Category: Awards

Fridays with Fuhrmann: A heartfelt thank you!

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L-R Front: ECE Chair Dr. Dan Fuhrmann, Prof. John Lukowski, recipients Casey Strom, Ester Buhl, and Lauren Clark. L-R Back: recipient Jonathan Schulz, Prof. Bruce Mork, recipients Dustin Hanes, Zachary Jensen, Troy Johnston, and Executive Vice President of Systems Control Brad Lebouef.

This week Michigan Tech made an announcement of a gift from ECE alumnus David Brule, Sr., in support of scholarships in the ECE Department. You can read all about it on the university daily news source “Tech Today“.

Dave Brule is a very good friend of Michigan Tech and of the ECE Department. He has supported a number of initiatives at the university, and while this is not done secretly or anonymously, to my knowledge none of the activities or facilities he has supported carry his name. For example, he was a major contributor to the Dennis Wiitanen Endowed Professorship in Electric Power Engineering, named in honor of a long-time and much-loved faculty member in the ECE Department. He recently funded the renovation of a plaza outside the library, named in honor of retired facilities manager John Rovano.

There are several reasons this is good news for the ECE Department. The first is of course the financial support that it provides for some of our most promising students. Beyond that, however, it serves as a good recruiting tool for the ECE Department, and it raises our visibility as a Department with a long history of excellence in undergraduate education in electrical power transmission and distribution. This is an area where there are significant workforce needs, now and anticipated in the near future. Indeed this is part of Dave’s motivation: to get more students interested in the utility power industry in general, and for Systems Control in particular.  In order to attract students into the field, the ECE Department and its partners and friends need to do everything possible to raise awareness of the career opportunities, and to train students to be ready for those opportunities. Finally, I have to commend Dave for really raising the bar in terms of the philanthropic response to this workforce need. A lot of recruiters talk to me about tapping into our ECE talent pipeline, which is gratifying of course and along with Career Services I do everything I can to help them. Now we have a first-rate example of what it really takes to get the attention of students in today’s job market, and it is much more than anything I could ever do by myself.

Michigan Tech is very grateful to all its alumni, friends, and other donors for their philanthropic support of the university mission. It means the world to us. I encourage anyone with a possible interest in doing the same to get in touch – I’d love to talk to you.

– Dan

Daniel R. Fuhrmann

Dave House Professor and Chair

Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Michigan Technological University


Follow ECE on Social Media

MTU_ECE_smphotoThe Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) is now on Facebook and Twitter. Like and follow us for faculty spotlights, student accomplishments, outreach and events, industry and alumni news, and more; including a weekly post from the chair in “Fridays with Fuhrmann”. We hope you’ll add us to your social media picks.


ECE Annual Report 2015

ECE Annul Report 2015
ECE Annul Report 2015

We are happy to share with you our newly released ECE Annual Report 2015. A look back at our past year highlights research activities by Profs. Zhaohui Wang, Wayne Weaver, Bruce Mork, and Mike Roggemann, along with ECE’s involvement in Michigan Tech’s new research agreement with Google ATAP. Once again the year included a wide variety of hands-on student projects in our Senior Design and Enterprise programs and we thank our sponsors for making it all possible! Our undergraduate programs added two new concentrations starting Fall 2015 – Biomedical Applications and Environmental Applications within the Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering. We invite you to read about these stories and more. From all of us at ECE, best wishes for 2016!


Zhaohui Wang Receives Outstanding Service Award

Zhaohui Wang resized
Zhaohui Wang, ECE Assistant Professor

Zhaohui Wang, Assistant Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Michigan Tech University, received the Outstanding Service Award for her work as Information Systems Chair in the 10th ACM International Conference on Underwater Networks & Systems (WUWNet), held in Washington DC, October 22-24, 2015. The scope of the WUWNet conference covers a broad range of research directions relevant to underwater networks and network-related signal processing, communications, systems, and applications. The goal of WUWNet is to bring together researchers and practitioners in areas relevant to underwater networks, and serve as a forum for presenting state of the art research, exchanging ideas and experiences, and facilitating interaction and collaboration.

WUWNet’15 link: http://wuwnet.acm.org/2015/

Kit Cischke Selected for Dean’s Teaching Showcase

Kit Cischke, ECE Sr. Lecturer
Kit Cischke, ECE Sr. Lecturer

The Dean’s Teaching Showcase nominee for this week comes from the College of Engineering. Dean Wayne Pennington has chosen to recognize Kit Cischke, a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and faculty advisor for the Wireless Communication Enterprise.

Associate Dean Leonard Bohmann indicates that the “students love Kit because he brings his practical experience into the class, showing the practical applications of the theory.” As evidence, Eta Kappa Nu, the Electrical and Computer Engineering student honor society, selected Kit as their Professor of the Year in both 2013 and 2014. Bohmann continues: “Kit has the ability to make complex topics easy to understand. He works hard to get students to understand and have fun doing it.”

Kit indicates that he does this through analogies, humor, and being open and approachable to students. He strives to be a “complete human being” with his students, sharing stories about his family and life. He also tries to “embrace technology”, using an iPad to deliver his lectures and an audio recorder so students can review them.

Kit has a long history of excellent teaching contributions at Michigan Tech. Brian Broeders, an alumnus who has been working as a product engineer for Plexus Engineering Solutions since 2009, praised Kit in a 2010 Linked In post for similar reasons. “He teaches class material in a clear and easy to understand format and his lab exercises help students make use of topics learned in class…I wish I had more instructors like him when I was in school.” Current students also praise his involvement as an organizational advisor and the fact that he really cares whether students are learning the material.

Cischke will be formally recognized with the 11 other Dean’s Teaching Showcase nominees at a luncheon near the end of spring term. Please join Dean Pennington and the Jackson Center for Teaching and Learning in thanking Kit for his outstanding contributions to the teaching mission of the College of Engineering.

Story as posted in Tech Today, March 25, 2015


Michael Briseno awarded Mi-Light Photonics Scholarship

Michael Briseno receives Mi-Light Scholarship award from ECE Chair Dan Fuhrmann
Dan Fuhrmann presents Mi-Light Scholarship Award to Michael Briseno

Michael Briseno, a senior double majoring in Electrical Engineering and Biomedical Engineering, was selected to receive a $1,250 Mi-Light Photonics Scholarship for academic year 2014-2015. The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Michigan Technological University was among four in-state academic institutions to receive a share of the $5,000 scholarship funding provided by Mi-Light, the Michigan photonics industry cluster. The scholarship was created to support and promote photonics-related business in Michigan.

This fall, applications were accepted from undergraduate students majoring in electrical engineering; currently or have previously completed course work in photonics ; minimum GPA of 3.0; and demonstrated intent of continuing within the field. In addition to Briseno’s desire to pursue a career in photonics/optics, he was selected for his academic accomplishments and service.

Briseno is a member of the International Society for Optics and Photonics and the Optical Society of America, serving as secretary of the SPIE/OSA student organization at Michigan Tech. As SPIE/OSA secretary, he participated in middle and high school outreach programs presenting photonics demos and talking with students. He notes that one of the most rewarding things of this experience was seeing the students’ eyes light up as they learned about photonics through visually exciting applications. This past summer Briseno was hired by PPG Industries as a color scientist intern working with the optical properties of automotive paints and refinish.

Briseno also serves as president of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) and is a member of Michigan Tech’s Memorial Union Board and Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES).

See ECE Photonics for more information regarding the ECE Department’s Photonics Concentration.

Mi-Light is a non-profit organization serving Michigan’s photonics industry by bringing together professionals from companies, academia and organizations to mutually support and promote photonics-related business. For more on Mi-Light visit: www.mi-light.org.

Funds for this initiative were provided by the 21st Century Jobs Fund, a Michigan Strategic Fund program designed to accelerate the growth and diversification of Michigan’s economy. The MEDC, a public-private partnership between the state and local communities, provides administrative support for the 21st Century Jobs Fund. The MEDC markets Michigan and provides the tools and environment to drive job creation and investment. For more information on the 21st Century Jobs Fund initiative, visit www.MichiganAdvantage.org.For more on MEDC visit:  MichiganAdvantage.org.


Dr. Dennis Wiitanen Honored with Legacy Marker

IMG_2575denniswiitanenThe unveiling of the first Legacy Marker for Alumni Way was held in front of the EERC. The Legacy Marker serves to honor someone associated with Michigan Tech, and it was unveiled and presented as a surprise to the Dennis O. Wiitanen, Professor Emeritus, Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Dennis O. Wiitanen received the B.S. and M.S. degrees from Michigan Tech in 1963 and 1967 respectively, and the Ph.D. degree from the University of Missouri-Rolla in 1970, all in electrical engineering.

In 1970, he joined the electrical and computer engineering department at Michigan Tech, where his major research interests were in the areas of insulating materials and power systems. Dr. Wiitanen taught courses in both electric machines and power systems for over forty years. He is currently a Professor Emeritus.

Dr. Wiitanen is a member of the IEEE’s Power Engineering Society, Education Society, Industry Applications Society, and Dielectrics and Electrical Insulation Society, serving on several committees and subcommittees, and is a Registered Professional Engineer in the State of Michigan.

See the Photo Gallery

See the Video from UpperMichiganSource

Dennis Wiitanen Legacy Monument
Dennis Wiitanen Legacy Monument

Michigan Tech/ECE Receives Mi-Light Photonics Scholarship Award

Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering - Photonics Concentration
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering – Photonics Concentration

Mi-Light, the Michigan photonics industry cluster, announced the funding and award of $5,000 in scholarships to four in-state academic institutions. Baker College, Grand Valley State University, Michigan Technological University, and Northwestern Michigan College. Each college or university was allocated $1,250 to be awarded to students enrolled in photonics programs. For the complete press release see Manufacturing Engineering Magazine.

The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Michigan Tech will award one recipient the Mi-Light Photonics Scholarship in the amount of $1,250 during the 2014-2015 academic year. Eligible students must meet the basic requirements: Undergraduate student; Electrical Engineering major; currently or have previously completed course work in photonics; minimum GPA of 3.0; and demonstrated intent of continuing within the field. Students interested in applying for the scholarship must submit a cover letter detailing your background, experience, and interests in Photonics to Dr. Christopher Middlebrook at ctmiddle@mtu.edu. Deadline to apply is November 1, 2014.

See ECE Photonics more information regarding the ECE Department’s Photonics Concentration program.

About Mi-Light: Mi-Light is a non-profit organization serving Michigan’s photonics industry by bringing together professionals from companies, academia and organizations to mutually support and promote photonics-related business. For more on Mi-Light visit: www.mi-light.org.

MEDC Statement: Funds for this initiative were provided by the 21st Century Jobs Fund, a Michigan Strategic Fund program designed to accelerate the growth and diversification of Michigan’s economy. The MEDC, a public-private partnership between the state and local communities, provides administrative support for the 21st Century Jobs Fund. The MEDC markets Michigan and provides the tools and environment to drive job creation and investment. For more information on the 21st Century Jobs Fund initiative, visit www.MichiganAdvantage.org.For more on MEDC visit:  MichiganAdvantage.org.


ECE Anounces 2014 Department Awards

Maria Damiani, ECE 2014 Departmental Scholar

The 2014 ECE Department Awards banquet was held on Thursday, April 17, 2014 in the Memorial Union Building Ballroom on the Michigan Tech campus. The banquet is held each spring to honor ECE students and senior design and enterprise teams. It is also a time to recognize those who have gone above and beyond in their contributions to academics and the community. This year the ECE department was proud to present the following student awards.

– ECE Departmental Scholar: Maria Damiani

– ECE Woman of Promise: Myder Vang

– Carl J. Schjonberg Outstanding Undergraduate Student: Chen Li

– Jonathan Bara Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant: Marco La Manna

As part of the ECE’s External Advisory Committee (EAC) Spring 2014 agenda, the members observed the department’s senior design and enterprise team presentations and poster displays to select a team from each group that best meets or exceeds their specific criteria related to today’s industry needs. This year’s EAC Industry Innovation Award went to Senior Design Team 1 for their project “Transmission System Guidelines for Line Commutated Motor Starting” sponsored by American Transmission Company (ATC), advisor Trever Hassell. SD-1 team members: Connor Dziubinski, Jon Hohol, Andrew Martin, and Daniel Parent. Blue Marble Security team “Blood Typing Device”, sponsored by Dr. Adrienne Minerick, Chemical Engineering, advisor Dr. Glen Archer, was selected from the enterprise teams. BMS-1 team members: Korbin Bickel, Gerry Chan, Matthew Gruber, Eman Jazayeri, and Mike Switala.

For more details see ECE Student Awards.

For the second consecutive year, Prof. Kit Cischke was named Professor of the Year by the Eta Kappa Nu (HKN) Honor Society.

Myder Vang, ECE 2014 Woman of Promise
Chen Li, Carl J. Schjonberg Outstanding ECE Undergraduate Student
Marco La Manna, Jonathan Bara Outstanding ECE Graduate Teaching Assistant
EAC Industry Innovation Award: Senior Design Team 1: Connor Dziubinski, Jon Hohol, Andrew Martin, and Daniel Parent
EAC Industry Innovation Award: Blue Marble Security Team "Blood Typing Device": Korbin Bickel, Gerri Chan, Matthew Gruber, Eman Jazayeri, and Mike Switala
Prof. Kit Cischke, HKN Professor of the Year, presented by Adam Funkenbusch

First Place Award for Graduate Poster to Kaitlyn Bunker

Kaitlyn Bunker, Electrical and Computer Engineering, First Place, Posters, presented by Howard Haselhuhn of GSG, High Dimension Droop Control for Wind Resources in DC Microgrids

The main events of this symposium were a Poster Presentation Session and a Research Colloquium sponsored
by the Graduate Student Government

There is a report for the Graduate Research Colloquium 2014 with photos and awards.

Kaitlyn Bunker, Electrical and Computer Engineering, First Place, Posters, presented by Howard Haselhuhn of GSG, High Dimension Droop Control for Wind Resources in DC Microgrids