Ishi Keenum Wins DOC Gold Medal

Ishi Keenum
Ishi Keenum

Assistant Professor Ishi Keenum’s work at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) was recently awarded a 2023 Gold Medal Award by the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) for the rapid development of a positive control reference material to ensure the validity of diagnostic testing for mpox, previously known as monkeypox.

The Gold Medal Award is the highest award given by the DOC. It honors “extraordinary, notable or prestigious contributions that impact the mission of the Department of Commerce and/or one operating unit, and which reflect favorably on the Department.”

By Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial Engineering.

Sustainability Film Series Spring 2024

Films shown on the third Thursday of each month.

Location

Fisher 135 or 138 (refreshments in the lobby)

Schedule

January to May at 7 p.m.

The Seeds of Vandana Shiva

The Seeds of Vandana Shiva (2021) February 15

“The Seeds of Vandana Shiva” explores the interconnectedness of seeds, food, environment and social justice through the remarkable life story of Gandhian eco-activist and agro-ecologist Vandana Shiva. Fisher 138


Going Circular (2021) March 21

Imagine a future where we mimic the genius of nature — to re-calibrate the way humankind lives, breathes, builds — respecting the limits of our resources and transforming the modern world. The film investigates the concept of circularity, an economic system that eliminates waste and saves the planet’s resources, and offers concrete solutions to move toward a more circular economy. Fisher 138


Climate Sisu (2022) April 18

Take a journey through Michigan in search of community knowledge about climate action, resilience, adaptation and education. Climate SISU offers an urgent, yet optimistic call for climate action. Fisher 135


The Engine Inside (2023) May 16

Follow the lives of six individuals from around the globe who have devoted themselves to a simple, age-old machine — the bicycle. Witness how bicycles have the potential to transform lives and contribute to a better world. Fisher 138


Cost

FREE. $5 suggested donation per film to support the Sustainability Film Series is appreciated. Make donation online or in-person at the film showing.

Cosponsored By

Michigan Tech’s Great Lakes Research Center, Department of Social Sciences, Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial Engineering, Center for Science and Environmental Outreach, College of Forest Resources and Environmental Science, Sustainability Demonstration House and Keweenaw Youth for Climate Action, as well as the Keweenaw Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, Keweenaw Land Trust, Lake Superior Stewardship Initiative, Friends of the Land of Keweenaw and WUP MiSTEM.

ASCE 2024 Thomas Fitch Rowland Prize for Abdolmajid Erfani

Abdolmajid Erfani
Abdolmajid Erfani

Dr. Abdolmajid Erfani, assistant professor in Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial Engineering, in collaboration with Zihui Ma, Qingbin Cui, and Gregory B. Baecher, University of Maryland, has been selected by ASCE’s Construction Institute to receive the 2024 Thomas Fitch Rowland Prize for the paper “Ex Post Project Risk Assessment: Method and Empirical Study,” Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, December 2022.

The award, which consists of a plaque, will be presented during the Society’s CI & CRC Joint Conference in Des Moines, IA, March 20-23, 2024.

In the award of the prize, preference is given to papers whose author or authors describe in detail accomplished works of construction or which are valuable contributions to construction management and construction engineering.

Dr. Erfani’s research includes data-driven infrastructure management, project delivery and procurement, smart construction, and risk management.

From the Abstract

Project risk is an important part of managing large projects of any sort. This study contributes to the state of knowledge in project risk management by introducing a data-driven approach to measure risk identification performance using historical data. It investigated the quality of early risk registers and risk assessments on large transportation projects and compared them to how the identified risks evolved on historical projects. The investigation involved the use of textual analysis of archival risk register documents.

A project team with positive doer behavior (i.e., actively monitoring and identifying risks during project execution) performed better in delivering projects on time and within budget.

“Ex Post Project Risk Assessment: Method and Empirical Study”
Journal of Construction Engineering and Management
Volume 149, Issue 2
https://doi.org/10.1061/JCEMD4.COENG-12588

Related

ASCE 2023 Best Paper Award for Abdolmajid Erfani

Ribbon-Cutting the Resurfaced County Road 577 with Zhanping You

Zhanping You
Zhanping You

Zhanping You (CEGE) was pictured in the Iron Mountain Daily News alongside a story about the completion of road projects in 2023 in Dickinson County, with some roads resurfaced using a mix of recycled tire rubber and asphalt.

The Dickinson County Road Commission partnered with Michigan Tech and the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) for the C.R. 577 projects.

Projects used different methods, such as the use of recycled tire rubber in hot mix asphalt as well as engineered crumb rubber as a stabilizer or the use of recycled tire rubber and recycled glass as an aggregate.

You is a Distinguished Professor in Transportation Engineering. His research interests include

  • Design, construction, and maintenance of pavements
  • Micromechanics for road materials
  • Discrete element modeling and finite element modeling techniques
  • Construction materials: asphalt, aggregate, asphalt concrete

as well as alternative and recycled materials for civil engineering.

Read more at Iron Mountain Daily News.

2023 Best Paper Award for Bo Xiao

Bo Xiao, assistant professor in Construction Management, was recognized by the ASCE Journal of Construction Engineering and Management for his journal article entitled “Deep Learning Image Captioning in Construction Management: A Feasibility Study.”

From the Editor-in-Chief:

“The authors present their systematic approach to automating deep learning for image captioning in a construction management context. This article is compelling for several reasons. The topic is one that has the potential to provide substantial benefits for construction engineering and management. The authors have clearly explained an involved methodology that produced results that were validated by comparison of eight metrics. The conclusions are presented in a nuanced manner that includes the strong points and limitations of the methods studied and useful suggestions for future development. This paper was selected from a field of 187 technical papers, 25 case studies, 2 technical notes, and 18 state-of-the-art reviews that were published from July 2022 through June 2023 in the Journal of Construction Engineering and Management.”

“This article is compelling for several reasons. The topic is one that has the potential to provide substantial benefits for construction engineering and management.”

Editor-in-Chief, ASCE Journal of Construction Engineering and Management

Authors: Bo Xiao, Aff.M.ASCE https://orcid.org/0000-0003-0798-8018 eric.xiao@polyu.edu.hk, Yiheng Wang yiheng6@ualberta.ca, and Shih-Chung Kang sckang@ualberta.caAUTHOR AFFILIATIONS
Publication: Journal of Construction Engineering and Management
Volume 148, Issue 7
https://doi.org/10.1061/(ASCE)CO.1943-7862.0002297

Xiao’s research interests include construction informatics, AI applications in construction, and construction robotics.

Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial Engineering Welcomes Nine Members to the Academy

Academy Inductee Leanne H. Panduren, PE, F.NSP

Michigan Tech’s Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial Engineering proudly announced the induction of nine distinguished individuals into its prestigious Academy. Established in 1993, the Academy was created to honor outstanding graduates and distinguished friends of the Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial Engineering. Election to the Academy recognizes excellence and leadership in one’s career as well as professional and community service shaping the world.

Academy member plaques during induction ceremony held on October 5, 2023
Academy member plaques during induction ceremony held on October 5, 2023

The purpose of the Academy is to honor outstanding graduates and distinguished friends of the Michigan Tech Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial Engineering. Election to the Academy recognizes excellence and leadership in engineering and civil affairs. Our membership is heavily invested in giving back to the University, students, faculty, and the community at large.

Nominations come from faculty and current Academy members based on a record of outstanding achievement in their field; demonstrated commitment to service and leadership in their profession; demonstrated commitment to service and leadership in their community; support of the CEGE department or university as a whole via demonstrated actions. 

The Academy Induction was held on Thursday, October 5, 2023 at the Rosza Center.


Elected Members of the Academy:

Wayne Bergstrom
Wayne Bergstrom

Wayne Bergstrom, Ph.D., P.E., D.GE., F.ASCE, F.ABET:

Wayne Bergstrom, a distinguished Michigan Tech alumnus from the class of 1976, has accumulated over 45 years of experience in civil and geotechnical engineering. With roles in consulting, industry, and governmental service across six continents, Bergstrom has been instrumental in adapting civil infrastructure projects to various geologic environments. He is currently a Principal Engineer at Bechtel Infrastructure and Power and has received prestigious honors, including the Bechtel Distinguished Engineer in 2013 and Bechtel Fellow in 2020. Active in professional societies, Bergstrom served as the President of ABET, Inc. in 2016-17, accrediting college programs globally.

David Thomson
David M. Thomson

David M. Thomson, PE ‘83:

Originally from Kodiak, Alaska, David Thomson switched from metallurgical to civil engineering at Michigan Tech, driven by a passion for big equipment and construction. His diverse career includes leadership roles at Burlington Northern Railroad, STV, Inc., and his consulting practice focused on private industrial clients. Thomson’s commitment to service is evident through his involvement with the Rail Transportation Advisory Board and the Civil and Environmental Professional Academic Advisory Committee. He received a departmental alumni service award in 2019, recognizing his dedication.

David Hand
David W. Hand

David W. Hand, PhD, BCEE ‘80:

David Hand’s journey with Michigan Tech began in 1982, leading to a distinguished career in environmental engineering. Joining as an assistant research engineer, he eventually became a professor and served as the Chair of the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering. Hand’s accolades include the Rudolph Hering Medal and the 2000 AEESP Landmark Achievement Award. His contributions span over fifty funded environmental engineering research projects, numerous awards, and a significant body of published work.

Emmanuel U. Nzewi
Emmanuel U. Nzewi

Emmanuel U. Nzewi, Ph.D, P.E., M.ASCE ‘80:

Emmanuel Nzewi, a 1980 civil engineering graduate from Michigan Tech, has made significant contributions to academia and research. With a Ph.D. from Purdue University, he served in leadership roles at multiple universities, conducting research on sustainable water resource systems and transportation accessibility in rural communities. Active in ASCE, Nzewi received the 2013 Outstanding Service Award and continues to explore engineering education through natural language processing models.

Michael Paddock
Michael Paddock

Michael Paddock ’87, ’88:

With bachelor degrees in surveying (’87) and civil engineering (’88) from Michigan Tech, Michael Paddock has left a lasting impact in the field. His career at CH2M HILL included managing transportation megaprojects, exemplified by the successful reconstruction of major interchanges and highways. Paddock’s dedication extends beyond his professional endeavors, with full-time volunteering for Engineers Without Borders, earning him the EWB-USA Founders Award in 2009. Recognized as the Humanitarian Award recipient from Michigan Tech in 2020, Paddock and his wife generously support the university.

Leanne H. Panduren
Leanne H. Panduren

Leanne H. Panduren, PE, F.NSPE:

Leanne Panduren, a 1993 civil engineering graduate, has showcased exceptional leadership throughout her career at ROWE Professional Services Company. Progressing from Assistant Project Engineer to President and CEO, Panduren actively promotes excellence and education in engineering. Her contributions extend beyond her professional realm, with active involvement in professional engineering societies and various philanthropic and economic development roles in her community.

Steven Tomaszewski, ‘91:
Steven Tomaszewski, ‘91:

Steven Tomaszewski, ‘91:

Steven Tomaszewski, a 1991 environmental engineering graduate, has ascended to the role of Global Director of Environmental Strategies & Operations at General Motors Company. His career at GM spans various locations globally, contributing significantly to facility management, crisis management, and the transition to electric vehicles. A dedicated Michigan Tech supporter, Tomaszewski serves on the Board of Trustees and has been recognized with the Michigan Tech Young Alumni Award in 1999.

Thomas M. Keranen, P.E., Esq.:
Thomas M. Keranen, P.E., Esq.:

Thomas M. Keranen, P.E., Esq.:

Thomas Keranen, graduating in 1972 with a BSCE, has seamlessly merged engineering and law throughout his career. Starting as a civil engineer, Keranen obtained a law degree and transitioned into construction law, becoming a respected figure in the field. Active in construction industry associations and educational programs, Keranen’s contributions extend to serving on the Civil and Environmental Engineering Professional Advisory Committee at Michigan Tech.

Zachary Grasley
Zachary Grasley, PE, PhD ’01:

Zachary Grasley, PE, PhD ’01:

Zachary Grasley, a Summa Cum Laude graduate from Michigan Tech in 2001, currently heads the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering at Texas A&M University. His prolific research career, marked by awards like the NSF CAREER Award and Fellowships in prestigious engineering societies, has significantly impacted the field. Grasley’s dedication to advancing civil and environmental engineering is evident in his role as a Presidential Impact Fellow at Texas A&M, guiding the department’s substantial student body and research programs.

The new inductees showcase diverse achievements, embodying the spirit of leadership, service, and excellence that defines the Michigan Tech Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial Engineering.

Ishi Keenum on the National Microbiome Data Collaborative Ambassador Program

Ishi Keenum
Ishi Keenum

Ishi Keenum (CEGE) was quoted by EurekAlert! in a story about the National Microbiome Data Collaborative (NMDC) Ambassador Program. Keenum is a member of the program’s 2023 cohort of early career scientists  with diverse research interests who will receive training in best practices for biological data standardization.

Keenum researches how genes that give microbes antibiotic resistance are shared in human-built systems like wastewater treatment streams.

In her research, Keenum turned to datasets available in the published literature, hoping to perform some meta-analyses. She was stymied by the use of different data repositories.

“Can we like look at a million studies all at once? And we’re now at the point where, technologically, you really can do that, if the data is set up for it.”

Ishi Keenum, assistant professor in Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial Engineering

As an NMDC Ambassador, she is excited to help build the scientific culture of the future, where FAIR data is the norm.

Her research interests include developing and manipulating the microbiology of wastewater, water reuse, agricultural systems, developing comparable metagenomic measurements, and developing bioinformatic methods and analysis tools for environmental systems.

Read more at EurekAlert!, by DOE/LAWRENCE BERKELEY NATIONAL LABORATORY.

ASCE 2023 Best Paper Award for Abdolmajid Erfani

Group of two presenters and three award recipients on the ASCE stage.
Pictured from left to right: President of ASCE Maria C. Lehman, Dr. Hickey, Assistant Professor Abdolmajid Erfani, Dr. Cui, and Executive Director of ASCE Thomas W. Smith III.

Dr. Abdolmajid Erfani, assistant professor in Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial Engineering, in collaboration with Dr. Hickey and Dr. Cui, University of Maryland, has been honored with the 2023 Best Paper Award for their article published in the ASCE Journal of Management in Engineering.

The Journal of Management in Engineering has achieved the highest impact factor among all the journals published by the American Society of Civil Engineers in recent years. The awarded article is titled “Use of LinkedIn Data and Machine Learning to Analyze Gender Differences in Construction Career Paths.” The study analyzed female representation in leadership roles within the top 400 engineering contractors.

Successful women leaders have more diverse career paths, working at 56% more companies, holding 19% more job titles, and being 73% more likely to have a graduate degree compared to men. However, as women’s perceived competence rises, their perceived likeability diminishes, according to language analysis on LinkedIn recommendations. These challenges are why many female engineering college graduates don’t pursue careers in the field. Although women earn about 22% of civil and environmental engineering degrees, they make up only 10.9% of the AEC workforce and 3.9% of engineering executives.

The award ceremony was held during the ASCE Annual Convention in Chicago, Illinois, on October 18–21, 2023.

“Use of LinkedIn Data and Machine Learning to Analyze Gender Differences in Construction Career Paths”
Paul J. Hickey, Abdolmajid Erfani, and Qingbin Cui, A.M.
Journal of Management in Engineering, Volume 38, Issue 6
https://doi.org/10.1061/(ASCE)ME.1943-5479.0001087

My Story: Naomi Elliot, MTUengineer

Naomi Elliot ‘26, Civil Engineering

Where are you from and where did you grow up?

I grew up in Macomb County, Michigan, near the water. I’ve been there my entire life and absolutely love it. It’s the perfect mix of city and country.

What made you decide to come to Michigan Tech?

I wanted something different that allowed me to be outdoors. I discovered Michigan Tech while doing a project my junior year and fell in love then. I switched around majors a few times, starting in mechanical engineering and then moving to civil engineering. I wanted to have an option to move anywhere and have future job security. Additionally, there are so many opportunities in civil engineering that I love—being able to be outside on job sites or inside designing.

What have been the best parts of civil engineering thus far?

The best part of civil engineering is the opportunity to do anything!!

What are the greatest challenges you’ve had thus far?

For me, my greatest challenge right now is not yet being in classes that directly relate to my major. I keep motivated by knowing next year I’ll be all-in for my major.

Any recipes, formulas, or tips for success thus far?

Never try to be something you’re not, and take every opportunity you can. Learn to see the positives in everything and be okay with the uncertainty that is life.

“Michigan Tech teaches you life skills that you will use in all aspects of your life.”

Naomi Elliott

Any thoughts on your long-term career goals?

I either want to do something with water resources or law. I am looking into internships and classes that can help me decide my path.

For my summer internship at Spalding DeDecker, I had the amazing opportunity to go to Memphis, Tennessee. We had been contracted out to do multiple jobs on the Ford Blue Oval site, for electric vehicles throughout the month of August.

During the summer I worked doing many different tasks that helped me learn about the field of surveying. Some weeks I would be out doing a topography survey of schools in the area, helping them get ready for future updates. Other weeks would be spent doing anchor bolt surveys, which is setting up the elevations and center lines for steel columns for buildings. There were some weeks where I had smaller tasks like staking property lines, driveways, and sidewalks. It was all important and I am fortunate to have had the experience to learn these things in the field as I hope they will make me a better engineer.  

Being in Tennessee for a week was such an amazing experience. I will be forever grateful for it. Although it involved long hours and hot weather, I absolutely loved being in Memphis. I was mind-blown at the size of the site and how well we managed all of our jobs when our office was 13 hours away. It was an experience I will never forget.

“There are a ton of opportunities. You just have to be ready to take them.

Advice for incoming students, from MTU civil engineering student Naomi Elliott

My story: Kathryn Krieger, MTUengineer

Kathryn Krieger ’25, Environmental Engineering

Kathryn Krieger, a 3rd-year environmental engineering student at Michigan Tech, shares some of her own experience.

“Michigan Tech has provided me with so many amazing opportunities to learn about the field of Environmental Engineering and grow my professional network. I love attending the CEGE networking reception on the night before career fair and hearing from the alumni that come to have lunch with students. 

“After attending the MTU Career Fair,  I accepted an internship with the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT), and ended up working for MDOT two summers in a row. In my first summer, I worked in their materials and testing laboratory, doing gradations, concrete strength testing, and aggregate sampling. The next summer, I became a statewide soil erosion and sedimentation control inspector. I really enjoyed being able to shadow a diverse range of professionals within my time at MDOT. I even got to shadow the state wetland specialist, where I discovered that I would really like to work with wetland mitigation, remediation, and restoration in my future.”

“Michigan Tech has provided me with so many amazing opportunities to learn about the field of environmental engineering and grow my professional network. The hands-on coursework alongside extracurricular opportunities have allowed me to speak at regional conferences for the Society of Women Engineers, be on a winning team for the NASA HeroX “Waste to Base” Challenge, help Engineers Without Borders design improvements to a flooded road in Bolivia, study cosmic rays in Argentina, and receive interdisciplinary formal climate training through a fellowship where I will attend the COP28, the UN Conference of Parties in Dubai!”

“My time at Michigan Tech has been life-changing. It has given me a top-notch education and exposed me to a variety of experiences and perspectives.

“I’ve learned to stay curious and open to new opportunities.”

Kathryn Krieger ’25