Category: Students

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

Detroit Students Introduced to STEM and Environmental Science Careers

Environmental CareersFifteen high school students from Detroit and southeast Michigan are exploring natural resources and engineering majors and possible careers at Michigan Tech this week. This is the fourth year that the program has been conducted in conjunction with Tech’s Summer Youth Program.

The students are investigating drinking water treatment, autonomous vehicles, drones, forest biomaterials, soils, wildlife and more with Michigan Tech scientists from mechanical engineering and electrical engineering along with experts from the Michigan DNR and U.S. Forest Service.

The program is coordinated by the Michigan Tech Center for Science and Environmental Outreach, with funding from Michigan Tech’s School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science, College of Engineering, Admissions, Housing and Residential Life, Great Lakes Research Center and the Center for Diversity and Inclusion.

By Joan Chadde.

City students learn environmental values during career tour at Tech

HOUGHTON — A group of 13 high school students from Detroit and southeast Michigan spent last week getting a firsthand look at the Copper Country and environmental and engineering programs at Michigan Tech.

Student often come to the program with ideas of careers they are interested in, and many of them aren’t focused on natural resources or ecology, said Lisa Perez from the US Forest Service Urban Connections. However, they typically walk away from the program with new ideas and shifted focus.

Perez and Mike Reed of the Detroit Zoological Society have worked with the students since the program began four years ago.

“It opened their eyes, maybe not to a totally different career path, but it opened their eyes to the fact that they are responsible for the future of the environment,” said Reed.

Read more at the Mining Gazette, by Garrett Neese.

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Vote for the Whiz Kids tonight (Thurs. June 21) by 8:30 pm

The Lake Linden Whiz Kids eCybermission team along with advisors Engineering Fundamentals Senior Lecturer Gretchen Hein & 4th year chemical engineering student Ryan Knoll are in Washington DC this week. They will present their findings about using stamp sand in lightweight concrete. The presentations can be watched live and you can vote for their team for the People’s Choice Award.
 Voting is from 1:30-8pm today. They would love your support. The link is: http://ecyber18.hscampaigns.com/#9thgradeteams
They will be receiving a STEM in Action Grant Award tomorrow to continue their work and will be meeting with the EPA on Monday to discuss their project.  The meeting with the EPA would never have happened without help from Representative Jack Bergman. The team thanks the College of Engineering,  Chemical Engineering and Engineering Fundentals for their support.
Read past stories about the team here.
Lake Linden Whiz Kids
Lake Linden Whiz Kids

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Design Expo and Enterprise 2018 Award Winners

Design Expo 2018 showing a person talking to a student at their poster

More than 1000 students in Enterprise and Senior Design showcased their work last Thursday, April 19 at Design Expo. Judges include corporate representatives, community members and Michigan Tech staff and faculty. The College of Engineering and the Pavlis Honors College are pleased to announce the award winners, below. Congratulations and thanks to ALL teams for a very successful Design Expo 2018!

VIEW THE PHOTO GALLERY

First Place Senior Design Award

Performance and Protection Characterization of Plug and Play Solar Systems

Team Members
Lauren Clark, Erik Romanski, Gabe Simmering, and Jason Wesley, Electrical Engineering
Advisor
Sumit Paudyal, Electrical and Computer Engineering
Sponsor
Consumers Energy
Project Overview
Our team researched, tested, and evaluated “Plug and Play” solar systems. These systems consist of all-in-one packages of solar panels, inverters, and hardware that are advertised to produce power for homeowners by plugging into any 120V receptacle. We performed market research to determine overall demand and popularity, worked with standards and codes to determine the safety and legality of recommended installations, and tested products to ensure they meet Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) standards. We provided our findings and recommendations for future policies and actions regarding safe and responsible use to Consumers Energy so they can appropriately plan for the use of “Plug and Play” systems in their service territory.

First Place Enterprise Award

Cin/Optic Communication and Media

Team Leaders
Eric Smith, Audio Engineering and Nathan Shaiyen, Communication, Culture, and Media
Advisor
Erin Smith, Humanities
Sponsors
Michigan Tech Pavlis Honors College and William G. Jackson Center for Teaching and Learning
Background
The Cin/Optic Communication and Media Enterprise enables students to develop skills in video design and production. By balancing the creative and technical aspects of video, the primary goal is to focus on client needs and expectations, while developing artistically engineered products. Capitalizing on team member creativity and technical strengths, Cin/Optic provides an opportunity for those involved to broaden their education in the media industry through real-world business experiences.
Overview
The project goal is to create a promotional video for an addition to NASA’s wildfire response online map platform, RECOVER, that would help wildfire responders plan for potential debris flows. Researchers at Michigan Tech, University of Arkansas, and Idaho State University have developed an addition to the RECOVER platform that will function as a map layer. This map layer indicates potential debris flow areas based on new modeling developed in the geological engineering department. The video will help the team communicate the new debris flow map layer’s usefulness to wildfire response groups so that they may request a debris flow analysis and map layer after future wildfire events.

First Place Design Expo Innovation Awards

Nerve Stimulation through Powered Surgical Instruments: Cerebral Ultrasonic Aspiration

Team Members
Peter Beach, Sterling Korstad, Ana-Lisia Powdhar, Matthew Sampson, and Rachel Stites, Biomedical Engineering
Advisor
Orhan Soykan, Biomedical Engineering
Sponsor
Stryker Instruments
Project Overview
The objectives of our project are to conceptualize, design, prototype, and test a modification of Stryker Instruments’ Sonopet ultrasonic handpiece. Currently, one of the main uses for the handpiece is for the removal of malignant tissues in the brain. During these operations, the surgeon must periodically switch from the handpiece to a nerve monitoring probe that reports the proximity of the operation to the major cranial nerves. Our modification combines the functionality of these two devices, eliminating the need for surgeons to switch instruments mid-surgery, reducing the probability of injury from repeated insertion and removal of the devices.

Design Expo Image Contest

First Place: Formula SAE

Learn more about the awards at the Enterprise Blog, by Design Expo.

First Annual Enterprise Award Winners Announced

The Enterprise Program Office and the Enterprise Student Advisory Board are pleased to announce the first annual Enterprise Award winners. The Enterprise Awards were developed to acknowledge and celebrate the efforts and accomplishments of Enterprise students, faculty, staff, and sponsors.

Student Awards:
Outstanding Leadership: Tyler Miller, Supermileage Systems
Rookie Award: Ian Johnson, Advanced Metalworks Enterprise
Innovative Solutions: Rebecca Phipps, Consumer Product Manufacturing
Industry/Sponsor Relations: Team Oshkosh, Blue Marble Security

Faculty/Staff/Sponsor Awards:
Outstanding Enterprise Advisor: Tony Rogers, Consumer Product Manufacturing
Outstanding Sponsor: David Blondheim, Mercury Marine
Behind the Scenes: Jon Lund, Machine Shop Attendant, Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics

Read more at the Enterprise Blog.

Related:

Get the full story, and follow two teams behind the scenes of Expo 2018 in upcoming stories on Michigan Tech News and Unscripted.

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Student Leadership Awards Ceremony 2018

Percy Julian Award winners from 2016, 2017 and 2018. Left to right, Neffertia Tyner, Jimmie Cannon, and Logan McMillan
Percy Julian Award winners from 2016, 2017 and 2018. Left to right, Neffertia Tyner, Jimmie Cannon, and Logan McMillan

Outstanding students, staff and a special alumna were honored Friday, April 20, at Michigan Tech’s 24th Annual Student Leadership Awards Ceremony. The event’s keynote speaker, Captain Amanda (Taylor) Nerg ’10, was also the winner of the 2018 Outstanding Young Alumna Award. Captain Nerg earned a bachelor’s in business administration at Michigan Tech and is currently the Chief of Contracting Office at Morón Air Base in Spain, where she supports multiple Air Force, Marine and NATO missions.

Nerg says Tech helped her discover who she wanted to be, “Everything you do and have done at this University has shaped you into who you are today. Aspire to be your best and do your job with integrity and passion,” she says.

The President’s Award for Leadership, perhaps the most prestigious undergraduate award, was presented to Sarah Jo Martens, who is pursuing a degree in Environmental Engineering. Her nominators cited Martens’ numerous accomplishments including serving as President of Blue Key Honor Society, Campus Tour Guide, Orientation Team Leader and co-section Leader of the Huskies Pep Band. Martens has also played an important role in the Michigan Tech Theatre Company, having taken part in seven productions.

Gina Roose was the recipient of the Vice President for Student Affairs and Advancement Award for Service, Hossein Tavakoli received the Exceptional Leadership in Student Governance Award. The Exceptional Enthusiasm as Student Leader Award was presented to Nathan Shaiyen and the Student Employee of the Year was awarded to Madison Olmstead.

The Rising Star of the Year, presented to a first or second year student showing great potential for leadership, was awarded to Gi West. Erica Coscarelli was named Outstanding Future Alumna and Brendan Beecham was named Outstanding Future Alumnus. These awards are presented to a student living the Alumni Board of Director’s motto of “Celebrating Traditions, Creating Connections.”

Other awards handed out included:

  • Exceptional Program of the Year: Undergraduate Student Government’s Snowman Left Behind
  • Most Improved Student Organization: Indian Students’ Association
  • Exceptional Community Service Project: Order of Omega – Fall & Spring Blood Drives
  • Claire M. Donovan Award: Hossein Tavakoli
  • Student Organization of the Year: Mind Trekkers
  • Student Organization Advisor of the Year: Ellen Horsch, Alpha Gamma Delta
  • The Provost’s Award for Scholarship was selected from the Departmental Scholars. This year’s recipient was Dillon Babcock, Departmental Scholar from Mechanical Engineering – Engineering Mechanics.

Award recipients who received their awards at previous ceremonies were also recognized Friday. They include:

  • Percy Julian Award: Logan McMillan
  • Exceptional Graduate Student Leader: William Lytle, PhD Student, Social Sciences Department
  • Exceptional Graduate Student Scholar: Haihang Ye, PhD Student, Chemistry
  • Exceptional Graduate Mentor: Chelsea Shelly, Associate Professor, Social Sciences Department and Kathleen E.

By Student Activities.

Related: 

Pavlis Students Recognized at 24th Annual Student Leadership Awards

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Four Michigan Tech Teams Take Home Awards from the Central Michigan University New Venture Competition

CMU New Venture Competition people holding a big checkSix undergraduate student teams from Michigan Technological University traveled to Central Michigan University (CMU) to compete in the eighth annual New Venture Competition held Friday, April 13, 2018. The event was co-sponsored by Michigan Tech’s Innovation Center for Entrepreneurship (ICE). Student teams from Michigan Tech and CMU presented business plans and pitches to panels of experienced entrepreneurs. Four of Michigan Tech’s six competing teams, including those with engineering students, took home cash and in-kind awards.

Team Fitstop took first place in the pitch competition and was awarded $1,000. Fitstop founders, Gabe Giddings (computer science) and Jacob Carley (electrical engineering), participated in Michigan Tech’s I-Corps Site Program in January.

Pavlis Honors College student Kyle Ludwig won the $250 Audience Choice Award in the pitch component of the competition for his startup Looma. In addition, Looma was also awarded $1,500 in legal assistance from Foster Swift.

Michigan Tech’s Hinge was awarded second runner up in the pitch component of the competition and $250. Isaiah Pfund (mechanical engineering), Jack Horrigan (electrical engineering), and Tanner Sheahan (chemical engineering), of Hinge, participated in the Michigan Tech Consumer Products Challenge last January and are working on a self-sanitizing toilet as well as other consumer and industrial product ideas. Horrigan and Pfund were also winners of best elevator pitch at the Bob Mark competition last fall.

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

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Biomedical Engineering Students Win at Stryker Engineering Challenge

BME StudentsA team of biomedical engineering students from Michigan Tech took first place in the Eighth Annual Stryker Engineering Challenge competition in Kalamazoo, March 22/23, 2018.

Each team member will receive a $1,000 scholarship and an interview for a Summer 2019 Internship with Stryker Corporation, a medical technology company. Each year Stryker invites engineering student teams to its global headquarters to show off their engineering prowess while competing against rival schools.

During overnight competition, teams spent 12 hours planning, designing, prototyping and testing to prepare for a robotics challenge created by Stryker engineers.

This year, six universities competed. In addition to Tech, teams came from Notre Dame, Western Michigan University, Michigan College Alliance, Purdue and Miami of Ohio.

Michigan Tech was the only biomedical engineering team in the competition. All other teams were comprised of mechanical and electrical engineering students. Undergraduates Becky Daniels, Melanie Thomas, Emil Johnson and Nicholas Turowski made up the Michigan Tech team.

 Joe Thompson, associate director, industry engagement in Michigan Tech’s Pavlis Honors College traveled with the students and served as mentor. Biomedical Engineering Associate Department Chair and Professor Keat Ghee Ong is the team’s advisor.

Biomedical Engineering Department Chair Sean Kirkpatrick said “Last year was BME’s first year in the Stryker competition and we took second place. This year’s first-place finish shows last year wasn’t a fluke—Michigan Tech BME students are very capable engineering students who can handily solve classical engineering problems.”

Thompson adds, “The event organizers at Stryker made a point of highlighting the professionalism displayed by Michigan Tech team. The ability to adapt to changing circumstances and collectively persevere contributed to the team’s success this year.”

Michigan Tech's robot at the 2018 Stryker Engineering Challenge
Michigan Tech’s robot at the Eighth Annual Stryker Engineering Challenge in Kalamazoo, Michigan

The first half of the competition involved picking up small Lego people with the robot and transporting them to the team’s ‘pit stop’. The team was able to deliver a ‘VIP passenger’ to gain extra points, but then their robot arm malfunctioned, sinking them from 1st place to 4th place as a result. The second half of the competition involved an actual race throughout the course. Michigan Tech’s robot had the fastest time.

“It was exciting to see how our ideas came to life, and how prototypes became the actual parts that contributed to our victory,” says Thomas. “It was a constant reminder of why we chose to pursue engineering.”

“The best feelings came whenever a team member was stuck with a particular problem and another team member’s suggestion turned out to be the working solution. During the competition we learned how to work with nearly complete strangers. We adapted once we figured out each other’s strengths,” says Johnson.

“Throughout the challenge we all provided whatever insight we could if we noticed someone struggling with a task, and it was always without judgement,” adds Daniels.

“Every employee at Stryker seemed to love their job,” notes Turowski. “One told about how during his first year at Stryker he was put on a team of ‘vets’ and asked to complete a task that had never before been done. I think that shows how much confidence Stryker has in its employees.”

“You don’t have to know the people you’re working with for a very long time in order to be an effective team. You just need to set your eyes on a collective goal and work to successfully complete it.

– Melanie Thomas

Stryker Corporation, active in more than 100 countries, is one of the world’s leading medical technology companies, offering products and services to help improve patient and hospital outcomes.

Michigan Tech BME students Emil Johnson, Nicholas Turowski, Melanie Thomas, and Becky Daniels along with mentor Joe Thompson at the 2018 Stryker Engineering Challenge, where they took first place.
Michigan Tech BME students Emil Johnson, Nicholas Turowski, Melanie Thomas, and Becky Daniels along with mentor Joe Thompson at the 8th Annual Stryker Engineering Challenge, where they took first place.

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2018 Portage Health Foundation Making a Difference Scholarship Recipients

Portage Health FoundationTwelve students have been awarded the Portage Health Foundation Making a Difference Scholarship. The scholarships are part of a Michigan Tech-Portage Health Foundation partnership established in 2015 to support health education. This year’s recipients have an average GPA of 3.87 and represent the breadth of health-related research happening on Michigan Tech’s campus.

The $8,000 scholarships went to:

  •    Bailey Poyhonen, Dollar Bay, medical laboratory science
  •    Brennah Wasie, Hancock, biochemistry and molecular biology
  •    Laura Lyons, Lake Linden, biomedical engineering
  •    Sarah Dix, L’Anse, exercise science

Receiving $1,000 scholarships were:

  •    Kierstyn Codere, Lake Linden, biological sciences
  •    Grace Liu, Houghton mechanical engineering
  •    Mara Hackman, Houghton, medical laboratory science.
  •    Jaden Janke, Dollar Bay, biological sciences
  •    Ally Fenton, Hancock, biomedical engineering
  •    Jada Markham, Houghton, exercise science
  •    Kellan Heikkila, Chassell, biomedical engineering
  •    Dawson Kero, Hancock, biological sciences

“The merit-based awards reflect the high caliber student talent we have locally, thanks to exceptional teachers, HOSA high school advisers, and Michigan Tech faculty and students who do outreach in the schools,” says Jodi Lehman, director of foundations at Michigan Tech.

At a dinner for finalists, the scholarship recipients had a chance to talk one-on-one with Michigan Tech researchers. Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics faculty Ye Sarah Sun shared with students how she develops new interfaces for heart monitoring that are reliable and won’t disturb a patient’s life at home, while driving or at work.

Biomedical engineer and health care entrepreneur, Megan Frost, shared  how she is working to improve wound care with a product designed to prevent infection and reduce the need for some post-acute care.

Scholarship recipients also heard from current students, Adison Cook, a 2016 Making a Difference scholar; Stephanie Bean and Maddie Morley, both PHF Undergraduate Research Interns; and Kelsey Saladin, a Portage Health Foundation and Randy Owsley Memorial Athletic trainer scholar.

“The Portage Health Foundation has also been very generous in granting need-based scholarships to students enrolling at Michigan Tech, Finlandia University, Gogebic College, Northern Michigan University, and Michigan State University in health-related degree programs,” says Joe Cooper, Director of Financial Aid at Michigan Tech, “These scholarships make a significant financial impact for students in our own local communities.  Thanks to the Portage Health Foundation, students from Baraga, Houghton, Keweenaw, and Ontonagon counties have extra support so they can attend college and focus on health related careers.”

Portage Health Foundation Making a Difference Scholarship applications will open in the fall for incoming high school seniors and transfer students applying to Michigan Tech for fall 2019.  Questions about the scholarship can be directed to Rachel Connors, assistant director of admissions, 7-1880.

By Foundation Relations.

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2018 SURF Award Recipients in Engineering

SURF graphicThe Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) program will fund 25 students from across the University with funds from the office of the Pavlis Honors College and the Vice President for Research.

Previous SURF award recipients have included Goldwater Scholarship and NSF Graduate Research Fellowship recipients. Since 2002, SURF students have co-authored 78 peer reviewed publications.

This year’s recipients, project titles, and advisors are listed online.

Honorable Mention went to Kiaya Caspers, Travis Durgan, Elisha Earley and Ashley Lingle.

By Will Cantrell.

Biomedical Engineering Majors

Stephanie Jewell
Biomedical Engineering / Mechanical
William Cook / KIP
Controlled Breathing and Automatic Cardiovascular Control

Kaylee Meyers
Rupak Rajachar / Biomedical Engineering
Evaluating the Influence of Matrix Stiffness on the Activation of MMPs in Tendinopathy

Alexander Oliver
Jeremy Goldman / Biomedical Engineering
Characterizing the Inflammatory Response to Zinc Stent Materials

Brennan Vogl
Smitha Rao / Biomedical Engineering
Monitoring migration of cancer cells using a microfluidic device

Chemical Engineering Major

Satyen Dhamankar
Chemical Engineering / Mathematics
Benjamin Ong / Mathematical Sciences
Accelerated Boundary Integral Methods

Civil Engineering Major

Timothy Stone
Don Lafreniere / Social Sciences
Exploring the Social Determinants of health and Disease Outbreak Patterns in Children in Early Twentieth Century Calumet

Geological Engineering Major

Katelyn Kring
Snehamoy Chatterjee / GMES
Spatial Interpolation of Rock Quality Designation to Design Underground Support System for Eagle Mine

Mechanical Engineering Majors

Dennis J Byard
Joshua Pearce / Materials Science
Increasing Maker Manufacturing through 3D Printing with Reclaimed Plastic & Direct Drive Pellet Extrusion

Aaron Dean
Pasi Lautala / Civil and Environmental Engineering
Using Naturalistic Driving Data and Machine Learning to Predict Accident Risk at Highway-Rail Grade Crossings

Eric Houck
Mo Rastgaar / Mechanical Engineering
Magneto-Rheological Fluids Create a Natural Walking Gait in Ankle-Foot Prostheses

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David Ross and Alex Baker Place in Undergraduate Research Symposium 2018

URS logoThe Pavlis Honors College (PHC) announces the winners of the sixth Annual Undergraduate Research Symposium.

The students that presented this year represented a wide array of scientific and engineering disciplines from across campus and highlighted the diversity of research areas being explored. Judges from a variety of backgrounds and disciplines volunteered their time to evaluate participant posters and presentations. The results were as follows:

First Place: Erinn Smith, Chemistry
Second Place: David Ross, Biomedical Engineering
Third Place: Alex Baker, Civil and Environmental Engineering

David Ross presented Bioactive polydimethylsiloxane surface for optimal human
mesenchymal stem cell sheet culture
. Ross’ advisor is Feng Zhao.

Alex Baker presented Multiobjective Optimization of Cost and Strength for Various
Lengths of Doubly Reinforced Concrete T-beams. Baker’s advisor is Amlan Mukherjee.

PHC would also like to recognize three students in the Honorable Mention category: Benjamin Miller, SFRES, Rose Turner, Environmental Engineering and Hannah Cunningham, Molecular Biology and Genetics.

The research presented here is sponsored in part by the Office of the Vice President of
Research, the Portage Health Foundation (PHFoundation), the Pavlis Honors College, and the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) program.

Congratulations to all of our winners and honorable mentions. Thank you to all of the faculty, staff and students that judged and attended the Symposium this year.

Original story by Pavlis Honors College.

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SWE Students Travel to WE Local, Milwaukee

WE LocalMichigan Tech students Katie Buchalski (Environmental Engineering), Emily Crombez (Computer Science Graduate Student), Hannah Daavettila (Mechanical Engineering), Veronica Lynch (Civil Engineering), Jocelyne Denhof (Mechanical Engineering), and Erin Murdoch (Mechanical Engineering Technology), and faculty adviser, Gretchen Hein (Engineering Fundamentals) attended the Society of Women Engineers WE Local Conference in Milwaukee from Friday through Sunday, March 9 through 11, 2018.

They participated in the conference career fair, and attended professional development sessions and networking activities. Gretchen Hein and Rebecca Reck, Kettering University, as part of the SWE Women in Academia Committee, presented on the various career paths available in academia. The students and adviser were especially moved to hear about the challenges and accomplishments of Sonia Sanchez, professor of Physiology and Biomedical Sciences and assistant dean of Research at the Creighton University School of Dentistry. She spoke about her life journey from a small town in Brazil to her career in Nebraska. The group left her talk inspired and ready to work towards their goals regardless of obstacles.

The group thanks the College of Engineering for their support, and their departments for allowing them to leave early for Spring Break to participate in the SWE WE Local Conference.

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