Author: College of Engineering

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

Jeon Comments on Emotion-Detecting Systems

Your Typing Style Can Reveal Your Emotions

In a new study, researchers asked a small group of people to type a block of sample text, and then analyzed the keystrokes and characteristics to see if they could identify any of seven different emotional states: joy, fear, anger, sadness, disgust, shame or guilt.

The newly described emotion-detecting system “does not look like a breakthrough,” Myounghoon Jeon, an assistant professor of applied cognitive science at Michigan Technological University who was not involved in the study, told Live Science. “But [the researchers’] effort to integrate the existing methods looks fair, positive and promising.”

However, Jeon said the method of detecting emotions in text that was used in this study has some limitations.

Read more at Live Science, by Agata Blaszczak-Boxe.

Michigan Tech Feeding Michigan’s Appetite for Skilled STEM Workers

“Michigan Tech is working hard to meet Michigan’s need for STEM talent,” said Peter Larsen, director of research development.

Others at Tech who are actively encouraging young people to consider STEM careers include the Western UP Center for Science, Mathematics and Environmental Education, the Center for Science and Environmental Outreach at the Great Lakes Research Center and High School Enterprise programs that bring scientists and engineers, corporate partners and high school students together to solve problems.

Read more at Michigan Tech News, by Jennifer Donovan.

PhD Assistantship for Fall 2015 – Returned Peace Corps Volunteer



Position available with Applied Cognitive Science and Human Factors Ph.D. Program in the Department of Cognitive and Learning Sciences, Michigan Technological University, Houghton, Michigan. Begins Fall Semester 2015.

Duties: doctoral program requirements ( ; assist Director of Peace Corps programs 20 hours a week in management of and recruitment for University’s Peace Corps Master’s International program (

Qualifications: Returned Peace Corps Volunteer status; B.A./B.S. in Psychology, Engineering, Computer Science, or related field; desire to pursue Ph.D. in Applied Cognitive Science/Human Factors.

Tuition and stipend provided. For stipend levels, see:

Consideration of applications begins immediately and will continue until the position is filled. For more information and to apply, contact Dr. Susan Amato-Henderson (, phone: 906-487-2536.



Michigan Middle and High School Students Visit Campus

National Ocean Sciences BowlMichigan Tech’s Center for Science and Environmental Outreach recently coordinated campus visits for middle and high school students from two Michigan schools.

Greenhills School, Ann Arbor

Twelve students in grades 10-12 from Greenhills School in Ann Arbor visited Tech Sept. 26-27. The students received a $400 travel stipend, which they earned as second-place winners in the Great Lakes/National Ocean Sciences Bowl held at the University of Michigan.

The travel stipend was provided by the School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science and the Center for Science and Environmental Outreach. The group, which was hosted by the Great Lakes Research Center, learned about topics ranging from wildlife ecology to remotely-operated vehicles in the classroom.

The following Tech scientists and students led activities:

  • Hannah Abbotts (SFRES), community liaison specialist
  • Assistant Professor Joseph Bump (SFRES)
  • Professor Nancy Auer (Bio Sci)
  • Jen Fuller (CEE), PhD student
  • Jenny Tyrrell (CEE), PhD student
  • Xena Cortez (CEE), first-year student
  • Benjamin Jensen (MEEM), president of the Blizzard Baja team

Menominee Catholic Central School

Twenty-three students in grades 6-8 from Menominee Catholic Central School made their annual visit to campus on Monday and Tuesday. 

The students spent time on the Agassiz, exploring the aquatic food web and shipwrecks in the Keweenaw Waterway; toured the boulder garden and rhizotron, which allowed the students to watch worms making soil; and more.

The following Tech scientists and students led activities:

  • Paul Pebler (CEE), PhD student
  • Marcel Djkstra (CEE), PhD student
  • Marcy Erickson (Center for Science and Environmental Outreach), SFRES alumna
  • Wes Ellenwood (CEE), graduate student
  • Jen Fuller (CEE), PhD student
  • Emily Gochis (GMES), PhD student

From Tech Today.

BioBlitz Today at Lake Perrault

LSSIJeffers middle and high school students will be conducting a BioBlitz today at Lake Perrault and the Robert Brown Nature Sanctuary. Various Michigan Tech scientists will assist the students.

A BioBlitz is an intense period of biological surveying in an attempt to identify and record all the living species within a designated area. Scientists, naturalists, teachers, students and community volunteers conduct an intensive inventory over a one-day period. The following Michigan Tech scientists will be helping:

  • Fish, moths and butterflies—Jim Bess and Chris Hohnholt (SFRES)
  • Lichens—Karena Schmidt (SFRES)
  • Wildlife tracking—Dan Haskell (SFRES) and Marcy Erickson (Center for Science and Environmental Outreach)
  • Macroinvertebrates—Amy Schrank (SFRES)
  • Frog, toads and salamanders—Joan Chadde (Center for Science and Environmental Outreach)
  • Invasive plants—Meral Jackson (CEE)

“Participating in these hands-on field studies is a fun and exciting way for students to learn about biodiversity and better understand how to protect it,” explained Cindy McCormick, Jeffers High School science and English teacher and co-coordinator of the event. “Instead of a highly structured technical field survey, the BioBlitz event has the atmosphere of a festival. The short time frame makes the searching more exciting.”

“These one-day events stimulate interest in learning more about a place,” adds Joan Chadde, BioBlitz co-coordinator and director of the Center for Science and Environmental Outreach. “Hopefully the BioBlitz will pique students’ interest in the natural world and stimulate their interest in a future scientific career. It provides an opportunity for students and community members to meet working scientists and learn more about what they do.”

The BioBlitz is funded in part by the Upper Peninsula Evironmental Coalition, Adams Township Schools and the Lake Superior Stewardship Initiative (LSSI). LSSI connects schools and communities in the stewardship of Lake Superior and its watershed.

The public is invited to participate in the BioBlitz. Come to the Lake Perrault picnic area between 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. today.

From Tech Today.

Registration Open for Fall 2014 After School Science Classes

After school science classes for grades 1-6 will be offered at Michigan Tech’s Great Lakes Research Center starting Oct. 6. Classes will last for six weeks and run from Monday Oct. 6 to  Friday, Nov. 14 from 4 to 5:30 p.m. The Houghton bus will drop off students at the GLRC by 3:45 p.m. Parents should contact the school office to make arrangements.

Grades 1-3: Where Could I See a Lion?
Students will travel to a different country each week and learn about the habitats, plants, wildlife, climate and more that are unique to that country.

Instructors: Megan Baker and Kathryn Allen, Michigan Tech students in the School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science.

Grades 4-6: Amazing Human Body!
From the heart, lungs and skin to our tongues and brains—students will find out how various parts of our bodies help make our life pretty awesome.

Instructor: Sarah Kuiper, a Michigan Tech graduate, B.S. Biological Sciences and Science Teaching Certification.

Register online through the Western Upper Peninsula Center for Science, Mathematics and Environmental Education or by using the Google form. Cost is $75 per student. Call 7-2247 to pay by credit card. Your space is not reserved until payment has been received.

For questions, call 7-3341.

From Tech Today.

Highlights of Psych 3001 Research Spring 2014

Alcohol  vs. Openness to Experience
Alcohol vs. Openness to Experience

Assistant Professor of Psychology Shane T. Mueller is proud to announce the publication of the second volume of the “Journal of Midwest Undergraduate Behavioral Research (JMUBR)“, which contains short research papers reporting the results of the research conducted in Psych 3001 during Spring semester 2014.  JUMBR is edited by Shane Mueller.

Some highlights of their findings in Volume II:

* Although people will use stereotypes based on age and gender when assigning perceived personality traits based on pictures alone, they are able to ignore these factors when making simulated hiring decisions (Evans, Schreifels, & Eby, 2014).

* Based on a survey of members of social media communities related to alcohol use, abuse, and recovery, Panasiewicz, Santerre, and LaFave (2014) found consistent correlations between an alcohol risk self-assessment (AUDIT) and two personality factors (positive with openness to experience; negative with conscientiousness)

* Nelson and Coon (2014) examined versions of the ‘Trolley’ study moral dilemma and showed that, although this task is used frequently to identify moral decisions and attitudes, people’s responses to the question are unrelated to many real-life moral behaviors (e.g., giving to charity) and to responses on real-world examples that have a similar form (sacrificing the good of the few for the good of the many).

* In an effort to examine the reasons both undergraduates and graduate students give for enrolling in graduate school (specifically at MTU), Kemppainen, Suokos, and Wetelainen (2014) found that values and reasons appear to differ between these two groups. Importantly, successful graduate students were as likely to be attracted by the depth of learning offered as by the prospect of a job, whereas undergraduates were more interested in graduate school as an avenue toward a job.

*Jordon and Boardman (2014) examined how physical activity impacts the mental capacity of collegiate athletes. Results indicated that as athletes proceed during their workout, the speed of some of their cognitive skills increases, perhaps at the cost of greater errors.

*Harter, Mauer, and Yovich (2014) looked at prior ADHD diagnosis, responses to the ADHD Adult self-report scale, and cognitive attention tasks. Although in this sample of mostly young adults without prior ADHD diagnosis showed little relationship between measures, results indicate that the scores of a significant proportion (greater than 90%) of college students on the ADHD self-report scale place them in the “warning zone” for ADHD diagnosis.

Coffee Chat: Organizing STEM Education Research

A growing number of instructors on campus have expressed interest in measuring the effects of classroom reforms. To address this, a coffee chat is scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 2, from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. in the Library East Reading Room. The Pavlis Honors College, the Graduate School, the Departments of Cognitive and Learning Sciences and Engineering Fundamentals, and others have begun working together to formalize programs and centralize resources in order to better support this kind of work.

This coffee chat event will include a summary of efforts to-date, a review of a potential campus-wide grant proposal, and opportunities for you to share your input on future directions. All with an interest in STEM Education research are encouraged to attend.

Coffee and light refreshments will be provided to those who register by Monday, Sept 29. Register online or contact the William G. Jackson Center for Teaching and Learning at 7-3000.

From Tech Today.