Tag: EF

Stories about Engineering Fundamentals.

Academy for Engineering Education Leadership Inducts Three New Members

Sheryl Sorby, William Predebon, and Debra Larsen were inducted into the Michigan Tech Academy of Engineering Education Leadership on October 28, 2022.
Dr. Debra Larson

On Friday, October 28, the Michigan Tech community gathered to learn from, celebrate, and induct three outstanding educators into the Academy for Engineering Education Leadership. Janet Callahan, dean of the College of Engineering, hosted the induction ceremony.

Inductees were Debra Larson, PhD, Provost & Vice President for Academic Affairs, California State University-Chico; William Predebon, PhD, ME-EM Emeritus, Michigan Technological University; and Sheryl Sorby, PhD, Professor of Engineering Education, University of Cincinnati.

Dr. Bill Predebon

Creating pathways for all students to succeed is a primary focus for Debra Larson. She is a highly effective problem solver and resilient leader who respects shared governance and the diversity of experiences. She is passionate about innovating and delivering high-quality and hands-on education that prepares each generation of graduates for success and well-being. Dr. Larson earned her BS and MS in Civil Engineering from Michigan Tech, and her PhD in Civil Engineering from Arizona State University.

Encouraging faculty, staff and students to innovate, push boundaries, take risks, and be entrepreneurial was a daily activity for Bill Predebon while serving as ME-EM department chair for 25 years. Under his watch, the ME-EM department made tremendous strides in conducting interdisciplinary research, growing the doctoral program, expanding research funding and labs, and advancing the curriculum. Dr. Predebon earned his BS in Engineering Science at University of Notre Dame, and his MS and PhD in Engineering Mechanics from Iowa State University.

Dr. Sheryl Sorby

Serving as founding chair of the Department of Engineering Fundamentals at Michigan Tech, Sheryl Sorby developed and delivered a highly supportive first-year program—a legacy effort that remains to this day. Her groundbreaking research and outreach, focused on helping people across age groups and cultures to develop their 3-D spatial skills, has enabled educators to develop the capacity of students worldwide. Her curriculum is used by nearly 30 engineering programs in the United States. Dr. Sorby earned her BS in Civil Engineering, MS in Mechanical Engineering, and PhD in Engineering Mechanics, all at Michigan Tech.

The Academy for Engineering Education Leadership was established in 2018 by the College of Engineering. Two alumni, Sarah Rajala and Karl Smith, were inaugural inductees.

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.

Beyond Measure: Nucor Metrology Center at MTU Hosts Donor Appreciation Event

“We want to see our students use their hands for physical engineering, and that happens in measurement,” said Rachel Store, Michigan Tech research engineer and head of the Nucor Metrology Center. The new center is located on campus in the RL Smith Building. Photo credit: Matt Monte

09/20/2022

Michigan Technological University’s Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics (ME-EM) officially opened the Nucor Metrology Center on Tuesday, Sept. 20, with a donor appreciation event recognizing Nucor Corporation for its generous support of the Center.

University and department officials also recognized Milwaukee Tool and Nexteer for their equipment donations to the Center.

“We thank Nucor for their very generous donation of $100,000 to establish the Nucor Metrology Center in the ME-EM department here at MTU,” said Jason Blough, interim department chair. “We would also like to thank Milwaukee Tool, Nexteer and Richard Crosby for their assistance in enhancing the capabilities of the facility. Industry support has always allowed us to offer outstanding experiences to our students and to grow our research portfolio and capacity in ways that would not otherwise be possible.”

“Huskies are ready to tackle the next problem and help create the future with innovative solutions.”

Kate Amar-Fox, melt shop metallurgist, Nucor

“Nucor is excited to be a part of expanding the on-hand and lab experiences with the funds for the metrology lab,” said Kate Amar-Fox, melt shop metallurgist at Nucor. “We believe that powerful partnerships create powerful results and are looking forward to these partnerships for years to come.”

The Nucor Metrology Center provides students with the resources to make highly accurate measurements for their project components, advancing the Michigan Tech College of Engineering’s objective to provide world-class undergraduate and graduate education to support a diverse workforce and societal needs. 

“We want to see our students use their hands for physical engineering, and that happens in measurement,” said Rachel Store, Michigan Tech research engineer and head of the Nucor Metrology Center. “The students will take data to document their product performance, all while better understanding their product quality through metrics.”

The lab features both traditional and leading-edge, industry-standard equipment, including calipers, micrometers, a flexible arm coordinate-measurement machine (CMM), optical microscope, microhardness testers, tachometers, strobometers, and infrared and thermal scanners.

“Nucor’s donation allowed us to purchase a Leica DVM6 motorized digital microscope and a Hexagon Metrology absolute measurement arm, giving us the ability to do high-quality metrology measurements for part inspection,” said Blough. “We are already using this technology in one of our research programs and in one of our undergraduate courses.”

Store says the Center gives students exposure to the equipment they will see in industry when they graduate. “We know familiarity and fluency strengthen their hands-on, intensive experience,” she said. “Confidence is built on reality.”

Pamela Rogers Klyn to Deliver First Year Engineering Series Lecture at Michigan Tech

Pam Klyn ’93 is Senior Vice President, Corporate Relations and Sustainability at Whirlpool Corporation

Pamela Rogers Klyn, Senior Vice President, Corporate Relations and Sustainability at Whirlpool Corporation, will deliver the First-Year Engineering Series Lecture to more than 1,000 Michigan Tech’s incoming engineering majors on Monday, September 26 at 6 pm on campus at the Rozsa Center Auditorium.

The title of Klyn’s lecture: “Effort Creates Opportunities.”

“The First-Year Engineering Series Lecture provides an exciting opportunity for our students to learn how they can use their new technological education to positively impact the world, by hearing from some of the nation’s most innovative engineering leaders,” says Mary Raber, chair of the Department of Engineering Fundamentals. “We look forward to learning more about Pam’s engineering journey as our students begin creating their own.”

“Pam’s dedication to continuous learning and developing others as a part of her own career journey are important keys to her own success and the success of many others. Her words of wisdom will be especially helpful to our new students,” adds Janet Callahan, Dean of the College of Engineering.

Klyn grew up in Auburn, Michigan and joined Whirlpool soon after graduating in 1993 with a bachelor of science degree in Mechanical Engineering from Michigan Tech.

“I chose engineering because it provided a strong foundation of problem-solving skills for whatever it was I would choose to explore in the future,” Klyn says. “I originally thought I would pursue medical school. Instead I decided to enter the professional world.”

“The engineering education I received at MTU was a strong stepping stone to my career success at Whirlpool Corporation.”

Pam Klyn ’93, Senior Vice President, Corporate Relations and Sustainability at Whirlpool Corporation

Klyn has held advancing roles in engineering, product development, global innovation, and marketing at Whirlpool. Its vision: “Be the best kitchen and laundry company, in constant pursuit of improving life at home.” World-class Manufacturing, IoT (Internet of Things), environmental and social responsibility, leading-edge design, craftsmanship, and digital technologies all drive innovation at Whirlpool.

Whirlpool reported approximately $19 billion in annual sales in 2020, with 78,000 employees and 57 manufacturing and technology research centers. Its iconic brand portfolio includes Whirlpool, KitchenAid, Maytag, Consul, Brastemp, Amana, Bauknecht, JennAir, Indesit and Yummly. The company had 472 patents awarded in 2020 alone. (Klyn was named on one that same year).

The Whirlpool Corp. site in Cassinetta, northern Italy, reached its zero waste to landfill goal a year ahead of schedule, and reduced its carbon emissions by 38 percent in just four years. Whirlpool is aiming for carbon neutrality at all of its 54 sites around the world by 2030. Photo credit: Whirlpool Corporation.

After her first year at Whirlpool, Klyn earned a master’s degree in engineering at the University of Michigan. Later she earned an executive MBA from Bowling Green State University.

Klyn is now a member of the Executive Leadership team at Whirlpool, and reports directly to the company’s chairman and chief executive officer, Marc Bitzer. 

“Pam has been an outstanding leader at Whirlpool. She brings not only a strong technical understanding of the products and the types of purposeful innovation that exceed our customer’s expectations, but also a commitment to bettering the communities around her,” Bitzer said.

Klyn describes herself as hardworking and focused—while being grateful for the support she was given throughout her youth and early in her career. “This has fueled my strong desire to give back and leave things better than I found them in everything I do,” she says.

Klyn has excelled in a number of business and engineering leadership roles at the company. She lived in Milan, Italy as vice president, products and brands for Whirlpool EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa), then led all washer, dryer and commercial laundry platforms globally as senior vice president of global product organization. Klyn was accountable for developing the product plans and long-term strategy to drive profitable growth in all regions.

In 2011, the Wall Street Journal profiled Klyn in an article, “Finding Their Way to the Fast Track, Rising Stars to Senior Managers,” about the initiatives that saved her company $854 million. “Be confident in your approach,” states Klyn in the WSJ article. “Look your senior leaders in the eye and say, ‘Here’s my plan, and here’s why it will work.’”

As the first female technology director for Whirlpool, Klyn has made it a point to serve as mentor to a number of individuals, seeking to provide tools and guidance for emerging female leaders. “I want to support their career growth and to give them the confidence to pursue roles at the highest levels of the organization,” she says.

She was elected to the Michigan Tech Presidential Council of Alumnae in 2012. Last year she was welcomed into the Michigan Tech Academy of the Department Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics Academy. Selection into the Academy recognizes excellence and leadership in engineering and civic affairs. 

Klyn also serves on the College of Engineering Advisory Board as part of her ongoing connection to Michigan Tech. 

Closer to home in Benton Harbor, Michigan, Klyn is a member of the Boys and Girls Clubs Board of Directors. She has served as the co-lead of the Whirlpool United Way Campaign for multiple years in support of her community. She’s also a trustee on the Whirlpool Foundation Board. Klyn is also a member of the Board of Directors for Patrick Industries, a $5 billion-plus publicly traded company. 

In her spare time, Klyn is an avid runner (24 marathons and counting) and a devoted landscaper. She lives with her husband, Steve, near Lake Michigan. She has two step-children, Parker and Cara.

Read more:

Providing the best leadership: Pam Klyn takes on new communications role at Whirlpool

Aurenice Oliveira Named ELATES Fellow

Aurenice Oliveira wearing gear and using a laptop on the Portage Lift Bridge.
Aurenice Oliveira, PhD, ELATES Fellow ’22-’23, Drexel University Executive Leadership in Academic Technology, Engineering and Science

Associate Professor Aurenice Oliveira (ECE) has been selected for the Class of 2022-23 of Drexel University’s Executive Leadership in Academic Technology, Engineering and Science (ELATES) fellowship program.

Aurenice Oliveira is an associate professor of electrical and computer engineering at Michigan Tech, and also serves the University as a vice president for research faculty fellow.

ELATES is a national leadership development program designed to promote women in academic STEM fields, and faculty allies of all genders, into institutional leadership roles. Oliveira is also a recipient of the first ASEE ELATES fellow scholarship covering program costs and travel expenses. 

The ELATES Class of 2022-23 Fellows comprise a prestigious cohort of 30 faculty members from over 25 institutions of higher education across the U.S. and Canada. Fellows include experts in engineering, mathematics and science, all of whom have significant administrative experience on top of their scholarly accomplishments. Oliveira was nominated by Dean Janet Callahan (COE) and former interim Chair Glen Archer (ECE) for this intensive yearlong program, which includes personal and leadership development work as well as series of on-site work in the Philadelphia area.

“I am excited to participate in a program focused on training an amazing group of women to become leaders in academic STEM fields.”

Aurenice Oliveira

“I am excited to participate in a program focused on training an amazing group of women to become leaders in academic STEM fields,” said Oliveira. “I would like to be able to bridge people and ideas as well as to tap into our strengths to create and encourage growth in my department and at Michigan Tech.”

Oliveira’s research interests focus on hybrid communications and networking, including connected and autonomous vehicles communications.  She is currently the IEEE chair for Northeastern Wisconsin Region 4 and recently served as the chair of the NSF ADVANCE Advocates and Allies Advisory Board (A3B) and as equity (DEIS) advisor for Michigan Tech faculty and chairs search teams. She is faculty advisor for two Michigan Tech student organizations on campus, as well, the IEEE student chapter and Eta Kappa Nu (HKN) Honor Society.

Oliveira will be also serving as a Michigan Tech Vice President for Research Faculty Fellow for the 2022-23 academic year in the areas of research development and research integrity.

Facilitated by leaders in the fields of STEM research and leadership development, the ELATES curriculum is focused on increasing Fellows’ personal and professional leadership effectiveness, from the ability to lead and manage change initiatives within institutions, to the use of strategic finance and resource management to enhance organizational missions. Pairing online instruction and discussion with intensive, in-person seminar sessions, the program encourages Fellows to apply what they’ve learned at their home institutions. Ultimately, it aims to create a network of exceptional faculty who bring broad organizational perspectives and deep personal capacity to the institutions and societies they serve.

Learn more online at ELATES at Drexel.

By Michigan Tech’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Dr. Yongchao Yang Awarded 2022 Achenbach Medal

Dr. Yonchao Yang, assistant professor of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics, Michigan Tech

Yongchao Yang, an assistant professor of Mechanical Engineering – Engineering Mechanics at Michigan Technological University, is the recipient of the 2022 Achenbach Medal. This international award recognizes a young investigator, within 10 years of earning their PhD, who has made an outstanding contribution to the field of structural health monitoring. This includes the monitoring of bridges, aircraft, pipelines, buildings and other infrastructure and engineering systems. Each year a single individual worldwide is selected for the honor.

The Achenbach medal is named in honor of Jan Achenbach, professor emeritus and Walter P. Murphy Professor and Distinguished McCormick School Professor at Northwestern University. The medal was presented to Dr. Yang in the International Workshop on Structural Health Monitoring (IWSHM) on July 6 at the European Workshop on Structural Health Monitoring (EWSHM 2022) in Palermo, Italy. The workshop is held each year, rotating between Stanford University and a location in Europe.

Yang came to Michigan Tech from Argonne National Lab in August 2019, where he worked as a staff scientist. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Engineering at Harbin Institute of Technology in 2010, and a PhD in Structural Engineering at Rice University in 2014. He was a Director’s Postdoctoral Fellow at Los Alamos National Laboratory from 2015 to 2018.

“The process of implementing a damage identification strategy for aerospace, civil and mechanical engineering infrastructure is referred to as structural health monitoring, or SHM,” says Yang, quoting the definition proposed by one of the pioneering SHM researchers, Dr. Charles Farrar at Los Alamos National Laboratory. Yang worked with Farrar during his postdoctoral research.

Dr. Yang works with a laser Doppler vibrometer system, coupled with an AI-based algorithm for full-field scanning and detection of metal structures, in this case, aluminum plates. In the back far right, PhD student Faraz Azad works at the computer on the measurement software and AI detection algorithm.

Yang’s research centers around structural dynamics in the broad areas of cyber-physical systems. “I hope to better understand the dynamic behaviors of structures and systems, in order to enable intelligent engineering systems–including software applications for structural health monitoring, and less invasive and non-destructive evaluations. That includes inferring and detecting any abnormal change in the dynamic features indicative of damage in the system.”

Yang leads the Dynamics & Intelligent Systems Group at Michigan Tech, consisting of postdocs, doctoral, master’s and undergraduate students. The group’s specific research includes sensing, modeling, analysis, and control of dynamic structures and systems.

“Our work in the lab spans the broad areas of system identification and control. We leverage approaches from experimental and computational mechanics, computer vision and machine learning—deep learning—with optical and acoustical tools,” Yang explains. “We seek to develop novel computational sensing tools and ‘physics-guided’ machine learning methodology. Our goal is to enable high-fidelity modeling and characterization of complex structural, material, and system behaviors.”

Sponsors of Yang’s research include the US Department of Energy, US Federal Highway Administration, Argonne National Lab, Los Alamos National Lab, Hyundai Corp., the MTRAC Innovation Hub for Advanced Computing at Wayne State University, and DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

Dr. William Predebon Retires Today After 47 Years at Michigan Tech

Dr. Bill Predebon is retiring today after a stellar career as professor and chair. He will remain always a mentor, advisor, colleague, and friend.

Today at Michigan Technological University, it feels like the end of an era.

But for Dr. William W. Predebon, J.S. Endowed Department Chair and Professor, it is the beginning of something absolutely new. Dr. Predebon will retire today after 25 years as the chair of the Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics, and nearly 47 years at Michigan Tech.

“As I look back on all those years as department chair, I want to acknowledge that the progress we made was on the shoulders of those that came before us and the great faculty, staff, students and alumni who have been a part of this journey with me,” he says.

“If there was a hall-of-fame for mechanical engineering department chairs, Bill would get in on the first ballot,” says Greg Odegard, the John O. Hallquist Endowed Chair in Computational Mechanics. “Bill is a tremendous mentor. He worked hard to help young faculty develop into world-class researchers and teachers. He has a very calm, non-dramatic approach to leadership. He is simply honest and straight-forward.”

Under Predebon’s respectful and brilliant watch, the ME-EM department made great strides in conducting interdisciplinary research, growing the doctoral program, expanding research funding, and updating the curriculum and laboratories. He also brought diversity to both the faculty and student body.

Predebon joined the Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics at Michigan Tech in 1976. He served as the department’s director of graduate studies, and then, in 1997 he became chair of the department.

“The world is changing, and we need to respond to its challenges and opportunities.”

Dr. Bill Predebon

“I’ve been fortunate to work with Bill on many projects over the past 25 years,” says Gordon Parker, the John and Cathi Drake Endowed Chair in Mechanical Engineering. “Bill brought a level of positivity that exceeded the circumstances in every case. This, along with his unwavering focus and kindness, resulted in success.”

“Bill has had a profound and lasting impact on the careers of many students, faculty, and staff,” adds Parker. “He’s a ‘true believer’ in Michigan Tech and the people that define it.”

“Bill made great effort on the development and retention of minority and women faculty members,” says ME-EM Professor Bo Chen. “When I joined Michigan Tech, he assigned two mentors for me, including a woman mentor. Bill has always been supportive of my teaching and research. He always tried his best to accommodate my requests for teaching assistants and research space. I greatly appreciate his help on my career journey at Michigan Tech.”

“Bill is the reason I came to Michigan Tech, and the reason I am still here today,” says Brad King, Richard and Elizabeth Henes Endowed Professor of Space Systems. “When I interviewed 22 years ago, Bill convinced me of his vision to broaden MEEM into new areas, which could include aerospace, and I jumped at the chance to be a part of that change.”

“True to his word, Bill always made room for new ideas and encouraged and rewarded innovation,” adds King. “As a result, there are now hundreds of Michigan Tech alumni in leadership positions within the commercial and government space industry, one Michigan Tech satellite orbiting the Earth, and two more in development. Just last week I saw a commuter bus driving around Houghton with a big satellite graphic on the side. Because of Bill, space and satellites are now an integral part of Michigan Tech’s identity.”

“By hiring talented faculty and staff, together with our great students, our generous and supportive alumni, and with the support of the university administration, we have been able to innovate, push boundaries, be creative, take risks, and be entrepreneurs,” Predebon says.

Over the past 10 years he led the ME-EM Department to rapidly evolve its educational methods, infusing into undergraduate and graduate curriculum the knowledge and critical skills to use big data, machine learning and artificial intelligence in the solution of engineering design problems.

“Bill is the master of the long game.”

John Drake ‘64, ‘69, Michigan Tech mechanical engineering and business alumnus
Dr. Predebon’s early days at Michigan Tech

Predebon grew up in New Jersey, then earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Notre Dame in 1965 and his master’s and doctorate from Iowa State University in 1968 and 1970, respectively. After he graduated, Predebon held summer appointments at Argonne National Laboratory, Southwest Research Institute, and Honeywell Inc./Alliant Techsystems Inc.

Predebon’s research in ceramics, computational modeling and simulation of impact phenomena, and explosive fragmentation has involved experimental, analytical, and computational elements and has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the Department of Defense, and other government agencies and industrial partners. He has over forty publications and two US patents.

A Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), Predebon has received numerous honors, including the Outstanding Service Award for his work with the student chapter of the Society of Automotive Engineers. At Michigan Tech he earned the first annual Martin Luther King Award by Michigan Tech’s Black Student Organizations; and the Michigan Tech Distinguished Teaching Award. He received the Distinguished Faculty Award from the Michigan Association of Governing Boards of Colleges, and the Michigan Tech Honorary Alumni Award. He also gained membership in Michigan Tech’s Academy of Teaching Excellence.

In 2015 Predebon was recipient of the Michigan Tech Diversity Award, which recognizes the accomplishments of a faculty or staff member who contributes to diversity and inclusion through exemplary leadership and actions. Predebon stood out for his long-term persistence in working on issues of diversity.

“Bill has been known for his willingness to try out-of-the-box strategies for recruiting underrepresented minorities and female faculty and students,” said Carl Anderson, ME-EM professor emeritus and former associate dean of research in the College of Engineering. “He recognized the importance of a diverse workforce well before it became part of the common expectation of a department chair. He led the way.”

“My observations, from over 20 years of Dr. Bill Predebon’s leadership:

Passionate
Resourceful
Enthusiastic
Dedicated
Energetic
Balanced
Optimistic
Notable

Gerald Haycock ‘68, mechanical engineering alumnus

Predebon also led efforts to create the Michigan Tech Learning Resource Center for Self-Paced Programmed Instruction, the ME-EM Engineering Learning Center, as well as a distance learning doctorate degree in mechanical engineering, and a Design Engineer Certificate program with General Motors in 2000. More than six hundred GM employees earned the certificate.

In 2010 Predebon started a Peace Corps Master’s International program in mechanical engineering at Michigan Tech, the first and only one of its kind in the nation.

Predebon is a captain in the US Army Reserves and is a member of four honor societies: Tau Beta Pi (engineering), Phi Kappa Phi (academic excellence), Omicron Delta Kappa (leadership), and Theta Tau (engineering).

In 2019 he was inducted into the Pan American Academy of Engineering, which brings together engineers from across the continent of North America, South America and Mexico—a total of 18 countries.

At Michigan Tech he advised both the Nordic and Alpine ski teams and Delta Sigma Phi fraternity, and chaired building committees for both the Dow Environmental Sciences and Engineering Building and the Great Lakes Research Center.

“The ME-EM department and Michigan Tech are better as a result of Bill’s hard efforts. I only wish I had an opportunity to be one of his students!”

Geoff Weller ‘75, mechanical engineering alumnus

So what are Dr. Predebon’s next steps after retirement? He plans to keep working—this time in development and outreach activities for Michigan Tech, as a Professor and Chair Emeritus.

“Bill is a pioneer at Michigan Tech in advancement. He showed the university how it could be done successfully,” notes Parker.

And Dr. Predebon just might journey with his family to Italy at some point, in order to meet relatives there for the very first time.

“ I thank all of you from the bottom of my heart.

Dr. Bill Predebon

Jin W. Choi Appointed Chair of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Michigan Technological University

Dr. Jin W. Choi is the new Chair of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Michigan Tech.

Jin W. Choi has been appointed Chair of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Michigan Technological University, effective July 1, 2022.

Dr. Choi comes to Michigan Tech from Louisiana State University, where he served as the Mark and Carolyn Guidry Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. At LSU, Choi led the graduate program in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and was director of the BioMEMS and Bioelectronics Laboratory.

Choi earned his BS and MS in Electrical Engineering at Seoul National University in Seoul, Korea, and his PhD at the University of Cincinnati. His work as a faculty member at Louisiana State University received numerous recognitions for excellence in teaching and mentoring, scholarship, and innovation in engineering research. His research interests include MEMS and BioMEMS, biomedical and bioelectronic devices, microfluidic devices and systems, lab-on-a-chip systems, and various sensors and sensor systems. He holds 8 US patents, including one recently issued to Choi and collaborators for a wireless implantable neural stimulator, designed to help patients with neurodegenerative diseases control pain and improve quality of life.

Janet Callahan, Dean of the College of Engineering, says Choi brings with him a wealth of experience and perspective.

“Dr. Choi’s entrepreneurial approach to research and teaching strongly equips him to carry out the department’s mission of teaching the next generation of electrical, computer and robotics engineers,” says Callahan. “At Michigan Tech he will creatively facilitate the development of technological innovations across a wide field of areas.”

“I am excited to be part of building a better tomorrow with our students, faculty, and staff in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.”

Jin W. Choi

Choi says he was highly drawn to Michigan Tech’s electrical and computer engineering program. He cites several factors that contributed to his decision to move north from Baton Rouge all the way to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

“When I came for an interview, I saw great potential for the ECE department to move forward and advance even further,” he says. “The solid and envisioning leadership of the College and the University was strongly encouraging, as well. Most importantly, the motivated students, talented faculty, and supportive staff made me want to join Michigan Tech in this leadership position.”

With Choi at the helm, the ECE department will continue its strong pursuit of excellence in education, research, and service. A primary goal of Choi’s is to promote collaboration within the university, and beyond.

“The horizon of electrical and computer engineering stretches from power engineering to modern and future electronics, space technology, communication and connectivity, computing devices, healthcare, robotics, automobiles, and much more,” Choi explains. “Electrical and computer engineering undoubtedly provide backbone technologies to our modern society as we undergo the 4th industrial revolution. Michigan Tech is patently where a better tomorrow begins.”

“Our goal as engineers is to contribute to our society and to the wellness of human beings.”

Jin W. Choi

At Michigan Tech, the ECE department prepares members of the future workforce and promotes innovative research, notes Choi. “As ECE department chair, I hope to continuously improve the quality of learning—by exploring opportunities for students, assisting students and faculty for their success, and elevating our engagement of alumni and stakeholders to the department.”

Michigan Technological University is a public research university founded in 1885 in Houghton, Michigan, and is home to more than 7,000 students from 55 countries around the world. Consistently ranked among the best universities in the country for return on investment, the University offers more than 125 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in science and technology, engineering, computing, forestry, business and economics, health professions, humanities, mathematics, social sciences, and the arts. The rural campus is situated just miles from Lake Superior in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, offering year-round opportunities for outdoor adventure.

Q&A with Xin Xi: Uncovering Global Dust-Climate Connections

Dr. Xin Xi: “Surface weather observations are worth a refreshed look and can be used for improving our dust-climate modeling capability.”

GMES Assistant Professor Xin Xi’s new open-source dataset, duISD, is featured in Michigan Tech’s Unscripted Research blog. Here, he tells us more about it.

Q: How did you get started studying dust and desertification? 

XX: I grew up in humid southern China and had no experiences with dust storms when I was young. When I started college in Beijing, I had personal encounters with the “yellow dust” or Kosa (in Korea and Japan). The sky turned murky yellow every spring, while the whole city was shrouded in a cloud of dust blown from northwestern China. 

When I started graduate school at Georgia Tech, atmospheric aerosols emerged as a central theme in climate research, largely because they are capable of counteracting the warming effect of greenhouse gasses and play a crucial role in the hydrological cycle. Like many others, I became interested in my research due to the positive influence of my Ph.D. advisor, an expert in atmospheric aerosols, particularly mineral dust. 

Q: Why did you decide to revisit the use of horizontal visibility? 

XX: Primarily because of the long timespan of the visibility record from surface weather stations. It is by far the longest instrumental data record of dust, including regions near the dust source where modern-day satellites have difficulties providing reliable observations. 

Long-term, uninterrupted data records are paramount for understanding the variability of dust in response to climate and land use changes. I believe the visibility record has not been used to its full potential, so I took on the effort to develop a homogenized dust-climate record.

Q: Who do you imagine will get the most use from your new dataset? How would a researcher make use of it, and why? 

XX: This new dataset is an initial version of the dust-climate dataset I have been working on. Currently it consists of monthly records of the ambient dust burden at more than 10,000  weather stations worldwide. It is presented in an easy-to-read format, so anyone familiar with spreadsheets can use it. Dust researchers may find it useful, because they can avoid the tedious preprocessing steps with the raw data and are presented with summary statistics to help them pick the stations for their region of interest.

Dr. Xi used the dataset to characterize dust variability and climate connections around the world. The results of his study are featured in an article in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres

Q: Do you intend to update with future versions? 

XX: Definitely. I plan to conduct data fusion by combining the surface observations with additional climate and land information from satellites or models.

Q: What are the most unique and noteworthy aspects of this research? 

XX: It is a climate data record development project, and the ultimate goal is to create a quality-controlled dataset for the climate community to study trends, variability and relationships about dust and climate. In addition, I believe the dataset can offer other insightful information about the deficiency of current climate models. 

Q: What do you plan to research next? 

XX: I plan to take on the next step of updating the initial dataset I created, and develop new analytic results, which can convince myself — and, hopefully, the climate community — that surface weather observations are worth a refreshed look and can be used for improving our dust-climate modeling capability.

Xi’s open-source dataset, duISD, can be accessed online