Author: College of Engineering

Sue Hill is the Digital Content Manager for the College of Engineering.

Dean’s Teaching Showcase: First-Year Engineering Team

Group of eleven faculty and staff standing by a window.
L–R: Ken Thiemann, Michelle Jarvie-Eggart, Jon Sticklen, AJ Hamlin, Matt Barron, Brett Hamlin, Mary Raber, Amber Kemppainen, Amy Monte, Darlene Saari, and James Bittner.

College of Engineering Dean Audra Morse has selected the core first-year engineering faculty team from the Department of Engineering Fundamentals (EF) for the Deans’ Teaching Showcase for their work in developing and delivering an innovative learning experience. The team includes Matt Barron, James Bittner, Gabriel Draughon, Amy (AJ) Hamlin, Brett Hamlin, Michelle Jarvie-Eggart, Amber Kemppainen, Amy Monte and Ken Thiemann, and is supported by staff, students and adjunct instructors who are essential to the team’s mission. The team will be recognized at an end-of-term event with other showcase members and is a candidate for the CTL Instructional Award Series.

Gabriel Draughon
Gabriel Draughon

The team implements many high-impact practices across 11 sections of ENG1101 and ENG1102, serving 800-1,000 students per semester. Students enter with a wide variety of skills and attributes. The team adopts many strategies to ensure all students develop the knowledge and mindsets needed to succeed in second-year classes associated with 18 different majors.

This passionate team of educators continually pushes the boundaries of pedagogy in order to meet students where they are at and support their growth throughout their first year. Their practices include cohort scheduling that places students in several of the same classes together, making it easier to form study groups and friendships; flipped classrooms that foster hands-on learning during class time; and undergraduate near-peer mentors from the innovative LEarning with Academic Partners (LEAP) program who support the active learning environment.

The team embraces the Kern Entrepreneurial Engineering Network (KEEN) framework, which fosters a mindset of curiosity, building connections across disciplines and creating value for others. By using project-based learning and design thinking, students identify opportunities, design solutions using the tools and mindsets of engineering problem solving, and build and test prototypes.

“The EF team is a role model for collaborative instructional teams,” noted Mary Raber, EF’s department chair. “Everyone has participated in professional development opportunities such as entrepreneurial-minded learning, design thinking and inclusive STEM teaching to build their educational skill set. Together, they create an inspiring and dynamic learning environment for students while supporting their growth and development as first-year college students.”

Student evaluations reflect the team’s positive impact, with typically high ratings and positive feedback that includes comments such as, “I really enjoyed your enthusiasm towards the curriculum and found it very helpful that you would sit down and work through something if I had a question,” and “The enthusiastic and engaging energy you bring to the class gives a boost of energy and makes me feel more motivated,” and “Your enthusiasm and interest in our learning was great and the hands-on activities and team projects allowed a lot of room for creativity and personal interest!”

Morse commended the EF Team for their success. “Their diligence in continually innovating the first-year engineering program is phenomenal and key to Engineering’s high first-year retention rate,” she said. “The team constantly looks for ways to help our students succeed, helping them in the critical transition into college, and building their skills so they can be successful in their major.”

By the Jackson Center for Teaching and Learning.

2024 World Water Day: GLRC Student Poster Award Winners

22 March World Water Day 2024 Water for Peace banner.

Congratulations to the Great Lakes Research Center (GLRC) Student Poster Award winners, in recognition of World Water Day 2024.

The GLRC winner for the Undergraduate Research and Scholarship Symposium coordinated by the Pavlis Honors College on March 22 was:

A big thank-you to our graduate student judges: master’s students Hunter Roose and Ryan Heines (both Biological Sciences) and Cassandra Reed-VanDam (Applied Ecology).

The GLRC winners at the Graduate Student Government (GSG) Graduate Research Colloquium on March 26 placed as follows:

Thank you to all the student participants and their GLRC-affiliated advisors.

By the Great Lakes Research Center.

Dean’s Teaching Showcase: Jaclyn Johnson

Jaclyn Johnson
Jaclyn Johnson

Dean Audra Morse has selected Jaclyn Johnson, associate teaching professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics (ME-EM), for this spring’s Deans’ Teaching Showcase. Johnson will be recognized at an end-of-term luncheon with other spring showcase members and is a candidate for the CTL Instructional Award Series.

“Dr. Johnson’s passion for helping students succeed is evident not only inside the classroom but also within extracurricular activities, where her success in mentoring students impacts students across campus,” Morse said.

Johnson serves as advisor for Engineering Ambassadors (EA) at Michigan Tech, a group that focuses on K-12 outreach while providing professional development for our students. EA is a national network spanning over 40 institutions, and Johnson holds the position of vice-chair of the Membership and Best Practices Committee in the national organization. Locally, Johnson imparts essential skills with her teaching of the assertion-evidence method of slide presentations and engaging with students during outreach visits to K-12 schools.

“Dr. Johnson is instrumental in helping future engineers hone their communication skills while igniting enthusiasm for engineering among younger generations,” a recent EA alum stated. Since 2012, she has collaborated with 114 EA members, collectively reaching nearly 7,000 students through visits to 11 local K-12 schools.

Another EA alum reflected on Johnson’s impactful mentorship: “As one of the leaders of EA at Michigan Tech, I knew we could count on her for invaluable feedback on building and delivering effective presentations. Even now, I often reflect on the coaching I received from Dr. Johnson through EA when I am asked to present information to colleagues, supervisors and customers.”

More recently, Johnson played a pivotal role coordinating EA and the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) in launching an outreach initiative known as Engineering Day. This half-day program at local elementary schools depends on planning and seamless coordination among the student groups. Our students not only learn the intricacies of event organization, but also cultivate essential skills in collaboration and teamwork. Since its inception in fall 2022, Engineering Day has successfully conducted six events, reaching nearly 1,100 local K-6 students.

“Jaclyn’s approach with EA and SWE is impressive,” a SWE member stated. “She guides students from behind the scenes, allowing them to grow into their leadership roles. We are excited to work with Jaclyn as we grow our outreach programs with local and regional schools, and the Girl Scouts.”

“Jaclyn has truly excelled as an advisor for SWE and EA, going above and beyond by being exceptionally accessible in helping me develop outreach activities,” another student noted. “Her commitment to educating the future generation is truly inspiring. As an undergraduate engineer, I consider her a significant influence in my leadership development.”

Whether inside the classroom or in extracurriculars, Johnson is an inspiring and engaging role model. As a recent MTU alum put it, “Dr. Johnson’s influence has had a profound impact on my life, both professionally and personally. It’s something I can’t quantify, but it’s definitely shaped who I am today.”

Sustainability Awards for Claire Christen and Robert Handler

View of Michigan Tech, Portage Canal, and Portage Lift Bridge in summer.

It takes many hands, hearts and minds to create a sustainable campus. As a part of Earth Month programming, join the Office of Sustainability and Resilience in celebrating four individuals who go the extra mile, dedicating their time and energy to supporting a more sustainable Michigan Tech.

This year’s Campus Sustainability Leadership Awardees are:

Please join us on April 17 for a celebration of the award winners and their accomplishments, a brief update on sustainability work at Michigan Tech and some time to enjoy snacks and interact with your peers. Feel free to bring lunch.

Celebration Details:

What: Sustainability Awards Gathering
When: Wednesday, April 17, from noon to 12:45 p.m.
Where: MUB Ballroom B1

By Alan Turnquist, Office of Sustainability and Resilience.

Michigan Space Grant Consortium Awardees for 2024–2025

NASA Lunabotics experiment with moon dust.

A diverse, multitalented group of Michigan Tech students and faculty have been awarded fellowships and grants totaling an impressive $71,728 from the Michigan Space Grant Consortium (MSGC) for its 2024-25 cycle.

The MSGC, which consists of 52 consortia, is sponsored by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The MSGC promotes awareness, research and education in “space-related science and technology in Michigan.” To achieve this goal, the organization not only funds fellowships and scholarships for students pursuing STEM careers but also financially supports curriculum enhancement and faculty development.

Michigan Tech Undergraduate Students Who Received $4,000 for Faculty Led Fellowships

  • Grace Hoeppner (biomedical engineering): “Effects of Microgravity on Predisposing Factors for Atrial Fibrillation Thrombosis Risk”
  • Grace Murray (social sciences): “Cultivating Healthy Communities: A Mixed-Methods Analysis of Female Eponyms in Heirloom Plant Varieties and their Impacts in Community Food Networks”

Michigan Tech Graduate Students Who Received $5,000 Graduate Fellowships

  • Alexander Apostle (Chem): “Improved Synthesis and Application of Human Telomeres”
  • Matthew Beals (ME-EM): “Advancing Adaptive Aerostructures: Utilizing Steady-State Traveling Waves for Drag Reduction and Sustainable Aviation”
  • Grady Boyle (CFRES): “Using High Resolution Multitemporal Imagery for Ash Inventory and EAB Invasion Mapping in the Upper Great Lakes Region”
  • Jacob Jackson (BioMed): “Cell-Specific Adaptive Deep Brain Stimulation in the Subthalamic Nucleus of a Parkinson’s Rat Model”
  • Benjamin Mohrhardt (ECE): “Investigating and Predicting the Formation of Toxic Nitrogenous Byproducts from Phenolic Compounds in the Presence of Nitrate under Far-UVC Irradiation from KrCl* Excilamps”
  • Ian Norwood (Physics): ”Constraining Frictional Charging on Coarse-Mode Atmospheric Dust Particles”
  • Eleanor Serocki (CFRES): ”Estimating Trace Gas Flux Dynamics in Boreal Wetlands”
  • Tanner Sether (Physics): ”Toward a Deep Learning Approach for Fast Galaxy Catalog Generation”
  • Matthew Sisson (MSE): ”Micromagnetism of Self-Assembled FeSi2 Nanoislands”
  • Caitlyn Sutherlin (SS): ”Community- and Nature-Led Adaptation in El Salvador”
  • Kyle Wehmanen (KIP): ”Human Powered Locomotion on Variable Terrain: a Continuing Investigation for how to Move on Mars”

Michigan Tech Faculty and Staff Members Who Received $5,000 or More for Hands-On NASA-Oriented Experiences for Student Groups (HONES) or Research Seed Grants

The Graduate School is proud of these students for their outstanding scholarship. These awards highlight the quality of students at Michigan Tech, their innovative work, their leadership potential and the incredible role played by faculty in students’ academic success.

Michigan Tech SWE Section, ME-EM Researchers Judge Inventions at Baraga Elementary

Baraga Elementary School students inventions include: Catnip Paw Covers. Shoes that would grow as the wearer grew. Kai’s Numbing Hair Gel. Hover car that would move based on the placement of magnets in the road. Pollution Vacuum Filtering Device. And many more!
The Henry Ford Invention Convention Worldwide

On February 15, 2024, the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and the MTU Waste Valorization Research Group volunteered to judge third- through fifth-grade Invention Convention projects at Baraga Elementary School.

Invention Convention Worldwide is a K-12 invention education program that teaches students problem-identification, problem-solving, entrepreneurship and creativity skills and builds confidence in invention, innovation and entrepreneurship for life. Prior to the competition, the Baraga students developed inventions that would impact their community.

SWE Advisor Gretchen Hein and members Skyler Brawley (senior, computer engineering) and Maci Dostaler (junior, software engineering) paired up with Assistant Teaching Professor Fei Long (ME-EM) and Research Engineers Shiying Cai and Adeyinka Adekunle (both ME-EM) to evaluate the inventions. The judges were impressed with the students’ excitement when describing their projects and the range of creative solutions.

The inventions included:

  • Snow plow for a strider bike
  • Snow plow for a remote controlled car
  • Motorized fishing lure that moved in the water
  • Shoes that would grow as the wearer grew
  • Multistation pencil sharpener
  • Hover car that would move based on the placement of magnets in the road
  • Pollution Vacuum Filtering Device
  • Basket Land board game
  • Handy Dandy Light Switch
  • Magic Pen 55
  • Spectacular Butter Lipstick
  • Upside Down gaming controller accessory for kids
  • Phone Holder 5000
  • Catnap Paw Covers
  • Keep-Away Can to keep dogs away from the trash can
  • Safari board game
  • Kai’s Numbing Hair Gel

The judges thank the teachers and staff, along with the enthusiastic student inventors, for inviting us to look over and judge at the Invention Convention. SWE and the MTU Waste Valorization Research Group would enjoy returning to evaluate projects next year.

Dean’s Teaching Showcase: David Wanless

David Wanless
David Wanless

Dean Audra Morse has selected David Wanless, associate teaching professor in the Department of Manufacturing and Mechanical Engineering Technology (MMET), for this spring’s Deans’ Teaching Showcase. Wanless will be recognized at an end-of-term luncheon with other spring showcase members and is a candidate for the CTL Instructional Award Series.

Students are motivated by Wanless’ use of projects similar to those they might experience in industry. He has developed and taught MET4210 Applied Quality Techniques for over 15 years, and all iterations have included laboratory experiences around the production of a product. Lately, he has designed and implemented an experiential learning project around stringed instrument production. This past fall, it was a banjo. In previous semesters, he had students produce an electric guitar and a bass guitar.

Wanless had 14 years of experience in quality engineering and management prior to entering academia. He utilizes the banjo project to engage students, as it relates to the course content. Students divide into groups that undertake each aspect of its production. While constructing the final working banjo, students actively apply quality methods, generate process control charts and implement process improvement methods.

“Dave’s Applied Quality class is a hands-on production-like environment,” one student commented. “It allows students to get a well-rounded understanding of quality control while working on a fun project.” Another student said, “Dave takes the applied portion to heart. He doesn’t hold your hand throughout the process. He knows what he wants from his students and sends them off to solve problems like a real engineer would.” Students draw on previous experience in machining, machine design or product design to select the proper production methods, design the process and then test the process to produce a working component for the instrument.

In addition, Wanless advises the MMET undergraduate two-semester capstone design sequence (MET4575 and MET4675 Senior Project I and II), where students participate in the National Fluid Power Association’s (NFPA’s) student fluid power vehicle challenge competition. Participating in the NFPA competition requires students to prepare and deliver technical presentations to industry experts who are assigned to mentor the teams. “Dave literally goes the extra mile to advise students, often traveling across the country for the NFPA competitions,” said John Irwin, chair of MMET. “His advising involves technical guidance in fluid power, but exceedingly it is about career guidance, whether related to the fluid power industry or not.” In the process, students are exposed to many potential employers in the fluid power industry, resulting in many graduates ending up in careers at major fluid power firms, such as Parker Hannifin and Ross Controls.

“Dr. Wanless’ engaging projects challenge our students in so many ways,” said Morse. “The experience they gain as they meet the expectations that he sets out for them gives them the skills that are highly sought after by potential employers.”

Dean’s Teaching Showcase: Nathan Manser

Nathan Manser
Nathan Manser

College of Engineering Dean Audra Morse has selected Nathan Manser, professor of practice from the Department of Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences (GMES), as this week’s featured instructor in the Deans’ Teaching Showcase. Manser will be recognized at an end-of-term event with other showcase members and is a candidate for the CTL Instructional Award Series.

Manser’s broad educational background in mining engineering, environmental engineering and business administration; extensive industry experience; and professional licensure give him the ability to develop courses that are engaging, informative and practical. He actively participates in the Society of Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration (SME), which enriches his teaching with practical insights. His teaching style is characterized by energy, clarity and practicality. Leveraging his extensive professional network, Manser frequently invites industry professionals, including alumni, to his classes, providing real-world examples and experiences. He encourages his students to network and actively facilitates their connections to the professional community, including the annual SME conference.

Most importantly, Manser has the skills to fully prepare his students for successful careers and professional certifications. Students consistently name Manser as their best teacher, attributing their success to his teaching and mentorship. Former students universally praise him as an outstanding and enthusiastic instructor, emphasizing the lasting impact of his mentorship on their professional and personal development after graduation. One student stated, “Having Dr. Manser as a professor greatly impacted my interest in the mineral industry. Dr. Manser’s professional and personable approach made his courses practical and up-to-date, shedding light on the broad opportunities in the mining and geoscience industries.” Another student added, “I can attribute much of my college success to Dr. Nathan Manser. He was the most memorable and influential academic professional I encountered during my studies at Michigan Tech.”

Manser’s commitment to excellence is further exemplified by his role in mentoring students for one of the most competitive events in the mineral industry field: the highly competitive SME/National Stone, Sand, and Gravel Association (NSSGA) Student Design Competition. This dedication is exemplified by the team’s remarkable success. In the 2023-24 competition, Michigan Tech once again advanced to the top six nationally. This prestigious event draws the best and brightest from leading mining universities across the country, and our team’s success places them among this elite group. Manser will accompany the team to the 2024 SME Annual Conference and Expo in Phoenix, Arizona, where they will present their innovative solutions and compete against other top-tier universities. This accomplishment highlights the caliber of our program and underscores the exceptional guidance and mentorship provided by Manser.

Aleksey Smirnov, GMES chair, summed it up: “Dr. Manser makes himself readily available to help students succeed, not only in class, but also outside the classroom, allowing them to grow into successful professionals.”

“Dedicated faculty members like Nathan Manser allow our students to compete at the national level,” Morse added. “And I thank him for giving our students that chance.”

Dean’s Teaching Showcase: Kit Cischke

Kit Cischke
Kit Cischke

College of Engineering Dean Audra Morse has selected Christopher (Kit) Cischke, teaching professor from the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE), as the first featured instructor in the spring 2024 Deans’ Teaching Showcase. Cischke will be recognized at an end-of-term event with other showcase members and is a candidate for the CTL Instructional Award Series.

In a departure from traditional grading systems, Cischke has transformed the educational landscape in EE3173 Hardware/Software System Integration by introducing “specifications grading,” an approach that establishes a clear passing threshold for understanding, eliminating the complexities associated with point-based grading. Students embraced the emphasis on comprehension over point accumulation, leading to positive feedback. One student said, “The grading style was super helpful because it motivated me to find learning objectives whenever I did assignments.” Another commented, “The lecture format, grading style and assignment structure all felt really good to me and helped my success in the class this semester.”

Under Cischke’s guidance, hands-on experiential learning has experienced another innovative improvement. From in-class code examples using simulators and small “Zumo Robots,” to the introduction of advanced-level courses with real-world applications like the multi2sim simulator, he consistently emphasizes the relevance of learned skills in professional settings. A highlight is the launch of a revised Computer Organization course featuring intensive Verilog design assignments, showcasing his dedication to fostering creativity and investigation among students.

Beyond transforming grading methods and reshaping hands-on experiential learning, Cischke has implemented concept maps as a tool to enhance the learning experience. Each class period begins with a reminder of how the day’s material aligns with broader course objectives, reflecting a commitment to refining teaching practices for optimal learning outcomes. Cischke is dedicated to proving the efficacy of concept maps in engineering education. “Professor Cischke is an exemplary role model as an instructor. He’s created an inspiring and dynamic learning environment for students in the electrical, computer and robotics engineering programs,” said Jin Choi, ECE chair.

Participation in a KEEN workshop focusing on the entrepreneurial mindset has added another layer to Cischke’s teaching philosophy. The resulting assignment engaged students in a creative project related to a restaurant’s soda fountain, demonstrating his ability to seamlessly blend innovation, entrepreneurship and technical skills in the classroom.

Cischke’s commitment to fostering inclusive student-teacher relationships is also noteworthy. Encouraging students to locate his office and make a simple human connection at the start of each semester has created a welcoming environment and made students strongly feel a sense of belonging. Collaborative debugging sessions, lively discussions about student projects and markings on his office whiteboard all reflect his open commitment to student success and sense of belonging.

Morse also commended Cischke: “His innovative teaching methods underscore his transformative impact on his student’s experience. His commitment to student-centered learning, hands-on experiences and fostering meaningful connections exemplifies the spirit of excellence in teaching that we want to showcase.”

Engineering Alumni Activity Spring 2024

Patricia Tourney
Patricia Tourney

Psychiatric News reported on a visit by Patricia Tourney (B.S. Civil Engineering) and one sister to the APA Library’s Garfield and Helen W. Tourney Rare Books Room. Tourney’s father’s donation of more than 450 books related to the history of psychiatry formed the core of APA’s rare books collection. Patricia and her sister remember their father as a collector—of everything, but especially books: he had more than 10,000 volumes in his collection.

Kevin Tomsovic
Kevin Tomsovic

Clemson News announced Kevin Tomsovic ’82 (B.S. Electrical Engineering) as the new executive director of the Clemson University Restoration Institute, the Duke Energy Endowed Chair in Smart Grid Technology and a professor of electrical and computer engineering. Tomsovic was elected to the National Academy of Engineering and also received numerous awards related to excellence in research, scholarship and creative achievement.

Christopher Mills
Christopher Mills

Florida’s Levy County Board of County Commission put out a press release announcing the appointment of Christopher Mills ’84 (B.S. Civil Engineering) to a two-year term on the county’s planning commission. Mills, who is a Florida Professional Engineer and a Licensed General Contractor, performed both engineering and contracting services in the southwest Florida area in his own practice.

Ethan Norstog
Ethan Norstog

North Dakota’s Grand Forks Herald reported on the announcement of Ethan Norstog ’17 (B.S. Chemical Engineering) as the new factory engineer at American Crystal Sugar Company’s factory in Moorhead, Minnesota. The position involves all aspects of assigned factory capital projects.

Andrew Barnard
Andrew Barnard

Penn State News profiled Andrew Barnard ’02 ’04 (B.S. M.S. Mechanical Engineering), director of the Penn State’s graduate program in acoustics. In 2022, Barnard joined the program as director. He now spends his time mentoring faculty, running a research lab with three students, meeting with first-year cohorts and teaches, alongside administrative duties. This is the only degree-granting graduate program for acoustics in the country.

Rick Slater
Rick Slater

The Portland Beacon reported on the sale of Portland Products, a manufacturer of mechanical assemblies for automotive and heavy truck customers located in Portland, Michigan. One of the new owner-operators is Rick Slater ’03 (B.S. Mechanical Engineering). Slater has experience in small business manufacturing in West Michigan.

Lindsay Sandell
Lindsay Sandell

WLUC TV6 covered a story on medical student Lindsay Sandell ’21 (B.S. Biomedical Engineering) being awarded a Copper Shores Community Health Foundation Tuition Assistance Scholarship at the Michigan State University College of Human Medicine, UP Region Campus. Scholarships are awarded based on criteria including the medical student’s desire to practice in the Upper Peninsula after residency training.

Ran An
Ran An

Ran An (Ph.D. Chemical Engineering), assistant professor at the Cullen College of Engineering, is the latest recipient of a CAREER award from the National Science Foundation. His proposal, “Alternating Current Electrophoresis in Spatially Non-Uniform Electric Fields,” was chosen for funding by the NSF. An thanked his Ph.D. advisor Dr. Adrienne Minerick, postdoc mentor Dr. Umut Gurkan, and lab members Yi Yang, Qingrong He, Bowen Xu, and Dr. Cheng Wang.

Andy Horujko
Andy Horujko

The Ludington Daily News posted a story about a celebration of Andy Horujko ’42, a Michigan College of Mines engineering alumnus remembered for walking from Anchorage, Alaska, to the southern tip of South America to bring awareness to “the detriments of automotive emissions.” On March 27 the tales of Andy Horujko will be brought to life through a first-person portrayal by Lake County Historical Society president Bruce Micinski.

Sarah Zarzecki
Sarah Zarzecki

Sarah Zarzecki ’06 (B.S. Civil Engineering) was interviewed on the STEM Professionals Podcast as part of their Women in Engineering Success Stories series. The episode was titled “Exploring Impactful Engineering Roles (Beyond Traditional STEM Careers).” Zarzecki is a transportation engineer currently serving as the Transportation Design Department Manager and Colorado Transportation Leader at Stanley Consultants.

Jennifer Julien
Jennifer Julien

Jennifer Julien ’12 ’15 (B.S. Civil Engineering, M.S. Environmental Engineering) was profiled by DBusiness as one of three new members of the Michigan Restaurant & Lodging Association’s board of directors. She left her engineering career to pursue opportunities in real estate with her husband John. Their latest venture, The Vault Hotel, was the renovation of the historic Houghton National Bank Building. It recently made the Conde Nast Traveler’s Top 15 Hotels in the Midwest.

Shane Bjorge
Shane Bjorge

Midland Daily News announced the promotion of Shane Bjorge ’98 (B.S. civil engineering) to city engineer of Midland. Bjorge previously held project management and engineering roles at Dow and Dow Corning. The city engineer is responsible for the design, construction, and oversight of all civil engineering-related projects for the city as well as compliance of private projects.

Mark Hepokoski
Mark Hepokoski

Industry Today picked up a ThermoAnalytics’ press release about Mark Hepokoski (M.S. Mechanical Engineering and Ph.D. Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics) being appointed chief scientist for physiology and comfort. His graduate work at Michigan Tech involved development of a complex model of the human body and applying machine-learning to thermal simulation and test data.

Gary Street
Gary Street

Gary Street ’62, B.S. Chemical Engineering, was interviewed by The Lode during Winter Carnival. Street invented the first all-nighter statue at Michigan Tech in 1961. He wanted to make the 1961 Carnival something special, since it was the 75th anniversary of the university. Today, the one-night statue build is one of Winter Carnival’s proudest traditions.

Mike Boggess
Mike Boggess

School Transportation News reported on Blue Bird Corporation naming Mike Boggess ’91 (B.S. Electrical Engineering) vice president of product development. While vice president of engineering with Proterra, he developed and launched a new EV architecture for transit buses. Before then, Boggess served as Blue Bird’s chief engineer for powertrain, chassis, and electrical systems. Blue Bird Corporation is the leader in electric and low-emission school buses.

Blake Pietila
Blake Pietila

Michigan Tech hockey’s fifth-year goaltender Blake Pietila is a candidate for the 2024 Hobey Baker Award, given annually to college hockey’s top player. Pietila is on the ballot for the fourth straight season and was a Top 10 Finalist in 2023. He graduated in the spring with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and is pursuing his MBA.

Samuel Kinne
Samuel Kinne

Michigan Tech football senior defensive lineman Samuel Kinne has been named a recipient of the 2023 Fall GLIAC Commissioner’s Award for the first time in his career. Kinne completed his bachelor’s in chemical engineering last spring, holding a 3.82 GPA, and will be completing his MBA this spring. He was a three-time GLIAC Academic Excellence team member and also was named to the CSC Academic All-District team.

Mike Bakk
Mike Bakk

Northern Minnesota and northern Wisconsin’s BusinessNorth reported on Minnesota’s Iron Ore Alliance naming Mike Bakk ’01 (BS Mechanical Engineering) as its new co-chair. The alliance’s mission is providing a unified voice for modern iron mining in the state. Bakk first became a U. S. Steel employee in 1997 and is currently the director of operational readiness at Keetac. He has played a critical role in overseeing Keetac’s DR-grade pellet project.

Austin Gongos and Nathan Ackerman
Austin Gongos and Nathan Ackerman

UPWord quoted Austin Gongos ’18 (B.S. Mechanical Engineering) and Nathan Ackerman ’18 (B.S. Mechanical Engineering) in a story about how they came to found the Hancock-based outdoor gear business Chicken Tramper Ultralight Gear. Gongos and Ackerman met when they were both in a fraternity while studying mechanical engineering at Michigan Technological University in Houghton. At Michigan Tech, the two had always talked about starting a business but weren’t sure what form it would take. The company grew from the two co-founders to nine additional employees and has reached customers through the company’s website and select retailers.

Renata Putzig
Renata Putzig

Renata Putzig, a 2015 graduate majoring in electrical engineering and audio production and technology, is a project engineer at Smart Monkeys, Inc. Putzig is part of a team of Tech graduates who have worked on the Sphere at Las Vegas. Specializing in audio-visual control design, implementation and support, Smart Monkeys works with a broad range of venues, from museums to theme parks. The technical consulting firm served as a principal design consultant to the Sphere Entertainment team for the Las Vegas attraction’s control system.

Kendra Lachcik
Kendra Lachcik

The Times of Northwest Indiana quoted Kendra Lachcik ’23 (B.S. Environmental Engineering) in a story about the Disney on Ice show “Magic in the Stars,” which features Lachcik skating in the role of Luisa Madrigal from “Encanto.” Lachcik has been skating since she was seven years old. Prior to being cast in Disney on Ice she was working for an engineering consulting firm.

Jeffrey Pruetz
Jeffrey Pruetz

Tech Briefs Magazine gave a preview of the upcoming webinar “Noise, Vibration, and Harshness Priorities for EVs,” which has Jeffrey Pruetz ’07 (B.S. Mechanical Engineering) listed as a speaker. Pruetz is a NVH and vehicle integration manager at FEV North America Inc. He is responsible for leading the vehicle integration team including NVH development and testing for battery electric, hybrid, fuel cell, and combustion vehicles in North America.

Timothy Pach
Timothy Pach

The 307th Bomb Wing of the U.S. Air Force mentioned Michigan Tech in a story about three new squadron commanders, including Maj. Timothy Pach ’06 (B.S. Civil Engineering), who took command of the 307th Civil Engineer unit. Pach earned his commission through Michigan Tech’s Air Force ROTC program. His career includes multiple deployments and a stint as an assistant civil engineering professor at the U.S. Air Force Academy.

Katie Ellet
Katie Ellet

GlobeNewswireYahoo! Finance and MarketScreener mentioned Michigan Tech in press releases about the appointment of Katie Ellet ’96 (B.S. Chemical Engineering) to the board of directors for Gevo Inc. Ellet serves as president, Hydrogen Energy and Mobility for North America at Air Liquide. She has held a wide variety of leadership roles in the chemical and energy fields for the last 27 years.