Category: News

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.


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)

Congressional Fellowships on Women and Public Policy


Want to master public policymaking on Capitol Hill?
Apply NOW for January-July 2019

Why a Women’s Public Policy Fellowship? The fellowships are designed to train potential leaders in public policy formation to examine issues from the perspective, experiences, and needs of women. Administered by the Women’s Congressional Policy Institute (WCPI), a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization located in Washington, D.C., this program is unique – the only graduate-level fellowship program on Capitol Hill focused on women.
What does a Fellow do? Fellows work 40 hours each week in a congressional office as a legislative aide on policy issues affecting women. Fellows meet weekly for issue seminars directed by the WCPI staff. Orientation for the Class of 2019 will begin in early January 2019; office placement starts by the end of that month. The program runs until the end of July 2019.

Eligibility: Students who are currently enrolled in a graduate program, or who have completed such a program within the past two years, are eligible. WCPI strongly recommends that applicants complete at least nine hours of graduate coursework before applying and display serious interest in research and policymaking relevant to women’s issues.
Selection Criteria: Fellows are selected on the basis of academic competence as well as demonstrated interest in the public policy process. They must be articulate and adaptable and have strong writing skills. Fellows may come from virtually any field. WCPI promotes equal opportunity in its fellowship program and welcomes qualified applicants of any age, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, experience, political affiliation, and academic field.

Award: Fellows will receive a stipend of approximately $3,400 gross per month for seven months (January-July). An additional sum of $1,000 is provided for the purchase of health insurance. Fellows are responsible for transportation to and from Washington, and for finding their own living arrangements.

Class of 2018 Fellows : Natalie Martinez, Jackii Wang, Frannie Einterz, Anna Le, and Elizabeth Brusseau are mastering public policymaking on Capitol Hill.
Class of 2018 Fellows : Natalie Martinez, Jackii Wang, Frannie Einterz, Anna Le, and Elizabeth Brusseau are mastering public policymaking on Capitol Hill.

The number of fellowships in 2019 will be dependent on funding. The five 2018 fellowships were made possible by grants from PepsiCo, Mylan, Amgen, Newcomb Institute of Tulane University, Walton Family Foundation, Kahn Education Foundation, and Kaplan, among others.

To Apply: Materials may be downloaded from WCPI’s website or obtained by mail from the Congressional Fellowship Program, Women’s Congressional Policy Institute, 409 12th Street, SW, Suite 702, Washington, DC 20024. Candidates may submit applications by mail or e-mail. No faxed applications will be accepted.
The application and supporting materials must be received by WCPI no later than Thursday, May 31, 2018.

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)


Government Internships Available for Summer 2018

Have you ever wondered how our government works? Do you want to make a difference in public policy? Then you may be interested in a government internship.

Capitol Hill sign

Internships provide an individual with a monitored or supervised work or service experience where the individual has intentional learning goals and reflects actively on what he or she is learning throughout the experience. These learning goals can include: academic learning, career development, skill development, and personal development. Federal or State internship programs are available to students across a wide variety of disciplines while gaining experience in government, politics, and international relations.

United States Congressional Offices

Working in a U.S. Senate or House 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. Although all internships in all offices are unpaid, students gain invaluable work experience. Positions are available both in Washington DC and the representatives’ local offices.


Peters, Gary


Senator Gary Peters

(deadline March 1)


Stabenow, Debbie


Senator Debbie Stabenow

(deadline March 1)


Moolenaar, John


Congressman John Moolenaar (District 4)

(deadline February 16)


Bergman, Jack


Congressman Jack Bergman (District 1)




Federal Agency Internships

The Internship Program is designed to provide students enrolled in a wide variety of educational institutions, from high school to graduate level, with opportunities to work in agencies and explore Federal careers while still in school and while getting paid for the work performed. Students who successfully complete the program may be eligible for conversion to a permanent job in the civil service.

NSF logo


National Science Foundation (NSF)

(various deadlines)


US Office of Personnel Management seal


Office of Personnel Management (OPM)

(various deadlines)


US Department of Justice seal


Department of Justice (DOJ)

(various deadlines)


NASA logo


National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

(deadline March 1)




National Security Agency (NSA)

(various deadlines)


US Department of State official seal


Department of State

(deadline for FALL, March 2)



Additional Resources (various deadlines)


State of Michigan

MI Coat of Arms

The State of Michigan Internship Program provides a wonderful opportunity for students to gain real-world experience with the largest employer in Michigan. The state of Michigan has multiple departments, jobs/internships, and locations to choose from.  All majors are welcome to apply.  We believe that State of Michigan interns are making it real, making it happen and making a difference!

(various deadlines)


Academic Internship Programs

The Washington Cetner logo



Since 1975, The Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars has helped more than 50,000 students from around the world gain valuable experience, and set them on a course of achievement, leadership, and engagement in their communities. In a recent survey, 98% of TWC interns said our program significantly strengthened their career prospects. Now, our alumni are leaders in virtually every field — public service, journalism, business, law, medicine, education, and more.

(deadline February 21)

 DC Internships



Since 1967, DC Internships and The Fund for American Studies (TFAS) has been a leader in educating young people from around the world in the fundamental principles of American democracy and our free market system. TFAS has been the launching pad for nearly 17,000 students who have participated in our programs in Washington, DC and around the world in Asia, Europe, and South America. Alumni of our program are leaders in government, business, the media and nonprofit sector.

(deadline March 13)


Any Questions? Please contact Brent Burns at or 906-487-3674

Washington Update: Continuing Resolution Funds Government Through April 28; Details on the 21st Century Cures Act; and More

DECEMBER 14, 2016

Continuing Resolution Funds Government Through April 28
Congress passed a continuing resolution (CR) to extend funding for most of the federal government at current (FY2016) levels until April 28, 2017. President Obama signed the CR into law on Saturday, December 10.

The CR includes a 0.19 percent across-the-board cut for all accounts and maintains the Fiscal Year 2017 Budget Control Act sequester cap of $1.07 trillion. The stopgap measure will allow appropriators to complete work on the FY2017 spending bills in the 115th Congress, after President-elect Trump takes office.

There are some exceptions to flat funding (known as “anomalies”) included in the CR, such as  $872 million for accounts funded by the recently passed 21st Century Cures Act, including $352 million for the NIH Innovation Projects account. The funding measure also extends the Department of Education’s authority to make account maintenance fee payments to guarantee agencies under the Federal Family Education Loan Program for an additional year.

Other anomalies include $170 million to address water infrastructure and health needs in Flint, Michigan, $4.1 billion in disaster relief funds to respond to recent major flood and hurricane damage, and $45 million to extend health care coverage for retired coal miners into the next year.

Details on the 21st Century Cures Act 
Yesterday, President Obama signed the 21st Century Cures Act into law. The law provides $4.8 billion in discretionary funding for a special “Innovation Projects” account to support specific initiatives at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) over the next ten years, including $1.8 billion for the Cancer Moonshot; $1.564 billion for the BRAIN Initiative, and approximately $1.5 billion for the Precision Medicine Initiative. The legislation provides funding offsets for the Innovation Projects account including rescissions from the Affordable Care Act (ACA) public health and prevention fund, unused funds from territories for ACA exchanges, reductions in overpayments in Medicare/Medicaid, and sales from the strategic petroleum oil reserve.

Additionally, the law creates a “Next Generation of Researchers Initiative” to promote and improve opportunities for new researchers. It also includes language to reduce regulatory burdens for researchers and would establish the Research Policy Board at the Office of Management and Budget in the White House.

The Cures Act reauthorizes NIH for FY2018-FY2020, providing an NIH authorization of $36.47 billion by FY2020, an increase of $4.4 billion over current funding levels.

Senators Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Extend DACA Benefits

Also last Friday, Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) introduced S. 3542, the Bar Removal of Individuals who Dream and Grow our Economy (BRIDGE) Act. The bill would extend temporary relief from deportation and employment authorization to current beneficiaries of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Under the bill, “DREAMers” (young undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States by others) who are not current DACA recipients but are eligible for the program may also apply and receive “provisional protected presence” and employment authorization for three years. Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Jeff Flake (R-AZ), and Chuck Schumer (D-NY) are original co-sponsors of the bill. APLU’s statement of support for the BRIDGE Act is available here.

Senate Passes FY2017 NDAA Conference Report 
Last week, the Senate passed the FY2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) conference report. For FY2017, the NDAA conference agreement would authorize Department of Defense (DoD) Basic Research (6.1) at $2.142 billion (FY2016 is $2.309 billion), Science and Technology (6.1-6.3) at $12.489 billion (FY2016 is $13.251 billion), and Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) at $2.957 billion (FY2016 is $2.891 billion).

The NDAA also extends the Small Business Innovation Research program (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program until FY2022 (Sec. 1834). The bill does not include any changes to the SBIR/STTR set-aside.

The NDAA conference agreement also establishes the Manufacturing Engineering Education program (Sec.215), which would award grants to industry, non-profits, university or consortiums of such groups, to enhance or establish new programs in manufacturing engineering education. The Manufacturing Engineering Education program language is a slightly modified version of the Manufacturing Universities language originally included in the Senate-passed FY2017 NDAA bill.

President Obama is expected to sign the bill into law.


Content Courtesy of APLU

DC Alumni Chapter Tours Smithsonian Museum of Natural History

Smithsonian-Verity-Flower-280x280 12-6-16
Verity Flower ’15 Geology PhD, NASA volcanologist, explaining volcanoes to the group

December 6, 2016

Alumni spanning five decades of graduates gathered in Washington DC’s Smithsonian Museum of Natural History for a special guided tour the Earth Sciences exhibit with Michigan Tech’s Dean of Engineering, and world-renowned geophysicist Wayne Pennington.

In addition to visiting some of the Keweenaw’s own precious metals within the Smithsonian collection, the group went behind the scenes to view the Ontonogan Boulder, an exhibit with a storied past to the Upper Peninsula, acquired by Washington before the Smithsonian existed.

They also received a special impromptu lesson in the science of volcanoes from Verity Flower ’15 Geology PhD, NASA volcanologist. (pictured)

Smithsonian-Group-4951-300x225 12-6-16 2
Behind the scenes at the Smithsonian with the Ontonagon Boulder