Archives—April 2018

Tech’s Frozen Engineers to Compete in Make48 Competition this Summer

By Amy Karagiannakis

Michigan Tech’s Frozen Engineers were selected to represent Tech at the Make48: College vs. College competition this August in Baltimore, MD. Teams are given 48 hours to plan, prototype, and pitch an idea for prizes and licensing potential. The top three teams may have an opportunity to license their designs and take their products to market. The entire competition will be filmed in a documentary style TV series. The goal is to foster imagination, creativity, problem solving and an entrepreneurial mindset. Make48 captures the process of invention through a hands-on competition that challenges individuals of various ages and backgrounds to take product ideas from conception to physical prototype in just 48 hours.

From left to right: Patrick, Michael, Rachel, Ryan
From left to right: Guyon, Gazdecki, Kolb, and Thompson

The Michigan Tech team consists of Mike Gazdecki (material science and engineering), Patrick Guyon (mechanical and electrical engineering), Rachel Kolb (mechanical engineering), and Ryan Thompson (mechanical engineering). The Frozen Engineers took fourth place in Michigan Tech’s 2018 Consumer Products Challenge for their single serve Margarita Machine. Twenty-six teams consisting of 3-5 Tech students received a Challenge Box filled with products supplied by corporate sponsors — Amway, 3M, and Kimberly-Clark. When asked about being selected to compete in Make48, Kolb shared, “I think I’m most looking forward to working with the team again. When we made our team for Consumer Products Day, none of us had worked together before, but we ended up having a blast. This will be the perfect opportunity to use the skills I learned in the UIF program to help the team!”

Judges at Make48 are looking for highly marketable ideas that appeal to a large market and are able to be manufactured. The upcoming 48-hour invent-a-thon will take place August 10-12 in Baltimore, MD at the Stanley Black & Decker Makerspace and the Baltimore Museum of Industry. You can learn more about the other university teams competing in this year’s competition here.


Pavlis Students Recognized at 24th Annual Student Leadership Awards

By Amy Karagiannakis

The 24th Annual Student Leadership Awards were held Friday, April 20 in the Memorial Union Ballroom. The Student Leadership Awards celebrate and reward the individual and group efforts of students involved in organizations across campus. There are awards for student employees, student organizations, programs and more. Among the awards that were presented and announced at this year’s ceremony, three of the winners and 14 of the nominees were Pavlis Honors College students.

Aaron Dean, Magann Dykema, Sarah Jo Martens, Logan McMillan, and Christine Wood were nominated for the President’s Award for Leadership. Sarah Jo Martens was presented with this prestigious undergraduate award. Pavlis Honors College also presented Martens with the Departmental Scholar Award which in turn allowed her to be considered for the Provost’s Award for Scholarship. Martens is a key member of the Pavlis community, not only by academic standards, but also for her motivation, creativity, and leadership. Martens plays flute in the Michigan Tech Huskies Pep Band, serves as President of the Blue Key Honor Society – Michigan Tech Chapter, and is very active in Michigan Tech’s theatre community.

Sarah Jo Martens (center) performing in Tech's West Side Story in 2017
Sarah Jo Martens (center) performing in Tech’s West Side Story in 2017

Logan McMillan was presented with the Percy Julian Award earlier this month at the annual Percy Julian Graduation Reception. This award is given each year to a Tech student who actively promotes diversity, social equality, and cultural competency. McMillan’s award was announced at the Student Leadership Awards.

Percy Julian Award winners from 2016, 2017 and 2018. Left to right, Neffertia Tyner, Jimmie Cannon, and Logan McMillan
Percy Julian Award winners from 2016, 2017 and 2018. Left to right, Neffertia Tyner, Jimmie Cannon, and Logan McMillan

Gi West was presented with the Rising Star of the Year Award. Several Pavlis Honors College students were nominated for Rising Star, including Maya Geiselhart, Cameron Philo, and Lexi Steve. Nominees for this award are undergraduates in their first or second year who show great potential for leadership and strive for personal development in everything they do. West will be taking over as The Alley director next year.

Gi West (front row, second from right) with Alley makerspace coaches
Gi West (front row, second from right) with Alley makerspace coaches

Pavlis Honors College students Emily Lilla and Laura Schimmel were nominated for the Vice President for Student Affairs and Advancement Award for Service. This award is designed to recognize students demonstrating leadership, engagement in community, and a commitment to service. Pavlis alum, Erin Richie was presented with the 2017 Service Award and gave the welcome address at this year’s award ceremony.

The Undergraduate Research Symposium winners were also recognized at Friday’s Award ceremony. Erinn Smith (biochemistry and molecular biology) took first place for her research, Refining the Purification Process of Histone Proteins. David Ross (biomedical engineering) placed second for his research entitled, Bioactive Polydimethylsiloxane Surface for Optimal Human Mesenchymal Stem Cell Sheet Culture. Third place was awarded to Alex Baker (civil and environmental engineering) for Multiobjective Optimization of Cost and Strength for Various Lengths of Doubly Reinforced Concrete T-beams.

Undergraduate Research Symposium 2018 at the Rosza Center for Performing Arts
Undergraduate Research Symposium 2018 at the Rosza Center for Performing Arts

The Pavlis Honors College would also like to recognize other Honors student nominees: Clara Peterson, nominated for the Exceptional Enthusiasm as a Student Leader Award and Peter Beach and Rachel Chard, both nominated for Outstanding Future Alumni. A list of all other 2018 Student Leadership Award winners can be found here.


Four Michigan Tech Teams Take Home Awards from the Central Michigan University New Venture Competition

By Amy Karagiannakis

Six undergraduate student teams from Michigan Technological University traveled to Central Michigan University (CMU) to compete in the eighth annual New Venture Competition held Friday, April 13. The event was co-sponsored by Michigan Tech’s Innovation Center for Entrepreneurship (ICE). Student teams from Michigan Tech and CMU presented business plans and pitches to panels of experienced entrepreneurs. Four of Michigan Tech’s six competing teams took home cash and in-kind awards.

Weber presenting for Makerhub to a panel of entrepreneurs
Weber presenting for Makerhub to a panel of entrepreneurs

Team Makerhub led by Cedric Kennedy (business administration and management ’16) and Adam Weber (computer network and system administration) won the Korson Family Highest Growth Potential award and $10,000. Makerhub crowdsources 3-D printers in order to fulfill the need for 3-D printed parts. When asked what’s next for Makerhub, Weber shared, “Right now, Makerhub is being tested in a private beta with a large handful of users. The prize money will be used to accelerate the development process and release it to the general public very soon.”

Weber (left) and Kennedy (right) with award check
Weber (left) and Kennedy (right) with award check

 

Team Fitstop took first place in the pitch competition and was awarded $1,000. Fitstop founders, Gabe Giddings (computer science) and Jacob Carley (electrical engineering), participated in Michigan Tech’s I-Corps Site Program in January. Directed by Mary Raber, assistant dean of Pavlis Honors College, I-Corps is a team-based program structure that was developed through a partnership between the National Science Foundation (NSF) and Silicon Valley entrepreneurs. The workshop provides an introduction to the Lean Start-up business development methodology, which focuses on getting out of the lab and using the tools of customer discovery and the business model canvas to evaluate the commercial potential of innovative technologies. Jim Baker, executive director of innovation and industry engagement at Michigan Tech served as mentor for Fitstop’s participation in the competition. “Gabe and Jake have worked hard on engagement with customers, including gym owners and travelers seeking a better workout experience on the road. Understanding the needs of both customer segments has been very helpful in presenting a compelling value proposition that translates into a very effective pitch, as shown by this award,” noted Baker.

Giddings presenting for Fitstop in the pitch competition
Giddings presenting for Fitstop in the pitch competition

 

The core themes of CMU’s New Venture Competition are the hands-on approach to proving that a product works and providing a business model that demonstrates an understanding of concepts that attract investors and customers. Pavlis Honors College student Kyle Ludwig won the $250 Audience Choice Award in the pitch component of the competition for his startup Looma. In addition, Looma was also awarded $1,500 in legal assistance from Foster Swift. Ludwig also participated in Michigan Tech’s I-Corps Site Workshop and found it to be very helpful in developing Looma’s business plan. “The I-Corp Site Program at Michigan Tech helped me realize the direction for my business by introducing me to processes which inspire product development around the customer,” shared Ludwig.

Ludwig wins Audience Choice pitch award
Ludwig wins Audience Choice pitch award

 

Michigan Tech’s Hinge was awarded second runner up in the pitch component of the competition and $250. Isaiah Pfund (mechanical engineering), Jack Horrigan (electrical engineering), and Tanner Sheahan (chemical engineering), of Hinge, participated in the Michigan Tech Consumer Products Challenge last January and are working on a self-sanitizing toilet as well as other consumer and industrial product ideas. Horrigan and Pfund were also winners of best elevator pitch at the Bob Mark competition last fall.

From left to right, Sheahan, Pfund, Baker (mentor), and Horrigan accept award check
From left to right, Sheahan, Pfund, Baker (mentor), and Horrigan accept award check

 

This is the eighth year of the New Venture competition and the seventh year of Michigan Tech’s partnership with CMU. Last year, Michigan Tech students Nick Dubiel and Morgan Crocker won Best Overall Venture, which came with $30,000 and a year of mentoring support from Blue Water Angels in Midland for their product The Metaloid.

Michigan Tech’s Innovation Center for Entrepreneurship (ICE) within the Pavlis Honors College continues to be an excellent resource for students looking to start their own business or bring new ideas and concepts to the next stage of development. The mission of the center is to harness the potential of the Michigan Tech campus community to innovate, develop, and implement ideas and inventions by building and maintaining a strong and integrated ecosystem with a cohesive set of entrepreneurial and innovation resources to enable success. Students interested in innovating, developing, and implementing their ideas and inventions are encouraged to visit the Pavlis Honors College (M&M 722) to learn more about ICE and the resources available to them. A schedule of upcoming student innovator and entrepreneur competitions, in order of registration deadlines, can be found on our website.


Meet Christine Wood…

By Amy Karagiannakis

Christine Wood

Christine Wood has always felt passionate about the environment and public well-being. Environmental Engineering at Michigan Tech is allowing her to turn that passion into a career. Improving the relationship between humans and the environment has become Christine’s primary goal. Christine grew up in East Lansing, MI and began her college experience at Olivet College located in south central Michigan. As part of the transfer program, she transferred to Michigan Tech in the fall of 2016 to major in Environmental Engineering. Christine became involved in the Society of Women’s Engineers and the Young Women Leaders Program (YWLP). YWLP is unique to Tech and facilitated through the Center for Diversity and Inclusion. A mentoring program, YWLP pairs Michigan Tech female undergraduate volunteers with local middle school girls. Through YWLP, Christine continues to empower young girls to set goals, build positive self-esteem, and develop valuable communication and leadership skills.

Christine with her "little" from YWLP
Christine with her “little” from YWLP

After spending a semester at Tech, Christine joined the Pavlis Honors College as part of the Custom Pathway. She quickly started taking on more leadership roles within the Pavlis community as a peer mentor and joined the Honors Ambassadors group in the spring of 2017. This past academic year Christine has led the bi-weekly Ambassador meetings and helped develop and implement several College events. Christine leads through example and consistently goes above and beyond to engage with students on a meaningful level. Her commitment to Pavlis and the campus community is why Christine was awarded the annual Pavlis Honors College Dean’s Scholarship this month. This prestigious scholarship is awarded to one Honors student annually in the amount of $1,000 to recognize their outstanding commitment to Pavlis programs and pathways. Pavlis students are nominated from within the department by faculty and staff, but ultimately selected by the dean. “Christine commits herself deeply to everything she does. As a peer mentor in our first semester course, she worked diligently to create a truly welcoming and, yet, challenging environment for our students—really pushing them to learn and grow.” shared Lorelle Meadows, Pavlis Honors College dean.

Christine presenting at World Water Day
Christine presenting at World Water Day

Christine is expected to graduate with her BS in Environmental Engineering in the fall of 2018, but plans to stay in Houghton to complete her MS in Environmental Engineering through Tech’s accelerated master’s degree program. Her ultimate goal is to work in wastewater consulting within the state of Michigan. Christine interned with the Wastewater Treatment Plant in Charlotte, MI and the Wastewater Department for Fishbeck, Thompson, Carr & Huber in Lansing, MI which both helped her realize her desire to focus on water and wastewater processing. Christine is currently involved in a research study which will serve as her honors project component entitled Reduction of Stream Erosion through Air Injection. Now president of the Chi Epsilon Civil and Environmental Engineering Honors Society, Christine had to initially obtain signatures from professors within her department for induction. This is how she became involved with Dr. Brian Barkdoll and his research regarding the prevention of erosion around bridges. While this research may deviate slightly from Christine’s wastewater focus, she has found the experience very rewarding. Applying knowledge and general understanding of how the natural environment functions to real-world problems is valuable to any student considering a career in consulting.

Christine enjoys being active with softball, volleyball, running, and ultimate frisbee. She also enjoys attending and watching sporting events, especially MTU Hockey. Christine is an avid reader and will often spend her free time researching interesting facts about wastewater. Other things you can find Christine doing is socializing with animals, playing games and other activities with her friends.