MTU Adds Online Civil Asset Management Course

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

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

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

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

By Shelly Galliah, Global Campus.

Dimo Okeyo Selected to Present at 17th Graduate Climate Conference

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

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

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

By Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial Engineering.

Daisuke Minakata Recognized for Professional Excellence, Impact on Michigan Water

Daisuke Minakata
Daisuke Minakata

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

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

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

By Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial Engineering.

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

Linda Phillips
Linda Phillips

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

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

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

Office of Alumni Engagement

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

Environmental Engineering Students at the COP27 Climate Conference

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

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

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

Read more at Keweenaw Now, by Kendra Lachcik.

SWE Scholarships for Kathryn Krieger and Grace Moeggenborg

SWE Congratulates Spring Lower-Division Scholarship Recipients

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

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

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

By Gretchen Hein, Advisor, Society of Women Engineers.

UP Students Wowed by Lake Superior Youth Symposium

The 23 students in grades 8-12 who attended the Lake Superior Youth Symposium could not say enough positive things about their experience. The 4-day symposium took place April 20–23, 2023, at Northland College in Ashland, Wisconsin.

Here’s what some of them had to say:

“I never knew how beautiful our area is until now! Thanks a million!”

10th grade student, Houghton High School

“Coming to this symposium has been one of the most fun things I have ever done! I learned a lot about the Lake we call home.”

8th grade student, Houghton Middle School

“I have been able to talk and learn from people of other cultures that I would not have able to otherwise.”

12th grade student, Dollar Bay-TC High School

“It was good learning about Lake Superior and meeting others who love it, too!”

11th grade student, Houghton High School

Students enjoyed field trips to the Red Cliff Fishery, Copper Falls State Park, Apostle Islands National Lakeshore Sea Caves, organic food production and composting, Ashland art and murals by bike, how to slow stormwater runoff on campus, and plant foraging, plus a Friday evening LaCrosse game with students from the nearby Bad River tribe.

“Everything was so fun here! I learned what a watershed is and that I really do have a place in it!”

10th grade student, Houghton High School

“This trip made me realize the importance of protecting Lake Superior!”

8th grade student, Ewen-Trout Creek School

“I was able to learn so much about looking at things from other perspectives and will be able to use that throughout my life.”

12th grade student from Dollar Bay-TC High School

“This was such an eye opening experience into my future and how much I Iove the place I live!”

10th grade student from Houghton High School

“I loved learning about Ojibwe culture and how important it is to protect the lake’s fish to benefit the native culture.”

10th grade student from Ewen-Trout Creek School

Students attending the symposium came from Lake Linden-Hubbell, Dollar Bay-TC, Houghton-Portage, Ewen-Trout Creek and Ironwood School Districts, Community Alliance for Progressive Education (CAPE), and Keweenaw Bay Ojibwa Community College (KBOCC).

The following donors made it possible for Western UP students to attend:

  • Friends of the Land of Keweenaw (FOLK)
  • The Nitrate Elimination Co, Inc
  • Private Individuals and Community Organizations through the Lake Superior Stewardship Initiative: Patricia Heiden, Sally Santeford, Sarah Green,
  • Copper Country Trout Unlimited
  • MiSTEM Network grant through the Michigan Department of Education
  • Michigan Tech University Center for Science and Environmental Outreach
  • National Science Foundation grant to MTU Award# 2136139

The following also helped to make this opportunity available to local students:

  • Copper Country Intermediate School District
  • Lake Superior Stewardship Initiative
  • Western UP MiSTEM Network
  • Participating School Districts: Houghton, Lake Linden-Hubbell, Ewen-Trout Creek, Dollar-Bay Tamarack City, and Ironwood Area Schools

Learn more about the 2023 Symposium. The next symposium will be in May 2025 at University of Minnesota Duluth.

For more information contact Joan Chadde,, 906-369-1121, or Emily Gochis 906-482-0331.

Built World Enterprise Teams Compete at WERC Design Competition

Two student teams from Michigan Tech competed in the WERC Environmental Design Contest at New Mexico State University from April 16–19, 2023. In the 33rd year of the competition, student teams set out to solve challenges facing society today. The teams were composed of environmental engineering majors who are members of the Built World Enterprise.

The first team, which included Jenna Cook, Morgan Halberg, Francine Rosinski, Nadia Stauffer, and Eden Traub, participated in Task 1: Sustainable Communities: Wastewater Reuse for Rural Communities. The task was to design a low-energy and low-maintenance wastewater treatment system so that rural communities in the southwest United States could reuse lagoon effluent to meet water needs.

The second team, consisting of Clark Fadior, Jake McDowell, Allison Olson, and Avery Reno, participated in Task 4: Detecting and Quantifying Microplastics in Reservoirs. For the task, they designed a portable system to detect and quantify microplastics in natural aquatic systems in real time.

Both teams had to create a bench-scale prototype of their design and a business plan, and deliver oral and poster presentations, including a four-minute flash talk.

The Task 1 team:

  • won first place overall for their task
  • won first place in the flash talks
  • earned the Pollution Prevention Award
  • will be invited to be published in IEEE Xplore.

The Task 4 team won second place in the flash talk.

Over 20 schools from across the country participated across the contest’s six tasks. Sponsors of the competition include EPA, Freeport-McMoRan, El Paso Electric Company and many more.

Congratulations to both teams!

By Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial Engineering.

The WERC Environmental Design Contest is a unique design competition that brings industry, government, and academia together in search for improved solutions to today’s environmental challenges in ALL fields of engineering.

W-E-R-C formerly stood for “Waste-management Education Research Consortium,” but we are broadening our scope. In addition to managing waste, students are now focusing their designs on minimizing energy & waste and conserving & recycling resources, including water, energy, and natural resources. We will reveal the new meaning of the W-E-R-C acronym this Spring.

Read more at WERC Design Contest, New Mexico State University.

2023 GLRC Grants for Novitch and Harazin

Please join the Great Lakes Research Center (GLRC) in congratulating the winter and spring 2023 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, perform research they would not be able to attempt due to funding limitations or 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.

Student Research Grants

  • James Juip, Ph.D. student — Social Sciences
    GLRC member advisor: Donald Lafreniere
    Research proposal: “Using Deep Maps and Spatial Narratives as a tool for Community Heritage Making”
  • Jacob Novitch, M.S. student — Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial Engineering
    GLRC member advisor: Jennifer Becker
    Research proposal: “Modeling of Lagoon Wastewater Treatment Systems in Small Communities”
  • Caitlyn Sutherlin, Ph.D. student — Social Sciences
    GLRC member advisor: Angie Carter
    Research proposal: “Identifying Community Connections to Nature in California, El Salvador with Photovoice”
  • Cassandra Reed-VanDam, M.S. student — College of Forest Resources and Environmental Science
    GLRC member advisor: Valoree Gagnon
    Research proposal: ““Restoration is repairing relations” manoomin (wild rice) restoration study in KBIC homelands”

Student Travel Grants

  • Leah Harazin, B.S. student — Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial Engineering
    GLRC member advisor: Stephen Techtmann
    Attending: 45th Symposium on Biomaterials, Fuels and Chemicals
    Presentation: “Stability of Terephthalate Degrading Microbial Consortia for Plastic Upcycling”
  • Anna Kavanaugh, B.S. student — Social Sciences
    GLRC member advisor: Mark Rhodes
    Attending: 2023 American Association of Geographers Annual Meeting
    Presentation: “The Continuation of Exclusionary Landscapes: Accessibility of Public Transportation in Urban America”
  • Zoe Ketola, M.S. student — Social Sciences
    GLRC member advisor: Chelsea Schelly
    Attending: World Social Science Association 65th Annual Conference
    Presentation: “Energy Service Security for Public Health Resilience: An energy services framework for health facility planning in Michigan’s Western Upper Peninsula”
  • Maya Klanderman, B.S. student — Social Sciences
    GLRC member advisor: Mark Rhodes
    Attending: 2023 American Association of Geographers Annual Meeting
    Presentation: “A Settler Scholar Perspective on Applying Indigenous Methodology in Undergraduate Research”
  • Laura Schaerer, Ph.D. student — Biological Sciences
    GLRC member advisor: Stephen Techtmann
    Attending: 45th Symposium on Biomaterials, Fuels and Chemicals
    Presentation: “Ecological interactions of specialist and generalist species within mixed plastic derivative-utilizing microbial communities”

GLRC Student Travel Grant applications are accepted anytime and will be 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 — Nov. 1, March 1 and July 1.

By Great Lakes Research Center.

Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial Engineering 2023 Department Awards

Department Scholar Award

Caleb Novitch accepting an award from Audra Morse.
Caleb Novitch accepting an award from Audra Morse.

Senior status during the next academic year

  • Represents the best of student scholarship in the department
  • Participates in research or scholarly activities
  • Has a high level of intellectual curiosity
  • Shows intellectual creativity
  • Demonstrates communication skills

Nominees for this award were:

Brodey Bevins – nominated by Pasi Lautala
Caleb Novitch – nominated by Jennifer Becker and Yousef Darestani
Francine Rosinski – nominated by Audra Morse

Presented to Caleb Novitch

From his nomination, “Caleb Novitch is being recognized by the Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial Engineering Department not only for his outstanding academic achievements and dedication to learning but for his strength of character. He is honest, responsible, and possesses excellent interpersonal skills. He is always willing to help others and work collaboratively with classmates to achieve common goals.”

Nicole Bloom Award for Environmental Sustainability

Kendra Lachcik accepting an award from Audra Morse.
Kendra Lachcik accepting an award from Audra Morse.

This award is made annually to an undergraduate civil, environmental, or geospatial engineering student who has demonstrated leadership, passion, and activism for effecting environmental sustainability at the local, national, or global level. This award is accompanied by the Pati and Soumitri Reddy $1000 endowed scholarship.

Nominees for this award were:

Claire Cristen – nominated by Judith Perlinger and Robert Handler
Josh King – nominated by Zhanping You
Kendra Lachik – nominated by Audra Morse

Presented to Kendra Lachcik

Kendra has had a lifelong passion for environmental issues which was her motivation for pursuing an environmental engineering degree. Since January 2021, she has been a tenant in the Sustainability House where the goal is to retrofit the house into a net-zero energy, zero waste house and also host outreach events to promote sustainable system concepts. Kendra was recognized in 2022 as the Inaugural Michigan Tech Sustainability Award Winner and represented Michigan Tech at COP 27 in Egypt. As stated in the award nomination, “Kendra is always happy to share her enthusiasm for environmental engineering with prospective students and is an ambassador of Michigan Tech and environmental sustainability.”

Undergraduate Department Service Award

Jacob Wysko accepting an award from Audra Morse.
Jacob Wysko accepting an award from Audra Morse.

This award is to recognize a CEGE student that has shown exemplary service to the CEGE Department through student organizations affiliated with the Department (ASCE, Chi Epsilon, SEEN, EWB, Rail Engineering Activity Club). This award is accompanied by a $500 scholarship.

Presented to Jacob Wysko

Jacob is a senior in the geospatial engineering program and is also a member of the Douglass Houghton Student Chapter. He was nominated for his willingness to support the delivery of our undergraduate programs when a faculty member had to take leave suddenly in the middle of the semester. Jacob is TA for SU 2000 and he made sure labs ran unaffected during the faculty absence.

Danielle Ladwig Award for Graduate Excellence

Tyler LeMahieu accepting an award from Audra Morse.
Tyler LeMahieu accepting an award from Audra Morse.

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

Nominees for this award:

Tyler LeMahieu – nominated by Angela Keranen and Shelle Sandell
Yingtong Tan – nominated by Kuilin Zhang

Presented to Tyler LeMahieu

Tyler personifies the type of person this award was created to recognize. He has been recognized for his excellence in teaching with the 2021-22 with the student voted CEGE GTA of the Year and with the graduate school Outstanding Graduate Teaching Award. He was awarded an NSF Fellowship in 2022 for a proposal titled “Understanding Wild Rice Site Suitability in a Changing Climate” with Dr. Cory McDonald as well as a Michigan Space Grant Consortium fellowship for “Assessing Flood Resilience in Constructed Streambeds: Flume Comparison of Design Methodologies” with Dr. Brian Barkdoll. In addition to his contributions to teaching and research, it is Tyler’s consistent willingness to help in a service role to the department that completes the picture for this award. Whether it be STEM outreach to K–12, meetings with prospective graduate students, or coordinating the CEGE Graduate Orientation, Tyler has been a willing and enthusiastic participant.

Wilbur Haas Graduate Research Excellence Award

Ben Barrios accepting an award next to Audra Morse.
Ben Barrios accepting an award next to Audra Morse.

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 Wilbur Haas Memorial Fellowship.

Nominations for this award:

Ben Barrios – nominated by Daisuke Minakata
Yei Lin – nominated by Zhanping You
Miraj Bhakta Kayastha – nominated by Peifeng Xue
Yingtong Tan – nominated by Kuilin Zhang

Presented to Benjamin Barrios Cerda

In his nomination, Ben’s advisor, Daisuke Minakata shared that in the four years that Ben has been a doctoral student in his research group he has published three high impact publications as first author and another as the co-author and additionally there are several more ready for submission where he is co-author. One of the papers, though only published in 2021, already has 21 citations indicating the high impact to the community.

Ben also enjoys sharing his passion for science and technology with members of the community. Every summer since 2019, he has participated in a summer youth program directed to students from the Detroit area. The program shares with them some fundamental concepts of environmental engineering with hopes that they decide to pursue a higher education degree in the areas of STEM.

GTA Award

Chi Epsilon Presenting – Jacob Novitch

Award presenter and Jacob Novitch.
Jacob Novitch receiving GTA of the Year award.

Faculty of the Year Award- Chi Epsilon Presenting

Yousef Darestani – Faculty of the Year Award

Civil (structures, materials, geotech) and Geospatial Engineering (3 people were very close: Yousef, Kris Mattila, and Jake Hiller)

Jennifer Becker – Faculty of the Year Award

Environmental Engineering/Civil (Water Resources) Engineering

Department Citizenship Award

Jeffery Hollingsworth

Professional Advisory Board Faculty/Staff Award

Henrique de Melo e Silva

Recognition Also For

Rob Fritz on his retirement after 23 years of service to CEGE.

Outgoing Members of the CEGE Professional Advisory Board

Dennis Decator
Sean Kelley
Leslie Nelson
Kim Zimmer