Author: Jessie Neece

Winners Announced: 2024 Undergraduate Research & Scholarship Symposium

This year marked the 10th annual Undergraduate Research & Scholarship Symposium

This past Friday, March 22, students from across the university came together to share their innovative research at the Undergraduate Research & Scholarship Symposium (URSS). Students from various disciplines united to present their cutting-edge projects, painting a vibrant display of research exploration across departments. Attendees seized the chance to engage directly with these passionate researchers, delving into the intricacies of their work and gaining valuable insights into the world of undergraduate research and scholarship.

The day was brimming with informative events, including a thought-provoking panel discussion on the transformative power of undergraduate research in forging new pathways to success and two dynamic poster sessions provided platforms for students to share their findings with participants and judges.

A heartfelt round of applause is in order for all our remarkable student participants. Their outstanding research endeavors made it a challenging day for our judges, showcasing the incredible depth and breadth of talent within our university community. Let’s extend a special congratulations to our deserving award winners for their exemplary contributions and dedication to advancing knowledge and discovery. Here’s to celebrating their achievements and inspiring future generations of researchers!

First Place winner, Lance Waise

First Place (tie)- 

  • Lance Waise – “Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms Research Project”
  • Lindy Oujiri – “Immunofluorescent Labeling for Zinc and Platinum in Old Rats”

Third Place

  • Haley Marchese – Targeting Acid Sensing Ion Channel 3 (ASIC3) in Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy

Audience Choice

  • Scott Severance – “Development of Optical Tweezers to Measure and Predict the Behavior of Collagen Networks”
First Place winner, Lindy Oujiri

Excellence in Presentation – 

  • Lindy Oujiri – “Immunofluorescent Labeling for Zinc and Platinum in Old Rats”
  • Lance Waise – “Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms Research Project”
  • Abraham Stone – “A Botanical and Ecological Profile of Isle Royale’s Invasive Hawkweed Complex”

Excellence in Research Content – 

  • Lindy Oujiri – “Immunofluorescent Labeling for Zinc and Platinum in Old Rats”
  • Haley Marchese – Targeting Acid Sensing Ion Channel 3 (ASIC3) in Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy

Excellence in Design and Format – 

  • Liza Korolkov – “Evaluation of aqueous two-phase systems for the purification of influenza B virus”
  • Lance Waise – “Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms Research Project”
  • Mackenzie Russell – “Ameliorated mine waste rock for enhanced weathering and as a soil amendment for bioenergy production”

Thank you to all of our sponsors, student presenters, faculty mentors, judges, and panelists. We are proud to be able to highlight our amazing undergraduate students and celebrate all of their outstanding work.

Exploring the Significance of Undergraduate Research: Attend the 10th Annual Undergraduate Research & Scholarship Symposium

Student researchers and attendees at the Undergraduate Research & Scholarship Symposium hosted in 2023

Have you contemplated engaging in research during your time at Michigan Tech? Are you curious about the various research endeavors undergraduate students are actively involved in? Would you like to understand the significance of participating in undergraduate research? Join us on March 22nd for the Undergraduate Research and Scholarship Symposium (URSS) at the Rozsa Center Lobby. This symposium serves as a platform to showcase the exceptional undergraduate research conducted across diverse disciplines at Michigan Technological University.

Recognized widely as a valuable learning opportunity by esteemed educational institutions such as the Association of American Colleges and Universities, undergraduate research offers students a plethora of benefits. These include a heightened determination to excel, increased interest in pursuing further education such as graduate school, and the development of essential research skills like data analysis and effective communication. Moreover, engaging in research contributes significantly to both professional and personal growth.

“Participating in undergraduate research is not merely about acquiring knowledge; it’s about developing a mindset of inquiry, innovation, and exploration that prepares students for a lifetime of meaningful contributions to their chosen fields and society at large.”

Dr. Marika Seigel, Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education and Dean of the Pavlis Honors College

Regardless of the subject area, involvement in research serves as a valuable asset for undergraduate students. Research indicates that students who participate tend to achieve better grades, are more likely to graduate, and are better equipped for subsequent academic pursuits or careers.

Commencing research endeavors as an undergraduate provides students with essential hands-on experience, laying a strong foundation for future academic and professional endeavors. As Associate Provost and Dean of the Graduate School, Will Cantrell, aptly states, “Research takes time. It takes more than that first try, it might even take more than that 5th try.”

Audience Choice winner, Katherine Rauscher, proudly displays her research poster at URSS 2023.

That’s where the Undergraduate Research and Scholarship Symposium comes in.

URSS is an opportunity for students to show off the exceptional research they are involved in and creates an opportunity for other students to see the research potential that exists right here at Michigan Tech.  The day starts with the first of two poster sessions (12:00-1:30 pm and 2:30-4:00 pm). The student participants will be on hand to share information about their research, allow attendees to ask questions about their projects, and display the diversity of undergraduate research being explored on campus.

Additionally, URSS will include a panel discussion at 1:30 pm which will feature experienced professionals and provide a chance for discussion about how undergraduate research creates opportunities. They will share their experiences and discuss the value that they have found by participating in research as an undergraduate. Everyone is welcome and encouraged to attend this discussion.

Our esteemed panelists include Debra Switzer, a Michigan Technological University alumna with a B.S. in Metallurgical & Materials Engineering, boasting over 20 years of experience in the mining industry, particularly in mineral processing. Debra currently serves as the Global Product Manager for Hydrocyclones at Weir Minerals, overseeing the end-to-end life cycle of hydrocyclone products.

Another distinguished panelist, Erik Lilleskov, is a Research Ecologist and Project Leader at the USDA Forest Service – Northern Research Station. With a Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from Cornell University, Erik is committed to providing novel scientific insights and tools to address major environmental challenges. His diverse background underscores the importance of real-world experience and interaction with individuals from various walks of life.

Student researcher, Tessa Tormoen, describes their research project as SURF and URIP Coordinator, Rob Handler listens intently at URSS in 2023.

Finally, Dr. Ellie Asgari, the Charles C. and John G. Gates Professor in Entrepreneurship and Innovation, brings a wealth of expertise as an Assistant Professor of Management and Entrepreneurship at the College of Business. Dr. Asgari’s research focuses on the intersection of innovation and entrepreneurship, shedding light on the roles of star performers in organizations.

The Undergraduate Research & Scholarship Symposium serves as an excellent platform to showcase the captivating research projects underway at Michigan Tech, emphasize the benefits of undergraduate research, and underscore the diversity of research topics being explored. Mark your calendars and join us in the Rozsa Lobby for this inspirational event!

For more information about the Undergraduate Research & Scholarship Symposium, please visit the URSS website. For more information about undergraduate research, please check out our research programs website. Questions? Please email

Highlight: Innovation Week 2024 and the Bob Mark Pitch Competition Winners

This year marks Michigan Tech’s eighth year hosting Innovation Week. 

Innovation Week at Michigan Tech was started by a group of University Innovation Fellows (UIFs) in 2017.  At that time, UIFs hosted meet-ups, design thinking challenges, and events to get folks thinking innovatively.  Throughout the years it has evolved, but one thing remains the same, Innovation Week is a celebration of innovation at Michigan Tech. 

The week’s events included presenters from as far as Texas and Traverse City, Michigan as well as right here within Houghton. With the option of both in-person and virtual events, entrepreneurially-minded individuals had the opportunity to join us for one or all events. Husky Innovate kicked off the week with a presentation from our keynote speaker, Dr. L. Brad King, CEO and founder of Orbion Technologies, who shared his journey with Orbion including key insights for startup founders.  On Tuesday, Nate Yenor with the Office of Innovation and Commercialization shared opportunities for startup collaboration resulting from research here at Tech.  Wednesday, former IBM Corps. executive and Michigan Tech alum John Soyring (EE ‘76 &  Honorary Doctorate ’06) provided us with fresh insights from the world of investing and the opportunity presented through impact investing.  On Thursday, Dr. Ashley Sloat, president of Aurora Patents gave us a crash course on careful contracting with key points founders should take into consideration as they start working with developers and investors. Friday, Dr. Len Switzer, associate director of Enterprise shared entrepreneurial opportunities for both founders and technical teams through the Enterprise and Husky Innovate programs. 

In addition to the stellar line-up of workshops and presentations, Husky Innovate hosted Innovation Week’s main event Wednesday evening – the Bob Mark Business Model Pitch Competition, which is a tribute to the late College of Business Professor Bob Mark.  For the 18th year, community members from across the region, including innovators, entrepreneurs, faculty, staff, students, and alumni, joined to hear students pitch their business models.  Ten teams pitched to win in three categories; Business Model, Social Impact, and Breakout Innovation with prizes totaling $6000.  There was a lot of energy and anticipation in the room as teams pitched and waited for scoring.  After two hours of pitching, the judges selected their winners and the audience selected their favorite.  Congratulations and thank you to all the student contestants and winners! 

Business Model Category

First place and Breakout Award winner Viraj Mane with judge Jason Mack

Presented by the College of Business with thanks to sponsors Rick and Jo Berquist, and Dan and Jane Green for sponsoring the Audience Favorite award. Student pitches were judged by how well the solution addressed the customers’ needs, the path to revenue, and the overall presentation.

  • First place – Viraj Mane with DocCraftAI ($2000)
  • Second place – Alex Nosalik with The Eternitee ($1000)
  • Third place- Nirmal Raja Karuppiah Loganthan with Jarvis-Vision ($500)
  • Honorable mention –  Aliyah Maxwell Abrams with Sunny Buddy ($250)
  • Audience Favorite –  Alex Nosalik with The Eternitee ($250)

Social Impact Award Category

Sponsored and presented by Gates Professor Dr. Elham Asgari, College of Business. The social impact category examined the significance of the social problem and how well the solution addressed it.

  • Olamide Ayeni with HOPCYKU  ($1,000)

Breakout Innovation Award

Presented by Jason Mack, Vice President of Business Development, MTEC SmartZone, and sponsored by the MTEC SmartZone and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. The breakout innovation award considered the solution’s novelty, ease of implementation, and time to implementation.

  • Viraj Mane with DocCraftAI ($1,000)

This event would not be possible without support from our Michigan Tech I&E collaborators and community.  Thanks to our team mentors, with special recognition to Michigan Tech alum Joseph Corso (EE ‘77), Founder and President of TouchPoint Inc., for hosting regular Office Hours mentoring sessions throughout the year with Husky Innovate students.  

Thank you to our Bob Mark Business Model Pitch Competition judges: Northern Michigan University Professor Corrine Bodeman, Michigan Tech Professor Elham Asgari, Michigan Tech Professor Charles Wallace, Michigan Tech alum Dan Green (BA ‘83), Michigan Tech alum Jason Mack (MBA ‘13), and Pavlis Honors College External Advisory Board member Carolyn Yarina.   We appreciate your time and expertise in helping our students improve their pitches. 

Thank you to our prize sponsors.  The business model prizes are sponsored by the College of Business (COB), Rick and Joe Berquist, and Dan Green and Jane Mooney.  The Social Impact Award is sponsored by Dr. Elham Asgari, COB, Gates Professor of Entrepreneurship, and the Breakout Innovation Award is sponsored by MTEC SmartZone and MEDC

Thank you to our emcee, Jordan Craven, Management of Information Systems (MIS) and Computer Science (CS) and startup founder of Sizelogic.  Thanks to our marketing team, Jessie Neece, and marketing intern Eugene Agyei.  Thank you to our production team, Sound and Lighting Services, and the Pavlis Honors College team for supporting this event.  Thank you to our presenters and participants who helped to make the week a success.  We appreciate your time and contributions to 2024’s Innovation Week.

Thanks to all who attended our Innovation Week events! We look forward to next year’s events!

Husky Innovate is a collaboration between the Pavlis Honors College, the College of Business, and the Office of Innovation and Commercialization.

If you are interested in additional opportunities, check out our Husky Innovate Events Page.  Please feel free to reach out to for more information.

Announcing Our Upcoming Experience Innovation Trip – Detroit!

Experience Innovation trips offer a unique blend of education, inspiration, networking, and personal development. They provide students with a taste of the entrepreneurial world and equip them with skills and insights that can benefit them throughout their academic and professional journeys.

Husky Innovate is proud to announce their newest Experience Innovation trip and they are headed to Detroit!

What makes a strong innovation and entrepreneurship (I&E) ecosystem and why are companies drawn to Detroit? One could argue that Detroit is the most innovative city in the Midwest.  From Motown music to the Big 3 automobile manufacturers, Detroit has a rich history that positions it as a regional hub for innovation and technology development.  Detroit companies are making an impact in global markets and up-and-coming startups find that they have the resources they need to fuel their growth. 

Michigan Tech students are invited to an immersive innovation experience in Detroit this November 19-22, in which they will tour and meet with representatives at Ford Motor Company’s mobility innovation district – Michigan Central, Michigan Founders Fund – led by DUO Security co-founder Dug Song, Dow Ventures, and a collection of startup companies that you may not have heard of yet, but are on their way to becoming household names.  

A preliminary list of visit locations includes:

Here are just a few compelling reasons why students should consider joining us on this adventure to Detroit:

  1. Networking Opportunities: These trips offer Huskies a unique chance to connect with established entrepreneurs, successful business leaders, and like-minded peers. Networking with individuals who have practical experience can open doors to mentorship, internships, and future career opportunities.
  2. Inspiration and Motivation: Meeting entrepreneurs and visiting startups can be incredibly inspiring. Students often leave these trips with a renewed sense of purpose and motivation to pursue their own entrepreneurial ideas and projects.
  3. Resume Enhancement: Participation in such trips can significantly enhance a student’s resume. It demonstrates a proactive approach to learning and a genuine interest in entrepreneurship and innovation, which can make them stand out to potential employers or investors.
  4. Clarifying Career Goals: Meeting startups and entrepreneurs can help students clarify their career goals. They may discover new interests or confirm existing passions, helping them make informed decisions about their future paths.
  5. Entrepreneurial Mindset: These experiences can foster an entrepreneurial mindset characterized by creativity, resilience, adaptability, and a willingness to take calculated risks, which are valuable attributes in any career.
  6. Academic Complement: Experience Innovation trips can complement their Michigan Tech academic coursework by providing real-world context to what students learn in class. This practical application of knowledge can enhance their understanding of business concepts.
  7. Personal Growth: These trips often lead to personal growth. Students develop self-confidence, improve communication skills, and become more adaptable to new environments and challenges.

In summary, Experience Innovation trips offer a unique blend of education, inspiration, networking, and personal development. They provide students with a taste of the entrepreneurial world and equip them with skills and insights that can benefit them throughout their academic and professional journeys.

Understanding what fuels innovation is best understood by experiencing it firsthand – sign up today!  Get a window into the regional innovation and entrepreneurship community (I&E), have a chance to ask your questions firsthand, and learn what drives entrepreneurship. 

This opportunity is made possible by Husky Innovate’s key collaborators, Pavlis Honors College, the Office of Innovation and Commercialization, and the College of Business

Daytime shot from across the Detroit River taken of the Detroit Skyline.

Husky Innovate Announces Fall 2023 Schedule of Events

Husky Innovate, a collaboration between the Pavlis Honors College, the Office of Innovation and Commercialization, and the College of Business, has a goal to provide the tools and knowledge to cultivate Michigan Tech’s innovative, creative, and entrepreneurial spirit across all disciplines offered on campus. To accomplish that goal, Husky Innovate provides valuable innovation and entrepreneurial education programs to students, staff, and faculty at Michigan Tech and this fall’s schedule is no exception!

This semester we have an outstanding lineup of workshops and speakers – check out the schedule of events for fall 2023 below. For more information on our Husky Innovate events, please visit:

Husky Innovate Fall 2023 Semester Calendar of Events
Husky Innovate Fall 2023 Schedule of Events

Looking for ways to get involved? Sign up for our mailing list and get information sent directly to your inbox about upcoming innovation workshops, speakers, or other ways to excel your career. 

Congratulations to Lydia Savatsky!

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Lydia has been awarded the Dean of Students Award for Service for 2020-2021. She graduated in May 2021 from Michigan Tech with a degree in math and honors recognition from the Pavlis Honors College. Lydia’s honors program focused in community service and included a certificate for Peace Corps Prep. Lydia spent three summers working with the Appalachian Service Project in various leadership roles, founded and served as president of Tech Tutors during the pandemic, and has been highly active mentoring K-12 students in the local community throughout her degree program. Congratulations, Lydia!

Interested in Community Service? This video explains two opportunities from global to local on how to get involved.

Interested in global service? Peace Corps Prep is a partnership with the U.S. Peace Corps for Michigan Tech students to prepare themselves for international service. Looking for a way to serve closer to home? GivePulse is a matching platform with numerous community engagement opportunities that you can get involved with. Watch this short video to learn more.

Community Ambassador Collaborates with KBIC on Shared Governance Document

Deanna Seil, who served as a Community Ambassador while at Michigan Tech, collaborated with the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community to develop a resource on shared governance for her community service work. The final product “Shared Governance and Stewardship: Rights and Responsibilities of the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community” is available here.