College of Engineering News Notes

Research by former Michigan Tech professor Sheryl Sorby appeared in the April 17 edition of the Wall Street Journal. The article, “Can New Building Toys for Girls Improve Math and Science Skills?” mentions Sorby’s 2005 study showing that when middle school girls took a spatial visualization course, they took more upper-level math and science courses in high school.

Joan Chadde conducted a Transportation Teacher Workshop on ” Traffic Operations and Safety,” for two dozen Detroit Public School Teachers on April 20 in collaboration with Tech CEE graduate Peter Savolainen, associate professor, civil and environmental engineering, at Wayne State University. This is a 3-part workshop series funded by the University of Wisconsin Madison Center for Freight Infrastructure Research and Education.

Undergraduate student Allie Glover (MSE), Jerry Anzalone (CEE) and Joshua Pearce (MSE/ECE) co-authored an article titled, “Open-Source Colorimeter,” in Sensors. Link

The International Geological Masters in Volcanology and Geotechniques (INVOGE) program was featured on Italian TV news. Links to YouTube videos are provided below. The videos show the MS defense of INVOGE student Daniele Alami, which was conducted via teleconference with Milan on April 12. Daniele’s MS committee consisted of Professor Greg Waite (GMES), Assistant Professor Simon Carn (GMES) and Professor Alessandro Tibaldi from the University of Milan–Bicocca.

Tibaldi and INVOGE.

Doppia laurea internazionale, INVOGE.

Science 360, a science news web site published by the National Science Foundation, featured a news story about Assistant Professor Dennis Desheng Meng’s (ME-EM) research on manganese dioxide nanorods, work that could lead to the next generation of high-performance capacitors. See the first story under “Latest News.”

Joshua Pearce (MSE/ECE) was interviewed about 3-D printing on Health, Wealth & Wisdom 1470AM WMGG. Link

Gretchen Hein (EF), Amber Kemppainen (EF) and Michael Meyer (PHYSICS) have received $2,000 grant for their first year project, “ENGAGE E3s for First-Year Engineering Students.”

Adam Blankenbicker, a Peace Corps Master’s International alumnus in geology, writes a science education blog called SciEd for the Public Library of Science (PLoS) web site. See

NSBE & Rail Presentations in Detroit Schools

The National Society of Black Engineers Student Chapter (10 students) conducted classroom presentations at seven elementary, middle and high schools and Family Engineering Nights at three schools in Detroit during spring break week, reaching more than 2,000 students to promote college attendance and careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM).

Joan Chadde conducted a Michigan Environmental Education Curriculum Support (MEECS) Water Quality workshop on Belle Isle for middle and high school teachers from Detroit and metro area schools participating in the U.S. Forest Service funded project “Developing Middle and High School Students to Become Urban Forest Stewards.”

Pasi Lautala and Joan Chadde presented an Intermodal and Rail Transportation Workshop for 22 Detroit Public School teachers. The workshop is funded in part by University of Wisconsin Center for Freight Infrastructure Research and Education and included a tour of the Norfolk Southern railyards in Detroit.

See previous article
Read More from the Tech Today article by by Travis Gendron, student intern

Girls “Get WISE” at annual Tech STEM Outreach Event

More than 230 girls from across the western Upper Peninsula attended the annual Get Women in Science and Engineering (Get WISE) event on Tuesday, held each year on Michigan Tech’s campus.
“Get WISE is a way to get girls to unite in ways that they normally can’t in their everyday classrooms,” said Jen Martin, coordinator for Youth Programs. “It’s another different way to get girls interested in STEM [science, technology, engineering and mathematics].”

READ MORE from Tech Today Girls “Get WISE” at annual Tech STEM Outreach Event

Or an article from the Daily Mining Gazette Girls get WISE

Lecture: Constructal Law of Design and Evolution in Nature

Michigan Tech College of Engineering Distinguished Speakers Series presents: “Constructal Law of Design and Evolution in Nature” lecture by Adrian Bejan, PhD. He is the J. A. Jones Distinguished Professor at Duke University.

About the Lecture: The reoccurring patterns of nature have long puzzled even the most devoted proponents of chance and Darwin’s theory of evolution. But the Constructal Law changes the terms of this debate, and shows that a single law of physics governs the “design” behind everything that moves, whether animate or inanimate. According to the Constructal law, shapes and structures arise because they facilitate movement, in animal design, river basin design, traffic patterns, social dynamics, and technology and sports evolution

More details

Video of Adrian Bejan Lecture “Constructal Law of Design and Evolution in Nature” on Michigan Tech Engineering Channel on Vimeo

World Water Day Events at Michigan Tech

The Michigan Tech Center for Water and Society celebrated World Water Day on Thursday, March 21 with a student poster competition. The posters covered different topics in water research occurring at Michigan Technological University. Posters were displayed on the 1st floor of the Great Lakes Research Center; CWS Faculty presented a showcase of CWS research, followed by A dinner in the Atrium overlooking the lake.

2013 Michigan Tech Center for Water and Society Award Winners
Original Research Category:
1st – Miles Corcoran
2nd – Julie A. Padilla
3rd – Jade E. Ortiz and Martin Hobmeier (Tie)

1st – Nancy Auer’s BL4465 Biological Oceanography class:

Photos of the award winners and all other presenters