Author: bburns

Michigan Tech on the Hill: Ultra-high strength materials for deep space human missions

On December 3, Michigan Tech professor Dr. Greg Odegard visited Capitol Hill in Washington DC and presented progress on the Institute for Ultra-Strong Composites by Computational Design (US-COMP), a multi-university NASA Space Technology Research Institute led by Michigan Tech.  Their mission is to reduce the weight of today’s cutting edge composite materials by two-thirds while maintaining strength and other characteristics. Deep space human exploration costs roughly $1 million per pound. The success of this program will significantly reduce costs of key materials needed for the trip.

Dr. Greg Odegard (left) showing an ultra-high strength carbon nano-tube composite sample to NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine (right).

US-COMP will serve as a focal point for partnerships between NASA, other agencies, industry, and academia to: (1) enable computationally-driven development of Carbon Nano-Tube based ultra high strength lightweight structural materials within the Materials Genome Initiative (MGI) and (2) expand the resource of highly skilled engineers, scientists and technologists in this emerging field.

The NASA Hill event featured cutting-edge research which will create new space technologies that benefit the nation’s science, exploration and economic futures. Funded by the Space Technology Research Grants program within NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate, Fellows and faculty researchers highlighted their groundbreaking research in multiple areas including spacesuit pressure systems, quantum computing, in-space manufacturing of medicine and more.

Learn more about Michigan Tech’s engineering programs and research by visiting

Faculty and Alumni Gather at The Washington Center

Over a dozen Michigan Tech faculty gathered at The Washington Center, Michigan Tech’s new Washington DC academic internship program partner, to discuss research, network, and engage with Washington area alumni and friends.

Faculty were in town as a part of the annual Research Development Washington DC Trip, designed to provide faculty with the opportunity to hear from funding agency leaders, meet with program officers from interested agencies, and continue building a strong network for future federal funding opportunities.  Throughout the three-day trip, participants visited the U.S. Capitol, National Science Foundation’s (NSF) new headquarters in Alexandria, VA, Department of Agriculture (USDA) offices, and heard from speakers in the Department of Defense (DOD), Department of Energy (DOE), and American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).


The networking event was hosted in the historic embassy district downtown at The Washington Center’s headquarters.  This fall, Michigan Tech will be sending four students from multiple majors to Washington for a semester to gain experience in an internship of their interest and explore their curiosity in policy. 

Michigan Tech NSF Researcher on Capitol Hill

Dr. Ye (Sarah) Sun, Assistant Professor in Mechanical Engineering at Michigan Technological University, demonstrated her recent NSF CAREER Award project “System-on-Cloth: A Cloud Manufacturing Framework for Embroidered Wearable Electronics” at the 25th annual Council for National Science Funding (CNSF) Capitol Hill Exposition on Tuesday, April 30, 2019.   This widely attended event showcases a broad range of research made possible by the National Science Foundation.

Wearable electronics are widely used in health monitoring and wearable computing and there is a compelling need for comfort, biocompatibility, and easy operation. Recent progress in smart fabrics, textiles, and garments and the associated manufacturing technologies provides opportunities for next-generation wearable electronic devices that are fabricated on cloth.

Congressman Jack Bergman, Michigan’s 1st District and home to Michigan Technological University, discusses research with Assistant Professor Sun.

Automatic embroidery manufacturing is now an accessible tool for individuals and entrepreneurs. Embroidery offers great potential for electronic design due to its flexibility in transferring a desired pattern to fabric substrates. This exhibit illustrated embroidered wearable electronics on flexible fabric substrate for ECG monitoring for long-term well-being management.

In addition to the Exposition, Professor Sun had the opportunity to meet with staffers from both House and Senate delegations from Michigan with fellow researchers from the University of Michigan and Michigan State University as well as a meeting with staff from the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology.


Internship Opportunity at U.S. Senator Peters’ Marquette Office

The Marquette, Michigan, state office is currently accepting applications for our Summer 2019 internship program.

Working in a U.S. Senate office can be an incredibly rewarding and exciting experience.

An internship provides an excellent opportunity to gain valuable experience and observe first-hand how our government operates. Interns gain practical work experience by undertaking a variety of administrative and legislative responsibilities in the office. Internships are available expressly for the

purpose of furthering educational opportunities; therefore they are unpaid and awarded to

college-level students.

Interns in the state offices will be responsible for drafting constituent correspondence, answering phones, performing data entry and general office duties. 

Interested applicants should email a cover letter, resume, unofficial transcript, references, short writing sample, and time availability to The subject line of your email should read:Intern App, (your first and last name).


The application deadline is close of business on May 3, 2019.

Summer Deadline Approaching for The Washington Center Application

All Undergraduate Students,

If you don’t already have summer plans, listen up! This summer, Michigan Tech students can intern in the nation’s capital, and earn credits 10 credits towards graduation.

This is an opportunity to do an internship tailored to your interests, enhance your career development, and stay in housing that is in the heart of Washington DC.

You’ll be experiencing life as a D.C. professional, but you won’t be totally on your own. Through TWC, you’ll be living with fellow interns from schools around the country, and have a support system every step of the way.

If you’re thinking this might be the summer for your TWC experience, now’s the time to get started (the application deadline is March 13th). Get in touch with your campus liaison, Professor Susanna Peters and start an application. Trust us it will be a summer you’ll never forget.


Bi-Partisan Policy Center Congressional Visit to the Keweenaw

On Friday, March 1st, Congressman Jack Bergman (MI-1) and Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy (FL-7) visited Michigan Tech’s campus along their stops in Michigan’s first congressional district as a reciprocal visit for the Bi-Partisan Policy Center’s American Congressional Exchange (ACE).  ACE is a systematic approach to building better relationships and bipartisanship in Congress.

Congressman Jack Bergman (MI-1) and Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy (FL-7) about to drop the puck at Michigan Tech hockey game at MacInnes Arena (Houghton, MI)

Both members of Congress share an interest in preservation of freshwater and our natural resources and therefore toured Michigan Tech’s Great Lakes Research Center and School of Forest Resources and Environmental Sciences.  In addition to learning more about research on campus, they joined a sell-out hockey crowd at MacInnes Ice Arena and dropped ceremonial pucks to  start the game against Upper Peninsula rival Northern Michigan University.  To round out welcoming our Floridian to a U.P. winter, they visited the opening of the CopperDog150 dogsled races hosted in downtown Calumet.  

Congressman Bergman and Muprhy at the CopperDog150 Dog Sled Races (Calumet, MI)

DOE Office of Science Graduate Student Research (SCGSR) Program is now accepting applications – deadline to apply is November 15

DOE Office of Science Graduate Student Research (SCGSR) Program is now accepting applications – deadline to apply is November 15

The goal of the program is to prepare graduate students for science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) careers critically important to the DOE Office of Science mission, by providing graduate thesis research opportunities at DOE laboratories.  The SCGSR program provides supplemental awards to outstanding U.S. graduate students to pursue part of their graduate thesis research at a DOE laboratory/facility in areas that address scientific challenges central to the Office of Science mission. The research opportunity is expected to advance the graduate students’ overall doctoral thesis while providing access to the expertise, resources, and capabilities available at the DOE laboratories/facilities.

The SCGSR program is sponsored and managed by the DOE Office of Science’s Office of Workforce Development for Teachers and Scientists (WDTS), in collaboration with the 6 Office of Science research programs and the DOE national laboratories/facilities.

The SCGSR program provides supplemental funds for graduate awardees to conduct part of their thesis research at a host DOE laboratory/facility in collaboration with a DOE laboratory scientist within a defined award period. Collaborating DOE Laboratory Scientists may be from any of the participating DOE national laboratories/facilities. The award period for the proposed research project at DOE laboratories/facilities may range from 3 to 12 consecutive months.

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State of Michigan Legislative Fellowship Program

Michigan House of Representatives

We are now accepting applications from undergraduate seniorslaw school or master’s students, and recent graduates (August 2017 through August 2018) from these programs.

As in previous semesters, this program is designed to provide a more comprehensive experience than a traditional Legislative Internship by offering additional professional development and networking opportunities, as well as a wage of $15.00 per hour.  Our goal through this program is to prepare each group of Legislative Fellows to join the workforce at the end of the semester.

We encourage applicants to be thorough in their preparations to apply for this opportunity.  While previous legislative or office experience is not required, we will be looking for strong candidates to participate to ensure the continued success of the program.  Please note, the application deadline is 5:00PM on Monday, May 7, 2018.

Here are the links to the Legislative Fellowship Program information:

Please feel welcome to contact our Human Resources department with any questions you may have regarding this exciting opportunity.

Primary Contact

Kaley Mae Rahl

Intern Coordinator

Michigan House of Representatives | Human Resources

PO Box 30014 | Lansing, MI 48909-7514

(517) 373-0993 |

For further information about current internship postings, please visit and select “House Internships”.

Mind Trekkers mentioned at “State of the Nation’s Energy Infrastructure” before House Energy and Commerce Committee Subcommittee on Energy and Power

On February 27, 2018, Dr. Brenda Hellyer, Chancellor at San Jacinto Community College in Pasadena Texas, stressed the importance of K-12 STEM partnerships and their impact on creating a talent pipeline in her testimony for the U.S. House of Representatives Energy Subcommittee Hearing: State of the Nation’s Energy Infrastructure.

“Closing the gap will require that multiple entities begin working together to understand the needs and ensure that applicable, highly-sought after skills are being taught to students. Through these partnerships, we can create a talent pipeline to enable graduates to move into rewarding careers, and also provide industry with a knowledgeable workforce, ” stated Hellyer.    Click here for the full testimony.

Among many of their outstanding programs and activities, “outreach STEM events have exposed more than 18,000 pre-college age students to the world of  STEM by partnering with Mind Trekkers from Michigan Technological University for a two-day STEM festival that brings experiments to local elementary schools and the community, and invites students to serve as judges for local school science fairs. The festival is sponsored by numerous industry partners including Dow Chemical Company, INEOS, Chevron Phillips, Austin Industries, LyondellBasell and PetrochemWorks. Dow has also donated $10,000 for San Jacinto College to create STEM kits for area schools that lost classrooms due to Hurricane Harvey.”

Michigan Tech is proud to be partner of San Jacinto Community College and all its efforts to advance learning, scholarship, and inspiration in tomorrow’s leaders.

For more information on Michigan Tech’s Mind Trekkers, please visit


Materials Science Students Promote Science on the Hill

April 18 - Materials students office visit
left to right: Michigan Tech students Jeffrey Brookins, Violet Thole, John Falecki, Jonah Jarczewski

On April 18th, Michigan Technological University materials science students took advantage of the opportunity to use their passion for science and technology to promote the importance of fundamental research.  As a part of The Material Advantage, a materials science professional society (, students met Congressional Members and Staffers from the State of Michigan, advocating for materials science through building relationships and educating policymakers about their concerns.

April 18 - Materials students Bergman's office visit
left to right: Jonah Jarczewski, Jeffrey Brookins, Congressman Jack Bergman (MI-1st District), Violet Thole, John Falecki

Graduate Students Jeffrey Brookins and Violet Thole also visited Capitol Hill in March through the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Catalyzing Advocacy in Science and Engineering (CASE) workshop, a program designed to teach students about the federal budget process and effective science communication.

Moolenaars April 18 - Materials students office visit
left to right: John Falecki, Jonah Jarczewski, Violet Thole, Congressman John Moolenaar (MI-4th District), Jeffrey Brookins, Eva Vrana (Legislative Assistant)