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    Alumnus Rev. Dustin Larson Quoted

    Michigan Tech alumnus Rev. Dustin Larson, BS, MS in Computer Science, was quoted in the story “Campus Ministry at NMU takes on a new FOCUS,” on WRUP FM (Marquette).

    Larson, who in addition to studying at MTU spent his first years in the priesthood at St. Albert the Great, is currently associate pastor of St. Michael Parish in Marquette and Chaplain of the Catholic Campus Ministry at Northern Michigan University.


    RedTeam NCL CyberLeague Rankings in Top 2%

    Outstanding RedTeam results in Fall 2020 NCL cyber competition.

    Of the 27 Michigan Tech RedTeam students who successfully completed the individual games in National CyberLeague games this fall, seven students ranked in the top 100, out of 6,011 participants. And in team play, two teams ranked in the top 100, out of 957 teams.

    RedTeam exists to promote a security-driven mindset among the student population, and to provide a community and resource for those wishing to learn more about information security.

    Faculty coaches to the RedTeam student organization are Asst. Prof. Bo Chen, Computer Science, and Prof. Yu Cai, Applied Computing.

    This is the highest achievement MTU students have achieved in NCL individual games since we began participating in fall 2017.

    Assistant Professor Bo Chen, Computer Science

    Individual Rankings (6,011 Competitors)

    • Jacson Ott: Ranked 52
    • Trevor Hornsby: 78
    • Shane Hoppe: 80
    • Dakoda Patterson: 90
    • Matthew Chau: 92
    • Ryan Klemm: 93
    • Stu Kernstock: 98

    Team Rankings (957 Teams)

    • RedTeam@mtu, Team 1: Ranked 22
      Team members: Trevor Hornsby, Stu Kernstock, Jacson Ott, Shane Hoppe, Dakoda Patterson, Matthew Chau, Ryan Klemm
    • MTU Alumni Team, Team 2: Ranked 67
      Team members: Jack Bergman, Jon Preuth, Trevor Taubitz


    The National Cyber League (NCL) is a biannual cybersecurity competition. Open to U.S. high school and college students, the competition consists of a series of challenges that allow students to demonstrate their ability to identify hackers from forensic data, pentest and audit vulnerable websites, recover from ransomware attacks, and more.

    Every year, over 10,000 students from more than 300 colleges and universities across the U.S. participate in the NCL competitions. Student players compete in the NCL to build their skills, leverage the NCL Scouting Reports for career and professional development, and to represent their school in the national Cyber Power Rankings.

    Powered by Cyber Skyline, NCL provides a platform on which students can prepare and test themselves against practical cybersecurity challenges that they will likely face in the workforce, such as identifying hackers from forensic data, pentesting and audit vulnerable websites, recovering from ransomware attacks, and more.

    The Cyber Power Rankings were created by Cyber Skyline in partnership with the National Cyber League (NCL). The rankings represent the ability of student competitors to perform real-world cybersecurity tasks on the Cyber Skyline platform.


    New College of Computing External Advisory Board Meets

    The College of Computing External Advisory Board (EAB) gathered virtually on October 23, 2020, for the first meeting of the the newly-established group.

    The Advisory Board members will meet periodically with College leadership to share their expertise and provide outside perspectives.

    “The members bring a diverse set of backgrounds and experience,” says Dean Adrienne Minerick. “We had an excellent discussion today, and I believe the group will mesh and work well together.”

    Many of the EAB members are Michigan Tech alumni and all are executives, professionals, and business owners with direct knowledge of today’s technology workplace.

    “This external engagement with the College provides us with essential information related to best practices and emerging trends in the industries and organizations where our graduates work,” explains Minerick.

    “I believe it will also spark innovation and keep our focus on quality, agility, and delivering the education our students will need to meet the challenges presented by today’s global workplace,” she adds.

    The College of Computing advisory board will work in close communication with the advisory boards of the Departments of Applied Computing and Computer Science. Advisory board members also act as ambassadors for the College in cooperation with the Michigan Tech Office of Advancement and Gift Planning.

    The College of Computing External Advisory Board members are listed below. Learn more about the EAB on our website.

    • Randy Berry, Vice President of Utilities, Open Systems International Inc.
    • Chen Ding, Professor, Computer Science Dept., University of Rochester
    • Derek Dykens, Global Retail Industry Strategist, Splunk
    • Mark Gauthier, President/Owner, Donald Engineering
    • Dianne Marsh, Director of Device and Content Security, Netflix
    • Pavan Muzumdar, Chief Operating Officer, Automation Alley
    • Brian VanVoorst, Lead Scientist, Fellow, BBN Technologies, Raytheon


    Leo Ureel Receives 2020 CTL Instructional Award

    by Michael R. Meyer, Director, William G. Jackson CTL

    Assistant Professor Leo Ureel, Computer Science, is among the Deans’ Teaching Showcase members who have been selected to receive 2020 CTL instructional Awards.

    The awardees will make presentations next spring semester to share the work that led to their nomination.

    When their presentation concludes, each will be formally recognized with a certificate and $750 in additional compensation .

    Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021 — Curriculum Development: Katrina Black, Senior Lecturer in Physics

    Thursday Feb. 18, 2021 — Innovative or Out of Class Teaching: Libby Meyer, Lecturer in Visual and Performing Arts and Leo Ureel, Assistant Professor in Computer Science

    Tuesday, March 30, 2021 — Large Class Teaching: Kette Thomas, Associate Professor of Diverse Literature in Humanities

    These events will take place from 3:30-4:30 on the dates listed. Detailed titles, topics, and registration links for each presentation will be circulated in anticipation of each event.

    Many thanks to the previous CTL instructional award recipients and the Provost’s office staff who were instrumental in the selection process.

    Please consider suggesting instructors whom you’ve seen make exceptional contributions in Curriculum Development, Assessment, Innovative or Out-of-Class teaching or Large Class Teaching to the appropriate chair or dean so that they can be considered for the upcoming (2021) Deans’ Teaching Showcase during spring semester.


    Briana Bettin, Asst. Prof., Part I: Neopets, HTML, Early Success

    Briana Bettin, Ph.D., Computer Science: New Degree, New Position

    By Karen S. Johnson, Communications Director, College of Computing

    Michigan Tech Ph.D. graduate Briana Bettin, Computer Science, is among six new faculty members the College of Computing welcomed this fall. Bettin is an assistant professor for the Department of Computer Science, and an affiliated assistant professor for the Cognitive and Learning Sciences department.

    She is teaching courses including CS1121 Introduction to Programming in C/C++, and pursuing research and other projects with faculty and students.

    In August 2020, Bettin successfully defended her dissertation, “The Stained Glass of Knowledge: On Understanding Novice Mental Models of Computing,” and was awarded her Ph.D. in Computer Science.

    “I’m excited to begin my faculty journey at Michigan Tech and I look forward to helping our students continue to learn skills that will allow them to create the future,” Bettin says. “Michigan Tech has always been an amazing place for me—the opportunity to continue to give back to this place that has given me so much is something I’m very grateful for.”

    Bettin says that she is excited about several interesting research projects already being planned in the College, and she looks forward to helping the College advance its educational and research visibility and standing.

    Bettin is a member researcher of the Institute of Computing and Cybersystems’ new Center for Computing Education, which promotes research and learning activities related to computing education.


    Neopets, HTML, CSS. Here’s how Briana Bettin got everything started.

    Video games caught Bettin’s interest at a young age and as she grew older, she became interested in online games like Neopets, which allows the user to develop a profile using HTML.

    “So, I became excited to learn about HTML and CSS in order to express myself in those online spaces,” she says. “This also got me interested in graphic design, and both of these things combined got me hooked on the idea of creating expressive virtual spaces.”

    Bettin earned her Bachelor of Science in Computer Science, with an Application Area in User Experience and Marketing, from Michigan Tech in spring 2014. Following, while working full time as a front-end web developer at a consulting firm, in summer 2016 she completed her master’s degree online. In fall 2016, Bettin began her Ph.D. studies.

    The right fit.

    “I wasn’t always sure if Computer Science was ‘right’ for someone like me,” Bettin reflects. “But my Ph.D. advisor, Dr. Linda Ott, would encourage me by reminding me of the vast opportunities in technology. And since I became aware of the interdisciplinary area of User Experience, my interest in programming has only grown!”

    “Dr. Ott is absolutely amazing,” Bettin says of Professor Linda Ott, chair of the Department of Computer Science. “I am thankful for her, and I knew that having her as my adviser would be one of the best things I could hope for. Our working styles are very complementary, and she is a great motivator and supporter. Laura Brown and Nilufer Onder have also been great mentors, offering me wonderful advice and support whenever I talk to them.”

    Bettin adds that Assistant Professor Leo Ureel, Computer Science, was “wonderful in helping me develop my research vision. We often bounce ideas, and he has supported my ideas and given me many opportunities to implement research ideas in the classroom. Our talks give me so much perspective and energy.”

    Early teaching success, fellowships, and awards.

    Bettin was a CS 1121 lab instructor from fall 2016 until fall 2019, when she became the instructor of record, teaching her first semesters as a lecturer in fall 2019 and spring 2020. That fall, she received outstanding “Average of 7 Dimensions” student evaluation scores, one of only 74 such accolades earned by faculty that semester.

    But Bettin’s excellence was recognized long before, in fall 2017, when she received the Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant award from Michigan Tech’s Graduate Student Government.

    Bettin was awarded the King-Chavez-Parks Future Faculty Fellowship from the State of Michigan in fall 2018. She received several doctoral consortium stipends from organizations including Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER), the Frontiers in Education Doctoral Symposium (FIE), and the Computing Research Association’s Committee on the Status of Women in Computing Research (CRA-W).

    A Google Scholar award made it possible for her to attend the 2017 Grace Hopper Celebration, which supports women in computing and organizations that view technology innovation as a strategic imperative. In fall 2019, Bettin was nominated for the prestigious MAGS Teaching Award.

    Part II of this article will be published soon. In the second installment we’ll learn about Briana’s teaching and research, and the faculty and peer mentors who supported her as she completed her Ph.D.


    Tim Havens: Warm and Fuzzy Machine Learning

    What are you doing for supper this Monday night at 6? Grab a bite with Dean Janet Callahan and Associate Professor Tim Havens, director of the Michigan Tech’s Institute of Computing and Cybersystems and associate dean for research in the College of Computing. Get the full scoop and register at mtu.edu/huskybites.

    “Nearly everyone has heard the term ‘Deep Learning’ at this point, whether to describe the latest artificial intelligence feat like AlphaGo, autonomous cars, facial recognition, or numerous other latest-and-greatest gadgets and gizmos,” says Havens. “But what is Deep Learning? How does it work? What can it really do—and how are Michigan Tech students advancing the state-of-the-art?”

    Professor Tim Havens is a Michigan Tech alum. He earned his BS and MS in electrical engineering in 1999 and 2000.

    In this session of Husky Bites, Prof. Havens will talk about everyday uses of machine learning—including the machine learning research going on in his lab: explosive hazards detection, under-ice acoustics detection and classification, social network analysis, connected vehicle distributed sensing, and other stuff.

    Joining in will be one of Havens’ former students, Hanieh Deilamsalehy, who earned her PhD in electrical engineering at Michigan Tech. She’s now a machine learning researcher at Adobe. Dr. Deilamsalehy graduated from Michigan Tech in 2017 and headed to Palo Alto to work for Ford as an autonomous vehicle researcher. She left the Bay Area for Seattle to take a job at Microsoft, first as a software engineer, and then as a machine learning scientist. In April she accepted a new machine learning position at Adobe, “in the middle of the pandemic!”

    Havens is a Michigan Tech alum, too. He earned his BS in ‘99 and MS in Electrical Engineering in ‘00, then went to the MIT Lincoln Laboratory, where he worked on simulation and modeling of the Airborne Laser System, among other defense-related projects. From there it was the University of Missouri for a PhD in Electrical and Computer Engineering, researching machine learning in ontologies and relational data.

    Nowadays, Havens is the William and Gloria Jackson Associate Professor and Associate Dean for Research in the College of Computing. In addition to serving as director of Michigan Tech’s ICC, he also heads up the ICC Center for Data Sciences and runs his own PRIME Lab, too (short for Pattern Recognition and Intelligent Machines Engineering).

    “An important goal for many mobile platforms—terrestrial, aquatic, or airborne—is reliable, accurate, and on-time sensing of the world around them.”

    Tim Havens

    Havens has spent the past 12 years developing methods to find explosive hazards, working with the US Army and a research team in his lab. According to a United Nations report, more than 10,000 civilians were killed or injured in armed conflict in Afghanistan in 2019, with improvised explosive devices used in 42 percent of the casualties. Havens is working to help reduce the numbers.

    “Our algorithms detect and locate explosive hazards using two different systems: a vehicle-mounted multi-band ground-penetrating radar system and a handheld multimodal sensor system,” Havens explains. “Each of these systems employs multiple sensors, including different frequencies of ground penetrating radar, magnetometers and visible-spectrum cameras. We’ve created methods of integrating the sensor information to automatically find the explosive hazards.” 

    As a PhD student at Michigan Tech, Deilamsalehy worked alongside Havens as a research assistant in the ECE department’s Intelligent Robotics Lab (IRLab). “My research was focused on sensor fusion, machine learning and computer vision, fusing the data from IMU, LiDAR, and a vision camera for 3D localization and mapping purposes,” she says. “I used data from a sensor platform in the IRLab, mounted on an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), to evaluate my proposed fusion algorithm.”

    Havens is also co-advisor to students in the SENSE (Strategic Education through Naval Systems Experience) Enterprise team at Michigan Tech, along with ME-EM Professor Andrew Barnard. Students in SENSE design, build, and test engineering systems in all domains: space, air, land, sea, and undersea. Like all Enterprise teams, SENSE is open to students in any major. 

    You’d never know it looking at this hat, but Dr. Havens is a cat person with two “fur children.” He is also musical, playing the bass and the trumpet.

    Prof. Havens, when did you first get into engineering? What sparked your interest?

    I first became an engineer at Michigan Tech in the late 90s. What really sparked my interest in what-I-do-now was my introductory signal processing courses. The material in these courses was the first stuff that really ‘spoke’ to me. I have always been a serious musician and the mathematics of waves and filters was so intuitive because of my music knowledge. I loved that this field of study joined together the two things that I really loved: music and math. And I’ve always been a computer geek. I was doing programming work in high school to make extra money; so that side of me has always led me to want to solve problems with computers.

    Hometown, Hobbies, Family?

    I grew up in Traverse City, Michigan, and came to Tech as a student in the late 90s. I’ve always wanted to come back to the Copper Country; so, it’s great that I was able to return to the institution that gave me the jump start in my career. I live (and currently work from home) in Hancock with my partner, Dr. Stephanie Carpenter (an author and MTU professor), and our two fur children, Rick Slade, the cutest ginger in the entire world, and Jaco, the smartest cat in the entire world. I have a grown son, Sage, who enjoys a fast-paced life in Traverse City. Steph and I enjoy exploring the greater Keweenaw and long discussions about reality television, and I enjoy playing music with all the local talent, fishing (though catching is a challenge), and gradually working through the lumber pile in my garage.

    Hanieh earned her MS and PhD in Electrical Engineering at Michigan Tech. Before that, she earned an MS in Medical Radiation Engineering from Amirkabir University of Technology – Tehran Polytechnic, and a BS in Electrical Engineering from K.N. Toosi University of Technology (KNTU).

    Dr. Deilamsalehy, how did you find engineering? What sparked your interest?

    I was born and raised in Tehran, Iran. I have always been into robotics. I was a member of our robotics team in high school and that led me to engineering. I decided to apply to Michigan Tech sort of by chance when a friend of mine told me about it. I looked at the programs in the ECE department, and felt they aligned with my interests. Then soon after I first learned about Michigan Tech, I found out that one of my undergraduate classmates went there. I talked to him, and he also encouraged me to apply. And that’s how I was able to join Michigan Tech for my PhD program. My degree is in electrical engineering but my focus at Michigan Tech involved computer science and designing Machine Learning solutions.

    Hanging out above the clouds is one of Dr. Hanieh Deilamsalehy’s favorite pastimes. Since moving to Seattle she has hiked and climbed Mt. Rainier, Mt. Shuksan, Mt. Baker, Mt. Adams and other peaks in the Pacific Northwest.

    Hobbies and Interests?

    I now live in Seattle, famous for outdoor activities—kind of like the UP, but without the cold—so I do lots of mountaineering, biking, rock climbing, and in the winter, skiing. I learned how to ski at Michigan Tech, up on Mont Ripley. It’s steep, and it’s cold! Once you learn skiing on Ripley, you’re good. You can ski just about anywhere.
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