Category Archives: Education

Graduate School Announces Fall 2018 Award Recipients

Engineering Grad Students working in the lab

The Graduate School announced the Summer and Fall 2018 award recipients. The following are award recipients in engineering graduate programs:

Doctoral Finishing Fellowship Award

Ulises Gracida Alvarez, Chemical Engineering
Sanaz Habibi, Chemical Engineering
Long Zhang, Chemical Engineering
Shuaidong Zhao, Civil Engineering
Jingyuan Wang, Electrical Engineering
Zhimin Song, Environmental Engineering
Priscilla Addison, Geological Engineering
Hans Lechner, Geology
Huaguang Wang, Materials Science and Engineering
Shadi DaraniMechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics
Soroush Sepahyar, Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics

Portage Health Foundation Graduate Assistantship

Anindya Majumdar, Biomedical Engineering
David Rosen, Biomedical Engineering


North Macomb Students Attend Women in Engineering Program

Women in EngineeringA trio of local students recently had a chance to explore an array of engineering careers through Michigan Technological University’s Women in Engineering program.

The Women in Engineering program is a weeklong look at engineering careers in areas such as mechanical, computer, environmental, electrical, biomedical, civil, geological and materials engineering, school officials said in a news release.

Students accepted into the program received a scholarship that covered room and board, tuition and supplies.

Read more at The Voice, by Emily Pauling.


Study Abroad: Clean, Renewable Energy in Iceland

Zoe Ketola, Systems Engineering undergraduate, studied renewable energy in Iceland this summer.
Zoe Ketola, Systems Engineering undergraduate, studied renewable energy in Iceland this summer.
Zoé Ketola enrolled in the The Green Program, which offers short-term, experiential education about the world’s most pressing issues in sustainable development. Ketola took classes through Reykjavik University School of Energy, and also traveled extensively around Iceland. In Ketola’s group there were about 20 others students, coming from Penn State, University of Michigan, Colorado State, and some Canadian universities, to name a few.

Here at Michigan Tech, Ketola is turning her innovative ideas into a reality with a BSE degree in systems engineeringan engineering degree she can customize to fit her interests. She wants to work on improving and overhauling the US electrical grid—facilitating the transition from traditional to clean energy sources.

Why did you decide to go to Iceland for your study abroad?
Iceland is what fell into my lap. It is considered the world’s renewable energy capital and renewable and clean energy are my passion. I never set out looking to go to Iceland (or anywhere, really) but when the department chair of Engineering Fundamentals, Professor Jon Sticklen, told me about the opportunity I couldn’t think of a better place to learn about what I love. Plus, have you seen pictures of the place? It’s a dream if you like the outdoors.

What was your main project while you were there?
I worked on a project that detailed providing personal solar arrays to impoverished communities within the United States. My group focused on communities in West Virginia and we looked into providing the equipment, doing install, how we would run our company, etc. We did this outside of taking courses on hydropower, geothermal, biofuels, and icelandic culture/history.What did you learn about culture and society in Iceland?
The Icelandic people are very hearty. They are independent and they kind of do their own thing. The most interesting things to me included how independent the children are and just how important keeping their public places clean is. You don’t wear your shoes in homes or the public pools. The pools also have a monitor who makes sure you shower before swimming.

“Iceland changed my life. I know that sounds cliche but I felt like I was losing my fire to make things better. I met people who cared about the same things as me and wanted to save the world. Nothing felt better than that. I can never thank my professor enough for helping me to get there.”

How has studying abroad impacted or changed your outlook?
Well, I’m itching to go back to Iceland and have been since I landed back stateside. I’m now looking more seriously at pursuing a masters dealing with energy, maybe even in Iceland.  Iceland reignited my passion to help the planet and to focus on improving the renewable/clean energy sector.

Through the Green Program, Zoé Ketola studied abroad in Iceland with a strong focus on clean renewable energy
Through the Green Program, Zoé Ketola studied abroad in Iceland with a strong focus on clean renewable energy

What was your most memorable experience?
I hiked a little over 10 miles at Fimmvörðuháls in the Icelandic highlands. When we got to the top of our hike, I couldn’t believe I was there. I was standing in between two glaciers with 20 fantastic people from all over the world and it was so surreal. The world is so big yet we all ended up there together.

Outside of working and studying, what was everyday life like? What did you do for fun?
Mostly spent time outside. I hiked everywhere it feels like, including near the southern coast and in the highlands (where I also camped). We visited hot springs, public pools, mountains, glaciers, and a local hostel where we got to meet a band we had started listening to that morning on the bus. We also visited Iceland’s largest geothermal plant and two hydropower plants, one of which was built in the 1960s.

What are your career goals?

I want to work on improving and overhauling the US electrical grid and facilitating the transition from traditional energy sources to clean energy sources. I don’t know what that means yet because it doesn’t look like anyone is doing exactly what I feel like needs to happen but I’ll figure it out along the way. If I quit every time I wasn’t sure of how to move forward I would never get anything done.

Joshua Pearce on At-home Manufacturing

3D PrintingAn article written by Joshua Pearce (MSE/ECE) for The Conversation, Trade wars will boost digital manufacturing – at consumers’ own homes with personal 3D printers, was picked up by the Associated Press and published widely in several newspapers, including the San Francisco Chronicle, Chicago Tribune, San Antonio Express, Times Union in New York and others. The story was covered on WTOP radio in Washington, D.C. and on TEGNA Broadcast Media (46 television stations covering 50 million people).

Pearce is quoted in an article regarding the Michigan Tech student developed recycling system: Equipment spotlight: Boost for at-home filament extrusion, in Plastics Recycling Update.

In the News

An article written by Joshua Pearce (MSE/ECE) was reprinted by khou.com, the Times UnionFinancial SenseWorld News and several other media outlets.

Joshua Pearce (MSE/ECE) was quoted in the article “3D printing news Sliced Siemens, ExOne, Stratasys, Massivit, CELLINK, Formlabs, Star Rapid,” 3dprintingindustry.com.

Pearce was interviewed on National Public Radio (NPR) for “3D Printing is Turning the Economics of Scale on its Head.” You can listen to the interview here.

Pearce writing on the trade wars and 3D printing was covered by Salon.


DENSO STEM Grant for Michigan Tech

DENSO sign outside the facilityMichigan Tech was listed among the 25 institutions of higher learning that shared in nearly $1 million in funding from DENSO International America, Inc.

DENSO Awards $1 Million in STEM Grants to 25 North American Colleges

DENSO, one of the world’s largest automotive suppliers of technology and components, announced that its philanthropic arm will donate nearly $1 million in overall funding to 25 institutions of higher learning across North America to support science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) educational programming.

“Manufacturing and automotive companies need technically-minded associates now more than ever,” said David Cole, DENSO North American Foundation board member.

Read more at Fleet News Daily.


Alex Mayer is the First University Professor

Alex S. Mayer
University Professor Alex S. Mayer

Last September, University President Glenn Mroz and Jackie Huntoon, provost and vice president for academic affairs, announced the establishment of two new titles created to recognize outstanding faculty: Distinguished Professor and University Professor.

The University Professor title recognizes faculty members who have made outstanding scholarly contributions to the University and their discipline over a substantial period of time.

Alex Mayer was selected as the first University Professor.

Mayer is the Charles and Patricia Nelson Presidential Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. He has been at Michigan Tech since 1991 with a joint appointment in the Department of Geological Engineering and Sciences. Mayer was the co-founder and first director of the Michigan Tech Center for Water and Society. He teaches about environmental resources engineering and management. Recent research activity on collaborative solutions to water scarcity in semi-arid environments, hydro-economic modeling for watershed management, sea level rise impacts on island nations has been funded by the National Science Foundation and the US Department of Agriculture.

Mayer is frequently recognized for his outstanding efforts to bring water-related research, education and outreach to the forefront at Michigan Tech. For his dedication to studying water quality and scarcity—and his unique approach to these complex problems—Mayer won Michigan Tech’s 2015 Research Award. In 2009, Mayer was recognized with the Rudolf Hering Medal from the American Society of Civil Engineers. In the same year, he also received Michigan Tech’s Distinguished Faculty Service Award. Collaboration is a hallmark of Mayer’s research methods. He works across disciplines with academics, government, non-governmental organizations, and community stakeholders.

The confidential process for selecting recipients spans the academic year and recipients for each award were notified in May. A University Professor is recognized for their exemplary research, major invited lectures, prestigious awards, significant contributions to the advancement of their field, and other criteria. They are nominated by faculty members, departments, programs, or schools. University Professors will not exceed two percent of the total number of tenured and tenure-track faculty at Michigan Tech at any time.


Jarek Drelich and David Watkins are Distinguished Professors

Last September, University President Glenn Mroz and Jackie Huntoon, provost and vice president for academic affairs, announced the establishment of two new titles created to recognize outstanding faculty: Distinguished Professor and University Professor.

Jarek Drelich
Distinguished Professor Jarek Drelich

The title of Distinguished Professor recognizes outstanding faculty members who have made substantial contributions to the University as well as their discipline but are not presently recognized through an endowed position or faculty fellowship.

Jaroslaw (Jarek) Drelich and David Watkins are among the recipients in the inaugural group of Distinguished Professors.

Drelich is a professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering. Adhesion of fine particles, biodegradable implants, surface wetting, and colloidal properties are among his research interests. Drelich leads SURFI, Surface Innovations at Michigan Tech. The SURFI research team recently reviewed the properties of fish scales in Advanced Biosystems, identifying many promising qualities that could be beneficial to material and surface innovators. Drelich also spearheaded the acquisition of a new atomic force microscope for looking at single molecules on a surface.

David Watkins
Distinguished Professor David Watkins

Watkins is a professional engineer and professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. He has been at Michigan Tech since 1999, teaching undergraduate and graduate level courses in fluid mechanics, engineering hydrology, water resources management, and others. He directs an international capstone design program, co-directed a Peace Corps Master’s International program, and advises a student chapter of Engineers Without Borders-USA. Watkins maintains an active research program in water resources systems engineering, hydroclimatic forecasting, and climate change adaptation. His current research projects include robust water resources decision making in south Florida and understanding the climate impacts of food, energy, and water consumption.

The confidential process for selecting recipients spans the academic year and recipients for each award were notified in May. A Distinguished Professor is recognized for their noteworthy research, invited lectures, external awards, citations, continuing contributions to the advancement of their field, and other criteria. They are nominated by faculty members, departments, programs, or schools. Distinguished Professors will not exceed 10 percent of the number of tenured and tenure-track faculty in a specific college or school at any time.


Joshua Pearce on Higher Education in Finland

Aalto University Microfab
Aalto University Microfab

Finland is actually a relatively new country but has already built up a solid international reputation in education. When I first arrived in Finland, they were celebrating a century of independence.

Finnish universities are all public and among the top 2 percent of international rankings. For example, Aalto University ranks 137th globally. For perspective that puts it several spots above of Michigan State at 149th.

Finnish universities are actively recruiting foreign students. By making education free for their own students and low-cost for the top international students, Finland is clearly gaining a competitive advantage.

Read more at the Mining Gazette, by Joshua Pearce.

Editor’s Note: Michigan Tech professor Joshua Pearce is spending his sabbatical in Finland at Aalto University on a Fulbright Fellowship. In this first-person narrative series, he shares some of personal observations and insights on Finland’s educational system.

Related:

What America Can Learn From Finland’s Education System: We Should Respect Teachers and Take Only the Best

What America Can Learn From Finland’s Education System Part 2: Embrace International Students and Pursue Graduate School for a Secure Future

3D printers in the public library: Finland ahead of the curve

Paying it forward at Finland’s Aalto Fablab


Four New Biomedical Engineering Minors for Fall 2018

Biomedical Engineering MinorsBiomedical engineering is a rapidly growing and evolving field. The need to have a well trained workforce with the ability to integrate life sciences, engineering, and the practices of modern medicine is a pressing issue.

The Department of Biomedical Engineering is offering four new minors related to biomedical engineering beginning Fall 2018:

  • Biomaterials Engineering
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Medical Devices and Instrumentation
  • Tissue and Stem Cell Engineering

The minor programs will help to prepare students for careers in the medical device or related industry sectors. They may pursue graduate study at the interface of life science and engineering. The minors also help prepare students for professional careers, such as medicine, dentistry, physical therapy, or occupational therapy.

Michigan Tech invites students from all disciplines to learn the fundamental concepts of biomedical engineering. The minors are structured in such a manner that they are accessible to a broad range of majors, such as materials science and engineering, chemical engineering, electrical engineering, general engineering, and mechanical engineering. Science majors can take these minors if the pre-requisite math and engineering courses are met.

Students will broadly understand key concepts and principles of biomedical engineering. They will develop the beginnings of an understanding of how the life sciences and other engineering disciplines can be integrated to solve biomedical engineering problems.


Tech’s Frozen Engineers to Compete in Make48 Competition this Summer

Frozen Engineers
The Frozen Engineers from left to right: Guyon, Gazdecki, Kolb, and Thompson

Michigan Tech’s Frozen Engineers were selected to represent Tech at the Make48: College vs. College competition this August in Baltimore, MD. Teams are given 48 hours to plan, prototype, and pitch an idea for prizes and licensing potential.

The Michigan Tech team consists of Mike Gazdecki (material science and engineering), Patrick Guyon (mechanical and electrical engineering), Rachel Kolb (mechanical engineering), and Ryan Thompson (mechanical engineering). The Frozen Engineers took fourth place in Michigan Tech’s 2018 Consumer Products Challenge for their single serve Margarita Machine.

Read more at the Pavlis Honors College Blog, by Amy Karagiannakis.