Category: Students

AMPP Great Lakes Chapter Scholarship for Alexander Baxter

Undergraduate student Alexander Baxter (general engineering) was mentioned by Materials Performance as a recipient of the Association for Materials Protection and Performance (AMPP) Great Lakes Chapter Scholarship for 2024.

Students were recognized at AMPP’s 2024 Scholarship Awards Ceremony, held as part of the EMERGing Leaders Bash at the 2024 AMPP Annual Conference + Expo in New Orleans on March 3–7. It is a gathering materials protection professionals.

My Story: Harley Russell, MTUengineer

Harley Russell ’26, Electrical Engineering

Making a Difference at Michigan Tech: One LEAP at a Time

Harley Russell grew up in Adrian, Michigan, a small city about 45 minutes south of Ann Arbor, near the Ohio border. At Michigan Tech she’s now in her second year, working toward her bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, with a concentration in biomedical applications and a minor in Spanish. Harley also works with first-year engineering students as a LEAP Leader in the Department of Engineering Fundamentals.

What kinds of work do you do as a LEAP Leader?
I essentially facilitate and assist the Engineering Fundamentals courses offered here at Tech for first-year engineering students. They are getting exposed to coding and circuitry using MATLAB and Arduino. I work with their team to build a wide range of mini projects, so I get to help teach them and come up with fun ways to advance their skills!

What do you enjoy most about it?
It is so amazing to see the different ways students adapt to and overcome challenges. I love getting to see how creative and original the solutions are that each individual comes up with.

“It’s always great to see the “lightbulb” moment when people finally understand what they are learning.”

Harley Russell, LEAP Leader, Michigan Tech
“It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.” Read more about Harley and her fellow Huskies’ trip to the Yucatan Peninsula to study sustainable tourism.

What are the most challenging aspects?
It takes some doing to keep everyone on the same page and engaged. Some kids come to college with a large background in coding or other areas and have a ton of knowledge and experience, whereas some people have never had the opportunity to explore those skills. I make sure that everyone is learning and following along—without the work being too difficult or too easy.

Any recipes, formulas, or tips for success?
Take time for yourself! So many students fall into this hole of solely going to classes then back to their dorm to study and do homework all night then go to bed and repeat the process all over again. It is SO IMPORTANT to take the time to have fun and care for your mental health as much as you care about your grades.

How did you find out about the opportunity?
During the Spring semester last year I talked with my LEAP Leader. She encouraged me to apply, so I did, and the rest is history!

What are your career goals?
I would definitely like to do something within the medical field and electronics. It would be cool to work with robotic prosthetics that respond to neurological electrical impulses and muscle contractions and things like that in order to create moving limbs.

What made you decide to come to Michigan Tech?
Honestly, I found out about Tech from a teacher of mine in high school and when I went to the website I found the link to Winter Carnival which I thought looked sweet, so I applied and ended up committing here before I ever visited, but it all worked out in the end.

“If I could change the world, I would make quality education free and available to everyone. Being educated is an important gift that cannot be taken away.”

Harley Russell

Tell a story about how Michigan Tech has changed you.
Last spring break, I participated in the faculty-led, study abroad trip to the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico to study Sustainable Tourism. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience that opened up my eyes to the different cultures and daily lives of people in other countries. It has definitely changed my outlook on life and made me much more grateful and appreciative of the opportunities I have been given.

How would you change the world if you could?
I would make quality education free and available to everyone. Being educated is an important gift that cannot be taken away.

If you could create any business/invention what would it be?
I would create windshields that never collect snow or rain or get foggy, so you wouldn’t need to heat them up or use your windshield wipers in order to see clearly!

What’s the best advice you can give/have been given?
There is no reason to stress over things out of your control or things that won’t matter in 50 years. Just chill out and take the time to enjoy the simplicities of life.

Any advice for prospective students considering engineering?
Don’t be afraid of change! It’s okay to switch your majors or switch out of classes or change habits or anything like that. It may be uncomfortable, but sometimes change is good and necessary!

Are you involved in other activities at Michigan Tech?
Along with being a LEAP Leader, I am also a TA for Frameworks for Success course and the Treasurer for MEDLIFE student org.

My Story: Ryan Schwartz, MTUengineer

Ryan Schwartz ’24, mechanical engineering

Ryan Schwartz grew up in Saline, Michigan. He’ll earn his BS in mechanical engineering this spring, and plans to earn an MS in engineering management, too. Ryan works as a LEAP Leader in the Department of Engineering Fundamentals, as a good role model, effective mentor, and learning coach—all rolled into one.

As a LEAP Leader, I lead a group of roughly 20 students through the First-Year Engineering courses at Michigan Tech. I am with my students in the classroom—along with other groups and their LEAP Leaders—while they work through projects and assignments. I also lead a class once a week with just my students to reinforce the concepts taught that week in a new and interactive way.

When I was a student in the First-Year Engineering courses, I had a fantastic LEAP Leader that made my experience fantastic. I wanted to be able to provide that same experience to others, so I became a LEAP Leader.

“The thing I enjoy most about being a LEAP Leader is helping my students grow and find their place here at Michigan Tech.”

Ryan Schwartz
Ryan has seen the Northern Lights during his time at Michigan Tech
“I love exploring the Keweenaw. My friends and I will often go out adventuring and have great times along the way.”

In my future career, I want to do something in the realm of sustainability and alternative energy. I don’t know yet what form that will take, but I want to do my part to reverse climate change.

I also want to be a manager and leader, wherever I may end up. I’ve developed strong leadership skills, many by serving as a LEAP Leader, that I would love to apply throughout my career.

“Classes are only a part of college.”

Advice to incoming students, from Ryan Schwartz, LEAP Leader

The best advice I can give is that classes are only a part of college. College is also about discovering yourself and making friends and memories along the way. Michigan Tech is a great place to do that while getting a quality education.

I am currently the Vice President and a Captain for the MTU Men’s Ultimate Frisbee Club – DiscoTech. My first year at Michigan Tech, I made literally every single one of my friends on Walker Lawn throwing a frisbee, and then our whole group joined the Ultimate team.

Read More

Michigan Tech LEAP Leaders: Assist Fellow Students

My Story: Nick McCole, MTUengineer

Nick McCole ’23, Systems Engineering

Nick McCole landed an electrical/systems engineer internship with Milwaukee Tool over the summer. But first, the BSE/systems engineering major traveled to Houston with his fellow students and faculty advisors, to meet with members of the Johnson Space Center systems engineering and project management group.

Last year Nick led a senior design team of seven students who worked on a 5-month project given to them by JSC/NASA, part of its massive effort to envision and facilitate the next phase of continuous human presence on the moon. 

The Michigan Tech team was given a mission:  figure out how to deal with moon dust. Everything NASA would like to accomplish on the lunar surface requires a solution to this very dusty and sharp regolith.  

After one semester—about 5 months—of hard work, the Michigan Tech team successfully developed a systems engineering framework, analysis techniques, and verification methods, all derived from mission requirements. Then the team presented their project and results to NASA engineers.

“As systems engineering team leader, I enjoy making sure others around me succeed. I try to create value for my team members.” 

Nick McCole

How did you come to choose your major?

Not long after I arrived at Michigan Tech, I went to an evening event about systems engineering. I heard Professor Jon Sticklen speak and met some systems engineering students. I knew it was a group of people I wanted to be associated with. This choice has opened many doors for me. Systems Engineering is a field I plan on staying in for the foreseeable future. The people in Michigan Tech’s Department of Engineering Fundamentals are great role models and have been nothing but helpful to me in my career.

I grew up in Kingsford, Michigan (yes, I am a Yooper). I actually failed my first chemistry exam. That was kind of the turning point for me. I knew I needed to change the way I handled my career for the better. From that point, I have excelled academically. I’m now on track to graduate Summa Cum Laude from Michigan Tech in December 2023. 

This summer I worked as an electrical/systems engineer intern at Milwaukee Tool. In addition to Milwaukee Tool, I’ve been fortunate to have internships at Ford, Mercury Marine and Boss Snowplow.

I don’t know yet where I will start my full time job. My only goal is to be working on something that is fulfilling and provides value back to society in one way or another. Technology will only advance as time goes by. I want to be a part of making the world a better place.

One particularly nice aspect of the NASA project was watching others on my team come up with great ideas and seeing the excitement in their eyes, especially towards the end. It was a time-consuming project but the investment of time and energy was far worth it for the results.

What is Systems Engineering?

Systems engineers seek to understand, design, and manage complex systems over their life cycles They cross disciplinary boundaries, learn new topics quickly, and manage complex, engineered networks that are embedded in social and natural systems.

At Michigan Tech, students can earn a bachelor’s degree in engineering (a BSE) with a systems engineering pathway, or add a minor in systems engineering to any engineering degree. Learn about the Michigan Tech BSE program.

Feedback on Michigan Tech’s Online Teaching Training

Michelle Jarvie-Eggart
Michelle Jarvie-Eggart

Michelle Jarvie-Eggart (EF), Thomas Freeman (CTL), Janet Staker Woerner of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, PhD student Mary Benjamin (environmental engineering) and MiCUP undergraduate researcher Luis Fernandez-Arcay of Grand Valley State University surveyed the faculty who completed Michigan Tech’s online teaching training from 2019 through 2021 to determine how that training changed their approach to the design of a course, a lesson and their teaching in general.

The group’s work, published in the Journal of Higher Education Theory and Practice, found that the training provided essential pedagogical and instructional design education absent in most PhD programs, resulting in self-reported improvements in both online and in-person instruction. Additionally, the experience of learning online increased faculty empathy for students.

Jarvie-Eggart, M., Freeman, T., Woerner, J. S., Benjamin, M., & Fernandez-Arcay, L. (2023). Learning to Teach Well in Any Format: Examining the Effects of Online Teachers’ Training on University Faculty Teaching. Journal of Higher Education Theory and Practice, 23(2).

Student Advice on Incorporating Academic Grace into Online Courses

Michelle Jarvie-Eggart, Mary Raber, Brett Hamlin, and Amy Hamlin (EF), Marika Seigel (Provost/PHC), Thomas Freeman (CTL) and Michael Meyers (Physics) are co-authors of an article published in Studies in Engineering Education on December 19, 2022.

The article is titled “Weaving Academic Grace into the Fabric of Online Courses and Faculty Training: First-Year Engineering Student Advice for Online Faculty During the COVID-19 Pandemic and Faculty Responses in Studies in Engineering Education.”

PhD candidate in engineering education Amanda Singer of Ohio State University is also a co-author of the article.

This work examines the advice students had for faculty teaching online during the pandemic, as well as instructional responses suggested by faculty. It highlights essential student needs from faculty for understanding, flexibility and patience, which are defined as academic grace, and makes suggestions for incorporating academic grace into online courses.

Jarvie-Eggart, M., Singer, A., Seigel, M., Raber, M., Freeman, T., Hamlin, B., … Meyers, M. (2022). Weaving Academic Grace into the Fabric of Online Courses and Faculty Training: First-Year Engineering Student Advice for Online Faculty During the COVID-19 Pandemic and Faculty Responses. Studies in Engineering Education, 3(1), 99–126. DOI:

Sky Hempel has Exceptional Enthusiasm as a Student Leader

Sky Hempel
Sky Hempel

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

Sky Hempel was honored for Exceptional Enthusiasm as a Student Leader. Sky has served as a LEarning with Academic Partners (LEAP) Leader for the past two years. She is responsible for 24 students in the engineering fundamentals course and guides and monitors their work on in-class activities. Sky has shown passion and commitment to her students by listening and going the extra mile to meet with them outside of class. She is so enthusiastic that she is intentionally placed in the 8 a.m. section to motivate the students. Her nominator wrote, “Whenever I think of Sky, I just smile. She is full of sunshine, positivity, and energy. Sky is an excellent choice for this year’s Exceptional Enthusiasm as a Student Leader Award.”

By Student Leadership and Involvement.

Play 27th Annual Student Leadership Awards video
Preview image for 27th Annual Student Leadership Awards video

27th Annual Student Leadership Awards

Michelle Jarvie-Eggart on How to Succeed as a Freshman

Michelle Jarvie-Eggart
Michelle Jarvie-Eggart

Michelle Jarvie-Eggart, a Michigan Tech graduate and a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Engineering Fundamentals, along with environmental engineering students, Amanda Singer and Jason Mathews, discuss the transition for first year students and tools that can make the transition easier.

Jarvie-Eggart, M. E., & Singer, A. M., & Mathews, J. (2019, July), Advice from a First Year Paper presented at 2019 FYEE Conference , Penn State University , Pennsylvania.


Much attention is paid to the transition from high school to college. Students who have recently gone through this transition may have some of the best advice to offer in-coming first year students.

Themes which emerged in this study, which corroborate other research include: time management, utilizing resources, hard work, class attendance, social activates and persevering through lower grades.

First and Second Year Business and Engineering Students Collaborate in Fall Class

UN Sustainable Development GoalsFor the past two years, students in “Introduction to Business” (BUS1100) and “Engineering Modeling and Design” (ENG1102) worked on project design teams to develop innovative solutions to a challenging problem. Mary Fraley (EF) and Jon Leinonen (CoB) developed this collaborative experience with design thinking guided by Mary Raber (PHC).

The students applied design thinking steps to empathize, define, ideate, prototype and test solutions centered on the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the Engineering Grand Challenges.

Students focused on topics including alternative energy, transportation, better medicine and others. The teams worked through design thinking collaboratively as was the intention for the project in addition to managing individual business and engineering tasks such as marketing plans and advertising as well as 3D modeling and hazard analysis, respectively.

To celebrate the finale of the semester-long project, design teams presented their work in a design exposition to be evaluated by faculty and staff from across campus.

Based on the judging, numerous awards will be conveyed to the project teams after the fall break. Because the design exposition occurred on the same day as the Idea Hub Open House, some design boards that exemplified the range of projects were also displayed at the open house.

By Mary Fraley.

eCYBERMISSION Team Has Fun at Nationals

Yooper Lights 2019LAKE LINDEN — Lake Linden’s eCYBERMISSION team reported back to the district board Monday about its recent trip to Nationals.

“We didn’t win, but we had fun at the competition,” said Olivia Shank, who competed alongside Rebecca Lyons, Chloe Daniels and Jenna Beaudoin.

To aid students walking to or from school in the dark, the team, named Yooper Lights, designed LED reflectors for students to attach to their backpacks.

This year, the Yooper Lights are working with Tech’s chapter of Society of Women Engineers, (SWE), which got a grant to make electrical engineering kits for fifth- and sixth-graders.

“Michigan Tech is really excited about it too, because they will use it for their alumni,” said coach Gretchen Hein.

Read more at the Mining Gazette, by Garrett Neese.