Author: smcrisma

Peace Corps MS Student Tackles Water, Waste, Volcanoes, Earthquakes in Panama

To the people of Peña Blanca, Panama, Chet Hopp must seem like a godsend. He’s helping them get cleaner water, improve sanitation and understand their local volcanic hazards.

“I’m an environmental health extensionist, which means that my main responsibilities to my community of Peña Blanca deal with sanitation,” says Hopp, a Peace Corps Master’s International student in geology at Michigan Tech. “Specifically, we work to improve access to potable water through development and construction of gravity-fed aqueducts, as well as improving sanitation practices through education and access to various types of latrines.”

From the beginning, Hopp says, the priority has been latrines, although the water system does concern many in the community. He gives talks on sanitation practices, as well as how to properly construct and maintain the latrines they are building.

And, there’s buy-in, literally, from the locals.

“Each participating family is required to make a $5 deposit, to be returned upon successful completion, and they must pay for half the cost of corrugated metal roofing,” Hopp says. “There are other roofing options, though, so they can opt out of this.”

Read the full story.

Published in Tech Today by Dennis Walikainen, senior editor

Fellowships through the Council on Foreign Relations

CFR 2014–2015 International Affairs Fellowship

The International Affairs Fellowship (IAF) assists mid-career scholars and professionals in advancing their analytic capabilities and broadening their foreign policy experience.  Selected fellows from academia and the private sector spend fellowship tenures in public service and policy-oriented settings, while government officials spend their tenures in a scholarly atmosphere free from operational pressure.  The duration of the fellowship is 12 months.

Applicants must be:

U.S. citizens and permanent residents between ages of 27 – 35

Eligible to work in the United States.  CFR does not sponsor for visas.

Stipend of $85,000.  CFR awards approximately 10 fellowships annually.

Apply online before October 31, 2013.

CFR 2014–2015 International Affairs Fellowship in Japan, sponsored by Hitachi, Ltd.

The International Affairs Fellowship in Japan (IAF-J), sponsored by Hitachi, Ltd., provides a selected group of mid-career U.S. citizens the opportunity to expand their professional horizons by spending a period of research or other professional activity in Japan.  The duration of the fellowship is between 3-12 months.

Applicants must be U.S. citizens between ages of 27-45.

The program is intended primarily for those without substantial prior experience in Japan.  Knowledge of the Japanese language is not a requirement.

Stipend is in yen, which covers travel and living expenses in Japan.  CFR awards approximately 3-5 fellowships annually.

Apply online before October 31, 2013.

CFR 2014–2015 Stanton Nuclear Security Fellowship

The Stanton Nuclear Security Fellowship (SNSF) Program, made possible by a generous grant from the Stanton Foundation, offers younger scholars studying nuclear security issues the opportunity to spend a period of 12 months at the Council on Foreign Relations’ (CFR) offices in New York or Washington, DC, conducting policy-relevant research.

Applicants must be:

Junior (non-tenured) faculty, postdoctoral fellows, or predoctoral candidates from any discipline who are working on a nuclear security related issue.

U.S. citizens or permanent residents who are eligible to work in the United States.  CFR does not sponsor for visas.

Stipend of $100,000 for junior (non-tenured) faculty; $75,000 for postdoctoral; and $50,000 for predoctoral fellows.  CFR awards up to 3 fellowships annually.

Applicants must submit an application form and other supporting application materials before December 16, 2013.

CFR 2014–2015 International Affairs Fellowship in Nuclear Security, sponsored by the Stanton Foundation

The International Affairs Fellowship in Nuclear Security (IAF-NS), sponsored by the Stanton Foundation, offers university-based scholars valuable hands-on experience in the nuclear security policymaking field and places selected fellows in U.S. government positions or international organizations for a period of 12 months to work with practitioners.

Applicants must be:

Faculty members with tenure or on tenure-track lines at accredited universities and who propose to spend a year working in government or at an international organization.

U.S. citizens or permanent residents, eligible to work in the United States and are between ages of 29-50.  CFR does not sponsor for visas.

Former Stanton nuclear security fellows who meet the eligibility requirements can apply.

Stipend of $125,000.  CFR awards approximately two fellowships annually.

All application materials must be submitted to by January 17, 2013.

For questions or assistance for any of the fellowships, contact Janine Hill, Council on Foreign Relations, 212.434.9753 or

2014 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship

The 2014 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) Solicitation has been posted.  Faculty play a critical role in encouraging our most competitive students to apply for fellowship opportunities like the NSF GRFP.  Michigan Tech’s Research Development Office has for the previous three years offered a seminar for all interested applicants.  Based on an internal screening process recommended by the NSF GRFP office, this year the seminar series will only be open to students identified by faculty as competitive applicants.

As you identify students, please keep in mind that competitive applicants are often students who have or will most likely be awarded university teaching or research assistantships. Students who have internal graduate support should still be encouraged to apply.  While fellows benefit from a three-year annual stipend of $32,000 along with a $12,000 cost of education allowance for tuition and fees (paid to the institution), which in turn frees up internal funding for other graduate students, the fellowship is more about prestige.  As the oldest graduate fellowship of its kind, the GRFP has a long history of selecting recipients who achieve high levels of success in their future academic and professional careers.  The reputation of the GRFP follows recipients and often helps them become life-long leaders that contribute significantly to both scientific innovation and teaching.  Likewise, students who receive the GRFP call attention to the high-quality graduate education and research ongoing at Michigan Tech.

Names and emails of faculty-identified students should be emailed to Jodi Lehman ( by Wednesday, September 11th.

Eligibility for the GRFP:

  • be a US citizen, US national, or permanent resident
  • be planning to pursue a research-focused Master’s or Ph.D. program in an NSF-supported field
  • be enrolled in an eligible program at an accredited United States graduate institution by Fall 2014
  • have completed no more than twelve months of full-time graduate study (or the equivalent) as of August 1, 2013.

Moreover, competitive students should have:

  • a strong academic record of 3.5 GPA or higher
  • the ability to obtain 3 exceptional reference letters– due November 14th
  • previous professional (e.g., internship/enterprise), research (e.g., SURF),  and educational outreach (e.g., K-12, international, community) experiences
  • future research, professional and outreach goals that will potentially benefit society

Michigan Tech’s Research Development Office will formally invite faculty-identified students to participate in a NSF GRFP seminar series.  This eight-week series will help applicants develop submission material (Personal Statement, Relevant Background and Future Goals and Graduate Research Statement) and request letters of reference in a timely and helpful manner.  Speakers include experienced NSF GRFP reviewers and panel chairs, Dr. Pushpathala Murthy who is currently serving as program officer for the NSF GRFP, and previous NSF fellows.

GSG’s first Lunch and Learn – Community Safety

GSG’s first Lunch and Learn of the year will be held on Monday, September 9th. It will feature a presentation on community safety for graduate students given by Reid DeVoge from Public Safety.  The presentation will include information on safety considerations, what to do in case of an emergency, and the residential officer program at Michigan Tech.  This Lunch-n-Learn is highly encouraged for graduate students new to the Houghton area or anyone who wants to learn more about community safety.

Please join us for this talk highlighting the importance of community safety and the innovative approaches taken by Michigan Tech’s Public Safety Department!

RSVP is required, register here.

Where: MUB Ballroom A

When: Monday, September 9th

Time : 12:00PM -1:00PM

MUB catered lunch will be provided for both vegetarians and non-vegetarians.

No Show Policy: People who register and do not show up may not be allowed to attend the next Lunch-n-Learn.  So if you register and can’t make it, email Howard Haselhuhn,, at least two days before the event so that people on the waiting list can be invited.

Help the Red Cross with Emergencies, Donate Blood.

September is National Preparedness Month, and the American Red Cross asks eligible donors to help prepare for emergencies by giving blood.

National Preparedness Month is designed to encourage Americans to take simple steps to prepare for emergencies in their homes, workplaces and communities. The mission of the Red Cross is to help the public prevent, prepare for, and respond to emergencies. One way you can support the mission is to become a regular blood donor.

American Red Cross Michigan Tech Blood Drive

Wednesday, Sept. 4 and Thursday, Sept. 5, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., in the Van Pelt and Opie Library East Reading Room

To schedule an appointment please call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit the website at Red Cross.

Published in Tech Today.

First Friday University Social Sept. 6

First Friday Socials are getting under way again for 2013-2014. Faculty, staff and graduate students are invited to attend this year’s opener from 4 to 6 p.m., Sept. 6, at the Pat Nelson Graduate Conference Center on the 4th floor of the Administration Building.

The Graduate School and Graduate Student Government are once again sponsoring this month’s event. Last year’s was a huge success, so don’t miss out. Come and mingle with your colleagues and see the conference center and GSG offices. Along with the Graduate School and GSG, the conference center was funded by a donation from the late Patricia Nelson, wife of Michigan Tech Chemical Engineering graduate Charles J. Nelson (’36, deceased).

Complementary soda, beer and wine will be served along with some great appetizers.

See Auxiliary Services website schedule for other First Friday University Socials.

Published in Tech Today.

Another I-Corps Team Claims First

Michigan Tech’s latest I-Corps team placed first among 21 teams in New York last week, after a final presentation of their market analyses for new technologies. The team was led by Associate Professor Adrienne Minerick (CE), with post-doc Kaela Leonard serving as entrepreneurial lead and team mentor Mary Raber, associate director of the Institute for Leadership and Innovation.

A National Science Foundation program, I-Corps stands for Innovation Corps. Its goal is to help researchers learn how to do customer and market analysis, to enable them to fine-tune their technologies to meet an actual market need.

The technology they are looking to develop is a rapid, portable blood-typing device.

Minerick’s team is the third one from Michigan Tech chosen to participate in the I-Corps program.

Published in Tech Today

Rail Transportation Program Announces AREMA Scholarship Recipients

The American Railway Engineering and Maintenance-of-Way Association (AREMA) Educational Foundation recently selected the recipients of their 2013 scholarship campaign. Michigan Tech Rail Transportation Program (RTP) students received more awards than any other university with 7 of the 36 scholarships granted to these students:

* Dylan Anderson: Michigan Tech Alumni Scholarship

* Chris Blessing: AREMA Committee 27–Maintenance-of-Way Work Equipment Scholarship

* Anthony Passariello: Michigan Tech Alumni Scholarship

* Sean Pengelly: AREMA Committee 18–Light Density and Short Line Railways Scholarship

* Nicholas Lanoue: REMSA Scholarship

* Hamed Pouryousef: AREMA Educational Foundation Scholarship

* Irfan Rasul: AREMA Committee 30–Ties Scholarship

The AREMA Foundation provides scholarships to engineering students who are specializing in the railway industry and supports other educational and training endeavors that help to ensure the future of the profession.

All scholarship recipients were members of the Railroad Engineering and Activities Club (REAC), a multidisciplinary student organization for those with an interest in rail.

For more information about the club, see REAC.

Published in TechToday

Spring 2013 BRC Travel Awards

The Biotechnology Research Center announced its Spring 2013 Travel Grants. Recipients include:

Post-doctoral Research Scientist Presentation:
*Kaela Leonard (ECM) Advances in Microfluidics and Nanofluidics (podium)

Graduate Student Presentations:
*Patrick Bowen (EMSE) 2013 Minerals, Metals and Materials Society Meeting (podium)
*Katrina Bugielski (SCH) 245th ACS National Meeting and Exposition (poster)
*Weilue He (EBE) Gordon Research Conference-Nitric Oxide (poster)
*Na Hu (SCH) American Geophysical Union 2012 (poster)
*Robert Larson (SBL) Experimental Biology (poster)
*Yiping Mao (SBL) Keystone Symposia on Molecular & Cellular Biology (poster)
*Sandra Owusu (FMGB) ASPB: 2013 Midwestern Section Annual Meeting (poster)
*Alison Regal (SACS) North American Society for the Psychology of Sport & Physical Activity (poster)
*Rafi Shaik (SBL) Plant and Animal Genome XXI (poster)
*Ashley Shortz (SACS) IEE Annual Conference and Expo (podium)
*Amy Sieloff (ECM) AIChE 2012 Annual Meeting (poster)
*Srinivasa Rao Sripathi (SBL) Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (poster)
*Huan Yang (SBL) Experimental Biology (poster)
*Nazmiye Yapici (SCH) 245th ACS National Meeting and Exposition (podium)

Published in Tech Today

Michigan Tech’s Peace Corps Program Ranked Number 1 in the Nation

Michigan Tech ranks as the top Peace Corps Master’s International (PCMI) university nationwide for the eighth consecutive year. With 35 PCMI graduate students currently serving as Peace Corps Volunteers, Michigan Tech has earned the top spot in the 2013 rankings of PCMI and Paul D. Coverdell Fellows graduate schools. Tulane University placed second.

The PCMI program enables graduate students to incorporate Peace Corps service for credit as part of their master’s degree curriculum. The Coverdell Fellows program provides returned Peace Corps volunteers with scholarships, internships in underserved American communities and stipends to help them earn an advanced degree after they complete their Peace Corps service.

For the whole story, see


Published in Tech Today by Jenn Donovan, public relations director