Author: Kim Geiger

Tau Beta Pi Honor Society initiates 20 new members

Michigan Tech Tau Beta Pi Spring 2019 Initiates

Tau Beta Pi initiated eighteen students and two eminent engineers into the Michigan Tech Michigan Beta chapter this semester.

A nationally-recognized engineering honor society, Tau Beta Pi is the only one that recognizes all engineering professions. Members are selected from the top eighth of their junior class, top fifth of their senior class, or the top fifth of graduate students who have completed 50 percent of their coursework.

Tau Beta Pi celebrates those who have distinguished scholarship and exemplary character and members strive to maintain integrity and excellence in engineering. The honor is nationally recognized in both academic and professional settings. Alumni embody the principle of TBP: “Integrity and Excellence in Engineering.”

Spring 2019 Initiates:

Undergraduate Students

David Castelvetere: Mechanical Engineering

Laura De Marchi: Biomedical Engineering

Lucas Determan: Computer Engineering

Brooke Forseth: Civil Engineering

Dakota Frohriep: Electrical Engineering

Zachrey Gogulski: Environmental Engineering

Ben Johnson: Mechanical Engineering

Sean Luke: Mechanical Engineering

Nate Marus: Biomedical Engineering

Josh Poquette: Electrical Engineering

Cameron Reid: Chemical Engineering

Erican Santiago: Biomedical Engineering

Christian Walters: Mechanical Engineering

Jason Whitler: Mechanical Engineering

Derek Willis: Mechanical Engineering

Bronson Wood: Chemical Engineering


Graduate Students

Chaitanya Bhat: Civil and Environmental Engineering

Li Wei: Electrical Engineering


Eminent Engineers

Sean Kirkpatrick: Biomedical Engineering

Faith Morrison: Chemical Engineering


Western UP Science Fair this Tuesday at Tech: Free, fun, hands-on activities for K-8 students

Prepare to be amazed! Here, a member of Michigan Tech Mind Trekkers hand out samples of “shattered” graham crackers frozen with liquid nitrogen. Not pictured: the exciting result. Eat a small bite, exhale, and poof! You’ve got ‘dragon breath’!

The Western UP Science Fair and Science & Engineering Festival will be on campus at Michigan Tech, on Tuesday, March 19, from 4:30-7:30 pm.

All students in the Western Upper Peninsula of Michigan— kindergarten through the 8th grade, and their families—are invited to attend the Science & Engineering Festival from 4:30-7:30 pm, Tuesday, March 19 in the Memorial Union Building Commons (ground floor) at Michigan Tech. 

More than 60 Michigan Tech students from 15 Michigan Tech student organizations will engage participants in fun, hands-on engineering, physics, and chemistry activities, including Remotely Operated Vehicles, Fish Tank Fiber Optics, a K’NEX Wind-powered Water Lift, and Tracks & Trains. Design an egg package with toothpicks and marshmallows. Design and shoot a straw rocket! Make some Gel-o that mimics human tissue! Make art with glow in the dark paints! How about glitter slime and popsicle stick flashlights? More than 30 different fun things to try!

Schedule & Event Flyer

4:30-7:30 pm   Activity Stations open to the public (K-8 students and families)

5:00-6:00 pm    Public viewing of science fair projects in the Ballroom (2nd floor)

2019 STEM Festival-FLYER 031919

Don’t miss this super-fun event! The stellar list of Michigan Tech student organizations include:

  • FIRST Robotics Houghton Middle School
  • Society of Physics Student Chapter
  • Engineering Ambassadors                                         
  • Railroad Engineering Activities Club
  • Materials United – Materials Science Engineering
  • Women in Natural Resources
  • Society of Women Engineers
  • MTU Sustainability House
  • Dollar Bay SOAR
  • Mind Trekkers
  • Society of Environmental Engineering
  • Optics & Phototonics Society
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Keweenaw Rocket Range
  • Tau Beta Pi

For more information: Joan Chadde, 906-487-3341 or

Michigan Tech Hosts STEM Festival & Science Fair

Hundreds of Keweenaw area students visited the campus of Michigan Tech Tuesday as they took part in all sorts of fun and games, and all in the name of “Science.”

“We have some new organizations: the Keweenaw Rocketry Club, Biomedical Engineering is here, the Society of Physics students always come out and they have a lot of fun,” said Chadde.

Read more at the Keweenaw Report.

Michigan Technological University hosts 21st Annual Western Upper Peninsula Science Fair and STEM Festival

“What we want the students to see is how much fun science, technology, engineering, and math are,” said MTU Center for Science and Environmental Outreach director Joan Chadde. “They’re also interacting with some great role models.”

Projects from the fair that earn enough points will receive gold, silver, or bronze ribbons. All ribbon winners will be able to present their project at the Carnegie Museum in Houghton this April.

Read more and watch the video at Upper Michigan’s Source, by Tyler J. Markle.

Science Fair: Michigan Tech hosts 21st annual festival

“At this event we want to get kids interested in rocketry. That’s actually one of our mission statements for the organization,” said Dan Faber, vice president of the Keweenaw Rocket Range.

Younger students who want to join an organization before college were welcome to talk to the FIRST Robotics team, a robotics group for K-12 students.

Read more at the Mining Gazette.

Making a Difference in Motor City: Alternative Spring Break

Michigan Tech Alumnus Bruce Brunson during NSBE Alternative Spring Break in Detroit last year. Brunson earned BS degrees in Biomedical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering in 2018. He now works as an associate design engineer for Ethicon Endo-Surgery Inc. in Cincinnati, Ohio.

While some students travel for adventure during spring break, others travel for the greater good. The Michigan Tech Chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) will head to Motor City to spread the message of STEM.

Ten Michigan Tech engineering students will visit six middle and high schools to encourage students to consider college and a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) careers as part of the chapter’s 8th Annual NSBE Alternative Spring Break trip to Detroit from March 11-13, 2019.

During the school day, the Michigan Tech students will make classroom presentations to middle and high school students encouraging them to continue their education after high school, consider going to college or community college, and choose a STEM career path. The NSBE students will also conduct evening Family Engineering events at three K-8 schools.

The goal of the NSBE classroom presentations and Family Engineering events are to engage, inspire, and encourage diverse students to learn about and consider careers in engineering and science through hands-on activities. These programs are designed to address our country’s need for an increased number and greater diversity of students skilled in STEM (math, science, technology, and engineering).

NSBE School Presentation Schedule ~ Monday-Wed, March 11-13, 2019

Morning High School Classroom Presentations (first 3 periods):

  • Western International High School
  • Communications and Media Arts HS
  • Ben Carson High School

Afternoon Middle School Classroom Presentations (2 periods after lunch) and K-8 Family Engineering Nights (3-5 pm):

  • Ronald Brown Academy
  • Thurgood Marshall K-8 School
  • Clippert Academy

This outreach effort is funded by General Motors, and the Michigan Tech Office of Admissions and College of Engineering, in partnership with Detroit Public Schools Community District. The effort is coordinated by the Michigan Tech Center for Science & Environmental Outreach.

High school students at these schools will also be encouraged to apply to participate in a 6-day Engineering & Environmental Science Exploration at Michigan Tech from July 20-27, or a 5-day Summer STEM Internship at Michigan Tech from July 15-19. Each participating student will be supported by a $700 scholarship. Application information is available here.

For many other students at Michigan Tech, For Michigan Tech students, spring break is a time to take the dedication, innovation and tenacity they bring to the classroom to a different venue. Read more about the wide range of alternative spring breaks taking place this year.

Safe Winter Roads, Explained by a Michigan Tech Snow Scientist

It’s the first week of March and so far we’ve had 175 inches of snow in Houghton County, with another couple of feet expected before the spring thaw. Despite all the snow, we manage to get around pretty well (most of the time). Snow scientist Russ Alger ’80, ’81 explains just what goes into the UP’s ‘secret sauce’ for safe winter roads.

Russ Alger, Chief Snow Scientist, Keweenaw Research Center

Russ Alger knows about snow. The head of Michigan Tech’s Institute of Snow Research is one of the world’s go-to guys for research on cold climate driving issues, with more than 25 years of experience and counting. Since earning his BS and MS in Civil and Environmental engineering Michigan Tech, Alger has developed a snow grader that can “pave” snow trails in Antarctica, and a product called SafeLane, an epoxy-aggregate mixture that is applied to roads, bridge decks, walkways and parking lots to give the surfaces better traction by reducing snow and ice. SafeLane is now marketed by Cargill and used widely, saving untold lives.

You are a snow scientist. How did you come to choose this path, or did it choose you?  My father, George Alger, was a civil engineering professor at Michigan Tech for many years. His expertise was in ice-covered rivers and cold regions engineering in general. Growing up in Dollar Bay and working with him on outdoor projects, as well as being an outdoorsman myself, pointed me down that path at a young age.  In 1976, my Dad, along with Michigan Tech civil engineering professors Ralph Hodek and Henry Sanford established a curriculum on Cold Regions Engineering. I started with them that very first year.

Are there best practices for using salt on roadways in winter? Road supervisors and crews rely heavily on the weather forecast.  Air temp, pavement temp, temperature trends, precipitation rates and total amounts, wind, time of day, and more all play into the decision making process. For example, if it is going to be below 15o F, it is likely that crews would consider adding something like calcium chloride to the mix since it is better at colder temps. They might just use sodium chloride above that temp since it works well and is much cheaper.  The amount of deicer needed also increases as temperature decreases and there is a point where it doesn’t pay to use deicer at all except for maybe as a “kicker” for sand applications.

Combining salt and stamp sands seems to work pretty well to help us get around amid all the snowfall here in the UP.  What all goes into it? Each maintenance entity uses a sand that is easiest in their operation. It depends on availability, and cost—where cost is actual material cost and transportation to the central staging areas. As it turns out, in most of Houghton County, stamp sand is used. It’s abundant, and the County owns some stamp sand property. On top of that, stamp sand is actually a pretty good ‘grit’ for this purpose. The grain size is right to result in traction, which is the purpose of sand. It isn’t too dusty, and most importantly, it is crushed rock, so it is angular. That means it has sharp edges that help it dig into icy pavements and grip tires. The addition of a small amount of deicer, mainly NaCl and CaCl2 liquid helps the sand piles from freezing up, but is also very effective at helping the sand particles to stick on the ice surface. A small amount of deicer makes the sand particles melt into the surface and stick, making a layer that acts like a piece of sand paper. This is a pretty effective way to increase grip of tires on the surface, which is the end goal of this operation.

 “Winter road maintenance is a science in itself, a very complicated undertaking. Each geographic location has its own challenges and ways of doing things that have evolved over the years. That said, there really is no miracle method.”

Are any elements of winter road prep unique to this area? As you drive across the UP and into Wisconsin and Lower Michigan it is evident that each entity has its own way of doing things.  Driving west through Twin Lakes and into Ontonagon County this is also quite evident. Each group has its own way of using deicers and each has a unique type of friction course (sand) that they use. The northern UP is also quite unique, as we get so much snow. Heavy snow areas are sometimes difficult areas in which to use deicers, since it takes so much chemical to keep up with the amounts of snow.

Within Houghton County a number of different entities perform our snow removal operations. MDOT takes care of the State and Federal trunklines, Houghton County takes care of all secondary roads, and some of the larger cities in the area take care of their own streets. Each of these entities have their own way of doing things. In fact, across the UP, there are counties that even take care of their own State and Federal Roads. There are some major difference in operations as you drive across the UP in a storm event.

Do you see any room for improvement?  There are always ways to improve, but in my experience traveling across the US and Canada through numerous storm events, our local entities have gotten really good at dealing with the extreme amounts of snow that we get. It always amazes me how well we can move around the Copper Country during and very shortly after a snow event. Hats off!!

Why does it seem that so many places elsewhere in the country are unprepared and shut down when even a few inches of snow falls? In areas that don’t get much snow, and not very often, it is hard to justify spending a lot on winter equipment and supplies. That has been a big problem this year since so much of the country is getting record snows.  On the other side of the coin, some areas, including some wealthier Detroit suburbs, the public has pushed for roads to be bare pavement at all times. These areas spend a lot of money on snow removal.

Could our method(s) be replicated and shared with other cities and towns? As researchers we always want to share or work and ideas with others. I’ve done a lot of deicer research over the years, some of which is public domain and some is for private companies.  We have also done a lot of work on methods over the years such as when to put deicers out, how to put them out, how much, how often, how to predict, and more.


Design Expo 2019 – Enterprise and Senior Design Team Projects

All are welcome at Michigan Tech’s 19th annual Design Expo, coming up on Thursday, April 19 in the Memorial Union Ballroom, from 8 am – 3 pm.

At Design Expo, you can explore the breadth and depth of undergraduate innovation, from more than 1,000 students from Michigan Tech’s Enterprise and Senior Design programs. More than 100 projects will be on display, judged throughout the day by a panel of corporate representatives, invited guests, and University faculty, staff, and graduate students. Many projects are sponsored by industry.

Below, check out the entire list of Senior Design and Enterprise teams competing.

(listed by team number assigned by Design Expo for judging purposes)

Remote Switching Station Power
Advisor: John Lukowski, Electrical and Computer Engineering
Sponsor: ITC Holding Corp. 

Automated Functional Testing Device for Logic Devices
Advisors: Aref Majdara and Tony Pinar, Electrical and Computer Engineering
Sponsor: Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Boat HUD
Advisor: Trever Hassell, Electrical and Computer Engineering
Sponsor: Systems Engineering Research Center (SERC) 

Automated Functional Testing Device for Operational Amplifiers
Advisor: Aref Majdara, Electrical and Computer Engineering
Sponsor: Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Mobile Active Threat Emergency System (MATES)
Advisor: Paul van Susante, Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics
Sponsor: Air Force Research Labs 

Electrostatic Precipitator Inspection Device
Advisor: Paul van Susante, Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics
Sponsor: DTE Energy

Hydro Generating Plant Black Start
Advisor: School of Technology
Sponsor:  FDS Engineering & Electrical Services 

Cobalt Reduction in Tribaloy T-400
Advisors: Paul Sanders and Walt Milligan, Materials Science and Engineering
Sponsor: Winsert Inc. 

Assembly Cell Changeover
Advisor: William Endres, Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics
Sponsor: MacLean-Fogg 

Cancer Detection
Advisor: Tony Pinar, Electrical and Computer Engineering
Sponsor: Barzin Moridian 

Rapid Prototyping of Ultrasound Elastography Breast Phantom for Ductile Carcinoma Diagnosis
Advisor: Jingfeng Jiang, Biomedical Engineering
Sponsor: Materialise 

Sorting of Bar Ends and Slugs from Hot-Formed Parts
Advisor: Paul van Susante, Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics
Sponsor:  MacLean-Fogg Component Solutions

Ballnut and Ballscrew Inspection Data Post-Processing
Advisor: Steven Ma, Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics
Sponsor:  Nexteer Automotive 

Peripheral Tool Simulation for an Ultrasonic Aspirator Console
Advisor: Orhan Soykan, Biomedical Engineering
Sponsor: Stryker 

Air Cooled Inverter Heatsink
Advisor:  Jeremy Worm, Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics
Sponsor:  US Army TARDEC 

EPS ball screw lash measurement
Advisors: William Endres and James DeClerck, Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics
Sponsor:  Nexteer 

SERC MARSOC Improved Life Support for Casualties at Point of Injury
Advisors:  Feng Zhao and Rupak Rajachar, Biomedical Engineering
Sponsors:  Layne Lewis 

Nodule Reduction on Steel Reheat Furnace Refractory
Advisor:  Paul Sanders, Materials Science and Engineering
Sponsor:  ArcelorMittal 

Tinker Omega Sand Delivery System
Advisor:  David Labyak, School of Technology
Sponsor: Department of Materials Science and Engineering

Automatic Case Sealer
Advisor: Eddy Trinklein, Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics
Sponsor:  Fapco, Inc. 

Gerdau Inclusion Solidification Prevention
Paul Sanders, Materials Science and Engineering
Sponsor: Gerdau – Monroe Mill 

Fuel Economy Impact Tool
Advisor:  Steven Ma, Mechanical Engineering
Sponsor:  Maclean Fogg Component Solutions 

Full Flexion Knee
Advisors: Jeremy Goldman and Keat Ghee Ong, Biomedical Engineering
Sponsor: Department of Biomedical Engineering 

Data Analysis Methods to Improve Treatment of Chronic Pain
Advisor: Keat Ghee Ong, Biomedical Engineering
Sponsor: Medtronic 

Transcatheter Single Ventricle Device
Advisors: Smitha Rao and Jeremy Goldman, Biomedical Engineering
Sponsor:  Spectrum Health Innovations—Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital 

SERC AFRL 05 Personnel Recovery – Power
Advisor: John Lukowski, Electrical and Computer Engineering
Sponsor: Systems Engineering Research Center 

Micro-Pistoning Immobilization
Advisors:  Bruce Lee and Feng Zhao, Biomedical Engineering
Sponsor:  3M 

Load Sensor and Calibrator for Crane Control
Advisor:  Fei Long, Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics
Sponsor: Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics

Temperature Sensing of Implanted Medical Device Shields
Advisor: Keat Ghee Ong, Biomedical Engineering
Sponsor: Medtronic 

Universal Driver Gear Train
Advisor: Smitha Rao, Biomedical Engineering
Sponsor: Stryker 

Hard Surface Disinfectant Innovation
Advisor: Trever Hassell, Electrical and Computer Engineering
Sponsor:  Leading Disinfectant Wipes Producer 

Advisor: Cam Hadden, Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics
Sponsor:  Air Force Research Labs 

Flow Meter for Power Plant Water Quality Analysis Equipment
Advisors: John Irwin and Sunil Mehendale, School of Technology
Sponsor: Sentry Equipment

Deposition System GUI
Advisor:  Tony Pinar, Electrical and Computer Engineering
Sponsor: Chito Kendrick 

TRIP Steel Additive Manufacturing
Advisor:  Paul Sanders, Materials Science and Engineering
Sponsor: ArcelorMittal 

Gypsum Water Extraction
Advisor: Paul van Susante, Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics
Sponsor: Michigan Tech’s MINE Enterprise 

Laser Safety Proposal for Minerals & Materials Engineering Bldg. Room 329
Advisors: John Irwin, School of Technology, and Russell Stein and Paul Sanders, Materials Science and Engineering
Sponsor: Department Materials Science and Engineering

Effects of Scandium on Cast Iron
Advisor: Paul Sanders, Materials Science and Engineering
Sponsor:  CleanTeQ 

Clean TeQ Aluminum-Scandium Additive Manufacturing Alloy Development
Advisor: Paul Sanders, Materials Science and Engineering
Sponsor: Clean TeQ 

Thermal & Mechanical Effects of Power Modalities on Surrounding Tissue
Advisors: Sean Kirkpatrick and Orhan Soykan, Biomedical Engineering
Sponsor:  Stryker 

Disposable Cranial Perforator System
Advisors: Jingfeng Jiang and Bruce Lee, Biomedical Engineering
Sponsor: Stryker 

EPS Belt Drive Analytical Method to Predict Thrust Forces
Advisor: Aneet Narendranath, Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics
Sponsor: Nexteer Automotive 

FCA Advanced Hood Architecture – Structural and Attachment Team
Advisor: Cam Hadden, Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics
Sponsor: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles 

Catheter Hydrophilic Lubricious Coating Measurement Challenge
Advisor: Sean Kirkpatrick, Biomedical Engineering
Sponsor: Boston Scientific 

Development of a Blubber-Only Whale Tag Anchoring System
Advisor: Rupak Rajachar, Biomedical Engineering
Sponsor: Dr. Alexandre Zerbini 

Advanced Vehicle Hood Architecture and Design
Advisor: Jeremy Worm, Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics
Sponsor: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles 

Automatic Rotary Indexer with Visual Feedback System for Fine Finish Tooling
Advisor: Eddy Trinklein, Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics
Sponsor: Endres Machining Innovations LLC 

Pneumatic Flow Totalizer
Advisor: Jeremy Worm, Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics
Sponsor: Donald Engineering 

Sand Point Tower and Boardwalk
Advisor: Steven Ma, Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics
Sponsor: Keweenaw Bay Indian Community 

John Deere Gator XUV835 Exhaust Redesign
Advisor: James DeClerck, Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics
Sponsor: John Deere 

Red Laser Inspection Device Improvement
Advisor: Eddy Trinklein, Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics
Sponsor: MacLean-Fogg Component Solutions 

Mobile Active Threat Emergency System
Advisor: William Endres, Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics
Sponsor:  Air Force Research Labs 

Eddy Current Inspection In-line Integration
Advisor: William Endres, Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics
Sponsor: MacLean-Fogg Component Solutions — Metform 

(listed by team number assigned by Design Expo for judging purposes)

Blizzard Baja 
Advisor: Kevin Johnson, Mechanical Engineering Technology
Sponsors: Aramco, Denso, General Motors, FCA, Magna, 3M, Altair, Ford Motor Company, Halla Mechatronics, Henkel, IPETRONIK, John Deere, Meritor, Nexteer, Michigan Scientific Corporation, Milwaukee Tool, ArcelorMittal, Cummins, Oshkosh Corporation

Clean Snowmobile Challenge
Advisor: Jason Blough, Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics
Sponsors: Aramco, Denso, General Motors, FCA, Magna, 3M, Altair, Ford Motor Company, Halla Mechatronics, Henkel, IPETRONIK, John Deere, Meritor, Nexteer, Michigan Scientific Corporation, Milwaukee Tool, ArcelorMittal, Yamaha, Kohler, Arctic Cat, Camso, V-Converter, Bosch, PCB Piezotronics, TE Connectivity, Simscale

Formula SAE 
Advisor: James DeClerck, Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics
Sponsors: Aramco, Denso, General Motors, FCA, Magna, 3M, Altair, Ford Motor Company, Halla Mechatronics, Henkel, IPETRONIK, John Deere, Meritor, Nexteer, Michigan Scientific Corporation, Milwaukee Tool, Simscale, TE Connectivity, Mercury, SKF USA, PartSolutions, ArcelorMittal, McLaren, AVL

Supermileage Systems 
Advisor: Rick Berkey, Pavlis Honors College
Sponsors: Aramco, Denso, General Motors, FCA, Magna, 3M, Altair, Ford Motor Company, Halla Mechatronics, Henkel, IPETRONIK, John Deere, Meritor, Nexteer, Michigan Scientific Corporation, Milwaukee Tool, ArcelorMittal, Saginaw Controls & Engineering

Advanced Metalworks Enterprise (AME)
Advisor: Paul Sanders, Materials Science and Engineering
Sponsors: Mercury Marine, Eck, ArcelorMittal, Gerdau, Clean TeQ, AIST 

Aerospace Enterprise
Advisor: L. Brad King, Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics
Sponsors: NASA, Air Force Research Laboratory

Alternative Energy Enterprise (AEE)
Advisor: Jay Meldrum, Keweenaw Research Center
Sponsors: Keweenaw Research Center, Oshkosh, and Traverse Solar

Blue Marble Security
Advisor: Glen Archer, Electrical and Computer Engineering
Sponsors: General Motors, Oshkosh Corporation, ArcelorMittal, Systems Engineering Research Center (SERC)

BoardSport Technologies
Advisor: Ibrahim Miskioglu, Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics
Sponsors: ArcelorMittal, Enterprise Manufacturing Initiative funded by General Motors, Pavlis Honors College

Built World 
Advisor: Audra Morse, Civil and Environmental Engineering
Sponsors: Airport Cooperative Research Program University Design Competition

Cin/Optic Communication and Media
Advisor: Erin Smith, Humanities
Sponsors: International Research Experience for Students (IRES), Michigan Tech Dept. of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics, Michigan Tech School of Technology, Community Solar

Consumer Product Manufacturing
Advisors: Tony Rogers and Sean Clancy, Chemical Engineering
Sponsors: Avery Wilson, General Motors, Kohler Company, Libbey Inc., Yanfeng Automotive Interiors, Robert Carnahan, Schmohz Brewing Company, Keweenaw Brewing Company, ArcelorMittal

General Expedition and Adventure Research (GEAR)
Advisor: Brett Hamlin, Engineering Fundamentals
Sponsors: Systems Engineering Research Center (SERC), Enterprise Manufacturing Initiative funded by General Motors

Green Campus 
Advisor: Christopher Wojick, Civil and Environmental Engineering
Sponsor: Michigan Technological University

Humane Interface Design Enterprise (HIDE)
Advisor: Robert Pastel, Computer Science

Husky Game Development
Advisor: Scott Kuhl, Computer Science

Innovative Global Solutions
Advisor: Radheshyam Tewari, Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics
Sponsor: Pavlis Honors College, the Enterprise Manufacturing Initiative funded by General Motors 

Advisor: Russell Louks, School of Business and Economics
Sponsors: Microsoft, 24G, Denso, Pavlis Honors College 

Mining Innovation Enterprise (MINE)
Advisor: Paulus Van Susante, Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics
Sponsor: NASA

Open Source Hardware
Advisor: Joshua Pearce, Materials Science and Engineering
Sponsors: Enterprise Manufacturing Initiative funded by General Motors, ArcelorMittal

Robotic Systems 
Advisor: Jeremy Bos, Electrical and Computer Engineering
Sponsors: General Motors, SAE International, Continental, Intel, MathWorks, Velodyne 

Strategic Education through Naval Systems Experiences (SENSE)
Advisor: Andrew Barnard, Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics
Sponsors: Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (KBIC), Systems Engineering Research Center (SERC), Office of Naval Research (ONR)

Advisor: Steve Lehmann, Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics
Sponsors: Ak Tube LLC, ArcelorMittal, Boss Snow Plow, Churning Rapids Snow Bike Trail, Pavlis Honors College 

Wireless Communication Enterprise (WCE)
Advisor: Christopher Cischke, Electrical and Computer Engineering
Sponsors: Ford Motor Company, Systems Engineering Research Center (SERC), Michigan Tech Dept. of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Michigan Tech Dept. of Visual and Performing Arts 

High School Enterprise—Dollar Bay School SOAR
Advisor: Joshua Pearce, Materials Science and Engineering
Sponsors: DBTC Area Schools, Lake Superior Stewardship Initiative

Charitable Lead Trust — How I Give

Judy and Gary Anderson ’67

“I believe that a great education is the foundation for a great career. I was fortunate to have both.” —Gary Anderson ‘67

I believe that a great education is the foundation for a great career. I was fortunate to have both.

Growing up in Ishpeming in the 1950s, I saw firsthand what hard work looked like. My father had to quit school to work in the mines at age 15 to support the family after my grandfather was killed in a mining accident. Both my father and mother stressed the importance of getting an education. They wanted me to have a better life and sacrificed financially to send me to college.

Michigan Tech proved to be tough, but I welcomed the rigor. It hardened and sharpened me to be able to compete in the global marketplace. I graduated in 1967 with a degree in chemical engineering. I joined Dow Corning and spent my entire career there, eventually becoming CEO and Chairman before retiring in 2004. I’m proud to say our firm grew 50-fold and became recognized as one of the nation’s top 100 companies to work for.

Looking back on my career, I realize the value of my education and the role Michigan Tech played in my development. My wife, Judy, and I wanted to help today’s youth achieve their potential as well. We set up a charitable lead trust. It’s a great tool we are able to use to support Tech and several other of our favorite charities for a 10-year period with the residual trust value going to our children in the future. The trust allows us to see the impact of our annual gifts now while we are alive, as well as reducing taxes on the remaining assets that will go to our family in the future.

I’m happy to say we’ve been able to start the Anderson Family Scholarships for students from Ishpeming and Westwood High Schools as well as a student research fund in the Department of Chemical Engineering.

Judy and I believe, just as my parents did, in the importance of a great education. We are thrilled to be able to help others improve their lives through education, and encourage others to do the same.

A charitable lead trust is an irrevocable trust designed to provide financial support to one or more charities for a period of time, with the remaining assets eventually going to family members or other beneficiaries. For more information on lead trusts or other planned giving options, visit or email


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.

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:

Embracing the Pioneering Research Spirit of Nancy Scofield

The late Michigan Tech Pres. Emeritus Ray Smith presents a diploma to Dr. Nancy Scofield, the first female to be granted a doctoral degree at Michigan Tech, in 1977.
Nancy Scofield

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. 


Nancy Scofield at work using an electron probe

Les Cayes, Haiti: Engineering World Health

Five engineering students from Michigan Tech’s chapter of Engineering World Health visited Les Cayes, Haiti in May 2018. Making the trip were electrical engineering student Megan Byrne, biomedical engineering students Gina Anderla and Kiaya Caspers, mechanical engineering student Brooke Breen, and materials science and engineering student Anna Isaacson.

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.

Kiaya Caspers teaches students about electrical circuits in Les Cayes, Haiti

“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.”

Using creativity, resourcefulness and critical thinking, EWH students from Michigan Tech repaired a broken oxygen concentrator, one of only two in the public hospital pediatric ward in Les Cayes, Haiti.

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.”