Author: College of Engineering

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

Sustainable Living Open House

Sustainability Demonstration House
Sustainability Demonstration House

Interested in sustainable living and green architecture? Do you desire to reduce your personal impact on the earth? Come check out Michigan Tech’s Sustainability Demonstration House (SDH) from 4 to 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 4, 2018.

Sustainable features that have been added to the house over the past year include an 8.6kW solar array system, Wifi-controlled LED bulbs, an aquaponics system, composting, waste output tracking, low-flow faucets and shower heads, induction cooktops and so much more.

The SDH team and current tenants will be at this event to answer any questions you may have regarding energy efficient housing designs and sustainable living practices. Refreshments will be served. The address is 21680 Woodland Rd, Houghton. Contact the Alternative Energy Enterprise with any questions.

By the by Alternative Energy Enterprise.

Da Costa Cited in National Publication

Diversity in Materials Science and Engineering cover graphicAndre Da Costa (ChE) was featured in an article in the MRS Bulletin published by the Materials Research Society in partnership with Cambridge University Press.

The article, “Professional societies and African American engineering leaders: Paving pathways and empowering legacies,” was included in the special feature “Diversity in Materials and Science Engineering.”

Da Costa was featured in section three of the article “Diversity committees within professional societies are community incubators that seed ideas for change.”

Authors Christine S. Grant and Tonya Peeples noted De Costa’s “rare career move,” transitioning from being a successful industrial leader to an academic position at Michigan Tech.

De Costa was quoted regarding his support of minorities integrating and participating in the leadership of mainstream institutions.

Read the full article.

MRS Bulletin, Volume 43, Issue 9 (Data-Centric Science for Materials Innovation)
September 2018 , pp. 703-709

Michigan Tech Alumnus, Benefactor and Friend, Frank Pavlis dies at 101

Frank Pavlis
Frank Pavlis

Michigan Tech and the honors college that bears his family name are mourning the passing of Frank Pavlis. The alumnus, benefactor and friend of the University died Friday, Aug. 24, 2018, at Legacy Place Cottages in Allentown, Pennsylvania. He was 101.

Pavlis was raised on a farm in northern Lower Michigan and was the first in his family to graduate from college. He finished at the top of his class with a degree in chemical engineering from what was then the Michigan College of Mining and Technology. Pavlis’ success in Houghton led to a fellowship from the University of Michigan where he earned a master’s degree.

Following college, Pavlis turned down a job offer from Shell Oil to become the first employee of a small new Detroit Company called Air Products. Pavlis was tasked with the design and construction of a prototype processing plant to separate oxygen from atmospheric air. The project was completed a year later with Pavlis as the chief engineer. Air Products was credited with making a significant contribution to Allied success in World War II. Today, Air Products and Chemicals Inc., now headquartered in Allentown, Pennsylvania, has more than 19,000 employees in 55 countries with annual revenues of about $10 billion.

Pavlis rose through the ranks, joining the company’s Board of Directors in 1952 and serving as vice president for engineering and finance before retiring in 1980 as vice president for international/world trade. He is said to have traveled around the world five times in his lifetime.

Throughout his professional success, he never forgot Michigan Tech. The University responded by presenting him with an honorary doctorate of philosophy. He received the Distinguished Alumni Award in 2009 and is a member of the University’s McNair and Hubbell Societies. He was the principal benefactor of the Pavlis Honors College which began in 2014.

Lorelle Meadows, dean of the Pavlis Honors College, reflected on what Frank Pavlis means to Michigan Tech.

“Frank was a visionary, foreseeing the value of a global education for the college graduate of the 21st century,” Meadows says.

“He so generously gave of his time and resources to encourage our students to reach outside of their comfort zones and challenge themselves to attain their full potential as professionals and citizens of the world.”

Pavlis was preceded in death by his wife of 55 years, Ethel, in 2002. The couple had no children.

Funeral services for Frank Pavlis will be held at 4 p.m. Monday, Sept. 10 at the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Macungie, Pennsylvania. Contributions in his memory can be made to Jah Jireh Homes of America – Allentown, 2051 Bevin Dr., Allentown, PA 18103. Donations received will be used to fund charitable care at Legacy Place Cottages.

Pavlis will be laid to rest in the small Michigan cemetery where his wife, parents, grandparents, brother and sister are buried.

“We will all miss Frank greatly,” Meadows says. “But his legacy will live on as we continue to put his vision to work to graduate students who will go out—ready and empowered—to make their unique contributions to society with understanding, vision and a commitment that honors his life.”

By Mark Wilcox.

Lei Pan Applies Mining Techniques to Battery Recycling

Lei Pan
Lei Pan

Lei Pan’s staff of chemical engineering college students had labored lengthy and arduous on their analysis undertaking, they usually had been completely satisfied simply to be exhibiting their outcomes on the Folks, Prosperity and the Planet (P3) competitors final April in Washington, DC. What they did not anticipate was to be mobbed by enthusiastic onlookers.

Read more at, by Expo Tech News Junkie.

Adrienne Minerick Named ASEE Fellow

Adrienne Minerick
Adrienne Minerick

Adrienne Minerick, dean of the School of Technology and professor of chemical engineering at Michigan Tech, has been named a Fellow of ASEE, the American Society of Engineering Education.

A global society founded in 1893, ASEE is the pre-eminent authority on the education of engineering professionals, advancing innovation, excellence and access at all levels of education for the engineering profession.

Minerick was cited for contributions to ASEE and the engineering education community via outstanding leadership, educational scholarship, teaching effectiveness and championing diversity and inclusion within the community. Minerick has (co)authored over 40 ASEE and education publications. She served in numerous positions in the New Engineering Educators, Chemical Engineering, and Women in Engineering Divisions including Division Chair, Programming Chair, Webmaster, Treasurer and Newsletter Editor before being elected as the PIC I Chair, VP PICs and First VP 2013-2016. She also served as ASEE’s Diversity Committee Chair through the Year of Action on Diversity and the start of SafeZone Workshops.

Minerick is among 11 fellows chosen this year. The grade of fellow in ASEE is reserved for members with extraordinary qualifications and experience in engineering or engineering technology education or an allied field who have made important individual contributions. No more than one-tenth of one percent of individual ASEE membership may be elected fellow in any given year.

Spotlight on Becky Ong

Rebecca Ong
GLBRC and Michigan Tech Researcher Rebecca Ong

Love of plants and problem-solving drives bioenergy researcher Rebecca Ong

Growing up, Rebecca Ong was one of the youngest garden club enthusiasts in northern Michigan, a science-loving kid who accompanied her grandparents to club events like “growing great gardens” or “tulip time.” When she wasn’t tending the family garden, she was mucking about in nature, learning from parents who had both trained as foresters.

“My parents really instilled in me the importance of conservation,” says Ong, an assistant professor of chemical engineering at Michigan Technological University and researcher at the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center (GLBRC). “From an early age, I had this idea of sustainability and the importance of finding sustainable sources of energy.”

Read more and watch the video at Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center News, by Krista Eastman.

New Funding

Rebecca Ong (ChE/SFI) is the principal investigator on a project that has received a $32,050 research and development grant from the University of Wisconsin-Madison/Department of Energy. The project is titled “Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center.”

This is the first year of a potential five-year project totaling $1,316,434.

By Sponsored Programs.

Chemical Engineering Convocation 2018

Audra Thurston
Chair’s Award
Audra Thurston

Chair’s Award

Dr. Pradeep Agrawal presented this award to Audra Thurston.

The Chair’s Award for Outstanding ChE Senior recognizes a particular student in the graduating class whose actions embody excellence. Excelling in academics is expected, but the recipient must also exhibit the traits of character, leadership, and service–to-others that are valued to the department.

PAWS Award
PAWS Award
(L-R) Madison Diehl, Taylor Lindemann, Scott Kitzmiller, Ryan Oshe, and Christopher Moore

Prevent Accidents with Safety (PAWS) Award

Scott Wendt presented awards to Scott Kitzmiller, Taylor Lindemann, Chris Moore, Ryan Oshe, and Madison Diehl.

Phillip Cass and Lauren Keenan
Kimberly-Clark Professional Ethics Award
Phillip Cass and Lauren Keenan

Kimberly-Clark Professional Ethics Award

Dr. Sean Clancy presented the award to Phillip Cass and Lauren Keenan.

This award recognizes a student who has exhibited exemplary ethics and admirable professional conduct during Plant Design and Unit Operations experiences, and throughout their academic career at Michigan Technological University.

Alexander Tangen
Kimberly-Clark Communication Award
Alexander Tangen

Kimberly-Clark Communication Award

Dr. Sean Clancey presented the award to Alexander Tangen.

This award recognizes the winner of the Award for Excellence in Communication from the Department of Chemical Engineering for the academic year.

Hubbard Award
Hubbard Award
(L-R) Anna Nelson, Alexis Fitzpatrick, and Lauren Keenan. Missing Anna Hohnstadt.

UOP Davis W. Hubbard Plant Design Team Award

Ms Jeana Collins presented awards to Alexis Fitzpatrick, Anna Hohnstadt, Lauren Keenan, and Anna Nelson.

This award recognizes an outstanding team in Chemical Engineering Plant Design during the academic year. Also, this award recognizes technical ability, consideration of the safety and environmental aspects of process design, outstanding written and oral communication skills, and overall teamwork and professionalism. This is awarded in memory of Dr. Davis W. Hubbard.

Bredekamp Award
Bredekamp Award
(L-R) Alexander Tangen, Meghan Pierce, Abigail Payne, and Audra Thurston

Dow Chemical Mariott W. Bredekamp Award

Mr. Scott Wendt presented awards to Abigail Payne, Meghan Pierce, Alexander Tangen, and Audra Thurston.

This award recognizes outstanding technical skills in the laboratory, outstanding teamwork and professionalism, effective oral and written communication, and strong adherence to process safety practices as recognized by your peers and supported by the faculty of the department. This award is in memory of Dr. Mariott W. Bredekamp.


Andre Da Costa on Process Safety

Andre R. Da Costa
Andre R. Da Costa

We don’t know yet what caused the explosion and fires at the Superior, WI oil refinery. The U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB), an independent, non-regulatory federal agency, is investigating the incident and it could take weeks to months before the causes of this incident become public information.

What Andre Da Costa, Herbert H. Dow Chair in Chemical Process Safety at Michigan Technological University, says he can tell you is that incidents like this – with an uncontrolled release of energy and chemicals with the potential to cause injuries to the employees and the public, damage to the environment and to property – can be prevented by effective implementation of risk-based process safety principles.

Read more at DOE Science News Source.

NSF Funding for Caryn Heldt on Vaccine Development Study

Caryn Heldt
Caryn Heldt

Caryn Heldt (ChE) is the principal investigator on a project that has received a $300,000 research and development grant from the National Science Foundation. The project is titled “Driving Forces in Aqueous Two-Phase Systems for Vaccine Development.” This is a three-year project totaling $300,000.


Worldwide, there is a need for less expensive vaccines. To achieve better vaccine coverage, vaccine production processes need to be low-cost and allow for continuous operation, which is not possible with current vaccine production technology. A primary objective of this project will be to explore aqueous two-phase systems (ATPSs) to fulfill the need for new viral particle purification processes that could reduce the cost of vaccines and be run as a continuous operation. ATPS could also reduce the development time for a new vaccine, allowing for pandemic vaccines to come to market sooner. In addition to vaccines, a better understanding of ATPS could aid in future cell separations for advanced cell therapeutics.

Read more at the National Science Foundation.