Tag: ECE

Earth Day Continues! All are Welcome at these Copper Country (social-distance friendly) Special Events

Historical sign once hung on posts at the entrance to the city of Houghton, Michigan that says, Welcoome to the Copper country. You are now breathing the purest most vitalizing air on earth!
Courtesy of Michigan Tech Archives

There are still many Earth Day events coming up in Copper Country, and no matter where you live on this Earth, you’re invited. All are welcome.

  • Get Some Fresh Air: Nature is Open for Business
    Now through May 10 — Self-guided walk featuring Earth Day artwork from Houghton Elementary 4th grade students at Keweenaw Land Trust Paavola Wetlands. Can’t get there in person? Here’s the video tour.
  • Planet of the Humans
    April 21 and beyond: View “Planet of the Humans” (90 min.)  The film takes a harsh look at how the environmental movement has lost the battle through well-meaning but disastrous choices, including the belief that solar panels and windmills would save us, and giving in to corporate interests of Wall Street.
  • Invasive Plant Removal Challenge
    Now through June 20 — Stewardship Network Spring Invasive Plant Removal Challenge. Pull invasive species from your yard, natural area, anywhere. Submit location, number of people, and weight of invasive plants removed.
  • Great Lakes Bioblitz!
    Now through – May 20 — Great Lakes Bioblitz in your Backyard. Community members, families, and students across the Great Lakes states and Ontario are invited to participate in finding and identifying as many wild, living things as possible in a specific area (backyards and other outdoor spaces) during the next month
  • How Some are Turning the Stay at Home Order into a Positive Experience
    Saturday (April 25) from 6-8 p.m. — UPEC 2020 Celebrate the U.P. Presentations will be available later on YouTube. Speakers include Monica Lewis-Patrick, We The People of Detroit; Sarah Green, International Climate Action; Angie Carter, Western UP Food Systems Council, and several more. The event will wrap up with short videos on how some have turned the Stay at Home order into a positive experience.
  • What Happens to Houghton County Recyclables
    April 28, 7-8 p.m. — “What Happens to Houghton County Recyclables?” with Eagle Waste & Recycling owner, Alan Alba, and sponsored by Copper Country Recycling Initiative.
  • Native Plant Symposium: Monarch Butterflies
    April 30, 7 p.m. Native Plant Symposium Part 2, Sue Trull, botanist for the Ottawa Nat. Forest, will present “Monarchs & Milkweeds—All Hands-on Deck,” and “Using Native Plants to Support Pollinators” by Jackie Manchester-Kempke, of Houghton, an extension master gardener. Register here.
  • Book Club: Nature’s Best Hope
    May 7, 7 p.m.— Keweenaw Land Trust’s Natural History. Book Club discussion of Doug Tallamy’s “Nature’s Best Hope” via Zoom. (Password: 703851)
  • Five things you can keep out of the landfill:
    June 27  — (Stay tuned) The previously scheduled Waste Reduction Drive for Earth Day, sponsored by Michigan Tech’s student-run Sustainability House, will be rescheduled. In the meantime, keep collecting Styrofoam containers, plastic bottle caps, batteries and foil lined granola and energy bar wrappers. Read how they can be recycled here.

Design Expo 2020 Award Winners

A view of campus from across the Portage Canal, with light snow, and open water.

More than 1,000 students in Enterprise and Senior Design showcased their hard work last Thursday, April 16 at Michigan Tech’s first-ever virtual Design Expo. Teams competed for cash awards totaling nearly $4,000. Judges included corporate representatives, community members and Michigan Tech staff and faculty.

The College of Engineering and the Pavlis Honors College are pleased to announce award winners, below. Congratulations and thanks to ALL teams for a very successful Design Expo 2020. But first, a few important items:

Design Expo Video Gallery

Be sure to check out the virtual gallery, which remains on display at mtu.edu/expo.

20th Anniversary of Design Expo
This year marked the 20th anniversary of Design Expo. Read the Michigan Tech news story here.

SOAR’s SSROV Royale deployed in summers on Isle Royale National Park as part of the Enterprise partnership.
SOAR’s SSROV Royale deployed in summers on Isle Royale National Park as part of the Enterprise partnership

Special Note:
In addition to all the Michigan Tech teams, SOAR, a high school Enterprise from Dollar Bay High School in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, also took part in this year’s virtual Design Expo. Advised by teacher Matt Zimmer, the team designs, builds, and deploys underwater remote operated vehicles (ROVs). SOAR partners with local community organizations to monitor, research, and improve the local watershed. Their clients include Isle Royale National Park, Delaware Mine, OcuGlass, and Michigan Tech’s Great Lakes Research Center. Check out the SOAR video here (SOAR is team 124).


Now, without further ado, here are the Design Expo award results!


ENTERPRISE AWARDS
Based on video submissions

Team photo with Baja vehicle outside on campus at Michigan Tech with Portage Canal in the background.

First Place – $500
Blizzard Baja Enterprise
Team Leaders: Olivia Vargo, Mechanical Engineering, and Kurt Booms, Mechanical Engineering Technology
Advisor: Kevin Johnson, Mechanical Engineering Technology
Sponsors: General Motors, Aramco Americas, DENSO, SAE International, Magna, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Halla Mechatronics, Meritor, Oshkosh Corporation, Ford Motor Company, John Deere, Nexteer, IPETRONIK, FEV, Milwaukee Tool, Altair, Henkel, ArcelorMittal, TeamTECH, and Keysight Technologies
Overview: Building and innovating a single-seat, off-road vehicle for the SAE Collegiate Design Series-Baja events is the team’s focus. After passing a rigorous safety and technical inspection, they compete on acceleration, hill climb, maneuverability, suspension and endurance. The team also organizes and hosts the Winter Baja Invitational event, a long-standing university tradition dating back to 1981.


Team photo

Second Place – $300
Mining INnovation Enterprise (MINE)

Team Leaders: George Johnson, Mechanical Engineering; and Breeanne Heusdens, Geological Engineering
Advisor: Paulus Van Susante, Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics
Sponsors: Cignys, Cummins, General Motors, MEEM Advisory Board, Michigan Scientific Corporation, Michigan Space Grant Consortium, Milwaukee Tool, MISUMI, NASA, Raytheon, Wayland Wildcats
Overview: MINE designs, tests, and implements mining innovation technologies—in some hard-to-reach places—for industry partners. The team is developing a gypsum process to mine water on Mars funded by a grant from NASA. Gypsum is 20 percent water by weight and is found abundantly on the surface of Mars. A geological sub-team is developing methodology for deep sea mining research. Last but not least, MINE is creating a robot for the NASA Lunabotics competition, held every year at the Kennedy Space Center with 50 university teams in attendance.


Team photo near the Husky statue at Michigan Tech, in the snow.

Third Place – $200 (tie)
Innovative Global Solutions
(IGS)
Team Leaders: Nathan Tetzlaff, Mechanical Engineering; Marie Marche, Biomedical Engineering
Advisors: Radheshyam Tewari, Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics; and Nathan Manser, Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences
Sponsors: Cummins, Milwaukee Tool, and Enterprise Manufacturing Initiative funded by General Motors
Overview: IGS pursues solutions for the needs of developing countries, making contributions toward solving the Grand Challenges, an initiative set forth by the National Academy of Engineering. The team has designed, built and tested an innovative vaccine container to improve the transport of viable vaccines and increase accessibility. They have developed a low-cost, multifunctional infant incubator to help decrease infant mortality rates. They are also working on an open-source-based 3D printer that can recycle plastic to meet basic community needs.


Stratus: Detailed render of the Stratus spacecraft deployed on-orbit.

Third Place – $200 (tie)
Aerospace Enterprise

Team Leaders: Troy Maust, Computer Engineering; and Matthew Sietsema, Electrical Engineering
Advisor: L. Brad King, Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics
Sponsors: Air Force Research Laboratory, NASA
Overview: Space mission design and analysis, vehicle integration, systems engineering, and comprehensive ground-testing and qualification are all going on within the Aerospace Enterprise at any given time. All members contribute toward achieving specific project goals. The Auris mission demonstrates the technical feasibility of a CubeSat to provide situational data, in collaboration with the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL). The Stratus mission involves collecting atmospheric and weather data from a CubeSat in collaboration with NASA—a pathfinder toward developing new, complex space systems leveraging the low-cost and small size of CubeSats to achieve the performance of traditional, monolithic systems.


Lost in Mazie Mansion, a game created by HGD shows an illustration of Mazie (small figure with golden hair, standing in what looks like a library, with 3 sets of bookcases behind her.

Honorable Mention – $100
Husky Game Development (HGD)

Team Leaders: Colin Arkens and Xixi Tian, Computer Science
Advisor: Scott Kuhl, Computer Science
Sponsor: Pavlis Honors College
Overview: Developing video games is the name of the game for HGD. Each year, the Enterprise breaks up into subteams of around six students who experience a full game development cycle, including ideation, design, and end product. HGD explores a wide variety of video game engines and platforms, including Windows, Android, Xbox, and an experimental Display Wall.


SENIOR DESIGN AWARDS
Based on video submissions

Blueprint-style drawing of the team's eddy current inspection in-line integration tester.

First Place – $400
Eddy Current Inspection In-line Integration

Team Members: Brett Hulbert, Austin Ballou, Britten Lewis, Nathan Beining, Philip Spillman and Sophie Pawloski, Mechanical Engineering
Advisor: Wayne Weaver, Mechanical Engineering- Engineering Mechanics
Sponsor: MacLean-Fogg Component Solutions-Metform
Overview: Eddy current testing (ECT) is a non-destructive method for testing metal surfaces for defects using electromagnetic induction to detect surface flaws in conductive materials. The team was tasked with developing an eddy current tester that would non-destructively test a washer for surface cracks and flaws before it is assembled with a nut. They created a testing operation that spins, tests, and ejects washers based on whether they pass or fail, all within the existing assembly cell.


CAD drawing of the team's
hospital washer with data optimization sensors.

Second Place – $250
Hospital Washer Auto Sampler Usage & Data Optimization
Team Members: Nick Golden and Jeremy Weaver, Biomedical Engineering; Jack Ivers, Mechanical Engineering
Advisors: Bruce Lee and Sangyoon Han, Biomedical Engineering
Sponsor: Stryker
Overview: Hospitals use wash systems to clean and sterilize instruments after use. Factors of the wash environment can harm surgical instruments. To solve this problem, the team designed a device that actively senses conditions inside a hospital washer to provide information on the effects of the wash environment, allowing for wash cycle optimization.


A 3D-printed pattern cast in aluminum by sponsor Mercury Marine

Third Place – $150
Direct Casting with Additive Manufactured Patterns
Team Members: James Driesenga, Riley Simpson, Camden Miner, Zach Schwab, TC Swittel, and Sean Frank, Mechanical Engineering
Advisor: Bob Page, Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics
Sponsor: Mercury Marine
Overview: The team developed a lost-foam style casting process that uses a 3D printed pattern instead of expanded polystyrene in metal casting. The use of expanded polystyrene allows for complete part filling, but cost and time required to create a new pattern are high. The 3D printing of patterns eradicates the need for pattern tooling and significantly reduces the time required to produce a pattern.


Medtronic’s radiofrequency ablation platform: Accurian System

Honorable Mention (1) – $100
Radiofrequency Ablation Modeling and Validation of Cannula Design
s
Team Members: Clare Biolchini, Matthew Colaianne, and Ellen Lindquist, Biomedical Engineering; Samuel Miller, Electrical Engineering
Advisor: Jeremy Goldman, Biomedical Engineering
Sponsor: Medtronic
Overview: Predictable lesion formation during radiofrequency (RF) ablation for pain control is a function of many factors and the subject of decades of research. Of specific interest to Medtronic is lesion formation in non-homogeneous tissues and structures. The team developed mathematical models and physical model validation for treatment scenarios, including knees and shoulders. Photo courtesy of Medtronic.


Solidworks model of deicing fluid collection cart

Honorable Mention (2) – $100
Airport Needs Design Challenge
Team Members: Derek Cingel, Jared Langdon, Bryce Leaf, Ruth Maki, and Douglas Pedersen, Mechanical Engineering
Advisor: Paul van Susante, Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics
Sponsor: Airport Cooperative Research Program
Overview: To help reduce the contamination of deicing fluid in small airports, the team developed a cart specially designed to collect a significant amount of the fluid that comes from the wings. Saving and reusing deicing fluid will save money, and reduce the runoff into streams and waterways.


A prototype of the testing system, shown on a workbench

Honorable Mention (3) – $100
Validation Test System for Boston Scientific IPP
Team Members: McKenzie Hill, Ahmed Al Dulaim, Nathan Halanski, and Katherine Wang, Biomedical Engineering
Advisors: Orhan Soykan and Sangyoon Han, Biomedical Engineering
Sponsor: Boston Scientific
Overview: Performing analyses, simulations, and engineering calculations, the team was able to estimate and predict the movement of IPP cylinders and resulting stress/strain. They designed new test procedures to perform physical testing and fabricated a physical test system.


Team members from left: Brian Parvin, Paul Allen, David Brushaber, Alex Kirchner, Kurtis Alessi

Honorable Mention (4) – $100
Road Marking Reflectivity Evaluator
Team Members: Brian Parvin, Mechanical Engineering; Paul Allen, Electrical Engineering; and David Brushaber, Kurtis Alessi and Alex Kirchner, Computer Engineering
Advisor: Tony Pinar, Electrical and Computer Engineering
Sponsor: SICK, Inc.
Overview: When road stripes wear off, auto accidents increase. To solve this problem, the team developed software that uses reflectivity values obtained using a SICK lidar unit. Their new software identifies deterioration of road stripes and recommends timely repainting, which will also aid in the safety and reliability of self-driving vehicles on roadways. The team constructed a prototype to demonstrate functionality–a pushable cart that evaluates road markings. An intuitive user interface displays the markings being evaluated, and indicates if they meet necessary levels of reflectivity. With their project, the team is taking part in the TiM$10K Challenge, a national innovation and design competition.


20th Anniversary “People’s Choice” Award – $100
Based on receiving the most text-in votes during Design Expo

A CAD drawing of the actuator showing two UGVs connected by the coupling and actuating system

Connector and Coupling Actuator for Mobile Electrical Microgrids
Team Members: Trevor Barrett, Nathan Bondi, and Sam Krusinski, Mechanical Engineering; Travis Moon, Electrical Engineering
Advisor: Cameron Hadden, Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics
Sponsor: Center for Agile and Interconnected Microgrids
Overview: Imagine how someone living through a natural disaster like Hurricane Katrina or Hurricane Dorian must have felt—scared and helpless, with no way to call for assistance or let loved ones know they were okay. It could be days or weeks before first responders are able to restore power to the area. That is where our project comes in. Our team was tasked to design, prototype, and test a connector and coupling actuator that can establish an electrical connection between two unmanned ground vehicles that will be used to build temporary microgrids in areas that desperately need it.


DESIGN EXPO IMAGE CONTEST
Based on team photos submitted during Design Expo registration

First Place – $200
Formula SAE Enterprise

F-276 Racecar racing by on a speedway with the driver shown in his black helmet.
F-276 Racecar. Photo Credit: Brendan Treanore, 4th year, MSE

Second Place – $100
Flammability Reduction in Magnesium Alloys for Additive Manufacturing

Two orange-yellow flames jet up from a pike of ashes.
Flammability test of a magnesium AZ61 alloy. Photo Credit: Max Urquhart, 3rd year, ECE

Third Place – $50
Velovations Enterprise

Three fat tired bikes are parked in the snow along the Michigan Tech "Tech Trails" groomed trail system, covered in snow, with sunshine and trees in the background.
Velovations Enterprise: Testing dropper posts in the snow Photo Credit: Somer Schrock, 3rd year, ME

DESIGN EXPO INNOVATION AWARDS
Based on application
. Learn more here.

The Husky Innovate logo shows a lightbulb with blue, green and teal dots flowing out in the rough profile of a Husky dog.
Microphoto of master alloy nanoindentation array of Al25Mn, courtesy of MSE 4th year student Ryan Lester
Microphoto of master alloy nanoindentation array of Al25Mn. Credit: Ryan Lester

First Place – $250
Increasing the Young’s Modulus of Cast Aluminum for Stiffness-Limited Applications

Team Members: Joel Komurka, Ryan Lester, Zeke Marchel, and
Wyatt Gratz, Material Science and Engineering
Advisor: Paul Sanders, Materials Science and Engineering
Sponsor: Eck Industries


Benchtop design which simulates physiological conditions in HLHS patients for testing of our stent prototype. (photo taken by Kelsey LeMay)
The team’s benchtop design, which simulates the physiological conditions in HLHS patients used to test infant heart stent prototype.

Second Place – $150
Transcatheter Sign Ventricle Device (BME)

Team Members: David Atkin, Kelsey LeMay, and Gabrielle Lohrenz, Biomedical Engineering
Advisors: Smitha Rao and Jeremy Goldman, Biomedical Engineering
Sponsor: Spectrum Health—Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital


a prototype of the vaccine transporter, which is about the size of a large breadbox, and fits inside a duffel bag.
Second iteration of the IGS team’s vaccine cold transport container for developing countries, which fits neatly inside a duffel bag.

Third Place – $100
Innovative Global Solutions (IGS)

Team Leaders: Nathan Tetzlaff, Mechanical Engineering; Marie Marche, Biomedical Engineering
Advisors: Radheshyam Tewari, ME-EM and Nathan Manser, Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences
Sponsor: Enterprise Manufacturing Initiative funded by General Motors, Cummins, Milwaukee Tool

2020 ENTERPRISE AWARDS
Based on student, advisor, faculty and staff nominations.

The Michigan Tech Enterprise Program logo, created over a decade ago by a Michigan Tech student, features a yellow lower case "e" in the shape of a swoosh


Student Awards
Outstanding Leadership: Allysa Meinburg, Consumer Product Manufacturing

Rookie Award: Bryce Traver, Alternative Energy Enterprise

Innovative Solutions: Travis Wavrunek, Alternative Energy Enterprise

Industry/Sponsor Relations: Jordan Woldt, Blue Marble Security/Oshkosh Baja Suspension Team

Faculty/Staff/Sponsor Awards
Outstanding Enterprise Advisor: Dr. Tony Rogers, Consumer Product Manufacturing

Outstanding Enterprise Sponsor: Michael Bunge, Libbey Inc.

Behind the Scenes: Steven Lehmann, Biomedical Engineering


THANKS TO ALL!

Now, be sure to check out all the awesome Enterprise and Senior Design team projects at mtu.edu/expo.


Design Expo is Today!

Join today us online at mtu.edu/expo. All are welcome!

The 20th Design Expo starts today (April 16). Watch the Kick-off event live via Zoom and Facebook Live starting at 10 a.m. Register to virtually attend this event before 10 a.m. via Zoom, or tune into the Pavlis Honors College Facebook Page. No registration required to watch via Facebook Live.

Starting at 4 p.m. we will live stream the Awards Presentation via Zoom and Facebook Live.

Register to virtually attend this event before 4 p.m. via Zoom or tune into the Michigan Tech Facebook Page. No registration required to watch via Facebook Live.

Use Text in Voting to vote for your favorite video using the number 919-351-8683. Participants can vote for as many competitors as they like but can only vote once for each competitor. Text in voting will take place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. today.

To vote, a participant might text the following case sensitive message to the phone number above: “101” to vote for Blizzard Baja or “201” to vote for Medical Device Ball Bearing Temperature Test Fixture. Team numbers and videos will be available via the Design Expo website, and all who register for Live Webinars.

Get more details in “MTU Design Expo Unveils Student Innovations” on Michigan Tech News.


Engineering Graduate Students Elected to Executive Board

Nathan Ford
Nathan Ford

The Graduate Student Government (GSG) has elected its Executive Board for the 2020-2021 session. The new Executive Board members are:

  • Nathan Ford (MEEM), President
  • Michael Maurer (ECE), Vice-President
  • Aaron Hoover (Humanities), Secretary
  • Laura Schaerer (Biological Sciences), Treasurer
  • Sarvada Chipkar (Chemical Engineering), Research Chair
  • Yasasya Batugedara (Mathematical Sciences), Professional Development Chair
  • Eric Pearson (Chemical Engineering), Social Chair
  • Marina Choy (Humanities), Public Relations Chair

The new Executive Board will assume office on May 1 and is looking forward to serving the graduate student body and the community at large.

By Apurva Baruah, GSG President.


NSBE Students Reach Out to Detroit Schools

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

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

Participating students included:

The schools visited included:

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

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

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

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

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

By Joan Chadde.


Online Science and Engineering Fair

Boy Watching Video

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Mark Wilcox.


COVID-19 Health Alert: Michigan Tech Suspends Face-to-Face Instruction, Effective March 16, 2020.

Michigan Tech has suspended face-to-face instruction, effective March 16, 2020. The University has released a series of protocols concerning travel, remote work, and large gatherings. Emails have been sent to students and faculty. For more information & updates, visit mtu.edu/covid-19.

Message to the Campus Community
Read President Koubek’s full message to faculty, staff, and students.

Message to Students
Read Important COVID-19 Update to students from Bonnie Gorman, Dean of Students and Vice President of Student Affairs

Important Information for Students
Protocols, updates, and answers to frequently asked questions.

Michigan Tech Updates
The University is working closely with the Western Upper Peninsula Health Department and following the guidance of the CDC in monitoring COVID-19 developments. We have a pandemic preparedness plan in place, and six University task forces have convened to prepare for and respond to implications and impacts for the campus community. More information and updates at mtu.edu/covid-19

More about the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)
An outbreak of a respiratory disease caused by a novel (new) coronavirus named “2019 Novel Coronavirus” or “COVID-19” is affecting a large number of countries around the world, including the United States, where it has been declared a National Emergency. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is closely monitoring developments and travel advisories are in place.


Mechanical Engineer Turned Fine Artist: Gary Johnson (Part 2)

Gary Johnson, a Michigan Tech alumnus in Fayetteville Arkansas, tells the story of his second career: “It has taken years to break my engineer’s exacting look, and feel comfortable having people see what they want to see in my work.”

When it comes to the abstract, my inspiration develops as I develop the painting. I always try to utilize the design principles of good balance between geometric and curvilinear shapes, development of value change throughout the painting, and a good use of complementary colors. But it’s all in the eye of the beholder whether you like it or not.

Star Gazing, 2019, Gary Johnson
Star Gazing, 2019, Gary Johnson

Other times I get inspired by just items around the house that we’ve collected over the years. It dawned on me that I hadn’t painted a still life piece in quite a while, so I started looking at some china pieces we collected and thought they’d make a wonderful painting.

Rhapsody in Blue, 2019, Gary Johnson
Rhapsody in Blue, 2019, Gary Johnson

Sometimes it isn’t so much that inspiration finds me, as much as it is that someone commissions a painting. Now that is the ultimate compliment: when someone has seen my work and trusts me to paint something they treasure. This requires a lot of careful consideration on my part to make a determination if I’m up to the task. First, I need a good photograph—not some pixelated picture, but a really good piece I can blow up as if I were right there to see it all with my own eyes. If I can take the photograph myself, so much the better as I like to take advantage of any shadows cast. Here’s one–a portrait of a dog named Maximus.

Portraits are difficult. My advice is this: always make sure you get the eyes right. Everything else from there will work out.

Maximus, Gary Johnson, 2016
Maximus, Gary Johnson, 2016

People ask where I paint. We designed our home with a studio in it. This makes it so much more convenient for me as I can wander up anytime during the day or night to work on a painting.

My studio is on the second floor of our house. When I decide I’m too old to walk up and down those stairs (18 in all, and yes, I counted them) it can easily be converted into a master suite or a mother in-law-suite as it has a closet and bathroom next to it. After all, watercolorists need water and a place to rinse out the brushes among other things. It’s approximately 300 square feet—a comfortable size to house my good old-fashioned drafting table, flat files, and shelving units needed to support my habit.

The artist in his studio.
The artist in his studio.

I’m sometimes asked about my outlook on life as an artist. Is it different than my outlook as an engineer/business executive? To be honest, it isn’t much different. I suppose now that I’m retired, I want to be sure I’m alive long enough to achieve some of my long-range goals. Goal setting is something I’ve always done, so not much change there.

I don’t have a concern about what my next job or position might be now that I’m a retired artist. In my working life, I wasn’t always in control of my destiny. That’s one big difference from the working world. If I don’t finish a painting today, I can always work on it tomorrow. I can take as long as I want to finish a painting.

Snack Time, Gary Johnson
Snack Time, Gary Johnson

Have I ever experienced a creative block? I sure have. That’s when I usually put the brushes aside and start to read and study another person’s work. It’s also good to make a change in my daily activity as well, to not get stuck in a rut, so to speak. Variety is the spice of life and that is true for artists as well. Change it up. Go fishing. Get outside. You’d be surprised how quickly new ideas can pop up to jumpstart the creative juices and get them flowing again.

Am I a perfectionist? Not really. I would have never taken up watercolor painting. It is extremely unforgiving. When I make an error, I consider it a happy accident and work around it, as opposed to trying to do it over again, or trying to fix it. Neither work well in watercolor painting.

Personality-wise, I’m pretty much an optimist and a fairly outgoing person. I suppose it’s because of the confidence I gained while managing companies and people. I enjoy making new contacts and I enjoy giving back to my community. That’s why I’ve become a teacher of art, and a leader in our art organization here in Fayetteville. I hope I’ve influenced people to become involved in the art scene.

People ask if I have developed a style in my art. I’m still working in it, although people are starting to recognize my abstract pieces more and more as I display them at galleries in the area. More people now say they can easily recognize a piece as one of mine.

A Day In the Park, Gary Johnson
A Day In the Park, Gary Johnson

Realistically, I think my style is still evolving, growing into a less-structured, photographic type of painting—a looser style that I personally love. It has taken years to break my engineer’s exacting look and feel comfortable having people see what they want to see in my work, as opposed to making it obvious.

Autumn Reflection, Gary Johnson
Autumn Reflection, Gary Johnson

I hope you enjoyed reading my story as much as I’ve enjoyed putting it in writing. Feel free to contact me at garyj357@yahoo.com.

Gary

Coming soon: Part 3 of Gary’s guest blog. Learn how to make your own beautiful watercolor pigments (from rocks), and read his sage adviceboth to young people starting out, and those about to move into retirement. Did you happen to miss Part 1? Here’s the link. Want to see more of Gary’s paintings? Find them at garyjohnsonfineart.com


Michigan Tech Engineer Captures the Northern Lights

North Canal Park, April 2019. Credit: Michigan Tech Alumnus Venkata Rajesh Chundru

Some of us have waited a decade or more to see the Northern Lights since moving to Houghton, in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Then there’s Venkata Rajesh Chundru, now a research engineer at Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, Texas. While earning his PhD in Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics at Michigan Tech from 2014 to 2019, Chundru managed to see—and artfully capture—Aurora Borealis time after time. And he has generously offered to share some of his favorite photographs with us here.

Calumet Waterworks Park, September 2017. Credit: Venkata Rajesh Chundru

Eagle Harbor, September 2016. Credit: Venkata Rajesh Chundru

Calumet Waterworks Park, September 2017. Credit: Venkata Rajesh Chundru

McLain State Park, February 2017. Credit: Venkata Rajesh Chundru

Eagle Harbor, May 2016. Credit: Venkata Rajesh Chundru

Copper Harbor, March 2016. Credit: Venkata Rajesh Chundru

Calumet Waterworks Park, May 2019. Credit: Venkata Rajesh Chundru

Michigan Tech Campus, Canal Side, February 2016. Credit: Venkata Rajesh Chundru

The photographer at Copper Peak, September 2018. Thank you, Venkata! We wish you the very best of luck in your new home!

“Since moving to Texas I have been capturing cityscapes and doing some professional portrait sessions for events, while soaking in the Texan culture. These photographs bring back a lot of good memories from all those years in the U.P. I do intend to be back during summer for a week to capture some landscapes,” says Chundru. “Life in San Antonio has more of an urban feel. I miss the wide-open landscapes and warm people back in the U.P, and of course the snow.

“In my new job at Southwest Research Institute, I’m focused on developing control systems for automotive applications—specifically to control emissions from heavy-duty diesel engines, which is in line with my Ph.D. work at Michigan Tech. I also get to work on new research areas, such as connected vehicles and electric vehicle controls.”

As for COVID-19? “Stay safe out there,” he says. “Hope this passes soon.”

Want to see more beautiful photography? Be sure to visit Chundru’s photography page on Facebook, or his Instagram account.

Have some of your own Aurora Borealis images to share? Please reach out to Kimberly Geiger, kmgeiger@mtu.edu. If you like, we’d be glad to post them here on our blog.


Michigan Tech Engineering Alumni: By the Numbers

UP Blizzard, Winter, 1938. Photo courtesy of Michigan Tech Archives.

“Tenacious problem solving and critical thinking skills distinguish our alumni,” says Janet Callahan, Dean of the College of Engineering at Michigan Tech.

“And yes, there must be something about the relentless snow in Houghton that contributes to tenacity,” adds Callahan. “Like tea steeping in hot water, our alumni were soaked in snow, emerging with the flavor of tenacity.”

QUICK FACTS:

  • Engineering Alumni Total: 47,359
  • Engineering Alumni in Michigan: 17,000+
  • Engineering Alumni Abroad: 1,200+ in 88 countries
  • U.S. employers hiring our engineering graduates in 2018: 500+
  • Average engineering graduate starting salary: over $61,000/year
  • High Alumni Salaries: second highest in the state
  • Engineering Alumni by Academic Department:
  • Biomedical Engineering: 838
  • Chemical Engineering: 4,491
  • Civil & Environmental Engineering: 9,132
  • Engineering: 71
  • Electrical & Computer Engineering: 10,112
  • Engineering Fundamentals: 194
  • Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences: 3,984
  • Materials Science and Engineering: 3,246
  • Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics: 15,291

Check out all the Michigan Tech Facts and Figures here.

Have some alumni facts to share? Reach out to us at engineering@mtu.edu.