Ranit Karmakar Wins Best Overall Venture Award

Husky Innovate Students Win Top Prizes in New Venture Online Competition

For the 11th year running, Central Michigan University and Michigan Tech collaborated to offer Tech students a chance to compete at CMU’s New Venture Competition. 2021 marked the second year the pitch competition was held online as the New Venture Online Competition (NVOC).

Despite the challenges of a pandemic and a virtual platform, our students persevered, honed their pitches and won top prizes. This year’s NVOC winners were also winners at the 2021 Bob Mark Business Model Pitch Competition held at Tech in January. All of their hard work and effort paid off!

Congratulations to this year’s MTU winners:

Read more in the NVOC 2021 Booklet.

By Husky Innovate.


Anna Browne Wins President’s Award for Leadership

Anna Browne
Anna Browne

Outstanding students, staff, and a special alumni were honored Friday (April 16, 2021) during Michigan Tech’s 27th Annual Student Leadership Awards Virtual Ceremony.

Anna Browne was selected to receive the President’s Award for Leadership. Brown is pursuing a degree in electrical engineering with a concentration in electrical power. She has shown excellent success during her time as a student. Her involvement and contributions to Michigan Tech’s campus are numerous and cast such a wide net as shown in her 13 nominations.

Anna, who has had multiple internships at Black & Veatch and Westwood Professional Services, has served in project and team leader roles with the Alternative Energy Enterprise on projects like the Baraga Community solar and the on-campus mine water geothermal system. She’s been an active part of the residence education and housing services community as a senior student resident assistant and resident assistant for three years.

She’s also been a valuable contributing member to the Center for Diversity and Inclusion community. Anna has left a mark on Michigan Tech’s community. In her essay she writes how she strived to be a role model for others through community building.

She wrote, “Through my Michigan Tech Experience, my values of leadership, community, openness, and integrity have been demonstrated through every aspect of my involvement. In trying to create a supportive community, I have strived to give a sense of comfort and belonging to those without a place. Michigan Tech has helped me find my values and my identities, and I hope through my involvement that I have left a positive mark on Michigan Tech as it has left on me.”

By Student Leadership and Involvement.


Kaitlyn Bunker is an Outstanding Young Alumna

Kaitlyn Bunker
Kaitlyn Bunker

Outstanding students, staff, and a special alumni were honored Friday (April 16) during Michigan Tech’s 27th Annual Student Leadership Awards Virtual Ceremony.

Keynote speaker Kaitlyn Bunker ’10 ’12 ’14 (BS, MS, PhD Electrical Engineering), won the Outstanding Young Alumni Award along with Megan Kreiger ’09 ’12 (Mathematics and Materials Science and Engineering).

By Student Leadership and Involvement.


Anindya Ghoshroy Joins the Field of Compressed Ultrafast Photography

Anindya Ghoshroy
Anindya Ghoshroy

Dr. Anindya Ghoshroy (PhD ’20) begins the new year with a postdoctoral researcher position at California Institute of Technology. Ghoshroy will be working under the direction of Dr. Lihong Wang, a world-renowned researcher in the imaging field, and the inventor of the fastest optical technology in the world, called compressed ultrafast photography (CUP), capable of 10 trillion frames per second.

Wang and Ghoshroy are interested in the next big step – investigating the near field implementations of ultrafast photography, and the resolution of nanoscale transient scenes. An integration of the CUP framework with “active convolved illumination” (ACI), an image-capturing technology that Ghoshroy and his PhD advisor Dr. Durdu Guney have been developing, and will potentially lead to a significant first step towards this direction.

ACI, being immune to “noise” will potentially enable imaging of live cells, virus, and bacteria with fine details, not accessible with the state-of-the-art imaging systems.

Set of ACI images.
Ground truth, Raw data, ACI futuristic illustration of SARS CoV2, ACI OFF, ACI ON with 3 nm scale bar, and ACI ON as a 3D model.


ECE Hosts Work Bees to Make Outreach Kits

Small group of Society of Women Engineers volunteers preparing outreach kits.
Society of Women Engineers (SWE) members volunteer to prepare holiday tree circuit board kits for use in “near-peer” outreach.

On a Mission to Make Hundreds of Outreach Kits, ECE Hosts Work Bees

by Liz Fujita

On multiple evenings in October, the lab space in EERC 722 was the image of organized chaos. Bags of LEDs, resistors, capacitors, switches, and batteries spilled out on lab benches, waiting to be counted out into bags. Soldering irons heated up, fume-extracting fans whirring. Empty boxes steadily filled with kits ready to bring to pre-college students. With 600 hands-on outreach kits to prepare, the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering has been hard at work this fall with the help of phenomenal student volunteers, and there is still plenty more to go. 

Interim chair Dr. Glen Archer is the PI on a grant from the Michigan Space Grant Consortium (MSGC) for the 2020-21 academic year that focuses on getting electrical engineering projects out to pre-college students at multiple levels. Along with co-PI Dr. Gretchen Hein (MMET) and academic advisor Liz Fujita (ECE), the program centers on multiple layers of mentorship.

“It’s an ambitious idea,” says Fujita, who in addition to advising helps to coordinate outreach efforts in the ECE department. “Michigan Tech has a lot of successful outreach programs that rely on this idea of near-peer mentoring—that idea that college students presenting information is more engaging, cooler, and better-received by high school students.” The MSGC proposal calls for several layers of near-peer mentoring to take place at several schools: 

College students teach high school students how to solder and the basics of electronic components with the heart rate monitor boards

Under the guidance of those college mentors, the high school students teach middle school students similar skills on the (slightly easier) tree circuit boards. 

And, lastly, the middle schoolers take bouncy bot kits to their elementary school to teach 4th and 5th graders the basics of circuits. 

All of this requires a tremendous amount of preparation. In October alone, members of Blue Marble Security Enterprise and the Society of Women Engineers spent a combined 50+ hours soldering, counting, stuffing bags, and organizing materials. 

ECE has on multiple occasions joined forces with the Society for Women Engineers. Funding for this project includes support for not only the activity kits themselves (circuit boards, LEDs, resistors, batteries, etc.), but also for soldering stations, storage bins, and travel to schools in the local area as well as downstate. The combined funding secured by SWE and ECE will enable them to prepare 200 of each activity kit.

Notes Archer, “Near-peer mentoring allows younger students to picture themselves in a future state. They see this person in front of them and imagine their own life, in that role.” Although current COVID-19 restrictions leave the group unsure of when they will be able to visit schools, they remain optimistic. And, as work bees continue, they will be more than ready!

Volunteer ECE students preparing kits for near-peer mentoring projects sponsored by the Michigan Space Grant Consortium (MSGC)


Chee-Wooi Ten Negotiates Two Book Contracts with CRC Press

Chee-Wooi Ten
Chee-Wooi Ten

Associate Professor Chee-Wooi Ten, Electrical and Computer Engineering, recently finalized contracts to write two books for CRC Press, a major publisher of humanities, social science, and STEM books and textbooks. Ten is a member of the Institute of Computing and Cybersystems’s Center for Cyber-Physical Systems.

The first book is titled, Electric Power Distribution System Engineering, 4th edition. Ten has been teaching EE5250 Distribution Engineering I at Michigan Tech for 10 years.

The second book, Modern Power System Analysis, 3rd Edition, is used to accompany a senior-level power engineering elective. Both books are tentatively scheduled to be published in January 2022.

Read more at the Institute for Computing and Cybersystems, by Karen S. Johnson.


Christopher Middlebrook Awarded Device from Gentec-EO Laser Lab

Chris Middlebook (ECE) was one of the winners of the Gentec-EO Laser Lab Awards. Middlebrook won a Beamage-4M laser beam profiler.

The Gentec-EO Laser Lab Awards contest aims to support optics laboratories in universities and colleges in the United States. Its goal is to ensure students have access to the same quality measurement instruments that are used today in the industry.


MTU Team Among Winners of TiM$10K Challenge

Group of five team members.
L-R: Brian Parvin, Paul Allen, David Brushaber, Alex Kirchner, and Kurtis Alessi

A Michigan Tech team is among the winners of the SICK Inc. TiM$10K Challenge. For the second year, students from universities around the country were invited to participate in the challenge, designed to support innovation and student achievement in automation and technology.

For the competition, teams were supplied with a 270-foot SICK LiDAR sensor and accessories, and challenged to solve a problem, create a solution or bring a new application to any industry that utilizes the SICK LiDAR.

The Tech team members — Brian Parvin, Kurtis Alessi, Alex Kirchner, David Brushaber and Paul Allen — earned Honorable Mention (fourth place overall) for their project, Evaluating Road Markings (the Road Stripe Evaluator). The innovative product aims to help resolve issues caused by poor road markings while reducing maintenance costs and improving motorist safety.

Each team was asked to submit a video and paper for judging upon completion of its project. A panel of judges decided the winning submissions based on creativity and innovation, ability to solve a customer problem, commercial potential, entrepreneurship of the team, and reporting.

“This was a unique project in that the team was required to identify a problem and develop a solution to it that is based on SICK’s TiM LiDAR — most teams are handed a problem and asked to create a solution,” said team advisor Tony Pinar, senior design coordinator in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. “I think this format allowed the team to exercise even more innovation than a ‘typical’ project.”

Pinar said the team was well organized and demonstrated an excellent work ethic from day one. “It was exciting to watch them identify a salient problem and develop a functional proof-of-concept solution despite the setbacks that affected us all after spring break,” he said.

SICK is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of sensors, safety systems, machine vision, encoders and automatic identification products for industrial applications.


ECE Virtual Senior Recognition and Awards Ceremony Held

The ECE Virtual Senior Recognition and Awards Ceremony was held Thursday, May 7, 2020.

Kit Cischke, senior lecturer and undergraduate program chair, presented ECE’s departmental awards.

Andrew Bratton

Andrew Bratton was the recipient of the 2020 ECE Departmental Scholar Award, given to a senior who best represents student scholarship at Michigan Tech. This outstanding student is considered excellent not only by academic standards, but also for participation in research scholarship activity, levels of intellectual curiosity, creativity, and communication skills. Andrew was nominated by Academic Advisor and Outreach Specialist Liz Fujita.

Samantha Fincannon

The 2020 ECE Woman of Promise was awarded to Samantha Fincannon. Samantha received several nominations for this award. The goal of this program is to recognize women at Michigan Tech who go “above and beyond” what is expected of them in terms of being a well-rounded student – one who has demonstrated academic achievement, campus and community leadership, good citizenship, creativity, etc. In short, women who exemplify the early-on criteria that would be considered when selecting future inductees to the Presidential Council of Alumnae.  The departments’ Women of Promise are recognized at the annual Presidential Council of Alumnae (PCA) Induction Ceremony/Luncheon held during the Fall semester. Recipients are also invited to other PCA activities where they have the opportunity to provide input on a variety of topics.

Katy Lichty

The 2020 Carl S. Schjonberg Outstanding Undergraduate Student Award was given to Katy Lichty. Katy received several nominations for the award. This award is given annually to an outstanding undergraduate student who exemplifies a dedication to learning and a commitment to the University. Professor Schjonberg was a faculty member in the Electrical Engineering Department from 1936 to 1970. He contributed significantly to the growth and development of the department and was dedicated to the education of electrical engineering students. This endowed award was established by his wife as a memorial to his long and dedicated career as an educator.

The EMP Mitigation Testing Senior Design Team
L to R: Chris Bousho, Advisor John Lukowski, Darin Shillair, Joshua Romanowski, Alexander Kellogg, Jacob Phelan and Addison Waege

ECE’s External Advisory Committee (EAC) presented the EMP Mitigation Testing Team with the Larry Kennedy Industry Innovation Award. The team is advised by John Lukowski, and Systems Control of Iron Mountain, MI sponsored the project. Team members are Chris Bousho, Darin Shillair, Joshua Romanowski, Alexander Kellogg, Jacob Phelan, and Addison Waege.

The ECE External Advisory Committee (EAC) is a collection of volunteers from many different industries whose goal is to ensure the ECE academic program is aligned with industry to produce graduates companies would want to hire. Larry Kennedy is an ECE alumnus who served on the EAC for many years and succumbed to illness while serving as chair. Each spring, the EAC members observe ECE’s senior design and enterprise team presentations and poster displays and select a team that best meets or exceeds specific criteria related to today’s industry needs. The Larry Kennedy Industry Innovation Award is given to the senior project that shows the highest level of project management, applied engineering and application to industry.

Each spring, the IEEE – Eta Kappa Nu Honors Society (HKN) polls the ECE student body to select the winner of the Professor of the Year award within the ECE Department. This event allows ECE students the opportunity to thank and encourage outstanding ECE faculty.

Chris Middlebrook

The 2020 HKN Professor of the Year was awarded to Chris Middlebrook. The students said Dr. Middlebrook makes class fun, and takes feedback to maximize understanding. Homework is pointed toward further understanding the material taught. Says a nominator, Professor Middlebrook has taken the PCB Fabrication course and turned it into an incredible experience for students with guest lectures and the lab component. He is hoping to develop this into a focus area, and grow the department’s use for this in the future. He also has been an integral part in the foundation of the new student organization, IPC and Electronics. Dr. Middlebrook is easygoing and funny – he keeps classes light and fun while still getting the required material across. 

Gabe Allis

MasterPiECE Mania is an event held each spring and sponsored by the IEEE (Institute for Electrical and Electronic Engineers) student organization and the ECE department. Students design, build and demonstrate projects and win cash prizes for the best innovation. All majors are welcome to participate. This year’s top prize of $500 was awarded to Gabe Allis for his high torque motor innovation.  Second place ($300) was given to Jared Engwis for his Covid Globe innovation, and third place ($200) went to Jacob Allen for his Smart Respirator. The IEEE student organization is advised by Jeff Burl.


Soft Community Detection

Sakineh “Audrey” Yazdanparast (ECE), Timothy C. Havens (CC), and Mohsen Jamalabdollahi have authored “Soft Overlapping Community Detection in Large-Scale Networks via Fast Fuzzy Modularity Maximization,” which is available under the “Early Access” area on IEEE Xplore.

Extract

Soft overlapping clustering is one of the notable problems of community detection. Extensive research has been conducted to develop efficient methods for non-overlapping and crisp-overlapping community detection in large-scale networks. In this paper, Fast Fuzzy Modularity Maximization (FFMM) for soft overlapping community detection is proposed. FFMM exploits novel iterative equations to calculate the modularity gain associated with changing the fuzzy membership values of network vertices. The simplicity of the proposed scheme enables efficient modifications, reducing computational complexity to a linear function of the network size and the number of communities.

Citation

S. Yazdanparast, T. C. Havens and M. Jamalabdollahi, “Soft Overlapping Community Detection in Large-Scale Networks via Fast Fuzzy Modularity Maximization,” in IEEE Transactions on Fuzzy Systems.

DOI: 10.1109/TFUZZ.2020.2980502