Category: CNSA

Computing Convocation Honors 109 Grads

The College of Computing presented a Convocation Ceremony on May 1, 2020, to honor and recognize Spring and Summer 2020 graduates. At the virtual event, undergraduate student achievement awards were announced, graduates were congratulated, and faculty and staff congratulatory videos were viewed.

Michigan Tech Computer Science alumnus Brian VanVoorst ’93 presented the Convocation address. VanVoorst is a Lead Scientist at BBN Technologies, a member of BBN’s Distinguished Scientists, and a Raytheon Technologies Fellow.

The College’s inaugural class of 109 graduates comprises 5 doctor of philosophy, 14 master of science, and 90 bachelor of science degrees. The College of Computing Class of 2020 is nearly 20% women, 27% of the class graduated with honors, and the average undergraduate GPA is 3.28.

View the Convocation video below and on YouTube.

College of Computing Convocation 2020

See a lists of all the graduates here. Two undergraduates completed dual majors: Lucas Catron, who majored in Computer Science and Humanities, and Mark Heinonen, Electrical Engineering Technology and Audio Productions and Technology.

View faculty and staff congratulatory videos, read student and faculty profiles, and discover all things Class of 2020, on the College of Computing webpage: mtu.edu/computing/class-of-2020.

The Department of Computer Science awarded Class of 2020 undergraduate awards to the following Computer Science (CS) and Software Engineering (SE) graduates:
Christina Anderson, CS: Award for Excellence in Teaching
Keith Atkinson, CS: Award for Exceptional Community Service and Leadership
Dean Bassett, CS: Award for Excellence in Teaching
Jack Bergman, CS: Award for Exceptional Leadership
Lucas Catron, CS: Award for Excellence in Teaching
Crystal Fletcher, CS: Award for Excellence in Teaching
Chris Holmes, CS: Award for Excellence in Teaching
Mads Howard, CS: Award for Excellence in Teaching
Jacob Jablonsky, SE: Award for Excellence in Teaching, Award for Excellence in Teaching
Maddie Le Clair, SE: Award for Exceptional Leadership
Amy Slabbekoorn, CS: Award for Excellence in Teaching
Emily Winkleman, CS: Award for Excellence in Teaching
Parker Young, SE: Award for Exceptional Leadership and Teaching, Award for Excellence in Teaching

Award for Exceptional Community Service and Leadership: Keith Atkinson
Keith has helped older adults in the Houghton community become comfortable with digital technology through one on one tutoring through the BASIC (Building Adult Skills in Computing) program. He taught several cohorts of middle school students about computer programming through the Copper Country Coders organization, and served as president of that organization. Keith developed and deployed a food inventory system for the Husky Food Access Network, which helps combat hunger issues on Tech’s campus.

Award for Exceptional Leadership: Jack Bergman
Jack has served as the president of MTU RedTeam, a student organization dedicated to promoting cybersecurity education among Tech students. Under his leadership, RedTeam organized students to participate in national cybersecurity competitions. In Fall 2019, the MTU Red Team was ranked 8th out of 689 in the NCL cyber competition. Jack led RedTeam to host a cybersecurity competition at MTU in Spring 2020, which attracted 35 students competing on 15 different teams.

Award for Exceptional Leadership: Maddie LeClair
Maddie has been a highly effective leader of the Women in Computing Sciences (WiCS) student organization.  Under her leadership, the group has increased its visibility, holding regular events on campus to highlight the opportunities for women in computing fields.  She led the effort for the WiCS group to become affiliated as an ACM-W chapter, and she has been active in supporting departmental efforts to diversify our undergraduate student body, both individually and as a leader of WiCS.

Award for Exceptional Leadership and Teaching: Parker Young
Parker served as president of not one, but two student organizations: Copper Country Coders and the Michigan Tech Pep Band.  Under his leadership, the Coders group made great strides in its organization and sustainability through revising its charter. Parker is passionate about teaching others, whether it is young students learning to mod Minecraft at Copper Country Coders or older adults learning to Zoom with their families in the BASIC program.  His leadership skills also facilitated his Senior Design team’s  successful completion of the Dragonfly app, an offline app developed for the North Carolina Natural History Museum’s after-school program to assist children monitoring the weather and counting dragonflies.

Award for Excellence In Teaching: Christina Anderson, Crystal Fletcher, Chris Holmes | Mads Howard, Jacob Jablonsky, Parker Young
Christina, Crystal, Chris, Mads, Jacob, and Parker have been mainstays at the College of Computing Learning Center, which provides peer assistance for Michigan Tech students in their computing studies. Learning Center coaches help students from a wide range of backgrounds in a wide array of topics, and must be able to quickly assess and deploy the right tutoring strategy for the situation.

Award for Excellence In Teaching: Dean Bassett, Lucas Catron, Jacob Jablonsky, Amy Slabbekoorn, Emily Winkleman
Dean, Lucas, Jacob, Amy, and Emily have served as lab assistants for our introductory courses. These programming labs are where some of the most important learning moments happen for our beginning students. Lab assistants play a crucial role in providing peer support and guidance. These four individuals have shown great commitment, compassion, and patience in this role.


The CMH Division presented Class of 2020 undergraduate awards to the following students:
Michael Dabish: Outstanding CNSA Graduate Award for exceptional performance as a research and laboratory assistant.
Bernard Kluskens: Outstanding CNSA Graduate Award for exceptional performance as a teaching assistant.
Gary Tropp: Outstanding CNSA Graduate Award, for excellent student academic mentoring in the College of Computing Learning Center.
Emma Davidson: Outstanding EET Graduate Award for exceptional service as a laboratory assistant and grader.
Mark Heinonen: Outstanding EET Graduate Award for an exceptional Senior Design project in audio system design.
Spencer Thompson: Outstanding EET Graduate Award for exceptional service as a teaching assistant in the transition to remote instruction.

Outstanding CNSA Graduate Award: Michael Dabish
For exceptional performance as a research and laboratory assistant. 
Michael’s work in the lab has been very helpful in fulfilling our needs to provide the best lab environment for students. He has shown that he is always willing to put in the work necessary to get the job done.
In 2018 Michael became a research/teaching assistant, working with the CNSA faculty on two NSA grants to create and update course content regarding cyber ethics and cybersecurity.
Michael is constantly collaborating with CNSA faculty and students to discover new ways to implement popular technologies in system administration and security.
He has even created a YouTube channel to document and share methods of implementing these technologies.
What Michael learned in these jobs has inspired him to pursue graduate school in the hope of becoming a teacher right here at Michigan Tech.

Outstanding CNSA Graduate Award: Bernard Kluskens
For exceptional performance as a teaching assistant.
Bernard was teaching assistant for four classes taught by Todd Arney, who nominated Bernard for this award.  Arney says Bernard took the lead on answering lab questions, and then even made calendar appointment slots for students to get one-on-one help using Zoom online. Arney says he would not have been able to manage his  classes with Bernard’s help with grading, fielding questions, and reviewing material before posting to Canvas.

Outstanding CNSA Graduate Award: Gary Tropp
For excellent student academic mentoring in the College of Computing Learning Center.
Gary is the first CNSA student to work as a “Student Academic Mentor” (SAM) in the new “College of Computing Learning Center” (CCLC), offering in person one-on-one help with two of the lab intensive classes in the CNSA program and then even continuing to offer online personalized help for students.

Outstanding EET Graduate Award: Emma Davidson
For exceptional service as a laboratory assistant and grader.
Emma has been helping faculty and students in the lab for over three years, and she also helped with “texting day” to reach out to prospective students.

Outstanding EET Graduate Award: Mark Heinonen
For an exceptional Senior Design project in audio system design.
Mark designed a 4-way passive electrical circuit specifically tuned for a pair of loudspeakers he created as part of his Audio Production and Technology degree.  He started out with a design based on the latest in digital signal processing, but in the end he discovered the value in “old school” analog electrical circuits built from resistors, capacitors, and inductors – what used to be considered mainstream electrical engineering but is now something of a lost art.

Outstanding EET Graduate Award: Spencer Thompson
For exceptional service as a teaching assistant in the transition to remote instruction.
Spencer has been lab assistant for most, if not all of the EET labs. He was nominated for this award by new faculty member Jungyun Bae, who pointed out his dedication to helping students with labs and homework in the EET data acquisition course. After mid-semester, Spencer actively helped the students during lab hours through emails and Zoom meetings. He also took videos of all the labs left within the semester when we transferred into remote instruction and, thanks to him, the course went smoothly even after the campus was locked down.


Honors Graduates: These Department of Computer Science students graduated with honors.
Christina Anderson, CS, Magna Cum Laude
Isaac Appleby, CS, Magna Cum Laude
Daniel Carrara, CS, Magna Cum Laude
Lucas Catron, CS, Magna Cum Laude
Zach Dill, CS, Cum Laude
Peter Dukes, CS, Magna Cum Laude
Trevor Good, CS, Magna Cum Laude
Ethan Hegg, CS, Cum Laude
Mads Howard, CS, Magna Cum Laude
Sophia Jensen, CS, Cum Laude
Derek Kamin, CS, Magna Cum Laude
Alex Larkin, CS, Cum Laude
Maddie LeClair, SE, Cum Laude
James Michniewicz, CS, Summa Cum Laude
Michael Munoz, CS, Summa Cum Laude
Dante Paglia, CS, Summa Cum Laude
Brandon Paupore, SE, Cum Laude
Elijah Potter, CS, Cum Laude
Emily Winkleman, CS, Cum Laude
Kieran Young, CS, Cum Laude
Parker Young, SE, Magna Cum Laude

Honors Graduates: These CMH Division students graduated with honors:
Dina Falzarano, CNSA, Cum Laude
Timothy Graham, CNSA, Cum Laude
Mark Heinonen, EET, Cum Laude
Andrew Hitchcock, CNSA, Magna Cum Laude
Chris Koch, CNSA, Summa Cum Laude
Zack Metiva, CNSA, Magna Cum Laude
Joshua Peter, CNSA, Magna Cum Laude
Spencer Thompson, EET, Cum Laude


Computing Students Participate in DesignExpo 2020

College of Computing students participated widely at Michigan Tech’s Design Expo 2020, which was held virtually in April.

Participating Enterprise Teams included Humane Interface Design Enterprise (HIDE), IT Oxygen, and Husky Game Development.

College Senior Design Teams developed a cybersecurity “Penetration Testing Course,”a “Cloud Computing Cost Analysis,” and an “Automated Distributed Configuration Management Systems.”

See project details below. Learn more about Design Expo here.


Senior Design Team: Penetration Testing Course

Team Members: Chris Koch, Joe Bartkowiak, Kelson Rose, Austin Clark, Computer Network and System Administration
Advisor: Yu Cai, College of Computing

Project Overview: To meet the need for new courses in the new Cybersecurity degree program, our team was tasked with developing a Penetration Testing course, which includes the business how-to as well as technical skills necessary to succeed in the field as a professional ethical hacker. We delivered a completed course, including a chosen course textbook, slides, an online lab set with accompanying lab manuals, and exams. GenCyber is a Michigan Tech summer program for local younger students. We provided instructional material, utilized Google Interland activities for younger students, and created the GenCyber camp curriculum to further develop and improve this course—another step toward the future of cybersecurity.


Senior Design Team: Cloud Computing Cost Analysis

Team Members: Alex Kuhn, Austin Walhof, Ryan Jacobson, and Stephen Grobbel, Computer Network and System Administration
Advisor: Todd Arney, College of Computing

Project Overview: Our team compared the cost of running services in a cloud environment between the three largest service providers: Amazon Web Service, Google Cloud Platform, and Microsoft Azure.


Senior Design Team: Automated Distributed Configuration Management Systems

Team Members: Andrew Hitchcock, Tim Graham and Derek Laker, Computer Network and System Administration
Advisor: Tim Wagner, College of Computing
Sponsor: College of Computing

Project Overview: Systems administrators working in environments of all sizes are rapidly adopting configuration management systems to automate provisioning and deployment, enforce system configuration, and streamline their work. However, it can be difficult to figure out which product to choose. Our project consisted of deploying three of the most popular products on the market today— Puppet, Ansible, and Saltstack—and comparing the computing resources that they used, their ease of use, and the scenarios that they would be most fit for.


Enterprise Team: Husky Game Development (HGD)

Team Leaders: Colin Arkens and Xixi Tian, Computer Science
Advisor: Scott Kuhl, Computer Science
Sponsor: Michigan Technological University Pavlis Honors College’s Enterprise

Program Background: Husky Game Development (HGD) is a student-run Enterprise focused on developing video games. Each year, Husky Game Development breaks up into subteams of around six students who experience a full game development cycle, including ideation, design, and end product. HGD explores a wide variety of video game engines and platforms, including Windows, Android, Xbox, and an experimental Display Wall.
Overview: Do you know that old mansion down on the corner? Of course you do. Everyone does. No one who’s entered it was ever seen again. Will you be? Lost in Mazie Mansion is a 2D mystery-puzzle game. To reform the mansion and escape, you’ll need the help of Mazie, the only one to nearly solve the mystery. Play by the house’s rules, dodge monsters patrolling the halls, solve puzzles, and find the keys to get Mazie’s memory back.


Enterprise Team: IT Oxygen

Team Leaders: Calvin Voss, Computer Science; Zack Metiva, Computer Network and System Administration
Advisors: Nagesh Hatti, Electrical and Computer Engineering; James Walker, Computer Science
Sponsors: DENSO, Ford Motor Company, Little Brothers Friends of the Elderly, Mel and Gloria Visser, Northern Specialty Health, Michigan Technological University Pavlis Honors College’s Enterprise Program, Milan and Shailee Lathia

Background: IT Oxygen is a cross-disciplinary, student-run Enterprise that specializes in Information Technology (IT) for student organizations and businesses, with a focus on developing Information System and Information Technology solutions. Team members work on real-world projects that foster skill development and utilize business intelligence. Areas of interest include systems and information analysis, software development, database design, data sciences, cybersecurity, and web-based application development.

Overview: This year, the IT Oxygen Enterprise is working on projects sponsored by Ford, Little Brothers Friends of the Elderly, Northern Specialty Health, and DENSO. In the area of data analytics, IT Oxygen is building predictive models and applying statistical analyses to understand the relationship between technical obsolescence and purchasing strategy for automotive electronics—thanks to support from DENSO. For Ford, a team has been working with the Wireless Communication Enterprise (WCE) to provide data analysis and storage for a smart home energy management system. Finally, IT Oxygen is also collaborating with WCE on continued efforts to improve Little Brothers’ holiday resource management and medical transportation scheduling systems.



Enterprise Team: Human Interface Design Enterprise (HIDE)

Team Leaders: Christopher Ward and Justin Martin, Computer Science
Advisor: Robert Pastel, Computer Science
Sponsor: CCDC Ground Vehicle Systems Center (US Army)

Background: The members of Humane Interface Design Enterprise (HIDE) come together to design, develop, and evaluate user interfaces. The goal is to make daily work more efficient and easier to manage. As a whole, the team works together to design and test different applications for industry sponsors that can be used on Android, iPhone, and other devices. HIDE accomplishes these projects by combining knowledge from multiple disciplines, such as computer science, psychology, and human factors. HIDE team members can get involved in various stages of the design process, from developing an app by programming, to evaluation by designing usability tests and analyzing data.

Overview: Tempi.st is a project from the Ground Vehicle Systems Center, a research center for the US Army located in Warren, Michigan. Tempi.st is a program designed to provide students with the opportunity to work on a real-world project, and is aimed to connect the students to an industry where they can actively participate in research in order to expand their knowledge base and deliver new ideas to the industry in return.

Our objective is to utilize Raspberry Pis to collect weather data in real time for its given location, and to send the collected data to a user through a device such as a phone, computer, or tablet in the form of an alert or by the user opening a web page. How this will be implemented is purely up to our team. We will take these basic specifications and put our own twist to it.




Stay Home. Stay Safe. Stay in Touch.

Dear College of Computing Students, Families, and Friends:

In all our daily tasks and interactions, Michigan Tech and the College of Computing remain closely focused on delivering to you the best possible educational experience; we are also mindful of your over-all health and well being. We wish to do as much as we possibly can to help you successfully complete this semester, and guide and support you on your way to finishing your degree.

We’ve compiled some of the many University and community resources available to you below. All kinds of help, support, and kindness is out there, and everyone is eager to assist in this uncertain time.

You are invited to contact Dean Minerick, and any of us in Computing and across campus, with your questions and concerns, large or small.

Academic Leadership
Adrienne Minerick, Dean: minerick@mtu.edu
Dan Fuhrmann, Director, MERET/CMH/Applied Computing: fuhrmann@mtu.edu
Linda Ott, Chair, Computer Science: linda@mtu.edu

Undergraduate Academic Advisors
Denise and Kay, The College of Computing’s academic advisors, are on duty and available by email, phone, and Zoom.
Denise Landsberg, Computer Science, Software Engineering: dllandsb@mtu.edu
Kay Oliver, CNSA, Cybersecurity, EET, Mechatronics, Health Informatics: koliver@mtu.edu
Advising Website:

Faculty and Staff
We hope that you always feel welcome to contact your instructors and mentors with questions, concerns, and help with an assignment. We are all standing by to help you successfully complete this semester, prepare for summer and fall classes, and get ready for for spring graduation.
Find all the Computing faculty here. Find the Computing staff here.

Finally, Michigan Tech and the College of Computing are continually populating and updating our websites and blogs with the latest news.

A few more links:

Husky Emergency Fund Application

Get the latest information and updates regarding Michigan Tech’s response to COVID-19 at mtu.edu/covid-19. View updates to this alert.

Meal Packets are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at Public Safety and Police Services.

The Dean of Students Office has compiled a comprehensive list of emergency resources for students.

Students who are experiencing unforeseen financial emergencies can apply for assistance.

More Student Resources.

Study Abroad and COVID-19.

FAQs from Facilities Management.

Info for Michigan Tech employees.

Info for Michigan Tech faculty.


Welcome to Spring 2020 Preview Day!

Welcome prospective students and friends and families! The Michigan Tech College of Computing is pleased to welcome you to Spring 2020 Preview Day.

Since you’re at home instead of on campus, we’ve prepared a special video to share with you today. Well, actually our academic advisor Kay Oliver produced the video. Thanks, Kay! (Scroll down to play the video.)

In the video, Kay will tell you about our undergraduate and graduate degree programs, and show you lots of photos of Michigan Tech students, faculty, labs, and classrooms.

Kay, along with Denise Landsberg, our second academic advisor, are standing by to answer your questions. You can email Kay and Denise at csadvisor@mtu.edu.

Please read more below the video.

College of Computing Preview Day: Spring 2020

On the virtual tour, you’ll also hear from Dr. Linda Ott, chair of the Computer Science department, who’ll fill you in on the Computer Science and Software Engineering degree programs, concentrations, and minors and go over some of the first-year Computing courses.

And you’ll learn a little bit about our Applied Computing degrees:

Computer Network and System Administration (CNSA)
Cybersecurity
Electrical Engineering Technology (EET)
Mechatronics

And if you’re still exploring which Computing degree is the right one for you, check out our General Computing major, which gives you a little time and space to make this important decision.

Finally, Computer Science prof Dr. Chuck Wallace will tell you about Michigan Tech’s unique student Enterprise program, where Computing students are working on real computing solutions for real clients. The Computing-focused student Enterprises are:

Husky Games
HIDE (Human Interface Development Enterprise)
IT Oxygen Enterprise.

Please enjoy the video. Contact us anytime with your questions, large or small, and be sure to visit our website (mtu.edu/computing), our news blog, and visit, share, connect, and like us on social media.

We hope to see you on campus this fall!


Todd Arney Receives Elite New Teaching Award

The Office of the Provost and the William G. Jackson Center for Teaching and Learning have announced that Todd Arney, lecturer in the College of Computing’s Department of Applied Computing, is one of four instructors who will receive The Provost’s Award for Sustained Teaching Excellence, a new teaching award that celebrates the work of individuals whose teaching consistently and dramatically benefits students.

Had this been a normal year, Arney would have again qualified as a finalist for the annual Distinguished Teaching Award, which he has been awarded three times. But because this was Arney’s fourth nomination, the Provost, academic deans, and the Center for Teaching and Learning agreed that Arney deserves special recognition that goes beyond consideration as a finalist.

Provost Huntoon, in collaboration with the Academic Deans, initiated this award because “It became clear that we had a group of instructors consistently delivering exceptional instruction to their students over many years, who are worthy of special recognition,” said a March 18, 2020, Tech Today news item.

“The intent in establishing this new award is to acknowledge that anyone named a finalist more than three times has been consistently exceptional,” wrote Michael Meyer, director of the William G. Jackson Center for Teaching and Learning, in Arney’s award letter. “Your commitment to excellence is worthy of significant recognition.”

The award, which consists of a plaque and $1000 in additional compensation, will be presented at the Academy of Teaching Excellence banquet on April 14, 2020. Each of the recipients of the new award will continue to be honored on an annual basis as members of Michigan Tech’s Distinguished Teaching Academy, an elite group with an established reputation for excellent teaching.

Arney is a lecturer in the Computer Network and System Administration (CNSA) program, Applied Computing. He teaches courses in Linux system administration, Microsoft system administration, infrastructure system administration, scripting administration and automation, data center engineering, cybersecurity, and cyber ethics.  In addition, he supervises CNSA Senior Design projects. He was also nominated for the Dean’s Teaching Award in spring 2019.  

“Todd’s energy and his rapport with the students creates a community within CNSA that promotes student success,” said Adrienne Minerick, dean of the College of Computing. “He is accessible and dedicated to the students, always encouraging them to try projects that lie outside of their comfort zones.”

“I am delighted, but not 100% surprised, that Todd Arney was selected as one of the inaugural recipients for this award,” said Dan Fuhrmann, chair of the Applied Computing department. “‘Sustained teaching excellence’ is a perfect description of Todd’s contributions to the CNSA program.  Our students are his number one priority, and in return he is respected and well-liked by his students. Todd represents the very best that Michigan Tech offers in undergraduate education.”

“I am very pleased to be part this award’s initiation, and to be associated with a place where there’s so much good instruction going on that we need to expand the ways we recognize people,” wrote Meyer. “Your [Arney’s] efforts motivated the creation of this award, and that alone is an outstanding professional accomplishment! On behalf of the students, staff, and faculty at Michigan Tech, I offer my sincerest congratulations and appreciation to you for your dedicated efforts and willingness to go the extra mile to connect with your students.”

As is the case for those that have won the Distinguished Teaching Award, recipients of the Provost’s Award for Sustained Teaching Excellence are members of an elite group with an established reputation for teaching excellence. Recipients of the new Provost’s award are ineligible to be named as a finalist in the future, but membership in the elite group is permanent.

Finalists for the 2020 teaching awards were selected based on the spring and fall 2019 semester teaching evaluations.


Capture the Flag Competition Incredibly Successful

The Capture the Flag competition at this year’s Winter Wonderhack, held the weekend of February 21-23, was incredibly successful, with a total of 35 students competing on 15 different teams.

The three top teams finished with 100% completion after 10+ hours of hard work, and the fourth place team was close behind with only two flags left. The entire competition was very competitive, with the top four teams constantly exchanging places throughout the weekend.

Winning teams:

First Place (Hak5 WiFi Pineapple and Manual) – Real Pineapple:
Eli Brockert, Cybersecurity, sophomore
Matthew Chau, Cybersecurity, freshman
Nathan Wichers, EE, freshman

Second Place  (Hak5 Packet Squirrel and Manual) – College Nerd Seeking Assets
Justin Bilan, CNSA, junior
Stuart Hoxie, CNSA, junior
Ben Kangas , CNSA, junior
Austin Clark, CNSA, junior
Nicklaus Finetti, CNSA, senior

Third Place (Hak5 USB Rubber Ducky and Manual)  – The Blue Tigers 21
Austin Doorlag, CS, sophomore
Harley Merkaj, CS, sophomore
Anthony Viola, CpE, sophomore

Fourth Place (Hak5 Sticker Packs and USB Rubber Ducky Manual)  – Fsociety
Sam Breuer, CpE, freshman
John Claassen, CS, sophomore
Samantha Christie, CS, freshman

All participants in the Capture the Flag Competition, February 21-23, 2020