Author: Angela Keranen

Making A History out of Mysteries: My Journey at Michigan Tech

Guest Blog by Hriatpuii Vanlal, MS in Civil Engineering, Michigan Tech

Hriatpuii Vanlal
Hriatpuii Vanlal

As I embarked upon my academic journey at Michigan Tech, I encountered a multitude of challenges that tested my commitment from the outset. Each obstacle presented a chapter in a narrative that has profoundly shaped my personal and academic trajectory.

Amid the uncertainties that beset me, my steadfast faith and belief began to falter, and I found myself on the brink of surrender. It was during this vulnerable moment of despair that I encountered Dr. Audra Morse, the esteemed Department Chair at the time. Her inquiry into my well-being and subsequent invitation to her office provided a timely beacon of hope, serving as a catalyst for renewed determination. In a milieu where diversity in age, ethnicity, lifestyle, and academic pursuits distinguished me from my peers, I never experienced disregard or neglect. The unwavering support and guidance of the faculty, particularly the professors within my course of study, played an integral role in shaping my academic journey.

It is paramount to recognize the invaluable support provided by Dr. Theresa M. Ahlborn, respected Professor Emerita. Her intense dedication to my academic pursuits was evident through her provision of a dedicated study space within her office. Dr. Ahlborn’s consistent encouragement and guidance were instrumental in navigating the challenges I faced, for both academic and personal development.

Though the trials I faced were arduous and often perplexing, I now reflect with gratitude upon the strength I have gained from confronting them. Each experience has contributed to my personal growth, molding me into a stronger individual than I was before.

“I extend my deepest gratitude to the eminent faculty and officials of Michigan Technological University for their assistance and guidance throughout my coursework for a Master’s Degree. Their collective efforts have undoubtedly played a pivotal role in the fulfillment of my destined purpose.”

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.

STEM Outreach Partnership Delivers Programs to Detroit schools

By Joan Chadde, co-PI/co-author/coordinator Family Engineering Program, retired

Squeals of delight could be heard from students and adults alike, as they tackled one engineering challenge after another. Students worked in family “engineering teams” to design and construct the tallest tower using only spaghetti and marshmallows that could withstand hurricane-force winds (fans at top speeds!). Students worked as civil engineers to design a bridge using a single sheet of copy paper that could span two books six inches apart. One team’s bridge held more than 100+ pennies between the books!  In yet another engineering challenge, parents and their kids became marine engineers and designed a boat from clay that could hold the most cargo (pennies) before sinking. Another activity was a biomedical engineering challenge of designing a prosthetic hand in 20 minutes that could be used to write with a pencil and pick up a cup of water.

These events were made possible by a partnership between the Michigan Tech Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial Engineering and OHM Advisors (Livonia office).  Family engineering events were held after school at Neinas Dual Language Learning Academy (Detroit), Blackwell Institute (Detroit), and Livonia Elementary Schools. OHM’s support provided the program at no cost to the schools, including two event facilitators from Michigan Tech, all of the activity supplies, a free pizza dinner for participants, and a copy of the Family Engineering Activity & Event Planning Guide for each school. In addition, a half dozen OHM staff volunteered to assist with each event—setting up activities, interacting with families, encouraging students, and serving as role models.

Host Schools for Family Engineering Events Attendance
Neinas Dual Language Learning Academy 6021 McMillan St., Detroit 90 Total39 Adults51 K-6 Students
Blackwell Institute1981 McKinstry St, Detroit 35 Total15 Adults 20 K-8 Students
Livonia Elementary Schools8900 Newburgh Rd., Livonia 90 Total39 Adults51 K-6 Students

Parents had lots of positive comments after attending one of the three Family Engineering events held in early December in SE Michigan:

  • Thanks for a great event!
  • My daughter was engaged and had a lot of fun.
  • My sons and I had a wonderful time
  • This was an excellent event! It gave my kids lots of ideas!

When asked what their family learned about engineering, responses included:

  • There are many different types of engineering
  • Engineering helps in everyday life
  • How engineers design inventions
  • Nature inspires engineers to invent new things
  • Engineering is an important part of the world

OHM Advisors, with offices in five states and eleven locations in Michigan, works across multiple service areas, including architecture, engineering, planning, urban design and landscape architecture, surveying, and construction engineering, to create better places for people. An important initiative is increasing the diversity of the STEM pipeline and that means reaching down into elementary schools to introduce engineering to students and their parents. Parents play an important role in guiding and supporting their child’s learning and future career path.
The Family Engineering Program was created by Michigan Tech with partners The Foundation for Family Science & Engineering and the American Society of Engineering Education. A Family Engineering Activity & Event Planning Guide was published in 2011. The activity guide, with thirteen 30-40 minute engineering challenges and 21 short 3-5 minute engineering opener activities, is designed for K-6 educators and for engineers who work with elementary-aged students. It’s ideal for engineering professionals, informal STEM education programs, and STEM college students who want to do outreach in their communities and increase the diversity of the STEM pipeline. To learn more about the Family Engineering program, attend a training workshop, or purchase an activity guide, visit:  or email Tom Oliver

16 Inducted in the Order of the Engineer

On Friday, December 9th , the student chapter of ASCE inducted fourteen students and two professional engineers into the Order of the Engineer. Those who participate in The Order of the Engineer take an obligation to uphold the standards and dignity of the engineering profession. The guest speaker was Bill McCarthy of McCarthy and Smith, Inc. McCarthy and Smith, Inc. has been a construction management and general contractor for over 57 years. Bill has been President since 1996. Bill spoke to the importance of honest relationships with clients and the need for continuous learning to fulfill client’s needs, serve humanity, and make the best of Earth’s precious wealth-key principles of the Order of Engineer. Bill was joined by his wife Deb and both participated in the ceremony. Congratulations to the new inductees, who are: Hailey Bedard, Abigail Bethune, Aynaz Biniyaz, Michelle Bollini, Sean Bonner, Malina Gallmeyer, Edziu Kosiara, Jonathan Lobsinger, Jonah Meyer, Lavender Achieng’ Oyugi, Kaitlyn Pascoe, Kimberley Mary Peter, Arman Tater, Kevin Tran, Bill McCarthy, and Deborah McCarthy. Thank you to the faculty who performed the ceremony, including Drs. Kris Mattila, Audra Morse, Andrew Swartz, and Mohammad Sadeghi. Thank you to Matthew Paavo who organized and coordinated the

Congratulations to the Fall 2022 Graduates

The Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial Engineering would like to congratulate our fall graduates and raise you up for all to see. We are proud of you and want to wish you the best of luck in your next chapter.

Presenting Our Fall 2022 Graduates:

Hailey Bedard

Hailey is graduating with a BS in civil and mechanical engineering. She says she will miss many things about Michigan Tech, but among them are all of the outdoor activities that the Keweenaw has to offer, Winter Carnival and statue building, and having the majority of her friends close by. Hailey is thankful for all the friends she has met along the way and the amazing community she has been able to be a part of. Hailey states “I would like to thank my parents, Jack and Cindy, who have supported me and encouraged me to chase my dreams every step of the way.”

Abbie Bethune

Abbie is graduating with a BS in civil engineering. She will be moving to Denver Colorado to work for GE Johnson as a Project Engineer after graduation. Abbie says she will miss the people at Michigan Tech “Michigan Tech has become my home away from home and I have been incredibly lucky with the support and community that has been a part of my experience here”. She says she is thankful to Michigan Tech for “Opportunity, from internships to sorority life I feel I have been able to have a world-class education because of MTU. I look back to the beginning of my college career here and I am amazed at how much I have grown and learned because of the opportunities Michigan tech has to offer.

Aynaz Biniyaz

Aynaz is graduating with a PhD in civil engineering. After graduation, she will be moving to Oregon to start working full-time at Jacobs. Aynaz says she will miss Winter Carnival. She says she is grateful to Michigan Tech for providing her with the opportunities to grow in her career and would like to recognize Karen Wade from CDI as someone who made a difference to her while at Michigan Tech. Aynaz says “I would like to thank all the beautiful people from Michigan Tech who supported me during this journey.”

Gabe Bollinger

Gabe is graduating with a BS in civil engineering. He will begin working as an Associate Geotechnical Designer at Gannett Fleming in Harrisburg, PA after graduation. Gabe says that he will miss Winter Carnival and ice fishing and is thankful to Michigan Tech for challenging him in the classroom.

Sean Bonner

Sean is graduating with a BS in civil engineering. After graduation, he will be working for KPFF Consulting Engineers as a structural design engineer. He is also being commissioned into the US Army as a 2nd Lieutenant to serve in the Tennessee Army National Guard. Sean says he will miss just about everything the Keweenaw has to offer. He says “I’d like to thank Michigan Tech for giving me the opportunity to gain a world-class engineering education while funding my room and board to commission as an Army officer. I’d like to thank Dr. Kris Mattila for challenging me and making class enjoyable. I’d also like to recognize Dr. Daniel Dowden and Dr. Tess Ahlborn for sparking my passion for structural engineering.

Curtis Byrns

Curtis is graduating with a BS in civil engineering. He will begin working for Kiewit Infrastructure Company after graduation. Curtis says he will miss the area once he leaves Michigan Tech.

Donavon Free

Donovan is graduating with a BS in civil engineering. After graduation, he will join the Army. Donavon says he is thankful for and will miss his friends at Michigan Tech and would like to recognize Jimmy Buffet as someone who made a difference to him while at Tech.

Rob Froelich

Rob is graduating with a BS in civil engineering. He will be starting his career with DAAR Engineering after graduation. Rob says he will miss the Rugby Team (Go SledDogs) and is thankful to Tech for making him more resilient.

Katherine Gallarno

Katherine is graduating with a BS in environmental engineering. After graduation, she is moving to New York to start her career working for Holcim as an environmental engineer. She plans to spend her free time traveling and exploring the state. Katherine says she will miss being a part of such a caring community that supports and encourages their peers. She is thankful to Michigan Tech for providing her with the opportunities to learn and grow as a student and as a person. When asked who she would like to recognize, she says “My family. They were my biggest supporters and I wouldn’t have made it through my degree without their constant encouragement and advice.”

Malina Gallmeyer

Malina is graduating with a BS in environmental engineering. She plans to go back downstate and work as an Engineer in Training at Fleis & Vandenbrink after graduation – “I am excited for this great opportunity and, even though I will have just graduated, I know there will be lots of learning as I start my career.” Malina said she is going to miss her St. Al’s friends so much – “Since no one goes home on the weekends, we have become like a family, and because of that leaving them behind is going to be one of the hardest things I will ever do. Even though it’s tough, I know we will all grow from the experience, and, in the end, they will only be a 9-hour car ride away.” She is thankful to Michigan Tech for the opportunities it gave her personally and professionally – “With so many clubs and organizations, I was able to find a home away from home. This made the long winter nights a little brighter and a little warmer. Professionally, the career fairs were incredible opportunities to network and meet people from many different companies.” When asked who she would like to recognize as someone who made a difference to her while at Tech “Julie Ross was amazing when figuring out how to arrange my classes to check all requirements. Coming into college with a lot of AP credit was great but I didn’t know how to use it until I met with Julie. She really walked me through everything from the beginning of my time here at Tech up until my last scheduling night. Carlos Amador was also an incredible professor. His passion for teaching Spanish and working with university students was apparent in every class. I remember meeting him before I decided on Tech and his enthusiasm and interest in what I had to say made me feel welcome. That interaction helped me to decide on Tech as my school. Now I am a Husky forever!” She ends with “Moving on from Tech is the greatest challenge yet, but, as I have learned from my time here, I should face this challenge head-on and dive into it with everything I’ve got.

Carter Ghiringhelli

Carter is graduating with a BS in construction management. After graduation, he will be working full-time for Catamount Constructors in Denver, Colorado. Carter says he will miss the small community environment that is Michigan Tech. He is thankful to Tech for hiring great professors that care about their students’ education. Carter wanted to recognize David Nelson as someone who made a difference to him while at Tech – “He was a great professor who I enjoyed learning from in the classes I had with him.

Sean Gulbranson

Sean is graduating with an MS in civil engineering from the online structural engineering program. Sean will continue working for Meyer Borgman Johnson, a structural engineering design and consulting firm located in Minneapolis. He says “I’m looking forward to giving back to the community by joining a planning commission in local government.” Sean says he is thankful to Tech for “the years of dedication to being a leading civil and environmental engineering school. I have been continuously impressed by the research and civil engagement that comes out of MTU every year.

John Hardy

John is graduating with a BS in civil engineering. After graduation, John plans to start working in industry. He will miss Winter Carnival and is thankful to the Michigan Tech Football Team.

Benjamin Holland

Ben is graduating with an MS in environmental engineering. He will begin work as a Land Development Drainage Engineer for Kimley Horn in Boise, ID after graduation. Ben says he will miss the cheap housing and all the snow for great skiing and also the trails for running/biking. He says he is thankful for the CEGE Department and how great everyone is here – “I came in very interested in Water Resources and so many different people helped aid in developing significant knowledge related to my passion.” When asked if he would like to recognize someone who made a difference, Ben says “Melanie Kueber Watkins!!! Melanie is awesome! She shares a great interest in how theoretical engineering applies in industry. She tells me of her experience in work to help me get an idea for what to expect in my next steps and she greatly respects the work I do. In many different tasks, she has sent my way, she tells me I know a lot more than her (doubtful) which is at least a polite thing to say. Working under her in research over my master’s degree has been awesome because I can work on a variety of projects depending on what needs to be done and when. She gave me an experience similar to consulting as it is done in industry so she is amazing at preparing the 90% of students who graduate and leave academia for industry.

Julia Jenaway

Julia is graduating with an MS in civil engineering. She will start working at WJE in Bingham Farms, Michigan in February 2023. Julia says she will miss the snow and the easy access to nature. She says she is thankful to have received a great education while being in a beautiful place.

Kelly Livingston

Kelly is graduating with a BS in environmental engineering. After graduation, she will move to Alaska for an environmental consulting job. Kelly says she will miss the snow is thankful to Michigan Tech for being a small campus, so walking from end to end is not hard. She would like to recognize all the professors from the CEGE department, especially Dr. Becker and Dr. Seagren.

Nathan Machiorlatti

Nathan is graduating with an MS in civil engineering from the online structural engineering program. He plans to take a few months off and then start working for a structural design engineering company. Nathan says he is thankful for all the hard work each of his professors put into teaching him and developing course content clearly and concisely. “Dr. Dai, Dr. Ahlborn, Dr. Swartz, Dr. Morse, and Dr. Webster, I appreciate all of your hard work! Thank you! Also, thank you for taking zoom meetings outside of regular office hours to answer questions that I had on class material. I appreciate Michigan Tech taking the time to create an online master’s in structural engineering which has allowed me to advance in education while being flexible on the location. I hope that the program gains further traction, and continues to enhance students’ knowledge and understanding of the structural engineering field.

Owen Mattila

Owen is graduating with an MS in civil engineering. After graduation, he will be moving to Baraboo, WI to work as a Graduate Engineer at MSA Professional Services. Owen says he will miss reviewing homework with friends and interacting with all the professors. He says he is thankful to Tech for everyone he has met during his time here. When asked who he would like to recognize as someone who made a difference during his time at Tech, Owen says “Thanks to my dad (Dr. Kris Mattila) for all your support and encouragement.”

Jonah Meyer

Jonah is graduating with a BS in environmental engineering. He will begin work as a Public Works Engineer in Cedar Rapids, IA after graduation. Jonah says he will miss the snow and Lake Superior and is thankful to Tech for the amazing CEGE faculty and The Army ROTC Department for personal and professional development.

Benjamin Mohrhardt

Benjamin is graduating with an MS in environmental engineering. After graduation, he plans to go to Utah for the winter and then will most like come back to MTU to pursue his PhD. Ben says he will miss the snow and is thankful for all the support in obtaining his education and research goals. He would like to recognize Dr. Daisuke Minkata and Dave Perram as people who made a difference to him while at Michigan Tech.

Srujana Neyikapula

Srujana is graduating with an MS in environmental engineering. She is looking forward to working as an environmental engineer after graduation. Srujana will miss the beautiful campus, great lake, faculty, and her friends. She says “I am thankful for all the knowledge, experience, and support I have gained from Michigan Tech. Additionally, I am thankful for all the wonderful moments and memories that I have experienced as a Tech student. I would like to recognize Dr. Audra Morse for supporting me as an advisor. I truly enjoyed being a student at Michigan Technological University. I have gained great knowledge and expertise in my domain. I will cherish the memories I had as a student at Tech. I will definitely miss being at school (especially DOW & GLRC).

Kait Pascoe

Kait is graduating with a BS in civil engineering. After graduation, she will be working a full-time position at GEI Consultants. Kait will miss the people she has met and the nature that has surrounded her during her time at Tech. She is thankful for all the connections she has made and the Michigan Tech Concrete Canoe Club.

Theresa Passe

Theresa is graduating with an MS in environmental engineering. She will begin work as a water engineer at Carollo Engineers in Boise, Idaho after graduation. Theresa will miss the snowy walks to class and is thankful o the CEGE department for helping her grow and learn. When asked if she would like to recognize someone who made a difference during her time at Tech, Theresa says “Thank you to Dr. Becker!”

Mariah Sheeler

Mariah is graduating with a BS in civil engineering. After graduating, she will start a job at UP Engineers and Architects. Mariah will miss playing on the Rugby team and is thankful for the community of students at Michigan Tech. She would like to recognize the whole membership of Alpha Delta Alpha for making a difference to her while she was at Tech. She ends with “Shoutout to the Math Lab for being an awesome place to work for the last 3 years!”

Carlin Wong

Carlin is graduating with a BS in environmental engineering. He plans to take a trip to Asia before starting work back home in Seattle for Arcardis after graduation. Carlin will miss the Keweenaw and all its beauty. He is thankful to Tech for all the great professors that care about their students’ success. “There are so many people who have helped me, but without Dr. Ross my journey at Tech would have been much longer/chaotic. I couldn’t have done it without her help. My dad received his undergraduate degree at MTU in the Spring of 1988. I cannot wait for my turn in Winter 2022.

Scout Wunder

Scout is graduating with a BS in construction management. After graduation, he will begin working as an Assistant Project Manager for Michels Construction. Scout says he will miss being able to snowboard at any moment and all the friends he has made during his time at Tech. He is thankful to Michigan Tech for showing him how hard work can pay off in the end. “Michigan Tech has been such a great chapter in my life and I’m looking forward to what the future holds.”

Graduates Not Pictured Above

BS in Civil Engineering

Adam Bau

Christian Benson

Allyson Goff

Adam Grady

Drew Heinonen

Ethan Kangas

Jonathan Lobsinger

Mark Luebke

Scott Marvel

Kevin Tran

BS in Construction Management

Marcus Hillstrom

Troy Manthei

Graduate Certificate in Water Resource Modeling

Lauryn Roberts

BS in Environmental Engineering

Edziu Kosiara

Margaret Purvis

MS in Civil Engineering

Michael Abosede

Maria Schadow

Michael Turner

PhD in Environmental Engineering

Emily Shaw

MTU students help provide fresh vegetables for needy families

As part of 2022 Make A Difference Day, ten enthusiastic Michigan Tech students from Delta Zeta Sorority and Beta Sigma Theta Fraternity helped dig more than 400 pounds of carrots, rutabagas, and beets from a local farm for distribution to needy families through the Western UP Food Bank and Salvation Army in Houghton and Hancock.

Students came from the following departments:
Sam Griswold and Dominic Sobcinski, Electrical & Computer Engineering;*Corbin Sullivan, Civil Engineering; Samantha Ludwick, Chemistry; Emma Quinn, Materials Science; Hunter Malinowski Computer Science and Psychology;  Emily Kughn, College of Business; Lauren Kiss, Biomedical Engineering; Emaly Jadin and Zoe Kumm, Chemical Engineering. Samantha Ludwick, VP for Philanthropy with Delta Zeta National Sorority, was enthusiastic about their experience. “We had a blast harvesting veggies to be donated. We’d be happy to
help out again!”

Corbin Sullivan, a 3rd year Civil Engineering student, observed, “I participated in the Fall harvest yesterday because I wanted to learn more about agriculture and what it takes to grow one’s own food. As a Civil Engineering student, it is our job to design a world that serves humanity. Sometimes we forget what it took our ancestors to get to where we are now. I think that learning about the natural world around us is a must so that we know how to preserve it– not just for the future of the human species but for all species– and to prevent or mitigate any damage we might cause in the world.” 

The Western UP Food Bank serves more than 400 families and 500 seniors in Houghton, Baraga, and Keweenaw counties, and delivers food to 40 organizations in six counties. They are the only food bank in operation in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. They rely nearly 100% on local donations from businesses and individuals. To support their work, send your contributions to: P.O. Box 420, Hancock, MI 49830.

This community service event was organized by Joan Chadde, with the Michigan Tech Center
for Science & Environmental Outreach.
Way to go students!

CEGE Seeking Corporate Sponsors for Mobile Interactive Displays

The Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial Engineering is seeking corporate sponsors for three Mobile Displays. The purpose of the Mobile Displays is to provide opportunities for prospective students, K-12 students, families, friends, and visitors to campus to experience civil, environmental, and geospatial engineering. 

The Mobile Displays will be in prominent locations throughout Dillman Hall and Dow Engineering and Experimental Sciences Building so that prospective students on a campus tour can learn about our programs through hands-on activities and connections to real-world engineering. Being mobile, the displays will be used during K-12 Outreach events, Career Fairs at area schools, and travel with our Geospatial Engineering Trailer, which supports K-12 outreach to students in Michigan and beyond. Of course, the Mobile Displays will be deployed in our own classrooms as demonstrations faculty use to emphasize key principles to future engineers. Each Mobile Display is based on a key principle essential to the discipline and the degree program. 

The key principle demonstrated in the Civil Engineering Mobile display is stress. Stress is the result of when a force like tension or compression acts on a material or body. Stress is measured as a ratio of force over area (e.g., lb/in2, N/m2).  The higher the force, the higher the stress—or the smaller the area the higher the stress.  All materials have a “stress limit” that, if reached, will fail said material or body.  Stress on a bridge beam being “loaded” by moving traffic can be controlled by changing the area moment of inertia, I, which is defined by the geometrical cross-section of the beam. The higher the moment of inertia the less stress a beam will experience. The beauty of the engineering design process in this simple case is best explained by considering that a pipe (which is hollow) will have a bigger area moment of inertia than a rod (which is solid) using the same amount of material. This Engineering Mobile Display demonstrates how a specific load (or a specific deflection) can affect the stress on a beam based on its cross-sectional shape.  The many “mini beams” represent real-world structural sections currently used by industry. Students and visitors can see the interaction of loads, deflections, stresses, materials, shapes, and even failures with hands-on “interplay” and real-time calculations. The almost seemingly rudimentary principles of the ancient tried-and-true engineering process is easily explained and is sure to capture the interest, and spark curiosity, in all folks that stop by to play with us. 

Concentration is the key principle demonstrated through the Environmental Engineering Mobile Display. Using their own breath, students can see the impact of the amount of CO2 they release when they breathe in their environment. Those CO2 concentrations are then connected to current and past atmospheric CO2 concentration data. Concentration is a fundamental way in which we express the amount of substances in our water, air and soil environments. Helping our students experience firsthand the concept of concentration can draw them into the field. 

Location is the fundamental principle demonstration in the Geospatial Engineering Mobile Display. Location is the basis of positioning, where a person, place or thing is identified in three-dimensional space. We all occupy space and location is where we are at any given point in time. This location can be quantified by measurements that ultimately identify position. Geospatial Engineers use a multitude of tools that include electronic total stations, 3D scanners, UAV’s, and GPS to precisely and accurately measure position to determine location. Look around you. There is literally nothing that has been constructed, placed, erected, or removed without first knowing its location.  Location is where we are and will always be. Designed with sustainability and accessibility for all in mind, the Mobile Displays are easily transportable and easy for children of all ages to explore. Sponsorships are available for each Mobile Display. To become a CEGE Mobile Display sponsor, please contact Audra Morse at or 906-487-3240.

Michigan Tech’s Student Chapter of Engineers Without Borders-USA Implements Two Projects

The student chapter of Engineers Without Borders-USA at Michigan Tech successfully completed two implementation projects in the spring and summer of 2022. First, in April, they coordinated with the EWB country office in Guatemala to construct a gravity-fed water supply system for the community of Cantón Libertad in northwestern Guatemala. Due to COVID-related travel restrictions, this was a “remote” implementation project coordinated by EWB-Guatemala staff engineers. Although members of the Michigan Tech chapter did not travel to assist with construction, they were responsible for system design, construction planning, and fundraising for the project that is providing safe drinking water to more than 400 people. The students are currently working to improve water supply wells for a neighboring community that could not be reached with the gravity-fed system, and they will continue to monitor and evaluate the system and provide technical support to both communities as needed.

A second project was implemented in Bolivia in August. Six students and a professional engineering mentor traveled to the community of Santa Barbara, Bolivia for the first stage of a road improvement project involving resurfacing and installation of drainage facilities. During this trip, the team worked with their local partner organization, Etta Projects, to install a new culvert and reduce erosion on steep areas along a section of the road. Future stages of the project will continue to upgrade critical sections of the road and improve access to schools, clinics, and shopping areas for over 200 community members.

Five High School Students Participate in One-week Summer STEM Internship at Michigan Tech ~ July 18-22

Five high school students from Detroit and Houghton participated in a 5-day science and engineering summer internship program at Michigan Technological University (MTU) from July 18-22, 2022. The students were paired with faculty with a variety of expertise and research interests.

Students worked in the lab and/or in the field (outside), toured campus, lived in a dorm, ate in the dining hall, and met students from around Michigan and beyond.

Dr. Daisuke Minikata, Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial Engineering, hosted two interns in his lab that were supervised by graduate students, Rose Daily, Benjamin Cerda Barrios, and Ben Morhardt. High school students, Michelle Simpkins and Eural Johnson learned about PFAS contamination by sampling local bodies of water and using the Orbitrap for qualitative identification, built PFAS molecules in ChemDraw 3D, toured the wastewater treatment plant and MTU Sustainability Demonstration House, became familiar with careers in environmental engineering. Michelle attends UPrep Academy for Math & Science and Eural Johnson attends Cass Tech.

Dr. Kuilin Zhang, Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial Engineering, hosted high school student Omaree Ishmael. Omaree used a Traffic Counter App to collect traffic data at Sharon Avenue and M-26 intersection. He then used the data to create a signalized intersection model using PTV VISSIM, a multi-modal traffic flow simulation software package. He also performed the CAV (Connected and Automated Vehicles) cooperative driving automation simulation.

Lastly, Dr. Evan Kane at the USDA and post-doc Julia Stuart, hosted two interns—Nora Sullivan and Bryson Taylor. Nora attends Houghton High School and Bryson attends Davis Aerospace Academy in Detroit. They learned how to conduct an N2 fixation in the field, performed a glucose assay in the lab, and visited the Nastoria bog field research site.

On the last day of their internship, students summarized the skills and knowledge that they had gained throughout the week in a presentation to fellow interns, hosts, and to their parents who joined virtually.

Students received a $900 scholarship to cover their meals, lodging, and roundtrip transportation on a Michigan Tech coach bus. In addition, the students went mountain biking at Tech Trails which was a brand new experience for four of the five interns. Some experienced being in a forest for the first time.

Students had this to say about their internship experience:

I learned how wastewater will change how the water is used in the world.

Our visit to the bog was very interesting.

Learning and experiencing new things!

Faculty and graduate students were always willing to answer my questions.”    

One student’s comment wraps it up, “Everything was great!”

Three of the five say they are now more seriously considering Michigan Tech after their internship experience.

The high school STEM internship program is coordinated by Michigan Tech Center for Science & Environmental Outreach, with funding from the National Science FoundationDepartment of Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial Engineering, USDA Forest Research Lab, Raytheon, and the Shannon Foundation.

Michigan Tech brings STEM to Metro Detroit Youth Day on Belle Isle

MTU Booth
Ashley Curie and Joan Chadde setting up the booth

On July 13, the Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial Engineering (CEGE) teamed up with the Center for Diversity and Inclusion (CDI) to offer science & engineering activities and information about Michigan Technological University at the 38th annual Metro Detroit Youth Day on Belle Isle in Detroit.

Typically, 20,000 students ages 8 to 15 years descend on Belle Isle for a fun and educational day. In the aftermath of COVID, the numbers were smaller. It was the first-time experiencing Metro Detroit Youth Day for Michigan Tech representatives Dr. Wayne Gersie, V.P. for Diversity & Inclusion; Jeff Littmann, chair of the MTU Board of Trustees; Chris Sanders and Ashley Curie, CDI staff; and Joan Chadde, Director, MTU Center for Science & Environmental Outreach.

“It was a fun-filled day with tons of smiling faces. I was amazed to see so many young minds that were already thinking about their future. I’m so happy that Michigan Tech was able to be a part of their excitement,” observed Ashley Curie.

“Our team was glad to be part of this initiative that channeled the students’ curiosity in learning in a manner that helped develop their educational and career aspirations. Through science activities and exploration, we were able to offer a small glimpse of the Michigan Tech experience,” shared Dr. Wayne Gersie, VP for Diversity & Inclusion.

Youth participants designed electrical circuits, created launchers to see which could project a cotton ball the furthest, identified Michigan owls, and compared tree growth rates.

“This STEM outreach event was funded by OHM–Advisors to increase awareness of STEM careers and the diversity of the STEM career pipeline,” explained Joan Chadde. “We would like to participate next year!”