Tag: Mechanical Engineering

Getting Rid of the Bad Stuff

MBA student Cynthia Hodur learned firsthand about getting rid of trans fats, those ubiquitous bad food particles. On a student team in Dana Johnson’s operations and quality management class, she researched and applied her knowledge to a local hospital project and got great results.

“Instead of reading about it, we actually did it in a real-world way that will help the community,” she says of her experience on behalf of Portage Health. The hospital was the first in the Upper Peninsula to go trans-fat free, with help from the Tech students.

Hodur appreciated the opportunity to tackle such a timely problem with her team’s two-pronged approach, especially since she works as a facilities and event coordinator at the Memorial Union.

“First, our research group focused on policy,” she says. “We looked at what had been done globally, with the United Nations, and then we researched further from there: federally, state, and at the organizational level.”

She says the American Heart Association’s trans-fat lawsuit with McDonald’s restaurants was important. In the suit, McDonald’s was supposed to change its oil, but it didn’t. She had inside knowledge there, having worked for the American Heart Association at the time.

“We were working with the schools then,” she says, “building on an existing program.”

That background information also helped her at Tech, where her second group–applying the information they’d gleaned–looked at recipes and various food products to get rid of the trans fats at Portage Health.

“We looked at everything from cookbooks to working with vendors to vending machines,” she says. “We found substitutes for cooking, like applesauce for oil, and for baking, where a substitute for shortening has been used successfully, for example.”

Along the way, she learned from her teammates.

“There was a variety of people, and we were paired by interests,” she says. “One of the women was a Six Sigma Greenbelt expert on flowcharts!” So, Hodur’s process-chart-producing expertise was accelerated.

And they weren’t all MBAs, said Johnson, an associate professor in the School of Business and Economics. They had graduate students from civil engineering, mechanical engineering and elsewhere. Focusing on the same goal, Johnson said, they would come at it from different angles.

Johnson also stressed the importance of “students working with a real, live project, instead of case studies, which become outdated very quickly.”

The project did indeed take a well-rounded approach to the problem. “The students looked at cost benefits, working with vendors Sysco and Reinhart, even Portage Point (the hospital’s long-term senior housing operation), and its food service customer relations,” she said.

They worked closely with Paul Skinner, director of Portage’s nutritional services, she said. He was important from a management perspective, and he was in charge of recipes.

“We looked at processes and procedures to make sure they are accurate,” Johnson said, noting that they even looked at the definition of “trans fat-free,” which can still include .49 grams of trans fats. Portage Health went below that measure, she said.

“The costs involved in going trans fat-free were not as significant as they thought,” she added.

She also sees potential for future work.

“We plan on helping them with their seating capacity at Portage Health,” she said. “We’ll be working with them as they expand their capacity, using a green perspective to identify environmentally friendly dinnerware.”

They also plan on looking at the recycling in the hospital to make it more cost effective and efficient, Johnson said.

“We’ll be looking at Styrofoam,” she said, “how it can work within a recycling system.”

This marks the fourth year for the class tackling problems for Portage Health, and she’s also placed three interns into the organization.

Hodur truly enjoys the graduate school experience, including the Portage Health project, and her position at the Memorial Union. She has her sights set on a future marketing position.

“My husband and I moved here because we love the area,” she said. “Working and taking classes at Michigan Tech have been a nice bonus.”

by Dennis Walikainen, senior editor
Published in Tech Today


New theses and dissertations in the Library

The Graduate School is pleased to announce the arrival of new theses and dissertations in the Van Pelt and Opie Library.

Stephanie Groves
Master of Science in Biological Sciences
Advisor: Susan T Bagley
Thesis title: Optimization of Ethanol Production by Yeasts from Lignocellulosic Feedstocks

Juan Morinelly
Master of Science in Chemical Engineering
Advisor: David R Shonnard
Thesis title: Dilute Acid Pretreatment of Lignocellulosic Biomass from Forest Resources: Kinetic Characterization of Xylose Monomer and Oligomer Concentrations and Reactor Performance Mathematical Modeling

Madhana Sunder
Doctor of Philosophy in Materials Science and Engineering
Advisor: Peter Dane Moran
Dissertation title: Growth of Heteroepitaxial Single Crystal Lead Magnesium Niobate-Lead Titanate Thin Films on R-Plane Sapphire Substrates

Andrew Waisanen
Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering
Advisor: Jason R Blough
Thesis title: The Application of Experimental Transfer Path Analysis to the Identification of Vehicle Sensitivity to Tire Cavity Resonance

Peipei Zhao
Master of Science in Applied Natural Resource Economics
Advisor: Mark C Roberts
Thesis title: Duration and Co-Movement Analysis of Energy Price Cycles


AIAA Graduate Fellowships: Open to International Students

AIAA

The Foundation and the Technical Committees of AIAA present several funding opportunities.

Martin Summerfield Graduate Award in Propellents and Combustion

Eligible applicants will be actively participating in research endeavors in propellants and combustion as part of their graduate studies.

Guidance, Navigation, and Control

Eligible applicants will be participating in research endeavors that will impact one or more of the areas of guidance, navigation, and control as part of their graduate studies.

Gordon C. Oates Air Breathing Propulsion Graduate Award

Eligible applicants will be participating in research endeavors in air breathing propulsion as part of their graduate studies.

Orville and Wilbur Wright

Eligible applicants will be participating in research endeavors in engineering sciences.

John Leland Atwood

Eligible applicants will be participating in research endeavors in one of the 65 specialty areas represented by AIAA Technical Committees

Open Topic Graduate Award

Eligible applicants will be participating in research endeavors in one of the 65 specialty areas represented by AIAA Technical Committees

Open to any nationality.

Eligible applicants must have completed at least one academic year of full-time graduate work.  Applicant must have a grade point average of not less than 3.3 on a 4.0 scale.

Deadline: Jan 31


Fusion Energy Sciences Fellowship Program

Description: Offers talented students the opportunity to engage in the study and research of fusion energy sciences and technology, while fostering practical work experiences at recognized research facilities. Provides incentive and support to students as they continue their education in graduate school and prepare for careers in fusion energy.

Discipline(s): physical sciences; engineering; mathematics; related scientific disciplines

Eligibility: U.S. Citizens and Legal Permanent Residents. Undergraduate seniors; bachelor’s recipients; and first and second year graduate students at the time of application

Location(s): Various locations across U. S. Participating universities with practicums at various U.S. Department of Energy research facilities

Duration: Maximum 36 months with annual renewal

Deadline(s): January 31

Benefits: $24,000 annual stipend and full payment of tuition and fees; $750 per month practicum allowance; opportunity to attend professional meetings and to participate in long-term graduate research ad DOE fusion research facilities.

Funding source(s): U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Fusion Energy Sciences

How to apply: Application materials available at http://www.orau.gov/fusion.


American Society of Naval Engineers Scholarship Program

ASNE Scholarship Announcement

The purpose of the American Society of Naval Engineers (ASNE) Scholarship Program is to    improve and promote the profession of naval engineering. The Society’s goal is to encourage college students to enter the field of naval engineering and to provide valuable support to naval engineers seeking advanced education in the field.

Since the program was inaugurated in 1979, 421 ASNE scholarships have been awarded.  For the 2009-2010 academic year, ASNE scholarship awards supported 12 undergraduate students ($3,000) and 9 graduate students ($4,000).

Eligibility:  Applicant must be a U.S. citizen enrolled in or entering a graduate program in engineering or physical science

Deadline: Feb 12, 2010


Tech Unveils Graduate Program at Auto Show

Michigan Tech is one of only two universities invited to exhibit at the North American Auto Show in Detroit this week and next. As part of the EcoXperience Showcase on the lower level of Cobo Center, Michigan Tech will be unveiling a pioneering new graduate program for professional automotive engineers, one that will prepare them to work on the hybrid/electric vehicles of the future. Tech will develop this unique curriculum with a $3-million grant from the US Department of Energy.

Published in Tech Today.


Michigan Tech Trains Automotive Engineers for Hybrid Technologies

Hybrid technology is a primary path for the auto industry to improve fuel economy in its vehicles, but it’s not something most automotive engineers learned in school. Michigan Tech and industry partners are working to fix that by bringing the latest advanced propulsion and battery technology know-how to the engineers in the heartland of the auto industry–Detroit.

With vehicles donated by GM, Tech has teamed up with the Engineering Society of Detroit and industry leaders, including AVL, to offer the graduate-level course in Detroit.

The full story is on the Tech news website.


National Research Council Research Associateship Programs

NCR Research Associateship Programs

The mission of the NRC Research Associateship Programs (RAP) is to promote excellence in scientific and technological research conducted by the U. S. government through the administration of programs offering graduate, postdoctoral, and senior level research opportunities at sponsoring federal laboratories and affiliated institutions.

In these programs, prospective applicants select a research project or projects from among the large group of opportunities listed on this website.  Prior to completing an application, prospective applicants should contact the proposed Research Adviser to assure that funding will be available if their application is recommended by NRC panels.  Once mutual interest is established between a prospective applicant and a Research Adviser, an application is submitted through the NRC WebRap system.  Reviews are conducted four times each year and review results are available approximately 6-8 weeks following the application deadline.

Prospective applicants should read carefully the details of the program to which they’re applying.  In particular, note eligibility details.  Some laboratories have citizenship restrictions (open only to U.S. citizens and permanent residents) and some laboratories have research opportunities that are not open to senior applicants (more than 5 years beyond the PhD).  When searching for research opportunities you may limit your search to only those laboratories which match your eligibility criteria.  In addition, note the application deadlines as not all laboratories participate in all reviews.

How to Apply

Contact Jodi Lehman (jglehman@mtu.edu) if interested in applying.


Funding Opportunities in STEM Graduate Programs

Funding Opportunities in STEM Graduate Programs

• AGEP:

programs offer minority students support in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields.

• GK-12:

The NSF Graduate Teaching Fellows in K-12 Education (GK-12) Program supports fellowships and training for graduate students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

• IGERT:

fellowship programs offer a $30,000 stipend plus tuition and fees. Over 100 programs nationwide emphasize interdisciplinary studies in science, technology, mathematics, and engineering.

• MSPHDS:

The Minorities Striving and Pursuing Higher Degrees of Success (MSPHDS) in Earth System Science initiative was developed by and for underrepresented minorities with the overall purpose of facilitating increased participation in Earth system science.

• NSF Grad Research Fellowships:

provides students with three years of funding for research-focused Master’s and PhD degrees in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields.

For additional information please visit: http://www.pathwaystoscience.org/Grad.asp


DHS Summer Scholarship

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) realizes that the country’s strong science and technology community provides a critical advantage in the development and implementation of counter-terrorist measures and other DHS objectives. The DHS Scholarship and Fellowship Program is intended for students interested in pursuing the basic science and technology innovations that can be applied to the DHS mission. This education program is intended to ensure a highly talented science and technology community to achieve the DHS mission and objectives. Eligible students must be studying in a homeland security related science, technology, engineering and mathematics (HS-STEM) field with an interest, major, or concentration directly related to one of the homeland security research areas.

For more information