Author: College of Engineering

Sue Hill is the Digital Content Manager for the College of Engineering.

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, Yiheng Wang, and Shih-Chung Kang sckang@ualberta.caAUTHOR AFFILIATIONS
Publication: Journal of Construction Engineering and Management
Volume 148, Issue 7

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

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.


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

Zhanping You on Recycling Tires for Pavement

Zhanping You interviewed by WLUC TV6.
Zhanping You interview by WLUC TV6.

Zhanping You (CEGE) was quoted by WLUC TV6 in a story about an upcoming road paving project in Dickinson County that will use recycled glass and tires from across the Upper Peninsula.

The Dickinson County Road Commission will use recycled glass and tires from across the U.P., compared to standard asphalt, to redo two sections south of Vulcan going toward the Menominee County line.

“The rubber from tires is actually a really good material to work with asphalt. They like each other because they are both from petroleum oil,” said Zhanping You.

Read more at WLUC TV6, by Clint McLeod.

Zhanping You (CEGE/MTTI) is the principal investigator (PI) on a project that has received a $100,000 research and development grant from the Dickinson County Road Commission.

The project is titled “Tire Rubber Asphalt and Recycled Glass for County Road Paving.”

Qingli Dai (CEGE/MTTI) is a co-PI on this potential 22-month project.


Zhanping You Appointed to EGLE Scrap Tire Advisory Committee

Michigan Tech: Where Global Changemaking Engineers are Made

MTU Adds Online Civil Asset Management Course

Steel railroad bridge spanning a flooded river.
A railroad bridge, an example of a civil asset, inundated with water during the Grand Rapids Flood event.

“Civil asset management is an important and necessary technical and business skill set for today’s civil engineers. That is, civil engineers must learn to be strategic about developing recommendations and formulating decisions. They must also be able to optimize the value of asset infrastructure.” — Mark Declercq

Mark Declercq ’88 ’90 (B.S. M.S. Structural Engineering) is bringing his years of civil engineering experience, his involvement in the 2013 flood event in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and his significant asset management expertise to Michigan Tech. He is teaching a new synchronous online 3-credit Civil Asset Management course for the Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial Engineering.

Learn more about Declercq, his course and civil asset management on the Michigan Tech Global Campus News blog.

By Shelly Galliah, Global Campus.

Dimo Okeyo Selected to Present at 17th Graduate Climate Conference

Dimo Okeyo, a civil engineering master’s student, will be presenting his abstract, titled “Understanding the Impact of Land Use Change on Local Climate Patterns: A Case Study in Urban Environments,” at the 17th Graduate Climate Conference.

Hosted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution at the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL), this conference brings together brilliant minds from various disciplines.

Dimo has been selected to present a poster during the event, which will take place in person in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, from November 2–4, 2023.

By Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial Engineering.

Daisuke Minakata Recognized for Professional Excellence, Impact on Michigan Water

Daisuke Minakata
Daisuke Minakata

Daisuke Minakata (CEGE) has been selected as a recipient of the 2023 Professional Excellence-Individual Award by the Michigan Section of the American Water Works Association. The award recognizes Minakata for his contributions to and impact on the water in the state of Michigan.

Through this distinguished award, the Michigan Section aims to pay tribute to individuals, organizations, companies and project teams who have made remarkable contributions to the water industry. This award acknowledges outstanding endeavors in safeguarding public health, advocating for safe drinking water, fostering innovative and creative ideas and demonstrating exceptional leadership qualities.

Minakata will receive formal recognition for his achievements at the Michigan Section’s Annual Conference & Exhibits (Ml-ACE), planned September 12–15, 2023, at the Blue Water Convention Center in Port Huron, Michigan.

By Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial Engineering.

Linda D. Phillips ’77 ’84 to be Honored with Humanitarian Award

Linda Phillips
Linda Phillips

The greatest measure of any school is the quality of graduates it sends into the world, and Michigan Tech has the best of the best. The Alumni Board of Directors is excited to announce the 2023 Alumni Award recipients and looks forward to honoring them at the 2023 Alumni Awards Ceremony during Reunion Weekend.

Among the award recipients is Linda Phillips, who has been selected to receive the Humanitarian Award for 2023.

“Volunteer leadership or service that has improved or enriched the lives of others and the welfare of humanity, and whose accomplishments reflect admirably on or bring honor to their Alma Mater.”

Office of Alumni Engagement

Linda D. Phillips earned a baccalaureate degree in civil engineering with honor in 1977 and a master’s degree in civil engineering in 1984, both from Michigan Tech. While at MTU, she participated in ASCE student chapter, Chi Epsilon, Society of Women Engineers, and was counselor for the Women in Engineering program

Environmental Engineering Students at the COP27 Climate Conference

Keweenaw Now published a blog post written by Kendra Lachcik ‘23 (environmental engineering) about presentations given by Michigan Tech’s delegation to the COP27 climate conference, held in November in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt. MTU students Anna Kavanaugh (environmental engineering, sustainability science and society), Rose Daily (environmental engineering) and Alexis Pascaris (environmental and energy policy) were quoted in the article about their experiences at the conferences.

This year, 12 MTU delegates, including 2 undergraduate students, 7 graduate students, 1 MTU alum, and 2 faculty members, attended the conference as observers under the Research and Independent Non-Governmental Organizations (RINGO) constituency.

MTU delegates were also representing the Youth Environmental Alliance in Higher Education Network (YEAH Network), a transdisciplinary, multi-institutional global network that is a charter of the National Science Foundation.

Read more at Keweenaw Now, by Kendra Lachcik.

SWE Scholarships for Kathryn Krieger and Grace Moeggenborg

SWE Congratulates Spring Lower-Division Scholarship Recipients

Annually, MTU’s Society of Women Engineers (SWE) section awards scholarships to members in the fall and spring semesters. This semester, Spring 2023, the lower-division scholarship recipients were Kathryn Krieger and Grace Moeggenborg, both studying environmental engineering.

Krieger is our campus and community chair for SWE, president of Engineers Without Borders, and is actively involved in Mind Trekkers, the MTU Ultimate Frisbee team, and Delta Phi Epsilon Sorority. Moeggenborg was recently elected as our SWE section secretary. She has served as webmaster and recruitment co-chair. She has enjoyed volunteering at Engineering Days, Spring Fling, the Spring Involvement Fair, and FLARE.

The section congratulates Krieger and Moeggenborg and thanks Milwaukee Tool for supporting these scholarships.

By Gretchen Hein, Advisor, Society of Women Engineers.