Tag Archives: CEE

Engineers on the Alumni Board of Directors

Husky Statue with people in the backgroundAlumni Engagement extends a warm welcome to the new members of the Alumni Board of Directors who begin their six-year terms July 1, 2018. This group of volunteers was elected from around the country to support the mission of “Celebrating Traditions. Creating Connections.”

The Board works with the Alumni Engagement team to develop and support programs for students and alumni.

There are eight new members, five of whom are engineers.

  1. Britta Anderson ’15 Electrical Engineering, Kalamazoo, Michigan
  2. Timothy Hartwig ’97 Environmental Engineering, Centennial, Colorado
  3. Jackie Jiran ’96 Civil Engineering, Carver, Minnesota
  4. Scott McBain ’86 Civil Engineering, Rochester Hills, Michigan
  5. Elizabeth Merz ’17 Chemical Engineering, Hudsonville, Michigan
  6. Adam Mitteer ’03 ‘17 Data Science Business Administration, Tampa, Florida
  7. Hannah (Bosseler) North ’16 App. Cognitive Sciences & Human Factors, Two Rivers, Wisconsin
  8. Andrew VanDyke ’11 Forestry, Marquette

The Board will meet on campus August 2-3 during Alumni Reunion.


Alex Mayer is the First University Professor

Alex S. Mayer
University Professor Alex S. Mayer

Last September, University President Glenn Mroz and Jackie Huntoon, provost and vice president for academic affairs, announced the establishment of two new titles created to recognize outstanding faculty: Distinguished Professor and University Professor.

The University Professor title recognizes faculty members who have made outstanding scholarly contributions to the University and their discipline over a substantial period of time.

Alex Mayer was selected as the first University Professor.

Mayer is the Charles and Patricia Nelson Presidential Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. He has been at Michigan Tech since 1991 with a joint appointment in the Department of Geological Engineering and Sciences. Mayer was the co-founder and first director of the Michigan Tech Center for Water and Society. He teaches about environmental resources engineering and management. Recent research activity on collaborative solutions to water scarcity in semi-arid environments, hydro-economic modeling for watershed management, sea level rise impacts on island nations has been funded by the National Science Foundation and the US Department of Agriculture.

Mayer is frequently recognized for his outstanding efforts to bring water-related research, education and outreach to the forefront at Michigan Tech. For his dedication to studying water quality and scarcity—and his unique approach to these complex problems—Mayer won Michigan Tech’s 2015 Research Award. In 2009, Mayer was recognized with the Rudolf Hering Medal from the American Society of Civil Engineers. In the same year, he also received Michigan Tech’s Distinguished Faculty Service Award. Collaboration is a hallmark of Mayer’s research methods. He works across disciplines with academics, government, non-governmental organizations, and community stakeholders.

The confidential process for selecting recipients spans the academic year and recipients for each award were notified in May. A University Professor is recognized for their exemplary research, major invited lectures, prestigious awards, significant contributions to the advancement of their field, and other criteria. They are nominated by faculty members, departments, programs, or schools. University Professors will not exceed two percent of the total number of tenured and tenure-track faculty at Michigan Tech at any time.


Kamath and Minakata Model an Advanced Oxidation Process

Daisuke Minakata
Daisuke Minakata

Daisuke Minakata has published “Emerging Investigators series: Ultraviolet and free chlorine aqueous-phase advanced oxidation process: kinetic simulations and experimental validation,” in Environmental Science: Water Research and Technology with Divya Kamath.

DOI:10.1039/C8EW00196K

Extract

An emerging advanced oxidation process uses ultraviolet light and free chlorine to produce active hydroxyl radicals and chlorine-derived radicals to degrade a variety of organic compounds in water. We developed a UV/free chlorine elementary reaction-based kinetic model for a test compound, acetone, and its transformation products. The elementary reaction pathways were predicted by quantum mechanical calculations, and the reaction rate constants were predicted using previously developed linear free energy relationships.

This article is part of the themed collections: Ultraviolet-based Advanced Oxidation Processes (UV AOPs) and Emerging Investigator Series.

Related:

Break It Down: Understanding the Formation of Chemical Byproducts During Water Treatment

Elucidating the Elementary Reaction Pathways and Kinetics of Hydroxyl Radical-Induced Acetone Degradation in Aqueous Phase Advanced Oxidation Processes


Several Hundred Earthquakes Later: Dean Pennington Retires

Dr. Wayne Pennington, Research Professor of Geophysical Engineering
Wayne Pennington, Research Professor of Geophysical Engineering & Professor Emeritus, Michigan Tech

As a young boy fascinated by geology, Dr. Wayne Pennington probably never imagined he would personally experience several hundred earthquakes during his lifetime. (Yes, several hundred.) He will retire tomorrow as the dean of engineering and professor of geophysics at Michigan Technological University.

He hasn’t retired from the geosciences, though—at least not yet. Dr. Pennington is a world-recognized expert in earthquakes, oil and gas exploration and development, and the intersection of those fields. He has worked in academia and industry, and conducted field work at sites around the world. In the 1970s he studied tectonic earthquakes in Latin America and Pakistan. In the early 1980s he was on the faculty at The University of Texas at Austin and studied the relationship of earthquakes to oil and gas production. In the early 1990s he worked at the research laboratory for Marathon Oil Company.

Pennington joined Michigan Tech in 1994 as a professor of geophysics. In a 1997 article in The Leading Edge, a journal of the Society of Exploration Geophyscists, he coined a new term, “seismic petrophysics”. It described the first purposeful application of rock physics theory—calibrated by laboratory and well measurements—to the interpretation of seismic data. It was also a turning point among professionals in petroleum exploration. Pennington asserted that a more comprehensive understanding of the geological and fluid factors affecting seismic energy propagation would yield results greater than the sum of the parts.

“Professionals in petroleum resource development know of the exploration expertise here at Michigan Tech in large part because of the research and educational activities of Wayne and his students and collaborators,” says Dr. John Gierke, current chair of the university’s GMES department. “Their efforts are aimed at integrating geological and geophysical understanding, a coupling encompassed in ‘seismic petrophysics’ that bolsters both disciplinary aspects of exploration. The result has been more insightful interpretations and more promising discoveries.”
“The data-driven emphasis of ‘seismic petrophysics’ requires a thorough understanding of the complex interactions of rock and fluid mechanics on the seismic response when exploring for and developing petroleum resources,” says Michigan Tech alumnus Dr. Joshua Richardson, a geophysicist at Chevron Corporation. “This integrated approach allows petroleum to be produced as efficiently and safely as possible.”

As a professor, Pennington taught his students at Michigan Tech how to interpret integrated (geophysical, geological, and engineering) data sets for reservoir characterization. He also used earthquake seismology to teach geology and physics to local middle and high school students. His lab, SPOT, encompassed “the people, the laboratory, the computers, the publications, and the projects associated with seismology, petrophysics, and their union: seismic petrophysics.”

Pennington became chair of Michigan Tech’s Department of Geological and Mining Engineering Sciences in 2004, and then Dean of the College of Engineering in 2013. He continued his research activities as Dean, advising graduate students and publishing research results. He oversaw increases in undergraduate and graduate enrollment, degrees granted, and research expenditures. He hired four outstanding department chairs and promoted interdisciplinary cooperation and research within the college and across campus.

He has held other important positions during his career, including president of the American Geosciences Institute, Jefferson Science Fellow at the US Department of State and USAID, as well as outstanding mentor, advisor, colleague, supervisor, and friend.

During his last few days as Dean, Dr. Pennington generously answered our questions about himself and his plans for retirement.

Hometown:
I was born as the middle child of three to a dairy-farming family outside of Rochester, Minnesota. By the time I was 8 years old, we moved east, settling in Weehawken, New Jersey (above the Lincoln Tunnel into Manhattan). I earned a scholarship to The Peddie School, a private boarding school, for my last three years of high school. So I don’t really have a hometown other than the Copper Country, where I have lived longer than anywhere else.

Family:
My wife, Laura is a retired schoolteacher, most recently having taught at Hancock’s Barkell Elementary School. Our older son, Matthew, is an MD/PhD anesthesiologist with the University of Washington in Seattle where his wife is a gynecological oncologist; their son has just completed kindergarten. Our younger son, Keith, has degrees in biomedical engineering and business and is currently a PhD candidate in business at the University of Minnesota; his wife is a biomedical quality engineer for a large consulting firm. Both of our sons are Eagle Scouts and graduates of Houghton High School.

Number of times you have visited the site of an earthquake:
I have been in two large damaging earthquakes: in Pakistan in 1974 (the “Pattan” earthquake”) while living there and maintaining a seismic array for Columbia University; and in southern Mexico in 1979 (the “Petatlan” earthquake, magnitude 7.7) while setting up a local seismic array to monitor what turned out to be foreshocks. Including the aftershock series from those events, and many other smaller events, such as rock bursts inside coal mines and volcanic earthquakes on the Aleutian Islands, I have experienced at least several hundred earthquakes. I visited Haiti twice after the 2010 earthquake there; once as a member of a team from the US State Department, and once on a team from the United Nations.

How/Why did you choose geophysics?
I always loved geology, even as a small child. But once I got to college and realized I could do geoscience using math, there was no question of the subdiscipline that beckoned. Field work in exotic locations was also a major draw.

How/Why did you choose Michigan Tech?
When I decided to leave a comfortable job at an oil company research center, having determined that the job I enjoyed there would not exist much longer, I looked for a return to academics at an institution that was the “right” size, where I could merge science and engineering, and where applied research was valued. Michigan Tech was one of the rare institutions that ticked all boxes. Returning to the northern Midwest was attractive, particularly because the earthquake hazard is low here.

Part of the job you enjoyed most as professor, chair and then dean?
All those positions had their positive aspects, but I must say that I missed teaching and working with graduate students once I got a couple years into my position as dean.

Most rewarding aspect of your job?
Retirement. You know the joke about the two happiest days in a boat-owner’s life (the day he buys his first boat, and the day he sells his last boat)? It’s like that: there were many exciting and rewarding aspects in each of my career stages, both in academia and in industry. Starting each new position was exciting, yet so is leaving the last one.

Number of graduate students advised?
I’m not sure, but it numbers in the dozens.

Your biggest goal now?
I have a few short-term goals: attending a bar-tending class to improve my skills at making craft cocktails; continuing to offer training to industry; better understanding induced seismicity from wastewater injection; and evaluating the possibility of writing a book on “seismic petrophysics”. All while maintaining my kayaking and trail-developing skills. I will spend February through May of 2019 on a Fulbright at Curtin University in Perth, Australia, researching ways to better monitor oil and gas production and carbon sequestration.

What advice do you give to new students? New faculty? New chairs? New deans?
Don’t let anything or anyone discourage you. Listen to opinions but make up your own mind. Maintain your integrity above all else.

Best advice you’ve gotten so far about retiring?
I haven’t listened to any of it.

Thank you, Dr. Pennington—we wish you the absolute best in your new endeavors as a professor emeritus and research professor of geophysical engineering!

Words of wisdom written by Dr. Pennington over the years, just a sampling:

Students
“Students these days are a bit different from when I was (or many of you were) sweating over finals and cheering for our teams. They understand the need for natural resources, but are equally concerned about people and the environment, and their own lifestyle choices. They want to know how to make use of natural resources sustainably (leaving no legacy for others to deal with), and how to allow indigenous peoples to benefit from the development. They are concerned with how Earth works, but they want to use that knowledge to directly aid those who live the path of volcanic flows, or in earthquake hazard areas—while learning details about the internal operations and mutual interactions of features from the core to the atmosphere, and beyond. They want to combine engineering applications with natural science observations. In short, they want to ‘do’ and not just ‘learn.’”

Valued colleagues and their retirement
“As many of our long-time faculty retire, they are, in some sense, replaced by new faculty. In another sense, of course, these retiring faculty can never be replaced. Who can claim the legacy of Lloyal Bacon, perhaps the most-loved professor I have ever met? Nobody.”

Teaching
“In most classrooms, the students work on a problem, they get the right answer, and they’re done. But we all know that, in the real world, you work on a project—something unexpected happens—and you have to figure out the problem, explain it to your colleagues, and collectively plan your response to the situation.”

Research
“The research we do is conducted through computer modeling, in the laboratory, or in the field—from inside the Earth to outer space and everywhere in between—but it has common goals.”

—Wayne Pennington


Jarek Drelich and David Watkins are Distinguished Professors

Last September, University President Glenn Mroz and Jackie Huntoon, provost and vice president for academic affairs, announced the establishment of two new titles created to recognize outstanding faculty: Distinguished Professor and University Professor.

Jarek Drelich
Distinguished Professor Jarek Drelich

The title of Distinguished Professor recognizes outstanding faculty members who have made substantial contributions to the University as well as their discipline but are not presently recognized through an endowed position or faculty fellowship.

Jaroslaw (Jarek) Drelich and David Watkins are among the recipients in the inaugural group of Distinguished Professors.

Drelich is a professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering. Adhesion of fine particles, biodegradable implants, surface wetting, and colloidal properties are among his research interests. Drelich leads SURFI, Surface Innovations at Michigan Tech. The SURFI research team recently reviewed the properties of fish scales in Advanced Biosystems, identifying many promising qualities that could be beneficial to material and surface innovators. Drelich also spearheaded the acquisition of a new atomic force microscope for looking at single molecules on a surface.

David Watkins
Distinguished Professor David Watkins

Watkins is a professional engineer and professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. He has been at Michigan Tech since 1999, teaching undergraduate and graduate level courses in fluid mechanics, engineering hydrology, water resources management, and others. He directs an international capstone design program, co-directed a Peace Corps Master’s International program, and advises a student chapter of Engineers Without Borders-USA. Watkins maintains an active research program in water resources systems engineering, hydroclimatic forecasting, and climate change adaptation. His current research projects include robust water resources decision making in south Florida and understanding the climate impacts of food, energy, and water consumption.

The confidential process for selecting recipients spans the academic year and recipients for each award were notified in May. A Distinguished Professor is recognized for their noteworthy research, invited lectures, external awards, citations, continuing contributions to the advancement of their field, and other criteria. They are nominated by faculty members, departments, programs, or schools. Distinguished Professors will not exceed 10 percent of the number of tenured and tenure-track faculty in a specific college or school at any time.


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

2018 Employee Service Award Recognition

Last Tuesday (May 15, 2018), faculty and staff members, along with their guests, gathered at the Memorial Union Ballroom for an awards dinner recognizing 25, 30, 35, 40 and 45 years of service to Michigan Tech.

Within the College of Engineering, the following employees were recognized:

25 Years

Bruce Mork, Electrical and Computer Engineering
Timothy Schulz, Electrical and Computer Engineering

30 Years

Warren Perger, Electrical and Computer Engineering
Charles Van Karsen, Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics

35 Years

David Hand, Civil and Environmental Engineering
Lawrence Sutter, Materials Science and Engineering

40 Years

Surendra Kawatra, Chemical Engineering

Congratulations to all honorees. This year’s Staff Service Recognition Luncheon will be held Wednesday, June 6.

By Human Resources.

Bruce Mork
Bruce Mork
Tim Schulz
Tim Schulz
Warren Perger
Warren Perger
Charles Van Karsen
Charles Van Karsen
David Hand
David Hand
Larry Sutter
Larry Sutter
S. Komar Kawatra
S. Komar Kawatra

Research Excellence Fund Awards Announced for 2018

Jeremy Bos in the labThe Vice President for Research Office announced the 2018 Research Excellence Fund (REF) awards and thanked the volunteer review committees, as well as the deans and department chairs, for their time spent on this important internal research award process. The awardees in the College of Engineering are listed below:

Infrastructure Enhancement (IE) Grants

Portage Health Foundation (PHF) Infrastructure Enhancement (IE) Grants

  • Jingfeng Jiang “JJ” (BME/LSTI) – Electromechanical Biomechanical testing apparatus (ACUMEN [3KN systems])

Research Seed (RS) Grants

Portage Health Foundation (PHF) Mid-Career (MC)


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

 

 


Michigan Tech at Earth and Space 2018

2018 ASCE Earth and Space banner

The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Earth and Space 2018 conference was held in Cleveland, Ohio, on April 9-12. Michigan Tech was well represented by several talks. Paul van Susante (MEEM) is the current chair of ASCE’s Aerospace Division that organized the conference and he gave two talks: “Minerals from Space: Terrestrial and Extra-terrestrial Perspectives” and “Robotic Mars and Lunar Landing Pad Construction Using In-Situ Rocks.” He also chaired two sessions, served as a student paper judge and handed out division awards as well as the Columbia medal to Paul Wooster from SpaceX on behalf of Elon Musk.

In addition, Gregory Odegard (MEEM) presented at the pre-conference shortcourse: “Design and Analysis of Composite Materials for Aerospace Structures.” Two of his students, Hashim Al Mahmud and Will Pisani, attended the shortcourse and each presented a paper. The papers titles were: “Multiscale Modeling of PEEK Using Reactive Molecular Dynamics Modeling and Micromechanics” and “Predicting the Effective Mechanical Properties of Graphene Nanoplatelet-Carbon Fiber-Epoxy Hybrid Composites Using ReaxFF: A Multiscale Modeling Approach”.

Wind Turbine Blade diagram with parts labeled.The 2017 best paper award for the Journal of Aerospace Engineering (published by ASCE by the Aerospace Division) was awarded to “Design and Simulation of Active External Trailing-Edge Flaps for Wind Turbine Blades on Load Reduction” by Xiao Sun, Qingli Dai, Muraleekrishnan Menon and Fernando Ponta in the September 2017 issue.

https://doi.org/10.1061/(ASCE)AS.1943-5525.0000771

Kristina Swallow, ASCE President, attended the entire conference which concluded with a tour of NASA Glenn Research Center. For more information, visit the ASCE Earth and Space website.