Category: News

SWE, Engineering Ambassadors Host Engineering Day Events During March 2023

Instrument with electronics circuit board.
Instrument in the Plexus Lab.

The Society of Women Engineers (SWE) section at Michigan Tech and Engineering Ambassadors hosted an Engineering Day at Dollar Bay-Tamarack City Elementary for K-5 students last Friday (March 24).

Kindergarten and first grade students learned about buoyancy by making tinfoil boats and loading them with marbles until they sank. Second and third graders made roller coasters for marbles and explored the concepts of potential and kinetic energy. Fourth and fifth graders learned about photovoltaic cells and that they cannot store energy while making series and parallel circuits. We especially loved the survey comment: “Electricity is cool!” We thank the Dollar Bay-Tamarack City students and teachers for learning with us and we’d love to host another Engineering Day with you.

Last Saturday (March 25), SWE hosted their annual Engineering Day for Girl Scouts. Youth from northern Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula came to campus to learn about engineering. The Daisies and Brownies made their own paddle boats and paper airplanes with SWE and Concrete Canoe. They loved seeing the concrete canoe in the Dow building and seeing the difference in weights of the canoe concrete and concrete that is used in sidewalks. One Brownie named Amy (third grade) wrote: “I Loved it here. I amy want to come here for colage.”

The Juniors explored electrical and computer engineering (ECE) with SWE members from the ECE department and Blue Marble Security Enterprise. They met the robot, Ned, who sorts LEGO blocks. They visited the Plexus Lab and watched a shamrock circuit board being made. They explored series and parallel circuits using Play-Doh and LEDs. The most exciting parts were the Arduino and FPGA — students connected a three-color LED to an Arduino and then modified the code to change the rate at which the lights cycled. Each youth changed the code for the FPGA such that their name or a word scrolled across the screen. A fourth grade Junior commented, “I loved this! I really want to do this again,” while a fifth grader said, “It was amazing! Thank you!”

SWE members enjoyed working with the Girl Scouts — this is one of our favorite outreach events. The section is already planning for next year’s event.

By Gretchen Hein, Advisor, Society of Women Engineers.

Related

Engineering Ambassadors and SWE Host Engineering Day on MLK Day 2023

David Flaspohler: Birdwatching—Quality of Life

David Flaspohler will share his knowledge on Husky Bites, a free, interactive Zoom webinar on Monday, 4/3 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.

Dr. David Flaspohler

What are you doing for supper this Monday 4/3 at 6ET? Grab a bite with Dean Janet Callahan and Professor David Flaspohler, interim dean of the College of Forest Resources and Environmental Science.

Joining in will be Forest Science PhD student Ryne Rutherford and social sciences undergraduate Brendan Leddy—both avid birders.

“Worldwide, birding numbers grew dramatically during the pandemic as people looked for safe, healthy activities to replace some of the social things they used to do,” says Flaspohler.

During Husky Bites, he’ll talk about the practice of bird watching/birding, how one can get involved in it, the many physical and mental health benefits of birding—and what we can learn from birds that will enrich our lives and help us deal with challenges in life.

Prof. Flaspohler earned his BS in Architecture and Urban Planning at the University of Michigan, and then his MS in Conservation Biology and Sustainable Development, and his PhD in Wildlife Ecology, both at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. As a researcher, Dr. Flaspohler seeks to understand how organisms interact with their environment. He pays particular attention to human-altered ecosystems—and species that are most sensitive to such changes (including and especially birds).

Ryne is a PhD student. Dr. Flaspohler is his advisor.

Flaspohler emphasizes a multidisciplinary approach to solving scientific and societal problems. Over the years he has studied the influence of human activities on natural ecosystems: the effects of forest fragmentation on songbird demography; the influence of riparian forest management on bird, fish, and aquatic invertebrate communities; and the ecological role of overabundant deer in island national parks. He also investigates how to best facilitate the transfer of basic and applied scientific research to management.

In addition to serving as interim dean of the College of Forest Resources and Environmental Science, Dr. Flaspohler teaches several popular courses.

One of those is Field Ornithology, a one credit course at Michigan Tech that takes students on a 3-day camping trip of birding throughout the UP during spring migration in early May.

Leddy took the Field Ornithology course with Dr. Flaspohler. Ryne Rutherford was there, too, serving as a TA for the course.

Brendan Leddy

“When I first arrived at Michigan Tech as a student in 2019, my major was wildlife ecology and conservation. I swiftly sought to meet Doctor of Ornithology, Dr. David Flaspohler,” says Leddy.

“We did a bird-banding presentation together at Houghton High School, to teach about birds and bird banding,” he says.

Then the Covid-19 pandemic happened.

Who have we here? Find out more during Husky Bites. Photo by Brendan Leddy.

“After about a year and a half of the Covid, I came back to Tech and changed my major to social sciences,” says Leddy. “I’ve always been very passionate about the environment and also about divisive issues affecting society. That’s why I levitated towards social sciences.”

Another thing Leddy has accomplished while at Michigan Tech: helping to reduce bird window strikes on campus. Working with CFRES Professor Dana Richter and Tom Polkinghorn, former building manager of Michigan Tech’s Dow building, the trio implemented window films at several locations in the East and South sections of the Dow.

“The window films reflect UV light, something we cannot see but birds can, encouraging them to avoid hitting windows as it makes them no longer believe they can fly through the glass,” Leddy explains.

It’s hard for Leddy to remember a time he wasn’t passionate about feathered friends.

“When I was a mere 4 years old, my mother would show me her little bird book knowing I had an interest as I was always staring out the window at birds,” Brendan recalls. “Eventually she got me a small little guide called Birds of Michigan.

Red Knot

“When I was in 3rd grade I did a science experiment for my elementary school science fair titled ‘What’s for Lunch?’ studying which birds come to which feeders, and how changing the seed and feeder design affected those things. In 4th grade I first learned about the Oakland Audubon Society and when I was 12 years old I spoke on behalf of the Oakland Audubon Society at the Detroit Audubon Symposium explaining the ‘Top 10 Tips for Young Birders’. That same year, a Varied Thrush showed up in my backyard. A bird of the Pacific Northwest, it was the first time one had been spotted in the county in 30 years,” he says.

“Since then, my passion soared and I have birded in numerous locations throughout Michigan, the US, and even parts of Europe. My life list currently stands at 555 species, with my most recent lifer being a Red Knot that showed up at Calumet Sewage Lagoons, a regular rarity for the state, especially the Keweenaw.”

Can you name this bird?

Prof. Flaspohler, how did you first get into birding? What sparked your interest?

My father was a biologist and casual birder as was my brother.

Ever held a bird in your hands? Photo by David Flaspohler

Hometown, family?
I grew up in Kalamazoo, Michigan. My wife, Carrie, and I have 2 adult daughters who are both in science: Genevieve and Ingrid. Our son Erik is a freshman at the University of Michigan studying engineering. And we have 3 cats: Pierre, Sugar and Momo. 

What do you like to do in your spare time?

My hobbies include birding (of course), cross country skiing, snowshoeing, road biking, carpentry, reading (mostly fiction) and travel. 

Ryne Rutherford (making an amazing cactus discovery in heights of Michigan’s Huron Mountains.)

Ryne, how did you first get into forest science? What sparked your interest?

I’ve been a passionate naturalist since I was five and have always felt destined to end up in the natural sciences. Here are some links to my research:

Yooper makes cactus discovery in heights of Michigan’s Huron Mountains – mlive.com

Rising water makes Lake Michigan wetlands vulnerable to invaders | Great Lakes Echo

Not a ‘pass-through spectator’ | News, Sports, Jobs – The Mining Journal

Ryne is a skilled rock climber. We hope to hear some of those stories, too, during Husky Bites.

Michigan Tech Student Finds Cactus Species in the U.P.!

Hometown, family?
I grew up in East Lansing, Michigan, but I have lived in the UP for 18 years now (first Marquette, then Iron Mountain, Rapid River area, Ontonagon area, and now Houghton). I have two kids.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

My hobbies are mostly related to my work. Birding and rock climbing are two main ones.

How did you meet Dr. Flashpoler?

He is my PhD advisor. We first met while birding years ago.

Brendan went birding at the Horicon Marsh in Mayville, Wisconsin.
White-winged Crossbill seen at Voyagers National Park in northern Minnesota. Photo by Brendan Leddy.

Brendan, how did you first get into social sciences? Why Michigan Tech?

When I was young I would say, “I’m gonna run for president someday.” I can confirm with confidence that statement still stands. Both of my parents went to Tech, but getting to visit in 2015 while going to Isle Royale for a week of hiking made me fall in love with the area, and Michigan Tech.

Hometown and Family?
I grew up in Clarkston, Michigan, a town in a small strip of green between the concrete of Detroit and the city of Flint. I always love to say “If you’ve had Union MacNCheese, you’ve been to Clarkston.” 

My parents met at Michigan Tech on the top floor of McNair in the early 80s. They both were studying mechanical engineering. My father worked at Dassault Systems for over 25 years programming robots and my mother worked at General Motors for close to 30 years working as a program manager in the Cadillac Design studio and Cadillac Infotainment. 

Photo by David Flaspohler

I have one older sister. She double-majored in biochemistry and French at Kalamazoo College. After graduating, she worked for two years at the Max Planck Institute in Jena, Germany. She is now married to my wonderful brother-in-law Anselm and working toward a PhD in Genetics at Cornell.

Any pets? What do you like to do in your spare time?

We have a family rabbit named Johannes Vermeer ( JoJo for short) after the dutch painter. My greatest hobby by far is birdwatching.

Read More:

Guest Blog: Learning from the Pandemic, by David Flaspohler

Guest Blog: A Field Guide

For the Birds

John Jaszczak: The A.E. Seaman Museum—120 Years

This well-formed cube is copper, a remarkable specimen from Copper Falls Mine in Eagle Harbor, MI. You’ll find it on display at the A.E. Seaman Mineral Museum at Michigan Tech. Photo credit: John Jaszczak.

John Jaszczak will share his contagious enthusiasm for minerals on Husky Bites, a free, interactive Zoom webinar on Monday, 3/27 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.

John Jaszczak

What are you doing for supper this Monday 3/20 at 6 p.m. ET? Grab a bite with Graduate School Dean Will Cantrell and John Jaszczak, Professor of Physics at Michigan Tech. Jaszczak is also the Director and John and Phyllis Seaman Endowed Curator of the A. E. Seaman Mineral Museum. Joining in will be Patrice Cobin, Museum Manager. Cobin is also a Michigan Tech alumna.

The A. E. Seaman Mineral Museum showcases amazing minerals from the Great Lakes region and around the world. This year is special, as the museum celebrates its 120th anniversary. 

The A. E. Seaman Mineral Museum curates approximately 40,000 cataloged objects. The museum houses the world’s finest collection of native copper and other Upper Peninsula minerals, a superb collection of minerals from around the Great Lakes Region, and a broad representation of fine minerals from around the world—all displayed in a 8,000-square-foot building located on the south end of the Michigan Tech campus.

Patrice Cobin

As curator, Jaszczak holds the responsibilities of caring for, growing and utilizing the museum’s collections of minerals and related objects for exhibit, education and research. Mineral collecting is also his long-standing hobby, with over 4,000 specimens in his personal collection.

“Some minerals can have a natural wow factor, and while we use many of them daily without thinking twice, some specimens are truly objects of art,” Jaszczak says.

During Husky Bites, Jaszczak and Cobin will share a little bit of the museum’s long history dating back to the origins of the University in 1885. They’ll share some collection highlights, as well as its mission and current programming. 

On April 24, 1990, the Michigan legislature made the A. E. Seaman Mineral Museum the official Mineral Museum of Michigan. With the largest public exhibit of an outstanding collection of minerals from the Great Lakes region, as well, it’s known unofficially as the Great Lakes Mineral Museum, too. 

The museum also has a visitor-friendly garden, where rocks of the Great Lakes region are featured. “Most rocks are combinations of one or more minerals,” Cobin explains. “The individual minerals found in rocks can be seen in the exhibit hall.”

This year is special, as the museum celebrates its 120th anniversary.

Last March, John “Jack” (A. E. Seaman’s grandson) and Phyllis Seaman celebrated Jack’s 103rd birthday with a gift to Michigan Tech. Their endowment ensures the A. E. Seaman Mineral Museum will continue to impact students, scientists and the public for generations to come and provides perpetual support for a museum curator. Prof. Jaszczak was named the inaugural appointee to this newly endowed position.

Experience the beauty and splendor of minerals at one of North America’s great mineral museums. The on-site gift shop is also a true gem!
A special piece in the museum’s collection–one originally from A.E. Seaman’s personal collection.

“I thoroughly enjoy working with a great team of people and this world-famous collection of minerals.” —John Jaszczak

“As museum manager, Patty helps lead a great team of staff and students to deliver a top-notch experience for museum visitors. She also assists me with programming, collection care, and exhibits,” notes Jaszczak.

An affiliated Professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Jaszczak also serves as the associate director of education and outreach of MuSTI, the Multi-Scale Technologies Institute at Michigan Tech. MuSTI’s mission is to create knowledge and technologies leading to functional systems that incorporate nanotechnologies and microtechnologies, and to disseminate knowledge through research, scholarship, and education.

Dr. Jaszczak even has a mineral named in his honor, jaszczakite. It was discovered and named by Luca Bindi and Werner Paar in 2016. Jaszczakite consists of layered sulfide of lead, bismuth and gold from the Nagybörzsöny gold deposit in northern Hungary. 

Pictured here: jaszczakite, a mineral named for Professor Jaszczak. He jokingly notes that “it is so rare that it almost doesn’t exist” since it is only known in one specimen (shown in this scanning electron microscope image). Image from Eur. J. Mineral. 2017, vol. 29, 673-677.

“Those who describe new minerals also can name them within guidelines and need to have the mineral (science) and proposed name approved by the International Mineralogical Association’s Commission on New Minerals, Nomenclature and Classification. They can be named for chemistry, locality, etc. or to honor people (not relatives). “In this case, it was an honor that Luca Bindi initiated,” Jaszczak explains. “Luca and I have collaborated on characterizing and naming two new minerals. One, merelaniite, was just getting finished up at the time he found jaszczakite.”

The paper says:

Conical graphite on the surfaces of unusual graphite spheres.

Jaszczakite is named in honour of John A. Jaszczak (b.
1961), Professor of Physics at the Michigan Technological
University, and Adjunct Curator at the A.E. Seaman
Mineral Museum, and well-known mineral expert for
more than 30 years. His studies on the complexities of the
morphology and structure of natural graphite are of wide
international recognition.

Jaszczak together with Curator Emeritus George Robinson discovered very rare naturally occurring conical graphite on the surfaces of unusual graphite spheres at an occurrence in Ontario. One of their scanning electron microscope images of the tiny cones appeared on the cover of the journal Carbon in 2004 and 2005.

Pictured above: growth spirals on a natural graphite crystal from New York. Over the years, Jaszczak and his students have supplied scientists with rare forms of graphite, especially high-quality single crystals isolated from natural rock formations. These are used for basic and applied research, including the study of graphene.

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

Prof. Jaszczak grew up near Cleveland, Ohio. Here, on a trip to Poland.

I became interested in being a scientist at a young age due to my interest in minerals and mineral collecting. That led me first to chemistry, and then to physics. I didn’t know about materials science and engineering until college and I stuck with physics, but am also proud to be affiliated with the Michigan Tech MSE department. So I’m not an engineer, but in my career I’ve helped to teach a lot of them about introductory physics!

I’ve been affiliated with the A. E. Seaman Mineral Museum since 1992 (adjunct curator) soon after arriving at Tech. It is a thrill to have become director and curator of this amazing collection. 

Hometown, family?

I grew up in Parma, Ohio, near Cleveland. My wife and I met at Ohio State University while I was in graduate school. We’ve raised seven children here in Copper Country, including three Michigan Tech grads, and are now also enjoying grandchildren..

What do you like to do in your spare time?

My specialties include collecting graphite (pretty odd for a mineral collector) and collecting minerals from the Merelani gem mines in Tanzania. (I actually helped describe two new minerals from the Merelani mines.) I also enjoy photographing minerals. I’ve have had photos published in several mineral-related journals. My wife and I also regularly serve in our local church.

The lovely A.E. Seaman Mineral Museum Garden is open to the public, with plenty of Great Lakes rocks on display, and picnic tables, too.

Patty, how did you first get into mineralogy? What sparked your interest?

I have long been mesmerized by minerals. I don’t really recall when I was not happy to add another piece to my collection. My interest only further developed in college, when I began to study geology.

Hometown and family?

I grew up in Connecticut, and received my undergraduate degree from Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts. I first came to Michigan Tech for the Peace Corps Masters’ International Program, during which I served in Guatemala while earning my MS in Geology.

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

My partner and I have two dogs, so we enjoy taking walks with them.

Read more:

Treasured Legacy, Bright Future for Renowned MTU Mineral Museum

Merelaniite Named Mineral of the Year

An element of Nobel-ity: Michigan Tech’s carbon connection

Watch

Watch this Mineral Museum mini-tour from Keweenaw Convention and Visitors Bureau to learn more about the museum’s history and collections.

MTU, MSU Collaborate and Build Foundations in Inaugural Research Symposium

MSU Campus

On March 13, 2023, professors and research leaders from Michigan Technological University and the College of Human Medicine at Michigan State University participated and presented at a collaborative research symposium titled “Engineering the Future of Human Health.” This inaugural event, hosted by MSU, was held at the Secchia Center in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

The symposium was spearheaded by Michigan Tech Vice President for Global Campus and Continuing Education David Lawrence and planned by a joint MTU and MSU team. Melissa Kacos, events manager at MSU, used her superior organizational skills to make the symposium a success.

Twelve researchers from MTU and 12 from MSU delivered presentations during the event’s six sessions. The event also featured an 18-poster display from faculty, researchers and M.D. students.

MTU was represented by:

Representing MSU were Brian Johnson and Nureddin Shammakhi (Tissue); Erin Purcell and Jinxing Li (Biosensors); Taeho Kim and Bryan Smith (Biomedical); Aitor Aguirre and Tomasz Timek (Cardiovascular); Rebecca Knickmeyer and Shreesh Sammi (Neurological and Aging); and Anna Moore and Kurt Zinn (Cancer).

The purpose of this collaborative event was investigating areas of shared goals, mutual interests and possible research collaboration in crucial areas of human health. Or as Christopher Contag of MSU affirmed, the symposium “will help integrate the research aims of the two universities for a collective endeavor to develop the tools, technologies and knowledge that will impact human health across the state.”

Sean Kirkpatrick of MTU agreed, noting that the event marked “a good first step towards working across university boundaries and leveraging our unique individual strengths to improve the health of Michiganders.”

The next step will be developing these research aims and shared human health initiatives in a second collaborative symposium hosted by MTU on Oct. 27, which is timed to go along with the Upper Peninsula Medical Conference. In this symposium, researchers will elaborate on the theme of engineering the future of human health, but in these key areas: Big Data, Data Analytics, Artificial Intelligence, Image Processing, Epidemiology, Human Factors and Neural Engineering.

Lawrence, Kirkpatrick, Cooke and Caryn Heldt (ChE/HRI) are MTU’s co-sponsors of this second symposium. Co-sponsors for MSU are Adam Alessio, Departments of Computational Mathematics, Science, and Engineering; Biomedical Engineering; and Radiology; and Bin Chen, Department of Pediatrics and Human Development.

As the second symposium approaches, the Global Campus team will be sharing more details. Stay tuned for ways to attend or participate in this innovative event.

By Shelly Galliah, Global Campus.

Dean’s Teaching Showcase: Luke Bowman

Luke Bowman
Luke Bowman

College of Engineering Dean Janet Callahan has selected Luke Bowman from the Department of Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences (GMES) as the featured instructor this week in the Deans’ Teaching Showcase.

Bowman will be recognized at an end-of-term luncheon with other spring showcase members and is a candidate for the next CTL Instructional Award Series.

Bowman was selected for his instruction in GE 5260 Scientific Communication. The course enhances graduate students’ oral and written communication skills to help them write scientific proposals, present research at conferences and publish their findings in peer-reviewed literature. It also helps in completing their thesis or dissertation. In the course, students develop a research proposal they are encouraged to submit to the National Science Foundation, Michigan Space Grant Consortium (MSGC) and other agencies. Students conduct a literature review, articulate a research question, engage with their faculty research advisor, and provide and receive feedback. Students also interact with guest speakers who are experts in the field of communicating science to varied audiences. They learn how to effectively talk about their research from engaging professionals whose job it is to make an impactful argument.

“The Scientific Communication course has been an ultimate success story,” said Aleksey Smirnov, GMES department chair. “GMES students have had very high success rates with their MSGC grant submissions.”

“Luke is an amazingly dedicated teacher and effective mentor, who keeps providing instrumental contributions to the advancement of the department’s educational mission, especially in the areas of student recruitment and graduate education,” added Smirnov.

Bowman has co-taught the course with PhD candidate Beth Bartel, who was its teaching assistant the prior two years when the course was taught by Professor John Gierke (GMES). While Bowman leaned on the content and activities developed during prior years, each year the course evolves, drawing from the instructors’ personal experience. Bowman and Bartel were able to efficiently weave in topics close to their research interests in geological hazard communication.

“Luke’s dedication to student success is inspiring and a reason why I chose to attend Michigan Tech,” said PhD student Jacob Murchek. “He and Beth always worked together to provide support and guidance not only in their scientific communication course but in any aspect you would need.”

“Luke has been an extremely important part of my success during my graduate studies,” added MS student Emilie Prey. “Not only did he help me successfully navigate writing for the MSGC in Scientific Communication, he has been introducing me to opportunities unique to this department. He is always there to offer support for absolutely anything related to graduate school.”

“Innovative teaching that has students writing and presenting in their discipline is one of the things that make our graduates so successful,” said Callahan. “Luke’s dedication to students and their success exemplifies how Michigan Tech gives students such a high return on their investment.”

Bruce Lee: Bio-Inspired Designs

“This illustration from one of my journal articles helps to show the deactivation of a mussel-mimetic adhesive using applied electricity,” says Dr. Lee.
Bruce Lee, professor of Biomedical Engineering at Michigan Tech

Bruce Lee will share his knowledge on Husky Bites, a free, interactive Zoom webinar on Monday, 3/20 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 3/20 at 6 p.m. ET? Grab a bite with Dean Janet Callahan and Bruce Lee, professor of Biomedical Engineering at Michigan Tech.

A smart adhesive doesn’t need to adhere all the time. Prof. Bruce Lee looks to biological sources to develop adhesives that can be turned on and off. During Husky Bites, he’ll talk about his work with these advanced adhesives, and their origin: mussel foot proteins. One of those proteins is DOPA (3,4-dihydroxyphenylalanine). DOPA helps mussels cling to their underwater homes. Lee also uses catechols, synthetic compounds that mimic the wet-but-still-sticky proteins secreted by mussels.

Fatemeh Razaviamri

Joining in will be biomedical engineering PhD student Fatemeh Razaviamri. She’s a member of Dr. Lee’s research group. Her research on moisture-activated antiviral coating based on mussel adhesive chemistry earned First Prize for Oral Presentation at the Michigan Tech 2022 Graduate Research Colloquium.

With a small zap of electricity, Lee and his research team can take an underwater smart glue prototype from sticky to not in seven seconds.

DOPA is an amino acid in mussels that enables them to strongly adhere.

“It’s one thing to do this in the open air and quite another under water,” Lee says.

The technology could help with wound dressings, prosthetic attachments or even making car parts and in other manufacturing. 

“A lot of people have been using catechol to mimic mussels and their adhesive proteins, but applying electricity to deactivate it is new,” Lee adds.

“Applying electricity is convenient. It can be potentially integrated with electronic devices. Detaching a smart glue with electricity could also be automated and could be as simple as pushing a button.” 

Dr. Lee recently found that the adhesive he is developing generates hydrogen peroxide as a byproduct. “Hydrogen peroxide is a mild reactive oxygen species and is a signaling molecule that is critical to normal wound healing process,” he explains. “Hydrogen peroxide is also a natural disinfectant.” Next, he aims to control the release of hydrogen peroxide from his adhesive to promote dermal wound healing in diabetic patients. “This adhesive would have the added benefit in preventing infection.”

Play Supplementary Video 1 9 V video
Preview image for Supplementary Video 1 9 V video

Supplementary Video 1 9 V

Watch the 7-second electrical deactivation of a smart glue in Dr. Lee’s Michigan Tech lab.

Dr. Lee earned his PhD and MS in Biomedical Engineering at Northwestern University. He earned his BS in Chemical Engineering at Cornell University. Prior to joining Michigan Tech, Dr. Lee helped found a start-up company, Nerites Corporation, which aimed at commercializing biomimetic bioadhesive and antifouling technologies. Nerites Corporation was acquired by Kensey Nash Corporation (part of Royal DSM) in 2011.

In 2016, Lee earned a prestigious Young Investigator Program (YIP) award from the Office of Naval Research to explore underwater smart adhesives. In 2019, he received Michigan Tech’s Bhakta Rath Research Award with his PhD student Ameya Narkar.

Prof. Lee, how did you first get into engineering? What sparked your interest?

I am interested in building things. In graduate school I learned to do chemistry. This is what has enabled me to synthesize various types of polymers for designing functional biomaterials and adhesives. Much of my research centers around our ability to synthesize functional adhesives, as well as specialized adhesive polymers that answer specific scientific questions.

Hometown, family?

I was born in Taipei, Taiwan. I currently live in Houghton with my wife and two sons. Both my sons go to the local middle and high school in Houghton.

Any hobbies?

My main hobby in winter is to drive my sons to hockey games and watch them play hockey!

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

I like designing and making things that give me a chance to show my creativity. The fact of being able to design biomaterials to be used for the well-being of mankind sounds interesting and motivating—and it is.

Fatemeh earned First Place for her research at Michigan Tech’s 2022 Graduate Research Colloquium

Hometown, family?

I was born in Sari, Iran. I currently live in Houghton with my husband who is also a PhD student in the Biomedical Engineering department at MTU.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

Swimming, photography, and reading books are my hobbies. I also watch documentaries.

Read more:

Q&A with Bhakta Rath Award Winners Ameya Narkar and Bruce Lee

MTU Engineers Zap and Unstick Underwater Smart Glue

Testing a smart adhesive prototype in Dr. Lee’s Biomaterials Lab at Michigan Tech

Michigan Space Grant Consortium Awards for 2023-24

NASA Lunabotics
By ProjectManager2015 – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=121940844

A diverse, multitalented group of Michigan Tech students, faculty and staff members has been awarded fellowships and grants totaling an impressive $78,000 from the Michigan Space Grant Consortium (MSGC) for its 2023-24 cycle.

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

Michigan Tech undergraduate students who received $4,000 for Faculty Led Fellowships are:

  • Elijah Sierra (mechanical engineering): “Investigation of static electricity effects on conveyance of MTU-LHT-1A through polycarbonate hoppers”
  • Abraham Stone (biological sciences): “Advancing Mycobiocontrol Techniques for Buckthorn Management”

Michigan Tech graduate students who received $5,000 Graduate Fellowships are:

  • Ian Norwood (Physics): “Constraining Frictional Charging on Coarse-Mode Atmospheric Dust Particles”
  • Jacob Novitch (CEGE): “Modeling of Lagoon Wastewater Treatment Systems in Small Communities”
  • Caitlyn Sutherlin (SS) “Understanding Community Connections with Nature in California, El Salvador”
  • Eli Paulen (CFRES): “Elucidating factors controlling stream temperatures in a seasonally snow-covered forested catchment in the Great Lakes Region”
  • Ben Jewell (ME-EM): “Experimental Characterization of Polymers and Polymer Composites Under High Temperature Oxidative Aging”
  • Enid Partika (CEGE): “Uncovering Causes Spatial Variability in Lake Superior Lake Trout PCB Concentrations”
  • Emilie Pray (GMES): “The role of crustal recycling in the evolution of the Bell Creek igneous complex, Marquette County, Michigan”
  • Kyle Wehmanen (KIP): “Human Powered Locomotion on Variable Terrain: Implications for how to Move on Mars”

Michigan Tech faculty and staff members who received $5,000 or more for Hands-On NASA-Oriented Experiences for Student Groups (HONES) and Research Seed Programs:

  • Paul van Susante (ME-EM): HONES — “NASA Lunabotics Competition”
  • Xin Xi (GMES): “The compound extreme climate and dust storms over the Northern Hemisphere midlatitude drylands”
  • Yinan Yuan (CFRES): “Genetic Engineering Novel Regulatory Antisense RNAs for Plant Adaption to Space Environment”

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

Money Matters II—Student Strategies

In 2022, students in Michigan Tech’s College of Business won first place (yet again) in the Quinnipiac University Global Asset Management Education (GAME) Forum XI portfolio competition—Undergraduate Value Portfolio division.

Jada Hamar, Luke Helsel and Jaharee Weah, all students in Michigan Tech’s Applied Portfolio Management Program, will share their knowledge on Husky Bites, a free, interactive Zoom webinar on Monday, 3/13 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

Master the stock market, but make it Tech.

Money Matters II” is a continuation of a previous session of Husky Bites, “Money Matters,” which took place on February 27. Read the first blog post, or watch a recording of the first session on youtube.

What are you doing for supper this Monday 3/13 at 6 p.m. ET? Grab a bite with Dean Janet Callahan and Jada Hamar, Luke Helsel and Jaharee Weah, three students in Michigan Tech’s Applied Portfolio Management Program (APMP). Joining in will be Dean Johnson, dean of College of Business. Dr. Johnson founded and directs the program.

Just how do Michigan Tech business students consistently win national competitions investing $2 million real money? We’ll find out during Husky Bites—from the students themselves.

Dean Johnson creates unique academic programs, offering engaging learning opportunities for students in the College of Business.

Each year, Michigan Tech students are selected to lead APMP for one calendar year, managing real money in US stock and bond markets. Students are chosen based on demonstrated aptitude and leadership skills in the area of finance, accounting, and financial economic theory. 

In the 20+ years since APMP’s founding, teams of Huskies have grown the portfolio into one of the top 50 undergraduate funds in the nation. Students in the program have opened the Nasdaq Stock Exchange and become regulars on CNBC. And although APMP is a for-credit class, the intensive experience often becomes much more of a commitment—and reward.

Luke Helsel, who is earning his bachelor’s degree in Finance at Michigan Tech, would like to enter into the asset management industry upon graduation, eventually working his way into private equity or hedge fund management. 

“The best part of APMP is that the program exposes students to a high end of financial and statistical topics,” Helsel says. “In addition to this, there is a large focus on applying the topics and ideas learned in APMP, rather than simply memorizing them.”

Luke Helsel ’24

The most challenging part, and the most rewarding?  “It’s the pressure of managing real money,” he adds. “In other programs, the trades are done ‘on paper’ and not executed in the real markets. The APMP provides a really unique opportunity to be able to manage actual dollars, because you get an emotional reaction from making or losing money. Managing this reaction and staying rational is one of the keys to good portfolio management. I’m very grateful to have learned this in college.”

During Husky Bites, Luke, Jada, and Jaharee promise to share their strategies. Dr. Johnson will join the session largely to serve as a co-host. 

As a PhD student in 1996, Dr. Johnson interviewed for his first faculty position at Michigan Tech with a very clear vision. “Right away, I intended to establish a portfolio management program for students.” Back then, giving college students a large sum of real money to manage in financial markets was a particularly novel—and perhaps risky—idea, and Michigan Tech was just the place. And there were alumni, donors, and Michigan Tech Fund board members helping along the way. 

Michigan Tech College of Business offers undergraduate majors in accounting, business analytics, construction management, economics, engineering management, finance, management, management information systems, and marketing, as well as a general business option. Graduate degrees include the TechMBA®, a Master of Engineering Management, a Master of Science in Accounting, and a Master of Science in Applied Natural Resource Economics. Dr. Johnson became dean in 2016.

Luke, How did you first get into your chosen major/field? What sparked your interest?

Jada Hamar ’22

I began as a general business student with a focus on entrepreneurship at Tech in 2020. Soon I changed my major to Finance because I really enjoyed the material covered in finance classes. I’ve chosen to pursue investment finance because the work always changes; one day is always different from the next. In addition to this investment finance is sort of like finding treasure, which I really enjoy. 

Family and hometown? 

I was born and raised on a Christmas tree farm in Bellaire Michigan. 

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I love skiing in the wintertime and hiking in the summertime. In addition to this, lifting weights and reading are some of my year round hobbies. I’m also a brother of the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity on campus at Michigan Tech. 

Jada, how did you first get into your field? What sparked your interest?

My dad attended Michigan Tech for finance. He’s a local banker. I didn’t initially want to follow in his footsteps until I took my first business class. I quickly realized that finance was the route I wanted to take. I enjoyed the challenge of the classes, and the number of career paths available with a finance degree was really exciting. I graduated from Michigan Tech with a BS in finance this past December. I accepted a position at Ameriprise Financial in Houghton. 

Hometown, family? What do you like to do in your spare time?

I feel lucky to have grown up in this area and be able to continue my education here, too. I am the oldest of six kids, with two younger brothers and three younger sisters. I enjoy time outdoors with my husband and our two dogs—skiing in the winter, and fishing in the summer. We have a five-year-old goldendoodle, Arlo, and Indy, a 7-month-old yellow lab.

Dr. Dean Johnson, dean of the College of Business at Michigan Tech

Dr. Johnson, how did you first get into your field? What sparked your interest?

I was fascinated by stock prices at a very young age. The flow of capital to fund firms providing the goods and services most in demand by society is the key to improving the standard of living for all.

Hometown, family, hobbies?

I live here in Houghton Michigan. I’m married with 3 children. And I enjoy the outdoors and sports in my spare time.

Read more: 

On the Money

Business Huskies Earn First in International Portfolio Competition

Michigan Tech Brings TechMBA® to Grand Traverse Region

Engineering Students Sweep the Oral Presentations at the 2023 Health Research Institute Forum

Gloved hand filling a tube from a pipette in a lab.

HRI Student Forum Winners Announced

by Health Research Institute

The Health Research Institute (HRI) held their 2023 Student Forum on February 24. The forum featured a poster session and an oral presentation session, which drew participation from 20 students in 10 departments. Judges selected the following winners from each category:

Poster Session

First Place: Gregory Miodonski, Kinesiology and Integrative Physiology
Second Place (tie): Bianca Velez, Biological Sciences
Second Place (tie): Chen Zhao, Applied Computing
Third Place (tie): Emily Washeleski, Biological Sciences
Third Place (tie): Sherry Chen, Kinesiology and Integrative Physiology

Oral Presentations

First Place: Seth Kriz, Chemical Engineering
Second Place (tie): Brennan Vogl, Biomedical Engineering
Second Place (tie): Natalie Nold, Chemical Engineering
Third Place: Roya Bagheri, Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics

Thank you to all of the participants and congratulations to the winners.

For more information on HRI’s student programs and resources, please visit the HRI Student Resources page.

Dean’s Teaching Showcase: Jeana Collins

Jeana Collins
Jeana Collins

Jeana Collins, associate teaching professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering (ChE), has been selected for spring 2023’s Deans’ Teaching Showcase.

Collins will be recognized at an end-of-term event with other showcase members and is a candidate for the CTL Instructional Award Series.

Collins was selected for consistently applying what she has learned in a variety of professional development opportunities to continuously improve her courses. These include attending four National Effective Teaching Institute workshops, an Alan Alda Communication workshop and the Inclusive STEM Teaching Project. They provided Collins with the opportunity to learn a wide variety of teaching techniques and use them to tailor each course according to the subject and students. She especially appreciated the opportunity to interact with faculty from across the country to share experiences and brainstorm ideas for course improvements.

Examples of courses that have been positively impacted by professional development are the required second-year foundational courses. These are important for students to master, so making sure the content is engaging and providing students with multiple learning experiences is important to Collins. As one student said, “I think the way she goes through classes is very helpful, giving us some time to figure it out and also being there to support us if we have questions.”

Collins works with the students to improve courses, often making changes midsemester. Early-term surveys give students an opportunity to check in with how class is going. The follow-on discussion with the class on what can’t change and what can (and will) change is the part that Collins finds the most meaningful. And students appreciate it. One commented, “I really like how you took time out of class to stop and talk with us about how this class is running and ways to improve to make it better overall, thank you for doing this for us!”

“Dr. Collins’ teaching style is student-centric,” said Pradeep Agrawal, ChE’s department chair. “She makes a serious effort to keep students engaged throughout her lectures employing a variety of active teaching tools.”

Last fall, Collins was assigned a new course: CM3450 Computer Aided Problem Solving. Based on the knowledge and experience she gained, she restructured the course to focus on chemical engineering content; within the different content, she covered multiple computer programs. This means that the programs used are seen throughout the semester, showcasing different applications. This was an effective approach that students found very helpful. As one student said, “This class is amazing. I liked how sometimes we’d follow along, but also had independent working days. The assignments and projects were a great way to apply what we learned. So glad I enrolled in this course!”

“Having faculty members who choose to participate in workshops and courses in order to be more effective in the classroom is one of the reasons Michigan Tech graduates such high-quality engineers,” says Janet Callahan, dean of the College of Engineering. “Dr. Jeana Collins exemplifies this and strongly deserves this recognition.”

By the Jackson Center for Teaching and Learning.