Category: Students

These are posts that feed into the COE Student Stories page.

NSBE Students Reach Out to Detroit Schools

Six members of Michigan Tech’s student chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) Pre-College Initiative (PCI) reached a total of 1,500 students during their 8th Annual Alternative Spring Break in Detroit March 9-11, 2020. Our students spent their spring break visiting six middle and high schools in Detroit to encourage students to consider college and a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) career.

During the school day, the Michigan Tech students made classroom presentations to middle and high school students encouraging them to continue their education after high school, consider going to college or community college, and choose a STEM career path. After the school day ended, the NSBE students conducted K-8 Family Engineering events at two K-8 schools for students and their families, and at a Boys & Girls Club in Highland Park.

Participating students included:

The schools visited included:

  • Osborn High School
  • Detroit Arts HS
  • Mackenzie Middle School
  • University Prep Math & Science Middle School
  • University Prep Academy of the Arts Middle School
  • Neinas Academy Middle School

The NSBE students made a special stop at the Fauver-Martin Boys & Girls Club on the afternoon of March 10 to put on a hands-on engineering event for 30 K-12 students from across the city. This event was organized by Mike Reed from the Detroit Zoological Society, who also invited Michael Vaughn, the first president of MTU’s NSBE student chapter in 1995.

The goal of the NSBE classroom presentations and Family Engineering events are to engage, inspire, and encourage diverse students to learn about and consider careers in engineering and science through hands-on activities and providing ‘hometown’ role models (most of the participating NSBE students are from the Detroit area). These programs are designed to address our country’s need for an increased number and greater diversity of students skilled in STEM (math, science, technology, and engineering). 

This MTU NSBE chapter’s outreach effort is funded by General Motors and the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering and coordinated by Joan Chadde, director of the Michigan Tech Center for Science & Environmental Outreach. High school students at these schools are also encouraged to apply to participate in a 5-day High School Summer STEM Internship at Michigan Tech from July 13-17, 2020 that is specifically targeting underrepresented students. Each participating student will be supported by a $700 scholarship. The Detroit high school students are also informed of scholarships available to attend MTU’s Summer Youth Programs.

For more information about the MTU-NSBE student chapter’s Alternative Spring Break, contact NSBE student chapter President, Bryce Stallworth or Chadde.

By Joan Chadde.


Online Science and Engineering Fair

Boy Watching Video

In a classic example of turning lemons into lemonade, organizers of the Western U.P. Science and Engineering Fair are turning a disappointing situation into a new and exciting endeavor. 

The 22nd edition of the fair, which was to have been held Wednesday (March 18) in the Memorial Union Building, did not take place as planned. More than 125 students from Houghton, Keweenaw, Baraga, Ontonagon and Gogebic counties in grades four through eight were registered for the event. Due to directives to not gather in large groups and to maintain social distancing, the science and engineering fair didn’t take place. But that’s not to say it was cancelled. 

Emily Gochis, director of the Western UP MiSTEM Network and, in turn, the director of the Western U.P. Science Fair, said organizers have moved the fair to an online platform. 

“We wanted to offer this alternative method because we know how hard our students, parents and teachers have worked to develop and complete projects,” Gochis said. 

Under the new format, students as individuals or in pairs may use their assigned project numbers to submit a recorded project interview, photographs of the display board and a digital copy of the written report. The project numbers were provided to the students last week.

Gochis feels many of the students are up to this new challenge. “We are asking our students to be creative problem solvers and felt that we could do the same for them by developing a new submission process using out-of-the-box thinking and available technology in an authentic way.”

Gochis recognizes that not all students will have access to their projects or the needed technology with schools closed. “For that reason, projects can be submitted up to two weeks after K-12 classes resume,” she added. 

Students can submit projects by uploading photos, documents and a recording to a Google Drive folder identified by their assigned project number. “If needed, students can use FlipGrid, a free video capturing platform to record and submit their project interviews, up to five minutes in length,” Gochis said. 

In the face of a prolonged school closure, many parents are scrambling to find homeschooling options for their children. Gochis says participating in the science and engineering fair can certainly be of help.

“Science and Engineering Fair projects are one of the many ways for students to keep learning at home during school closures. A comprehensive student guide that includes a series of worksheets to help students and parents conduct a science investigation is located on the Western MiSTEM Network’s webpage.

Gochis said she realizes this new process isn’t ideal but she wanted to provide a mechanism for as many registered students to submit their projects as possible and felt this was better than canceling completely. 

“We have never tried this before and appreciate everyone’s patience as we work through this for the first time.”

Students and parents can receive a step-by-step online submission guide or direct any questions to Gochis via email. 

By Mark Wilcox.


I Was Asked to Be a Judge for Winter Carnival

Riley Simpson wears formal attire, a silver crown, and holds flowers and an award on stage at Michigan Tech Rozsa Center.
Asked to be a judge for Carnival Queen this year, I accepted with alacrity. And probably became the first judge ever to ask all the candidates a metallurgical question involving the lever rule—a question I knew no-one would know the answer to (none were materials science and engineering majors, who would have the best shot at knowing the answer). The object of the question was focused on critical thinking.

The Saturday morning before Carnival Week was day one of my judging. In my training, I was told I could ask any questions I wanted, and was given a set of standard questions to choose from. 

“Any questions?” I repeated?”

“Yes, anything you want—just ask everyone the same questions.” 

I warmed them up with a few standard questions: “Why do you want to be Carnival Queen,” and “Why did you choose to come to Michigan Tech,” and then stepped right into it, by going to the board and drawing a banana-shaped phase diagram, labeling the axes, temperature versus component (we used a gold/silver phase diagram).

I warmed them up to it by talking about how a pure component below its melting point was solid, and then after it was heated past its melting point, it was liquid. And then I explained how with a binary alloy with soluble components, the extra component adds a degree of freedom to the system. And that in turn gives such alloys a range of temperatures over which both liquid and solid are present. Then, I identified a state point in this two-phase region, just below the liquidus for a 50/50 alloy, and asked: “At this temperature and composition, we see there is both liquid and solid present. My question is: Do you think the mixture will be mostly liquid, or mostly solid?”

A few candidates asked clarifying questions, a few reasoned out loud. And, as I had hoped, given how we really stress critical thinking across all majors, all got the answer right. When I followed up and asked them why they thought it would be mostly liquid, the reasoning was sound—they tied it in with proximity to the liquidus or to the point being at a higher temperature. Very proud of all the Queen’s Finalists!  
Riley Simpson is shown smiling in her AFROTC uniform.
Congrats to Riley Simpson ⁠— 4th year mechanical engineering student, future commissioned second lieutenant (pending) in the United States Air Force, pilot/aviation enthusiast ⁠— and now, 2020 Winter Carnival Queen at Michigan Tech
Riley Simpson: Impeccable and inspirational at the Michigan Tech Winter Carnival Queen Coronation.

The second judging event took place the following Saturday night, during the Coronation. That evening, I enjoyed seeing all the candidates again, this time formal attire. They answered questions up on stage with last year’s Queen—a much higher pressure situation than I think I put them under! All of the finalists did a great job, and I am pleased to report that this year’s Carnival Queen is a Guardian of the North, Riley Simpson, whose passion is for flying, and whose musical talent was evidenced by an elegant and lively performance on the xylophone.

Riley is a fourth-year Mechanical Engineering student and member of the Advanced Metalworks Enterprise who will be commissioned as an Air Force officer when she graduates, and I’m confident she will go far in her career.

It was my great honor to meet all these confident, intelligent, talented, and service-oriented Winter Carnival Queen’s finalists. My last interview question, back on that first Saturday, was, “Do you have any questions for me?” It was immediately evident that they had not anticipated being asked to ask a question (I was mimicking a job interview). And, they all rallied, and with a variety of questions, such as, “Why did you come to Michigan Tech,” and “What does a dean do?” My favorite question came from one candidate who asked me, “Did you ever do anything like this (meaning, run to be Carnival Queen)? “Oh my goodness no!” I exclaimed. “It took me many years to get the confidence to be in the public eye.” It took me about an additional two decades!

Now, if you’re interested in learning the answer to the question I asked the Winter Carnival Queen contestants, “mostly liquid or mostly solid”—or want to hazard a guess, feel free to contact me, callahan@mtu.edu.
Janet Callahan, Dean
College of Engineering
Michigan Tech


Michigan Space Grant Consortium Award Recipients in Engineering

Michigan Space Grant Consortium

Michigan Tech faculty, staff members and students received awards totaling $90,500 in funding through the Michigan Space Grant Consortium (MSGC), sponsored by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) for the 2020-2021 funding cycle. The following are recipients within the College of Engineering.

Undergraduates Receiving $3,000 Research Fellowships

  • Troy Maust (ECE): “Auris: An RF Mission” with Brad King (ME-EM)
  • Lea Morath (BioMed): “Evaluating Zinc Alloys for Biodegradable Arterial Stents” with Jeremy Goldman (BioMed)
  • Victoria Nizzi (MSE): “The Use of Computer Modeling to Simulate and Predict the Biodegradation of a Magnesium Alloy Fracture Plate” with Jaroslaw Drelich (MSE)

Graduate Students Receiving $5,600 Research Fellowships

  • Kelsey LeMay (BioMed): “Processing of Porcine Internal Mammary Arteries for Hyman Bypass Graft Applications” with Jeremy Goldman (BioMed)
  • Sophie Mueller (GMES): “Keweenaw Fault Geometry and Slip Kinematics: Mohawk to Lac La Belle, MI Segment” with James DeGraff (GMES)
  • Mitchel Timm (ME-EM): “Transport, Self-Assembly, and Deposition of Colloidal Particles in Evaporating Droplets” with Hassan Masoud (ME-EM)
  • Emily Tom (MSE): “Investigation of Novel Mg-Zn-Ca Alloys for Bioresorbable Orthopedic Implants” with Jaroslaw Drelich (MSE)

Faculty and Staff Receiving $5,000 or More for Pre-College Outreach and Research Seed Programs

  • Glen Archer (ECE): “Michigan Tech Electrical Engineering Outreach Program for Pre-College Students to Build Early Interest in STEM Areas” (includes augmentation)
  • Joan Chadde (CEE): “Engaging High School Women and Native Americans in Rural Communities in Environmental Science & Engineering STEM Careers” (includes augmentation)
  • Lloyd Wescoat (CEE): “Celebrating Lake Superior: A 2020 Water Festival for Grades 4-8” (includes augmentation)

Pioneers of Progress: Michigan Tech Celebrates EWeek 2020

This week, we’re celebrating National Engineers Week (Feb. 16-22). Everyone’s invited to special events on campus sponsored by Tau Beta Pi, the Engineering Honor Society student chapter at Michigan Tech.

The week kicks off on Monday, Feb. 17. Ever wanted to see how molten Cast Iron is poured in the Foundry here on campus? Now’s your chance, today, in the M&M, during the lunch hour, hosted by the Department of Materials Science. If you can’t make it Monday – there are sessions this week on Tuesday and Friday, as well.)  

Safety glasses available (and required) at the door.

And there’s more. Feel free to stop by and check out Eweek events as your schedule allows:

Monday, February 17
● Pouring Cast Iron in the MSE Foundry ○ M&M 209 at 11:30AM – 1PM

Tuesday, February 18 
● Pouring Cast Iron in the MSE Foundry ○ M&M 209 at 2:30 – 4PM 

Wednesday, February 19
● E-Week Cake ○ Dillman 112B from 11AM – 2PM

Thursday, February 20
● Airport Planning & Design Activity ○ Dillman 204 at 5PM
● YES Drop That Thun Thun, with IGS Enterprise ○ Fisher Food Pantry from 5-6PM 

Friday February
● Pouring Cast Iron in the MSE Foundry ○ M&M 209 at 12:30 – 2PM

Yes, it’s buttercream!

Founded by the National Society of Professional Engineers in 1951, Eweek is celebrated each February around the time of George Washington’s birthday, February 22, because Washington is considered by many to be the first U.S. engineer.

Eweek is a formal coalition of more than 70 engineering, education, and cultural societies, and more than 50 corporations and government agencies. This year’s theme: Pioneers of Progress. Dedicated to raising public awareness of engineers’ positive contributions to quality of life, Eweek promotes recognition among parents, teachers, and students of the importance of a technical education and a high level of math, science, and technology literacy, and motivates youth, to pursue engineering careers in order to provide a diverse and vigorous engineering workforce.


Michigan Tech student team advances in National Mine Design Competition

The very first Michigan Tech team has advanced to Phase 2 in the Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration (SME) / National Stone, Sand, and Gravel Association (NSSGA) Student Design Competition. Phase 2 occurs at the upcoming SME Conference. Michigan Tech was among the top six in the nation to advance.

The competition is a grueling two-phase, team-based, problem-solving activity involving a technical design and an oral presentation. The problem highlights the challenges and opportunities associated with operating a sand and gravel quarry, developing an overall design plan, and optimizing the operating methods and economics. Students work on the problem from the perspective of an engineering consulting team, responsible for the development of the pit and mineral processing plant configuration.

The Michigan Tech team is interdisciplinary and includes mining engineering majors Ben Neely, Shawn vanDoorn, and Garrett Singer, geological engineering senior Ian Gannon, and chemical engineering senior (mineral processing minor) Erin Bowers.

Nathan Manser, GMES faculty member and Michigan Tech ’01 mining engineering alumnus, is mentoring them exceptionally well,” says John Gierke, chair of the Department of Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences.

The competition’s Phase 1 design took place during fall semester on campus over a 21-day period. The top six teams were selected based on their design reports.

“Our team will now compete in Phoenix, throughout the weekend of Feb. 21-23, culminating with an oral presentation,” adds Gierke. “They will be asked to modify their design in response to a change that is provided at the start of the competition. Students will be interviewed by industry practitioners during the course of their work.”

Follow the Student Design Competition at the MineXchange 2020 SME Annual Conference & Expo website.



Greek Life Honor Society Recognizes Gretchen Hein

Gretchen Hein
Gretchen Hein

Last Sunday (Jan. 26), more than 300 students gathered for the 14th Annual Fraternity and Sorority Life Awards Ceremony held in the Memorial Union Ballroom. In addition to the many student awards presented, Order of Omega, the Greek Life Honor Society that coordinates the awards, took the time to recognize some exceptional faculty and staff members.

There are more than 460 students in fraternities and sororities at Michigan Tech, and Order of Omega wanted to emphasize that these awards were coming directly from the students.

The following faculty and staff members were nominated by members of the Greek community and recognized at the 2020 Fraternity and Sorority Life Awards Ceremony (winners are in bold type):

Faculty

  • Jeana Collins (Chemical Engineering)
  • Karyn Fay (Medical Laboratory Science)
  • Gretchen Hein (Engineering Fundamentals)
  • John Jaszczak (Chemistry and Physics)
  • Roger Woods (College of Business)

Staff

  • Nancy Byers Sprague (Graduate Degree Services)
  • Joseph Cooper (Student Financial Services)
  • Julie Ross (Civil and Environmental Engineering)
  • Rochelle Spencer (Student Leadership & Involvement)
  • Travis Wakeham (Biological Sciences)

Advisors

  • Danielle Cyrus (Financial Services and Operations)
  • Nathan Manser (Engineering Fundamentals)
  • James Schmierer (College of Forest Resources)

These nominations were written by individual students and were supported by an entire fraternity or sorority. 

Congratulations to all of these faculty and staff members who were nominated and thank you for inspiring and motivating students.

A complete list of all the award winners can be found on the Student Leadership and Involvement web page.

By Student Leadership & Involvement.


Engineering Participates in the 2020 Bob Mark Business Pitch

Husky Innovate’s 2020 Bob Mark Business Model Competition was held Wednesday (Jan. 29).  A total of 18 students making up 13 teams pitched business models to advance their innovation.

Community members and judges from across campus and the community selected the winners and provided the teams with feedback.

The Winners of the 2020 Bob Mark Business Model Competition were:

  • First Prize, $2,000—Kyra Pratley, POWERPENDANTS
  • Second Prize, $1,000—Jake Soter, SwimSmart Technologies
  • Third Prize, $500—J. Harrison Shields, Shields Technologies
  • Honorable Mention, $250—Samerender Hanumantharao & Stephanie Bule, Bio-Synt
  • Honorable Mention, $250—Allysa Meinburg, Haley Papineau, Sadat Yang, AAA Prosthetic Ankle
  • Audience Favorite, $250— Allysa Meinburg, Haley Papineau, Sadat Yang, AAA Prosthetic Ankle
  • MTEC SmartZone Breakout Innovation Award, ($1,000 Reimbursable expenses toward business development)—Ranit Karmakar

A special thanks to all those who lent their time and resources to make the evening a success including our contestants for their hard work and great presentations and our judges:

  • Dean Janet Callahan, College of Engineering
  • Brett Hamlin, Associate Department Chair, Engineering Fundamentals;
  • Nate Yenor, MTRSC Commercial Program Director
  • Patrick Visser, Chief Commercial Officer, MTEC-SmartZone;
  • Elham Asgari, Assistant Professor, College of Business
  • Josh Jay, Materials Science Engineering Student, University Innovation Fellow and Innovation House RA

A special thanks goes out to emcee Cameron Philo, Electrical Engineering and PHC New Venture Pathway Student, University Innovation Fellow and E-Club President; Lexi Steve, Mechanical Engineering and Pavlis Honors College Student, University Innovation Fellow and Husky Innovate Intern; and the College of Forest Resources and Environmental Sciences for operations support and space and SLS & IT for production support.

This event is a tribute to the late Bob Mark, Professor of Practice within the College of Business who started the Elevator Pitch Competition at Michigan Tech. The competition recognizes his entrepreneurial spirit and its continuation at Michigan Tech.

The 2020 Bob Mark Business Model Competition was hosted by Husky Innovate, a collaboration between Pavlis Honors College, the College of Business and the Office of Innovation and Commercialization.

Husky Innovate is Michigan Tech’s resource hub for innovation & entrepreneurship and offers workshops, competitions, NSF I-Corps training, a Speaker Series, and cohosts the Silicon Valley Experience.

Making their pitch: MTU students take part in Bob Mark Pitch competition

HOUGHTON — In four minutes Wednesday, students had to summarize their product, the need for it, and how they would bring it to market. For two more minutes, they had to field whatever questions a panel of judges could throw at them.

The gauntlet is part of Michigan Technological University’s annual Bob Mark Pitch Competition, named for the late Tech professor who founded the event. It was put on by Husky Innovate, which offers a series of extracurricular workshops and competitions for students to develop ideas.

Read more at the Mining Gazette, by Garrett Neese.

Michigan Tech holds annual Bob Mark Business Model Competition

HOUGHTON, Mich. (WLUC) – Michigan Tech held their annual Bob Mark Business Model Competition Wednesday night.

The competition gives Michigan Tech students a chance to pitch their ideas to a group of judges who decide on the best pitch and give feedback after each presentation.

Read more at TV6 FOX UP.


Engineering Supports SnowBots at Yeti Cup

First Tech Challenge logoThe SnowBots Middle School Robotics teams competed in Kingsford last weekend for the Yeti Cup U.P. FIRST Tech Challenge robotic qualifier competition. All three teams were in the finals and brought home awards from the competition. SnowBots teams are open to area sixth-eighth grade students, and meet at Houghton Middle School.

SnowBots teams are sponsored by: Michigan Department of Education, GS Engineering, Destination Unstoppable, Boundary Labs, ThermoAnalytics, IR Telemetrics, Michigan Tech Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, Michigan Tech Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics Department, Monte Consulting, and Houghton Portage Township Schools. The Kingsford event was sponsored in part by Michigan Technological University College of Computing. The Copper Country was also well represented with 18 community volunteers supporting the event.

Read more at the Mining Gazette.

States bound: SnowBots qualify for state championship

The SnowBots Middle School Robotics teams reached a first-ever milestone at the Pellston regional FIRST Tech Challenge qualifier on Nov 23rd. All three teams, identified by the colors Blue, Red, and Silver, have now qualified to compete at the state championship Dec. 13-14 in Battle Creek. SnowBots Blue and Silver qualified on Nov. 9 and the Red team will be joining them after their great performance in Pellston.

Read more at the Mining Gazette.


Pre-Schoolers Learn to Engineer

85 parents and their PreK children from the Miigiziinsag Little Eagles Pre-School, KBIC pre-primary , KBIC early headstart, and BHK pre-school attended the first Family Engineering Fun Night held November 13th, 2019, at KBOCC. A pizza dinner was available at 5:30 pm with hands-on engineering activities from 6:00-7:00 pm. The event was conducted by Michigan Tech Center for Science and Environmental Outreach, with help from Michigan Tech students with the Chemical Engineering Honors Society Omega Chi Epsilon and Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honors Society student chapters, and funding from the Michigan Space Grant Consortium and the “For the Wisdom of the Children Grant from the American Indian College Fund.”

Man works at table with two children and another adult looking on.
Matt Friiswall and his children Iziah and Isabel work on designing a scoop to remove trash from the “pond”.

Adults work with students at a table in a crowded event.
Michigan Tech student Hailey Mikolitis (right) assists pre-school students Jarron Colbert and Treyson Tapani, who are testing the strength of two different arch designs.

Three people arrange items on trays at a table.
All the right tools set up.

One adult is showing another a foil project at a table.
Michigan Tech volunteer training.