Tag: ECE

Stories about Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Dean’s Teaching Showcase: Tony Pinar

Tony Pinar
Tony Pinar

College of Engineering Dean Janet Callahan has selected Associate Teaching Professor Anthony (Tony) Pinar as the first member of this spring’s Deans’ Teaching Showcase.

Pinar 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.

Capstone design in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE), the second-largest department in the College of Engineering, is a complex ecology formed of students, the Enterprise Program office, industry partners, faculty subject matter experts and other departments’ capstone programs. It takes someone very special to be able to balance the interests of all those constituents and maintain a robust educational experience for every possible combination of project, team and sponsor. Pinar manages it with grace and a resolute commitment to excellence. “Almost everything about the class was amazing,” one student commented. “Honestly, I believe this may be the best formatted, run and taught class I’ve taken so far at Tech.” That’s high praise from a tough audience.

The strategy Pinar takes with the ECE Senior Design applies a common framework of tasks and deliverables across all Senior Design teams and allows for relatively autonomous advisor roles. This means that all teams have overall similar capstone experiences, but faculty advisors are able to coordinate, manage and assess their teams using their own individual styles. The framework stresses the importance of objective decision-making, following appropriate engineering standards and communicating engineering problems to other engineers. The common framework also helps ensure that the program meets external assessment criteria (e.g., ABET) and also provides a mechanism for the department to assess a large number of ECE students for program improvement. Jin Choi, ECE department chair, said: “We are proud of the improvements Tony has made to make this a more effective program. The students have really benefited.”

Projects in Senior Design generally challenge the students’ technical skills. Pinar coordinates the ongoing relationships with our industry sponsors and manages expectations when necessary. He has a wealth of industry experience that provides context for the students and informs his individual coaching for students as they navigate the transition between communicating with peers and communicating in a professional environment as engineers. Teams are required to present several times throughout the yearlong project. Pinar has crafted a common rubric that allows faculty, staff and industry sponsors to evaluate the students’ technical approach as well as individual presentation skills. This provides an opportunity for meaningful feedback from a variety of perspectives. This increases the quality of our students’ technical presentation skills, and their communication skills when discussing technical topics with fellow engineers. This quality increase has been noted by our own internal faculty advisors and by members on our External Advisory Committee.

Callahan, in closing, stated: “Dr. Pinar’s hard work and expertise prepares our students for excellence. Through his efforts our graduates are well prepared not only to technically excel, but also to communicate within and beyond their team beginning from the first position they hold.”

SWE Section Establishes Endowed Scholarship

Congratulations to Michigan Tech’s SWE Section as they announce the creation of a new endowed scholarship!

The Society of Women Engineers (SWE) Section at Michigan Tech is excited to announce the creation of a new endowed scholarship.

“The scholarship is in honor of our alumnae and alumni who have been part of our section since 1976,” says SWE advisor, Associate Teaching Professor Gretchen Hein.

“Eight years ago, in 2014, we hosted the SWE Region H Conference,” Hein explains. “With the funds received from SWE, we began saving with the goal of establishing an endowed scholarship. At long last, we have met our goal and will begin awarding an annual $1,000 endowed scholarship in 2026 to an active SWE section member.”

The new scholarship is in addition to the current section scholarships being awarded annually, notes Hein.

Michigan Tech SWE logo with gear

“As the President of SWE at Michigan Tech, I am excited that our section can provide an additional scholarship opportunity for our members,” said Aerith Cruz, a third year Management Information Systems student. “Our mission is threefold: ‘to stimulate women to achieve their full potential in careers as engineers and leaders, expand the image of the engineering profession as a positive force in improving the quality of life, and demonstrate the value of diversity.’ The establishment of our endowed scholarship demonstrates our dedication to support the future of SWE at Michigan Tech.”

Details regarding the scholarship application process will be announced in 2026. The process will mirror SWE’s current scholarship application where students complete a short essay, have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher, and provide a copy of their resume and a letter of recommendation.

Adds Hein: “Members of Michigan Tech’s SWE section greatly appreciate the guidance and assistance received from Jim Desrochers, director for corporate relations at Michigan Tech, and also Michigan Tech SWE advisor Elizabeth Hoy, director of business and program development at Michigan Tech’s Great Lakes Research Center. And we thank the University and our current and alumni members for their support!”

Would you like to support the SWE Endowed Scholarship?

Donations are welcome! Contribute via check or credit card. Visit mtu.edu/givenow for online donations or to find the mail-in form.

Key points:

  1. Gift Type is “Make a one time gift”
  2. Enter your gift amount
  3. Gift Designation: Select “Other” and enter “SWE Endowed Scholarship #5471″

SWE Congratulates Our Graduating Seniors and Scholarship Recipients

The Society of Women Engineers (SWE) Section at Michigan Tech congratulates our graduating seniors: Sophie Stewart and Audrey Levanen (mechanical engineering) and Kiira Hadden (biomedical engineering). We look forward to hearing from them as alumnae!

The section awarded two scholarships to active upper-division students. We are so proud of the accomplishments of Natalie Hodges (dual major: electrical and computer engineering) and Alli Hummel (civil engineering).

We will be awarding two scholarships in the spring to first- and second-year active members and will be posting the application information during the spring semester.

By Gretchen Hein, Advisor, Society of Women Engineers.

NASA, Artemis and Beyond: Inside Michigan Tech’s Multiplanetary INnovation Enterprise (MINE)

Dr. Paul van Susante’s Planetary Surface Technology Development Lab (PSTDL) at Michigan Tech is home of the Dusty Thermal Vacuum Chamber. It’s about as close to moon conditions as one can get on Earth!
Paul van Susante

Paul van Susante, Assistant Professor, Mechanical Engineering—Engineering Mechanics talks about MINE, the Multiplanetary INnovation Enterprise team at Michigan Tech, along with electrical engineering majors Brenda Wilson and Gabe Allis; and mechanical engineering major Parker Bradshaw.

Wilson, Allis and Bradshaw—along with about 50 other student members of the MINE team—design, test, and implement robotic technologies for extracting (and using) local resources in extreme environments. That includes Lunar and Martian surfaces, and flooded subterranean environments here on Earth. Prof. van Susante helped launch the team, and serves as MINE’s faculty advisor.

The award-winning Enterprise Program at Michigan Tech involves students—of any major—working in teams on real projects, with real clients. Michigan Tech currently has 23 different Enterprise teams on campus, working to pioneer solutions, invent products, and provide services.

“As an engineer, I’m an optimist. We can invent things that allow us to do things that now seem impossible.”

Paul van Susante
Students in the Huskyworks Lab at Michigan Tech work on the T-REX rover (Tethered permanently-shadowed Region Explorer). The T-REX lays down lightweight, superconducting cable connected to a lander, and it won NASA’s top prize—the Artemis Award.

MINE team members build and test robotic vehicles and technologies for clients in government and the private sector. They tackle construction and materials characterization, too. It all happens in van Susante’s Planetary Surface Technology Development Lab (PSTDL) at Michigan Tech, a place where science fiction becomes reality via prototyping, building, testing—and increasing the technology readiness and level of tech being developed for NASA missions. The PSTDL is also known as Huskyworks.

Prior to coming to Michigan Tech, Prof. van Susante earned his PhD and taught at the Colorado School of Mines, and also served as a NASA Faculty Fellow. He has been involved in research projects collaborating with Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, SpaceX, TransAstra, DARPA, NASA Kennedy Space Center, JPL, Bechtel, Caterpillar, and many others.

Prof. van Susante created the Huskyworks Dusty Thermal Vacuum Chamber himself, using his new faculty startup funding. It’s a vacuum-sealed room, partially filled with a simulated lunar dust that can be cooled to minus 196 degrees Celsius and heated to 150 degrees Celsius—essentially, a simulated moon environment. In the chamber, researchers can test surface exploration systems (i.e., rovers) in a box containing up to 3,000 pounds of regolith simulant. It’s about as close to moon conditions as one can get on Earth.

Students in the PSTDL move a testbox into position for testing in the Dusty Thermal Vacuum Chamber.

The NASA Artemis program aims to send astronauts back to the moon by 2025 and establish a permanent human presence. Building the necessary infrastructure to complete this task potentially requires an abundance of resources because of the high cost of launching supplies from Earth. 

“An unavoidable obstacle of space travel is what NASA calls the ‘Space Gear Ratio’, where in order to send one package into space, you need nearly 450 times that package’s mass in expensive rocket fuel to send it into space,” notes van Susante. “In order to establish a long-term presence on other planets and moons, we need to be able to effectively acquire the resources around us, known as in-situ-resource utilization, or ISRU.”

“NASA has several inter-university competitions that align with their goals for their up-and-coming Artemis Missions,” adds van Susante. 

Huskyworks and MINE have numerous Artemis irons in the fire, plus other research projects, too. We’ll learn a lot more about them during Husky Bites.

LUNABOTICS

A peek at the integrated system of MINE’s Lunabotics rover.
Six members of the Michigan Tech Astro-Huskies (plus Dr. van Susante) at NASA Kennedy Space Center Visitor Center, during the 2021-22 Lunabotics competition

Electrical engineering undergraduate student Brenda Wilson serves as the hardware sub-team lead of the Astro-Huskies, a group of 25 students within MINE who work on an autonomous mining rover as part of NASA’s Lunabotics competition. It’s held every year in Florida at the Kennedy Space Center with 50 teams in attendance from universities across the nation. This is the Astro-Huskies’ third year participating in the competition, coming up in May 2023. 

This year the Astro-Huskies are designing, building, testing, and competing with an autonomous excavation rover. The rover must traverse around obstacles such as mounds, craters, rocks; excavate ice to be used for the production of rocket fuel, then return to the collection point. By demonstrating their rover, each team in the competition contributes ideas to NASA’s future missions to operate on and start producing consumables on the lunar surface. 

DIVER

Mechanical engineering undergraduate student Gabe Allis is manager of the MINE team’s DIVER project (Deep Investigation Vehicle for Energy Resources). The team is focused on building an untethered ROV capable of descending down into the Quincy mine to map the flooded tunnels and collect water samples. The team supports ongoing research at Michigan Tech that aims to convert flooded mine shafts into giant batteries, or Pumped Underground Storage for Hydropower (PUSH) facilities.

What it looks like beneath the Quincy Mine in Hancock, Michigan. Illustration courtesy of Michigan Tech’s Department of Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences.

“Before a mine can be converted into a PUSH facility it must be inspected, and most mines are far deeper than can be explored by a conventional diver,”Allis explains.

“This is where we come in, with a robust, deep-diving robot that’s designed for an environment more unforgiving than the expanse of outer space, and that includes enormous external pressure, no communication, and no recovery if something goes wrong,” he says.  

“Differences in water temperature at different depths cause currents that can pull our robot in changing directions,” adds Allis. “No GPS means that our robot may have to localize from its environment, which means more computing power, and more space, weight, energy consumption, and cooling requirements. These are the sort of problems that our team needs to tackle.”

TRENCHER

During Husky Bites, Bradshaw will tell us about the team’s Trencher project, which aims to provide proof-of-concept for extracting the lunar surface using a bucket ladder-style excavator. “Bucket ladders offer a continuous method of excavation that can transport a large amount of material with minimal electricity, an important consideration for operations on the moon,” Bradshaw says. “With bucket ladders NASA will be able to extract icy regolith to create rocket fuel on the moon and have a reliable method to shape the lunar surface.” Unlike soil, regolith is inorganic material that has weathered away from the bedrock or rock layer beneath.

Parker Bradshaw, also a mechanical engineering student, is both a member of MINE and member of van Susante’s lab, where he works as an undergraduate researcher. “Dr. van Susante is my boss, PI, and Enterprise advisor. I first worked with him on a MINE project last year, then got hired by his lab (the PSTDL) to do research over the summer.”

Bradshaw is preparing a research paper detailing data the team has gathered while excavating in the lab’s Dusty Thermal Vacuum Chamber, with a goal of sharing what was learned by publishing their results in an academic journal.

The PSTDL’s field-rover HOPLITE gets ready for field-test last winter.

“An unavoidable obstacle of space travel is what NASA calls the ‘Space Gear Ratio’, where in order to send one package into orbit around Earth, you need nearly 10 times that package’s mass in expensive rocket fuel to send it into space, and even more for further destinations,” van Susante explains. “So in order to establish a long-term presence on other planets and moons, we need to be able to effectively acquire the resources around us, known as in-situ-resource utilization, or ISRU.”

In the world-class Huskyworks lab (and in the field) van Susante and his team work on a wide variety of projects:

Paul van Susante served as a mining judge during the 2018 Regolith Mining Competition at the NASA Kennedy Space Center Visitor Center

NASA Lunar Surface Technology Research (LuSTR)—a “Percussive Hot Cone Penetrometer and Ground Penetrating Radar for Geotechnical and Volatiles Mapping.”

NASA Breakthrough Innovative and Game Changing (BIG) Idea Challenge 2020—a “Tethered permanently shaded Region EXplorer (T-REX)” delivers power and communication into a PSR, (also known as a Polarimetric Scanning Radiometer).

NASA Watts on the Moon Centennial Challenge—providing power to a water extraction plant PSR located 3 kilometers from the power plant. Michigan Tech is one of seven teams that advanced to Phase 2, Level 2 of the challenge.

NASA ESI Early Stage Innovation—obtaining water from rock gypsum on Mars.

NASA Break the Ice—the latest centennial challenge from NASA, to develop technologies aiding in the sustained presence on the Moon.

NASA NextSTEP BAA ISRU, track 3—”RedWater: Extraction of Water from Mars’ Ice Deposits” (subcontract from principal investigator Honeybee Robotics).

NASA GCD MRE—Providing a regolith feeder and transportation system for the MRE reactor

HOPLITE—a modular robotic system that enables the field testing of ISRU technologies.

Dr. van Susante met his wife, Kate, in Colorado.

Dr. van Susante, how did you first get into engineering? What sparked your interest?

Helping people and making the world a better place with technology and the dream of space exploration. My interest came from sci-fi books and movies and seeing what people can accomplish when they work together.

Hometown and Hobbies?

I grew up in The Netherlands and got my MS in Civil Engineering from TU-Delft before coming to the USA to continue grad school. I met my wife in Colorado and have one 8 year old son. The rest of my family is still in The Netherlands. Now I live in Houghton, Michigan, not too far from campus. I love downhill and x-country skiing, reading (mostly sci-fi/fantasy), computer and board games, and photography.

Dr. van Susante has been a huge help—not just with the technical work, but with the project management side of things. We’ve found it to be one of the biggest hurdles to overcome as a team this past year.

Brenda Wilson

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

My dad, who is a packaging engineer, would explain to me how different machines work and how different things are made. My interest in electrical engineering began with the realization that power is the backbone to today’s society. Nearly everything we use runs on electricity. I wanted to be able to understand the large complex system that we depend so heavily upon. Also, because I have a passion for the great outdoors, I want to take my degree in a direction where I can help push the power industry towards green energy and more efficient systems.

Hometown, family?

My hometown is Naperville, Illinois. I have one younger brother starting his first year at Illinois State in general business. My Dad is a retired packaging engineer with a degree from Michigan State, and my mom is an accountant with a masters degree from the University of Chicago.

Any hobbies? Pets? What do you like to do in your spare time?

I am an extremely active person and try to spend as much time as I can outside camping and on the trails. I also spend a good chunk of my time running along the portage waterfront, swing dancing, and just recently picked up mountain biking.

I got involved in the DIVER project in MINE, and have enjoyed working with Dr. van Susante. He’s a no nonsense kind of guy. He tells you what you need to improve on, and then helps you get there.

Gabe Allis
Gabe Allis

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

I first became interested in engineering when my great-uncle gave me a college text-book of his on engineering: Electric Circuits and Machines, by Eugene Lister. I must have been at most 13. To my own surprise, I began reading it and found it interesting. Ever since then I’ve been looking for ways to learn more.

Hometown, family?

I’m from Ann Arbor, Michigan, the oldest of nine. First in my family to go to Tech, and probably not the last. 

Any hobbies? Pets? What do you like to do in your spare time?

I like to play guitar, read fiction, mountain bike, explore nature, and hang out/worship at St. Albert the Great Catholic Church.

“Doing both Enterprise work and research under Dr. van Susante has been a very valuable experience. I expect to continue working in his orbit through the rest of my undergrad degree.”

Parker Bradshaw
Parker Bradshaw

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

I was first introduced to engineering by my dad, who manufactured scientific equipment for the University of Michigan Psychology department. Hanging around in his machine shop at a young age made me really want to work with my hands. What I do as a member of MINE is actually very similar to what my dad did at the U of M. I create research equipment that we use to obtain the data we need for our research, just for me it’s space applications (instead of rodent brains).

Hometown, family?

I grew up in Ann Arbor Michigan, and both of my parents work for the University of Michigan Psychology department. My dad is now retired.

Any hobbies? Pets? What do you like to do in your spare time?

I have a variety of things to keep me busy when school isn’t too overbearing. I go to the Copper Country Community Art Center Clay Co-Op as often as I can to throw pottery on the wheel. I also enjoy watercolor painting animals in a scientific illustration style. Over the summer I was working on my V22 style RC plane project.

Michigan Tech MINE team photo (taken last year). The constraints of the pandemic complicated some of their efforts, yet brought out the best in all of them.

Read more

To the Moon—and Beyond

Watch

Mine Video for Michigan Tech 2022 Design Expo

SWE Students and Alumnae Host Girl Scouts Events

Two girls construct cranes on a tabletop.
Junior Girl Scouts participate in crane design at Michigan Tech.

Michigan Tech’s Society of Women Engineers (SWE) section and two SWE alumnae hosted two Girl Scouts events for 69 youth Nov. 8 and 10, 2022.

On Nov. 8, Amy (Palmgren) Rokos ’08 (computer engineering) and Pam (Wolting) Seibert ’10 (civil engineering) hosted a Girl Scouts event for K-5 Scouts in Grand Rapids, Michigan, using activities and materials provided by the SWE section. For this event, Rokos and Seibert selected activities developed at Michigan Tech and received instructions on how to do them with youth. Thirty-nine Scouts participated in the event.

Rokos stated: “The event was a success! I think the girls had fun and the leaders really appreciated us putting on the event.”

Seibert commented: “This morning was fantastic! Thanks to the entire MTU team for these ideas and fantastic programs. (The Scouts) were engaged the entire time frame and came out more excited about engineering. Electrical and chemical engineering seem to be the leaders of interest. The ice cream was really simple too, almost easier than my machine at home.“

On Nov. 10, 30 Junior Girl Scouts in northern Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula participated in a crane design, construct and test activity hosted by the MTU SWE section. This outreach event was unique because the local Girl Scouts came to Michigan Tech and completed the activity in one of the Manufacturing and Mechanical Engineering Technology labs, while the other Scouts completed the event virtually.

We really appreciated hosting the Nov. 10 event in a Tech lab. When the Scouts were constructing their crane, they could look at an engine stand. The stand and crane have many similar parts. Some of the youth observed that the base of the stand was wider at the base and with this design, when the engine was supported by the boom, the stand did not tip over. These concepts were incorporated into their designs. The SWE members enjoyed working with the Girls Scouts and look forward to the Girl Scouts events we have planned for the spring semester.

By Gretchen Hein, SWE Advisor.

Group photo of girls and hosts.
Girl Scouts visit Michigan Tech.
Girls work with soapy materials at a tabletop.
Event hosted in Grand Rapids, Michigan, for K-5 Girl Scouts.
Several girls seated on a carpeted floor and using bags of material.
Girl Scouts engaged in activities in Grand Rapids.

Engineering Day at Lake Linden Elementary

Lake Linden - Hubbell Elementary School exterior with bicycles.

WLUC TV6 and the Daily Mining Gazette covered Engineering Day at Lake Linden Elementary School. The event was hosted by Michigan Tech’s Society of Women Engineers and Engineering Ambassadors Program on October 28, 2022.

Gretchen Hein (MMET) and undergraduate students Audrey Levanen and Julia Westfall (both mechanical engineering) were quoted by TV6. 

Hein and undergraduate students Natalie Hodge (electrical and computer engineering) and Sam Jager and Robert Eckright (both mechanical engineering) were quoted by the Gazette.

Jaclyn Johnson (ME-EM) was mentioned in both stories.

The combined group engaged students with a variety of engineering activities. This included using tin foil boats to showcase buoyancy, making small-scale roller coasters, and even using batteries to make “robots” jump.

Engineering Students Place High in Computing[MTU] Showcase 2022

Trevor and Dominika stand next to their poster.
Trevor Petrin (left) and Dominika Bobik (right).

The Institute of Computing and Cybersystems (ICC) is pleased to announce the winners of the Computing[MTU] Showcase Poster Session of October 10. Congratulations and thanks to all the graduate and undergraduate students who presented their research posters!

Please visit the showcase’s Research Poster Session page to view the poster abstracts and photos from the event.

Undergraduate Winners

  • First Place: Dominika Bobik (ECE, Computer Engineering) — “An Educational Modeling Software Tool That Teaches Computational Thinking Skills”
  • Second Place: Niccolo Jeanetta-Wark (MEEM, Mechanical Engineering) — “Performance Measurement of Trajectory Tracking Controllers for Wheeled Mobile Robots”
  • Third Place: Kristoffer Larsen — “A machine learning-based method for cardiac resynchronization therapy decision support”

Graduate Winners

  • First Place: Shashank Pathrudkar (MEEM, Mechanical Engineering) — “Interpretable machine learning model for the deformation of multiwalled carbon nanotubes”
  • Second Place: Nicholas Hamilton — “Enhancing Visualization and Explainability of Computer Vision Models with Local Interpretable Model-Agnostic Explanations (LIME)”
  • Third Place (Tie): Zonghan Lyu (BME, Biomedical Engineering) — “Automated Image Segmentation for Computational Analysis of Patients with Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms”
  • Third Place (Tie): Tauseef Mamun — “When to be Aware of your Self-Driving Vehicle: Use of Social Media Posts to Understand Problems and Misconceptions about Tesla’s Full Self-Driving Mode”

Read more on the ICC Blog, by Karen Johnson.

Excellence in Student Publishing

Global map with readership numbers marked at various locations.

This week, October 17–21, 2022, the Graduate School and the Van Pelt and Opie Library celebrate International Open Access Week. The event is organized by the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC).

This year, we’re marking Open Access Week by recognizing the 10 years of master’s theses, doctoral dissertations and master’s reports (ETDRs) that are freely available to the world through Digital Commons @ Michigan Tech, the University’s institutional repository. This collection of works is comprehensive back to 2012, and some are nearly a decade older. With Digital Commons, we’re provided with usage statistics that show activity on the platform and across the web. Throughout the week, we’ll share stories and insights informed by these statistics that speak to how publishing Open Access has benefitted Michigan Tech students. In the meantime, take a moment to check out the collection of ETDRs on Digital Commons @ Michigan Tech.

One great feature of Digital Commons @ Michigan Tech is its shareable readership dashboard. This dashboard displays statistics related to how users are interacting with content on the repository. For example, users have downloaded Michigan Tech master’s theses, master’s reports and dissertations over 1.5 million times from 227 different countries.

Top Ten Visited Submissions

  1. 33,471 hits — “Determination of Bulk Density of Rock Core Using Standard Industry Methods
    Author: Kacy Mackenzey Crawford, Master of Science in Civil Engineering
  2. 18,930 hits — “Modeling, Simulation and Control of Hybrid Electric Vehicle Drive While Minimizing Energy Input Requirements Using Optimized Gear Ratios
    Author: Sanjai Massey, Master of Science in Electrical Engineering
  3. 18,484 hits — “Teaching the Gas Properties and Gas Laws: An Inquiry Unit with Alternative Assessment
    Author: Michael Hammar, Master of Science in Applied Science Education
  4. 17,781 hits — “Twelve Factors Influencing Sustainable Recycling of Municipal Solid Waste in Developing Countries
    Author: Alexis Manda Troschinetz, Master of Science in Environmental Engineering
  5. 14,281 hits — “Parameter Estimation for Transformer Modeling
    Author: Sung Don Cho, Doctor of Philosophy in Electrical Engineering
  6. 12,895 hits — “Aerothermodynamic Cycle Analysis of a Dual-Spool, Separate-Exhaust Turbofan Engine with an Interstage Turbine Burner
    Author: Ka Heng Liew, Doctor of Philosophy in Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics
  7. 12,597 hits — “Virus Purification, Detection and Removal
    Author: Khrupa Saagar Vijayaragavan, Doctor of Philosophy in Chemical Engineering
  8. 11,089 hits — “Measuring the Elastic Modulus of Polymers Using the Atomic Force Microscope
    Author: Daniel Hoffman, Master of Science in Materials Science and Engineering
  9. 11,050 hits — “Identity and Ritual: The American Consumption of True Crime
    Author: Rebecca Frost, Doctor of Philosophy in Rhetoric, Theory and Culture
  10. 10,561 hits — “Energy Harvesting from Body Motion Using Rotational Micro-Generation
    Author: Edwar. Romero-Ramirez, Doctor of Philosophy in Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics

To dig deeper into the collection, it consists of 2,611 dissertations, theses and reports with 76% of them available Open Access. The Open Access collection represents each college on campus:

  • College of Engineering: 58%
  • College of Sciences and Arts: 28%
  • College of Forest Resources and Environmental Science: 8%
  • College of Computing: 3%
  • College of Business: 1%
  • School of Technology: 1%

Citations for Student Engineering Works

Matthew Howard’s master’s thesis, “Multi-software modeling technique for field distribution propagation through an optical vertical interconnect assembly,” has been mentioned on Facebook 527 times. “Impact of E20 Fuel on High-Performance, Two-Stroke Engine,” a master’s report by Jon Gregory Loesche, was cited in a 2021 technical report by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, a national laboratory of the U.S. Department of Energy.

By the Graduate School and the Van Pelt and Opie Library.

Mike Roggemann: Mixing Lasers with the Atmosphere

“A mirage is light from the sky that is refracted back to your eye, with turbulence thrown in to make it shimmer,” says Michigan Tech Professor Emeritus Mike Roggeman. Image of ship on horizon, taken in Dubrovnik. Credit: Thriol, Flickr.

Mike Roggemann shares his knowledge on Husky Bites, a free, interactive webinar this Monday, 10/10 at 6 pm. 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.

Michigan Tech Professor Emeritus Mike Roggemann

What are you doing for supper this Monday night 10/10 at 6 ET? Grab a bite with Associate Dean Leonard Bohmann and Mike Roggemann, professor emeritus of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Michigan Tech. The two worked together for many years as colleagues in the ECE Department.

Note: Dr. Bohmann will fill in as host for Husky Bites on Monday, October 10. He is Michigan Tech’s associate dean for academic affairs in the College of Engineering, and also a professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

According to the National Weather Service, turbulence is an irregular motion of the air resulting from eddies and vertical currents, associated with fronts, wind shear, and thunderstorms. It can be chaotic, irregular, random, and swirling. “That’s the mechanical form of turbulence,” notes Roggemann. “I’m interested in the optical effects of turbulence,” he says.

Leonard Bohmann is associate dean for academic affairs in the College of Engineering at Michigan Tech

“Think back to a hot summer day, when you’ve seen a car driving down a road that’s shimmering in the heat,” he says. “There are some really interesting atmospheric optic effects. A huge amount of work has been done to understand the nature of these effects and how to mitigate them—due to the practical impact on a huge number of things we really want to work.”

Over the years at Michigan Tech, Roggemann has put Michigan Tech’s north woods location on Lake Superior to great use for his research. One of his goals: to extend the range and understand the performance of imaging and laser systems in any kind of weather. 

“We’ve got it all here—remote locations, blizzards, thunderstorms, heat waves,” he says. “The UP is uniquely suited to the job.” 

Data from some of Dr. Roggemann’s previous research.

Roggemann and his research team at Michigan Tech developed a laser communications testbed to evaluate adaptive optics algorithms, installing it atop an eight-story building in the nearby city of Hancock. The system directed a laser beam 3.2 kilometers to a receiver located on the roof of the Dow Building on campus. They spent several years monitoring atmospheric turbulence, scattering, and weather to understand how such factors fluctuate in the real world. 


A Swiss F-5E Jet shimmers in the heat at RAF Fairford in England.

Free space laser communications systems send lasers through air. One challenge is that it’s not really free space—it’s air. “Atmosphere changes and turbulence can make the laser beam wander,” says Roggemann.  “Some technologies exist to partially mitigate these effects, but none are perfect,” he says.

Channel fading is one problem, and sometimes deep channel fading. If it goes down too low, the communication link can be broken. Roggemann and his research team of students designed and tested various ways of solving this problem to make laser communications more stable and reliable—and be able to achieve the highest possible channel capacity.

One thing they tried: using adaptive optics (AO) on the transmitter, to steer and focus the laser beam on the receiver aperture. The result was less fluctuation, which reduced fading. They discovered another benefit—an increase in received optical signal power.

A fellow of Optica (OSA) and fellow of SPIE, Roggeman is coauthor of the book “Imaging Through Turbulence,” and has authored or coauthored over sixty journal articles and over fifty conference papers, many relating to laser communication. Some of his other research interests include optical remote-sensing system design and analysis, and signal and image processing.

“Lasers and the atmosphere don’t mix all that well.”

Mike Roggemann

Before joining the faculty at Michigan Tech, Roggemann was an associate professor of engineering physics at the Air Force Institute of Technology, Wright-Patterson AFB, in Ohio. 

He earned a BS in Electrical Engineering at Iowa University, and an MS and PhD in Electrical Engineering at the Air Force Institute of Technology. Along the way he worked as an electro-optics program manager at Wright Laboratories, Wright-Patterson AFB, in Ohio, and an imaging researcher at the Phillips Laboratory, Kirtland AFB, in New Mexico. 

When you spot this sign, you’re in the right place to witness the Paulding Light.

Prof. Roggemann mentored and advised countless electrical engineering students over the years, many of whom earned their doctorate degrees. In addition to conducting research and teaching in photonics and optics, Prof. Roggeman served as the ECE department’s graduate director, no small feat. At any given time, the ECE department has about 50-plus PhD students and 140-plus MS students. 

In 2011, a group of Roggemann’s research students at Michigan Tech, led by then PhD student Jeremy Bos, examined the mysterious Paulding Light phenomena taking place in Paulding, Michigan. Their goal: separate fact from fiction.

Spoiler Alert: “The Paulding Light can be explained as a refraction of headlights from an inversion over the valley,” says Roggemann.

“If not for the students, why are we here?”

Leonard Bohmann
Free space laser communication is being tested and developed by NASA. At Michigan Tech, Dr. Roggemann is an expert on another kind: near ground laser communication. Credit: Laser Communications Relay Demonstration payload, NASA.

Dr. Bohmann was serving as interim ECE department chair when the position for the College of Engineering associate dean opened up. “I kind of like the administrative side of things, so I applied for the job,” he says.

It gives him the chance to participate in professional service, including volunteering as a program evaluator for ABET, the organization that accredits engineering programs (including Michigan Tech’s). He’s an ABET commissioner, working with ABET for close to 20 years now. 

But how did Dean Bohmann end up at Michigan Tech in the first place? The year was 1988, early October. 

“Janeen and I decided to make the long drive to Houghton to see what it was like at Michigan Tech,” he recalls. “That night we stayed at McLain State Park campground. We got up in the morning, looked out of the tent, and saw snowflakes in the air.” 

The rest is history. “We decided to move to the Great North Woods, to live near the shore of Lake Superior. This August it will have been 33 years!” 

The Paulding Light. Note: the small green light is a star. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Dr. Roggemann, how did you first get into engineering? What sparked your interest?

I was fascinated by the space program as a boy in the 1960s and 1970s, and resolved to go to college and major in science or engineering to be a part of it.

Hometown?

I was born and raised in a small town in Iowa. After high school I went to Iowa State, and entered the Air Force upon graduation. I had some interesting assignments while on active duty, and got both my MSEE and PhD. I spent my last five years on active duty as a professor at the Air Force Institute of Technology. Upon retiring from the Air Force I joined the faculty at Michigan Tech, in the ECE department. I retired from academic life in June 2022.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

Quite a few hobbies:  hunting, fishing, exercise, reading, shooting replica firearms from the 1800’s, boating, traveling (more now that I’m not tied down by the academic calendar!), snowmobiling, snowshoeing, moving snow in the winter, and hiking. Never a dull moment. We have two lovable dogs, Fritz and Penne.  

Dr. Bohmann at Design Expo, Michigan Tech’s Annual showcase of Enterprise and Senior Design student projects.

Dr. Bohmann, what is your advice for new students? 

“It is important to study hard, but also important to play hard. If you are going to come to Michigan Tech you need to embrace the outdoors, because it’s here.”

Hometown?

Cincinnati, Ohio. “I went to college in Dayton, and graduate school in Madison. I just kept moving north until I ran into water—Lake Superior—and then I stopped.”

Family?

Janeen and Nick. Before that, I grew up in a family of 10.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I like to snowshoe to and from work.

What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?

“Realizing that I am impacting students all across the college. Although I am more removed from day to day interactions, I have a chance to make sure they are getting a great education.”

Read More:

It’s Out There: Return to the Paulding Light

Watch

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Unraveling the Paulding Light mystery.

SWE Hosts Evening with Industry in 2022

Event room with tables and presentation screen.

On September 20 the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) hosted its annual Evening with Industry (EWI). The event brought together over 115 students and sponsors from 23 companies. The highlight of the evening was keynote speaker Carrie Struss from Milwaukee Tool, who discussed career development and tips from her career journey.

The section would like to thank all who attended and participated in making the evening a success. “EWI has been held for 34 years. Its success is due to the involvement and commitment of the SWE Section and our EWI Committee,” said Gretchen Hein, the section’s advisor.

The EWI Committee comprised four students: Alli Hummel (civil engineering), Natalie Hodge (electrical and computer engineering), and Maci Dostaler and Kathleen Heusser (biomedical engineering).

The SWE section works closely with Career Services to ensure the sponsor registration and support runs smoothly. The section thanks the sponsors for their support and input. They are truly part of the Michigan Tech learning community. These corporate representatives visit with the students during EWI and guide the students through the transition from student to professional. These interactions greatly help students learn how to advocate for themselves and others as they begin their careers.

Many students commented about the benefits of EWI:

  • “I got to know the recruiters before Career Fair and was able to get an interview.”
  • “I talked with Gerdau after EWI and they pulled me aside, went through my resume, and did a mini interview!”
  • “The Textron recruiter I talked to was very excited about me coming to the Textron booth at Career Fair. I’m definitely applying to a company (CWC Textron) I hadn’t considered before today!”
  • “Last year, I stepped into a one-on-one meeting with Stellantis on a whim which led to a successful internship with them, changing my whole career direction!”

SWE has begun planning the 2023 EWI event. If you are interested in learning more about it, please contact us at SWEEWI@mtu.edu.

By Gretchen Hein, Advisor, Society of Women Engineers.

Related

SWE, Aerospace Enterprise Represent MTU at Women in Aviation Day

Women in Aviation Day banner with image of Amelia Earhart.

On September 17, 2022, eight students from the Aerospace Enterprise and Society of Women Engineers represented Michigan Tech at the first annual Women in Aviation Day in Wausau, Wisconsin.

Participating students were:

From Aerospace: Heather Goetz, Seth Quayle and Nolan Pickett (mechanical engineering); and Zoe Knoper (cybersecurity).

From SWE: Sophie Stewart and Katherine Rauscher (mechanical engineering); Kathryn Krieger (environmental engineering); and Cailyn Koerber (engineering management).

This event was hosted by the Learn Build Fly organization, which does incredible volunteer work in engaging their community in aviation. As summarized by Wausau’s WSAW-TV News Channel 7, “The event aimed to get more women involved in recreational and professional aviation. Children had the chance to participate in ‘Young Eagle Flights’ by going for airplane rides, while other aviation organizations gave information about their programs.”

Visitors to the event had the opportunity to see a 3D model of the newest Aerospace Enterprise satellite design and learn how these students were designing and building satellites to go into space, while the SWE team worked with visitors on an outreach activity, Paper Circuits.

Participants’ comments included:

Nolan Pickett: “Our Enterprise was given the opportunity to not only celebrate the women in our program, but also promote STEM to the next generation of college students — and fly in a WWII era B-25!”

Kathryn Krieger: “I loved being able to see so many young girls getting excited about STEM. It was really inspiring to see the many ways kids are getting involved with aviation and other STEM disciplines from such a young age.”

Both SWE and the Aerospace Enterprise teams enjoyed volunteering at Women in Aviation, learning more about the history of aviation and meeting with folks interested in aviation careers. This was a unique outreach opportunity and they appreciated the support they received from Admissions and the College of Engineering.

By Gretchen Hein, SWE Advisor.