Category: News

Undergraduate Expo: Students Dazzle with Great Inventions

More than 50 Senior Design and two dozen Enterprise teams converged on the Memorial Union Thursday, and their projects were as impressive as they were varied.

The Union filled up early as crowds, judges, media and local school children checked out the inventive creativity on display.

Photos and a list of winners can be viewed at the website

Videos of Award Winning Teams

Senior Design Taking first place was Bioabsorbable Polymer-Coated Metal Stent Degradation Simulation Design. The students devised a better way to check for the degrading of stents, which are inserted into arteries, both in vitro (in the lab) and in vivo (in the living subject). Team members were Kristina Price, Brendan Daun, Thomas Faulkner, Erin Larson, Derek Yesmunt and David Strobel (Biomedical Engineering); and Kelsey Waugh and Matt Gardeski (MSE). The team was sponsored by Boston Scientific and advised by Associate Professor Jeremy Goldman (Biomedical Engineering) and Associate Professor Jaroslaw Drelich (MSE).

Second place went to the Economic Recovery of Alloying Elements from Grinding Swarf. The students speculated that they could help metal-grinding operations reclaim cobalt and nickel, in addition to other metals, from the waste or “swarf.” It could produce as much as $1.75 million in a year. The team consisted of Alicia Steele (MSE/ME); and Daniel Hein, Michael Wyzlic and Nicholas Kraft (MSE). They worked with the Casting Services Group of ThyssenKrupp. Jaroslaw Drelich was their advisor, too.

Third place was Portage Health Noise Monitoring Device, an ingenious invention to warn of unacceptable noise levels in a hospital setting. The team was J. Ethan Lynch, Shaubhik Bhattacharjee, Trent Jansen and J. Nathan Willemstein (Biomedical Engineering); and Lynn Giesler (Biomedical Engineering/ME). Advisors were Professor Michael Neuman (Biomedical Engineering) and Associate Professor Keat Ghee Ong (Biomedical Engineering).

Enterprise First place went to IT Oxygen, with team leader Garrett Lord (Computer Engineering/CNSA) and advisor Bob Maatta, professor of practice in the School of Technology.

Second place was Blizzard Baja, with team leaders Joseph DeHaan, Andrew Glaeser, Brett Schulte and Matt Rebandt (ME). Their advisor was Senior Lecturer Brett Hamlin (Engineering Fundamentals).

Finally, Aqua Terra Tech won third place, with team leaders Zach Guerrero (Environmental Engineering) and Neil Baltes (GMES). Advisor was Professor John Gierke (GMES).

Patents and Future Innovators In a new twist, teams were invited to apply for patents, and a couple of awards were given out.

The Best Technical Specification Award went to Magnetically Damped Suspended Isolation System, submitted by ME majors Oskar Strojny, Jake Simula and Brian Turner.

The Best Prior Art Review and Competitive Analysis Award went to Scanning Tunneling Microscope Tip Actuator System, submitted by Ryan James, Kyle Smith, Scott Schmitt, Patrick McGraw and Lee Anderson (EE) and Chris Cerovec (Computer Engineering).

Organizers of the event were especially excited about the patent competition and look forward to growing this new component of the Expo in the future.

The school children also had a hand in awards. The Future Innovator Awards, voted on by Hancock and Chassell middle-school students, went to the Pet-Friendly Motorcycle Sidecar Senior Design team with members Brad Lynn, Joseph Supinsky and Jan Zlebek (MET), advised by Associate Professor John Irwin (SOT); and Robotic Systems Enterprise team with leaders Colin Putters (School of Business and Economics) and Megan Crowley (SFRES), advised by Assistant Professor Aleksandr Sergeyev (SOT).

Photos at the website

GMES students win awards from Association of Engineering Geologists (AEG)

GMES students Guoqun Zhang and Lauren Schaefer won paper awards in a student competition at a meeting of the Association of Engineering Geologists (AEG)–North Central Section.
Zhang won the first prize in the undergraduate category for her paper, “Analyzing the Slope Stability of the Transitional Slope Beside a Loess Platform, in Northwest China.”
Schaefer was runner-up in the graduate category for her paper, “Numerical Modeling of Volcanic Slope Instability and Related Hazards at Pacaya Volcano, Guatemala.”
As winners, both students were speakers at the Paper Competition Night in Chicago on April 17.

Michigan Tech Remains the Nation’s Top Peace Corps Master’s International Graduate School

Michigan Technological University ranks as the No. 1 Peace Corps Master’s International (PCMI) university nationwide for the seventh consecutive year. With 31 PCMI graduate students currently serving as Peace Corps volunteers, Michigan Tech has earned top spot in the 2012 rankings of Peace Corps’ Master’s International and Paul D. Coverdell Fellows graduate schools.


Researchers, Teachers, Join Ranks to Make Earth Science More Engaging

Some of the most pressing problems facing the world today—climate change, earthquakes and volcanoes, energy and water resources—fall in a field most Americans haven’t studied since their middle school earth science class. So Michigan Technological University is partnering with the Grand Rapids, Mich., Public Schools and other groups in Michigan, Washington, D.C. and Colorado to help students learn more about the earth


Boom Time in Small-town Wisconsin

What’s causing the booms in Clintonville? Residents of the small Wisconsin town have been hearing deep, rumbling sounds from time to time since March 18. To find out why, a Michigan Technological University professor and his grad students are lending their expertise.

Greg Waite, assistant professor of geology, along with graduate students Josh Richardson and Kathleen McKee, installed four seismometers and eight sound sensors around Clintonville, with help from City of Clintonville workers. They are trying to record anything that could relate to the booms that began last month.


Alumni Jim Wark Awarded Aerial Photographer of the Year 2012

Jim Wark has been honored for the third time by Aerial Photographers Association. He is a Michigan Tech Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences graduate with a BS in both geological engineering and mining engineering  in 1954 and is a member of the Academy (2006).
The Professional Aerial Photographers Association International (PAPA) is pleased to announce that Jim Wark of Pueblo, CO has been selected to receive the 2012 EPSON Aerial Photographer of the Year award.
Each year, this award is presented to one PAPA member who has demonstrated an outstanding contribution to aerial photography, based on the following criteria:
•Continuous excellence in aerial photography
•In the public eye via books, exhibits, lectures, publications
•Long term service to PAPA and its members

“Jim was the outstanding candidate for the award,” said Chuck Boyle, president of PAPA. “In addition to his extraordinary body of aerial photography work in the public eye, he is also a generous contributor of guidance and inspiration to the membership of PAPA.”
“On behalf of the PAPA membership and the entire PAPA Board of Directors, we congratulate Jim on this award.”
This year Jim has published his 9th book of his aerial photography, Leave No Trace, The Vanishing North American Wilderness. Additionally, five of his aerial images were selected for the new United States Postal Service “forever” postage stamps scheduled to be released in October of this year.
“My life’s work has been in aviation and earth sciences,” said Jim. “Combining these interests with an inherited instinct for photography has fulfilled my deepest ambition.”
“I am forever grateful to my wife, Judy, who gave me the unconditional support to wander the sky at will and to PAPA for providing the inspiration, assistance and camaraderie to get the job done. This award and the EPSON award of 2006 are among my most cherished achievements.”
This is the second time Jim has been honored for his work by PAPA with this award having been named the Aerial Photographer of the year in 2006, the first year it was awarded. He was also honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award by PAPA in 2005.
Jim Wark owns Airphoto ( in Pueblo, CO. During his 59 years as an aviator and 24 years of aerial photography, Jim has amassed a collection of more than 100,000 stock aerial images from Alaska and Hawaii, across America and Canada and to as far south as Grenada in the Lesser Antilles. His website offers more than 15,000 images online meticulously key-worded for the serious photo buyer. In addition to his books, Jim’s aerials have been published in textbooks, calendars, posters and magazines worldwide.

The Epson Aerial Photographer of the Year award, a commemorative etched crystal eagle, was presented at the PAPA International Annual Conference on March 4, 2012 which took place near Miami, FL. The award is sponsored by Epson and Logix of Michigan, sellers of Epson and other professional printers & printing supplies.
PAPA is a professional trade organization, whose members are aerial photographers throughout the world. The association’s goal is that of an educational group, dedicated to the promotion of high business ethics and helping members to provide quality service and products through shared experience.

Society of Exploration Geophysicists Challenge Bowl

Two students from the geological and mining engineering and sciences department were runners-up at the Society of Exploration Geophysicists (SEG) Challenge Bowl recently. Josh Richards, a PhD candidate in geophysics, and Chad (Danford) Moore, a senior in applied geophysics, took second place at the Sixth Annual Sooner Challenge Bowl at the University of Oklahoma in Norman.
View a larger photo of the award

The SEG Challenge Bowl is an international contest testing students’ breadth and depth of knowledge about the field of geoscience. The quiz-show format features intense competition, as the contestants attempt to buzz in first with the answers to challenging geoscience questions.