Bryant Weathers New CoE Director of Advancement

Bryant Weathers
Bryant Weathers

The College of Engineering welcomes Bryant Weathers to the dean’s office staff as director of advancement. As advancement liaison for the eight departments within the College of Engineering, Weathers’ primary role will be to connect alumni and friends in furthering Michigan Tech’s mission and programs, while achieving individual charitable goals in a variety of ways.

His previous experience at Michigan Tech includes advancement officer and gift planning and donor communications specialist in the Office of Advancement. Weathers is an alumnus, and earned his BS in Science and Technical Communication in 2010.


Happy Engineers Week 2019!

Please join us in celebrating National Engineers Week (Eweek). All are welcome!

We’re celebrating Eweek this week with some special events on campus at Michigan Tech. Events are sponsored by the local Michigan Tech chapter of Tau Beta Pi, the Engineering Honor Society, and the College of Engineering.

Founded by the National Society of Professional Engineers in 1951, Eweek is celebrated each February around the time of George Washington’s birthday, February 22, because Washington is considered by many to be the first US engineer. Eweek is dedicated to ensuring a diverse and well-educated future engineering workforce by increasing understanding of and interest in engineering and technology careers.

This evening (Monday, Feb. 18) the CPM Enterprise team will host an event featuring Mock Interviews and Career Fair Prep, from 6 to 8 p.m. in ChemSci 101. And there’s more. Feel free to stop by and check out Eweek events as your schedule allows:

  • Insulate an Ice Cube Race: Anyone can take part in this fun and challenging contest, hosted by the Innovative Global Solutions Enterprise, 5:30 – 6:30 p.m. in MEEM 404 on Tuesday, Feb. 19.
  • Engineers Week Cake: Enjoy a free and delicious piece of cake, courtesy of the Department of Engineering Fundamentals. Cake will be served from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. Wednesday, (Feb. 20), in Dillman 112B.
  • Paper Airplane Competition (plus ice cream): Test your creativity and imagination alongside members of the newly-formed Built World Enterprise, 4-5 p.m. Thursday, in Fisher 131.
  • Build a Heart Rate Circuit Board. Come build your own heart-shaped, heart-rate monitoring circuit board with Blue Marble Security Enterprise, 4 – 6 p.m. Friday (Feb. 22) in EERC 622.

Over the weekend, Tau Beta Pi and the College of Engineering sponsored free Michigan Tech Film Board showings of the movie Interstellar, starring Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway, a science fiction film set in a dystopian future where humanity is struggling to survive. The film follows a group of astronauts who travel through a wormhole near Saturn in search of a new home for humanity.

Eweek is a formal coalition of more than 70 engineering, education, and cultural societies, and more than 50 corporations and government agencies. Dedicated to raising public awareness of engineers’ positive contributions to quality of life, Eweek promotes recognition among parents, teachers, and students of the importance of a technical education and a high level of math, science, and technology literacy, and motivates youth, to pursue engineering careers in order to provide a diverse and vigorous engineering workforce. Each year, Eweek reaches thousands of schools, businesses, and community groups across the US.


Deans’ Teaching Showcase: Daisuke Minakata

Daisuke Minakat
Daisuke Minakat

Daisuke Minakata, (CEE), has been selected by College of Engineering Dean Janet Callahan as her second showcase member for spring semester 2019.

Callahan’s selection was driven by Minakata’s extensive involvement in undergraduate research. In the last four years, Minakata has supervised nine undergraduate research assistants supported either through their own research fellowships or his research grants. His involvement starts with developing a research idea and extends through written paper and poster presentations.

Callahan says, “By encouraging and enabling undergraduate students to pursue research, Dr. Minakata is helping to develop a vibrant intellectual community among the students in the College.”

Minakata’s passion for connecting students to research and professional life extends into his teaching and serves as an inspiration for students there.

A current graduate student, with history as an undergraduate in the department, marked his enthusiasm, even in an 8 a.m. class: “Inside and outside of the classroom, Dr. Minakata is enthusiastic and willing to help students comprehend new course materials and provide advice on career paths. He is always available to his students on a personal and professional level.”

CEE Chair Audra Morse confirms Minakata’s passion for teaching and placed him in key roles at all levels within the department. Minakata teaches CEE5510, the only required graduate course in Environmental Engineering, where he is known to be rigorous and demanding, but highly respected.

At the same time, he is routinely invited to CEE1501, the first-year environmental engineering overview course. In the that course, Minakata invited students to see him if they are interested in undergraduate research within “the first two minutes of his talk.”

In the reflection assignment associated with that visit, one student confirmed that early research opportunities are “a big reason why kids go to Michigan Tech” and that Minakata’s talk was a moment where their “dreams came true.”

Perhaps Morse summarizes Minakata’s unique integration of teaching and research best when she says, “Dr. Minakata successfully demonstrates the benefits of integrating undergraduate students in research activities. More importantly, he inspires the next generation of passionate and curious environmental engineers.”

Minakata will be recognized at an end-of-term luncheon with other showcase members, and is now a candidate for the CTL Instructional Award Series (to be determined this summer) recognizing introductory or large class teaching, innovative or outside the classroom teaching methods, or work in curriculum and assessment.


Judges Needed for Design Expo 2019

Design Expo students by their posterWe invite you to register to be a judge at the 2019 Design Expo on Thursday, April 18. The Expo highlights hands-on projects from more than 1000 students on Enterprise and Senior Design teams.

Although special expertise is appreciated, judges are not required to be technological specialists or engineers. If you like engaging with students and learning more about the exciting projects they are working on, please consider judging.

Who should judge?

  • Community members
  • Michigan Tech faculty and staff
  • Alumni interested in seeing what today’s students are accomplishing as undergrads
  • Those looking to network with Michigan Tech faculty and students
  • Industry representatives interested in sponsoring a future project

Design Expo is co-hosted by the College of Engineering and the Pavlis Honors College.

If you would like to serve as a judge at this year’s Design Expo, register as soon as possible to let us know you’re coming. Thank you for your continued support.

By Pavlis Honors College and the College of Engineering.


Dean’s Teaching Showcase: Paul VanSusante

Paul van Susante
Paul van Susante

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.


Tech Faculty and Staff Participate in KEEN Conference and Workshop

KEEN logo 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.


Engineering Alumni Activity Spring 2019

Megan Krieger
Megan Krieger

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-Record3Dprint.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.

Jeff Stauffer
Jeff Stauffer

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.

John O. Hallquist
John O. Hallquist

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.

Kirk Fauri
Kirk Fauri

RS&H Vice President and Texas CEI Leader Kirk Fauri ’03 has been named to ENR Texas & Louisiana’s 20 Under 40 list, a recognition of the region’s top young professionals. Fauri holds a BS in Civil Engineering from Michigan Tech. He serves as the prime CEI consultant with TxDOT in 10 districts and four regional mobility authorities.

Mike Paddock
Mike Paddock

Mike Paddock ’87 volunteered with Engineers Without Borders USA (EWB-USA) to support volcano recovery in Guatemala. Mike, a 15-year veteran of EWB-USA, has spent the better part of six months in Guatemala responding to the Volcano Fuego disaster. He has a passion for Guatemala, and has contributed to the building of dozens of bridges, roads, schools and wastewater projects throughout the country, although volcano response is new territory for both Mike and EWB-USA. Paddock holds BS degrees in Surveying and Civil Engineering.


Design Expo 2019 Registration Now Open

Design Expo studentsDesign 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.


College of Engineering Cross-Cutting Initiative: Stage 2 Seed Grants Awarded

Campus in SummerFederal 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:


7th Graders Design a Backpack Reflector

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.

BMS eCYBERMISSION girls visit MDOT garage
Visit to Calumet MDOT Garage
BMS and eCYBERMISSION team members at the computer
BMS and eCYBERMISSION Team Members
BMS eCYBERMISSION building a circuit
Building a Circuit
BMS eCYBERMISSION soldering
Soldering