Category Archives: Awards

Darnishia Slade Recognized at Dean’s Teaching Showcase Luncheon

By Michael R. Meyer

Darnishia Slade (left) was recognized at the Dean’s Teaching Showcase luncheon event by Lorelle Meadows (right).

Lorelle Meadows, dean of the Pavlis Honors College (PHC), selected Darnishia (Dar) Slade, manager of Global Engagement Programs, as a showcase member earlier this month.

Meadows selected Slade because she “embodies the values of the Pavlis Honors College in her teaching. She exemplifies the honors abilities, and is a great role model for students who are working to develop these important skillsets and mindsets.”

Slade teaches the first Honors Seminar (HON 2150), as well as the Capstone Courses for students in the Global Leadership Pathway, pursuing their Leadership Minor. In this role, Meadows praises Slade’s “remarkable ability to adapt as class time evolves, targeting opportunities for visiting important points that pop up at unexpected times” as well as her “use of a variety of interactive techniques to assess student understanding of a concept.”

Meadows said Slade is also, importantly, able to “assess the climate of the classroom as students encounter challenging topics.” These exceptional facilitation skills have also been noticed by her PHC colleagues. In their words, “Her ability to facilitate learning in a way that embodies the mindsets we are encouraging in our students serves as a model for the rest of us, who are also trying to facilitate student learning and development.”

In the short time Slade has been a part of the Honors College, she has continuously explored ways to improve the classroom experience for students, evolving course materials and methods of delivery to increase student engagement and learning outcomes. As an example, she has observed the flow of the semester through the energy level that students bring to class. At a low energy period, she stopped class and simply went around the room asking every student to say one word that exemplified how they were feeling. It was a quick activity to gauge how students were experiencing their semester, and it was revealing.

It was around Week 5 or 6, and students were feeling the pressure of looming exams and a long stretch until a break from coursework over Thanksgiving. Synthesizing this, she created and introduced a handout at the next session that focused on campus resources for self-care, aligning this with a session on the physiology of mindfulness. Several students reflected on the timeliness and value of this simple act.

Slade’s excellent sense of the student experience likely stems from her previous work in both academic and student affairs departments of the University. Meadows, describing this unique perspective, says “Her compassion for the students, not just their learning, but for their personal well-being, is inspiring. Her teaching doesn’t stop at the classroom or office door. She takes time to talk individually with students and solicit their experience, then she synthesizes all that, and brings that knowledge to our discussions of college matters.”

One PHC faculty member noted that, “When Dar joined our team, I felt that every meeting she brought up an excellently formulated point that surprised me — mainly drawn from her approach to students.”

The students themselves have also indicated an appreciation for Slade’s openness and personal interest. Recent student comments include “I have known Dar to take time out of her day to get to know students and to be there for them and to get to know what is going on and what’s wrong,” and “Dar is someone who I can go to for any reason without any fear of judgment.”

Meadows summarizes Slade’s contribution this way: “Darnishia Slade brings creativity and compassion into her teaching. She has influenced students both inside and outside the classroom, and uses these experiences and insights to affect change in our programs.”

All of the Dean’s Teaching Showcase members pictured at Recognition Luncheon.

Slade was recognized at the end-of-term luncheon with other showcase members, and is now eligible for one of three new teaching awards to be given by the William G. Jackson Center for Teaching and Learning this summer recognizing introductory or large class teaching, innovative or outside the classroom teaching methods, or work in curriculum and assessment.


Pavlis Students Shine at 25th Annual Student Leadership Awards

The 25th Annual Student Leadership Awards were held Friday, April 19 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, five of the winners and ten of the nominees were Pavlis Honors College students.

Tessa Steenwinkel won the Provost’s Award for Scholarship.

Tessa Steenwinkel, nominated by the Department of Biological Sciences, was awarded the Provost’s Award for Scholarship. The Provost’s Award for Scholarship is given to a student who best represents student scholarship at Michigan Tech. This outstanding student is considered excellent not only by academic standards, but also for participation in research scholarship activity, levels of intellectual curiosity, creativity, and communication skills. Steenwinkel was also nominated by the Pavlis Honors College for the Rising Star of the Year.

Tessa Steenwinkel recognized for her research.

Logan Alger, nominated by the Pavlis Honors College, was awarded Rising Star of the Year. Rising Star of the Year is awarded to a student that shows great potential for leadership and who attempts to develop themselves personally in everything they do. Logan is currently working on his honors project in which he is developing a mentorship program for Pavlis Honors Pathway students.

Logan Alger, pictured with his nominator and Honors advisor Darnishia Slade, received the Rising Star of the Year award.

Elise Cheney-Makens was awarded the Dean of Students Award for Service and also Exceptional Community Service Project. Elise volunteered at the Ronald McDonald Home in Rochester, MN to support critically ill children and their families during the summer 2018 while she was a research intern at Mayo Clinic. Giving back in her own community of Houghton, she developed the Science Fair Mentoring Program to help 4th and 5th graders at Houghton Elementary plan, develop, and execute their science fair projects. Elise, in addition to creating this program, was responsible for recruiting 20 undergraduate volunteers. Elise has also volunteered as a Young Women Leaders Program mentor (a Center for Diversity and Inclusion program) for a year, working with middle school girls to develop leadership skills.

Elise Cheney-Makens was awarded both the Exceptional Community Service Project and the Dean of Students Award for Service.

Magann Dykema was awarded the Outstanding Future Alumni Award. This award recognizes the contribution of a student volunteer who supports the Alumni Association’s mission of “Celebrating Traditions. Creating Connections.” Dykema demonstrated an outstanding commitment to the success of Tech traditions during her time on campus. She was also nominated for the Exceptional Enthusiasm as a Student Leader award. Magann is graduating this semester with a bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering. She is then headed to the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse to start a master’s program in Student Affairs Administration.  

Magann Dykema awarded Outstanding Future Alumni.

In addition to our winners, Pavlis would also like to acknowledge the following nominees:

  • Cameron Philo was awarded Departmental Scholar by the Pavlis Honors College and therefore nominated for the Provost’s Award for Scholarship
  • Clara Peterson was awarded Departmental Scholar for Chemical Engineering and therefore nominated for the Provost’s Award for Scholarship
  • Joshua Jay was nominated for Student Employee of the Year
  • Marcello Guadagno and Corrina Kostrzewa were nominated for the President’s Award for Leadership

The Undergraduate Research Symposium winners were also recognized at Friday’s Award ceremony. Ceily Fessel Doan (environmental engineering) took first place for her research, Comparison of Nannochloropsis and Chlorelle Vulgaris Algae to Energy Efficiency in the Rio Grande Watershed. Jacob LeBarre (chemical engineering) placed second for his research entitled, Improvement of Virus Purification Method using Cation Exchange Chromatography. Third place was awarded to Pavlis Honors College student Kaylee Meyers (biomedical engineering) for Nitric Oxide Releasing Composite Hydrogels for Tendon Repair Via Matrix Metalloproteinase Controlled Pathways.

Kaylee Meyers at the 2019 Undergraduate Research Symposium.

The Pavlis Honors College would also like to acknowledge our 2019 Dean’s Scholarship Award recipient, Madi Vachon. Madi is a very active member of the Pavlis Honors Ambassadors group. She volunteers her time to design, plan, and implement recruitment efforts to grow the Pavlis community. Madi goes above and beyond to engage with students on a meaningful level which has significantly added to our enrollment and retention. Thank you for your continued support Madi! The Pavlis Honors College Dean’s Scholarship is awarded annually in the amount of $1,000 to recognize an Honors student’s outstanding commitment to our programs and pathways. 

Congratulations to all of the award nominees and winners.


Cameron Philo Wins Best Technology and $10,000 at CMU New Venture Competition

Apurva Baruah pitching at CMU New Venture for Yooper Ag.

Five student teams from Michigan Technological University traveled to Central Michigan University (CMU) in Mount Pleasant, MI to compete in the ninth annual New Venture Competition held Friday, April 12. Student teams from Michigan Tech and CMU presented business plans and pitches to panels of experienced entrepreneurs. The Michigan Tech students that competed in the 2019 CMU New Venture Competition were:

  • Mayank Bagaria for Vakya
  • Apurva Baruah for Yooper Ag
  • Ahammad Basha Dudekula for AGTO Autonomous
  • Cameron Philo for Life Pro Jackets
  • Karuna Rana and Sid Premchandani for Reality Check
Cameron Philo pitching at CMU New Venture for Life Pro Jackets.

Michigan Tech students Cameron Philo and Mayank Bagaria advanced to the semifinals last Friday. Cameron Philo won Best Technology and was awarded $10,000. Philo participated in Michigan Tech’s I-Corps Site Program last Fall. 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.

Mayank Bagaria pitching at CMU New Venture for Vakya.

This is the ninth year of the New Venture competition and the eighth year of Michigan Tech’s partnership with CMU. Last year, four out of Michigan Tech’s six participants took home cash and in-kind awards.

Cameron Philo wins Best Technology and $10,000.

Michigan Tech’s Innovation Center for Entrepreneurship (ICE), a collaboration between the Pavlis Honors College and the School of Business and Economics, 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. Husky Innovate was introduced this academic year by ICE as a succession of workshops and events that build on each other leading up to the CMU New Venture Competition. The intention is to guide students through key phases of innovation or business development while emphasizing evidence based strategies for success. Many of the students that competed in this year’s New Venture Competition also participated in various Husky Innovate events and workshops throughout the academic year. 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.


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.


PHC Student Athletes Earn GLIAC All-Academic Excellence Award

By Amy Karagiannakis

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PHC students Elle Heinenon, Volleyball and Sarah Wade, Cross Country received Spring All-Academic Excellence Awards from the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC). The All-Academic Excellence Award recognizes student athletes with a cumulative grade point average of 3.5 or higher.

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Heinenon at Northern Michigan University

Elle Heinonen was voted team captain of the Michigan Tech Women’s Volleyball team this past Spring. Heinonen has played a significant role in rebuilding the Women’s Volleyball program at Tech resulting in a winning season this past year. Heinonen reflected on her experience, “It has taught me team work, time management, and sacrifice among many more lessons I have yet to realize.” Heinonen is majoring in Exercise Science and is entering her senior year this upcoming season.

WadeSarah Wade is a third year Electrical and Computer Engineering major and competes on the Michigan Tech Cross Country team. Wade serves as the Auris Payload Systems Engineer on the Aerospace Engineering Enterprise. She is currently preparing to travel to India for her immersion experience as part of the PHC Global Leadership pathway. Wade’s team will be staying and working with the Karpaga Vinayaga College of Engineering and Technology (KVCET) located just outside of Chennai (Madras) in the state of Tamil Nadu. Over the course of five weeks students will be focusing their efforts on implementing solar power in the local community, incorporating a sustainable garden into the existing composter system, updating the water filtration system, and teaching STEM to middle school students in Kunnankulathur. Follow the Global Leadership India team through their blog this summer.

GLIAC announced its Spring Academic Excellence Awards Thursday, June 1. A total of 65 Michigan Tech men and women student athletes were recognized for their academic accomplishments. Congratulations Elle and Sarah, and good luck with the upcoming season!


Supermileage Systems Enterprise Wins Technical Innovation Award in the Shell Eco-Marathon

By Amy Karagiannakis

The 33rd annual Shell Eco-marathon Americas competition took place over the weekend, April 27-30 in Detroit, MI. This year’s event was the second season that Michigan Tech’s Supermileage Systems Enterprise team competed.  Shell Eco-marathon challenges student teams from around the world to design, build, test and drive ultra-energy-efficient vehicles. More than 100 teams from universities and high schools across the country and abroad came to the heart of the Motor City to compete on the track located on the city streets surrounding the Cobo Convention Center.

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In order to participate, teams must successfully complete a 4-phase registration process, including submission of technical information about their vehicle and design. There are two vehicle categories: urban concept and prototype. Within these categories there are three energy types: internal combustion (multiple fuel types), battery, and hydrogen. In order to compete, teams must pass a rigorous technical inspection and complete 10 consecutive laps around a 0.6 mile closed course in downtown Detroit, maintaining a minimum average speed of 15 mph. Awards are given for teams achieving the highest efficiency (either mpg or m/kWh). Off-track awards are also given for Innovation, Communication, Safety, Design, and Perseverance & Team Spirit. This year, 119 teams from 8 different countries were approved to compete.

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The Supermileage Enterprise competed in the Prototype/Battery Electric class. Of the 27 teams that participated, 22 made it through technical inspection and 17 completed at least one performance run. Tech’s Supermileage Systems Enterprise was one of those 17 teams. The team’s design included a 500W brushed DC motor and controller using a 48V/20Ah lithium ion battery back and battery management system. The motor controller must be purpose-built and designed by the team (i.e. no off the shelf controllers allowed). The Supermileage Enterprise improved their controller design from last year and upgraded the battery for improved vehicle acceleration. They completed one run with 104 m/kWh…about 3,500 MPGe. The team took 10th place in the BEV prototype category.

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Michigan Tech’s Supermileage Systems Enterprise team also competed for the Communications, Safety, and Technical Innovation Awards at the Shell Eco-marathon.  They won the Technical Innovation Award for their flexible motor controller design. The judges reviewed the application and interviewed the team. They noted the team’s well-defined engineering requirements as one of the key strengths over other applications.

Rick Berkey, Supermileage Systems Enteprise advisor and Director of Michigan Tech’s Enterprise Program, commented, “It goes without saying that I am so proud of our team’s accomplishments, throughout the year and especially at the event. Competing in the electric vehicle category is particularly challenging given that teams must build their own motor controller. This is not a trivial task! Receiving the Technical Innovation Award was a real testament to the team’s motor controller design AND their ability to articulate what makes it innovative and unique. To see us place 10th in only our second year of SEM competition shows the talent and drive of the Supermileage Systems Enterprise. It’s rewarding and humbling to work with such a great group of students and to see them get recognition on a national stage among peers from schools around the globe – that was the highlight for me.”

The $3,000 monetary award will be put to good use, and the Supermileage Systems Enterprise now has an impressive trophy to display on campus.

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The Supermileage Systems Enterprise team will now begin converting their vehicle over to the internal combustion engine for the upcoming SAE Supermileage competition on June 8-9 at the Eaton Proving Grounds in Marshall, MI. Good luck and congratulations!

 


PHC Students Shine at the 23rd Annual Leadership Awards Ceremony

By Amy Karagiannakis

The 23rd Annual Student Leadership Awards were held Friday 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 fourteen awards that were presented at this year’s ceremony, four of the winners were Pavlis Honors College students.

Magann Dykema was presented with the Pavlis Honors College Departmental Scholar Award. Dean Lorelle Meadows nominated Magann to represent the PHC and to be considered for the Provost’s Award for Scholarship. Magann is an amazing asset to the PHC, not only by academic standards, but also for her motivation, creativity, and communication skills. Magann serves as the Operations Coordinator for The Alley, Michigan Tech’s new makerspace.

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Dykema in The Alley with Milwaukee Tool representatives that presented donations to the new makerspace.

 

Kemin Fena was awarded Exceptional Community Service Project for her Your Story, Our Story project. This was in collaboration with Right Start UP and was made possible through help from Fena and other motivated community members that invested significant time and effort. Fena served as Project Manager for Your Story, Our Story under the direction of the Project Director and Tech instructor, Dr. Sara Thiam.

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Fena’s Your Story, Our Story project served as her honors project for the PHC.

Erin Richie was presented with 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. Erin was and continues to be involved in service projects abroad and within the community. Richie was also recently awarded the Pavlis Honors College Dean’s Scholarship for her commitment to recruiting and outreach efforts as an Honors Ambassador.

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Richie with children in a local Ghanaian community where she spent her five-week immersion experience for the PHC Global Leadership Pathway.

Brad Turner was presented with the Clair M. Donovan Award. This award recognizes a Michigan Tech faculty or staff member, student, or an exceptional community member who has contributed the most outstanding service during the preceding year.  This award is in honor of Clair M. Donovan, who made immeasurable contributions to Michigan Tech through his service as national president of Blue Key, as an alumnus, and as a civil leader. Turner oversaw the design and development of the makerspace which was converted from Tech’s old bowling alley in the basement of the MUB. He currently serves as Alley Director. As a University Innovation Fellow, Turner creates opportunities for students across campus to engage in more activities and events that inspire innovation, entrepreneurship, design thinking and creativity.

Brad
Turner works part-time as a product designer for Handshake, headquartered in San Francisco. He will be moving into a full time position upon his graduation at the end of this month.

The Undergraduate Research Symposium winners were also recognized at Friday’s Award ceremony. Stephanie Dietrich, Exercise Science major, took first place for her research, Subjective and Objective Assessments of Sleep Differ in male and Female Collegiate Athletes. Brain Flanagan, Computer Engineering major, placed second for his research entitled, The Effects of Uncertain Labels on Damage Assessment in Remotely Sensed Images. Third place was awarded to Drew Hanover, Mechanical Engineering major, for Building-to-Grid Predictive Power Flow Control for Demand Response and Demand Flexibility Programs.

The Pavlis Honors College would like to recognize all Honors student nominees: Sam Casey, nominated for the President’s Award for Leadership and Exceptional Leadership in Student Governance, Rachel Chard, nominated for the President’s Award for Leadership, Rachel Kolb, nominated for the President’s Award for Leadership and Student Employee of the Year, Shelby Marter, nominated for Exceptional Enthusiasm as a Student Leader, and Jacob Cavins and Neffertia Tyner, both nominated for the Outstanding Future Alumni Award.

 


Design Expo Winners 2017

By Amy Karagiannakis

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More than 1000 students in Enterprise and Senior Design showcased their work last Thursday at Design Expo and competed for awards. A panel of judges, made up of distinguished corporate representatives and Michigan Tech staff and faculty members, critiqued the projects. The College of Engineering and the Pavlis Honors College is pleased to announce the following winners.

Black&Veatch Building a World of Difference® Student Design Awards:

Senior Design Awards (based on poster)

1st place: BME – Enhanced Measurement and Analysis of Gait Disturbances – Aspirus

2nd place: MSE – High Pressure Die Casting Vent Optimization – Mercury Marine

3rd place: BME – Customizing Transcatheter Nitinol Stents for Treatment of Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome in Infants – Spectrum Health

Senior Design Honorable Mention

ME-EM – Improved Inline Component Cleaning System – MacLean-Fogg

ME-EM – Snowmobile Chassis Magnesium Component Design – Polaris

BME – Blubber-Only Implantable Satellite Tracking Device for Humpback Whales

Enterprise Awards (based on poster and presentation)

1st place: Consumer Product Manufacturing Enterprise

Tie for 2nd place: Formula SAE & Wireless Communication Enterprise

3rd place: Aerospace Enterprise

 

Ann Arbor SPARK Design Expo Image Contest:

1st place: Formula SAE Enterprise

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Welding the Formula car chassis together.

2nd place: Customizing Transcatheter Nitinol Stents for Treatment of Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome in Infants

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Deformation of a nitinol stent to investigate the possibility of clinically relevant geometries.

 

Pavlis Honors College Innovation Center for Entrepreneurship Innovation Award:

1st place: BME – Customizing Transcatheter Nitinol Stents for Treatment of Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome in Infants

2nd place: BME – Instrumentation of Manual Medical Devices

3rd place: BME – Posture Correction Device with Haptic Feedback for Parkinson’s Disease

 

Congratulations and thanks to ALL teams for a very successful Design Expo 2017!


Meet Erin Richie…

By Amy Karagiannakis

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Erin Riche and Maddy Duensing on their 5-week immersion experience in Ghana.

Erin Richie traveled to Ghana last summer with a cohort of students from the Global Leadership Pathway within the Pavlis Honors College. The team worked on numerous projects while in country, but Erin took the lead on the Women’s Health and Education project. In many developing countries, the subject of menstruation is still very much taboo. Many parents will not discuss menstrual hygiene with their daughters, which can lead to embarrassment and confusion. Without access to sanitary pads, many women use items such as newspaper, rags, and other materials that are not very efficient at absorbing and can cause infection. Girls will often miss several days of school each month while they are on their period to avoid the potential embarrassment of staining their clothes due to leakage. According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), approximately 10% of African girls will quit school due to issues regarding menstruation. There are solutions available, but making them accessible to small villages, such as those Erin traveled to in Ghana, is difficult. Before leaving for Ghana, Erin first reached out to Diva Cup for donations. Diva Cup manufactures reusable menstrual cups that last several years and can be cleaned and sanitized using boiling water. The company agreed to donate 50 cups, as well as designed posters explaining proper care and use. Erin wanted to do more though. She new that 50 cups, while helpful, would eventually run out. Erin wanted to provide an alternative for the girls and women in the Ghanaian village that they could continue to utilize even after she had left. Using simple, low cost materials, Erin modified a pattern for a reusable menstrual pad that could be washed and then sun bleached. She wanted to offer workshops to teach girls and women how to make their own reusable menstrual pads providing the necessary materials. Through a connection with the nonprofit organization Women of the Pearl, Erin partnered with a local pastor and his wife in Ghana. The couple believed that when women are empowered, their children will prosper. They were very excited about the project and helped Erin solidify a location for her first workshop. The initial workshop was a success and the turn out was very encouraging. The demand for more workshops grew and Erin spent much of her time in country holding these workshops and teaching local women how to facilitate their own. These women could now make their own affordable, reusable pads, allowing them the protection to stay in school during their monthly cycle.

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From left to right: Bob Beynon, Maddy Duensing, Erin Richie, Amanda Vermeer, and Peter Seim in Ghana.

“I’m so thankful for all that I’ve been able to do by being involved with the Pavlis Honors College. Aside from learning about the culture, my time in Ghana also taught me how to be a better teammate. I’m so lucky to have had a great supportive team in Ghana and for all I was able to learn from them that I can apply to future experiences, as teamwork is not only an intricate part of becoming an engineer, but a valuable life skill,” reflected Erin. The next Pavlis Honors College Ghana team will be traveling this summer. They are currently raising money to purchase more materials and supplies to continue teaching Erin’s workshops in local villages. Donations to this and other causes can be made through Superior Ideas, a Michigan Tech crowdfunding site.

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Erin with fellow PHC students and young Ghanaian women who benefited from the workshops.

Erin returned from her immersion experience in Ghana a little less than a year ago, but her devotion to women’s health and education has only grown stronger. She will be spending two weeks this summer volunteering in Uganda with Women of the Pearl to continue her work, as well as contribute to other projects that empower women around the globe. Prior to her trip to Uganda, Erin will be studying abroad for six weeks in Peru to participate in some volunteer work and finish up her minor in Spanish. She will be living with a host family while in country, and hopes to find some time to visit Machu Picchu, Ica, and Iquitos. Erin will be graduating at the end of Fall semester 2017 with a degree in Mechanical Engineering and minors in Spanish and Psychology.

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Erin at the Women’s Solidarity March across the Portage Lake Bridge on Jan. 21.

Erin’s interest in human centered design did not originate in Ghana. As a mechanical engineering major, Erin is passionate about designing and developing products that make daily work and life more efficient and enjoyable. Erin is currently leading the Human Factors Team for the Humane Interface Design Enterprise (HIDE) at Michigan Tech. HIDE is a student-run organization focused on software development and usability research. Erin is now working with the Undergraduate Student Government to develop an RFID voting booth in order to increase student involvement in surveys and elections. Starting in the Fall, Erin will become the co-president of HIDE.

Erin Richie and Nicole Mackey with PHC benefactor Frank Pavlis in Allentown, PA.
Nicole Mackey and Erin Richie with PHC benefactor Frank Pavlis in Allentown, PA.

Erin Richie is an active Honors Ambassador and works as an academic success coach on campus, as well as off campus as an elementary school STEM instructor through the GLRC.  She was recently awarded the Pavlis Honors College Dean’s Scholarship in the amount of $1000. Erin is the first recipient of this award, which was created to recognize Honors students like Erin who go above and beyond. The Pavlis Honors College Dean’s Scholarship will be awarded to one honors student annually in the amount of $1000 to recognize their outstanding commitment to our programs and pathways. Erin consistently volunteers her time to design, plan and implement recruitment efforts to grow the PHC community. She has taken a leading role to ensure the successful implementation of ideas and events. She goes above and beyond to engage with students and faculty on a meaningful level and continues to have a significant positive effect on College enrollment. Overall, Erin is passionate about the PHC and enthusiastically shares her passion with potential future Honors students whenever given the opportunity. On behalf of the entire PHC staff and faculty, I would like to congratulate Erin on her achievements and accomplishments. We could not be more proud of her and look forward to what her future holds.

 

 


Enterprise wins ASME Innovation in Education Award

By Amy Karagiannakis

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Formula SAE Enterprise Team

Michigan Tech’s Enterprise Program was selected by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Engineering Education Awards Committee for the Donald N. Zwiep Innovation in Education Award. Rick Berkey, the Director of the Enterprise Program and Dr. William Predebon, Department Chair of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics, nominated the Enterprise Program for the award last month. They will be accepting the award on behalf of Michigan Tech on April 19th in Washington D.C. at the Mechanical Engineering Education Leadership Summit Awards Luncheon. At that time, Berkey and Predebon will have the opportunity to make a presentation regarding the Enterprise Program sharing how it differentiates Michigan Tech from other universities.

Donald N. Zwiep, ASME member from 1947-2012, was a pioneer of project-based, experiential learning in mechanical engineering. The Innovation in Education Award that bears his name recognizes innovative educational programs that foster and contribute to the advancement of collaborative and multi-disciplinary learning within the field of mechanical engineering.

Founded in 2000, the Enterprise Program at Michigan Tech is comprised of student-driven, multidisciplinary teams that operate like companies on real-world client-sponsored projects. Whether the deliverable is an innovative product, a pioneering solution, or a much-needed service, the hallmark of the Enterprise Program is the experiential learning it provides to Tech’s students. Many teams design, manufacture, and test their own prototypes which provides students with an end-to-end project development experience.

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Aerospace Enterprise working on their custom-made OCULUS-ASR microsatellite.
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The Innovative Global Solutions Enterprise tested their infant heart annunciators in Ghana.

Enterprise teams prepare designs for national competitions, and some projects will even take teams abroad. The Aerospace Enterprise placed first in the University Nanosat 6 Competition, receiving a contract to further develop the custom-made satellite to be launched into orbit by the Department of Defense upon completion. The Innovative Global Solutions Enterprise designed an infant heart annunciator for use in developing countries. Through the Pavlis Honors College, these students were given the opportunity to test their lifesaving device on infants in Ghana.

The Enterprise Program at Michigan Technological University has demonstrated an exemplary understanding of the importance and value of hands-on, project-based learning. Consisting of 26 teams and 800 students that represent 35 different majors, the Enterprise Program was founded on an environment of collaborative and interdisciplinary education.