Category Archives: Outreach

Brian Barkdoll Comments on Runoff and Flooding

Brian Barkdoll
Brian Barkdoll

HOUGHTON COUNTY — Vegetation is a key element in preventing landslides and erosion but when it comes to road washouts like those seen during the Father’s Day flood there isn’t an easy solution.

Roots help hold soil in place with lightweight and deep rooted plants making good drainage ditch choices but plants can’t be grown in a blacktop.

Not all positive, vegetation can slow down water flowing through a ditch but this raises the water level causing it to overflow on the road, said Brian Barkdoll, civil and environmental engineering professor at Michigan Technological University. Once the ground reaches a certain level of saturation the water isn’t absorbed anymore, development can prevent saturation as well.

When we develop land we put roofs and parking lots and those surfaces don’t allow that water to infiltrate into the soil anymore 100 percent of the water runs off into streams or into sewers so whenever we develop we’re creating more runoff and perhaps flooding. Brian Barkdoll

Read more at the Mining Gazette, by Kali Katerberg.


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.


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


Tech’s World Water Day Celebration to be Featured on Copper Country Today

World Water Day Banner

Joan Chadde (CEE/GLRC) and Katie Closner (SBE/GLRC) were interviewed by host Rick Allen for this Sunday’s Copper Country Today radio talk show. They discuss this year’s World Water Day celebration, “Nature-based Solutions for Water.” Michigan Tech will observe  World Water Day, March 27-29.

This segment will air Sunday (March 25) at the following times and FM Radio stations:

  • 7 a.m. 97.7 FM WOLF
  • 8 a.m.  99.3 FM  LIFT
  • 9 a.m.  102.3 FM K-BEAR

Full World Water Day Schedule for March 2729


LISTEN to Celebrate Diversity and the UP Interview

Dudley Edmonson
Dudley Edmonson is interviewed for Copper Country Today.

On this week’s Copper Country Today, Rick is joined by Joan Chadde, Horst Schmidt and author Dudley Edmondson about the Upper Peninsula’s Environmental Coalition’s Celebrate Diversity and the UP event.

Chadde and Schmidt are event planning committee members. Edmondson is presenting “Black and Brown Faces in America’s Wild Places.”

Even co-sponsors are Upper Peninsula Environmental Coalition (UPEC), Friends of the Land of Keweenaw (FOLK), Lake Superior Stewardship Initiative, Michigan Tech Visiting Women and Minorities Lecture Series, Michigan Tech Departments of Social Sciences and Civil and Environmental Engineering, School of Forest Resources and Environmental Sciences, Great Lakes Research Center and Outdoor Adventure Program.

LISTEN to the interview at the Keweenaw Report, Copper Country Today for March 18, 2018.

Events March 22-24, 2018


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.


STEM Career Exploration for Detroit High School Students

Joan Chadde-Schumaker

The national need for STEM-trained employees is growing. African-Americans, Hispanics and American Indians’ percentage of degrees in science and engineering is low compared to the general population. The Detroit school system, which is >90% under-represented students, is a good place to start. This project aims to increase the interest of Detroit high school students in STEM college majors and future careers and maintain their interest through their high school years. The Michigan Space Grant Consortium has awarded a $10,000 grant to the Center for Science & Environmental Outreach to bring 20 Detroit area students to participate in a 6-day STEM Career Exploration at Michigan Tech and in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, including visits to state and federal agencies that employ STEM professionals. Students who participate in the 6-day exploration are encouraged to apply for a one-week STEM summer internship at MTU and/or attend a summer youth STEM program to further their STEM interests the following summers. The program will take place next summer.


Alex Mayer to Speak on Citizen Science and Climate Data

Several Michigan Tech faculty will deliver presentations during the 2017-18 Carnegie Museum Natural History Seminar Series: Citizen Science.

Citizen Science

Can citizens impact governance by collecting climate data?: A case from the tropical mountains in Veracruz state, Mexico

Alex Mayer
Alex Mayer

Dr. Alex S. Mayer
Charles and Patricia Nelson Presidential Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering
Professor, Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences
Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Carnegie Museum Community Room
6:30 p.m.-7 p.m. Social and introductions
7 p.m.-8 p.m. Lecture and discussion

Open to the public. Free admission.

Facebook Event