Each spring semester the William G. Jackson Center for Teaching and Learning works to recognize and reward contributions to teaching that may not be noticed or appreciated by students through the Deans’ Teaching Showcase.
Each Friday, the six academic Deans; Janet Callahan (CoE), Adrienne Minerick (SoT), David Hemmer (CSA), Dean Johnson (SBE), Lorelle Meadows (Pavlis Honors College) and Andrew Storer (SFRES) will take turns recognizing a total of 13 Michigan Tech instructors who have revised curriculum, created new courses and programs, assessed student work, helped meet accreditation requirements or provided exceptional instruction that’s innovative or foundational.
College of Engineering Dean Janet Callahan provides our first Deans’ Teaching Showcase member for spring 2019: Paul VanSusante, senior lecturer in the Mechanical Engineering – Engineering Mechanics (ME-EM) Department. She chose VanSusante, simply because he has “worked hard to develop and use active learning strategies in his classes, and his students have benefited greatly. His dedication to his student’s learning is an inspiration to us all.”
Callahan’s choice to recognize VanSusante spans several criteria; he has contributed significantly to curriculum development, but also provides innovative teaching in a foundational context. According to Bill Predebon, ME-EM chair, VanSusante has been “instrumental in the development and coordination of Mechanical Engineering Practice 1 (MEP 1) in our newly revised ME curriculum. In MEP 1 Paul included reverse engineering, in which they take apart a consumer product or toy, go to the internet for buyers’ comments, take it apart, redesign it based on comments with the manufacturing process in mind.”
But as Callahan noted, VanSusante’s exceptional contributions don’t stop at curriculum development. Predebon continues: “Paul is also an innovative teacher. He really cares about student learning. His teaching style uses active learning and includes practical insight from his experience and research. He pushes his students to go beyond what is the topic of the day. He has them work in teams whenever possible, so that they can learn from each other. Everyone’s input is important and valued, no matter what their background.”
As part of the nomination, Associate Dean of Engineering Leonard Bohmann also highlighted VanSusante’s innovative teaching in his extensive involvement with MINE (the Mining Innovation Enterprise). According to Bohmann, VanSusante’s work there includes an “out of this world” NASA project that involves the extraction of water from gypsum on Mars.
VanSusante will be recognized at an end-of-term luncheon with other showcase members and is now a candidate for the CTL Instructional Award Presentation Series (to be determined this summer) which further recognizes introductory or large class teaching, innovative or outside the classroom teaching methods and work in curriculum and assessment.
Nancy Barr (ME-EM), Leonard Bohmann (CoE), Mary Fraley (EF), Thom Freeman (William G. Jackson CTL), Jonathon Leinonen (SBE), Amlan Mukherjee (CEE) and Mary Raber (Pavlis Honors College), attended the 2019 KEEN National Conference in Dallas, Texas.
KEEN partners with colleges and universities across the United States who are dedicated to transforming their undergraduate engineering programs through the integration of opportunities to develop an entrepreneurial mindset. Michigan Tech applied to be included in the KEEN Engineering Unleashed Network in late 2018.
The conference was followed by the Integrating Curriculum with Entrepreneurial (ICE) Mindset Workshop where faculty can learn how to incorporate the entrepreneurial mindset into their courses. Thomas Freeman and Gretchen Hein (Engineering Fundamentals) participated in the workshop and will be developing materials for their courses and other educational resources around this topic.
By Gretchen Hein.
Michigan Tech alumna Megan Krieger ’09, was featured in several articles nation wide. Krieger, a mechanical engineer in the U.S. Army, led a team that 3D printed a 32-foot-long reinforced concrete footbridge. Kreiger, who lives in Champaign, Illinois, became aware of 3D as a graduate student at Michigan Tech. The story was covered by Engineering News-Record, 3Dprint.com and 3Ders.org. She became aware of 3D printing at Michigan Tech, where she ran the 3D printing lab during graduate studies in material science and engineering. She joined the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center in February 2015.
Michigan Tech alumnus Jeff Stauffer ’93, has been named a regional Utility Sales Director for Boarder States Electric. At Michigan Tech, Stauffer earned degrees in electrical engineering and business administration and served as the business manager for the Lode student newspaper. The story was covered in TED Magazine.
Michigan Tech alumnus John Hallquist, who received a master’s and PhD in Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics in 1971 and 1974 respectively, was featured in the article “John O. Hallquist, Ph.D., Celebrated for Innovations in Software Development,” in Business News Articlesand 24-7 press release.com. Hallquist was responsible for founding the Livermore Software Technology Corporation.
Design Expo 2019 will be held Thursday, April 18 in the Memorial Union Ballroom. Please save the date.
Design Expo highlights hands-on, discovery-based learning at Michigan Tech. More than 1,000 students on Enterprise and Senior Design teams showcase their work and compete for awards.
A panel of judges made up of distinguished corporate representatives and Michigan Tech staff and faculty will critique the projects.
Many team projects are sponsored by industry, which allows students to gain valuable experience through competition, as well as direct exposure to real industrial problems.
Design Expo is co-hosted by the College of Engineering and the Pavlis Honors College.
Registration is now open for Senior Design and Enterprise teams. Students should visit the Design Expo website to review important instructions, deadlines and poster criteria. All Senior Design and Enterprise teams must register by Monday, Feb. 11, 2019.
By the College of Engineering and Pavlis Honors College.
Federal agencies such as the National Science Foundation and National Institutes of Health are funding research that involves experts from multiple disciplines to solve complex problems. “Growing Convergence Research” is among “Ten Big Ideas” highlighted in a recent NSF report. In 2019, the agency plans to invest $30 million in each one: “The grand challenges of today—protecting human health; understanding the food, energy, water nexus; exploring the universe at all scales—will not be solved by one discipline alone. They require convergence: the merging of ideas, approaches and technologies from widely diverse fields of knowledge to stimulate innovation and discovery.”
Back in September 2018, the College of Engineering offered seed funding to promote new collaborations between researchers focused on developing aggressively forward-looking, transdisciplinary research projects.
A team of individuals who are committed to working together to develop at least one full proposal submission within 18 months with at least one member in the College of Engineering were the only requirements. Otherwise, team members could be at Michigan Tech, across the nation or across the world.
The College of Engineering awarded ten Stage 1 seed grants in October. In November, the college received 15 Stage 2 proposals which were reviewed by a group of six faculty members representing interdisciplinary research across campus. Judging criteria included the funding track record of the PI/team, likelihood of funding and potential amount, interdisciplinarity/transdisciplinarity of the project and newness of the interdisciplinary team.
With the Stage 2 seed grants, the total awarded is over $200,000 this year. Stage 2 recipients are:
- Advances in Zinc Based Stent Research
Team led by Jarek Drelich (MSE) and Jeremy Goldman (BME)
- Artificial Intelligence-Driven Computed Functional Brain Angiography
Team led by Jingfeng Jiang (BME) and Zhuo Feng (ECE)
- Mobility and Autonomous Vehicles in Unstructured Environments
Team led by Greg Odegard (ME-EM) and Jeff Naber (ME-EM)
- Say NO to viruses!
Team led by Megan Frost (KIP/BME), Caryn Heldt (CHE) and Ebenezer Tumban (BioSci)
- Transdisciplinary Approach to Sustainable Remediation Technologies for PFAS-Contaminated Water and Soil
Team led by Andre R. Da Costa (CHE), Pradeep Agrawal (CHE), Michael Mullins (CHE), Tony Rogers (CHE), Judith Perlinger (CEE), Rupali Datta (BioSci), Stephen Techtmann (BioSci) and Richelle Winkler (SS)
Michigan Tech’s Blue Marble Security (BMS) Enterprise students have been working with a 7th grade eCYBERMISSION team from Lake Linden-Hubbell High School. The team members are Jenna Beaudoin, Chloe Daniels, Rebecca Lyons, and Olivia Shank.
Their project is to design and test a backpack reflector. The reflector design is being done using NX and is 3D printed. The reflector will have 4 lights that flicker on and off. With with the help of BMS students Tyler and John, they have designed a circuit with 2 IC chips and LED lights. Olivia worked with Tyler on the 3D design, while the other girls worked on their documentation of the circuit. Some of the girls learned how to solder.
eCYBERMISSION is a national science competition for grades 6-9 and is sponsored by the Army Educational Outreach Program (AEOP).
BMS is advised by Glen Archer, Principal Lecturer and Associate Chair, Electrical and Computer Engineering. The eCYBERMISSION team is advised by Gretchen Hein, Senior Lecturer, Engineering Fundamentals and Faculty Adviser, Society of Women Engineers.
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Melanie Kueber-Watkins joins the faculty of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering as a research assistant professor. She earned a PhD in Civil Engineering/Concrete Chemistry from Michigan Tech where she received the Graduate Student of the Year – Danielle Ladwig Award for Graduate Excellence in Tech’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.
For the past three years she has taught civil engineering and concrete chemistry courses here at Michigan Tech. Kueber-Watkins has extensive civil engineering consulting experience with firms in the Upper Peninsula, Chicago and St. Louis.
Electrical and Computer Engineering
Aref Majdara joins the faculty of Electrical and Computer Engineering as a lecturer. He earned a PhD in Electrical Engineering from Michigan Tech and a PhD in Management and Science Technology from Tohoku University in Japan. In addition, he received a master’s of science in Nuclear Engineering from Shiraz University in Iran.
As a graduate student at Michigan Tech, Majdara received a Doctoral Finishing Fellowship, the Jonathan Bara Award for Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department and the Outstanding Graduate Student Teaching Award.
Kenneth Thiemann joins the faculty of Engineering Fundamentals as an Instructor. He is currently a PhD candidate in Environmental Engineering at Michigan Tech. He earned his MS in Environmental Engineering with a concentration in water resources from Michigan Tech and Delft University in the Netherlands.
Thiemann has worked as an engineer in Michigan and Minnesota.
Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences
Nathan Manser joins the faculty of the Department of Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences as a Lecturer. Manser earned his PhD in Environmental Engineering from the University of South Florida. He has previously served as an instructor at Michigan Tech in Geological Engineering, in the Pavlis Honors College, and the Departments of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and Engineering Fundamentals.
In industry, he has worked as a mine production and shipping systems supervisor for the Unimin Corporation in Minnesota and a mine systems engineer with Granate Construction Company in Arizona.
Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics
Cameron Hadden joins the faculty at Michigan Tech as a lecturer in the Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics. Hadden earned his PhD in Mechanical Engineering from Michigan Tech. He has served as a lecturer in the Departments of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics and Engineering Fundamentals and was a student advisor in Materials Science and Engineering at Michigan Tech.
Hadden’s research interests including molecular modeling, design and manufacturing of composite materials, mechanical behavior of composite materials, nanomaterials, biomechanics, and finite elements.
Steven Ma Joins the faculty of Michigan Tech’s Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics as a professor of practice. He earned his PhD in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering from the State University of New York at Buffalo, with a concentration in Structural Dynamics. Ma also has an Executive MBA from Tsinghua University in China.
Before coming to Michigan Tech, Ma was an adjunct professor for more than 10 years at the University of Texas in Arlington. In addition, he has worked as an engineer for several firms including Kobelco, Atlas Copco, Parker Hannifin and Caterpillar Inc.
The Graduate School announced the Spring 2019 award recipients. The following are award recipients in engineering graduate programs:
Doctoral Finishing Fellowship Award
Maria Paula Kwesiga, Biomedical Engineering
Anindya Majumdar, Biomedical Engineering
Sakineh Yazdanparast, Electrical Engineering
Xin He, Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics
Xian Li, Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics
Niranjan Miganakallu, Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics
Zhuyong Yang, Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics
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.”