Category: News

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


AVA Labs Hosting Month-Long Hackathon

This May, AVA Labs, a next-generation blockchain platform spun out of Cornell and led by Professor Emin Gün Sirer, is hosting a month-long virtual hackathon for the best and brightest computer science and engineering students in the world.

The event will focus on developing new applications for financial products and services, and infrastructure tools that could someday be used by millions of people on the AVA platform. In addition to opportunities for close mentorship with our engineering leadership and early exposure to the most anticipated blockchain launch of 2020, students will have the opportunity to compete for up to $50,000 in prizes.

More details on the event are in the note below, and linked here: https://www.avalabs.org/ava-x/hackathons/university-hackathon-may-2020

And here is a recent Bloomberg News article featuring AVA: New Startup Aims to Prove Blockchain Fast Enough for Finance

AVA is a leading blockchain platform spun out of Cornell and led by Professor Emin Gün Sirer. It is an open-source platform for launching highly decentralized applications, new financial primitives, and new interoperable blockchains.


GenCyber 2020 Summer Programs Deferred to 2021

All GenCyber 2020 summer programs will be deferred to 2021 due to the impact of the COVID-19 virus.

For a listing of those programs who are receiving funding to host a camp, please see gen-cyber.com.

For updates and questions regarding specific camps and/or outreach activities, please contact the host institution using the information found on gen-cyber.com.

Please direct questions about the Michigan Tech GenCyber program to gencyber@mtu.edu.


PhD Candidate Siva Kakula Awarded Grant to Attend, Present at IEEE World Congress

Siva Krishna Kakula, a PhD candidate in the College of Computing’s Department of Computer Science, has been awarded a grant from the IEEE Computational Intelligence Society that covers the cost of full IEEE member registration for the IEEE World Congress on Computational Intelligence, July 19-24, 2020.

Kakula will present two papers at the conference, “Choquet Integral Ridge Regression” and “Extended Linear Order Statistic (ELOS) Aggregation and Regression,” both co-authored with Anthony Pinar (ECE), Timothy Havens (CC), and Derek Anderson (University of Missouri).

The IEEE World Congress on Computational Intelligence (IEEE WCCI) is the world’s largest technical event in the field of computational intelligence. WCCI 2020 features the flagship conference of the Computational Intelligence Society: The 2020 International Joint Conference on Neural Networks (IJCNN 2020), the 2020 IEEE International Conference on Fuzzy Systems (FUZZ-IEEE 2020), and the 2020 IEEE Congress on Evolutionary Computation (IEEE CEC 2020) under one roof. It encourages cross-fertilisation of ideas among the three big areas and provides a forum for intellectuals from all over the world to discuss and present their research findings on computational intelligence.


College of Computing Adds BS in Mechatronics

The College of Computing has announced the addition of a bachelor of science in Mechatronics to its degree programs, beginning in Fall 2020, pending Michigan Tech Board of Trustees and state of Michigan approval.

A multi-disciplinary field at the intersection of mechanics, electronics, and computing, Mechatronics is the science of receiving, processing, and transmitting sensory data for the advanced control of external devices.

More details about this exciting new BS degree program will be shared soon. In the meantime, learn more about Mechatronics at Michigan Tech using the links below.

What is Mechatronics
MS in Mechatronics
Mechatronics Certificate

And check out this video, which was filmed in the Mechatronics lab at Michigan Tech.

STEM Students Specialize in Mechatronics


Husky Games Takes Honorable Mention at Design Expo 2020

Husky Game Development (HGD), a student Enterprise focused on video game development, won Honorable Mention accolades at Michigan Tech’s Design Expo 2020, presented virtually this April.

The HGD winning project, “Lost in Mazie Mansion,” is a 2D mystery-puzzle game. To win, you’ll need the help of Mazie. But you’ll have to play by the house’s rules, dodge monsters patrolling the halls, solve puzzles, and find the keys to get Mazie’s memory back.

Husky Games Group

HGD team leads are CS undergraduates Colin Arkens and Xixi Tian; faculty advisor is Scott Kuhl, Computer Science. The team was sponsored by the Pavlis Honors College’s Enterprise Program. View a video about the game here.

HGD teams experience a full game development cycle, including ideation, design, and end product. Students explore a wide variety of video game engines and platforms, including Windows, Android, Xbox, and an experimental Display Wall.

Visit the HGD website here.


Health Informatics Adds Stackable Certificates in Healthcare AI, Security and Privacy

The College of Computing’s Health Informatics graduate program recently announced the addition of stackable graduate certificates in two high-growth areas: the Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare Certificate and the Security and Privacy in Healthcare Certificate.

Designed for working professionals, as well as full-time students, the new certificates can be completed entirely online using a rich learning environment designed by Health Informatics’ faculty experts certified in online learning.

The certificates’ courses have been developed to build critical skills in healthcare, artificial intelligence, and security and privacy, thus there are no prerequisites to get started, says Guy Hembroff, director of the Health Informatics program (pictured)

Each certificate requires the completion of three courses (9 credits). Students who complete both certificates will earn 18 credits towards the required 30 credits for a Health Informatics master of science degree, which can also be completed entirely online.

For emerging details about these new certificate programs, please visit the Health Informatics website.


The Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Healthcare Certificate provides individuals with the ability to optimize resources and clinical workflow, enhance clinical quality and safety, detect healthcare fraud, and improve patient outcomes and access to care while decreasing costs. Careers in this area use the vast volume of digital health data to improve healthcare operations, safety, and delivery.


The Security and Privacy in Healthcare Certificate provides individuals with the ability to secure and protect the privacy of health information, comply with state and federal healthcare data regulations, ensure interoperability in the exchange of healthcare data, and ensure healthcare systems are capable of successfully adopting new technologies to improve the quality and efficiency of patient care.


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.




College of Computing Announces New Faculty Hires

The College of Computing is pleased to announce the hiring of six new faculty members. They will all start at Michigan Tech this fall.

Briana Bettin, Computer Science and Cognitive Learning Sciences, will teach computing education courses. Bettin’s research interests span education, experiential design, and human factors. She completed her Ph.D. at Michigan Tech this spring.

Flyer announcing faculty candidate lecture

Sidike Paheding, Applied Computing, will teach MERET courses. He comes to Michigan Tech from Purdue University Northwest. Paheding’s research interests include topics in image/video processing, machine learning, deep learning, computer vision, and remote sensing. He received his Ph.D. from University of Dayton, Ohio.

Junqiao Qiu, Computer Science, will teach compiler courses. His research interests are in programming systems and runtime support for parallel computing and scalable data processing. Qiu completed his Ph.D. at University of California Riverside this spring.

Ashraf Saleem, Applied Computing, will teach MERET courses. Saleem comes to Michigan Tech from Sultan Qaboos University, Oman. He received his Ph.D. at DeMontfort University, UK.

Leo Ureel III, Computer Science and Cognitive Learning Sciences, will teach computing education courses. Ureel’s research focuses on a constructionist approach to introductory computer science that leverages code critiquers to motivate students to learn computer programming. Ureel completed his Ph.D. at Michigan Tech this spring.

Brian Yuan, Applied Computing and Computer Science, will teach cybersecurity courses. His research interests span the fields of deep learning, machine learning, security and privacy, and cloud computing. He received his Ph.D. from University of Florida.


Online Book Buyback

The University Bookstore has arranged an Online Book Buyback event.

Two used book wholesalers, Nebraska Book Company and MBS Textbook Exchange, will buy your books.

Search for your books and compare buyback prices using the links above. The book wholesalers will provide you with a USPS label and free shipping.

If you have questions, please contact Jennifer Cowan, Textbook Manager, 906-487-2410 or campusstore@mtu.edu.