Category: EET

College of Computing Welcomes Six New Faculty Members

The Michigan Tech College of Computing welcomed six new faculty members this fall to the Departments of Applied Computing and Computer Science.

College of Computing Dean Adrienne Minerick says the new hires reflect the early growth of the new College, which was launched July 1, 2019.

“We are thrilled to welcome these six talented new faculty members,” Minerick says. “Even amid the challenges we are all facing, our proactive recruitment and retention activities are making a difference.”

Assistant Professor Briana Bettin, Computer Science, has a Ph.D. in computer science from Michigan Tech. She is also an affiliated assistant professor for the Cognitive and Learning Sciences department. Bettin’s research interests include user experience; human factors; human-computer interactions; mental models; information representation; rural digital literacy; education, engagement, and retention; and digital anthropology. Bettin is a member of the ICC’s Computing Education Center.

Assistant Professor Sidike Paheding, Applied Computing, has a Ph.D. in eelectrical engineering from University of Dayton, Ohio. Prior to joining Michigan Tech Paheding was a visiting assistant professor at Purdue University Northwest. His research interests include image/video processing, machine learning, deep learning, computer vision, and remote sensing. Paheding is a member of the ICC’s Center for Data Sciences.

Assistant Professor Junqiao Qiu, Computer Science, has a
Ph.D. in computer science and engineering from University of California Riverside. His research focuses on parallel computing, programming systems, and compiler optimization. Qiu is a member of the ICC’s Center for Scalable Architectures and Systems.

Assistant Professor Ashraf Saleem, Applied Computing, has a Ph.D. in mechatronics engineering from DeMontfort University, UK. He comes to Michigan Tech from the electrical and computer engineering department at Sultan Qaboos University, where he served the mechatronics engineering program. Ashraf will be on campus starting in the spring 2021 semester.

Saleem’s research interests are in autonomous systems, vision-based unmanned vehicles, Artificial Intelligence, control of Piezoelectric actuator, and servo-pneumatic systems.

Assistant Professor Leo Ureel, Computer Science, has a Ph.D. in computer science from Michigan Tech. He has been teaching at the college level for 10 years, and has over 20 years of industry experience. Ureel is also coordinator of the College of Computing Learning Center. Ureel is a member of the ICC’s Computing Education Center.

Ureel’s research focuses on a constructionist approach to introductory computer science that leverages code critiquers to motivate students to learn computer programming. His
areas of expertise include software engineering, computer science education, and intelligent tutoring systems.

Assistant Professor Brian Yuan, Applied Computing and Computer Science, has a Ph.D. in computer science from University of Florida. His areas of expertise include machine learning, security and privacy, and cloud computing. Yuan is a member of the ICC’s Center for Cybersecurity and Center for Data Sciences.


College of Computing Focus of HostingAdvice Article

The College of Computing and the Institute of Computing and Cybersystems (ICC) are the subjects of an article published today (Sept. 2, 2020) on HostingAdvice.com, a website and blog that educates visitors to the site about the world of web hosting.

The article, for which College of Computing Dean Adrienne Minerick was interviewed, provides a close look at the new College, its well-established Computer Science and Software Engineering degree programs (BS, MS, and Ph.D.), new Cybersecurity and Mechatronics undergraduate programs, as well as faculty research and the ICC.

Special emphasis is placed on the Computer Network and Systems Administration undergraduate degree program, in which students prepare for careers as network and computer systems administrators, commonly referred to as a “sysadmins.”

Read the full article here.

“Our readers know that a lot goes into finding the best providers of shared, dedicated, and virtual private servers,” said Sean Garrity, managing editor at HostingAdvice.com. “The article provides information about how to prepare if you want to to break into the industry as a professional, not just a consumer.”


New Computing Bits Session is Wednesday, August 5 at 6 pm

A second College of Computing Computing Bits session will take place Wednesday, August 5, at 6:00 p.m. via online Zoom meeting. A link to the event has been emailed to students.

This week’s session will include presentations by two student groups: the cybersecurity RedTeam and the Humane Interface Design Enterprise (HIDE). Following, students are invited to join conversational breakout rooms with College of Computing faculty members, and advisors and representatives from College of Computing student groups. Students may move from room to room according to their interests.

Join the Computing Bits session here.

We really enjoyed visiting with you at the first Computing Bits sessions, so we calibrated content for this next week to emphasize discussion time with faculty. We will also have returning Computing Huskies join in conversations.

New students: This is your chance to ask that question you’ve been wanting to ask–about computing, college, degree programs, careers, snow, pasties — anything!

Dean Adrienne Minerick

At the first Computing Bits session, July 29, 2020, new Assistant Professor Briana Bettin, Computer Science, and Senior Lecturer Todd Arney, Applied Computing discussed introductory Computing courses. Additional presentations included the Copper Country Coders student outreach group and conversations with department chairs Dan Fuhrmann, Applied Computing, and Linda Ott, Computer Science.

Additional Computing Bits sessions will be scheduled in the weeks ahead; topics will be announced in advance. Sessions will include breakout rooms in which faculty members will discuss a unifying topic, such as A.I., cybersecurity, health informatics, or even “what do I need to know about computers before I start?”


Department of Applied Computing Announced, Fuhrmann Named Interim Chair

Effective July 1, 2020, the Department of Applied Computing (AC) will open for business as Michigan Tech’s newest academic department, and the second department of the College of Computing. Daniel R. Fuhrmann, Dave House Professor of Computer Engineering, has been named the interim chair of the new department, for a period of one year.

The Applied Computing department administers undergraduate bachelor of science programs in Computer Network and System Administration (CNSA), Electrical Engineering Technology, and soon a new B.S. in Mechatronics (pending final approval by the Michigan Tech Board of Trustees and the state of Michigan). Applied Computing also shares responsibility, with the Department of Computer Science, for the B.S. in Cybersecurity, which began enrolling students in Fall 2019

On the graduate side, the Applied Computing Department hosts the Master of Science in Health Informatics and the Master of Science in Mechatronics, which also started in Fall 2019. In addition to teaching AC program courses, faculty in the new department will pursue research in a variety of areas where computers and computing play a major role, including cybersecurity, mechatronics, health informatics, and machine learning.

Fuhrmann notes, “I am delighted to be a part of the continued growth of the College of Computing, and to do what I can to get our new department up and running. I believe that the Department of Applied Computing makes the CC unique among similar colleges nationwide, and gives Michigan Tech a distinctive edge.”

Key goals for the interim chair position, identified during the nomination and selection process, include strategically increasing the visibility of and enrollment in in Department of Applied Computing degree and certificate programs, and supporting and strengthening collaborative, interdisciplinary, and interdepartmental relationships in curriculum and research.

“I think I speak for others when I express how extremely appreciative I am of Dan’s willingness to contribute to the growth and success of the College of Computing over the last year, and his further willingness to agree to serve as department chair during this particularly challenging time,” says Adrienne Minerick, dean of the College of Computing.

“Dan has repeatedly proven to be an excellent team member who is willing to do the work to support the greater good of our teams in the CC. By stepping forward into unfamiliar tasks as is needed and framing most things as opportunities, he helps bring out the best in our team.”

Fuhrmann says that the new department will continue to deliver strong programs in the AC department’s areas of primary responsibility, and he hopes to increase synergies among the various groups within the department, for instance, looking at how cybersecurity and mechatronics work together in industrial control systems.

Growth in the Health Informatics graduate program is also anticipated, and Fuhrmann notes that the need for trained, talented health informatics professionals has never been more apparent than it is right now.

“In addition to what we will be doing internally, I hope to build a culture of collaboration and cooperation with other Michigan Tech departments that have an interest in computing applications, both inside and outside the College of Computing. We have a lot to offer,” Fuhrmann says.

For more information about the Department of Applied Computing as it becomes available link here.


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


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!


Leidos Gift Equips EET, MET Lab with State-of-the-Art Learning Tools

Leidos representatives Matthew Luttinen, Jessica Hutchings, Kate Nowosad, Dale Rimmey, and Mike Cooney

It was five years ago, in 2015, when Leidos and Michigan Tech representatives started talking about equipping the Electrical Machinery and Controls Lab with new Amatrol learning stations.

It took some time, but in 2018 a generous gift from Leidos got things started. The lab space–on the 4th floor of the Electrical Energy Resources Center (EERC)–was expanded and refurbished, the electrical was upgraded, and the cost of the new work stations was considered.

“It wasn’t enough to do all we wanted to do,” said Dale Rimmey, director of college talent acquisition and solutions at Leidos, “so we talked some more, and eventually we were pleased to double our original gift.”

“This lab was a long time coming, and along the way we developed some great relationships with our industry partners,” said Adrienne Minerick, dean of the College of Computing. “Everything came together because Leidos and Eagle Mine believe in the quality of Michigan Tech education, and because an investment in qualified people assures a great future for our students and for all concerned.”

With the second Leidos gift in 2019, the EET and MET programs were able to complete the lab refurbishment and install six new state-of-the art learning stations in time for the fall 2019 section of Electrical Machinery (EET 2233).

Four of the learning stations and lab renovations were funded by Leidos, one station was funded by Eagle Mine, and one was purchased by the former Michigan Tech School of Technology.

This week, Leidos representatives were on campus to celebrate the completion of the Leidos Electrical Machinery and Controls Lab, and to participate in Career Fair. Leidos representatives attending were Dale Rimmey; Mike Cooney ’01 (BS, EET), project lead; Jessica Hutchings ’15 (BS, EE), controls engineer; Matthew Luttinen ’10 (MS, EE/Power Systems), electrical engineer; Kate Nowosad, ’17 (BS, EE), substation design engineer.

More than anything, Dale Rimmey is excited for the students who will benefit from the gift. “This is a great opportunity to support Michigan Tech students and at the same time build a larger pool of talented, well-trained future employees for Leidos and the industry as a whole,” he said.

Required for all EET and MET students, EET 2233 is a crucial building block in the study of electrical and mechanical engineering and mechatronics.

“In mechatronics, students learn to appreciate the electrical, mechanical and computing side of hardware equipment,” said assistant professor Nathir Rawashdeh, CMH Division. “Selecting and controlling electrical machines are prime examples of this, and the new learning units and exercises provide all the tools students need to thoroughly understand these subjects.”

Michigan Tech students and Leidos reps

Students in last fall’s section of the class were the first to use the new learning stations, thanks to EET senior Zarek Pirkola and his fellow lab assistants, who assembled and tested the machines in time for the second half of the fall 2019 semester.

The new equipment also led to revisions in the hands-on lab exercises that accompany the Electrical Machinery course; units related to emerging topics, motor control, and troubleshooting were added.

“It was a race against time to get the machines ready for the eight-week motors unit last fall,” Pirkola said, adding that the curricula included with the units helped a lot. Pirkola was among the last students to use the old lab and equipment.

“The new equipment and curricula broaden the scope of laboratory exercises, and allow us to cover the more advanced control circuits used in operating larger electrical machinery,” said Alex Sergeyev, CMH Division professor and director of the Mechatronics graduate program.

“The knowledge and experience students gain means better-educated graduates with more practical hands-on experience,” said Sergeyev. “The design, configuration, and troubleshooting of industrial control systems is central to today’s industry, and the new Amatrol work stations are key to building the foundational knowledge future leaders in the field will need … with obvious benefits to employers of our graduates.”

Before the new Leidos lab was outfitted, EET 2233 student exercises were conducted on outdated, unreliable equipment, noted lecturer Paniz Hazaveh, College of Computing. The new units are more compact and they’re equipped with a number of safety features, including lower voltage and an emergency shut off, she explained.

With an average of 45 students enrolling in EET 2233 each fall semester, there is more to be done. Leidos has already started the wheels turning for a third gift to purchase additional units, and now there is plenty of space in the new lab.

Also among those attending the celebration were Adrienne Minerick, dean, College of Computing; Dan Fuhrmann, chair of the CMH Division; Nathir Rawashdeh, assistant professor, CMH Division; Rick Berkey, professor of practice, Pavlis Honors College; Jim Desrocher, director of advancement; Cody Kangas, director of industry engagement; and a number of graduate and undergrad students.

Nathir Rawashdeh demonstrates the learning unit

About the Partners

Serving the business intelligence, health, IT, defense, and civil sectors and with more than 400 locations in 30 countries, Leidos is a global leader in the integration and application of information technology, engineering, and science.

Amatrol designs, develops and manufactures technical training systems and simulators for industry and academia to teach technical and workplace skills ranging from entry level basic technical skills to advanced technology troubleshooting for degree and certification preparation.

Amatrol’s Basic Electrical Machines Learning System teaches electric machines commonly found in industrial, commercial, and residential applications: single phase AC motors, three-phase AC electric motors, and DC electric motors. Learners practice industry-relevant skills including operation, installation, analyzing performance, industrial motor wiring, and selecting electric machines for various applications.

Eagle Mine, a subsidiary of Lundin Mining, is an underground, high-grade nickel and copper mine located in western Marquette County of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Lundin Mining is a diversified base metals mining company with operations and projects around the world.

The Michigan Tech College of Computing prepares students for lifelong prosperity and employability through relevant, contemporary academic programs in computing and cyber-technologies. The College offers graduate degrees in Computer Science, Cybersecurity, Health Informatics, and Mechatronics; and undergraduate degrees in Computer Network System Administration (CNSA), Computer Science, Cybersecurity, Electrical Engineering Technology (EET), and Software Engineering.

The College of Computing’s CMH Division–Computer Network and System Administration/Mechatronics, Electrical, and Robotics Engineering Technology/Health Informatics Division–brings together faculty and programs in the College of Computing that share a common interest in applied aspects of computing.  The areas of study within the Division–computer networks, cybersecurity, robotics, big data–provide Michigan Tech graduates skills that are in high demand, now and in the future.

Enjoy the photo gallery below.

(L to R) Adrienne Minerick, Paniz Hazaveh, Dan Fuhrmann, Mike Cooney, Nathir Rawashdeh, Zarek Pirkola

Leidos representatives Jessica Hitchungs, Dale Rimmey, and Mike Cooney

Leidos representatives Matthew Luttinen, Jessica Hitchungs, Kate Nowosad, Dale Rimmey, and Mike Cooney

Nathir Rawashdeh demonstrates the learning system

Amatrol Basic Electrical Machines Learning System

Amatrol Basic Electrical Machines Learning System

Dan Fuhrmann (L) and Nathir Rawashdeh

Celebration attendees

Nathir Rawashdeh demonstrates the Amatrol learning system

Nathir Rawashdeh demonstrates the Amatrol learning system

Nathir Rawashdeh demonstrates the Amatrol learning system

Nathir Rawashdeh demonstrates the Amatrol learning system

Nathir Rawashdeh demonstrates the Amatrol learning system

Nathir Rawashdeh demonstrates the Amatrol learning system

Amatrol Basic Electrical Machines Learning System

Amatrol Basic Electrical Machines Learning System

Amatrol Basic Electrical Machines Learning System

Amatrol Basic Electrical Machines Learning System

Zarek Pirkola


The Gift of Computing

Through the years and across generations, Huskies help their neighbors navigate the digital universe. In the season of giving, drop in on two volunteer programs that benefit both givers and receivers.

On any given Saturday during the academic year, you’ll find Michigan Technological University students serving as coaches and teachers in the community and on campus in a couple of programs that have been around since 2011. Building Adult Skills in Computing, or BASIC, helps older people with computer-related questions. Copper Country Coders introduces younger people to computer science and programming.

BASIC: Where No One is Left to Their Own Devices

BASIC walk-ins are welcome from 10-11 a.m. Saturdays at Portage Lake District Library in Houghton. Sessions used to be earlier in the day before the library opened to the public, said Kelly Steelman, a Michigan Tech associate professor of human factors and psychology who, along with Charles Wallace, an associate professor of computer science, serves as a BASIC tutor and researcher. But as it turns out, technological newcomers as well as Huskies like to sleep in. The time adjustment is one of several tweaks that have taken place as the program — and the devices we use in our daily lives — evolve. For example, nobody’s gathered ’round the library’s desktop computer stations. On this particular Saturday, as rays of treasured winter sunlight glint on the ice-glazed Keweenaw Waterway and stained-glass art, participants are cozily tucked into the shoreside Michigan Room with laptops, phones and tablets at the ready.

“Easy for you to remember, but hard for them to guess.” That’s how Parker Young sums up the perfect password for Naomi and Eliot Haycock, who brought in a tablet and laptop. He explains to the lively couple that encrypted password management programs make it easier to keep track of all the passwords safely. “As long as you remember the one password, you have all the others,” he said. They also discuss PayPal — Naomi’s intrigued, Eliot’s skeptical. Both are interested in what kind of writing programs are already available on their newly acquired laptop. Young shows them options, from Google Docs to the preinstalled writing software.

“Good. We can do a Christmas letter,” Naomi said.

They move on to installing updates and discuss the necessity to perform them regularly (“There goes another one!” Parker exclaimed). Next, the trio walks through how to connect to Wi-Fi at home for the first time with the new device.

An older couple and a younger man with a Michigan Tech Huskies shirt on smile at the camera in a library.
Naomi and Eliot Haycock, BASIC Saturday regulars, work through their computing to-do list with Parker Young.
“They do a great job. We’ve come here quite a few times,” Naomi said. “People tell us, ‘if you had to pay for this, you’d be paying a lot.’”

“Give this guy a good grade. He’s good,” Eliot tells Charles Wallace, who is on the other side of the wide wooden library table helping a gentleman who’s never used a computer. First-timers are rare these days. Whenever a new user powers up, it’s exciting; both tutor and learner are smiling as he Googles for the first time, locating his church on the map and visiting its website.

Wallace encourages the beginner to keep exploring, then explains to the Haycocks that students aren’t graded for being part of BASIC. They’re here only because they want to be.

“We’re giving the gift of bringing people to the digital table,” said BASIC volunteer Abby Kuehne, a double major in psychology and communication, culture and media with research experience in human-computer interaction.

Today she’s working with a soft-spoken man looking for pointers on getting started with a tablet. “Because this is a mobile setting, the tablet is going to be set up differently,” she explained.

The work Kuehne does here aligns with her career goals; which include enhancing technology accessibility and effective communication across cultures. More than that, it’s establishing a lifelong pattern of service.

“It becomes a good habit,” said Kuehne. “I believe in karma, in giving back.”

For scientific and technical communication major Paige Short, showing up on Saturday mornings has also become second nature. Short, whose endeavors include work to communicate science on a global level, sees the relationship between students and the people who come for help as mutually beneficial. “It builds community,” she said. “It connects us to the local community, and helps them be a part of the digital community.” Never more so than on this Saturday, when Short is assisting with budget workflow strategy for a local community garden.

two women show people how to use laptaps on a wooden table with windows in the background as a man looks on.
Portage Lake District Library has been hosting BASIC Saturdays since the program’s inception. You’ll often find Huskies Abby Kuehne, left, and Paige Short, right, bringing fellow community members to the digital table.

The session wraps up shortly after 11; the group meets for a quick debrief. There’s just enough time for Young to do some work on his truck before he heads over to the Michigan Tech College of Computing, where Copper Country Coders meets every Saturday afternoon of the academic year. Wallace will be there, too — this program also benefits from his co-leadership, in this case with Leo Ureel, computer science senior lecturer and coordinator of the Michigan Tech College of Computing Learning Center.

Get Help. Meet Huskies.

Walk-ins are welcome to the Saturday BASIC sessions. Follow the Portage Lake District Library Facebook page for updates.
You don’t have to bring a computer. The library has Chromebooks available.

The call goes out for Copper Country Coders enrollment in early September. Learn more on the Copper Country Coders Facebook page.

Want to help support these and other computer literary programs? Find out more.

Programmed Snowflakes and the Python Boiz

Compared to the quiet of the library, the atmosphere is a tad more rambunctious in the first-floor labs of Kanwal Rekhi Hall, where the youngest of the Copper Country Coders teams is raring to go. In sessions that run from 1-3 p.m., Michigan Tech students work with young people from area schools who share a goal not dissimilar from those of their older counterparts: they’re learning how to make computers do what they’re told. They’re learning to speak the language of programming.

“Can we play games before the other people come?” asks one youngster, bouncing up and down on a computer desk chair.

Instructor Keith Atkinson smiles, patiently explaining that they’ll all be creating a holiday snowfall game once everyone has gathered. He doesn’t mind the rowdier element or the challenge of keeping active young people engaged. “I’m pretty high energy myself and I like thinking on my feet,” said the computer science major, who started with the Coders in 2015. He also clearly enjoys serving his community — for his directed study class this semester, Atkinson created an inventory system for Michigan Tech’s Husky Food Access Network pantry.

Atkinson is co-leading one of the middle-school teams with fellow computer science major Galen Resh Chimner, who was enrolled in the program as a youngster. “It was fun to come and learn and get challenged,” he said.

Today’s project is a holiday snowfall game. Students learn to program a snowflake — to draw it and make it move. Every click of the computer mouse adds a new snowflake.

Programming is the Universal Language

a young man in a black and gold husky sweatshirt leans toward a computer screen
Trevor Good, like many of the Huskies in Copper Country Coders, is in it for the fun of both learning and teaching.
Across the hall, Parker Young is at it again — this time teaming up with computer science major Trevor Good to introduce ninth-grade and middle-school students to the popular, easy-to-use programming language that inspired their tongue-in-cheek team name: the Python Boiz. Young has been doing both BASIC and Coders for three years; it’s Good’s second year and second time co-leading with Young.

“Last year, we did Minecraft,” said Good. “We picked Python because it’s the number-one programming language in the world; it’s used for AI, machine learning, automation … logically it makes a lot of sense. I wanted to learn it myself.”

Young was also new to Python. “Teaching others helps me learn,” said Young, who is also a coach in the College of Computing Learning Center.

The College of Computing is piloting a course to teach Python to non-computing majors across campus. For today, though, the focus is on the half-dozen younger students situated at monitors in the lab.

“What’s up man? Oooh, you’re so close!” Young moves between computer stations, checking out the ongoing project. “Let’s go, you guys! I wanna see some cool tic tac toes.”

“I love coming here every Saturday and I love teaching,” said Young.

The vibe is sedate in comparison over at the Electrical Energy Resources Center (EERC), a short walk from Rekhi Hall, where high school-aged students are working with two graduate students, Marissa Walther and Shaun Flynn. Walther has been with Copper Country Coders for five years, Flynn four.

two Michigan Tech students watch students on computer monitors in a lab, one of the students, a girl, is looking intently at the screen
Marissa Walther, left, and Shaun Flynn’s group works on hardware coding.
Walther, who earned a bachelor’s in computer science in 2019, is studying for her master’s.

Flynn, who earned a BS in computer engineering, is working toward his master’s. In 2018, their lesson plans focused on teaching young coders Java development and how to create games using JavaFX morphed into the book The World of Java Programming.

The two instructor-mentors said that the goal this year is to introduce students to hardware and the work that goes into building it.

“They can choose what it can do. They can do a lot of hardware prototyping,” said Flynn.

“I like teaching students. It’s fun to watch them develop,” he said, as the pair watches students work intently at their lab monitors. “They chose to spend two hours with us, programming. I came to Michigan Tech not knowing any of this.”

altera computer board closeup with wires
“Think of it as giant programmable hardware” — that’s how Shaun Flynn describes the Altera Board.
Time and again Huskies involved in the programs mention the joy of both teaching and learning.

It’s Not You, It’s the Technology

Place the responsibility where it belongs. On the technology. Both Copper County Coders and BASIC give participants the confidence to deploy digital tools to do desired and necessary tasks. That benefits both the students teaching and the students who are learning from them.

Copper Country Coders organizes young people from local schools into teams of six to eight, depending on enrollment fluctuations and the level of difficulty of each team. Two Huskies co-lead each group — each group compiles its own lesson plans, learning objectives and means to measure outcomes. Sessions are adjusted as the academic year moves along to keep pace with student progress. If more time is needed, the group stays with a project longer. If something doesn’t go over well, it’s documented for future Coders planning their own programs.

Last year the group presented its first Computer Science Expo.

At the Saturday BASIC sessions, coaches often work with people who are familiar with some tasks, but are continually challenged by the pace of technology — if you’re retired, for example, you aren’t required to adapt to the latest program or process being used in your workplace. Things like running out of space on a smart phone or other roadblocks with apps and social media present have the potential to present discouraging or demoralizing roadblocks. BASIC eliminates the blame game.

“Our approach is meeting people where they are,” Steelman said.

“Tutoring is more about empathy and compassion. We’re paying attention and mirroring the words. What are the things that freak people out about computers? How can we alleviate those concerns?”  –Kelly Steelman, BASIC tutor and researcher

“It’s not that they’re not a good computer user,” Steelman noted. “We put those worries on the computer.”

BASIC offers one tutor training session every semester, the interdisciplinary program is open to students from all majors. Beyond résumé building, “it feels good, making differences in lives,” said Steelman. The regionally and nationally recognized service-learning opportunity aspires to expand; beyond Michigan Tech outreach Wallace has shared the concept with other libraries and organizations who could bring BASIC to their communities.

Eliot and Naomi Haycock are on their own until the student coaches return January 18. Given the skills they’ve acquired, and the knowledge that help will be available again in the new year, they don’t appear to be particularly worried.

“We miss them when they’re not here,” Naomi said.

“But they deserve a vacation,” Eliot said.

two young men in black and gold stripes play horns in front of black-gowned graduates in a wood gym

Talk about bandwidth: BASIC volunteer, Copper Country Coder and Learning Center Coach Parker Young also plays in Huskies Pep Band; this is the group serenading 2019 grads at Midyear Commencement on December 14.

Talk about bandwidth: BASIC volunteer, Copper Country Coder and Learning Center Coach Parker Young also plays in Huskies Pep Band; this is the group serenading 2019 grads at Midyear Commencement on December 14.

Naomi and Eliot Haycock, BASIC Saturday regulars, work through their computing to-do list with Parker Young.

Portage Lake District Library has been hosting BASIC Saturdays since the program’s inception. You’ll often find Huskies Abby Kuehne, left, and Paige Short, right, bringing fellow community members to the digital table.

Trevor Good, like many of the Huskies in Copper Country Coders, is in it for the fun of both learning and teaching.

Marissa Walther, left, and Shaun Flynn’s group works on hardware coding.

“Think of it as giant programmable hardware” — that’s how Shaun Flynn describes the Altera Board.

About the Researchers

Charles Wallace
wallace@mtu.edu
906-487-3431

Areas of Expertise

  • Software Requirements
  • Human-Centered Computing
  • Communication in Software Development
  • Formal Methods
  • Software Engineering Education
  • Agile Development Methods
  • Cyberlearning
  • Researcher Profile

Kelly Steelman
steelman@mtu.edu
906-487-2792

Research Interests

  • Basic and applied attention
  • Models of attention
  • Human performance in aviation
  • Display design
  • Tech adoption
  • Technology training

Leo Ureel
ureel@mtu.edu
906-487-1816

Areas of Expertise

  • Software Engineering
  • Computer Science Education
  • Intelligent Tutoring Systems

Nathir Rawashdeh To Present Talk Fri., Dec. 6

Nathir Rawashdeh

Nathir Rawashdeh, College of Computing Assistant Professor of Mechatronics, Electrical, and Robotics Engineering Technology, will present a talk this Friday, December 6, from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m., in Rekhi 214. Rawashdeh will present a review of recent advancements in Unmanned Ground Vehicle (UGV) applications, hardware, and software with a focus on vehicle localization and autonomous navigation. Refreshments will be served.

Abstract: Unmanned Ground Vehicles (UGV) are being applied in many scenarios including, indoors, outdoors, and even extraterrestrial. Advancements in hardware and software algorithms reduce their cost and enable the creation of complete UGV platforms designed for custom application development, as well as research into new sensors and algorithms.