Elementary Students Build Circuits

Last Friday (Jan. 31, 2020), students from Michigan Tech, along with the Lake Linden-Hubbell eighth grade eCYBERMISSION team, visited the fifth-grade classes at Calumet-Laurium-Keweenaw Elementary. Students in each fifth-grade class learned about electrical engineering by making circuits from Play-Doh, creating a paper circuit, and building a small wiggling “BouncyBOT.”

The fifth graders were very curious about Michigan Tech and what it means to be a college student in engineering. They asked the Tech representatives about projects they had worked on during their time on campus, as well as what they did in high school to get ready for college.

These students—coming together from the Society of Women Engineers (SWE), the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Mind Trekkers—represent the great characteristics of the Tech community: they stepped up to give back through hands-on engagement with engineering and science.

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The Nine Oh Six Podcast

Michigan Tech alumna Archita (Sivakumar) Fritz ’06, recently launched and co-founded the Nine Oh Six podcast. The Nine-Oh-Six is a global podcast co-hosted by lifelong friends Meha (Pandey) Chiraya (Houghton High School ’06) and Fritz.

The name of this podcast is the area code (906) of the Upper Peninsula, which is where Meha and Archita’s friendship began, and is an ode to the sense of community they both experienced as young adults in Houghton. This podcast originated from a desire to share the stories of the extraordinary women in their lives, within their networks and communities, who are forging a path forward.

Too often podcasts and interviews are focused on women at the top of the proverbial ‘success ladder’. Yet, they were constantly amazed by women in their lives who are doing extraordinary things as they define success on their own terms. The podcast provides a platform to share and inspire others with these stories.

On the most recent episode they interview a fellow Michigan Tech Alumna, Andrea (Taglione) Bouman ’11 and MBA ’12 who is an ER Physician at UP Health System – Portage in Hancock. She shares how her time at Michigan Tech helped shape her journey towards becoming a physician wanting to serve the community while building a family.

You can tune into the episode. For more inspiring stories about women who are defining success on their own terms, one can subscribe to The Nine Oh Six on any podcast platform such as iTunes, Spotify, Stitchr and others. or you can listen to the episodes at www.thenineohsix. You can follow us on Facebook at The Nine Oh Six Podcast or on instagram @thenineohsix.

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Pearce Group on Solar Systems

Renewable EnergyECE student Trevor Peffley co-authored an article with Joshua Pearce (MSE/ECE) titled: “The Potential for Grid Defection of Small and Medium Sized Enterprises Using Solar Photovoltaic, Battery and Generator Hybrid Systems“, which was published in Renewable Energy.

https://doi.org/10.1016/j.renene.2019.12.039

Based on the results of this study it is clear that it is already technically and economically viable for all scales of commercial utility customers to install a solar, battery and natural gas hybrid electricity generation system.

In the News

Joshua Pearce’s (MSE/ECE) research on bifacial solar photovoltaic (PV) performance in the snow was covered by PV Magazine.

Joshua Pearce (MSE/ECE) is quoted in “2020 energy trends affecting consumers” published in Save.

In Print

Joshua Pearce (MSE/ECE) coauthored a study “Performance of Bifacial Photovoltaic Modules on a Dual-Axis Tracker in a High-Latitude, High-Albedo Environment” published in the Conference Proceedings of the IEEE Photovoltiac Specialists Conference (PVSC). 

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Synchrophasor Data Project Funding for Chee-Wooi Ten

Chee-Wooi Ten
Chee-Wooi Ten

Chee-Wooi Ten (ECE/AIM) is the principal investigator on a project that has received a $99,732 research and development cooperative agreement with the University of California Riverside. The project is entitled, “Discovery of Signatures, Anomalies, and Precursors in Synchrophasor Data with Matrix Profile and Deep Recurrent Neural Networks.” This is a 17-month project.

By Sponsored Programs.

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Tim Schulz Receives a 2019 CTL Instructional Award

Tim Schulz receives a 2019 Center for Teaching and Learning Instructional Award for his outstanding progress in online course curriculum and learning tool development. Tim is pictured (left) receiving the award from Mike Meyer, director of the Jackson CTL. On the right, Tim is pictured presenting on his curriculum development methods at the awards ceremony held Tuesday, October 22, 2019. Tim was chosen from a pool of Deans’ Teaching Showcase award recipients. Read more about the CTL awards.

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New Optics and Photonics Scholarship Available

A new scholarship at Michigan Tech is expected to advance the study of optics and photonics. The Optics and Photonics Scholarship was set up this past year by Michigan Tech Electrical and Computer Engineering alumnus Eustace Dereniak (‘63). Dereniak is a retired Professor and Professor Emeritus of Optical Sciences and Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ. He is also a past President of the International Society for Optics and Photonics (SPIE).

Chris Middlebrook, Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Michigan Tech, states that “The establishment of the Optics and Photonics Scholarship for undergraduate ECE students or other engineering students is a huge first step in the future direction of optical research and development at MTU.”

Photonics, the manipulation of light (photons), has revolutionized medical imaging, autonomous vehicles, solar power, optical computers, space optics and 3D printing. Photonics is poised to become the key technology of the future, surpassing electronics with new engineering challenges for the 21st Century.  A photon velocity is about 1000 times faster than electron velocity. Dereniak said, “My goal in establishing this scholarship is to motivate Michigan Tech’s engineering students to become hooked on optics as they investigate Michigan Tech’s optics/photonics curriculum and the unique career opportunities that exist within this rapidly growing field.”

SPIE has offered to match dollar-for-dollar any contributions to the scholarship fund, up to $60,000. Any person or organization that would like to contribute to the scholarship can do so by making a check payable to “Michigan Tech Fund #5392.” They may also contribute online at https://www.mtu.edu/givenow/?code=GIV0 (be sure to specify fund #5392).

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James Davis Receives the 2019 Jonathan Bara Award

James Davis is the 2019 recipient of the Jonathan Bara Award, an award given each year to an outstanding teaching assistant in ECE. This endowed award was set up by the family of Jonathan Bara, a 1975 electrical engineering master’s graduate who suffered a heart attack and passed away at the young age of 25. The award was presented at this fall’s Graduate Student Banquet held on September 23rd.

James then accepted the Matt Wolfe award on behalf of the 2019 recipient, Wyatt Adams.  The award was set up by the family of Matt Wolfe, a 1992 BSEE graduate and MSEE candidate who was tragically killed in an automobile accident.

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Former EE Department Head Keith Stanek Passes Away

Eldon Keith Stanek
Eldon Keith Stanek

Funeral services will be held in Rolla, Missouri this morning for E. Keith Stanek, former head of Michigan Tech’s Department of Electrical Engineering. He passed away Monday (Sept. 30) at the age of 77.

Stanek grew up in the Chicago area and earned bachelor’s, master’s and PhD degrees from the Illinois Institute of Technology (ITT). After teaching at ITT for two years, he spent 10 years at West Virginia University where he received an Outstanding Teaching Award.

In 1980, Stanek was named head of the Department of Electrical Engineering (now the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering) at Michigan Tech, by Franklin Essenburg, then dean of Tech’s College of Engineering.

Stanek left Tech in 1990 to take a similar position at the University of Missouri-Rolla, which has since been renamed the Missouri University of Science and Technology.

His background in industry included positions with Commonwealth Edison and the power system consulting firm of Sargent and Lundy. He also served as a consultant for the Departments of Interior and Energy, Union Carbide and Bendex.

Stanek was a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) serving on its national committee as well as the national committee of the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE).

Listed among his survivors are his wife of 31 years, Mary Sandra, five children, eight grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

A full obituary is available online.

By Mark Wilcox.

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ITC Gift of $100,000 for Relay Testers

Six Doble F-6150sv relay testers were purchased thanks to a $100,000 gift from ITC. ECE now has state of the art relay protection thanks to ITC, Doble for price discounts, and SEL for gifted relays. As shown, we have six full racks of equipment for lab sections of 12 students. This gift has had an immediate and tremendous positive impact on workforce development and it is greatly appreciated by all. Pictured are Glen Archer, ECE interim chair, Gordie Halt, ITC, and Bruce Mork, ECE professor.

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Havens Discusses Artificial Intelligence in Plain Terms

Timothy Havens
Timothy Havens

Cognitive scientist and Dartmouth professor John McCarthy coined the term artificial intelligence (AI) in 1955 when he began his exploration of whether machines could learn and develop formal reasoning like humans. More than 60 years later, AI is the hottest tech topic of the day, from the boardroom to the breakroom.

“AI is a mathematical and algorithmic model that allows computers to learn to do tasks without being explicitly programmed to do those tasks.” –Timothy Havens, the William and Gloria Jackson Associate Professor of Computer Systems in the College of Computing at Michigan Technological University and director of the Institute of Computing and Cybersystems.

For those who prefer analogies, Havens likens the way AI works to learning to ride a bike: “You don’t tell a child to move their left foot in a circle on the left pedal in the forward direction while moving your right foot in a circle… You give them a push and tell them to keep the bike upright and pointed forward: the overall objective. They fall a few times, honing their skills each time they fail,” Havens says. “That’s AI in a nutshell.”

Read more at The Enterprisers Project, by Stephanie Overby.

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