Category: Senior Design

2013 ECE Student Awards

Each year five student awards are given by the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. Nominations are received from ECE Faculty and Staff and voting is conducting. We are pleased to announce this year’s recipients.

ECE Departmental Scholar

Adam Funkenbusch, BSEE, BSECP

Adam Funkenbusch is a double major in Electrical Engineering and Computer Engineering with a GPA of 3.96.  Adam is a member of the Aerospace Enterprise, an interdisciplinary enterprise hosted in the Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics, which won the AFRL University Nanostat competition in 2011 (a major point of pride for Michigan Tech), working toward launch of the Oculus ASR in 2014. Adam is a Software Team Leader, responsible for a group of ten CpE and CS students doing both software and hardware development and carrying out project management.

The morning of the Spring 2013 Career Fair, Adam delivered a polished 5-minute presentation to a group of industry recruiters on the Aerospace Enterprise as part of the “ECE Showcase” which the Department hosted in the Student Development Complex.

Adam spent two summers as an intern at 3M ESPE (Dental Products Division) working on 3M’s True Definition Scanner, an electronic device for recording and creating a high-resolution 3D digital model of patient oral cavity. Adam was fortunate enough to be involved in the project from early development to product launch, contributing on both the software side and in the design of a solid calibration target housing.

He is the Corresponding Secretary of Eta Kappa Nu (EE honor society). His other contributions of service to Michigan Tech include a presentation to the sophomore circuits class on EE areas of specialization and he is the Webmaster for the Research Scholars Program.

Adam plays mellophone in the Michigan Tech Pep Band and participates in intramural frisbockey, flag football, broomball, bowling, and floor hockey. He speaks English (native), German (intermediate) and Spanish (beginner). Adam also participates in BonzAI Brawl and ACM‐ICPC programming competitions and is a member of Tau Beta Pi and Honors Institute.

ECE Woman of Promise

Rachel Swaney, BSECP

Rachel Slabaugh (Swaney) is an Electrical Engineering major with focus in Power and a GPA of 3.96. She is also working towards a Power Certificate. Rachel is a member of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and Institute of Electrical and Electrical Engineering (IEEE). She serves as a committee head for Tau Beta Pi and as treasurer for Eta Kappa Nu (EE honor society). She acted as VP of Public Relations for Blue Marble Security Enterprise as well as project manager for the Enterprise’s Heart Rate Monitor project where she managed a team of engineers who design a circuit board and corresponding instruction set as an EE lab for middle school outreach activities. She also serves on the ECE Undergraduate Advisory Board. Rachel had a controls focus internship with Paper Converting Machine Company where she organized and set up a rental replacement program for Human Machine Interface (HMI) systems and developed HMI screens. Rachel is also active in her local church where she teaches a toddler Sunday school class.

Carl S. Schjonberg Award for Outstanding Undergraduate ECE Student

Andrew Hoekstra, BSEE, BSECP

Andrew Hoekstra is a double major in Electrical Engineering and Computer Engineering with a GPA of 3.98. In addition, he has achieved an International Spanish Minor. Andrew is the president of the Honors Institute, a Student Ambassador, was on the Oculus ASR team of the Aerospace Enterprise where he has designed a circuit board and power supply for the Oculus Communication System, is an officer of Eta Kappa Nu (HKN), and is a Co-President of the Hybrid Electric Vehicle Enterprise. Andrew is also an assistant Karate instructor (black belt) and is certified as a Medical First Responder.

Andrew has been extremely helpful to the ECE department and is always willing to help when asked. He has volunteered with Preview Day, ECE annual phone campaign, and the Fall Open House. He has put together multiple initiatives as an HKN member including organizing the first ever “ECE Showcase” as part of the 2013 Spring Career Fair events, presenting information on concentrations to EE and CpE sophomores, and efforts to obtain corporate sponsorship for HKN.

Jonathan Bara Award for Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA)

Jennifer Winikus, PhD candidate in Computer Engineering

Jenn Winikus is currently pursuing her degree PhD in Computer Engineering. Her advisor is Prof. Wayne Weaver. Jenn has been active in many aspects of our graduate program and overall success of our department. Her contributions may be best described in her nomination for the award by ECE Associate Chair Glen Archer as he states:

[Jenn] has been a stalwart in one of our most challenging labs, EE3306, where she has shepherded many sections through the mysteries of the Motorolla HCS12 microcontroller.  In addition to her performance in the microcontroller lab, she has created and delivered our summer youth program for Women in Engineering, the Engineering Scholars Program, and both the EE and CpE week long explorations.   She has extended herself for her students by setting open lab hours on the weekends and evenings to allow them to complete their work.  She routinely receives high marks on the student surveys and glowing remarks in the written comment sections.

Matt Wolfe Award for Outstanding Graduate Research Assistant (GRA)

Himanshu Bahirat, PhD EE

Himanshu Bahirat earned both his PhD and MSEE at Michigan Tech. In both degrees, he has distinguished himself, the ECE Department, and Michigan Tech, and drawn praise from his research sponsors and collaborators.

Himanshu entered the PhD program in Jan 2009, supported by a GRA on a $1.15M collaborative MTU-NTNU project, http://www.doe.mtu.edu/news/2010/mork.pdf. He took a 10-month research exchange at NTNU in 2011-12, working with two other faculty-PhD student pairs there and taking a leadership role throughout. He has advanced state of the art in computer modeling of offshore wind farms and developed new high-voltage dc collector system topologies and technologies.  Related to this work to date, he has 1 published journal paper, 1 journal paper under review, 2 journal papers being submitted, and 3 more in progress. A patent application is in progress. He has published 4 refereed conference papers (2 are IEEE PES). He successfully defended in August 2013.

Himanshu completed his MSEE in Dec 2009. He was supported as a GRA and quickly became an expert in computer simulation of transients in high-voltage power systems.  Responding to a NERC (North American Electric Reliability Council) mandate to retrofit a failure-prone high-voltage equipment installation design, Himanshu and I worked with the research sponsor to address the 72 instances in their system.  Himanshu led the effort to develop a lower-cost more robust design modification, carried out the mathematical development, implemented the simulation model, and performed an exhaustive set of performance simulations. This resulted in a conference paper, a journal paper, and a recommendation to the IEEE stds committee to modify their existing standards.  The sponsor estimates that utilizing this new approach has saved them $3.5M compared to prior common practice.

At the time of his nomination, Himanshu had published two journal papers, one journal paper under review, two journal papers being submitted and three more in preparation, four peer-reviewed conference papers, two conference papers, and is the holder of three patents with one more under review.

IProf. Mork stated in his nomination that “in addition to the capabilities Himanshu has developed as a researcher, he possesses great professional skills, is excellent at teaming, and is a good role model and mentor of younger students.  As evidence, he is continuing at MTU this academic year as a postdoctoral research fellow and instructor, teaching EE5200 and EE5220, co-advising MSEE and PhD students, and writing research proposals. He is an outstanding representative of Michigan Tech and is highly deserving of this award.”


The Circuit – Newsletter 2011-2012

ECE 2011-2012 newsletter The Circuit is now available. The publication highlights recent activities in the department including: 

  • ECE Education in Tune with Industry – electrical and computer engineers in demand at Fall 2011 Career Fair 
  • The Changing Face of Engineering – Women in ECE
  • Establishment of the Dennis Wiitanen Professorship in Electric Energy Systems – “Doc” Wiitanen to be honored at May 4 retirement celebration
  • Paul and Susan Williams Center for Computer Systems Research Dedicated
  • Student’s Winning Satellite to be Launched into Orbit
  • Senior Design: A Renaissance Approach

2011 ECE Student Awards

Dr. Daniel Fuhrmann presents the 2011 ECE Departmental Scholar Award to Elizabeth (Liz) Cloos

The 2011 ECE Student Awards Banquet was held on Thursday, April 14, 2011 in the Memorial Union Building Ballroom on the Michigan Tech campus. The banquet is held each spring to honor ECE senior students and senior design/enterprise teams. It is also a time to recognize those who have gone above and beyond in their contribution to academics and the community. This year the ECE department was proud to present the following awards.

  • Elizabeth (Liz) Cloos: 2011 ECE Departmental Scholar
  • Nicholas Oberski: Carl Schjonberg Award – Outstanding Undergraduate Student
  • Michael Blaser: Jonathan Bara Award – Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant
Dr. Daniel Fuhrmann presents the 2011 Carl Schjonberg Award for Outstanding Undergraduate Student to Nicholas Oberski
Dr. Daniel Fuhrmann presents the 2011 Jonathon Bara Award for Outstanding Teaching Assistant to Michael Blaser

As part of its spring meeting agenda, the ECE External Advisory  Committee (EAC) observes the department’s senior design presentations and poster displays to select a team that best meets or exceeds their specific criteria related to today’s industry needs. This year’s EAC Industry Innovation Award went to Team 5 for their Power Assisted Door Safety for Armored Vehicles project sponsored by BAE Systems Global Tactical Systems. Team members Ryan Anderson, Bradford Johnston, Matt Klotzer, Callin O’Farrell, and Alex Puestow each received a $150 cash prize for their work.

Jon Jipping, Chief Operating Office and Executive VP of ITC Holdings and EAC Chair, presents the Industry Inovation Award to Senior Design Team 5 (Ryan Anderson, Bradford Johnston, Matt Klotzer, Callin O'Farrell, and Alex Puestow)

Another highlight of the awards ceremony is the presentation of the Eta Kappa Nu Honor Society “Outstanding Professor of the Year” award. This year’s recipient was Dr. Chris Middlebrook, Assistant Professor in the area of Photonics. Dr. Middlebrook began teaching at Michigan Tech in fall 2007.

Liz Cloos presents the Eta Kappa Nu Honor Society, "Outstanding Professor of the Year" award to Dr. Chris Middlebrook