Nancy Scofield was the first female to earn a doctoral degree at Michigan Tech. Dr. Scofield earned a PhD in Geology in 1977, studying copper redistribution in Portage Lake basalts. She reevaluated what was commonly believed in order to better understand the nature of the ore deposits.
Dr. Scofield passed away in 2003. The Nancy Scofield Pioneering Research Award is given annually to a graduate student whose dissertation work expands the boundaries of doctoral research in the Department of Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences.
Past recipients are:
Emily Gochis—a PhD candidate in geology conducting research on innovative methods to improve geoscience literacy in pre-college students through professional development with their teachers and conceiving lessons around important geological features of their local area.
Marine Foucher—recently completed her PhD in geophysics. She conducted research on the paleomagnetic history of Precambrian rock formations in the UP, Canada, and China.
Priscilla Addison—a PhD candidate in geological engineering. She is using remote sensing to study permafrost thawing and the hazards it poses to transportation assets.
“Recipients of this award embrace the pioneering research spirit of Nancy Scofield,” says John Gierke, chair of the Department of Geological and Mining Engineering at Sciences. “Their research is intellectually and physically challenging, and each recipient has demonstrated a high level of independence in their work, partly out of necessity since some aspects are outside the existing expertise in the department.”
Dr. Scofield’s doctoral advisor was then assistant professor William I. Rose. Bill is now retired but remains active in the department as a research professor. Nancy was his first PhD graduate.
Professor Emeritus Gordon Scofield, former chair of the Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics at Michigan Tech from 1969 to 1981, is Nancy Scofield’s husband. Gordon and Bill have shared their memories of Nancy from her graduate studies at Michigan Tech, as well as her professional work after graduating.
Early last summer, five undergraduate engineering students from the Michigan Tech chapter of Engineering World Health took a trip to Les Cayes, Haiti. They were led by Megan Byrne, an electrical engineering undergraduate who organized the trip. They describe the experience as nothing short of life-changing.
Engineering World Health inspires, educates and empowers young engineers, scientists and medical professionals to use their engineering skills to improve global health in the developing world. The Michigan Tech chapter of EWH is now in its second year.
Along with Byrne on the trip were biomedical engineering students Gina Anderla and Kiaya Caspers, mechanical engineering students Lidia Johnson and Brooke Breen, and materials science and engineering student Anna Isaacson. To get to Haiti, the Michigan Tech engineering students bagged groceries, plus each spent $1,500 of their own to cover travel costs. A non-profit organization operating in Haiti, HUT Outreach, provided lodging for the Michigan Tech team during their stay, and invited them to help teach STEM subjects to a class of 7th graders in the new HUT Outreach secondary school.
Students in Haiti often drop out of school in the sixth grade, with a diminishing retention rate thereafter. HUT Outreach is trying to break that statistic. During their visit to Les Cayes, the Michigan Tech team tried to change how the high school students viewed education and experienced learning.
“Project-based learning is a concept where students learn some theory, but also how to apply it outside the classroom, in the real world,” says Breen. “Our three day curriculum was focused around allowing Haitian students to think outside the box, being really inquisitive with hands-on learning projects. Our purpose was not only to expose them to a new way of thinking, but also to help HUT Outreach reform a new generation of Haitians who will be catalysts in creating a new way of approaching education in their country. Michigan Tech also gives us these tools and abilities—to be able to really hone in our leadership skills, and innovate ways to help create a better community around us, on a local-to-global spectrum.”
“Our EWH team wanted the students to learn the theory of series and parallel circuits, forces to build bridges, first aid, and how to build water filters,” says Byrne. “This was a challenge, because the students had not been exposed to any of these topics or hands-on learning, and they also spoke a different language.” Byrne is a peer mentor in the Learning with Academic Partners (LEAP) program for first-year engineering students in the Department of Engineering Fundamentals at Michigan Tech, which also provided support for the Haiti trip. Byrne was able put her LEAP experience to good use in Haiti.
“Thanks to our Haitian translator, Wesley, I was able to use a creative twist to help the students gain understanding of the difficult lessons in a way that would be impactful for them,” she says. “As a matter of fact, the lessons we taught in Haiti were very similar to LEAP sessions I have facilitated for first year engineering students at Michigan Tech.”
The Michigan Tech team also visited a local hospital, where they fixed a broken oxygen concentrator, one of only two in the hospital pediatric ward. They also discovered a potential fire hazard at the hospital—auto headlight bulbs used as replacement bulbs on medical lamps. And they noticed a lack of surge protectors to protect medical equipment during power outages.
The EWH team wants to return to Haiti this year to continue to help prepare the next generation of Haitian students, and provide support to the small community where we served. They also want to provide the woman’s center in Les Cayes with its first portable ultrasound machine.
“We really bonded with the community in Les Cayes,” says Isaacson. “We want to help in any way possible to make their lives better. I think we can all agree that all the people of Haiti became our second family the minute we stepped into the country.”
Dean Callahan traveled across the globe in October to experience Michigan Tech alumni where they live and work.
Starting in Minneapolis, the host city for this year’s Society of Women Engineers annual conference, over 60 Tech alumni came together to meet and share experiences. They were joined by 15 of our students who had traveled from Houghton to attend the conference. Discussions ranged from personal career journeys to interview tips, along with a mixture of stories about snow storms and snow statues, favorite professors, pizza at the Ambo, and more—a gathering that reconnected people and forged new bonds.
With a quick change of suitcase, and much anticipation, Dean Callahan boarded her flight for Shanghai, China where she was greeted by Peipei Zhao (MBA ’09). Peipei made certain Dean Callahan got to each and every one of her connections with alumni from Shanghai and surrounding cities, including 15 different alumni working in leadership roles or as founders of companies focused on a wide range of areas—from construction to global car manufacturing, world-wide suppliers of materials, software, autonomous enterprises, and more.
An evening gathering hosted by Chao-Zhuo Chen (Mining ’89) included 11 alumni, some reconnecting and others forming new connections and all with a common bond. Dinner talk included the tradition of smelt dipping, and the experiences of buried automobiles in snowy Houghton.
The next day, Dean Callahan traveled to Hong Kong to meet with another gracious alumnus, host Michael Cheung (BSEE ‘64), retired owner and CEO, Hingyu Metalworks, Ltd.—a company he transformed from a family enterprise to a global auto supplier after earning his degree. The following morning, Callahan met with one other alumnus, Mun Cheng “Anthony” Ng (BSCE ‘99), and she ended with a tour of Hong Kong University of Science and Technology by Victor Flores Terrazas, (BSCE ‘10), a doctoral student.
It was then off to Manila where Dean Callahan led an international accreditation team for two engineering programs in the Phillipines.
After three weeks and over 17,000 miles, Dean Callahan returned to campus, energized from all the new Michigan Tech alumni connections and new friends, and just in time for our first foot of snow!
Seventeen members of the Michigan Tech chapter of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) went to the national conference, WE18, October 18-20 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Advisor Gretchen Hein (EF) accompanied the delegation of 13 undergraduates and four graduate students. Three students received travel scholarships: first-year chemical engineering student Josie Edick, second-year civil engineering student Amber Ronsman and Adedoyin Adedokun, a graduate student in electrical engineering. “Gaining close friendships with the other women in the Michigan Tech section was the best part about the conference for me,” Edick says. “I gained a ton of advice and insight, which made me very excited to get more involved in SWE back on campus.”
The WE18 conference was attended by more than 14,000 SWE members, both collegiate and professional, from across the nation, who enjoyed professional development breakout sessions, inspirational keynotes, a career fair and multiple opportunities for networking.
On the evening prior to the conference, the group attended a Michigan Tech alumni gathering in Minneapolis along with Dean Janet Callahan of the College of Engineering. Katie Buchalski, section president and fourth-year student majoring in environmental engineering, enjoyed the abundance of networking at the alumni gathering. “We all had something in common to talk about … Tech,” said Buchalski. “It was nice to learn what people do after college, and see how Tech forms a special bond between people and between generations.”
The next day, at WE18, the students participated in professional development activities and presentations. Some volunteered at different events and participated in SWE-sponsored institutes. At the Celebrate SWE! Awards Banquet, Kaitlyn Bunker ’17 who earned a PhD in electrical engineering at Michigan Tech, received the SWE Distinguished New Engineer Award for “contributing valuable research and renewable energy solutions in the Caribbean, and to underserved communities; and for steadfast leadership at all levels of SWE.” Bunker is currently working at the Rocky Mountain Institute in Boulder, Colorado.
The Michigan Tech section received a Silver Collegiate SWE Mission Award, which recognizes a group that embody SWE core values.
Laura Schimmel volunteered at SWE’s outreach event for middle and high school girls, “Invent It. Build It.” Schimmel led a STEM activity for middle school girls–building “wind power plants” to lift a payload using cardboard, plastic bottles, straws, and tape. “I am taking a wind energy class at Tech right now,” says Schimmel, a fifth year double major in materials science and engineering and mechanical engineering. “I was thrilled to be able to share what I’ve learned and encourage the girls to pursue STEM in the future. There were hundreds of girls and countless creative solutions.”
Erica Coscarelli, a master’s student in environmental engineering, participated in the SWE Future Leaders (SWEFL) program. And along with Karina Eyre, Coscarelli went to the SWE Collegiate Leadership Institute (CLI), a day-long leadership development event. Both programs, led by engineers working in industry and academia, help college students gain leadership skills. “Participating in the SWE Future Leaders (SWEFL) program has been extremely beneficial for me,” Coscarelli says. “As part of the program we have monthly conference calls and complete our tasks with a buddy. At WE18 we were able to meet in person. It was great putting faces to names.”
Hein moderated a panel discussion, “Obtaining your First Academic Job/Academic Job Search”. Panelists were from a range of different types of universities and community colleges.
Michigan Tech SWE section counselor, Alumna Britta Jost joined the Michigan Tech attendees at the Celebrate SWE! Awards Banquet. Jost earned a Master’s in Mechanical Engineering 2004 and a BS in Mathematical Sciences in 2002, both at Michigan Tech, and works now as engineering project team leader at Caterpillar, Inc.
The SWE students raised travel funds through their annual SWE “Evening with Industry” event, held each fall just before the Michigan Tech Career Fair. ArcelorMittal, Black & Veatch, and John Deere all provided support for section travel to WE 18, as well.
The best part about WE18?
“Through the SWE18 Conference I was able to secure an interview, and received an internship offer with Boeing in Washington State. If you would have told me as a freshman that I would have an offer with Boeing, I would have thought you were crazy. But being in SWE has given me the courage and experience to pursue opportunities I would have never thought possible.”
-Allison Dorn, third year student, mechanical engineering
“SWE18 exposed me greatly to American culture. I am ecstatic that I got to meet awesome women in academia and was able to interact with them both intellectually and professionally. Overall, the conference was a rewarding experience!”
-Adedsyin Adedokun, master’s student, electrical engineering
“I loved getting to know my SWE chapter, SWE alums, and other chapters. I made a lot of new friends and we bonded as a group.”
-Noelle Eveland, fourth year student, chemical engineering
“I met so many people who were excited to see our chapter at the conference because they, or someone they were friends with, went to Tech. It made me feel proud of our school.”
-Emily Cromber, master’s student, computer engineering
“Being able to listen to and be inspired by amazing women who have been in our shoes, and who have gone on to have great careers and lives.”
-Lauren Sand, fourth year student, biomedical engineering
“Being surrounded by women who support each other as we break boundaries. My passion for engineering was mirrored in every woman I met.”
-Claire Langfoss, fourth year student, biomedical engineering
“Attending the amazing career fair with over 330 companies, and the Michigan Tech Alumni event in Minneapolis, where I met and networked with tons of Huskies.”
-Romana Carden, fourth year student, engineering management
“Attending a wide variety of sessions pertaining to professional development, leadership, and career management.”
-Melanie Zondag, fourth year student, geological engineering
“Engaging with a variety of inspirational women who have broken and continue to break boundaries.”
-Jessica Geroux, fifth year student, mechanical engineering
“It was an incredible experience to be surrounded by so many powerful and knowledgeable women. From the keynote to sessions, to the career fair; the ability to grow and prepare for the professional world was extremely rewarding.”
-Amber Ronsman, second year student, civil engineering
“My favorite part was the networking. I met some awesome ‘SWEsters’ from Wyoming as well as many company recruiters and professionals in systems engineering. I know these connections will assist me in the future, and the value is priceless.”
-Natalie Green, third year student, systems engineering
“Throughout the weekend I got to meet many other women in the field, both professionals and colleagues. It expanded my horizon and helped me to make valuable connections that will last a lifetime.”
-Mackenzie Brunet, third year student, engineering management
The Michigan Tech College of Engineering is offering study abroad scholarships in the amount of $2,000 to students who are from the College of Engineering. To be eligible for the scholarship, you must be participating in a Michigan Tech approved study abroad program, a student from College of Engineering, and have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher.
There will be expectation that scholarship recipients will help promote Michigan Tech study abroad programs after completion of their study abroad program.
Deadlines for scholarship application:
- Spring 2019: November 15th
- Summer 2019: March 1st
- Fall 2019: April 1st
Apply by November 15 for Spring 2019 consideration.
The Aerospace Industry Association of Michigan (AIAM), in partnership with Pure Michigan Business Connect (PMBC), hosted an aerospace expo on the Michigan Tech campus October 15-16, 2018.
“Michigan has continuously been ranked as a top-10 state in aerospace manufacturing attractiveness and the Upper Peninsula is a critical part of our success in this industry,” says Tony Vernaci, president and founder of AIAM. “We are excited about this event and the opportunity it brings to form connections between potential customers, talent and suppliers.”
The expo kicked off with a networking event and reception Monday, then moved into exhibits Tuesday. Some of the on-site buyers included GE Aviation, Parker Aerospace, RCO Aerospace, Woodward, Bell Helicopter, Cessna Aircraft and Liebherr.
“GS Engineering is a proud member of AIAM and we are excited to welcome this expo to the Upper Peninsula. The UP has a growing reputation in aerospace and a cluster of aerospace suppliers including advanced manufacturers, engineering and research companies,” says Rob Cooke, from GS Engineering.
By Career Services.
UP Aerospace Expo held at Michigan Tech
HOUGHTON, Mich. (WLUC) – Aerospace Industry Association of Michigan hosts the Upper Peninsula Aerospace Expo this week.
“It is a matter of if you want to be a leader in the industry or you want to follow the industry. We see the U.P. and the companies here as being leaders for the industry,” said AIAM president and founder Tony Vernaci.
There are 600 aerospace industry companies in Michigan. Only 23 of those are located in the U.P.
Bruce Lee, an associate professor of biomedical engineering at Michigan Tech, focuses on smart adhesives and biomaterials inspired by nature. More specifically, the natural glues made by mussels that anchor them to rocks, boats and docks. His past work on hydrogels and tissue adhesives led him to look more closely at what makes these adhesives work underwater—and how people could use them.
Joseph Thompson, Zachary Fredin and Richard Berkey of the Pavlis Honors College will receive $60,000 in undergraduate student project funding from the Systems Engineering Research Center (SERC). SERC is a University Affiliated Research Center of the Department of Defense that collaborates with 22 universities across the United States to leverage the expertise of senior lead researchers. SERC represents a broad community of systems engineering researchers whose depth of knowledge spans a wide range of diverse interests and industries.
The initial 12 projects, funded through SERC, will provide students in biomedical engineering, electrical engineering and five different Enterprises with valuable hands-on experience serving Naval Systems Warfare, Army, Air Force Special Operations, Air Force Research Laboratory, Marine Corps Special Operations Command, United States Coast Guard and United States Special Operations Forces.
Inaugural project work will take place throughout the 2018-19 academic year.
By the Pavlis Honors College.
“Leadership and Engineering Education—Thursday, Sept. 27. I invite you to join us as we learn from and celebrate the legacy of our two inaugural inductees to the Academy for Engineering Education Leadership. All are welcome.”
All are welcome at the inaugural induction of the Academy for Engineering Education Leadership, hosted by the College of Engineering. The induction and reception will take place today, Thursday, September 27, from 3:30-5:00 p.m. in the East Reading Room of the J. Robert Van Pelt and John and Ruanne Opie Library. Sarah A. Rajala, PhD, and Karl A. Smith, PhD are the new academy’s first distinguished inductees. Both are outstanding Michigan Tech alumni.
Dr. Sarah Rajala is the James L. and Katherine S. Melsa Dean of Engineering at Iowa State University and a Michigan Tech alumna. She is an internationally known leader, past president of the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE), and past chair of the Global Engineering Deans Council. She earned a BS in Electrical Engineering from Michigan Tech, and an MS and PhD in Electrical Engineering from Rice University.
Dr. Karl A. Smith is Cooperative Learning Professor in the School of Engineering Education, College of Engineering, at Purdue University. He is also the Morse Alumni Distinguished Teaching Professor and Executive Co-Director of the STEM Education Center, Technological Leadership Institute at the University of Minnesota. Dr. Smith is a world expert in discipline-based engineering education research. He earned both a BS and an MS in Metallurgical Engineering from Michigan Tech, and a PhD in Educational Psychology from the University of Minnesota.
More events are offered in connection with the new Academy for Engineering Education Leadership. All events will take place this Thursday, September 27. Members of the campus community—faculty, staff and students—are all encouraged and welcome to attend.
Teaching at Tech: Breakfast Roundtable, “Learning Opportunities, Pitfalls, and Impacts on Students and the Institution,” with Dr. Karl Smith and Dr. Sarah Rajala. This event, for all who teach here on campus, takes place from 8:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m., Van Pelt and Opie Library East Reading Room. No registration needed, and breakfast is included. Each will each offer short position statements and then lead an active question and answer session over breakfast. Dr. Smith’s experience as a STEM education researcher will be balanced by Dr. Rajala’s experience as an administrator with an exceptional track record. View the event. | Print the flyer.
Teaching at Tech: STEM Education Research Workshop with Dr. Karl Smith. This event will take place from 10:00 a.m. to noon. Please register online. This session is designed both for those who have some experience and those just looking to get started. Dr. Smith brings over 30 years’ experience working with faculty to redesign courses to improve student learning, with a focus on cooperative learning, problem formulation, modeling, and knowledge engineering. View the event. | Print the flyer.
“Leadership Lessons from the Antarctic,” presented by Dr. Sarah Rajala, 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., Fisher 135. This event is free and open to the public. One hundred and four years ago, under the leadership of polar explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton, the Endurance set sail for the Antarctic. Shackleton had established a potentially history-making goal: to be the first to walk across the continent of Antarctica. Even though he never led a crew of more than twenty-seven men, and failed to reach most of the goals he set, Shackleton is still recognized as one of the world’s greatest leaders. In this presentation, Dr. Rajala will explore what made Shackleton a great leader–and how his leadership traits have influenced her own career. View the event. | Print the flyer.
More About the Inductees
Dr. Sarah A. Rajala consistently breaks new ground for women in engineering and serves as a role model for young women. She is passionate about diversity of thought and culture, especially as it relates to the college environment. Among her many honors, she received the national Harriett B. Rigas Award honoring outstanding female faculty from the Education Society of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) in 2015. Dr. Rajala was also named National Engineer of the Year by the American Association of Engineering Societies in 2016.
In addition to serving as Iowa State’s Dean of Engineering since 2013, Dr. Rajala served as dean and department chair in the Bagley College of Engineering at Mississippi State University. At North Carolina State University College of Engineering, she was associate dean for research and graduate programs and associate dean for academic affairs.
Prior to moving into administrative positions, Dr. Rajala had a distinguished career as a professor and center director. She conducted research on the analysis and process of images and image sequences and on engineering educational assessment. She has authored and co-authored more than 100 refereed papers, and made contributions to 13 books. She is a fellow of ASEE, IEEE, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).
Dr. Karl A. Smith has over 30 years of experience working with faculty to redesign their courses and programs to enhance student learning.
Dr. Smith adapted the cooperative learning model to engineering education, and in the past 15 years has focused on high-performance teamwork through his workshops and book, Teamwork and Project Management (McGraw-Hill Education, 2014).
His workshops on cooperative learning have helped thousands of faculty build knowledge, skills, and confidence for involving their students in more active, interactive, and cooperative learning both during class time and outside of class. The effects of the workshops are significant in terms of creating a sense of belonging and membership in a community, as well as much more engaged and deep learning.
Dr. Smith is a world expert in discipline-based engineering education research. His interests include building research and innovation capabilities in engineering education; faculty and graduate student professional development; the role of cooperation in learning and design; problem formulation, modeling, and knowledge engineering; and project and knowledge management.
He is the author of eight books and hundreds of published articles on engineering education, cooperative learning and structured controversy, knowledge representation and expert systems, and teamwork.
For more information about the new Michigan Tech Academy for Engineering Education Leadership, contact the College of Engineering.
Cancer cell metastasis. Stem cell differentiation. Atherosclerosis. All are strong mechanotransduction-related physiological and pathophysiological events. Just how do cells transduce mechanical force into biochemical signals?
“Cells are sensitive to mechanical forces outside the cell membrane,” says Sangyoon Han, who joined the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Michigan Tech as an assistant professor last fall. At their basal surface, however, cells are interfacing with something called the extracellular matrix (ECM), which supports the cell not only chemically but also mechanically.”
“Over the past 20 years, it has been revealed that the rigidity of the extracellular matrix can greatly influence the physiology and pathology of cells and tissues, including differentiation, survival, proliferation, altered drug response, and tumor progression,” adds Han. “In the case of a tumor, an increase in tissue stiffness—without any changes in genetic information and chemical environment—can cause tumor progression. There is also an evidence showing that cancer-targeting drugs do not work when cancer cells are highly contractile in a very tensed environment,” he says.
To investigate this, Han and his team established experimental and computational frameworks for force measurement and adhesion dynamics quantification. “We apply these frameworks, with cutting-edge computer vision techniques, on live-cell microscope images to find out the fundamental mechanisms underlying mechanosensation in normal cells, as well as the biomechanical signature in diseased cells whose signaling has gone awry.”
Han measures the force a cell transmits to the environment with traction force microscopy. “The force sensor, referred to as a focal adhesion, consists of a special receptor across the membrane and over 100 cytoskeletal adaptor proteins. These focal adhesion proteins have redundant and diverse roles in signaling and structural development of the adhesion,” he explains.
Using high-resolution imaging of living cells on a soft substrate, Han captures gel deformation and force-sensing protein trajectories at the same time. Han’s novel force-reconstruction software converts the measured gel deformation into a force map over a cell footprint. Using time-series data extracted from the image data, he monitors feedback between the cellular structure and its mechanical forces.
Han shares his Matlab-based, open-source software with the mechanobiology community. In his Mechanobiology Lab at Michigan Tech, Han is also building a physical device using bioMEMS for active force application to cells and tissue. “I firmly believe that engineers can make significant contributions to not only the biomedical industry, but also fundamental biological science.”
Before coming to Michigan Tech, Han was a postdoctoral researcher at the Harvard Medical School Lab of Computational Cell Biology, as well as the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. He earned a PhD in Mechanical Engineering at University of Washington in the area of cell mechanics, multiphysics modeling, and bioMEMS, and BS and MS in Mechanical Engineering at Seoul National University.