Category: Students

2020 Student Award Recipients

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Each spring semester, the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering honors students from our Department with an award ceremony/banquet for all nominees for various awards. Unfortunately, we were unable to recognize our extraordinary students in person this year but would like to give them a hearty Congratulations on their commitment to excellence!

Here is a listing of the award winners:

Undergraduate Department Service Award

This is one of our fairly new awards and it was created to recognize a CEE student that has shown exemplary service to the CEE Department through student organizations or other groups affiliated with the Department.  The award is accompanied by a $500 scholarship.

The 2020 Undergraduate Department Service Award will go to Maddie Barrie

Maddie Barrie

Maddie is serving in her second term as President of the Michigan Tech Student Chapter of Engineers Without Borders-USA.  In this role, she has contributed a great deal to the student organization through a number of specific tasks and activities.  In addition to overseeing chapter operations, she has organized fund raising activities, recruiting events, and student participation in national and regional EWB-USA conferences.  She has also made notable contributions to both of the chapter’s ongoing international community programs.  She has been an active member of the Bolivia project team, and she served as the U.S. point of contact during the team’s assessment trip in May 2019.   She has also contributed to the Guatemala team’s work, serving as the lead for project monitoring, evaluation, and learning. In this role, she is responsible for collecting data on project performance and community outcomes, and reporting to the EWB-USA national office.  For her dedication to the success of the EWB-Michigan Tech student chapter and its partner communities, Maddie has been awarded the Department Service Award.

The David W. Hand Environmental Process Engineering Lab Award

This award recognizes a team of students from the CEE 4509 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.

The team members recognized for this honor are:

Devin Slavik, Savannah Fowler, and Brett Cianek

Devin Slavik, Savannah Fowler, Brett Cianek

Nicole Bloom Award for Environmental Sustainability

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.

The Reddy Scholarship ($1000) is awarded annually in conjunction with the Nicole Bloom Award for Environmental Sustainability.

The Dr. Pati Damoder and Soumitri Reddy fellowships and scholarships are made available to the Department through the generosity of Dr. Pati Reddy and his wife, Soumitri.  Dr. Reddy is a 1962 graduate of our MS program.  He and his wife have been strong supporters of Michigan Tech’s Civil and Environmental Engineering Department.

This year the Nicole Bloom Award for Environmental Sustainability will go to:  Sierra Braun

Sierra Braun

Sierra Braun has been a student in Green Campus Enterprise and has distinguished herself with outstanding leadership skills and her passion for work on sustainable building design and construction.  Green Campus Enterprise is developing a design for a prototype tiny house.  The tiny house will have a footprint of 200 square feet, follow passive house principles and be a net-zero energy building.  Dave Bach, a highly regarded design builder specializing in sustainable construction, is helping advise students on the tiny house project. He describes Sierra as “an aspiring and talented civil engineering student motivated by a strong environmental philosophy to learn and practice sustainable design and construction. Her enthusiasm, dedication and work ethic are infectious, motivating teammates to do their best work and to include an environmental perspective in their decisions. Her professional goal is to be an architect. If the design work and leadership skills she is exhibiting now are an indication of the future, I expect she will be widely recognized in advancing sustainable design nationally and globally.”

CEE Department Scholar

The CEE Department Scholar is accompanied by a $500 department scholarship.

Each year the Department selects one of our highest achieving students as the Department Scholar.  At the University level, one of the Department Scholars is then selected for the Provost’s Award for Scholarship.  This award is accompanied by a $500 scholarship.

 The criteria for selection is:

  • Representing the best of student scholarship in the department
  • Participating in research or scholarly activities
  • High level of intellectual curiosity
  • Intellectual creativity
  • Demonstrated communication skills

We are pleased to present Kaitlyn Wehner as the 2020 Civil and Environmental Engineering Department Scholar.    

Kaitlyn Wehner

Kaitlyn is a civil engineering junior-level student with a 4.0 GPA.  She is a founding member of the Built World Enterprise, a founding member of the MTU Aviation Club, a Head Leader in the Learning with Academic Partners (LEAP) program, a member of Tau Beta Pi (Engineering Honor Society), and a member of the MTU Jazz Band.  Kaitlyn was selected as the Department Scholar because of her strong academic skills, her initiatives in exploring her chosen profession, her passion and leadership skills that she brings to all of her endeavors, and because of her eagerness to share her time, energy and skills with her peers and her profession.

The 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 award is accompanied by a $1000 departmental fellowship.

The nominees for this year’s award are the following and are all truly exceptional researchers:

  • Chaitanya Bhat, PhD Candidate in Civil Engineering, nominated by advisor Amlan Mukherjee
  • Dongdong Ge, PhD Candidate in Civil Engineering, nominated by advisor  Zhanping You
  • Jiaqing Wang, PhD Candidate in Civil Engineering, nominated by advisor Qingli Dai

This year, Chaitanya Bhat has been selected for the Wilbur Haas Research Award. 

Chaitanya Bhat

During his time at Michigan Tech Chait has demonstrated innovation in his thinking and the ability to independently lead research efforts. He has proven to be a crucial asset in our collaboration, because of the depth of knowledge that he has developed over the last 4 years, as well as his ability to interact with other researchers and synthesize new ideas. His diligence, sincerity and ethics has further contributed to his research productivity. In his major research effort, he has taken the lead in our FHWA funded collaboration to assess the reliability of background life cycle inventory data sets. In doing so he has  worked closely and independently with the Federal LCA Commons, an inter-agency collaboration, as well as our research collaborators at University of California, Davis. In addition, the asphalt industry supported him for a summer internship (2018), and one of his research products (a structured database) is likely to be directly applied to enhance their asphalt mixture Environmental Product Declaration program. During his time at Michigan Tech, Chait has also contributed to the departmental service – having volunteered to present at tours for prospective undergraduate students, presenting about his research to high school students locally, and also serving in supportive roles in Graduate Student Government. This Spring he helped with mentoring an undergraduate student write and win SURF proposal funding.

The Danielle Ladwig Award for Graduate Excellence

The Danielle Ladwig Award for Graduate Excellence, 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 LadwigThis award is accompanied by the Pati and Soumitri Reddy $1000 endowed fellowship.

The nominees for this special award were:

  • Chaitanya Bhat, PhD Candidate in Civil Engineering
  • Ryan Kibler, MS Candidate in Environmental Engineering
  • Kenny Larsen, PhD Candidate in Environmental Engineering
  • Xiaodong Zhou, PhD Candidate in Civil Engineering

The 2020 Danielle Ladwig Award will go to Ryan Kibler.

Ryan Kibler

Ryan has shown excellence in all aspects that this award was designed to recognize; academics, service, and research.  Among various accomplishments Ryan made for research, one noticeable achievement is his outstanding paper publication as a first author at Environmental Science and Technology, a premium journal in the field of environmental engineering (impact factor 7.1), for his membrane research.  The predictive model that was developed as part of his paper is very powerful and comprehensive. In the RO research field, this is the first and most comprehensive and impactful model that requires only structural information of organic contaminants. It is expected that this model will be used by many industries and utilities.  Ryan is a long-time volunteer in the Department’s Student Success Center which provides help to undergraduate students with civil and environmental engineering courses.  He has also displayed academic excellence by maintaining a 4.0 in his graduate studies.

Congratulations to the Graduating Class of 2020

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The Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering would like to Congratulate our spring and summer graduates. Even though the current world events are keeping us from celebrating your accomplishments all together, we still want to 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.

Below is a listing of our spring and summer 2020 graduates:

Zachary Bohrer

Zachary Bohrer

Zachary is graduating with his BS in Civil Engineering. After graduating he will begin working for MDOT. Zachary will miss being in Houghton and is thankful for the family environment that Michigan Tech has provided. He would like to recognize Dr. Kris Mattila.

Kayla Brei

Kayla Brei

Kayla is graduating with a MS in Civil Engineering. After graduation she will be working as a Project Manager at Rice Engineering in Luxemburg. Kayla will miss the friends that she has made at Tech.

Ray Brice

Raymond Brice

Raymond is graduating with his BS in Civil Engineering. After graduation he plans on joining professional hockey. Raymond will miss the Michigan Tech culture and is thankful for the hockey fans and community support.

Camille Carlson

Camille Carlson

Camille is graduating with a BS in Civil Engineering and will be starting a full-time job in June. She will miss her friends at Michigan Tech, being able to ski whenever she wants and all the outdoor activities she could dream of. She is thank to Michigan Tech for a truly worthwhile education. Camille would like to recognize her family, especially her mom, for all the support and encouragement over the years.

Mason Chapman

Mason is graduating with his BS in Construction Management. He will be a Project Manager at Rieth-Riley Construction after graduation. Mason will miss the area and is thankful for those who have led him in the right direction to get the best out of himself and his career.

Alex Christmas

Alex Christmas

Alex is graduating with a BS in Civil Engineering. After graduation he will be working for Pacific Railroad. Alex will miss hockey, the Pep Band and the weather. He is thankful to Michigan Tech for being an awesome place to go to school and would like to recognize Dr. Kris Mattila as being someone who has made a difference to him during his time here.

Brett Cianek

Brett Cianek

Brett is graduating with a BS in Environmental Engineering. He will move to Virginia to start his career after graduation. Brett will miss the faculty in the CEE Department and is thankful for how helpful they were when he had problems. He would like to recognize Dr. Kris Mattila as someone who made a difference to him while he was at Tech.

Alexandra Constanzo

Alexandra Constanzo

Alexandra is graduating with a MS in Civil Engineering with a Geotechnical focus. She is moving to Lansing, MI to start her career at SME as a Senior Staff Engineer in the Geotechnical Group. Alexandra says: ” I will really miss the community up here! The Keweenaw has been my home for 5 years and I am going to miss the close knit community and the opportunities it gave me. I will also very much miss being a part of the Huskies Pep Band and the Memorial Union Board and creating or participating in the many events every year. I am beyond thankful to Michigan Tech for giving me some many opportunities to grow as a person, meet so many incredible people, and just being an amazing university. I have made life long friends up here and I will forever be grateful that they are now in my life. I would like to recognize a few individuals that made my experience at Michigan Tech that much better. First off, Dr. Thomas Oommen who is an excellent professor and really took the time to work with his students during the major changes this semester to make our classes a little bit less terrible. Second, Dr. Kris Mattila who I was lucky to take 4 different classes from. His classes not only teach important career skills, but life lessons as well. He has become not only a professor, but I would say a friend to me these last five years and someone I enjoy stopping by to enjoy a catch up/check in chat with. ”

Kyle Danko

Kyle Danko

Kyle is graduating with his BS in Environmental Engineering.  After graduation he will begin work for MSA Professional Services in Rhinelander, WI as a design engineer.  Kyle says he is thankful to Michigan Tech for providing a bi-annual career fair that helped establish internships and foundations of a career.  He would like to recognize Dr. Jennifer Becker for all the hard work, the smiles, and the motherly attitude. 

Jake Dedering

Jake Dedering

Jake is graduating with a BS in Civil Engineering.  After graduation he will be working at EMCS in Milwaukee, WI.  Jake will miss the natural beauty of the area and is thankful for the education that Michigan Tech has provided him.

Rachel Duffy

Rachel Duffy

Rachel is graduating with a BS in Civil Engineering. She says: ” I will miss the environment and community at Michigan Tech. I feel like its a really unique school that offers something special to students. Its a really close knit community where you can count on each other when you need to. I have met some really amazing people here and made life long friends, I’m going to miss being in the same town as all of them. I’m also going to miss being this close to Superior. I am thankful to Michigan Tech for providing me the atmosphere I needed to grow into the person I am today. I would, quite literally, be a completely different person if I had not come up to Tech for college. I feel like I found who I am supposed to be while here. Through perseverance, strength, and the help of my amazing professors and friends, I have become a stronger and more confident person who is ready for whatever challenges come next. ”

Brooke Forseth

Brooke Forseth

Brooke is graduating with a BS in Civil Engineering. After graduation she will be moving back to Green Bay, WI to work for Jacobs Engineering. She will miss being in the U.P., where the gorgeous views, hikes and adventures are just a short drive from campus. Brooke is thankful for the community that Michigan Tech creates and for some of the most down-to-earth people she has met and made memories with over the past four years.

Savannah Fowler

Savannah Fowler

Savannah is graduating with a BS in Environmental Engineering.  After graduation she will be working full-time with General Motors in Bay City, MI.  She will miss the people at Michigan Tech: “Faculty really care about educating us and preparing us for the real world. I’ve made lifelong friendships at Tech that I wouldn’t have found elsewhere. I’ll also miss the Keweenaw and all the places to explore.”  Savannah is thankful to Tech fro providing all the resources that were needed to have the best chance of success when leaving.  She would like to recognize Mary Fraley and Gretchen Hein as they were instrumental in shaping her outlooks on life and who she wants to be.

Brendan Gardner

Brendan Gardner

Brendan is graduating with a BS in Civil Engineering.  After graduation he will work for Sharpe Engineering in Oxford, MI.  He will miss his fraternity brothers and all the memories shared over the past 5 years.  He will also miss the professors who believed in him and always pushed him to be better.  Brendan is thankful to Michigan Tech for an amazing college experience and a quality education.  He will really miss going to the hockey games and skiing at Mt. Bohemia as well.  Brendan wanted to recognize two professors of his- Joe Foster and Kris Mattila: “I feel they were the most influential to me during my time here and helped me grow as a student. I never felt out of place or uncomfortable in their classes. They’re just all around great men.” 

Dongdong Ge

Dongdong Ge

Dongdong Ge is graduating with a PhD in Civil Engineering. He will continue on at Michigan Tech as a postdoc after graduation. He will miss the kind guidance from professors, the help from staff, and his friends. Dongdong wants to say thanks to everyone who helped him at Michigan Tech and express his appreciation for his advisor, Dr. Zhanping You.

Reid Grunewald

Reid Grunewald

Reid is graduating with a BS in Civil Engineering. After graduation he will begin an internship at Fire Tower Engineered Timber in Calumet. He will miss spring skiing at Mont Ripley and is thankful to Michigan Tech for giving him some grit.

Katy Gula

Katy Gula

Katy is graduating with a BS in Environmental Engineering. She still has some classes to take over the summer, so over the next few months she will be looking for jobs primarily in the Midwest. Katy says one of the things she will miss the most is the people she has had the chance to meet and build amazing friendships from all different backgrounds through different extracurricular activities, including theatre and sailing. When asked what she is thankful for, she says: ” I am thankful for my involvement in the arts. I got the chance to sing solos in Chamber Choir, get leads in the plays, and help do technical work on a few of the shows here. At many larger universities, you have to be an upperclassman or in the major to be considered for many of these positions, so it was nice to be able explore my passions and grow in my abilities through the VPA department. ”

Brittany Hubbard

Brittany is graduating with a MS in Civil Engineering – Water Resources. After graduating she will be seeking employment in Stream Restoration. Brittany will miss being challenged to learn higher level concepts everyday, being around a science research community and all the access to resources – programs, journals, professors, the lab, enterprise. Brittany says: ” Thanks for working with my non-traditional background to make this degree a reality. Thanks to the staff and faculty for taking a personal interest in my academic growth and success. Thanks to the Michigan Tech, the graduate school, and my civil and environmental department for their communication efforts to keep me informed, safe, and on track. Thanks to my professors for their high standards, I now feel confident I have the foundation I need to make informed decisions of water resource engineering projects.” She also wanted to recognize the following people:

Dr. Veronica Webster – Best advisor ever. Thank you for your expertise and guidance. Thank you for your recommendation to be a graduate teaching assistant. Thank you for challenging me, encouraging me, and letting me ask a million curiosity questions – and reigning me in to keep me on track!

Mike Hyslop – Thank you for always being available to help whether in one of your classes or for all of the following semesters. Mike on many occasions would take the extra time to clarify concepts I was stuck on or just interested in. He also has continued to help me with GIS program troubleshooting issues I encounter outside of his class.

Brian Barkdoll – Thank you for challenging me to teach myself. I feel confident in my success post Michigan Tech because your teaching style encouraged me to take extra accountability in my ability to learn.

Rob Fritz – Thank you for your expertise in all of the lab sessions!! Without you labs would have not been so smooth!

Angela Keranen – Thanks for ALL your efforts : keeping me informed , knowing all the answers, helping me with paperwork, navigating my degree, supplies, snacks!

Mahta Naziri Saeed – Thank you for climbing over the row of seats and becoming my friend.

Garion Johnson

Garion Johnson

Garion is graduating with a BS in Civil Engineering. He will join the Navy after graduation. Garion will miss the “wonderful” snow and weather and is thankful to Michigan Tech for the opportunities to learn new things. He would like to recognize Dr. Brian Barkdoll for someone who made a difference to him while studying at Tech.

Zebadiah Jones

Zebadiah Jones

Zebadiah is graduating with a BS in Environmental Engineering. After graduating he is getting married, moving downstate and hopefully finding a job. Zebadiah will miss kayaking, friends, broomball and daily life in the Keweenaw. He said he is thankful to Michigan Tech for: ” Giving me so much time in copper country. I’ve truly loved every moment. From the picturesque views, awesome adventure, friendships, and a quality education in the perfect package.”

Achille Kagabo

Achille Kagabo

Achille is graduating with his MS in Civil Engineering – Geotechnical Engineering. After graduation he plans on working in the civil engineering industry. Achille will miss the quietness of the area. He is thankful to Michigan Tech for a quality education and would like to recognize Dr. Stan Vitton for making a difference to him during his time here.

Cole LaBarre

Cole is graduating with a BS in Civil Engineering. After graduation he will start his career with a great AE firm. He will miss the campus community, the campus itself, and the peaceful walking across campus in the summer and spring months. Cole is thankful for meeting his amazing friends he has made and would like to recognize Dr. Kris Mattila for being a great mentor and professor through his years at Michigan Tech.

Erin Lau

Erin Lau

Erin is graduating with her MS in Civil Engineering. She will be moving to Rochester, MN to work at SEH after graduation. Erin will miss Houghton, being able to explore new places all of the time within the community. Stating the community may be the biggest loss of all. She says she is thankful for all the opportunities Michigan Tech provides for leadership and hands-on experiences.

Mary Kinney

Mary is graduating with a BS in Civil Engineering. After graduation she will be working for HNTB in East Lansing, MI. Mary will miss being a part of the student organizations (Concrete Canoe & ASCE) and, of course, broomball. She is thankful for 4 years in the Keweenaw Peninsula and Mt. Ripley and would like to recognize Dr. Audra Morse, Dr. Tess Ahlborn, Dr. Kuilin Zhang, Dr. Kris Mattila, and Julie Ross for making a difference to her while at Michigan Tech.

Julia Manzano

Julia Manzano

Julia is graduating with a BS in Environmental Engineering. She plans on attending graduate school at Michigan Tech following graduation. She is thankful to Michigan Tech for creating an atmosphere for encouragement and success. She wanted to recognize Dr. Melanie Kueber: ” Dr. Melanie Kueber has been a very influential professor to me. The introductory water resources course sparked my interest in the subject so I continued onto more related courses, one of which Dr. Kueber taught, and she provided us with challenging real-world problems. I was fortunate to later have her as my senior design advisor, where she continued with this same level of instruction. I feel more prepared and confident to work as an engineer after having her as a professor and mentor.”

Jack Martzke

Jack is graduating with a BS in Civil Engineering. Jack will be joining MSA Professional Services in Madison, WI as a bridge engineer after graduation. He will miss snow and friends and is thankful for the awesome professors and hands-on classes that made learning challenging but fun. Jack says: ” Thanks to professors, such as Dr Mattila, Dr Dowden, and Dr Ahlborn who care about students and make classes relevant and fun. Thanks to the rest of the CEE faculty for providing quality courses. Also, thanks to Rob and Kiko for making dirty work tolerable and their willingness to work around our schedule. ”

Christa Meingast

Christa Meingast

Christa is graduating with a PhD in Environmental Engineering. Her plans after graduation are to find a teaching position at a college or university. She will miss Mt. Ripley, the Tech Trails and the SDC. Christa is thankful to Michigan Tech for the great mentors and would like to recognize Dr. Caryn Heldt and Dr. Veronica Webster for making a difference to her while at Tech.

Marjan Monfared

Marjan Monfared

Marjan is graduating with her MS in Civil Engineering. She is currently working in a consulting company as an Associate Civil Engineer with a focus on Dam Breach Analysis and Mud/debris flow estimation. Marjan says she will miss everything – beautiful people, sincere environment, Tech Trails, lifetime friends, kind-hearted staff and faculty members, the gorgeous view from the Dow 8th floor, the Portage Canal and Lake Superior. She says she is thankful to Michigan Tech for: ” My MTU family, my family in civil engineering, all great loving bonds we made with each other. Dr. Mayer, Dr. Webster, Dr. Watkins, Dr Morse, my dear Angela and Shelle. Thank you all for everything. I love you. ”

Matthew Nordlund

Matthew Nordlund

Matthew is graduating with a BS in Construction Management. After graduation he will be a Field Engineer for the Boldt Company. Matthew will miss the friends he has made at Tech and is thankful for the career opportunities and educational diversity he received.

Conner Reid

Conner Reed

Conner is graduating with a BS in Civil Engineering.  He will then begin his career working full-time with Ames Construction as a Project Engineer in their Midwest region.  Conner will miss his friends, the Keweenaw, and the work-hard play-hard culture that he was able to experience with everyone he became friends with.  He is thankful for the amazing staff in the Civil Engineering Department that helped him prepare for the workforce. Conner wanted to recognize Dr. Mattila “Dr. Mattila has been the most influential staff member that I’ve gotten to know over the last several years. He was always willing to lend an ear when I had questions or concerns.” about anything and everything from homework in his class to future job plans.

Stephen Rowley

Stephen Rowley

Stephen is graduating with a BS in Civil Engineering. After graduating he will be moving to Ann Arbor to work as a transmission line engineer at POWER Engineers. Stephen will miss the scenery and Mont Ripley (along with the rest of the beautiful Keweenaw). He says he is thankful for the awesome friends he has made who made earning an engineering degree as fun as possible!

Devin  Slavik

Devin Slavik

Devin is graduating with a BS in Environmental Engineering. After graduation he will be moving back to his family farm and starting work as an environmental engineer with General Motors.

Seneca Stairs

Seneca Stairs

Seneca is graduating with a BS in Environmental Engineering.  After graduating Seneca will begin a job at Westwood Professional Services in Madison, WI.  She will miss the winters and the hockey as well as the connections she has made on campus.  Seneca is thankful for the great education and the kind people as well as to Tech for pushing her to be her best self.  She would like to recognize Dr. Becker for always going out of her way to help her out and being a fantastic professor. 

Mike Summerfield

Mike Summerfield

Mike is graduating with a BS in Construction Management. After graduation he is moving to Idaho Falls, ID to start a career with Granite Construction. He will miss the small town hospitality of Houghton. Mike is thankful to Michigan Tech for their push to make every student feel important and ready for the industry in their major and he would like to recognize Lynn Artman for making a difference to him during his time here.

Tristan Tarsa

Tristan Tarsa

Tristan is graduating with a BS in Civil Engineering. He will begin working at AECOM Traverse City after graduation. Tristan will miss playing hockey, watching hockey, and the cool hiking places just a short drive away. He is thankful to Michigan Tech for providing him with unique opportunities that broadened his perspectives. Tristan would like to recognize too many people to list; however, notably Dr. Audra Morse, Dr. Kris Mattila, Dr. Gretchen Hein, Julie Ross and Jay Meldrum.

Zoe Wahr

Zoe Wahr

Zoe is graduating with a BS in Civil Engineering.  Shortly after graduation she will begin working in Grand Rapids, MI as a Designer for Rowe Professional Services Company.  Zoe will miss the friendships, while she knows they will stay in touch with her Tech friends, she realizes they will never have the closeness they have now.  Zoe is thankful for the challenges that Tech has presented her with and the opportunities she has received through hard work and dedication.  She says “There is a community beyond campus that creates an instant bond with people that have graduated even 40 years ago that is really special.”  Zoe would like to recognize Dr. Gretchen Hein: “Dr. Gretchen Hein has been a mentor to me during my college career that changed my life for the better, in all respects. She challenged me to do things that I didn’t think I was capable of, but because of those things I have had amazing opportunity arise. She truly works FOR the student and never denies a person the chance to be better. Whether it was SWE (Society of Women Engineers), personal life, or professional life, I knew that Dr. Hein was in my corner and willing to do anything to help me reach my goals. I am forever grateful for the time she spent working with me to make me a better student, person, and engineer.”

Alex Waypa

Alex Waypa

Alex is graduating with a BS in Environmental Engineering. After graduation she will be moving back home to continue to look for a job. Alex will miss the community of Michigan Tech and all the outdoor activities of living in the Keweenaw. She is thankful for all the lifelong friends that she met here and wanted to recognize Dr. Eric Seagren and Dr. Jennifer Becker: ” Dr. Seagren and Dr. Becker, they’ve both connected with students on personal levels and made themselves available to help out the best they could. ”

Noah Weichert

Noah Weichert

Noah is graduating with a BS in Civil Engineering.  After graduation he plans on securing a full-time job and furthering his engineering licensing.  Noah will miss the surrounding area as well as the friends he made and the helpful faculty.  He says his is thankful for all the learning he was able to do and the opportunities he was able to have while being here.  Noah would like to recognize his mom and dad for cheering him on and being just awesome parents.  

Kendal Welling

Kendall Welling

Kendall is graduating with a BS in Civil Engineering. After graduation she will be moving to Texas and working as a civil engineer. She may also enroll in an online civil engineering Master’s program with a focus on structures.

Drake Wilson

Drake Wilson

Drake is graduating with a BS in Mining Engineering and Civil Engineering.  He plans to have a full-time job after graduation.  He will miss the Houghton location and is thankful to Michigan Tech for Winter Carnival.  He would like to recognize Julie Ross for making a difference to him while at Michigan Tech.

Xiaodong Zhou

Xiaodong Zhou

Xiaodong Zhou is graduating with his PhD in Civil Engineering. After graduation he plans to find a postdoc position. He will miss the kind people and will miss the friendly community at Michigan Tech. Xiaodong Zhou wanted to recognize Dr. Zhanping You, Sydney Wilmot, and Julia Barnes.

Allie Zimmerman

Allie Zimmerman

Allie is graduating with a BS in Environmental Engineering. After graduation she will be moving to Seattle, WA where she will start her full-time job as a Field Engineer for Mortenson Construction in June/July. She also plans on taking the FE Exam in hopes to be an Engineer in Training. She hopes to one day become a Project Manager for large, unique and sustainable projects. Katy will miss being in Houghton with her closest friends and impromptu adventures in the Keweenaw and the Long Islands at the Dog will always have a special place in her heart. She says: ” I am very thankful for all of the wonderful memories that I’ve made in Houghton. Being able to take part in long lasting traditions like cardboard boat racing, winter carnival statues, welcome week, and being crazy loud at hockey games, makes me feel apart of a greater family. I am also thankful for the wonderful faculty and staff that have helped guide me throughout my collegiate career. I would like to thank my parents, Mike and Melissa, for their unconditional love and support. They have driven 8 hours to see me for only a day or two, encouraged me on my first failed exam in Physics I, and always celebrated me in my successes throughout the years. I would not be where I am today if it weren’t for them. I would also like to recognize the sisters of Alpha Gamma Delta. They have given me so much over the years from helping me build my leadership and communication skills to giving me resources and support throughout my education; from community service projects to fun and relaxing sisterhoods – I will forever be thankful for the countless unforgettable memories.”

Graduates Not Pictured Above

BS in Civil Engineering

Joshua Borth

Ryan Brown

Allison Dagesse

Zach Davis

Patrick Dowling

Matt Fox

Travel Hamel

Charlie Hill

Adeline Hummel

Jacob Kelly

Max Maloney

Jordan Negro

Niklas Niemi

Ben Rybicki

Cole Shilling

Caleb Schmeltzer

Erik Schults

John Seilsopour

Jared Stanford

Logan Stein

Pat Wagoner

BS in Environmental Engineering

Rachel Bouchey

Julia Boscarino

Emily Byrd

Justina Carver

Ceily Fessel Doan

Hannah Harmann

Elsie Jorgensen

Abigail Kanasty

MacAulay Peterson

Emily Rutledge

Devin Slavik

Cassidy Tieman

Conrad Truettner

Connor Weber

Tia Williams

Katelyn Zelinski

BS in Surveying Engineering

Steven Smendzuik

BS in Construction Management

John Ball

John Batkikouras

Rayni Brill

Wyatt Brown

Joe Harden

Connor Lafferty

Lars Pennala

MS in Civil Engineering

Alexander Baker

Christopher Blough

Julie Bouwens

Jacob Burch

Madeline Snyder

MS in Environmental Engineering

JP Harron

Ryan Kibler

Mahta Naziri Saeed

Sarah Peterson

MS in Environmental Engineering Science

Michael Foster

MS in Integrated Geospatial Technology

Greogory Putman

William Roland

Sanjay Shenoy

PhD in Civil Engineering

Jiaqing Wang

PhD in Environmental Engineering

Hossein Tavakoli

Surveying Engineering Attends MSPS 2020

Clay Hildebrand, Steve Smendzuik, Sanjay Shenoy, Joseph Foster, Chad Holdwick, Alyx Thayer

February 18-21, 2020 marked the Michigan Society of Professional Surveyors (MSPS) Convention held at the Radisson Plaza, Kalamazoo, Michigan that hosted over 400 Licensed Professional Surveyors from around the Great Lake states, as well as Michigan Tech’s Douglass Houghton Student Chapter (DHSC) of the National Society of Professional Surveyors (NSPS)…whew, quite a mouth full, but accurate!  An annual event, the Convention provides the opportunity to not only acquire continuing education credits, learn new and upcoming techniques, view and get “hands on” with cutting edge equipment, but also connect with fellow Licensed Professional Surveyors from throughout the region.  Not to be left out, our Surveying Engineering (BS) and Integrated Geospatial Technology (MS) students were invited to participate and exhibit throughout the entire event.

Chad Holdwick and Steve Smendzuik presenting their Senior Capstone Project.

Seminars given during the four-day event covered a myriad of topics including Railroad Rights-of-Way, Mapping the Great Lakes, Safe Excavation Practices, Analysis of Record Title Boundaries, preparing for the 2022 Datum, Collateral Evidence Analysis, Professional Ethics, and the list goes on…up to the Student Capstone Project presentations given by both Ferris State and Michigan Tech University.  Our own Steven Smendzuik and Chad Holdwick presented their project of going through the steps of a rather complicated boundary survey that included an abandoned railroad right-of-way, ambiguous legal descriptions, conflicting field evidence, as well as a forensic survey of a murder scene from the 1800’s, not to mention finishing in two feet of snow!  Needless to say, it was very intriguing and everyone that attended walked away with a new appreciation of what we do every day.

Vendors and equipment suppliers filled the exhibit hall with the latest and greatest in surveying, photogrammetric, imaging, scanning, and UAV instruments.  Every opportunity was given to learn about the new technology and how it can be integrated into day to day operations, increasing efficiency and productivity, while maintaining the precision and accuracy required of our Profession.  Finally, the stories and experiences shared by other Surveyors with our students sealed the deal…it was definitely worth the trip!

Michigan Tech’s NSBE Student Chapter Reaches 500 K-12 Students in Detroit Public Schools during 9th Annual ‘Alternative Spring Break’

Six members of Michigan Technological University’s student chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) Pre-College Initiative (PCI) reached a total of 500 students during their 9th Annual Alternative Spring Break in Detroit from March 9-11, visiting six middle and high schools in Detroit to encourage students to consider college and a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) career.

During the school day, the Michigan Tech students made classroom presentations to middle and high school students encouraging them to continue their education after high school, consider going to college or community college, and choose a STEM career path. After the school day ended, the NSBE students conducted K-8 Family Engineering events at two K-8 schools for students and their families, and at a Boys & Girls Club in downstate Highland Park.

Participating MTU-NSBE students included:

1 Bryce Stallworth Mechanical Engineering 4th Detroit
2 Rukayat Adeosun Health Informatics 4th Nigeria
3 Meghan Tidwell Civil Engineering 1st Detroit
4 Andrea Smith Chemical Engineering 3rd Southfield
5 Jalen Vaughn Computer Engineering 4th Detroit
6 Koami Hayibo Electrical Engin grad Togo

The schools visited included: Osborn High School, Detroit Arts HS, Mackenzie Middle School, University Prep Math & Science Middle School, University Prep Academy of the Arts Middle School, and Neinas Academy Middle School.

The NSBE students made a special stop at the Fauver-Martin Boys & Girls Clubon Tuesday afternoon, March 10th, to put on a hands-on engineering event for 30 K-12 students from across the city. This event was organized by Mike Reed from the Detroit Zoological Society, who also invited Michael Vaughn, the first president of MTU’s NSBE student chapter in 1995!

The goal of the NSBE classroom presentations and Family Engineering events are to engage, inspire, and encourage diverse students to learn about and consider careers in engineering and science through hands-on activities and providing ‘hometown’ role models (most of the participating NSBE students are from the Detroit area). These programs are designed to address our country’s need for an increased number and greater diversity of students skilled in STEM (math, science, technology, and engineering). This outreach is encouraged by the NSBE Professional Pre-College Initiative (PCI) program which supports and encourages K-12 participation in STEM. 

This MTU NSBE student chapter’s outreach effort is funded by General Motors and the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, and coordinated by Joan Chadde, Director of the Michigan Tech Center for Science & Environmental Outreach.

High school students at these schools are also encouraged to apply to participate in a 5-day High School Summer STEM Internship at Michigan Tech from July 13-17, 2020 that is specifically targeting under-represented students. Each participating student will be supported by a $700 scholarship.  The Detroit high school students are also informed of scholarships available to attend MTU’s Summer Youth Programs.

For more information about the MTU-NSBE student chapter’s Alternative Spring Break, contact NSBE student chapter President, Bryce Stallworth  or Joan Chadde, Director, Center for Science & Environmental Outreach, Michigan Technological University by email: or call 906-487-3341. 

How to Succeed as a Freshman

Michelle Jarvie-Eggart

Michelle Jarvie-Eggart, a Michigan Tech graduate and a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Engineering Fundamentals, along with environmental engineering students, Amanda Singer and Jason Mathews, discuss the transition for first year students and tools that can make the transition easier.

Jarvie-Eggart, M. E., & Singer, A. M., & Mathews, J. (2019, July), Advice from a First Year Paper presented at 2019 FYEE Conference , Penn State University , Pennsylvania.


Much attention is paid to the transition from high school to college. Students who have recently gone through this transition may have some of the best advice to offer in-coming first year students.

Themes which emerged in this study, which corroborate other research include: time management, utilizing resources, hard work, class attendance, social activates and persevering through lower grades.

Faculty and Graduate Students Attend Triennial 2020 Borchardt Conference

Environmental engineering MS student Rose Turner presenting her poster on PFAS

Environmental Engineering graduate students, Rose Turner, John P Harron, and Benjamin Mohrhardt, along with Dr. Daisuke Minakata attended and presented their research findings at the 25th Triennial 2020 Borchardt conference on Feb. 25 and 26 at University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI.   Dr. Minakata presented his talk about RO membrane for potable reuse application and his student Rose Turner presented her poster about PFAS prioritization for remediation technology. John P Harron from Dr. Jennifer Becker and Dr. Eric Seagren‘s research group presented a talk about the laboratory-scale evaluation on pathogen and indicator organism in biosolids.  The conference brings together a diverse group of engineers, scientists, public health specialists and students to discuss the latest issues and advances in water and wastewater technology. 

MTTI Members Active at TRB

Members of the Michigan Tech Transportation Institute (MTTI) were active at the 2020 Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting held recently in Washington, DC.

Tim Colling (CTT) organized and presented at the TRB half day workshop titled “Developments in Low-Volume Road Management”. The presentation was “Asset Management Plans for Low Volume Roads – Why Should I Bother? Colling also attended the committee meeting ANB25: “Highway Safety Performance”, of which he is a member.

Jake Hiller (CEE) attended the International Society for Concrete Pavement’s (ISCP) Open Membership and Board meeting as Vice-President and President-Elect on Sunday evening of TRB.

Sangpil Ko (CEE) gave a presentation on his research “Data-driven Study on the Log Movements for the Upper Midwest: Impact of Rail Car Fleet Size” at the lectern session that discussed on the current research in Agriculture and Food Transportation. He also participated in several poster/lectern sessions including the AR040 Freight Rail Transportation Committee meeting.

Pasi Lautala (CEE) chaired a meeting by the AR040 Freight Rail Transportation Committee. He also participated in the meetings of the Freight Transportation Group Executive Board and Rail Transportation Group Executive Board and presided over two sessions by AR040.

Amlan Mukherjee (CEE) presented on “Best Practices in Life-cycle Assessment of Asphalt Mixtures”, at the International Society of Asphalt Pavements meeting, participated in a collaboration meeting with construction equipment manufacturers hosted by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) on their ongoing research effort, co-chaired a workshop titled “Evolution of Project Delivery Information Systems: Where We Were and Where We Are Headed”. Mukherjee also serves on standing committee on Construction Management (AFH10), and is a secretary for the sub-committee on Information Systems in Construction Management (AFH10(1)).

PhD student Chaitanya G. Bhat presented two posters co-authored by Amlan Mukherjee at the session Life-Cycle Assessment and Climate Resilience of Pavements. The posters were titled “Technical and Organizational Challenges for the Use of Environmental Product Declarations in Public Procurement” and “Technical and Organizational Challenges to Developing Product Category Rules for Asphalt Pavement Construction”.

Dave Nelson (RTP) attended the AR080, Standing Committee on Highway-Rail Grade Crossings meeting.

Dr. Zhanping You attended the TRB meeting, serving as a moderator of a lecture session on “The Science of Snowfighting” and a poster session on asphalt binders. He also moderated the ASCE Bituminous Materials Committee(BMC).  He accepted a new role as the Vice President of the International Association of Chinese Infrastructure Professionals (IACIP) and co-presented a number of papers and posters such as “Measurement and Modeling of Skid Resistance of Asphalt Pavement: A Review”, “Development of a Tire-Pavement Dynamic Friction Analyzer for Investigation of the Dynamic Friction Coefficient Between Tire and Pavement” and “Fourier Transformation Infra-Red Spectroscopic Analyses of Modified Asphalt Binders”.

A lectern lecture was given by Thomas Oommen (GMES) on “Remote terrain Strength for Mobility Characterization” at lectern Session 1384: Integration of Remote Sensing Techniques and Classical Instrumentation.

CEE student Reihaneh Samsami attended several technical committee meetings and technical sessions.

Prof. Eric Seagren (CEE) participated as the session chair of the lectern session 1116 on “Bio-mediated Enhancement of Transportation Materials and Infrastructure,” which was sponsored by the Standing Committee on Geo-Environmental Processes (AFP40). Prof. Seagren also participated as a member of the AFP40 Committee at their meeting at which he gave a presentation entitled, “Laboratory Simulation of Cold-Weather Fugitive Dust Events at Mine Tailings Impoundments and Mitigation Methods,” co-authored by Drs. Bonnie Zwissler (CEE), Stanley Vitton (CEE), and Thomas Oommen (GMES).

by Pam Hannon

Alumni Present at MITA 2020

Taylor (Garbe) Rudlaff and Michael Prast
Taylor (Garbe) Rudlaff and Michael Prast

Recent civil engineering graduates Michael Prast and Taylor (Garbe) Rudlaff presented the work of the Senior Design groups who developed the original concept of a utility tunnel under the Mackinac Straits at the MITA 2020 Annual Conference meeting on January 21-24 in Mt. Pleasant, MI. Mike Nystrom, Executive Director of MITA, the Michigan Infrastructure and Transportation Association, participated in the presentation by giving an update of the utility tunnel project and the current political climate impacting the project. Prast and Rudlaff spoke to a packed room of industry representatives who were impressed with the quality of the senior design experience provided by Michigan Tech. Audra Morse encouraged industry members to build partnerships with higher education and use real world projects, just like the utility tunnel under the Mackinac Straits, to bridge the gap between education and industry so that we recruit and retain the best and brightest in our profession.

Bruce Lowing, (80’) received the MITA Honorary Member Designation for his contribution to the construction industry and his service to MITA. To all of our alumni that attend MITA, it was good to see you and thanks for supporting Michigan Tech.

MITA 2020
MITA 2020

Sustainable Highway Construction Guidebook

A guidebook on best practices for selecting sustainable practices for the design phase of highway construction projects has been published by Amlan Mukherjee (CEE) and PhD Candidate Chaitanya Bhat (CEE) as well as Co-PIs Steve Muench, Giovanni Migliaccio, Jessica Kaminsky, Milad Zokaei Ashtiani, and Jeralee Anderson.


Sustainability is often an element that informs decisions made during the planning, programming, and design phases of highway construction projects. However, the construction phase of a highway project is also an opportunity to advance sustainability.

The TRB National Cooperative Highway Research Program’s NCHRP Research Report 916: Sustainable Highway Construction Guidebook provides clear and practical information on what constitutes sustainability in the context of highway construction and how to evaluate any proposed construction practice for its sustainability potential.

Suggested Citation

National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Sustainable Highway Construction Guidebook. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.

Faculty and Students in CEE Attend the 99th TRB Annual Meeting

Students and Faculty in CEE attended the 99th Transportation Research Board (TRB) Annual Meeting, which is known as one of the top conferences in highway engineering worldwide, held on January 12-16, 2020 in Washington, DC. Professor Zhanping You and his research team presented at the meeting. Jiaqing Wang and Dongdong Ge were awarded the “2019 IACIP outstanding graduate student award”, which was set up to reward students with outstanding achievements during the year with a cash award.

Dr. You attended the TRB meeting, serving as a moderator of a lecture session on “The Science of Snowfighting” and a poster session on asphalt binders. He also moderated the ASCE Bituminous Materials Committee(BMC).  He accepted a new role as the Vice President of the International Association of Chinese Infrastructure Professionals (IACIP). He co-presented a number of papers and posters such as “Measurement and Modeling of Skid Resistance of Asphalt Pavement: A Review”, “Development of a Tire-Pavement Dynamic Friction Analyzer for Investigation of the Dynamic Friction Coefficient Between Tire and Pavement” and “Fourier Transformation Infra-Red Spectroscopic Analyses of Modified Asphalt Binders”.

Recently graduated Ph.D. student Siyu Chen presented a poster on “Laboratory Investigation of High Rubber Content in Hot Mix Asphalt Mixtures” and an invited presentation on “Prediction of the Coefficient of Permeability of Asphalt Mixtures Using the Lattice Boltzmann Method” for the ASCE Bituminous Materials Committee.

Ph.D candidate Dongdong Ge presented a poster “The Influence of Aging on the Rutting and Low Temperature Cracking Performance of Rubberized Asphalt Mixture Using the Dry Process” and a TRB presentation on “Consumption of Scrap Tire with Eco-friendly Way.”

Recently graduated Ph.D. student Lingyun You gave an invited ASCE Bituminous Materials Committee presentation on “Advance Chip Seal Tests: Michigan Tech’s Interface and Shear Bond Tests” and an oral presentation on “Feasibility Study of Recycling CRT Glass in Water-Foamed Asphalt Mixtures in Low Volume Roads” in TRB ADC60 Committee.

Ph.D. candidate Xiaodong Zhou presented two posters titled “Discrete Element Simulation of the Internal-structure of Asphalt Mixtures with High Contents of Reacted and Active Rubber” and “Discrete Element Modeling Speedup of Asphalt Mixture Compaction: Effects of the Reduced Material Moduli.”

Ph.D candidate Dongzhao Jin shared his recent study with a poster named “DEM-Based on Asphalt Film Thickness vs. Seal Coat Performance” in the 10th IACIP Annual Workshop organized by the International Association of Chinese Infrastructure Professionals (IACIP).

Recently graduate Ph.D. student Ruizhe Si had a poster presentation on “Shrinkage Behavior of Glass Powder-Metakaolin-Based Geopolymer Under Different Relative Humidity Conditions.”

Tiankai Che presented his research by a poster on “An Erosion Test to Evaluate Moisture Damage of Cement-Treated Base Under Dynamic Water Pressure” in the 10th IACIP Annual Workshop organized by the International Association of Chinese Infrastructure Professionals (IACIP) and an invited presentation of “A New Method for Evaluating Moisture Damage of Asphalt Mixture Under Dynamic Water Pressure.”