Category: Competitions

Bob Mark Business Model Pitch Competition Is January 28

The virtual Bob Mark Business Model Pitch Competition takes place Thursday, January 28, 2021, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Graduate and undergraduate students from across campus disciplines are invited to compete. When registering, contestants can choose the competition category, as this year two pitch competition categories are available.

A tribute to the late Professor of Practice Bob Mark, College of Business, the Bob Mark Business Model Pitch Competition recognizes student entrepreneurial spirit.

Faculty, staff, students, alumni, and the community are invited to attend this energized virtual pitch competition.

Register to attend the Bob Mark Business Model Competition

Register to compete in the Bob Mark Business Model Competition

Category 1: Idea Pitch

A two-minute idea pitch that presents a creative solution to a problem. Pitches will be evaluated on their uniqueness and the potential impactfulness.

Category 2: Business Model Pitch

A four-minute business model pitch which touches on the innovation technology, emphasizes product-market fit and the potential value it brings to the market. Prizes will be awarded to the most scalable and actionable business model pitches.  Participants in the Business Model Pitch category are encouraged to sign up for the Business Model Boot Camp workshop on January 20, 2021 https://bit.ly/HuskyInnovateBootcamp

This event is hosted by Husky Innovate, a collaboration between Pavlis Honors College, the College of Business and the Office of Innovation and Commercialization. Prizes will be awarded by the College of Business, the MTEC SmartZone, and Husky Innovate.  

Prizes include:

Idea Pitch Category

  • First Prize: $125
  • Second Prize: $75
  • Third Prize: $50
  • Social Impact Award: $100 (sponsored by Dr. Ellie Asgari – COB Gates Professor)

Business Model Category

  • First Prize: $2,000 (sponsored by Rick and Jo Berquist)
  • Second Prize: $1,000 
  • Third Prize: $500
  • Honorable Mention (2 prizes): $250 each Audience Favorite: $250
  • MTEC SmartZone Breakthrough Innovation Award: $1,000
  • Social Impact Award: $1,000 (sponsored by Dr. Ellie Asgari – COB Gates Professor)

Husky Innovate is Michigan Tech’s innovation and entrepreneurship resource hub. The unit hosts free workshops, competitions, NSF I-Corps lean startup workshops, innovation talks, internships, mentorship, and the Silicon Valley Experience.


Winter WonderHack Is February 19-21

Winter WonderHack is just around the corner. The event begins February 19, 2021, at 9:00 p.m., and ends February 21, 2021, at 9:00 a.m.

Are you an up-and-coming coder? Do you have a coding project in mind you’ve been itching to finally bring to fruition? Or perhaps you have no ideas, but you need to add some new projects to your resume, something you can brag about to recruiters?

Do you like to win prizes? How about just hanging out and/or playing games?

Do all of the above and more at the virtual Winter WonderHack February 19-21.

The event is sponsored by the College of Computing, Wolfram Language, Auto Owners Insurance, and Domino’s Pizza.

“Okay, but what IS Winter WonderHack?” you may ask.

Winter WonderHack is a hackathon hosted annually by MTU’s very own Humane Interface Design Enterprise, or HIDE. It is an event that extends over 36 hours, in which groups ranging in size from one to four people come together to build and code any project from scratch–but it’s not all work and no play! There are a wide range of activities that will be occurring all day and all night for you to take a break from brainstorming and just have fun!

After the 36th hour on Sunday, all projects will be presented to a panel of judges, and then prizes will be awarded under a variety of categories, ranging from the Most Creative project to the Most Useless!

For the entire weekend, MTU’s Red Team will host a Capture the Flag event. On Saturday, a Rocket League tournament will occur! Both events will be conducted virtually via Discord. (For anyone worried about missing out, Rocket League is available free for download on PC, PS4, XBox One, and Nintendo Switch.)

All events during Winter Wonderhack are free, and all levels of technical backgrounds are welcome to attend! To register, visit the Winter Wonderhack website at https://winterwonderhack.com/#, and click on the Register link.

Do you have more questions about the event? Please reach out to team@winterwonderhack.com. We hope to see you there!


Register Now: 2021 Undergraduate Research Symposium Is Friday, March 26

The 2021 Undergraduate Research Symposium (URS) will be held virtually on Friday, March 26, 2021. It requires that participants register for the event, provide an abstract, and create and narrate an electronic poster.

This event is open to all Michigan Tech undergraduate researchers. Students wishing to participate must register online by Friday, February 5.

The top three winners, based on judges’ reviews, will receive cash prizes for the best poster and narrated presentation combination. Winner will be announced Friday, March 26. 

For event details, student application and resource materials, and judging information, visit the URS webpage or contact Paige Hackney.

View and download photos from the 2019 Symposium on the Pavlis Honors College Flickr page. View the 2019 URS booklet that details all of the Symposium participant abstracts.


Computing Majors on Team that Takes 3rd in Lockheed CTF Competition

Two College of Computing RedTeam students are part of a five-member team that finished 3rd in last weekend’s invitation-only Lockheed Martin Advanced Technologies Laboratories (ATL) Capture the Flag cybersecurity competition.

The multi-day virtual event involved 200 students on 40 teams. It opened for answer submission Friday, January 8, at 8:00 p.m., and closed Sunday, January 10, at 8 p.m.

The 3rd Place team, GoBlue!, trailed the 2nd Place team by only 14 points. RedTeam members are Michigan Tech undergraduates Dakoda Patterson, Computer Science, and Trevor Hornsby, Cybersecurity, and three University of Michigan students from the RedTeam’s partnership with that institution.

Michigan Tech RedTeam faculty advisors are Professor Yu Cai, Applied Computing, and Assistant Professor Bo Chen, Computer Science.

“We were lucky to be one of the 40 teams invited,” said Cai. “This was no small task, as the CTF included a large number of points in Reversing and “pwning” challenges, which proved to be fairly difficult. Other challenges were Cryptography, Stegonography, Web Exploitation, and miscellaneous challenges.”

CTF competitions place hidden “flags” in various computer systems, programs, images, messages, network traffic and other computing environments. Each individual or team is tasked with finding these flags. Participants win prizes while learning how to defend against cybersecurity attacks in a competitive and safe arena.

Top Three Teams

PlacementTeam NameInstitutionTotal Points
1st PlacenullbytesGeorge Mason University3697
2nd PlaceChrisSucksGeorge Mason University3330
3rd PlaceGoBlue!Michigan Tech and University of Michigan 3316

SURF Applications Open

Applications for 2021 Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships (SURF) are now open. Fellowship recipients will spend the summer working on an individual research project under the guidance of a Michigan Tech faculty mentor.

SURFs are open to all Tech undergraduates who have at least one semester remaining after the summer term. Awards are up to $4,000. Applications are due by 4 p.m. Feb. 12.

For more information and access to the application materials and instructions, visit the SURF webpage or contact Rob Handler.


Celebrate Husky Innovation January 25-29

Husky Innovate is organizing Innovation Week, a series of innovation themed events the week of January 25 to 29, 2020. Our goal is to provide opportunities for students, faculty and alumni to meet virtually to engage around the topic of innovation.

We will host panel discussions, alumni office hours and the Bob Mark Business Model Pitch Competition from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, January 28.

We will celebrate entrepreneurship, innovative research and projects on campus and within our extended MTU community.

If you are interested in hosting an innovation tour, participating in a panel discussion, leading a workshop or something else, sign-up here.

Faculty and staff are invited to celebrate innovation week with an innovation themed learning module or student activity.


GSG to Host Grant Writing Webinar Nov. 12

As a student or a researcher, a necessary component of your work is applying for a multitude of grants to obtain funding for future projects. Peter Larson, director of research development at Michigan Tech, will conduct a seminar on Grant Writing from 4 to 5  p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 12 via Zoom.

Larson specializes in creating effective grant and research proposals, particularly in the non-technical proposal sections that researchers often struggle with. Please send any topics or questions you wish to see discussed to gsg-prodev@mtu.edu so we can structure the seminar to better suit your needs.

Those who participate in the seminar will get a chance to enter a raffle draw. Space is not really limited but just so we know how many students to expect, be sure to register.


GSG to Host 3MT Competition Nov. 5

Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition, hosted by the Graduate Student Government, will take place virtually tomorrow (Nov. 5). Come join us on an eventful day where research meets fun.

Participants are judged on their communication and presentation skills, while delivering content in just three minutes with one static PowerPoint slide.

You can watch the participants’ videos online on GSG’s 3MT website starting at 9 a.m. tomorrow.

With 28 participants and 4 different heats, 8 finalists will be chosen for the final rounds. The judging panel consists of 3 different faculty/staff from different majors. The names of the finalists will be declared by Noon.

The contestants qualifying for the next round will compete against each other from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday (Nov. 6) in the Rozsa Center for Performing Arts.

There will be a limit of 200 patrons who can be seated in the Rozsa center to adhere to social distancing guidelines. The seating will be on a first-come-first-served basis. The event will also be streamed live on GSG’s Facebook page.

Join us in-person or virtually to enjoy the event and choose a ‘People’s Choice’ award winner. The first and second place winners will receive cash prizes of $300 and $150 respectively. Additionally, a People’s Choice (PC) award will be given to a speaker selected by the event’s audience, with a cash prize of $100. A Facebook poll and in-person voting will happen to choose this speaker.


Hatti and Team Win Startup Competition

by Electrical and Computer Engineering 

Nagesh Hatti (ECE) was the lead of a startup team that took first place in a virtual entrepreneurial startup event focusing on Education, held earlier this month. The Techstars StartUp weekend was hosted virtually from São Judas University in São Paulo, Brazil. 

Hatti and team pitched “Inter-Self” a mobile-based app that focuses on the emotional health of students, combined with their interaction with fellow students, during projects and assignments. 

Hatti said the objective of their idea is to provide a feedback mechanism so instructors are aware of the overall emotional health of students, and then use that as an input to their instruction. 

Techstars Startup Weekend, in partnership with Google for Startups, is a 54-hour event created for entrepreneurs of all kinds. “It was an intense but rewarding experience,” Hatti said. “There was a lot of support and encouragement to come up with new ideas and execute on them.” 

Hatti said that many of the mentors participating in Techstars startup weekend were successful entrepreneurs who started companies at similar events.


Sajjad Bigham Named Quarterfinalist in DOE Solar Desalination Prize Contest

Assistant Professor Sajjad Bigham, Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics, and his team have advanced to the second phase of the American-Made Challenges Solar Desalination Prize contest for his project, “Sorption-Based ZLD Technology.”

The contest is sponsored by the Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

Bigham is one of 19 quarterfinalists. Each receives a $50,000 cash prize.

Selected from among 162 applicants, the quarterfinalists now advance to the second, Teaming phase of the competition, for which each research team will develop and successfully validate an operational prototype of their solar-thermal desalination system.

Bigham is a heat transfer and energy systems specialist studying the scientific and engineering challenges at the intersection of thermal-fluid, material and energy sciences.

His Michigan Tech research lab, Energy-X, is focused on understanding the fundamental transport science of important energy carriers at micro, nano and molecular scales. He is a member of the Institute of Computing and Cybersystems’ Center for Cyber-Physical Systems.

Project Title: Sorption-Based ZLD Technology
Location: Houghton, MI
Project Summary: State-of-the-art zero liquid discharge (ZLD) technologies are currently bound with either intensive use of high-grade electrical energy such as mechanical vapor compressors or high capital cost with environmental concerns such as evaporation ponds. A team of researchers from Michigan Technological University, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and the company Artic Solar proposes to address these issues by an innovative desiccant-based ZLD desalination system in which a multiple-effect distillation (MED) unit is uniquely embedded at the heart of an absorption-desorption system. The technology employs an absorption-based thermally-driven vapor compressor concept to pressurize the vaporized brine of the ZLD crystallizer unit from a low-pressure absorber to a high-pressure desorber module. This eliminates the need for energy-intensive electrically-driven mechanical vapor compressors currently employed in advanced brine crystallizers.

Timely updates about the American-Made Challenges Solar Desalination Prize are posted here.

The American-Made Challenges are a series of prize competitions that incentivize the nation’s entrepreneurs to strengthen American leadership in energy innovation and domestic manufacturing.

The Solar Desalination Prize is a multi-stage prize competition intended to accelerate the development of low-cost desalination systems that use solar-thermal power to produce clean drinking water from saltwater. It is intended to help achieve the goals of the Water Security Grand Challenge.

Each stage of the competition has increasing prize amounts, totaling millions of dollars.