Category: Alumni

Students, Faculty and Staff: Sign Up for LEED Green Associate Training at Michigan Tech

Better buildings equal better lives. This is Discover Elementary in Arlington, Virginia. LEED Zero Energy. Photo by Alan Karchmer

LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is the most widely used green building rating system in the world. Available for virtually all building types, LEED provides a framework to design, construct and operate healthy, highly efficient, cost-saving, green buildings.

Michigan Tech’s Joe Azzarello is one of the founders of the US Green Building Council and has led LEED training workshops throughout the United States, Mexico, South America, China, Thailand, Hong Kong, Singapore and Vietnam. Photo courtesy of Kohler Co.

Are you a student, faculty member or staff at Michigan Tech? If so, you are invited to prepare for, and when ready, take the LEED Green Associate exam. The prep will take place during two sessions, at a low cost, right here at Michigan Tech, with expert training from an original founding member of the US Green Building Council—Michigan Tech alumnus Joe Azzarello.

The LEED exam prep training at MTU will take place over two days. Azzarello will teach on campus in two 5-hour sessions, from 12-5 pm on both Sunday, March 20 and Sunday, March 27. The room is ChemSci 211. Those who cannot attend in person can attend via Zoom. LEED exam training costs $80.00, which includes notes and printed materials. Attendees are expected to purchase their text book, which varies in cost from $73.00 to $115.00, depending on e-book or vendor.

“Attendees will be well trained in what to study for the exam to become accredited as a LEED Green Associate,” notes Azzarello. “Then they must register, take, and pass the LEED GA exam from the USGBC at a later date in order to receive accreditation. The complete costs for LEED Green Associate accreditation varies. The USGBC website provides information on the Steps to Become a LEED Green Associate.

There is no need for a college degree. “Literally anyone can take the course if they can read, memorize some information, and add and subtract,” says Azzarello.

The USGBC LEED Green Associate exam measures general knowledge of green building practices and how to support others working on LEED projects. “The exam is ideal for those new to green building. It’s an accreditation that can enhance your current endeavors, and also open doors to new career opportunities,” Azzarello explains. “LEED accreditation is a globally recognized symbol of sustainability achievement and leadership.”

Depending on interest, Azzarello may offer more LEED training to Michigan Tech students, faculty and staff. Next up would be the LEED Accredited Professional Exam for individuals who actively work on green building and LEED projects.

Azzarello is a LEED AP® and a registered and active USGBC® Faculty™. He is licensed to instruct multiple USGBC workshops and has led workshops throughout the United States, Mexico, South America, China, Thailand, Hong Kong, Singapore and Vietnam. He truly enjoys instructing and sharing his 20-plus years of USGBC and LEED experience while bringing new professionals into the green building movement.

Azzarello earned his BS in Mechanical Engineering from Michigan Tech 1978 and an MS in Environmental Engineering in 1996 from Wayne State University. He is an adjunct instructor in the Department of Chemical Engineering, and also serves as advisor to Michigan Tech’s Alternative Energy Enterprise team. 

“I am at the stage of my life now where it is time to give back to Michigan Tech and the community and am in the position to do so,” says Azzarello. “Without a degree from MTU I am not sure how my life would have turned out. I feel very fortunate to be able to give back.”

Prior to joining Michigan Tech, Azarello retired from Kohler Co. as a senior staff engineer focused on sustainability, directing the company’s green building efforts and serving as a global consultant to customers developing green building projects. With decades spent in the environmental field, Azzarello’s resume touts myriad experiences with recycling, energy efficiency, sustainability, co-generation, marketing, sustainable product design and green building design, and construction programs for several Fortune 500 companies, along with multiple smaller organizations as a sustainability consultant. He also served as Yellowstone National Park’s green building consultant. 

Azzarello has been a part of the green building movement since its beginning. He served on the USGBC’s first Board of Directors as Vice Chairman, actively involved as a Board member during its formative years. He helped pave the way for LEED by participating in the Beta testing of the newly developed green building guidelines that became known as LEED v1.0. Read Joe Azzarello’s full bio.

Read more:

Feathered Friend Helps Launch Green Career: Kohler’s Resident Green Building Guru Started on a Very Different Career Path

Martha Sloan: Tech Tales Emeritus

Professor Emerita Martha Sloan changed the face of both Michigan Tech and engineering education.

Martha Sloan shares her knowledge on Husky Bites, a free, interactive Zoom webinar this Monday, February 28 at 6 pm ET. Learn something new in just 30 minutes (or so), with time after for Q&A! Get the full scoop and register at mtu.edu/huskybites.

What are you doing for supper this Monday night 2/28 at 6 ET? Grab a bite with Dean Janet Callahan and Michigan Tech Professor Emerita Martha Sloan, whose impact on people on and off the Michigan Tech campus has been monumental. During Husky Bites, Prof. Sloan will share stories from an earlier time at Michigan Tech, when women in engineering were few and far between.

Joining in during Husky Bites will be Dan Fuhrmann, the Dave House Professor of Computer Engineering and chair of the Department of Applied Computing at Michigan Tech.

“Martha was a faculty member in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering when I first came to Michigan Tech in 2008 to take the position of ECE department chair,” notes Fuhrmann. “Shortly thereafter I appointed her as associate chair, a position she held until 2012, just before her retirement after 43 years of service at Michigan Tech.”

Applied Computing Department Chair Dan Fuhrmann

A pioneer in many aspects of her career, Sloan is also a legendary mentor who always has time to help anyone who asks. She was the first woman to be hired as a faculty member in the Michigan Tech ECE department, and later became the first woman to serve as chair of the department. Sloan was also the first woman to become the president of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), the largest professional organization in the world.

Sloan earned all of her three degrees–a BS in Electrical Engineering with great distinction, an MS in Electrical Engineering, and a PhD in Education–at Stanford University. She earned her BSEE in 1961, Phi Beta Kappa and with great distinction, as the only woman among approximately 600 engineering graduates.

Prof. Sloan took home the ASEE Outstanding Young Electrical Engineering Educator Award.

In the 1960s she worked at the Palo Alto Research Laboratory of the Lockheed Missiles and Space Company. She began a PhD program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology but, feeling isolated there and pregnant with her first child, she did not complete the program. Instead, she moved to Germany, where she taught for two years at the Frankfurt International School. 

“My German was not good enough to be able to work as an engineer, so I taught 7th and 8th grade science, and picked up a MS in secondary education–all  in German–while I was there, too,” Sloan recalls. 

In 1969 Sloan moved to Houghton, Michigan with her husband, Norman Sloan, who had accepted a position as a professor of ornithology, forestry, and wildlife management at Michigan Tech.

As a role model and mentor, Dr. Martha Sloan supports women across campus and around the globe.

“I found myself looking for a job once again and thought I’d go back to teaching,” she says. “At the time there was no need for math or science teachers in the Houghton area. On sheer impulse, I wandered into Michigan Tech’s EE department, just to see if they needed a teacher, since I had a master’s degree. I was hired on the spot to teach Circuits.”

Needing a doctorate for her new job at Michigan Tech, Sloan returned to Stanford to earn a PhD in Education in 1973. Her thesis was on the COSINE Committee, an NSF-funded project to include computer engineering as part of the electrical engineering curriculum. 

Sloan became active in engineering professional societies, serving as treasurer, vice president, and president of the IEEE Computer Society, IEEE, and AAES. She served for nine years on the board of trustees of SWE, the Society of Women Engineers.

To pay tribute to Dr. Martha Sloan’s impressive legacy at Tech and her groundbreaking achievements, ECE alumna Jane Fryman Laird ’68 dedicated a bench at Husky Plaza in Dr. Sloan’s honor. 

Over the years Sloan has been honored with the Frederick Emmons Terman Award by the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE), the IEEE Centennial Medal, and the IEEE Richard E. Merwin Distinguished Service Award. She received an honorary doctorate from Concordia University, was elected fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery, given the Distinguished Engineering Educator Award of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE), and earned the Michigan Tech Distinguished Service Award, too. (Read Professor Sloan’s complete bio on Wikipedia.)

In 1991 Sloan became a fellow of the IEEE “for contributions to engineering education, leadership in the development of computer engineering education as a discipline, and leadership in extending engineering education to women.”

I’ve liked math and science since grade school, especially physics.

Professor Emerita Martha Sloan

Prof. Sloan, How did you first get into engineering? What sparked your interest?

Dr. Sloan holds her infant grandchild
Prof. Sloan is recognized by the Michigan Tech Alumni Association as an Honorary Michigan Tech Alumna.

The summer before my senior year in high school, I attended a five-week science and technology program at Northwestern University’s National High School Institute, with lectures and labs on all science and engineering programs Northwestern offered, plus field trips to industry in northern Illinois and Indiana. I was particularly enchanted by a unit on AC circuits taught from a book by Kerchner and Corcoran, which I later learned was the standard college text on the subject. By the end of the summer I was the top student in the program—I didn’t know there was a contest—and won a full scholarship to Northwestern. But I didn’t go to Northwestern; I went to Stanford, which I chose because the campus was so beautiful. This was before Stanford was as highly ranked as it is today (it was near the bottom of the top 20).

Prof. Sloan with her children and their spouses, all highly accomplished and then some.

I intended to major in physics, but then, in the  summer just before my freshman year, a letter arrived from Stanford advising me that if I had any thought of possibly majoring in engineering, I should start in engineering because transferring out was easy but transferring in might delay my graduation. So I chose electrical engineering, based on liking AC circuits.

Hometown and family?

I was born in Aurora, Illinois to an obstetrician and stay-at-home mom. They had both majored in chemistry in college. My brother became a math professor and assistant chair of the math department at the University of Illinois.

Three of Prof. Sloan’s adorable grandkids!

My daughter is a law professor at Chicago Kent. Her daughter (my granddaughter) earned an MS in Public Health and conducts research in Boston on comorbidities, when a patient has two or more diseases or medical conditions the same time. She has boy-girl twins who are now both studying medicine at different medical schools in Chicago. In addition, my great granddaughter’s longtime boyfriend is studying at a third Chicago medical school—so the family has Chicago medical schools almost covered! 

My son graduated from the US Naval Academy, spent 20 years in the Marines, and is now working on safety aspects of autonomous vehicles for General Motors. He and his wife, also a USNA graduate, have three young children.

Any hobbies? Pets? What do you like to do in your spare time?

I have two springer spaniels. I spend my spare time reading–and doing some writing, too. I’ve taken two classes on writing memoirs in the past year.

Prof. Dan Fuhrmann’s research focus: signal processing.

Prof. Furhmann, how did you first get into engineering and computing? What sparked your interest?

I was good at math and science in junior high and high school, so it just seemed like a natural path.

Hometown, family?

Born in Bartlesville, Oklahoma and later moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma. I am the youngest of four children. Currently married 26 years with three grown children in a blended family.

Upper Peninsula of Michigan, or Steamboat Springs, Colorado? Find out during Husky Bites!

What do you like to do in your spare time?

Jamming on the deck!

I’ve played piano semi-professionally my entire adult life, including jazz, pop, rock, and salsa. I enjoy both downhill and cross-country skiing. I try to take advantage of the Copper Country winters!

Read more

Jane Fryman Laird ’68 and Dr. Martha Sloan – Blazing a Trail for Generations of Tech Women
Martha Sloan IEEE Computer Society President and Award Recipient
Oral History Transcript – Martha Sloan: Engineering and Technology History Wiki

Interview with Dr. Sarah Rajala ’74

Sage advice from Dr. Sarah Rajala: “Take ownership of your learning!”

Michigan Tech electrical engineering alumna Dr. Sarah Rajala is professor emeritus and former dean of engineering at Iowa State University. She’s an internationally-known leader in the field of engineering education—and a pioneering ground breaker for women in engineering. She serves as a role model for young women and is passionate about diversity of thought and culture, especially in a college environment.

This month we celebrate with Dr. Rajala—she was elected to the National Academy of Engineering, one of the highest professional recognitions in engineering.

Dr. Rajala, how did Michigan Tech prepare you as a leader in engineering education? Or simply as a leader?

Being the only female in my electrical engineering class, I experienced numerous gender biases. In the early 1970s, there was still much skepticism about whether ‘a girl could be an engineer’. My experiences laid a foundation for my commitment to creating a more inclusive culture in engineering and in engineering education, in general. 

You have kept busy, pushing the boundaries across your entire career. What advice do you have for mid-career people looking for their next challenges and opportunities?

First, take advantage of the opportunities that are offered, especially if they allow you to expand your boundaries. Don’t be shy about raising your hand and indicating your interest. Professional societies are great places to find new challenges and opportunities. Of course, it is also important to set your priorities and know when to say no. Also keep in mind that there is no single path that is right for everyone.  

Based on what you’ve learned as an educator, do you have one or two pieces of advice for a high school junior or senior?

We each learn new material in different ways. Don’t decide you dislike a subject because you don’t like the way the teacher presents the material. And don’t be afraid to ask questions or ask the teacher if she/he can present the topic differently. Alternatively, work with your fellow students or another teacher who can help you explore the topic in a different way. Search the internet. There are many good resources out there that can supplement what you are learning in class. Take ownership of your learning!

What qualities do students need to develop in themselves in order to become solvers of problems?

Start with the fundamentals. Be inquisitive. Write down what you know and try to start working the problem. If you are really stuck, ask for help. Show someone what you have done so far, then ask for a hint to help you get started.  You will learn more, if you can get started and work the rest out for yourself.

Where do you think engineering education will be 20 years from now?

I hope we are more inclusive! No matter how one learns, we should be able to adapt our instructional approaches to engage and motivate everyone. Technology will likely play a larger role in the learning process. There will be an increasing number of new subjects to learn. Students and educators will all need to adapt to new ways to teach and learn. 

William S. Hammack Elected to the National Academy of Engineering

Prof. William S. Hammack

Michigan Tech chemical engineering alumnus William S. Hammack ’84 has been elected to the National Academy of Engineering, among the highest professional distinctions accorded to an engineer. Hammack is honored for innovations in multidisciplinary engineering education, outreach, and service to the profession through development and communication of internet-delivered content.

Hammack earned a BS in Chemical Engineering at Michigan Tech, and an MS and PhD in Chemical Engineering from the University of Illinois — Urbana-Champaign. He taught at Carnegie Mellon for a decade before returning, in 1999, to the University of Illinois, where he now teaches in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. 

As an engineer, Hammack’s mission over the last 25 years has been to explain engineering to the public. His media work — from his work in public radio to his books to his pioneering use over the last decade of internet-delivered video— has been listened, read, or viewed over seventy million times. He also recorded more than 200 public radio segments that describe what, why and how engineers do what they do. 

Hammack’s videos (The Engineer Guy), with more than 1.2 million followers on YouTube) are licensed under creative commons so they can be fully used to serve the public. They have been used by both industrial giants and small firms to train their workforce, in college classrooms to hone budding engineers, in K-12 classrooms, and by home schools to excite the next generation of engineers.

Among his many other honors, Hammack in 2020 was awarded the Hoover Medal, given by a consortium of five engineering societies. The award is named for its first recipient, US President Herbert Hoover, who was an engineer by profession. Established in 1929 to honor “great, unselfish, nontechnical services by engineers to humanity,” the award is administered by a board representing five engineering organizations. Previous winners include presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower and Jimmy Carter; industrialist David Packard, the founder of Hewlett-Packard; and inventor Dean Kamen.

In 2018 Hammack was presented with the Carl Sagan Award for the Public Appreciation of Science, given by the Council of Scientific Society Presidents to recognize outstanding achievement in improving the public understanding and appreciation of science. 

Professor Bill Hammack’s upcoming book, The Things We Make: The Unknown History of Invention from Cathedrals to Soda Cans, is due out this Fall 2022.

Hammar is the author of seven books. His newest, a book on the engineering method, “The Things We Make: The Unknown History of Invention from Cathedrals to Soda Cans,” will be published later this year. In it Hammack shares human stories, perception-changing histories of invention, and accessible explanations of technology–revealing a panorama of human creativity across millennia and continents.

Hammack has also received the Public Service Award from the National Science Board, the Ralph Coats Roe Medal from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the Distinguished Literary Contribution Furthering the Public Understanding of the Profession (IEEE), and the President’s Award, American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE). Read more on his website, billhammack.org.

Read more:

NAE Bridge: An Interview with . . . Bill Hammack, Engineer Guy

“Engineering Guy” Bill Hammack

Samson A. Jenekhe, Michigan Tech Alumnus, Elected to the National Academy of Engineering

Professor Sam Jenekhe’s pioneering polymer research paved the way for commercial OLEDs

Michigan Tech alumnus Samson A Jenekhe ’77 has been elected to the National Academy of Engineering, among the highest professional distinctions accorded to an engineer. Dr. Jenekhe is honored for discovery and understanding of conjugated materials for organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) widely used in the commercial sector.

A professor of chemistry and the Boeing-Martin Professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of Washington, Jenekhe studies the fundamental physical and chemical properties of semiconductor materials, as well as their practical applications. Research topics have included organic and flexible electronics, the use of organic light-emitting diodes for lighting and displays, energy storage and conversion systems, semiconducting polymers and polymer-based photovoltaic systems.

Jenekhe is a Chemical Engineer who earned his BS at Michigan Tech and his MS, MA, and PhD at the University of Minnesota. Jenekhe worked as a research scientist for Honeywell, Inc. and later joined the faculty at the University of Rochester, before joining the faculty at the University of Washington in 2000.

He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Royal Society of Chemistry and the American Physical Society, which in 2021 also awarded him the Polymer Physics Prize. He also received the Charles M.A. Stine Award for Excellence in Materials Science from the American Institute for Chemical Engineers in 2014.

Read More

Samson A. Jenekhe’s Pioneering Polymer Work Paved the Way for Commercial OLEDs
US Department of Energy: OLED Basics

Watch

Distinguished Chemical Engineering Seminar given by Professor Samson Jenekhe, University of Washington. Held on 2 March 2016 at the Department of Chemical Engineering, Imperial College London.

Play Plastic electronics and photovoltaics video
Preview image for Plastic electronics and photovoltaics video

Plastic electronics and photovoltaics

Michigan Tech Alumna Sarah Rajala Elected to the National Academy of Engineering

Dr. Sarah Rajala

Sarah A. Rajala ’74, a Michigan Tech electrical engineering alumna, has been elected to the National Academy of Engineering. It is one of the highest professional distinctions accorded to an engineer. Dr. Rajala is honored for “innovations in engineering education: outcomes assessment, greater participation and retention of women in engineering, and an enhanced global community.” New members of the NAE will be formally inducted in October at the NAE’s annual meeting.

Rajala is an internationally-known leader in the field of engineering education and a ground breaker for women in engineering. She serves as a role model for young women and is passionate about diversity of thought and culture, especially in a college environment.

Originally from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan (Skandia), Rajala earned her bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering at Michigan Tech. She went on to earn masters and doctoral degrees at Rice University, and then embarked on primarily an academic career, working as a faculty member at North Carolina State University, Purdue University, and ultimately Iowa State University, where she served the engineering profession in a leadership role as the Dean of the College of Engineering until her recent retirement.

Rajala’s extensive professional leadership in the field of engineering education has included serving as president of the American Society for Engineering Education and chair of the Global Engineering Deans Council.

Across her career, in addition to working in a scholarly and teaching capacity as a professor of electrical engineering, Dr. Rajala also provided volunteer service in many professional and leadership roles. Her service roles to the societies for which she contributed culminated in important national leadership positions. These include serving as chair of the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, the engineering accreditation body for engineering programs, and also as president of the American Society of Engineering Education (ASEE). 

At Michigan Tech, Rajala is a member of the Electrical Engineering Academy, inaugural recipient of the Academy for Engineering Education Leadership, and a member of the President’s Council of Alumnae, among many other honors. 

“Dr. Rajala has been an influential person to many people across her career, including me. I am incredibly proud to hear of Dr. Rajala’s election into the National Academy of Engineering,” said Dean Janet Callahan.

“I first met Sarah many years ago at the annual meeting of the American Society for Engineering Education. Later, she reached out to me when she heard I had joined Michigan Tech as the College of Engineering’s next dean. She told me, ‘You will love Michigan Tech—it is a supportive community that truly fosters the principle of tenacity.’”

Now an Iowa State professor emeritus of electrical and computer engineering, Rajala continues to be an internationally known leader in engineering. She is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, ABET, the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) and the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE). Rajala has also received numerous other top awards including national engineer of the year award by the American Association of Engineering Societies and the national Harriett B. Rigas Award from the IEEE honoring outstanding female faculty.

Read more

An Interview with Dr. Sarah Rajala

To Learn From and Celebrate: Academy for Engineering Education Leadership Established

Watch

Among her many honors, Dr. Sarah Rajala received the ABET Fellow Award in 2016. This video, created by ABET in her honor, details Dr. Rajala’s inspiring accomplishments.

Michigan Tech Alumnus Dr. Teik C. Lim Named President of NJIT

Dr. Teik Lim came to Michigan Tech on a scholarship in 1983, and graduated with a BS in Mechanical Engineering in 1985.

The Board of Trustees of New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) recently announced the appointment of Dr. Teik C. Lim as NJIT’s ninth president, following a national search and a unanimous vote of the Board on January 5, 2022. 

President-elect Lim, who also will be appointed as a distinguished professor of mechanical engineering, will begin his NJIT tenure on July 1, 2022. He is the university’s ninth president. He earned his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Michigan Technological University, and later earned a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Missouri-Rolla and a doctoral degree from Ohio State University.

Lim presently serves as the interim president of the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA), where he also holds the rank of professor within the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. 

“Michigan Tech is very proud of Dr. Lim’s accomplishments, and for his appointment as President of NJIT,”  said Dean Janet Callahan. “We are very proud to have been part of his academic training. Michigan Tech is known for developing leaders—what they learn here starts them on the path to the leaders they become.”

Originally from Malaysia, Lim came to Michigan Tech on a scholarship in 1983 and graduated with a BS in Mechanical Engineering in 1985.

“I grew up with limited means, supported myself through college, and became the first member of my family to earn a college degree,” Lim recalls in a recent NJIT video. “I was able to come to the United States because of a generous undergraduate scholarship from Michigan Tech.”

William Predebon, chair of the Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics at Michigan Tech, taught Lim in class. “He was an excellent student,” said Predebon. “Dr. Lim’s career is very impressive. His appointment is yet another example of the impact he is having in higher education. I am very proud of his accomplishments, as is all of Michigan Tech.” 

“I will never forget Dr. Predebon’s excellent teaching style—concise, clear, and very easy to follow,” notes Lim. “I learned to mimic him from memory when I first became a professor. Michigan Tech is where I started and Michigan Tech gave me a chance of a lifetime.”

Prior to assuming the interim presidency at UTA, Lim served as the university’s provost and vice president for academic affairs from 2017 to 2020. He also spent approximately 15 years at the University of Cincinnati, where he held both academic and administrative appointments, the last of which was as dean of the College of Engineering and Applied Science.

“I am an engineer and attended polytechnic universities for my bachelor’s and master’s degrees, so coming to NJIT brings me back to my roots,” said Lim. “The chance to lead NJIT’s continuing growth into a preeminent public polytechnic research university is very appealing to me, as is the opportunity to work with the talented faculty, staff, and students, many of whom are, like me, the first from their family to attend college. NJIT is a beacon of life-changing opportunities.” 

Read more

New Jersey Institute of Technology Names Dr. Teik C. Lim as University’s Ninth President

New NJIT president is first person of color to lead one of state’s most diverse colleges

Brad King: Bite-sized Satellites Changing the World!

The team’s spacecraft, Auris, is a small satellite, a 12U cubesat. Its size in centimeters is just 20 x 20 x 30 (smaller than a typical shoebox). Mass is 20 kg (about 44 pounds). And its mission? Auris will characterize radio frequency (RF) signal emissions. Image credit: Michigan Tech Aerospace Enterprise.

Lyon (Brad) King shares his knowledge on Husky Bites, a free, interactive webinar this Monday, 2/7 at 6 pm. Learn something new in just 20 minutes, with time after for Q&A! Get the full scoop and register at mtu.edu/huskybites.

Dr. Lyon B. King specializes in spacecraft propulsion (and the launching of student careers).

What are you doing for supper this Monday night 2/7 at 6 ET? Grab a bite with Dean Janet Callahan and Brad King, Richard and Elizabeth Henes Professor of Space Systems and leader of Michigan Tech Aerospace—a collection of research, development, and educational labs dedicated to advancing spacecraft technology.

With the launch of the Michigan Tech student-built Oculus satellite in June 2019, Michigan Tech became a spacefaring university. Two more prize-winning satellites, Auris and Stratus, are currently under construction for future launch. Professor L. Brad King will tell us all about these satellites and, more importantly, about the student Aerospace Enterprise team that designs, builds, and operates them.

Nolan Pickett: “Did vacation flights, trips to air shows/space museums, and Space-X livestreams inspire you as well? Well, they definitely inspired me.”

Joining in will be mechanical engineering fourth year undergraduate Nolan Pickett, who handles logistical operations, personnel management, and external communications, and third-year mechanical and electrical engineering major Kyle Bruursema. Kyle is Chief Engineer for the Enterprise. He understands how the satellite works inside-and-out and oversees all technical/engineering decisions made within the team.

As the founder and faculty advisor of Michigan Tech’s Aerospace Enterprise, King empowers undergraduate students to design, build, and fly spacecraft, too. One of the team’s student-built satellites (Oculus) is now in orbit; their second small satellite (Stratus) is due to launch in 2022, and a third (Auris) now in progress.

Forty centimeters? That’s about as wide as a large Domino’s pizza.
Kyle Bruursema: “STEM fields have become the major topic of today’s world. It’s how we reach further, discover new possibilities, and build a brighter future.”

“Small satellites are changing the way humans do business and science in space,” says King. “The cost to build and launch a small satellite is now about the same as the cost to build and launch a software app. With the cost barrier removed, innovative students and start-up companies are building small satellites to provide capabilities that my generation has never even dreamed about. Michigan Tech is on the forefront of this movement.”

“There are so many small imaging satellites orbiting the Earth that soon it will be possible to have a complete inventory of every object on the Earth’s surface that is 40 centimeters or larger—we will have a ‘search bar’ for the Earth,” says King. “There are now more than 2,000 small communications satellites that can provide high-speed wireless internet anywhere on the planet.”

In addition to students in the Aerospace Enterprise, King mentors a large team of graduate students in his Ion Space Propulsion Lab at Michigan Tech. There, teams develop next-generation plasma thrusters for spacecraft. King is also a co-founder and CEO of a fast-growing satellite development company, Orbion Space Technology.

It’s “Inevitable”: During Husky Bites, Dr. King will explain why he chose this name for his 70-year old wooden boat.

Dr. King, why did you first choose engineering?

I have always been interested in and fascinated by space and have also loved building things. Aerospace engineering allows me to build things that go into space–the best of both worlds.

Hometown, family?

I was born and raised in Calumet, Michigan, which is about 10 miles north of Houghton. Yes – there is civilization north of Houghton.

Any hobbies? What do you like to do for fun?

Over the past few years I have restored a classic 70-year-old wooden boat. In all my spare time I am either working on the boat (constantly) to get ready for summer, or cruising Lake Superior and Isle Royale, where I spend summer days at remote docks working on my boat.

Nolan, how did you first get into engineering? What sparked your interest?

I first developed a strong interest in STEM through high school AP classes, and grew passionate about science and math. Engineering allowed me to apply the science and math concepts to real-life problems! This decision was further solidified after taking classes at Michigan Tech, doing internships around the Midwest, and spending time as a member of the Aerospace Enterprise (of course)!

Oculus, the Michigan Tech Aerospace Enterprise team’s first nanosatellite, was launched in June 2019. It now serves an imaging target for ground-based cameras for the Department of Defense.About the size of a mini-fridge, Oculus is visible here in the SpaceX rocket payload Can you spot it?

Hometown, family?

My family (four of us) is originally from Hopkins, Michigan. My father is an MTU alum.

Any hobbies?

My strongest passions are snowboarding and mountain biking. These were further amplified after moving to the beautiful Keweenaw Peninsula! I’m also an avid music lover and enjoy getting to know my fellow Enterprise members.

Kyle, how did you first get into engineering? What sparked your interest?

STEM fields have become the major topic of today’s world. It’s how we reach further, discover new possibilities, and build a brighter future. Personally, I have always had an admiration for creating solutions to the world’s challenges and I have always had a love for space, so engineering was a great way to combine the two!

Michigan Tech’s Aerospace Enterprise Team

Hometown, family?

My family originates from Holland, Michigan! Both of my uncles have attended MTU.

Any hobbies?

In my spare time, I love to run and go snowmobiling. Gaming is also a major part of my life.


Read more:

And Then There Were Three: Oculus, Auris–and now Stratus
Enterprise at MTU Launches Spacecraft–and Careers
Michigan Tech’s Pipeline to Space
Mission(s) Accomplished!
Auris Wins! Michigan Tech is Launching Into Space—with Ears

Support the team:

Get Stratus to Space

Watch:

Play Stratus Assembly video
Preview image for Stratus Assembly video

Stratus Assembly

A quick render of the Stratus model assembly. Credit: Michigan Tech Aerospace Enterprise

Breweries Above and Below the Bridge

Such beauty!

Breweries Above and Below the Bridge—Dick Gray, plus Cathy and Shawn Smalley share their knowledge on Husky Bites, a free, interactive Zoom webinar this Monday, January 31 at 6 pm ET. Learn something new with time after for Q&A (heavy on the Q&A)! Get the full scoop and register at mtu.edu/huskybites.

What are you doing for supper this Monday night 1/31 at 6 ET? Grab a bite with Dean Janet Callahan and Dick Gray ’82, co-owner of the Keweenaw Brewing Company in Houghton, Michigan (located in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, above the Mackinac Bridge)—plus Cathy ’88 and Shawn Smalley ’89, owners of Big Buck Brewery in Gaylord, Michigan (located below the Mighty Mac).

Above the Bridge: Dick Gray owns the Keweenaw Brewing Company in Houghton, Michigan
Below the Bridge: Shawn and Cathy Smalley own Big Buck Brewery in Gaylord Michigan

Near the Michigan Tech campus in downtown Houghton, the Keweenaw Brewing Company (KBC) features finely crafted ales for the everyday consumer. About 300 miles away, in Gaylord, Michigan, Big Buck’s mission is to simply do things the right way. Both are small, independent microbreweries owned by Michigan Tech alums who brew and sell world-class ales and host guests (safely during the pandemic) in unique, inviting taprooms.

What makes a good beer? And what’s their advice to those who want to follow in their footsteps? Find out during Husky Bites. Joining in will be Michigan Tech alumna Jennifer (Jung) Lucas ’09, craft beer fan and assistant vice president of Alumni Engagement at Michigan Tech

While working toward his bachelor’s degree in geological engineering at Michigan Tech, Dick Gray, owner of Keweenaw Brewing Company, spent one summer as a roughneck on the north slope of Alaska. He must have liked it, because he spent most of his career in the oil and gas business (but not as a roughneck).

After graduating from Michigan Tech with a BS in Geological Engineering, Gray took a job with Amoco Production Company, which led him from Hobbs, New Mexico, to Casper, Wyoming, to their Research Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma (twice), before ending up as exploration manager in their Denver regional office.

Dick Gray, Keweenaw Brewing Company

After more than 16 years, Gray left Amoco and became the president of a privately held oil and gas company called Presco Western, LLC. He held this position from 1998 to 2005, when the company was sold. “It was a turning point,” he says. “I had seen the revitalization of downtown Denver through the creation and success of comfortable brewpubs there,” he recalls.

Together with his family, he figured a brewpub was just what the city of Houghton needed, as well–especially when two of his three children started attending Michigan Tech.

Gray and a colleague from Denver started the Keweenaw Brewing Company (KBC) brewing just enough beer to feed the pub. Now, with annual production of about 13,000 barrels and distribution across Michigan, northern Wisconsin and eastern Minnesota, Keweenaw Brewery has grown to one of the 50th largest microbreweries in the United States, the eighth largest in Michigan.

KBC’s outdoor patio

Ironically, Gray’s wife, Stasi doesn’t drink beer, but she supports all of the KBC functions behind the scenes (including the design and purchasing of the iconic KBC t-shirts). In addition to the 200-plus students they have employed over the past seventeen years, the Gray’s have become tremendously involved with the Houghton business community.

The Grays have hosted countless Michigan Tech events and have supported various student and alumni activities. The KBC has become a vital community resource, meeting place, and place to relax, especially for Michigan Tech students, faculty, and staff.

The KBC production facility
Big Buck brews more than a dozen different beers, plus cider and sodas, too.

The Big Buck journey for Cathy and Shawn Smalley, owners of Big Buck Brewery, began about five years ago, in 2017, when a simple inquiry into a business that was in receivership became a reality. From that point, their transition away from corporate America began. The two officially opened Big Buck on October 1, 2018.

“From the beginning, our focus was to restore the ‘Big Buck’ name and reputation instead of rebranding,” said Cathy. “We made updates to the logo and beer label designs, yet we still embrace the original Big Buck brand and decor.”

“Our passion is to brew and distribute beer, although we also acquired a restaurant with a
seating capacity of 327 guests that we are operating,” she adds. “All of this is made possible with two brewers, a head chef and many supportive team members!” The Smalleys currently brew about 800 barrels a year, but plan to grow.

The Michigan Tech basketball team stopped by Big Buck last year for a wonderful meal while on their way back to Michigan Tech after a game downstate.

The Smalleys’ Michigan Tech story dates back to the late 80’s. Shawn graduated from Kalamazoo College with a degree in chemistry and transferred to Tech to pursue Chemical Engineering (’89). Shawn worked at Marathon Oil for several years and transitioned to a career in automotive. Cathy attended a Women in Engineering workshop during high school and followed her older sister to MTU. She graduated with a degree in Biological Sciences (’88) and furthered her education at Wayne State University.

“People don’t brew beer. Mother Nature brews beer,” says Shawn Smalley. Pictured above, brewing tanks at Big Buck Brewery.

“I also worked in the auto industry and retired once Shawn’s job took our family on two expat assignments,” she says. Together they have three children: Collin (ME), Emma (ME) and Elyse (Exercise Science). “Our kids have all graduated. Collin went to U of M and Kettering. Emma and Elyse both went to Hope College.

“As for Shawn, he started his ‘career’ in brewing in our kitchen in 1990! Though he isn’t involved in brewing at Big Buck, he is actively involved in the process and has mastered the taste testing!” In their free time, the Smalleys enjoy boating, biking, skiing and family time.

The welcoming entrance to Big Buck Brewery

As a student at Michigan Tech, Jen Lucas played on the volleyball team, earning Michigan Tech’s Raymond L. Smith Award for outstanding female senior student-athlete. She got her start in Michigan Tech’s Advancement office, working as a student caller for the Michigan Tech Telefund, eventually moving into the call center manager role upon graduation in 2009. From there, Lucas went on to work in alumni engagement and annual giving roles at several other educational institutions, and spent two years in industry relations at 3M. She started her new position at Michigan Tech last November 2021.

Jen, how did you first decide to attend Michigan Tech? What sparked your interest?

Jen (Jung) Lucas ’09 grew up in Minnesota and was recruited to play volleyball at Michigan Tech.

In high school, I was recruited to play collegiate volleyball by a variety of Division 1 and 2 programs, Michigan Tech being one of them. While volleyball was a passion of mine, opening the door to a future I would have never had in my grasp without it, it also had an expiration date. After college, volleyball would no longer be a dominating factor in my life. I would need to be prepared to enter the real world as a professional. I considered which University would set me up for the best success after graduation, and Michigan Tech clearly was the top choice. I also loved the Michigan Tech community and culture on campus, so as a 17 year old, I made one of the best decisions of my life. I am still thanking “younger me” for being so smart!

Hometown, family?

I was born in Omaha, Nebraska, but spent most of my life in Minnesota. I have a twin sister (who also played on the volleyball team with me at Michigan Tech) and we have 3 younger siblings. I met my husband, Stephen, a couple years after graduation. We lived in Minneapolis for a few years and then also in Salt Lake City until we moved to Houghton for my current role as assistant vice president of Alumni Engagement here at Michigan Tech. Though Stephen didn’t attend Michigan Tech, he is very excited to call the UP home now with me.

Jen and Stephen moved all the way from Utah to become Yoopers!

Any hobbies, pets?

No pets (besides our robot vacuum we call “Richard”) but a lot of hobbies. Stephen and I like to stay active outdoors in all seasons—hiking, biking, and snowshoeing. We also hope to pick up cross-country skiing and snowmobiling. I enjoy watching and discussing all sports, but especially volleyball, football, and hockey. I also enjoy a good book, good beer, good food, and good company.

What goes into a microbrewed beer? Find out during Husky Bites!

Read more

The Buck is Back
Something’s Brewing
MLive: KBC is a community gathering place with $2.50 pints

Enter to Win a Jersey signed by John Scott (NHL) or Joe Berger (NFL)

Support Michigan Tech student scholarships with a raffle ticket. Gain the chance to win a jersey signed by a mechanical engineering alums John Scott (NHL) or Joe Berger (NFL).
John Scott earned a BS in Mechanical Engineering at Michigan Tech in 2010: “Getting my degree from MTU allowed me the confidence to transition from playing hockey to working in the professional field.”

What do NHL MVP John Scott and NFL player Joe Berger have in common? Both are Michigan Tech Mechanical Engineering alums. Both are now retired from pro sports. And both are ready to sign a jersey on February 12, to support ME-EM department initiatives— including student scholarships, plus support for senior design and faculty special projects.

Here’s how: Signed Jersey Raffle tickets are $50 each, available for purchase here. You need not be present to win (we will call or email you). Winners will be drawn during Michigan Tech’s Winter Carnival hockey game against Bowling Green on February 12, 2022. John and Joe will be at the game to help announce the winners! (Please note: We have our State of Michigan raffle license # X05892.)

Purchase tickets by Saturday February 12, 2022 at 12 noon for a chance to win.

“Most people think being a professional athlete was the greatest accomplishment in my professional life,” says Scott. “They are always surprised to hear that earning my degree in Mechanical Engineering and being able to use that degree today is more gratifying than playing in the NHL. Getting my degree from MTU allowed me the confidence to transition from playing hockey to working in the professional field.”

“As a walk-on at Michigan Tech, I wouldn’t have had a football career without the mechanical engineering program to bring me up to campus in the first place,” says Berger. “The problem solving and teamwork skills that you learn in engineering have a direct correlation to football and sports in general. I enjoyed talking to my teammates about Michigan Tech throughout my career and am very thankful for the opportunity I was given. I look forward to using my mechanical engineering degree more in this next phase of life.”

Joe Berger earned his mechanical engineering degree at Michigan Tech in 2004: “The problem solving and teamwork skills that you learn in engineering have a direct correlation to football and sports in general.”

The ME-EM department is also hosting a Winter Carnival Alumni Hockey Skybox Social on Saturday, February 12, 2022, during the Michigan Tech vs. Bowling Green hockey game. It will take place in the Husky Suite South Skybox of the John MacInnes Student Ice Arena. The social begins at 5 p.m. with a 5:07 p.m. start time for the game. John and Joe will attend the social. Tickets for the social are $40/person, which includes a $20 donation to the ME-EM Alumni Scholarship Fund. Buy ME-EM Skybox Social tickets here.