School, Lake Linden-Hubbell Middle School, South Range Elementary, and Washington Middle School.

Twenty-four different sessions were presented throughout the day, presented by Michigan Tech scientists (including Dr. Audra Morse and Daisuke Minakata’s graduate Student, Ryan Kibler) and graduate students, along with U.S. Coast Guard, Ottawa National Forest, Isle Royale National Park, Keweenaw Bay Indian Community, BHK AmeriCorps and Copper Harbor Trails Club. See attached list of presenters/locations.

The Water Festival provides an opportunity for students to learn about and celebrate our most precious natural resource – the Great Lakes! A wide variety of topics from science and engineering to creative writing will be presented.  Students attend four 35-minute activities. Some of the topics to be presented include Remotely-Operated- Vehicles, Leave No Trace Outdoors, cleaning wastewater, Careers with the U.S. Coast Guard, the Chemistry of Corrosion, Design a Fog Harvester, and more.

The 2018 Water Festival is coordinated by the MTU Center for Science & Environmental Outreach, with funding from the Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative and Michigan Tech’s Great Lakes Research Center.

“Thank you so much for the opportunity to present at Water Festival. It was a blast to teach all of the students. Thanks for all your hard work in organizing such a wonderful event. It’s so exciting to see kids getting hands-on experience in labs and introduced to science at a young age.”  – Ryan Kibler, ENVE MS Student


STEM Panel Discussion for the Film: Science Fair

Science Fair move posterFor Middle and High School Teachers and Students ~ We hope that you and your students will attend this special event!

FILM TITLE: SCIENCE FAIR (90 min) is the opening film for Michigan Tech’s 41N Film Festival Nov. 1st-4th!

DATE: Thursday, Nov. 1st, 2018

TIME: 7:00-9:00 PM

LOCATION: Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts

DESCRIPTION: This special free screening of the new National Geographic documentary SCIENCE FAIR follows nine high school students from around the world as they prepare for and attend the International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF). Already hard at work on problems such as the Zika virus and nerve tissue regeneration, these students (and their teachers) offer us an inspiring story about the passion and intelligence of our next generation of STEM researchers. A flyer for the Science Fair film is attached.

PANEL DISCUSSION follows the screening:

Dan Pertile, 5th grade Science Teacher & Science Fair Coordinator, Barkell Elementary,

David Flaspohler, Professor & Director of Undergraduate Studies, School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science, Michigan Technological University.

Emily Gochis, Director MiSTEM Network Western UP Region

Joan Chadde, Director, Center for Science & Environmental Outreach and STEM Festival coordinator, Michigan Technological University

Prize drawings for both teachers and students!

For more information about the 2018 41N Film Festival, visit http://41northfilmfest.org.

Science Fair follows nine high school students from around the globe as they navigate rivalries, setbacks and, of course, hormones, on their journey to compete at The International Science and Engineering Fair. As 1,700 of the smartest, quirkiest teens from 78 different countries face off, only one will be named Best in Fair.


Brian Barkdoll Demonstrates for Day of Science and Engineering

HOUGHTON — Even students growing up with Michigan Technological University in their backyard might not realize what options are available for science courses.

More than 100 Houghton Middle School seventh-graders got a look at ongoing projects at Tech Wednesday as part of the sixth annual Day of Science and Engineering.

Brian Barkdoll, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Tech, showed students a simulated river he is using to study erosion. A pier sits in the middle, representing a bridge support.

Read more at the Mining Gazette, by Garrett Neese.

Brian Barkdoll Demonstrates Brian Barkdoll Demonstrates Brian Barkdoll Demonstrates Brian Barkdoll Demonstrates

 


Kris Mattila Oversees World War I Replica Trench Construction

TrenchHOUGHTON — Construction of a replica World War I firing trench began Friday morning on the southeast corner of U.S. 41 and MacInnes Drive on the Michigan Technological University.

The replica trench is part of the centenary WW1&CC commemoration of the U.S. in the Great War, and particularly the Copper Country’s contribution to the war effort, and will be the feature of an exhibit designed to offer the public a glimpse of what life might have been like for the soldiers who lived in them.

Chris Mattila [sic], a civil and civil engineer at Michigan Tech is overseeing construction of the trench, and said he became involved with the project a couple of months ago.

Read more at the Mining Gazette, by Graham Jaehnig.

Related:

Michigan Tech Digs Deep Into World War I History


NSF Funding for Daisuke Minakata

Daisuke Minakata
Daisuke Minakata

Daisuke Minakata (CEE) is the principal investigator on a project that has recieved a $347,808 research and development grant from the National Science Foundation. Paul Doskey (SFRES) is the Co-PI on the project, “Photochemical Fate of Dissolved Amino Acids in Natural Aquatic Enviroment.” This is a three-year project.

ABSTRACT

This award from the Environmental Chemical Sciences Program in the Division of Chemistry supports Profs. Daisuke Minakata and Paul Doskey from Michigan Technological University. They study the reactions of free amino acids in natural freshwater with light. Understanding and predicting these processes is important because nitrogen-containing free amino acids and their degradation products are involved in global nitrogen-cycling. They also affect biological activity in natural aquatic environments. The effluent of wastewater contains amino acids as one of the major components. The findings from this study address the impact of nitrogen-containing contaminants to aquatic systems that receive treated municipal wastewater. The project includes outreach activities to K-12 high school students in the Detroit region through a summer youth intern program. This program promotes the participation and retention of underrepresented groups in the environmental science field. A webinar is being developed based on the findings of this study to raise public awareness of water safety and security in freshwater systems and the importance of protecting ecosystems from contaminants.

This award supports computational and experimental research and education to predict the photolytic and elementary reaction pathways of free amino acid transformation. This transformation is induced by direct photolysis and indirect oxidation by photochemically produced reactive intermediates. The researchers use computational chemistry tools to identify the fundamental elementary reaction pathways of representative free amino acids transformation. The research team then predicts the kinetics information of each identified elementary reaction pathway. Finally, a kinetic model based on elementary reactions is developed to predict the time-dependent concentration profiles of free amino acids and their transformation products in environmentally relevant conditions. The predicted concentration profiles are compared to laboratory-scale experimental observations to validate the kinetic model.

Read more at the National Science Foundation.


Summer Youth Explore Rail and Intermodal Transportation

Rail and Intermodal Summer Youth group standing near a rail car

Michigan Tech’s Summer Youth Program was featured in the story “Transportation and Logistics Research Center hosts Rail and Intermodal Summer Youth Program,” released by the University of Wisconsin-Superior. The story looks at a visit to the Duluth/Superior area by SYP’s Rail and Intermodal program.

The 9th annual SYP was hosted by the Michigan Tech’s Rail Transportation Program and UW-Superior. The 16 high school participants coming from as far away as New York, Florida and Colorado began the event at Michigan Tech before arriving in the Superior-Duluth region for two days of industry tours.

Scheduled field visits took place July 8-14, 2018.

  • BNSF Superior, WI Railyard Facilities
  • CN Superior, WI Inter-Modal Railyard Facilities
  • Halvor Trucking Lines, Superior, WI
  • North Shore Scenic Railroad & Lake Superior Railroad Museum, Duluth, MN

Kids Explore Copper Harbor

Kermits Keweenaw Kids
Kermit’s Keweenaw Kids on the Agassiz at the Copper Harbor Dock

COPPER HARBOR, Mich. (WLUC) – Kermit’s Keweenaw Kids explored Copper Harbor Friday. The program has provided activities for Keweenaw County youth since 1975.

Friday they partnered with Michigan Tech’s Center for Science and Environmental Outreach. Through the Ride the Waves program and a ride on the Agassiz, children saw Copper Harbor from a new perspective.

“About an hour and a half exploration into the harbor of Lake Superior. They are also going out on an hour and a half walk on Hunter’s Point as part of the Ride the Waves program, which is a way to teach students about how scientists study the great lakes,” said Lloyd Wescoat of the Center for Science an Environmental Outreach.

Read more and watch the video at WLUC TV6, by Mariah Powell.


Sixth Annual Lake Superior Day

Lake Superior Day 2018 shows people painting a model ore boatCOPPER HARBOR — The sixth annual Lake Superior Day was celebrated at Copper Harbor, with kids’ games, free hotdogs and goodies and rides on Michigan Technological University’s research vessel Agassiz.

The Agassiz, with a capacity of 18, took people into Copper Harbor on 45-minute excursions, where a Michigan Tech professor spoke to the passengers on the types of research the boat is used for, including studying the overall health of Lake Superior, and the many methods used in doing so. He then showed the passengers collections of algae taken during each trip, allowing people to see how the samples are collected.

Read more at the Mining Gazette, by Graham Jaehnig.