Category Archives: Undergraduate Students

Nucor Industrial Control and Automation Lab Opens

Nucor_3

A ceremony was held Monday to celebrate completion of the new Nucor Industrial Control and Automation Laboratory in the Electrical Energy Resources Center. The state-of-the-art facility was made possible by a $255,000 gift from Nucor Corporation, the largest manufacturer of steel products in North America.

The laboratory is a collaborative effort of Electrical Engineering Technology in the School of Technology and the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering in the College of Engineering. It is an example of cooperation within Michigan Tech’s new Alliance for Computing, Information and Automation (ACIA), which combines common interests among established academic units to better equip future graduates and to align research activities with contemporary technological challenges.

The laboratory consists of eight portable Amatrol Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) Learning Systems, equipped with Allen-Bradley CompactLogix 5300 PLCs and Human Machine Interface (HMI). These trainers enhance the teaching of PLC concepts and HMI programming using the latest generation of PLCs. The new technology also includes a fluid flow Process Control Learning System equipped with a Honeywell PID controller and four mechatronic stations fully integrated with a Fanuc Robotics System, enabling teaching of advanced concepts of PLC programming and overall system troubleshooting skills.

PLCs are an integral part of nearly all industrial processes today. A PLC is a digital computer used for the automation of a variety of electromechanical processes, including temperature ranges, immunity to electrical noise and resistance to vibration and impact. PLCs are often integrated with robotic technology.

“Graduates who will be employed in industries utilizing these systems must not only have basic knowledge of PLCs and robotics, but also the skills to integrate these systems,” said Jim Frendewey, dean of the School of Technology. “The knowledge and experience students receive will produce well-educated graduates with practical, hands-on experience designing, configuring and troubleshooting industrial control systems.”

Dan Fuhrmann, chair of electrical and computer engineering, said, “Knowledge and experience in control systems has been the single most sought-after skill set from our corporate recruiters looking to hire electrical engineering graduates, for the past several years. With the Nucor Laboratory we will take a major step forward in meeting the demands of industry and open up opportunities for our students.”

President Glenn Mroz emphasized the importance of the new lab as he spoke to those in attendance at the ceremony. “Michigan’s economy has gone from one of the worst to 16th for growth among the states in a very short time,” he said. ”We’re now in a renaissance in manufacturing, and the people graduating today have the knowledge and skills because of companies like Nucor who have made substantial investments in the education of Michigan Tech students. We realize that this represents a commitment both by Nucor and our faculty and staff that only comes about when people have a clear bead on priorities. We’re thankful to Nucor for helping our students have the best.”

Kurt Kalenauskas, an electrical engineering technology senior, said he is “jealous of the new students who get to learn and work with the equipment and technology the Nucor laboratory has to offer.”

Nucor has an established relationship with Michigan Tech that began in 2008, when the company sent two representatives to a Career Fair. They were so impressed that they asked Career Services how Nucor could help Michigan Tech help its students.  Since then, the company has become a Career Services Gold Partner, providing financial support and sending several representatives to campus before each Career Fair to work directly with students on interview and resume preparation.

“Nucor recruits technical talent and future leaders at Michigan Tech because Tech graduates have proven to be successful Nucor teammates,” said Dave Davolt, electrical supervisor at the company. “Nucor’s relationship and involvement with Michigan Tech has grown stronger over the years. This is evident with Nucor’s investment in technology relevant to today’s manufacturing industry. With these investments and partnerships, Nucor hopes to better equip students for postgraduation opportunities, which we hope they seek with Nucor. “

Aleksandr Sergeyev, an associate professor in the School of Technology with a special interest in robotics, will head the new laboratory, with faculty from both Electrical Engineering Technology and Electrical and Computer Engineering teaching there. Hundreds of students each year will participate in laboratory activities, and those numbers are expected to grow with future development of new advanced courses made possible by the capabilities of the lab.


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

Judy Donahue – Receives Faculty International Development Award

ECE Undergraduate Advisor Judy Donahue

Judy Donahue, an academic advisor for undergraduates in electrical and computer engineering, has been named the recipient of a Faculty International Development Award. The award–co-sponsored by the Provost’s Office, International Programs and Services (IPS) and USAC, a study-abroad provider–will enable Donahue to spend five weeks at a study-abroad site in Viterbo, Italy, next summer.

At Viterbo, Donahue will study Italian language and culture.

The aim of the award is to provide academic advisers with the opportunity to study abroad themselves, so that they can better advise students on the value of study-abroad experiences.

“I can’t think of a more deserving candidate to receive this award,” said IPS Director Thy Yang. “Judy has been one of our strongest champions for study abroad, and we trust that her experience will give her the first-hand knowledge she needs to do an even better job of convincing students of the value of gaining an overseas experience.

Yang said she also believes that Donahue’s time overseas will help her better understand the needs of Michigan Tech’s international students.

Associate Provost Christa Walck added: “One of our university student learning goals is global literacy and knowledge of human culture.” The best way to develop this literacy is study abroad, and relatively few Michigan Tech students do. Academic advisors are very important to encourage and guide students to take advantage of our many study-abroad opportunities. When Thy Yang told me about this opportunity for advisors, I was happy to support it. As a dedicated and enthusiastic advisor and a member of the Advising Council, Judy is so deserving of this opportunity to experience study abroad first-hand.”

As posted in Tech Today, 12/13/2013

http://www.admin.mtu.edu/urel/ttoday/email/?issue=20131213


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

Dennis “Doc” Wiitanen Announces Retirement

After 42 years of distinguished and dedicated service to the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Michigan Tech, Professor Dennis O. Wiitanen announces his retirement, to be honored May 4, 2012. Prof. Wiitanen is a nationally recognized leader in electric power and energy systems. His most significant impact and his lasting legacy, though, is in undergraduate education. Thousands of Michigan Tech students have completed his classes in power system design and analysis, and have gone on to take their place in the workforce.

Dennis was, and continues to be, a tireless team member and advocate for the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. No one knows more about the inner workings of the Department. He has served as the Associate Chair for the Department for twenty-five years and for five different chairs. For many of those years he was Chair of the Undergraduate Programs Committee, guiding the evolution of our educational programs to keep pace with ever-changing technology and workforce needs.

We invite you to participate in a very special initiative being put forward by the ECE Department, an initiative to honor Dennis Wiitanen on the occasion of his retirement. In recognition of everything that “Doc” has done, the Department is establishing the Dennis Wiitanen Professorship in Electric Power Systems. The funding to make this professorship a reality is 70% in place, but we need your help to finish the job. Our goal is to raise $300,000 to bring the total endowment to $1 million. Endowments are private gifts invested to produce income annually for use as faculty support, scholarships, or other needs. In this case, the income would be used to support the Wiitanen Professorship holder and to provide funds for supporting ECE students, purchasing equipment, and funding travel. Your gift can make it happen.

This will be a unique professorship on the Michigan Tech campus, in that it will be named in honor of one of our own rather than a single external donor. Several years ago, a fund was established for a professorship in electric power systems; gifts were solicited from several industry partners, with the primary contributors being Detroit Edison, Consumers Energy, Northern States Energy (now Xcel Energy), Upper Peninsula Power, and Wisconsin Public Service. The account has sat dormant, accumulating investment income, but the time has come to put the money to its intended use. Because the funding sources are so diverse, the ECE Department decided that the best title to put on the position is the name of the one person with a common connection to all of these entities, someone who has had a bigger role in the education of power engineers than anyone else at Michigan Tech: Dennis Wiitanen. For more information or to make a gift or pledge.

It is our goal to have everything in place by the time of Prof. Wiitanen’s retirement dinner, which will take place on the Michigan Tech campus on Friday, May 4, 2012. Please join us in celebrating the many accomplishments and contributions of Dennis O. Wiitanen to the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Michigan Tech University. See Wiitanen Celebration for event details and to purchase tickets.


Scholarship Opportunities for Engineering Juniors, Seniors and Grad Applicants

The Michigan Tech Sustained Support to Ensure Engineering Degrees (SSEED) program (funded by NSF S-STEM) is in its second year of four. In 2011-12, the program awarded 33 scholarships ranging from $1,000 to $5,000 to engineering juniors and seniors. The program awarded five fellowships of $8,000 each to first-year engineering graduate students.

The purpose of the undergraduate scholarships is to improve the retention of upper division engineering students who have financial need and other risk factors that make it difficult to complete their degrees. The purpose of the graduate fellowships is to improve the recruitment of women and minorities to graduate study in engineering.

In 2012-13, the program will again award up to 35 undergraduate scholarships and five graduate fellowships. The program also features mentoring and professional development opportunities. The application deadline is March 15 for undergraduate scholarships and May 1 for graduate fellowships. Share this information with qualified students.

For more information, see SSEED, or contact Michele Miller at 487-3025 or at mhmiller@mtu.edu .


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