Category: Research

Michigan Tech Team Recognized for Runway Safety Project

Interior view of a plane cockpit looking out onto the runway.
AlphaJet PAF Cockpit View

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine mentioned Michigan Tech in a press release announcing the winners of the 2021-2022 TRB Airport Cooperative Research Program University Design Competition for Addressing Airport Needs.

A four-member team from the Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial Engineering at Michigan Technological University placed third in the Runway Safety/Runway Incursions/Runway Excursions Including Aprons, Ramps, and Taxiways category with its design titled, Thermal Detection System for Mitigating Runway Incursions at Non-Towered Airports.

The team included undergraduate students Clark Fadoir, Mary Ollis, Greg Porcaro, and Drew Vega.

Dr. Audra Morse served as faculty advisor to the Built World Enterprise at Michigan Tech.

The team describes the process for developing their hypothesis:

The team utilized Design Thinking to develop an effective solution. First, the team communicated and empathized with aviation professionals to learn challenges and concerns they are experiencing. Next, the team used the feedback from professionals to define the problem of runway incursions at non-towered airports. The team then created two prototypes to decrease runway incursions and used a decision matrix to evaluate and eventually choose the most effective solution. The design was then sent out to professionals to provide feedback and suggestions.

Clark Fadoir, Mary Ollis, Greg Porcaro, Drew Vega

Participation at an All-Time High aboard the R/V Agassiz for Chassell Strawberry Festival

Interest in scientific excursions aboard the R/V Agassiz hit an all-time high this year at the 2022 Chassell Strawberry Festival on July 9! Hayden Henderson (Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial Engineering, MTU 2017) was the captain and Kenny Larsen, a PhD student in the Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial Engineering, was the chief scientist. Kenny presented a 40-minute program on “How scientists assess the health of the Great Lakes?” and “How can citizens be Great Lakes Stewards?”

Six 40-minute scientific excursions were conducted for a total of 110 participants (max 18 per excursion). There were 90 people on the waiting list who waited on the dock in hopes of getting on, plus 20 who had to cancel! A total of 220 people wanted to participate! This is an all-time record!

“We were sorry to not be able to serve everyone. I don’t remember ever being overrun with so many people and having a three-page waiting list!” observed Joan Chadde, event coordinator and Director of the MTU Center for Science and Environmental Outreach.

Participants had lots to say about what they had learned. Some of their comments included:

  • How mercury and PCBs get into water
  • Lake turnover and stratification
  • How to keep our lakes healthy and be a better steward
  • How to sample and measure water quality.
  • How invasive species harm the lake.

And often, one is left with more questions, like this one:

Do fish smell like algae, or do algae smell like fish?

The Ride the Waves community outreach program is made possible with a grant from General Motors in support of the Agassiz and Great Lakes education/outreach.

Pengfei Xue Uses Simulation to Predict Lake Levels

Pengfei Xue
Pengfei Xue

Pengfei Xue (CEGE/GLRC) was quoted in a story published by Bridge Michigan on the expected rise of Great Lakes water levels heading toward 2050.

Xue’s research used advanced climate modeling with a 3D hydrodynamic model to simulate the lakes more accurately.

Great Lakes water levels could increase on average from 7.5 to 17 inches in next few decades, study says

New research into Great Lakes water levels looks farther into the future to predict how much climate change will increase lake levels in four of the five Great Lakes.

Presented at the Frontiers in Hydrology Meeting on Thursday and awaiting publication, the research – led by Michigan Technological University associate professor Pengfei Xue – used advanced climate modeling with a 3D hydrodynamic model to simulate the lakes more accurately. The modeling Xue used is more typically applied to oceans.

Michigan Technological University associate professor Pengfei Xue was the lead researcher on the modeling study looking into climate change impacts on the Great Lakes.

“We were able to develop a coupled modeling system that not only accounts for the interactions between the lakes, atmosphere and surrounding land, but also presented a more realistic and accurate representation of the Great Lakes hydrodynamic processes in climate modeling,” Xue said. “This is a necessary step to ultimately improve the long-term lake level projections.”

Read more at Bridge Michigan, by Natasha Blakely.

Future Rise of the Great Lakes Water Levels under Climate Change

The Great Lakes of North America are the largest unfrozen surface freshwater system in the world and many ecosystems, industries, and coastal processes are sensitive to the changes in their water levels. The water levels of the Great Lakes are primarily governed by the net basin supplies (NBS) of each lake which are the sum of over-lake precipitation and basin runoff minus lake evaporation.

First Author
Pengfei Xue, Michigan Technological University
Authors
Miraj Bhakta Kayastha, Michigan Technological University
Xinyu Ye, Michigan Technological University
Chenfu Huang, Michigan Technological University

Read more at Frontiers in Hydrology, by Penfei Xue, et al.

MTU Team Participating in NextCycle Michigan ROADS Innovation Challenge

A proposal submitted by Zhanping You (CEGE) earlier this year has been selected by NextCycle Michigan as one of the projects in the NextCycle Michigan ROADS Innovation Challenge Track.

You and his team will work on a project titled “The Marketing Development and Implementation of Recycled Glass for Asphalt Pavements.”

You’s team is comprised of Michigan Technological University teams with the Marquette County Solid Waste Management Authority (MCSWMA) and Dickinson County Road Commission. The collaborators will plan a construction section of recycled glass asphalt pavement in Dickinson County.

By Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial Engineering.

Arman Tatar Awarded 2022 Ammann Research Fellowship

Arman Tatar
Arman Tatar

Upon the recommendation of the Structural Engineering Institute, Arman Tatar has been selected by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) as the recipient of the 2022 O.H. Ammann Research Fellowship in Structural Engineering.

The award will allow Tatar to purchase the necessary parts and material to pursue his original research topic in addition to the research he is currently conducting under Dan Dowden’s supervision.

By Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial 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 food-sovereignty.com.

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”

Sessions

  • 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.

Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial Engineering 2022 Department Awards

Undergraduate Student Awards

Nicole Bloom Award for Environmental Sustainability

Brian Goldberg
Brian Goldberg

This award is made annually to an undergraduate civil or environmental engineering student who has demonstrated leadership, passion, and activism for effecting environmental sustainability at the local, national, or global level.

Brian Goldberg has been selected for the 2022 Nicole Bloom Award – Brian is the current co-president of the Green Campus Enterprise. Brian was nominated for this award by Robert Handler, advisor for the Green Campus Enterprise and adjunct faculty in the CEGE Department.  The Green Campus Enterprise works to design and assess projects that could have a meaningful impact on the environmental footprint of the Michigan Tech campus. Brian has been instrumental in developing new campus projects for the Green Campus Enterprise.  His leadership has helped move the Green Campus Enterprise in the right direction.

The Nicole Bloom award is accompanied by the Pati and Soumitri Reddy $1000 endowed scholarship.

Department Scholar

Thomas Pastell
Thomas Pastell

Thomas Pastell was selected to represent the Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial Engineering as our 2022 Department Scholar and to be considered for the Provost’s Award for Scholarship.   Thomas is civil engineering major that exemplifies the intellectual curiosity and creativity that are the hallmarks of a high achieving student and scholar, additionally, he is extremely conscientious, honest, and hardworking.   Thomas is captain of the Steel Bridge team and he is using his steel bridge activities to participate in the Built World Enterprise.   He is also a trailblazer as he thought to combine the two experiential learning activities. 

The Department Scholar recognition is accompanied by a $500 scholarship.

David W. Hand Environmental Process Engineering Award

This award is named after Professor Emeritus David Hand who designed the environmental engineering process lab and taught the class for over 15 years. Dr. Hand is internationally known for his expertise in water treatment.

This award recognizes a team of students from the CEE 4509 capstone environmental engineering class for: outstanding technical skills in the laboratory, outstanding teamwork and professionalism, effective oral and written communications, and excellence in safety protocol as recognized by your peers and supported by the instructor.

This year there were two teams that Dr. Jennifer Becker and Dr. Eric Seagren found best embodied the spirit of this award and both will be recognized.

Aden Clark
Margaret Purvis
Evan Rye

Malina Gallmeyer
Jack Hoffman
Anabel Needham

Each team member will receive a $100 scholarship from the CEE Department.

Graduate Student Awards

Danielle Ladwig Award for Graduate Excellence

Rose Dailey
Rose Daily

The Danielle Ladwig Award is made annually to a graduate-level student in civil or environmental engineering in recognition of outstanding achievement in academics, research, and service, in memory of our friend and colleague, Danielle Ladwig. 

This year Rose Daily was selected for the 2022 Danielle Ladwig Award.  She was nominated for the award by Joan Chadde who highlighted her admirable record of service accomplishments.  Rose has been especially active in promoting sustainable solutions for campus and the local community.  She has been involved in numerous ways with outreach and has presented to Grade 4-12 students through the Water Festival and the Lake Superior Youth Symposium as well as career path presentations on environmental engineering for local high school students.   In the past academic year, Rose has been expanding her expertise in sustainable systems at Instituto Monteverde in Costa Rica.  There she has been working on a project to construct a rainwater collection system for a local K-12 school (Monteverde Friends School) and designing a constructed wetland to treat all of the grey water leaving another local K-12 school (Cloud Forest School).  Rose was the recipient of an NSF GRFP Fellowship which has funded her work in Costa Rica.

This award is accompanied by the Pati and Soumitri Reddy $1000 endowed fellowship.

Wilbur Haas Graduate Research Excellence Award

The Graduate Research Excellence Award is made annually to a graduate-level student in civil or environmental engineering to recognize outstanding student scholarship and research contributions.

This year Dongzhao Jin and Yunxiang Ma have both been selected for recognition with the 2022 Graduate Research Excellence Award.  The quality of their research and publications is very deserving of recognition.   

Dongzhao Jin
Dongzhao (Kobe) Jin

Dongzhao (Kobe) Jin is a civil engineering doctoral candidate advised by Dr. Zhanping You.  He is researching sustainable asphalt pavements.  To date, his research has led to a number of papers including 15 published peer-reviewed journal papers, 2 conference proceedings, and 1 under-review paper. His strong track record is equivalent to those of many assistant professors in well-known institutions. In addition to his publications, he has also been very active to help seek funding and preparing proposals for my research group.  He is enthusiastically preparing himself to become a future researcher to develop sustainable construction materials. His efforts in teaching made him earn the Outstanding Graduate Student Teaching Award in 2020. He also received the 2022 Graduate Student Government Exceptional Student Scholar Award.

Yunxiang Ma
Yunxiang Ma


Yunxiang Ma is a civil engineering doctoral candidate advised by Dr. Qingli Dai.  He is researching the mechanical behavior of CLT walls and wind and seismic performance of CLT shear wall structures. Mr. Ma has dedicated his research to developing the research results on performance evaluation of CLT panels and resilient CLT shear wall structures. His research has resulted in 8 journal papers, 2 under second-review papers, and 1 to-be-submitted manuscript. It is noted that he has published papers in several high-impacted journals (in our field) including the Journal of Cleaner Production (IF: 7.246), the Journal of Construction and Building Materials (IF: 4.419), and ASCE Journal of Structure Engineering (IF: 2.528). These three journals are the most highly rated in the field of construction materials and structural engineering, respectively. He has also worked collaboratively with the scientists in the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest product Lab and Colorado School of Mines for different research projects.  He is the recipient of the Graduate School Finishing Fellowship and the 2022 Department Outstanding Scholarship Award.

This award is accompanied by a $1000 Wilbur Haas Memorial Fellowship.

Department Citizenship Award

The Department Citizenship Award recognizes a faculty and staff member that ‘goes the extra mile whether it be in representing the Department, helping colleagues, or participating at events.  The award is decided by the Department Chair and is accompanied by a $1000 to a faculty IRAD or staff extra compensation.

This was a tough decision as so many have stepped up to ensure our teaching, research and service activities excelled during the last year, despite shrinking budgets, colleague departures, and challenges created because of COVID. 

Jeffery Hollingsworth
Jeffery Hollingsworth

Jeffery Hollingsworth is being recognized for his incredible service this year. Jeffery is recognized for stepping up following a sudden departure of a faculty member, filling in for a faculty member who was having health problems, and for serving on the faculty search committee. In addition to all that, Jeffery has actively participated in the recruitment process, kept up with binder changes on behalf of the geospatial program, leading the departmental assessment activities, and is participating in teacher and K-12 outreach events this summer.  Thank you Jeffery for your service to your colleagues, our students, and prospective students.

Kiko
Henrique de Melo e Silva

Due to the sudden departure of Dave Perram and the retirement of Chris Wojick, a huge void was created in the CEGE safety program.  Kiko (aka Henrique de Melo e Silva) is receiving the Departmental Citizen Award for willingly stepping up to fill the vacancy and subsequently leading safety activities at the college and university level.  Thank you for being willing to grow in taking on this role.

Student Voted Awards

Faculty of the Year – and GTA of the Year

The CEGE Department has two awards that are voted on by the departmental students, the GTA of the Year and the Faculty of the Year Award.  We appreciate the work of Chi Epsilon and their advisor, Stephen Morse, for conducting the voting.  

The Faculty of the Year award will recognize two faculty – the top voted faculty from the Civil/Geospatial Engineering specialties and the top voted faculty from the Environmental/Water Resources Engineering specialties.  This award will be accompanied by a $1000 transfer to the faculty IRAD index.

Stan Vitton

Stan Vitton

Dr. Stan Vitton joined the faculty of the Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial Engineering in 1994.  Over the years he has shared his knowledge with CEGE students on a wide variety of engineering topics as well as his industrial engineering experience with Shell Oil.  He has instructed numerous courses in the geotechnical engineering specialty.  His research has been in the area of geotechnical materials and during his twenty-eight years at Michigan Tech, he had 31 peer-reviewed publications, 20 peer-reviewed conference proceedings, 27 reports, 4 book chapters, 61 professional presentations, 2 U.S. and international patents, and a total research funding of $6.3 million with $2.3 million directly attributed to Dr. Vitton.   In June 2022, Stan will retire from the CEGE Department.

Noel Urban
Noel Urban

Noel Urban

Dr. Urban joined the faculty of the Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial Engineering in 1995.  His teaching interests are in the environmental engineering domain and include: Environmental Engineering Chemical Processes, Surface Water Quality Engineering, and Global Biogeochemistry.  He has an active research program and has interests in wetland biogeochemistry, sediment diagenesis, and the environmental impact and fate of pollutants.

GTA of the Year Award

Tyler LeMahieu
Tyler LeMahieu

The GTA of the Year award recognizes the top voted graduate teaching assistant from all the Department’s specialty areas.  This award will be accompanied by a $500 fellowship.

Tyler LeMahieu is the 2022 GTA of the year. He was a GTA for CEE 3620, Water Resources Engineering.

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.