Author: College of Engineering

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

MTU Researchers Active in Build and Broaden Indigenous Food Sovereignty Symposium

Michigan Tech student, staff, and faculty researchers planned, implemented, and attended the NSF-sponsored Build and Broaden Indigenous Agriculture and Food Sovereignty Symposium at Keweenaw Bay Indian Community and Northern Michigan University from May 20-22, 2022.

Among the planning team were co-principal investigator (co-PI) Valoree Gagnon (CFRES/GLRC), Erika Vye (GLRC), Emily Shaw (CEGE), Shelby Lane-Clark (CFRES), Elizabeth Brown (SS) and Kate McGowen (CFRES).

The event was led by the Intertribal Agriculture Council (principal investigator Dan Cornelius); Northern Michigan University (co-PI Martin Reinhardt); Ferris State University (co-PI Scott Herron); and the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community. The Michigan Tech team is currently writing the Proceedings document, which will be publicly available later this summer at

By College of Forest Resources and Environmental Science.

GLRC Represents MTU at Joint Aquatic Science Meeting

Several Great Lakes Research Center (GLRC) affiliated faculty, research staff and students represented Michigan Tech on May 14 to May 20 at the 2022 Joint Aquatic Science Meeting (JASM) in Grand Rapids, Michigan. JASM is the world’s largest gathering of aquatic scientists, students, practitioners, resource agency staff and industry representatives.

This year, the GLRC was a Silver Sponsor for the event and had a booth in the exhibit hall. Those who presented include:

Oral Presentations

  • John Lenters (GLRC): “The Great Lakes Evaporation Network: Successes and Challenges of a 14-Year Binational Collaboration”
  • Jill Olin (BioSci): “Nutritional consequences of intraspecific diet variation in a marine carnivore”
  • Gord Paterson and Dalton Norris (BioSci): “Trophic ecology and Hg bioaccumulation among Lake Superior Lake Trout morphotypes” (IAGLR board administration)
  • Megan Berberich (BioSci): “Sediment microbial communities, organic matter, and methane biogeochemistry across multiple reservoirs in the midwestern United States”
  • Michelle Kelly (BioSci): “Habitat heterogeneity promotes linked C and N cycling in streams”
  • Ara Hakim (CEGE): “Using Ensemble-based Data Assimilation to Improve Hydrodynamic Modeling for Lake Erie Surface Temperature Short-term Forecast”
  • Ben Reuss (CEGE): “Modeling Metabolism in a Shallow, Hypereutrophic, Polymictic Lake”
  • Amy Marcarelli (BioSci): “Transforming Our Understanding of Nitrogen Fixation Across Aquacapes” (in collaboration with Robinson W. “Wally” Fulweiler, Boston University, and Thad Scott, Baylor University)
  • Erin Eberhard (BioSci): “Heterogeneity of Nutrient Limitation and N Cycling Across Wetland-Stream-Lake Interfaces of Lakes Superior and Huron”
  • Longhuan Zhu (CEGE): “Coastal Erosion along Lake Michigan under Climate Change”
  • Xing Zhou (CEGE): “Incorporation of microcystin production improves Lake Erie cyanobacterial bloom toxin forecasts”

Poster Presentations

  • Trista Vick-Majors (BioSci): “Physicochemical drivers of microbial ecosystems in Antarctic subglacial aquatic environments”
  • Maci Quintanilla (BioSci): “Impact of ice-cover on organic carbon biogeochemistry in a temperate freshwater system”
  • Vanessa Cubillos Tellez (BioSci): “Under Ice Photosynthetic Primary Production and Dark Carbon Fixation in a Temperate Freshwater System”


  • Amy Marcarelli (BioSci) organized the symposium “Integrating perspectives on nitrogen fixation across the aquascape” and an integrative event called “Aquatic N2-Fixation Research Coordination Network.”
  • Jim Junker (BioSci) was a session chair for “NEON data: leveraging continental scale data to advance freshwater science.”

In addition, Michael Gretz (BioSci) attended as an executive committee and board of trustees member representative for the Phycological Society of America administration.

Other Michigan Tech representatives included GLRC Director Tim Havens (CS/GLRC/ICC) and Jamey Anderson (GLRC/MRAF).

By Great Lakes Research Center.

Noel Urban Named 2021 Best Associate Editor

Noel Urban
Noel Urban

The Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial Engineering (CEGE) congratulates Noel Urban for being named the Best Journal of Great Lakes Research Associate Editor for 2021.

The Journal of Great Lakes Research is the official journal of the International Association for Great Lakes Research (IAGLR). Urban is a member of its editorial board, which includes many associate editors with a wide range of expertise.

By Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial Engineering.

Geospatial Escape Trailer Visiting Area Schools

During the month of May, a team from the Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial Engineering (CEGE) is visiting area middle schools to introduce students to geospatial engineering with a grant funded by the Engineering Information Foundation.

The purpose of the grant is to enhance interest and increase students’ awareness of geospatial engineering by providing hands-on experiences that mimic the work of geospatial engineers while interacting with female role models in engineering. By the end of the month, the program will reach over 1,000 middle school students in Baraga, Gogebic, Houghton and Ontonagon counties.

The Geospatial Escape Trailer is the centerpiece of the outreach event, and was made possible with gifts from Atwell LLC, R.A. Smith, Seiler Instrument Geospatial, and Spalding DeDecker. The grant was written by PhD student Jess Alger and CEGE faculty: Audra Morse, Joan Chadde, Melanie Kueber Watkins, Joseph Foster, and Jeffery Hollingsworth.

By Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial Engineering.

Reuss and Lenard Receive GLRC Spring 2022 Student Awards

Benjamin Reuss
Benjamin Reuss
Carleigh Lenard
Carleigh Lenard

Please join the Great Lakes Research Center in congratulating the Spring 2022 GLRC Student Research and Travel Grant recipients.

The GLRC student grants are intended to provide undergraduate and graduate students advised by GLRC members an opportunity to gain experience in writing competitive grants, to perform research they would not be able to attempt due to funding limitations or to travel to a professional conference to present a poster or paper about their research.

Student grants also provide seed research data for advisors to use in pursuing externally funded research support, and travel grants help amplify areas of research expertise at Michigan Tech. Funded students are expected to participate/volunteer for at least one GLRC activity during the grant period.

  • Michelle Kelly, Ph.D. student — Biological Sciences
    GLRC member advisor: Amy Marcarelli
    Research proposal: “Quantifying whole-stream denitrification and nitrogen fixation with integrated modeling of N2 and O2 fluxes”
  • John McCall, M.S. student — Biological Sciences
    GLRC member advisor: Gordon Paterson
    Research proposal: “Evaluating genotoxicity of mine tailings (“Stamp Sands”) on two game fish in a spawning reef in Lake Superior (MI)”
  • Benjamin Reuss, M.S. student — Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial Engineering
    GLRC member advisor: Cory McDonald
    Research proposal: “Effects of Climate Change on Polymictic Lakes: A Case Study of Goose Lake, Marquette Co. MI”
  • Laura Schaerer, Ph.D. student — Biological Sciences
    GLRC member advisor: Stephen Techtmann
    Research proposal: “Impact of Diversity on Resistance to Invasion in Plastic Degrading Microbial Communities”
  • Gary Swain, M.S. student — Biological Sciences
    GLRC member advisor: Charles Kerfoot
    Research proposal: “Stamp Sand Toxicity LD50 Test using Daphnia”
  • Tessa Tormoen, B.S. student — Biological Sciences
    GLRC member advisor: Jill Olin
    Research proposal: “Using DNA Metabarcoding to Evaluate Resource Partitioning Among Two Sympatric Tilefish”
  • Aritra Chakrabarty, Ph.D. student — Social Sciences
    GLRC member advisor: Richelle Winkler
    Event: International Public Policy Association: Third Workshop on Public Policy
    Presentation: “Decentralized Climate Policy: Role of Community in Policy Making”
  • Carleigh Lenard, B.S. student — Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial Engineering
    GLRC member advisor: John Lenters
    Event: Advancing Earth and Space Science, ASLO, The Oceanography Society
    Presentation: “Assessing the Accuracy of Wave-Derived Wind Velocity Data Collected by Spotter Buoys on the Great Lakes”
  • Julia Petersen, Ph.D. student — Social Sciences
    GLRC member advisors: Nancy Langston and Richelle Winkler
    Event: Population Association of America Annual Meeting 2022
    Paper: “Pandemic Migration in Rural America” co-authored with Winkler, 
    who will present it at an oral session titled “Covid-19 in Rural America.”

GLRC Student Travel Grant applications are accepted anytime and reviewed on the last Friday of each month. Applications must be submitted at least two weeks in advance of travel.

GLRC Student Research Grant applications are accepted three times each year: November 1, March 1 and July 1.

By the Great Lakes Research Center.

Audra Morse Joins NSF International Joint Committee

Audra Morse
Audra Morse

Audra Morse (CEGE) has joined the NSF International Joint Committee on Wastewater Technology.

NSF, founded in 1944 as the National Sanitation Foundation, develops public health standards and certification programs that help protect the world’s food, water, consumer products and environment. NSF joint committees propose and vote to approve NSF standards consistent with NSF’s mission; ensure standards properly address public health, safety and environmental issues; and respond to requests for interpretations of NSF standards.

By Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial Engineering.

CEGE Students Are Winners in Waste to Base Materials Challenge

NASA Tournament Lab logo.
NASA Tournament Lab

Students from Michigan Tech’s Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial Engineering (CEGE) were recently selected as a winning team in the Waste to Base Materials Challenge, sponsored by HeroX and NASA.

Competing against teams from around the country, the CEGE students proposed a process to treat and repurpose human waste on a crewed mission to Mars. Over many iterations, they developed a resource recovery loop that integrated anaerobic digestion and harvesting microbe-produced plastic to generate a continuous material stream from onboard resources.

The MTU team includes two undergraduate students, Kathryn Krieger and Corbin Sullivan, and two graduate students, Azmat Naseem and Brian Rivers. The team was assembled and mentored by Audra Morse (CEGE).

By Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial Engineering.

Jakob Christiansen Wins Two-Minute Pitch

MTU Teams Win at CMU’s New Venture Challenge

Central Michigan University (CMU) and Michigan Tech collaborate each year to offer Michigan Tech students a chance to compete in CMU’s New Venture Challenge (NVC). This showcase event provides an opportunity for students at both universities to present their businesses and network with prospective investors, mentors and partners. Student participants also compete for a total of $60,000 in prizes and in-kind services.

On Friday (April 22, 2022), four Michigan Tech teams pitched their ideas and businesses in person on CMU’s campus in Mount Pleasant. Husky Innovate team members Jim Baker (associate vice president, research administration and Husky Innovate co-director) and Lisa Casper (Husky Innovate program manager) attended to support teams and strengthen innovation/entrepreneurship connections.

Students had an opportunity to compete in either the two-minute pitch competition or the seven-minute business model competition, as well as a gallery competition where teams had tables with individual displays and took questions from attendees.

In preparing for the NVC, the students participated in a number of Husky Innovate workshops and review sessions. The students also benefited from resources and expertise available within MTEC SmartZone, the local state-funded technology business incubator, and the Upper Peninsula Regional Small Business Development Center, which is hosted by the Office of Innovation and Commercialization in collaboration with the College of Business. The results below speak to the tireless efforts of our students and the impact of the programs provided by Husky Innovate and its partners.

NVC award winners are as follows:

Two-Minute Pitch Competition

  • Jakob Christiansen (construction management) won first place and received $4,000. Christiansen pitched “ProBoard,” an e-commerce platform to solve issues in the construction material supply chain.

Seven-Minute Pitch Competition

  • Bayle Golden (engineering management) won first place in the Social Mission category and received $10,000. Golden pitched “SafeRow,” an innovative wearable device designed to keep children safe when every second counts.
  • Rourke Sylvain and Ali Dabas (both biomedical engineering) won second place in the High Tech High Growth category, receiving $5,000. Their pitch was “imi (integrated molecular innovations),” an electrochemical biosensor for T4 detection.
  • Jordan Craven (management information systems, minoring in computer science) won third place in the High Tech High Growth category and received $2,000. Craven pitched “Tall and Small Designs,” a technology company that provides software as a service to retailers who sell clothes online.

Congratulations to our Husky Innovate student teams for all their hard work! We are proud of your grit during the last week of the semester. Your ideas are innovative and have the potential to change the world.

Thanks go out to our distributed team of mentors and our sponsors (Pavlis Honors College, Office of Innovation and Commercialization, College of Business, College of Engineering, Biomedical Engineering, and Civil Engineering) for their commitment to our students. We also thank CMU and especially Julie Messing, director of the Isabella Bank Institute for Entrepreneurship, for the collaboration and congenial hospitality.

By Husky Innovate, Pavlis Honors College.

BWE Team Places at WERC Environmental Competition

A group of three undergraduate environmental engineering students from Built World Enterprise (BWE) — Francine Rosinski, Jake McDowell and Morgan Hallberg — competed in the 32nd annual Waste Management Education Research Consortium (WERC) Design Contest. For WERC, they had to prepare a written report, oral presentation, poster presentation and bench scale demonstration. At the competition, they placed first overall in their task for the bench scale demonstration, second overall in their task, and second for the flash talk presentation.

Morgan Hallberg, Jake McDowell, and Francine Rosinski
Morgan Hallberg, Jake McDowell, and Francine Rosinski

Task 3: Value-added Use of Copper Smelter Slag

They focused their research experiment on value-added copper smelting slag use. They were asked to recover an economically valuable material from the copper slag and/or produce a useful product from copper smelting slag that makes use of its unique properties. In the theoretical business plan, the team extracted the high content of iron from the copper slag and used the remaining material to replace sand with copper slag in ceramic tiles. This, overall, increased the sustainability and strength of ceramic tiles.

Way to represent Michigan Technological University, BWE WERC team!

By Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial Engineering.

NSF Graduate Research Fellowship for Tyler LeMahieu

Two Michigan Tech graduate students, Tessa Steenwinkel and Tyler LeMahieu, have been awarded National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowships, and one undergraduate student, Jenna Brewer, has been given an honorable mention.

The oldest STEM-related fellowship program in the United States, the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) is a prestigious award that recognizes exceptional graduate students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines early in their career and supports them through graduate education. NSF-GRFP fellows are an exceptional group; 42 fellows have become Nobel Laureates and about 450 fellows are members of the National Academy of Sciences.

The fellowship provides three years of financial support, including a $34,000 stipend for each fellow and a $12,000 cost-of-education allowance for the fellow’s institution. Besides financial support for fellows, the GRFP provides opportunities for research in national laboratories and international research.

The Graduate School is proud of these students for their outstanding scholarship. These awards highlight the quality of students at Michigan Tech, the innovative work they have accomplished, the potential for leadership and impact in science and engineering that the country recognizes in these students and the incredible role that faculty play in students’ academic success.

Tyler LeMahieu

LeMahieu is an environmental engineering MS student under advisor Cory McDonald. LeMahieu’s proposal was titled, “Understanding Wild Rice Site Suitability in a Changing Climate.”

LeMahieu writes: “I plan to dedicate my career to bridging gaps between the scientific body and land managers. I would like to manage public and rural lands for the farmer, the logger and the hunter while managing those same lands for improved water and ecological health into perpetuity. Because fundamentally, rural land managers have the same goal in mind as those studying the environment — a useful, productive and sound ecosystem which will support and be supported by the next generation. That common ground is not always evident to both parties, but I am equipped to act as an intermediary with a foot in both worlds.”

By the Graduate School.