Author: karenjoh

Michigan Tech Ranks Among The World’s Best

Michigan Tech has been ranked among the worlds best college and universities in a recent report by QS World University Rankings, which evaluated over 5,500 colleges and universities throughout the world, ranking the 1,000 best using six metrics, each individually weighted. The metrics include:

  • Academic Reputation
  • Employer Reputation
  • Faculty/Student Ratio
  • Citations per faculty
  • International Faculty Ratio
  • International Student Ratio

Here are the Michigan universities and their rankings:

  • 21 – University of Michigan
  • 157 – Michigan State University
  • 477 – Wayne State University
  • 601-650 – Michigan Technological University

Read more here.

Sergeyev, Students Earn ASEE Conference Awards

Professor Aleksandr Segeyev, Applied Computing, and a group of Michigan Tech students presented two papers at the 2020 American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) Gulf-Southwest Annual conference, which was conducted online April 23-24, 2020. Both papers received conference awards.

The Faculty Paper Award

“Pioneering Approach for Offering the Convergence MS Degree in Mechatronics and Associate Graduate Certificate”
by Sergeyev, Professor and Associate Chair John Irwin (MMET), and Dean Adrienne Minerick (CC).

The Student Paper Award

“Efficient Way of Converting outdated Allen Bradley PLC-5 System into Modern ControlLogix 5000 suit”, by Spencer Thompson (pictured), Larry Stambeck, Andy Posa, Sergeyev, and Lecturer Paniz Hazaveh, Applied Computing.

Founded in 1893, the American Society for Engineering Education is a nonprofit organization of individuals and institutions committed to furthering education in engineering and engineering technology.

50 Named to GLIAC Academic Teams

The Michigan Tech Athletics department has announced that 46 track and field student-athletes, and four Huskies from the men’s tennis team were recently named to the GLIAC All-Academic and All-Academic Excellence Teams. Below are the College of Computing students and recent graduates who appeared on the academic teams.

All-Academic Excellence

Academic Excellence Teams comprise student-athletes that have a cumulative GPA of 3.50-4.0. Grades are based on marks from the spring semester.

  • Men’s Track & Field: Robbie Watling
    Sr., Computer Science
    Ryan Beatley, Jr.
    Computer Engineering
  • Men’s Tennis:
    Siddhesh Mahadeshwar
    So., Computer Science
    Nico Caviglia, Jr.
    Computer Engineering


All-Academic Teams comprise those student-athletes that meet criteria and carry a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.0-3.49.

  • Men’s Track and Field:
    Bernard Kluskens
    Gr., Cybersecurity

See all the academic team honorees here.

Academic Team criteria states the student-athlete must be an active member on the roster at the end of the season, and not a freshman or a first-year transfer student.

Nathir Rawashdeh Publishes Paper in BioSciences Journal

A paper co-authored by Assistant Professor Nathir Rawashdeh, Applied Computing, on Skin Cancer Image Feature Extraction, has been published this month in the EurAsian Journal of BioSciences.

View the open access article, “Visual feature extraction from dermoscopic colour images for classification of melanocytic skin lesions,” here.

Additional authors are Walid Al-Zyoud, Athar Abu Helou, and Eslam AlQasem, all with the Department of Biomedical Engineering, German Jordanian University, Amman, Jordan.

Citation: Al-Zyoud, Walid et al. “Visual feature extraction from dermoscopic colour images for classification of melanocytic skin lesions”. Eurasian Journal of Biosciences, vol. 14, no. 1, 2020, pp. 1299-1307.

Rawashdeh’s interests include unmanned ground vehicles, electromobility, robotics, image analysis, and color science. He is a senior member of the IEEE.

CS PhD Candidate Ali Jalooli Awarded Finishing Fellowship

The Michigan Tech Graduate School has announced that Computer Science Ph.D. candidate Ali Jalooli is among the graduate students who have received a Doctoral Finishing Fellowship Award.

Jalooli’s research studies the optimization of message routing in heterogeneous wireless networks. His dissertation is titled, “Enabling Technologies for Internet of Things: Optimized Networking for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles.”

Each semester, the Graduate School awards Finishing Fellowships that provide support to Ph.D. candidates nearing completion of their degrees. The fellowships, available through the generosity of University alumni and friends, are intended to recognize outstanding Ph.D. candidates who are in need of financial support to finish their degrees, and who are also contributing to the attainment of goals outlined in The Michigan Tech Plan. Support ranges from a $2,000 stipend to full support (stipend and tuition).

Jalooli’s research focuses on vehicular “networks in smart cities. He notes that research in this area is of great importance, as it advances cutting-edge connected and autonomous vehicle technologies.

“This has far-reaching consequences for many aspects of daily life, given the expanding world of the Internet of Things,” he explains. “Connected vehicles provide various benefits, spanning from advanced driver assistance, remote diagnostics, and infotainment for consumers to road safety, improving response time for emergency vehicles, and even improving national and international economies by ameliorating traffic congestion.”

“My work at Tech on the underlying networks that drive these technologies enhances the performance and feasibility of robust wireless networks,” Jalooli says. “During my time at Tech, I have also gained teaching experience and increased responsibility in course development and assessment as a teaching assistant and lead instructor.”

“I am grateful to the Graduate School and the Graduate School Dean Awards Advisory Panel for awarding me a Finishing Fellowship,” Jalooli says. “I am also grateful to my advisors, Dr. Kuilin Zhang and Dr. Min Song, for their support and guidance.”

Read a Grad School blog post about Ali Jalooli here.

Additional recipients of graduate student awards appear below.
Doctoral Finishing Fellowship Award: Elizabeth M. Barnes, Forest Science; Shahab Bayani Ahangar, Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics; Haitao Cao, Geophysics ; Eassa Hedayati, Computational Science and Engineering; Pratik Umesh Joshi, Chemical Engineering ; Kevin C. Nevorski, Biological Sciences ; Bethel Worku Tarekegne, Environmental Energy and Policy; Hua Wang, Rhetoric, Theory and Culture
Portage Health Foundation Graduate Assistantship: Lavanya Rajesh Kumar, Applied Cognitive Science and Human Factors; Dylan G. Turpeinen, Chemical Engineering
Matwiyoff & Hogberg Endowed Graduate Fellowship: Wenkai Jia, Biomedical Engineering
The DeVlieg Foundation 2020 Summer Research Award in Biology/Wildlife: Angela M. Walczyk, Biological Sciences

Profiles of all the current recipients can be found online.

GSG to Present Webinar Series in Computer Programming

The Graduate Student Government (GSG) Professional Development Committee has organized a free webinar series in Computer Programming, which begins Tuesday, July 14, 2020.

July 14: “Introduction to Machine Learning with Python,” by Timothy Havens (CC)

July 15: “Managing Data” (Data Mining)” by MS Data Science candidate Sneha Nimmagadda

July 16: “Introduction to Deep Learning,” by Timothy Havens (CC)

Seats are not limited, but participants are asked to register so webinar organizers know how many attendees to expect.

Find more information, including links to register and join Zoom meetings, visit the GSG website.

PART II — Jason Hiebel, The College of Computing’s First Graduate


A Profile of Dr. Jason Hiebel: The College of Computing’s First Graduate

By Karen S. Johnson, Communications Director, College of Computing and ICC
This is Part II of a two-part article about Jason Hiebel, Ph.D., the first graduate of the Michigan Tech College of Computing. In this piece, Jason reflects on some of the faculty and peers who instructed, challenged, and supported his growth and success during his 10-plus years at Michigan Tech and in the Houghton, Mich., community. Two of Jason’s classmates also share some thoughts and memories. Read Part I of this article here.

Jason Hiebel completed his Ph.D. studies in December 2019, successfully defending his dissertation in early 2020. He signed on to instruct some courses for the Michigan Tech Computer Science department that spring, while he waited for his paperwork to process for a job with the Department of Defense.

But like many in the wake of the global pandemic, Hiebel’s plans were interrupted. He’s teaching a Summer semester course at Michigan Tech, and advising an undergraduate research project, as well.

“Mainly, I’ll just be waiting for things to open back up so I can get processed for the job I’m waiting for,” Heibel says. “During that limbo, I hope to tackle some research problems and continue to keep myself busy.”

In the meantime, Hiebel enjoys living in the Houghton community. He’s a big fan of winter, and even Houghton summers are far too warm for his tastes. “Small town life suits my sensibilities better,” he confirms.

A wise and supportive and network.

Having been at Michigan Tech for over a decade, Hiebel says he has had the opportunity to learn from and grow with many smart and wise faculty members.

While he wasn’t around while Hiebel was completing his doctorate, late Michigan Tech professor Steve Seidel, (Mathematical and Computer Sciences) played an important role in Hiebel’s educational journey.

“My very first semester here, as a wide-eyed first semester college student, he took the time to talk, explain, and spark interest,” Hiebel says of Seidel. “It was one of the most influential moments from my undergraduate years, and I do think that it was a powerful formative influence. I’ll never forget that moment.”

Hiebel also mentions in particular Associate Professor Laura Brown, Computer Science, who “took a chance on him as a graduate student.”

“Looking back, I see my way of approaching artificial intelligence is very similar to her approach, although I don’t know how much of that was learned,” Hiebel reflects. “I like to think that people naturally think about some things in similar ways.”

Hiebel is also grateful for friends and fellow graduate students, who listened to his ideas time and again as they were taking shape in his mind, asking the hard questions, pushing him to become a better speaker and researcher. He mentions in particular Computer Science Ph.D. candidates Scott Pomerville, Briana Bettin ’20, and Daniel Byrne, Computer Science lecturer Gorkem Asilioglu, and many others “for listening to my ramblings all this time.”

A friend and mentor.

Michigan Tech Ph.D. candidate Scott Pomerville first met Hiebel as an undergraduate. “He was my teacher for an accelerated Introduction to Computer Science course, so in a lot of ways he was my first impression of Michigan Tech,” he says.

“What struck me were Jason’s patience and his ability to explain, and it played a part in making me excited for what was to come,” Pomerville recalls. “After entering the Michigan Tech Graduate School, we became friends. He’s often very down-to-earth and he’s a source of reason, both as a friend and as a fellow researcher.”

Pomerville goes on to say that Hiebel strove to never compromise on what he created, often spending large amounts of time making sure that his research and presentation were the best they could be.

“Jason was quick to help if he knew something, but was even quicker to ask if he didn’t,” Pomerville says. “He’s a role-model, and also someone I can work with peer-to-peer. He has given me both inspiration and motivation as I continue on my own path of research and teaching.”

–Scott Pomerville
Department of Computer Science teaching assistants in 2019. Jason Hiebel is third from right, Briana Bettin is front row, far left.

Going above and beyond.

From their first interactions a decade ago, Computer Science Ph.D. candidate Briana Bettin says that Jason has always been a thoughtful and great teacher.

“He worked in the CS 1121 lab when I originally took the course as an undergraduate and he was so helpful!” she recalls. “I distinctly remember struggling with something in the next class, CS 1122, and thinking ‘things always made sense when Jason explained them in lab… I wonder if he would help me if I emailed him ….’”

And Hiebel did respond to Bettin’s email, even though he wasn’t involved with that course at that time. “I understood so much better based on his explanation,” she says.

Bettin, pictured at left, started at Michigan Tech in 2010. “That’s a decade ago that he was that helpful,” she says, adding that Hiebel has volunteered numerous times to help her out in her time as a Ph.D. student.

“I know he has helped many others as well,” Bettin continues. “He is a wonderful supporter and he goes above and beyond to help out.”

“Jason has grown his knowledge into so many areas of interest, and he works to be a great communicator on each of those topics,” Bettin notes.

“Jason is caring, well-spoken, helpful, supportive, friendly, and fun—which I think are all great strong points!” Bettin adds. “I think strong relationships—no matter where you are—help one persevere, feel confident, and continue forward on your path.”

“Friends like Jason and Scott Pomerville have helped me feel supported, appreciated, and lifted me up when I needed help, advice, or just someone to listen,” Bettin says. “Having people in your corner like that is so important, especially when you’re pursuing something difficult like a graduate degree!”

“We have also played tons of board games together,” Bettin adds. “I honestly think Jason wins the majority of the time.”

Memories and friends who care.

Bettin reflects that it can be easy to feel alone as a grad student, especially if your research really differs from others around you, or you’re starting to explore your specific area more deeply.

“But having friends who listen, care, learn, critique, and support you makes it feel less lonely, and often a lot more fun,” she says. “These past few years have had a lot of memories, but I’ll name a few.”

–Briana Bettin ’20

“We have had many food nights in Scott’s apartment—Tonkatsu, Sukiyaki, Japanese Cheesecake, Chicken Tikka Masala, and Melon Pan are some of the major dishes that were undertaken,” Bettin recalls. “During the melon pan process, I became the guardian of the dough, kneading it to my will. The bread came out perfectly and it was a wonderful treat for Jason’s dissertation defense!”

“I have a really great memory from Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield—my husband, Jason, Scott, and I all purchased the game and waited until the evening of the release day to play together,” Bettin says. “I absolutely love Pokemon. Playing with all of them, I learned all sorts of secrets of the game and new creatures, laughing at jokes all the while. Enjoying my first adventure in that game together was absolutely amazing.”

It’s a night Bettin thinks of and smiles, “because Pokemon has meant so much to me growing up, and I was able to really share the fun of a new adventure with wonderful friends.”

Branching out and some advice.

Hiebel has a broad set of research interests in artificial intelligence, including multi-armed bandits, genetic algorithms, and A.I. education. And he says he has a soft spot for the history of A.I.

In addition to teaching and research, Hiebel is active in competitive programming. He assisted in developing Michigan Tech’s own Bonzai Brawl and coached teams for the ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest (ICPC), an annual multi-tiered competitive programming competition among universities around the world, and headquartered at Balor University.

Outside of Tech and his studies, Hiebel says he worked on myriad projects that couldn’t have been farther from what he was doing during the school year. His extra-curricular projects involve image processing, dynamic wireless communication networks, and radar reconstruction.

What advice would Hiebel give other Ph.D. candidates? “Listen to a broad set of perspectives. There are lessons and wisdom all around you which can help you become a better student, a better researcher, a better teacher, and a better person.”

–Jason Hiebel ’20

Campus Visits to Resume Week of June 22

from the Michigan Tech Office of Admissions

Michigan Tech Admissions is excited to welcome back prospective students and their families for campus tours starting Monday, June 22.

After months of thoughtful planning, we are looking forward to implementing solutions to create a fun and robust experience for visitors while being extremely mindful of everyone’s health and safety.

Below are some of the ways in which tours will be modified:

  • Total visit group size will be limited in both the morning and afternoon to 25 people, with tour groups at 1-2 families per guide
  • Visitors and tour guides will be required to wear face coverings at all times when indoors and when maintaining a minimum distance of six feet is not possible outdoors
  • Student tour guides will follow a modified tour route that will avoid tight spaces, elevators, etc.
  • All visitors are being asked to monitor their symptoms consistent with CDC guidelines; all guests will be required to complete a symptom monitoring form prior to arriving on campus

We are excited to get back into the business of showing off our world-class campus, and appreciative of the academic department faculty and staff members who will be meeting with visitors, either in person, following social distancing practices, or virtually.

Plan your campus visit here. (

Take Action for Equity: #BlackInTheIvory, @ADVANCEmtu

The following is a communication and plea from Dr. Adrienne Minerick, Dean, College of Computing, and Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering. Minerick is the Principal Investigator of the Michigan Tech ADVANCE award from the National Science Foundation..

In observation of engrained cultural bias against Blacks, Indigenous People, and many other underrepresented minorities, I am participating in #ShutDownSTEM today, June 10, 2020.

I urge you to read stories from #BlackInTheIvory across social media, and follow @ADVANCEmtu on Twitter to learn how you can take action to move our society to equity for all. We need you.

Adrienne R. Minerick, Ph.D.
Dean, College of Computing
Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering
PI, NSF ADVANCE at Michigan Tech
Michigan Technological University

ADVANCE at Michigan Tech is dedicated to promoting faculty retention, career success, and STEM equity with an emphasis on advancing underrepresented individuals with intersectionalities. We are funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and currently are the recipients of 2 ADVANCE grants. Target audiences for ADVANCE programming include academic leadership, tenured faculty, and under-represented minorities.

zombietango Security Expert to Present Penetration Test Lecture

College of Computing Professor Yu Cai, Applied Computing, has arranged for a special guest lecture on penetration testing by security expert Josh Little of zombietango.

The free, 60-minute technical lecture will take place on Thursday, June 11, 2020, at 2:00 p.m., via an online Microsoft Team meeting.

Join the lecture here. The conference ID: 164 473 926#.

Students enrolled in the summer section of SAT 3812, Cybersecurity I, are required to attend the lecture. All students are welcome and encouraged to join.

Contact Professor Yu Cai for additional information.