Category: News

SWE Places Third in SWE Global Outreach Competition

MTU’s Society of Women Engineers (SWE) Section participated in the global SWE Outreach Competition, where they presented on Engineering Day!, a K-5 outreach program.

Undergraduates Skyler Brawley (computer engineering) and Carsyn Boggio (environmental engineering) described the program developed and hosted jointly by the SWE section and Engineering Ambassadors, which reached over 600 K-5 students and Girl Scouts last year. MTU’s SWE section partnered with the SWE Professional Section in Grand Rapids to host an event for Daisies, Brownies and Juniors scouts. We hosted another at Michigan Tech for Northern Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula Girl Scouts. Locally, Engineering Day! was held at Lake Linden-Hubbell Elementary, Barkell Elementary and Dollar Bay-Tamarack City Elementary. We were especially thrilled for the first- and second-place sections, both of whom were from Africa and had developed innovative ways to connect with girls and help youth learn about STEM careers and engineering.

The SWE section and Engineering Ambassadors will continue to host Engineering Day! in local schools and with Girl Scouts. We have already begun planning for the Fall and are looking forward to another fun and exciting year of outreach.

The section thanks SWE, Michigan Tech and our industry sponsors for their outreach support.

By Gretchen Hein, Advisor, Society of Women Engineers.

Carsyn Boggio
Skylar Brawley
Michigan Tech SWE faculty advisor Gretchen Hein helps out during SWE outreach events, too.

Related

SWE, Engineering Ambassadors Host Engineering Day Events During March 2023

MTU Blizzard Baja Team Succeeds at Baja SAE Competition

“It’s only up from here,” wrote Michigan Tech’s Blizzard Baja team after their success in Oshkosh. Follow the team on Instagram. They’re also on Twitter and Facebook.

Michigan Tech’s Blizzard Baja team took home an 8th place finish at the recent Baja SAE North American Competition in Oshkosh, Wisconsin in May. 

In addition to a steering arm failure, the pit team also had to deal with mud build up during the race.

“Our 8th place finish was sealed by a 4th place finish in the final 4-hour Endurance event Sunday morning,” says team faculty advisor, Assistant Teaching Professor Kevin Johnson. “We were in 2nd place in the Endurance event for a long time until we had a steering arm failure on the car. The team quickly replaced the steering knuckle in the pits and got back on the track with a half hour remaining in the race. Regardless of this setback we were able to finish in 4th place.”

Earlier in the race, the team received a black flag, due to their car numbers not being visible due to mud buildup. The team had to enter the pit to clean them off, which set them back a bit, as well.

“This year we had a very strong team with outstanding participation,” adds Johnson. “The team had two major obstacles; a working reliable 4 wheel drive system and a new larger Kohler engine to replace the Briggs that had been used for many years previously.”

The team raced with their newest vehicle, the Matador.

Michigan Tech’s Blizzard Baja is one of 25 Enterprise teams, part of Michigan Tech’s award-winning Enterprise Program.

The Blizzard Baja team consists of numerous sub-teams. One of those, the 4×4 Senior Design team with members William Rivet and Alec Pominville, scrapped the 4×4 design from last year due to major issues. “They went through some iterations including a belt and a chain drive and finally ended up with a drive shaft, gearbox, and differentials design,” notes Johnson. “They put countless hours into design, manufacturing, and testing the last two semesters with help from a number of other students.”

This year, Michigan Tech served as host to Fei Baja, the SAE Baja team from Centro Universitário FEI, a university in São Bernardo do Campo, Brazil. “The team from Brazil contacted our team through social media asking if MTU Baja SAE would be willing to host them,” said Johnson. It turned out to be a fantastic experience for both teams.

MTU Blizzard Baja hosted friends from Brazil, team Fei Baja, during the competition.

“The best part of the competition was seeing all of our hard work pay off in the form of a top 10 finish,” said Gregory Jowett, a mechanical engineering student who serves as President of Michigan Tech’s Blizzard Baja SAE team. 

“Whether someone was directly working on the vehicle, doing modeling or simulation, or making sure the trip ran smoothly, it’s incredibly rewarding to see everyone’s effort culminate in a successful experience like it did in Oshkosh,” he says.

“I am extremely proud of the entire team and feel they represented Michigan Tech very well.”

Prof. Kevin Johnson, Blizzard Baja faculty advisor

“Needing to modify our frame to pass technical inspections and breaking an a-arm during the endurance race were some of the larger setbacks we faced. In both cases, the team was able to efficiently work together to quickly solve both problems. Even after an early morning and 3.5 hours of racing, the team was able to replace the a-arm in the pits and get our driver back out on the track in less than 10 minutes.”

The success experienced by our team is a direct reflection of Blizzard Baja’s “work hard, play hard” culture,” adds Jowett. “We enjoy team bonding when we have free time, but when there are things to do, none of our members hesitate to selflessly step up and get things done.”

“Props to our pit crew!”

Gregory Jowett, Blizzard Baja president

As for joining the team, the Blizzard Baja enterprise conducts interviews for prospective new members twice per year. For more information, students can visit the website at baja.mtu.edu or email the team at baja@mtu.edu.

Learn more about the team online at https://baja.mtu.edu.

Michigan Tech ARES Team Competes in Tuscaloosa

The Michigan Tech ARES team is ready to roll.

A student engineering team from Michigan Tech is competing this week in the Robotic Mining Challenge, hosted by the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. 

Michigan Tech team prepares ARES for competition. Go Huskies!

The event is designed to create solutions to problems faced on moon exploration missions, with 24 university teams from across the nation taking part.

Each team has spent the past year designing and building a robot that uses resources available on the lunar surface. During the competition, robots must autonomously navigate a lunar-simulated arena and excavate lunar soil, or regolith.

Michigan Tech’s robot, ARES, completed a 15 minute practice runs on Wednesday, May 24. ARES stands for Automated Regolith Excavation System. The name was selected after a brainstorm and voting, says Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Assistant Professor Paul van Susante, the team’s faculty advisor.

Ten of the Michigan Tech team’s 28 members are on site. That includes team lead Karson Linders (mechanical engineering and robotics engineering); Brian Geiger (mechanical engineering); Miranda Meyers (electrical engineering); Brenda Wilson (electrical engineering); Christi LeCaptain (mechanical engineering); Tanner Duncan (mechanical engineering); Collin Miller (mechanical engineering); Ian Giles (robotics engineering); Kyle Hintz (mechanical engineering); and Brendan McRoberts (mechanical engineering).

Many of the students are current or former members of MINE, the Multiplanetary INnovation Enterprise at Michigan Tech, which is also advised by Prof. van Susante. Several of the students recently graduated in April.

Michigan Tech’s ARES robot takes part in at test run at the 2023 Robotic Mining Challenge.

Throughout the week, teams will receive one 15-minute practice run and two competition runs. Practice runs will take place May 22-23 with the challenge beginning the afternoon of May 23 and continuing through May 26.

“We were overall pleased with our first competition run,” said van Susante. “Everything worked, but needed tweaking. “We have learned many things that we will improve today and all day tomorrow before our final competition run on Friday.”

Judges of the competition include industry professionals from Caterpillar, the Exolith Lab at the University of Central Florida and NASA’s Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute. 

The Robotic Mining Challenge Award ceremony takes place Friday evening. The Michigan Tech team will travel back to Houghton the next day.

This contest is separate from the NASA Lunabotics Competition, hosted at Kennedy Space Center.

Thought-provoking, Intriguing and Sweet: Huskies Remember One of their Own

round disc-shaped chocolate with gear or wheel shape on top
The winning design, close-up!
Zachary stands on a stone, in front of a roaring waterfall
Zachary’s legacy of kindness and integrity lives on at Michigan Tech.

Winners were announced on April 19th, Zachary Podkul’s birthday.

This year, for the Third Annual Zachary Richard Podkul (ZRP) Memorial Scholarship Challenge, Mechanical Engineering Technology (MET) students honored their fellow Husky’s fondness for Michigan Tech, machine design, cooking—and of course, chocolate!

Six MET students in the Department of Manufacturing and Mechanical Engineering Technology rose to the challenge to design custom chocolates.

The students began their thought process on what to design late last year when the contest was announced at the end of fall semester.

They started out by creating a 3D CAD model of their design. Each chocolate could be no larger than 2”x2”x1”. Next, a 3D print of the model was created in the MMET Department’s Additive Manufacturing facility, using the Stratasys Fortus 400 MC, which uses Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) to extrude plastic filament. 

The students then each built a flask from poster board strips. The flask held their 3D printed patterns (the positive). Food-safe silicone was poured over the top to cast a silicone mold (the negative).

Once set, students removed their silicone mold from the flask, filled the new mold with melted chocolate, chilled it all to delicious perfection, then popped out their chocolate confections to enjoy—and also to be judged as part of the challenge.

MMET faculty members judged the entries by the following criteria:

  • 3D CAD Model—Utilizes sketches fully constrained with parametric features
  • Originality—Unique and innovative design representative of Michigan Tech
  • Quality—Uniformity, strength and surface finish
  • Manufacturability—Ability for chocolate to be easily formed in mold
  • Detail—The chocolate conforms to the mold intended design

And the winner is…Michael Havens! He won a $1,000 scholarship!

Cathy and Michael stand arm in arm.
Congratulations to Michael Havens!
A plate with a single chocolate on a table, with the mold and 3d print.
Michael’s work: note his 3D printed pattern (black), and his silicon mold (blue).
Michael looks at large computer screen with picture of his wheel-shaped chocolate 3d design
Michael Havens presents his design to the judges.

Justin Hannah earned Second Place and a $500 scholarship.

Justin stands between Cathy and Richard holding his silicon mold.
Congratulations to Justin Hannah!
three chocolates on a white plate with Justin Hannah sign nearby
Justin’s wonderful designs.

David Watkins earned third place and a $250 scholarship.

David Watkins between Cathy and Richard, holding his 3rd place certificate
Congratulations to David Watkins!
Plate of chocolates, plus molds, 3d prints and cookie cutters on a table.
David’s winning work in both white and dark chocolate!

According to the Podkul’s, everyone was a winner!

The Podkul’s also gave gift certificates to the other three MET student who submitted entries: Beaumont Ujlaky, Teresa Hoving, and RJ Slater.

Cathy sits at a table and looks at the judges with her 3dDesign on a big screen behind her.
Teresa Hoving presents to the judges.
Five-sided chocolates on a plate plus a stuffed Husky dog toy and some cookies in cellophane and a blue silicon chocolate mold.
Teresa’s wonderful design
RJ sits at a table with Bryant in the background. Chocolates on a plate in the foreground.
RJ Slater presents his design to the judges.
Beaumont stands and holds his blue chocolate silicon mold with Cathy and Linda on either side
Beaumont Ujlaky, with Cathy Podkul and her sister, Linda Daleo
oval-shaped chocolate on a plate with a Keweenaw peninsula design on the top.
Just one of Beaumont’s chocolates. He designed several.
Nick holds a section of gray 3d print on a piece of plexiglass while Linda looks on.
Linda Daleo, Zachary’s aunt, was on hand for the event. Here she learns about the Stratasys Fortus 400 MC in the Michigan Tech’s AM Lab with MMET Professor of Practice Nick Hendrickson
Bow of cellophane wrapped frosted cookies with cookie cutters on a table.
Cathy kept the student-designed cookie cutters from the 2022 ZRP Memorial Challenge. She hired a professional baker to make delicious cookies using the cutters to share at the event. (Does that mean we’ll enjoy both cookies and chocolate at next year’s award ceremony??!!)

Zachary’s family supports the ZRP Design Challenge and an MET student scholarship through their endowment. It’s intended to ease the financial burden for students who share his MTU experience and for those who live with chronic health conditions. Zachary will always be remembered by his Michigan Tech family and alumni.

Want to join the Podkul family in supporting the Zachary Richard Podkul Engineering Memorial Scholarship? Learn more here.

This year, the Podkuls were able to meet all of the students in person who participated. “We were amazed at their designs and the level of detail,” said Cathy. “And we especially enjoyed hearing the thought process that went into their designs.”

The family is at home by an open closet door with board games on the shelf behind them.
Zachary with his mom, Cathy, and sister, Gabby
Zachary wears his cap and gown and has his arm around his father's shoulder.
Zach and his Dad

“Zachary’s best times were his college days here at Michigan Tech.”

Cathy Podkul
A table with Zachary's diploma, and other photos and mementos.
Loving memories of Zachary

During the Challenge award presentation, Cathy shared a bit more about her late son, Zachary, who was born eight weeks premature and fought for his health his entire life. He was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease at the young age of 10, and spent the next 15 years of his life battling the disease. He passed away in 2020.

“From the beginning Zachary had a mechanical mindset,” she said. “As a young boy, he was always inquisitive and curious about how things worked.”

With this passion for knowledge he enrolled in Michigan Tech and graduated in 2018 with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering Technology.

Cathy describes Zachary as quiet, conservative, intelligent, original, sensitive, and witty, with a great sense of humor. At times, he was strong-willed and determined, too, which of course made him all the more lovable. 

“We miss Zachary so much. It’s such a rewarding feeling to support this and to be able to present the awards on his birthday (April 19). My husband and I are grateful to Dr. Irwin, Bryant Weathers, and the MMET faculty and staff for their time and dedication to making these challenges successful for three years in a row.”

The group stands against a white-painted brick wall.
L to R: Richard Podkul, Bryant Weathers, Cathy Podkul, Linda Daleo, and John Irwin

The Podkuls plan to honor their late son Zachary with an MET Design Challenge every year. What will they come up with next? Details about the 2024 Challenge will be announced in about six months.

Engineering Alumni Activity Summer 2023

Teik Lim
Teik Lim

Return on Information-New Jersey posted a story about Teik Lim ’85 (B.S. Mechanical Engineering) being awarded the Chinese-American Academic & Professional Society’s 2023 Distinguished Leadership Achievement Award. Lim is the president of the New Jersey Institute of Technology. Lim’s career has spanned from the private sector to university administration.

David Coveyou
David Coveyou

Northern Express featured a story about Coveyou Scenic Farm in Petoskey, Michigan, a five-generation farm run by David Coveyou (B.S. Engineering). While he pursued his engineering career, his parents were getting older and none of his siblings seemed interested in taking over the operation of the family farm. Coveyou’s innovations in energy efficiency on the farm were honored by Gov. Rick Snyder. One of the most popular aspects of the farm is the Open Market program.

Todd Contrell
Todd Contrell

Todd Contrell ’96 (B.S. Chemical Engineering) was named CEO Azelis Americas, a leading global innovation service provider in the specialty chemicals and food ingredients industry. Contrell has worked for some of the global leaders in the CASE (coatings, adhesives, sealants and elastomers) industry, his last position having been Managing Director Americas for a large European manufacturer. The Department of Chemical Engineering congratulates Todd Contrell on his achievements.

Business WireYahoo! Finance and Semiconductor Today covered the appointment of Wayne Struble ’81 ’83 (B.S. M.S. Electrical Engineering) as senior vice president of advanced semiconductor technology at MACOM Technology Solutions Holdings Inc. The announcement was picked up by over 30 regional, business and tech industry outlets. Struble is an expert in radio frequency, microwave and millimeter wave integrated circuit design, semiconductor device modeling and testing, compound semiconductor process development, and wireless communication system design.

Bhopi Dhall
Bhopi Dhall

PR Newswire and Yahoo! Finance published a story about the new book “Demystifying IT: The Language of IT for the CEO” co-authored by Bhopi Dhall ’69 (M.S. Electrical Engineering). The story was picked up by more than 140 regional news outlets. Bhopi Dhall is the founder and CEO of CG Infinity. “IT is all around us, and the enormous potential to use it more proactively in every facet of business cannot be ignored,” Dhall said.

Joe Berger
Joe Berger

Near North Now of Newaygo County, Michigan, published a Q&A with former Husky and retired NFL lineman Joe Berger ’05 (B.S. Mechanical Engineering). This past Spring Joe Berger was inducted into the Muskegon Area Sports Hall of Fame, a fitting honor for the former Newaygo Lion who spent 13 seasons facing down the best defensive linemen in the world, primarily as a member of the Minnesota Vikings.

Ryan Bauman
Ryan Bauman


Ryan Bauman, a 2007 civil engineering graduate, has been honored as one of Engineering News-Record’s Top 20 under 40 for 2023. As transit section manager at HDR Engineering Inc., Bauman emphasizes work-life balance, organizing events that involve coworkers, spouses and children. “Collaboration is at the core of what we do in our industry,” says Bauman.

Klynt Baker
Klynt Baker

AftermarketNews covered the promotion of Klynt Baker ’95 (B.S. electrical engineering) from vice president of operations to president of Sonnax Transmission Company. Baker brings to his new position more than 25 years of experience in the global automotive and aftermarket industries.

Lars Taavola
Lars Taavola

Attorney Intel included MTU alumnus Lars Taavola ‘96 (B.S. chemical engineering, engineering management), the general counsel of brands for Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals, in its 2023 list of the top 50 attorneys in New Jersey. Before joining Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals, Taavola was a senior patent counsel and head of IP at Amneal Pharmaceuticals.

Natalea Cohen
Natalea Cohen

Natalea Cohen ’23 (M.S. Geology) is the author of an entry in the U.S. Geological Survey’s Yellowstone Caldera Chronicles. The article discussed new satellite communication technology being tested at Yellowstone monitoring stations and their impact on real-time data collection and transmission. Cohen is an intern at Earthscope Consortium, which is dedicated to transforming global geophysical research and education.

Leigha Woelffer
Leigha Woelffer

WLUC TV6 mentioned Michigan Tech in a story about the promotion of Leigha Woelffer ’21 (B.S. Electrical Engineering) to the rank of first lieutenant in the U.S. Space Force. The Michigan Tech ROTC graduate works at Space Systems Command in Los Angeles as a Data Transport Technical Agent.

Hemmings Motor News mentioned Michigan Tech in a story written by Scott Overton (B.S. Mechanical Engineering) about his stint as a summer worker in Spokane, Washington, in 1966 as a third-year mechanical engineering student. Among other tasks, Overton developed a safety brace to install on an uplifted dump truck frame to protect anyone working under the dump bed.

Greg Ives
Greg Ives

The Iron Mountain Daily News mentioned Michigan Tech in a story about Greg Ives ’03 (B.S. Mechanical Engineering) visiting Norway Speedway last Friday (July 7) for an autograph session at the Auto Value Super Stock race. Ives graduated from Michigan Tech University and almost immediately moved down south with his engineering degree to begin his NASCAR career as a crew chief and chassis engineer. Ives is a NASCAR crew chief for Hendrick Motorsports driver Alex Bowman.

Merle Potter
Merle Potter

WebWire mentioned Michigan Tech in a press release about the newly published textbook “Mathematical Methods for Engineering and Science,” co-authored by Merle Potter ’58 ’61 (B.S. Mechanical Engineering, M.S. Engineering Mechanics). The release was picked up by more than a dozen regional news outlets. The text introduces undergraduate students of engineering and science to applied mathematics essential to the study of many problems.

Eli Vlaisavljevich
Eli Vlaisavljevich

Virginia Tech News mentioned Michigan Tech in a story about Eli Vlaisavljevich ’10 (B.S. Biomedical Engineering) being named the university’s Kendall and Laura Hendrick Junior Faculty Fellow. Vlaisavljevich is an associate professor of biomedical engineering and mechanics at Virginia Tech. Vlaisavljevich’s research and scholarship focuses on developing histotripsy as a noninvasive, high precision, and image-guided cancer ablation method.

Shannon Rische
Shannon Rische

Radio Results Network mentioned Michigan Tech in a story about the new supervisor of the Hiawatha National Forest: Shannon Rische (B.S. Surveying Engineering). Shannon started her Forest Service career as a civil engineer, then spent eight years as the Forest Engineer on the Huron-Manistee National Forests before moving into a Staff Officer position for nine years on the same unit.

Kevin Pageau
Kevin Pageau

Composites World Magazine mentioned Michigan Tech in a story announcing Kevin Pageau ’81 (B.S. Mechanical Engineering) as the recipient of the Society of Plastics Engineers Automotive Division’s 2023 Lifetime Achievement Award. Pageau, owner and president of International Marketing Alliance, has been a major contributor to the SPE Automotive Division Innovation Awards Program for many years.

Gary Anderson
Gary Anderson

The Mining Journal mentioned Michigan Tech in a story about Ishpeming Public Schools’ Halls of Excellence, created to honor former students, staff and others who have contributed honor and prestige to the school district. Gary Anderson ’67 (B.S. Chemical Engineering), who established a scholarship trust for IPS students at MTU, is one of the inaugural inductees. He spent his entire career at Dow Corning, becoming president, CEO, and chairman. He retired in 2004 after seeing the firm grow thirtyfold and be recognized as one of the nation’s top 100 companies to work for.

Carter Paprocki
Carter Paprocki

Carter Paprocki ’20 ’22 (B.S. M.S. Mechanical Engineering), a second-year doctoral student in acoustics at Pennsylvania State University, was named the recipient of the Rickover Fellowship in Nuclear Engineering, as announced by Penn State. As an undergraduate, Paprocki participated in Department of Defense-funded research with former Michigan Tech Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering Andrew Barnard, including completing proof-of-concept work of a live scan sonar system for U.S. Navy SEAL scuba divers and a remote-controlled rescue device developed for dangerous rescues in Lake Superior.

Hailey Bondy and Jacob Smith stepping off a bus.
Hailey Bondy and Jacob Smith

Michigan Tech alums Jacob Smith ‘19 (mechanical engineering) and Hailey Bondy ‘19 (environmental engineering) were profiled in a story by the Daily Mining Gazette. The pair used their engineering backgrounds and other skills to convert a 1996 Chevy G30 bus into a moving home, which they’ve used to travel the country since September 2022 while on an extended honeymoon. “My education at MTU gave me the tools that I needed to maximize the small space that we were planning on living in, as well as incorporating new technologies that we built like our water filtration system, and heating and cooling systems in order to make it a comfortable living space,” Jacob said.

Dean Rossell
Dean Rossell

MLive.com mentioned Dean Rossell ’84 (M.S. Geology) in a story about estimates by the U.S. Geological Survey that the western Upper Peninsula could be home to substantial undiscovered nickel deposits. The story said a global nickel shortage is expected in 2026 due to increasing demand from the electric vehicle battery supply chain. Ted Bornhorst, a retired geology and mining professor at Michigan Tech, said Tesla supplier Talon’s geologist Rossell, a former student of his, is “one of the best.”

David Cvengros
David Cvengros

The Mining Journal mentioned Michigan Tech in a feature story about the newest members of the Upper Peninsula’s Sports Hall of Fame. Husky basketball and tennis player David Cvengros ’62 (B.S. Mechanical Engineering) was one of this year’s inductees. A five-sport athlete at Wakefield High School, he earned 17 letters and teamed with UPSHF inductee Rom Gilbert to win two U.P. doubles titles in tennis.

Kevin Ballinger
Kevin Ballinger

Medical Buyer and GlobeNewswire ran a press release about the appointment of Kevin Ballinger ’95 (B.S. Mechanical Engineering) to Shockwave Medical’s board of directors. Ballinger is CEO at Aldevron, a manufacturer of plasmid DNA, mRNA and proteins for use in advanced therapeutics. He is a recognized leader in the healthcare industry with over 25 years of professional experience.

Jesse Olson
Jesse Olson

The Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) mentioned Michigan Tech in a story announcing university participants in a 2024 mission concept program. The program will be sponsored by AFRL’s Space Vehicles Directorate under the University Nanosatellite Program (UNP). Jesse Olson ’17 (B.S. Mechanical Engineering/Electrical Engineering), UNP manager of the directorate’s small satellite branch, was quoted in the story.

Teik Lim
Teik Lim

Diverse: Issues in Higher Education profiled Teik Lim ’85 (B.S. Mechanical Engineering), who just completed his first year as president of the New Jersey Institute of Technology. Diversity of thought and experience are crucial in a technical institution, which is why Lim is so pleased with the diversity of NJIT. He is committed to bringing more women and underrepresented minorities into the STEM disciplines and fostering a sense of belonging on campus so everyone can thrive.

Andrea Larson
Andrea Larson

Wausau City Pages mentioned Michigan Tech in a story about ultramarathoner Andrea Larson ’08 (B.S. Chemical Engineering). Larson, who competed in Tennessee’s grueling Barkley Marathons in March, ran cross country for the Huskies. While at Michigan Tech, Larson joined the cross country team. Michigan Tech was like a dream, she says, with world-class cross-country ski trails about a five-minute walk away.

SWE Section Travels to SWE-Wisconsin Professional Day

Very large group of women at SWE Spring Forward 2023.
Image from SWE-Wisconsin Spring Forward 2023 Facebook page.

Last Saturday (April 15, 2023), MTU’s Society of Women Engineers (SWE) section attended the Annual SWE-Wisconsin Professional Day in Madison. We enjoyed visiting with the SWE-Wisconsin Professional Section, developing career skills and learning about engineering opportunities.

  • Gretchen Hein, SWE advisor, led an #IamRemarkable workshop, where participants learned how to advocate for themselves and others, and the importance of those skills in career development.
  • Second-year student Kathryn Krieger (environmental engineering) was honored as the 2023 GE-Healthcare Scholarship recipient. The scholarship committee was impressed with her involvement in SWE, Engineers without Borders and Delta Phi Epsilon.
  • The section received the Collegiate Section Achievement Award for establishing the SWE Section Endowed Scholarship.
  • We were also excited to see Andrea Falasco ’12 (B.S. Mechanical Engineering) and learn about her career path during the panel discussion on working for big versus small companies.

Nine section members attended:

  • Amanda West, junior (mechanical engineering):
    “I enjoyed networking with the other SWE sections in the region. It was great to learn how other students handle their organization and use it to help improve our own.”
  • Talia Olson, junior (mechanical engineering):
    “I enjoyed getting inspired by other women engineers and learning from their experiences. I learned how to brand myself and to own my strength in the workforce.”
  • Cassandra Borr, second-year (mechanical engineering):
    “I found this conference to be very empowering, as we were able to see what other women in the industry have accomplished and how they achieved it.”
  • Carissa Best, first-year (mechanical engineering):
    “I really enjoyed having the opportunity to hear the stories of confident women in STEM who were interested in empowering other women.”
  • Kathryn Krieger, second-year (environmental engineering):
    “SWE has grown to be such an important part of my college career. I am constantly inspired by the women around me and grateful for the opportunities for both personal and professional growth.”
  • Catherine Huston, second-year (materials science and engineering): 
    “Learning to own who I am and how to recognize my accomplishments was empowering and an experience I will carry with me as I navigate my path in life.”
  • Tory Cantrell, first-year (mechanical engineering):
    “The most important piece of advice that I will take away from this conference is how it is important to step outside of your comfort zone and evolve your leadership brand as you grow.”
  • Rixlie Fozilova, graduate student (environmental engineering):
    “The Spring Forward SWE conference provided me with an amazing opportunity to network with fellow engineering students and professionals from a wide variety of companies and backgrounds.”
  • Lydia Minzey, first-year (environmental engineering):
    “The conference empowered participants to believe in their abilities and reach out to achieve their full potential, even while being a minority in their field. I’m very grateful to have been able to attend and learn from the wise women present.”

SWE thanks the College of Engineering and engineering departments for supporting SWE throughout the year. We also thank the Undergraduate Student Government and our corporate sponsors, whose support made this travel possible.

By Gretchen Hein, Advisor, Society of Women Engineers.

Two Michigan Tech Alumni Elected to the National Academy of Engineering

Congratulations to Michigan Tech alumni Dr. Markus J. Buehler ’01 and Dr. Kevin Tomsovic ’82. Both have been elected to the National Academy of Engineering, among the highest international professional distinctions accorded to an engineer.

Dr. Markus Buehler

Dr. Buehler is honored for implementing the use of nanomechanics to model and design fracture-resistant bioinspired materials. He is the Jerry McAfee (1940) Professor in Engineering, in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge.

Dr. Tomsovic is honored for contributions to power system computational methods and power engineering education. He is Chancellor’s Professor in the Min H. Kao Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

Dr. Buehler earned his BS equiv. in Process and Chemical Engineering at the University of Stuttgart, his MS in Engineering Mechanics at Michigan Tech, and his PhD in Materials Science (Chemistry) at Max Planck Institute of Metals Research at the University of Stuttgart. He was a postdoctoral scholar in the Division of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, California Institute of Technology. His research interests include the materials science and mechanics of natural and biological protein materials in the field of materiomics—the holistic study of material systems—and one which he has pioneered. One focus is how protein materials define our body and how they fail catastrophically through fracture, deformation, and disease. His activities in LAMM, his research Laboratory for Atomistic and Molecular Mechanics, include developing a new paradigm that designs materials from the molecular scale, with multi-scale modeling, additive manufacturing, 3D printing, and experimental synthesis.

Dr. Kevin Tomsovic

Dr. Tomsovic earned his BS in Electrical Engineering at Michigan Tech and his MS and PhD in Electrical Engineering at the University of Washington. He also served as the Kyushu Electric Endowed Chair for Advanced Technology for Electrical Energy with Kumamoto University in Japan and was the National Science Foundation program director with the Electrical and Communications Systems Division of the Engineering Directorate. He has held faculty positions at National Cheng Kung University in Taiwan and the Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden. His research interests include intelligent systems and optimization methodologies that can be applied to various power system problems—developing technology for the operation and planning of the modern power grid that can achieve low cost, reliable power with reduced environmental impact. At UT he directs the Center for Ultra-wide-area Resilient Electric Energy Transmission Networks (CURENT), a graduated National Science Foundation and Department of Energy Engineering Research Center.

About NAE

Founded in 1964, the National Academy of Engineering is a private, independent, nonprofit institution that provides engineering leadership in service to the nation. Its mission is to advance the welfare and prosperity of the nation by providing independent advice on matters involving engineering and technology, and by promoting a vibrant engineering profession and public appreciation of engineering.

New members of the NAE will be formally inducted in October 2023 at the NAE’s annual meeting.

Engineering Students Place High in the 2023 Graduate Research Colloquium

Researcher standing by her poster.
Tania Demonte Gonzalez

On behalf of the Graduate Student Government (GSG), we would like to express our heartfelt gratitude to all the participants, judges, sponsors and collaborators who made the 2023 Graduate Research Colloquium (GRC) a resounding success. Last week, we witnessed over 80 presentations from graduate students all across the campus, showcasing their outstanding research, creativity and academic excellence.

The GRC ended on a high note with the banquet and award ceremony on Thursday (March 30). We would like to extend our warmest congratulations to the GRC award winners for their exceptional work and dedication.

This year’s GRC winners are:

Poster Presentations

  • First Place: Tania Demonte Gonzalez (ME-EM)
  • Second Place: Roya Bagheri (ME-EM)
  • Third Place: Shreya Joshi (Physics)

Oral Presentations

  • First Place: Tania Demonte Gonzalez (ME-EM)
  • Second Place: Kyle Wehmanen (KIP)
  • Third Place: Jordan Ewing (GMES)

We would also like to thank our esteemed judges for their invaluable time, expertise and insightful feedback. Your participation has been crucial to the success of the GRC and the development of our graduate students.

Our sincere appreciation goes to our sponsors and collaborators — the College of Arts and Sciences, College of Computing, and College of Engineering, the Dean of Students Office, and the Graduate School — for their generous support and partnership. Your contributions have made it possible for us to provide a platform for our graduate students to showcase their research and build their professional networks.

Once again, we thank everyone who participated in and supported the GRC. Your engagement and enthusiasm have made this event a remarkable and memorable experience. We look forward to seeing you again at the next GRC.

By the Graduate Student Government.

Tania Demonte Gonza presented on “Nonlinear Model Predictive Control of a Wave Energy Converter.”

Roya Bagheri presented on “Electrical Stimulation for Maturation of Heart Muscle Cells.”

Jordan Ewing presented on “Remote Sensing using Machine Learning for Off-Road Mobility.”

2023 Graduate Research Colloquium: GLRC Student Award Winners

Congratulations to the Great Lakes Research Center (GLRC) Student Poster Award winners, in recognition of World Water Day, at the Graduate Student Government Graduate Research Colloquium last week:

  • First Place: Cassandra Reed-VanDam (CFRES)
  • Second Place: Michelle Bollini (CEGE)
  • Third Place: Mitch Kehne (BioSci)

By the Great Lakes Research Center.

Michelle Bollini presented on “Dynamic Bioaccumulation Model for a mining impacted Aquatic Ecosystem.”

Joint ROTC Commissioning Ceremony April 28, 2023

Cadets at the ceremony.

The Air Force and Army ROTC invite you to the Spring 2023 Commissioning Ceremony on Friday (April 28) from 7-9 p.m. at the Rozsa Center.

This semester we have 11 Air Force cadets and five Army cadets commissioning. Those commissioning are from the following programs:

Biological Sciences | Civil Engineering | Computer Science | Cybersecurity | Electrical Engineering | Engineering Fundamentals | Engineering Management | Environmental Engineering | Forestry | Mathematics | Mechanical Engineering | Physics

We will also be streaming the ceremony if you prefer to watch it live on YouTube. The stream will go live 15 minutes prior to the ceremony.

By Air Force and Army ROTC.

Design Expo 2023: Awards Results!

Michigan Tech’s Design Expo 2023 was a huge success. Many thanks to our hardworking students—and the faculty advisors who generously and richly support them.

Hundreds of Michigan Tech students presented their innovative work last week at Michigan Tech’s 23rd annual Design Expo. Each project entails hands-on, experiential, discovery-based learning. Teams competed for cash awards totaling nearly $4,000.

“Design Expo gives students an opportunity to showcase their creativity and innovation,” says Nagesh Hatti, who oversees Enterprise.

“The students,” adds Leonard Bohmann, associate dean of the College of Engineering, “create new things, solve global problems and make lives better.”

Many of the Senior Design and Enterprise projects on display at Design Expo are supported by external industry sponsors, allowing students to gain valuable experience through direct exposure to real industrial problems.

In Senior Design, students explore and solve real industry challenges throughout their senior year—from ideation to realization. In the Enterprise Program, teams of first- through fourth-year students from a variety of disciplines operate much like real companies to develop products, services and solutions. 

Project Sponsors Support Michigan Tech’s Educational Mission

“Project sponsors generously support our educational mission by providing invaluable project experiences, along with guidance and mentorship for our students,” adds Hatti. “Industry and academia working together as partners in higher education give our students a tremendous learning experience.”

Design Expo’s industry event sponsors make Design Expo, a large campus event, possible. “Their generous support often continues year after year,” says Hatti.

Thompson Surgical Instruments is Design Expo’s 2023 executive partner. ITC Holdings is the event’s directing partner for the 12th consecutive year, joined by fellow directing partner Aramco. And Plexus, OHM Advisors, Altec Inc. and Husky Innovate are collaborating partners.

This year, more than 100 student teams competed for awards. A panel of judges, made up of corporate representatives, community members, and Michigan Tech staff and faculty members, critiqued the projects. “Our esteemed judges give their time and talent to help make Design Expo a success,” adds Hatti.

The judges’ scoring was used to arrive at the awards. Visit the Design Expo website awards page to see the full list of award winning teams (and project videos, too).

The College of Engineering and the Enterprise Program are pleased to announce award winners, below. Congratulations and thanks to ALL teams for a very successful 2023 Design Expo!

ENTERPRISE

FIRST PLACE

Velovations, Michigan Tech’s Bicycle Design Enterprise team, took first place in the Enterprise category at the 2023 Design Expo.

123: Velovations

Led by: Ethan McKenzie and Michael Balentine, Mechanical Engineering

Advised by: Steve Lehmann, Biomedical Engineering

Sponsored by: Cleveland Cliffs, Tongy Senger Innovations, Milwaukee Tools


SECOND PLACE

Michigan Tech’s Aerospace Enterprise team took second place in the Enterprise category.

106: Aerospace Enterprise

Led by: Seth Quayle, Mechanical Engineering and Kyle Bruursema, Electrical Engineering

Advised by: L. Brad King, Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics

Sponsored by: Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL)


THIRD PLACE

104: Supermileage Systems

Supermileage Systems Enterprise took third place in the Enterprise category.

Led by: Olivia Zinser and Ben Klein, Electrical Engineering

Advised by: Rick Berkey, Manufacturing and Mechanical Engineering Technology

Sponsored by: GM, Aramco Americas, Oshkosh, Milwaukee Tool, A&D Technology – GIK, and Dana


HONORABLE MENTION

117: Innovative Global Solutions

The Innovative Global Solutions Enterprise team earned an Honorable Mention in the Enterprise category.

Led by: Cynthia Wurtz, Mechanical Engineering and Riley Dickert, Physics

Advised by: Radheshyam Tewari, Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics and Nathan Manser, Geological and Mining Engineering

Sponsored by: Tree Frog Aquagric

SENIOR DESIGN

FIRST PLACE

233: Social Engineering for High School Students

College of Computing students Kayla Blunt and Connor Langdon won first place in the Senior Design Category for their project, Social Engineering for High School Students

Team Members: Connor Langdon, Cybersecurity and Kayla Blunt, Computer Network and System Administration

Advised by: Tim Van Wagner and Victoria Walters, Applied Computing


SECOND PLACE

232: Shot Sleeve Re-design for Steel High Pressure Die Casting (HPDC)

A team of five Materials Science and Engineering students won second place for their senior design project, Hot Sleeve Re-design for Steel High Pressure Die Casting, sponsored by Mercury Marine

Team Members: Ryan Cesario, Henry Summers, Victoria Berger, Caleb Minasian, and Katherine Jarvis, Materials Science and Engineering

Advised by: Paul Sanders and Walter Milligan, Materials Science and Engineering

Sponsored by: Mercury Marine


THIRD PLACE

214: Design of a Method to Characterize the Depletion Mode Medical Device Battery – Phase 2

This team of biomedical engineering students earned third place for their senior design project, which was sponsored by the US Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health: Design of a Method to Characterize the Depletion Mode Medical Device Battery – Phase 2.

Team Members: Cole Hebert, Cameron Karnosky, Kristin King, William Poster, and Kelsey Moyer, Biomedical Engineering

Advised by: Orhan Soykan and Smitha Rao, Biomedical Engineering

Sponsored by: U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH)


HONORABLE MENTION

224: Movable Bookshelf Network

This team of ECE students earned an honorable mention in the senior design category for their project, Movable Bookshelf Network.

Team Members: Spencer Crawford and Ryan Briggs, Computer Engineering and Josh Cribben and Emily Fischer, Electrical Engineering

Advised by: Kit Cischke, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Sponsored by: Michigan Tech Van Pelt and Opie Library


HONORABLE MENTION

227: Physiological Sensing Using a Smart Port-a-Cath

This team’s project, Physiological Sensing Using a Smart Port-a-Cath was sponsored by Lifebridge Health. They earned an honorable mention in the senior design category.

Team Members: Marli Hietala, Savannah Page, Etienne Michels, Ali Dabas and Giovanni Diaz, Biomedical Engineering

Advised by: Sean Kirkpatrick, Biomedical Engineering

Sponsored by: LifeBridge Health

HONORABLE MENTION

231: Renewable Energy Powered Portable Plastic Waste Breakdown Machine

This team of ECE and mechanical engineering students earned an honorable mention in the senior design category for their project, Renewable Energy Powered Portable Plastic Waste Breakdown Machine, sponsored by ITC.

Team Members: Aaron Hogue and Hunter Indermuehle, Electrical Engineering, Ruizhi Ma, Computer Engineering and Zarvan Chinoy, Mechanical Engineering

Advised by: John Lukowski, Electrical and Computer Engineering

Sponsored by: ITC Holdings Corp.

HONORABLE MENTION

237: Utilizing Motor Oil to Rejuvenate RAP Materials

This civil engineering team earned an honorable mention for their senior design project, Utilizing Motor Oil to Rejuvenate Recycled Asphalt Pavement (RAP) Materials.

Team Members: Kira Olson, Construction Management, Alli Hummel, Jacob Cleaver, and AJ Clarey, Civil Engineering

Advised by: Zhanping You, Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial Engineering

Sponsored by: Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial Engineering

Design Expo Innovation Awards (Based on Application)

FIRST PLACE

301: AAA [Affordable, Accessible, Authentic] Prosthesis
Advised by: Jon Herlivich, Chemical Engineering

The AAA team won a first place Design Expo Innovation Award. They are part of Michigan Tech’s Consumer Product Manufacturing Enterprise.

SECOND PLACE

The Implantable Pulse Generator (IPG) and Lead team earned a second place in the Design Expo Innovation Award.


203: Implantable Pulse Generator (IPG) and Lead
Advised by: Jingfeng Jiang and Chunxiu (Traci) Yu, Biomedical Engineering

THIRD PLACE

237: Utilizing Motor Oil to Rejuvenate RAP Materials
Advised by: Zhanping You, Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial Engineering