KIP Moves Into H-STEM Complex

KIP’s move into the Michigan Technological University’s H-STEM Engineering and Health Technologies Complex (H-STEM Complex) is complete. An informal open house and a ribbon-cutting ceremony are scheduled for April 26.

The H-STEM Complex: Transparent, Open, Shared and Flexible Laboratory Spaces

The H-STEM Complex includes newly constructed shared and flexible laboratory spaces co-located with renovated classrooms and learning spaces within an existing building (Chemical Sciences and Engineering). The Complex will permit teams of researchers and students to work together in collaborative spaces with shared equipment.

man pedaling a bicycle with a mask measuring his oxygen level while two researchers monitor his vital signs
Monitoring oxygen and acetate levels in Steve Elmer’s lab
man hooked up to sensors with his movements displayed on a monitor
Reviewing movements in the X lab

The H-STEM Complex is transparent. From the exterior, thanks to floor-to-ceiling windows, you can see into the labs. Similar interior design ensures those within and outside can see teams working together in shared, collaborative lab spaces. You can see the exciting work, including health research, teaching, and outreach strategy happening inside.

Two tables with comfy booth seating up against a tall floor to ceiling window
There’s plenty of room and sunny spots for students to collaborate in the H-STEM Complex
Biomechanics room with tall floor to ceiling windows and lots of space for movement experiments
See the research happening on the inside thanks to wall-to-ceiling windows

KIP interim department chair Steven Elmer is looking forward to increased visibility for the discoveries and developments happening there. “Faculty and students are thrilled to move into the H-STEM Complex,” said Elmer. “We’re excited to showcase the human health research  technologies and innovations happening at Michigan Tech. Having a central location on campus highlights the importance of our department’s  research in the Michigan Tech portfolio. The H-STEM Complex is a cornerstone of Tech’s efforts to continue attracting high-caliber faculty and research funding, graduate and undergraduate students. It will help us as we move toward our goal of being a leading kinesiology program.”

H-STEM Complex - Steve Elmer
Interim Department Chair
Kinesiology and Integrative Physiology

Steve Elmer Shares Thoughts on the H-STEM Complex

We had a chance to catch up with Steve Elmer to learn more about the H-STEM Complex and it’s impact on the Kinesiology and Integrative Physiology Department.

What are you looking forward to most with the move to H-STEM?

Steve Elmer: We are most excited about having 1) our students, staff, and faculty all located in close proximity to one another on the first floor and 2) state-of-the-art laboratory space for conducting research and teaching.

Please describe some of the new features and amenities in H-STEM that make it conducive to research?

Steve Elmer: The new H-STEM building provides ample space for both research and teaching. For example, some of the research laboratories have larger open floor plans which allow for evaluation of human movement to understand changes that occur due to age, injury, disease, or exercise. Our exercise physiology and biomechanics teaching laboratories have adequate space for hands-on discovery-based learning along with a classroom for pre-laboratory instruction and student project work.

The research and teaching laboratories are located adjacent to each other, and many are connected which allows for collaboration among faculty and students. The building also has parking and easy access for community members who volunteer to participate in research studies. Meeting and conference room space for discussion and presentation is located in between the laboratories and offices for graduate students, staff, and faculty. In short, this state-of-the-art facility will support our research and teaching needs and long-term goal of becoming a nationally ranked kinesiology department.

What obstacles have you had to overcome with the transition into the H-STEM Complex?

Steve Elmer: One of the biggest challenges has simply been time. Many of our faculty and staff were hired with the new H-STEM building on the horizon and they have been patiently waiting for the transition to a new building with more space and greater capacity for research and teaching.  

What exciting new opportunities or initiatives planned for KIP in the new H-STEM Complex?

Steve Elmer: In early April we hosted 200+ K-12 students from several local schools in celebration of National Biomechanics Day. This was our first outreach event in the new H-STEM building and the largest one to date for our department. It was a big hit! The University is planning a ribbon cutting ceremony on April 25 and we are planning an informal  department open house that same day. It’d be great to see some of the alums come out for those events.

How does H-STEM align with KIPs vision for the future of research?

Steve Elmer: The new H-STEM Complex offers the robust infrastructure needed to position the Department to become a nationally ranked kinesiology program. Specifically, it will help the Department to increase research expenditures and number of doctorate degrees awarded, both of which are critical as Michigan Tech transitions to an R1 University for 2025.

What is a memorable moment from the planning process?

Steve Elmer: One of the most memorable moments was seeing the excitement from graduate students as they did a walk-through tour of the building while it was still under construction. Students were literally high fiving and jumping up and down and ready to move in that day!

How will the move to H-STEM benefit your undergraduates?

Steve Elmer: Undergraduate instructional lab sections will be delivered in our new exercise physiology and biomechanics teaching laboratories. These laboratories will now have adequate space for pre-laboratory instruction, large instructional equipment, team-based experiments, and student project work. Collectively, this will provide students with hands-on discovery-based learning experiences.

How will the move to H-STEM benefit your graduates?

Steve Elmer: The new H-STEM building will provide a supportive and welcoming environment for our graduate student cohort. Being together as a group in one building on the same floor will accelerate their research, facilitate more collaboration, and aid in their professional development.

About the Kinesiology and Integrative Physiology Department at Michigan Technological University

Tomorrow needs healthy communities. The Department of Kinesiology and Integrative Physiology (KIP) at Michigan Technological University helps to build them. The KIP Department offers undergraduate degrees in exercise science and sports and fitness management. Graduate degree offerings include a PhD in Integrative Physiology as well as a master’s and accelerated master’s degree in Kinesiology. Housed in the new H-STEM Complex, KIP leads several important health and wellness collaborative research projects across eight different labs. Supercharge your human health skills to meet the demands of an increasingly active and aging society at a flagship public research university powered by science, technology, engineering, and math.

Questions? Contact us at kip@mtu.edu. Follow all the latest happenings on Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and the KIP Blog.

New Funding for KIP Faculty

Steven Elmer, KIP

Michigan Tech researchers Tan Chen (Electrical and Computer Engineering) and Steven Elmer (Kinesiology and Integrative Physiology) received a research and development grant from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The project is titled “Investigating Lunar Bipedal Locomotion Mechanics and Predicting Human Musculoskeletal Health on the Moon.” Dr. Tan is serving as the PI and Dr. Elmer is the co-PI on this potential two-year award.

Full details can be found in Tech Today.

Unveiling the Future: A Glimpse into the H-STEM Complex

Research is a key component of any graduate program. Not only do graduate students collect information and analyze data, but they perform important research functions. Researchers must follow a logical process: develop research questions requiring a lot of reading to go through the literature and related information; formulate research hypotheses; prepare the research design; collect and analyze data; and write a paper to present findings.

Many former graduate students will tell you the process requires much time, effort, commitment, and discipline to be successful. In the end, those graduating with an MS or PhD become experts in their field. In doing so, they learn how to analyze a problem more innovatively. Additionally graduate students learn to think critically, propose more creative approaches, and seek out the evidence needed to support their findings. They must be persistent, revisiting research questions and experiments many times. Often, they need to pivot to seek out new data sources, revise research questions, and consider other methods. empirical methods.

Collaboration is a key theme. Not only do graduate students collaborate with each other and their subjects when doing research, they work closely with faculty. Collaborating with faculty helps graduate students expand their knowledge, hone their research skills, and identify future research opportunities. Faculty advisors help graduate students grow their networks of researchers which expands opportunities for future research. Together they envision the future and push the envelope of what is possible. They explore solutions that are several years down the road. They merge precision research and technology with precision health outcomes.

Graduate Students Share What The H-STEM Complex Means To Them

We asked several graduate students for their impressions of the new H-STEM Complex. And as you’d expect, collaboration was the most used word, along with state-of-the-art, technology, and modern. Hear what they had to say.

Oluwatosin I. Oyeniran H-STEM Complex
Oluwatosin I. Oyeniran
PhD Student, Integrative Physiology

Oluwatosin I. Oyeniran

What are your first impressions of the H-STEM Complex?

The H-STEM complex is a world-class and state-of-the-art educational facility that will provide solutions to societal challenges by consolidating quality teaching and research in engineering and health-related sciences.

How will the new facility enable you to become a better researcher?

The H-STEM complex’s unique features such as its discipline-specific shared, flexible, collaborative lab and research spaces will enhance my learning and greatly support my quest to conduct quality and solution-oriented research and sharpen my scientific and technological skills.

What is the number one improvement in your opinion of moving into the H-STEM Complex?

For me, the major improvement is that, unlike our former location, the H-STEM complex is engineered to allow anyone inside and outside the workspaces to watch and visually experience diverse teams working jointly in shared, flexible, and collective teaching and research spaces. I look forward to maximizing all the opportunities and possibilities that the H-STEM complex will offer toward leading and advancing healthcare breakthroughs, technologies, and solutions for Michigan, the region, and the nation at large.


H-STEM Complex
Lily Hart
MS Student, Kinesiology

Lily Hart

What are your first impressions of the H-STEM Complex?

My first impression of the H-STEM Complex was how spacious the research and teaching labs were.

How will the new facility enable you to become a better researcher?

I believe that the new space will allow for collaborations with my peers. Having a communal grad office space has made it easy to not only get to know my peers better, but to get their input and ideas for coursework and research projects.

What is the number one improvement in your opinion of moving into the H-STEM Complex?

The main improvement that I see as a result of the move is the KIP department becoming more integrated into Tech’s community. Moving to the main campus has given us a better presence in the community which can open the doors for more outreach and collaborations with students and other departments.


H-STEM Complex
Kyle Wehmanen
PhD Student, Integrative Physiology

Kyle Wehmanen

What are your first impressions of the H-STEM Complex?

The new H-STEM complex is a great addition to the Michigan Tech campus. The design brings a modern feel to the heart of Tech and should help promote Tech’s commitment to education and research.

How will the new facility enable you to become a better researcher?

The new and expanded space makes research easier and more efficient. More importantly, the new building should foster increased collaboration both within and between multiple departments with optimized lab spaces.

What is the number one improvement in your opinion of moving into the H-STEM Complex?

The new state-of-the-art research spaces and overall inviting atmosphere of the building should promote excitement and energy in the coming years.

Test subject lifts a patient from a sitting position
Lift Testing in Steve Elmer’s Lab
Study subject hooked up to a harness with a number of sensors attached to their body facing a large screen showing their body movement and movement statistics
Balance Testing in the Biomechanics Lab

About the Kinesiology and Integrative Physiology Department at Michigan Technological University

Tomorrow needs healthy communities. The Department of Kinesiology and Integrative Physiology (KIP) at Michigan Technological University helps to build them. The KIP Department offers undergraduate degrees in exercise science and sports and fitness managementGraduate degree offerings include a PhD in Integrative Physiology as well as a master’s and accelerated master’s degree in Kinesiology. Housed in the new H-STEM Complex, KIP leads several important health and wellness collaborative research projects across eight different labs. Supercharge your human health skills to meet the demands of an increasingly active and aging society at a flagship public research university powered by science, technology, engineering, and math.

Questions? Contact us at kip@mtu.edu. Follow all the latest happenings on InstagramTwitterLinkedInFacebook, and the KIP Blog.

KIP Graduate Student Receives MAGS/ProQuest Distinguished Masters Thesis Award Honorable Mention

Isaac Lennox presenting his thesis during a poster session at the American College of Sports Medicine Conference in 2023.

Isaac Lennox, a recent MS in Kinesiology graduate, received Honorable Mention for the MAGS/ProQuest Distinguished Masters Thesis Award of 2024. Isaac’s thesis, “Exercise Is Medicine® on Campus: A National Analysis and Assessment of Community Impact,” was an examination of how the EIM-OC initiative impacts the health and vitality of university campuses and their surrounding communities. He was advised by Dr. Steve Elmer in KIP.

To read Isaac’s thoughts about his time spent at Michigan Tech and his research, go to the Graduate School’s Newsblog.

Time to Step UP and Move More

Dr. Steve Elmer wrote a letter to the editor that was published in the Mining Journal on April 15, 2024 about the importance of physical activity and urging Senator Gary Peters and Senator Debbie Stabenow to support “Promoting Physical Activity for Americans Act” so that physical activity becomes a national priority. This bill would require the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to continue issuing physical-activity guidelines at least every 10 years based on the most current scientific and medical knowledge.

To read the full letter, please visit the Mining Journal’s webpage.

Gracie VanLangevelde Awarded GLIAC Pat Riepma Postgraduate Scholarship

Gracie VanLangevelde, a KIP graduate student and senior goalkeeper on Michigan Tech’s soccer team, has been named a 2023-24 Pat Riepma Postgraduate Scholarship recipient.

Gracie appeared in 57 games over the past five seasons for Michigan Tech. She was the 2023 GLIAC Goalkeeper of the Year and was a two-time All-GLIAC First Team selection. She was also honored by the United Soccer Coaches All-Midwest Region First Team and the CSC Academic All-District Team, and was a four-time member of the GLIAC Academic Excellence Team.

Gracie graduated in spring of 2023 with a bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science and received the 2023 American Kinesiology Association’s Undergraduate Scholar Award. She will complete her master’s degree in Kinesiology at Tech in spring of 2024 and plans to attend the University of Buffalo’s Department of Rehabilitation Science to pursue a Doctor of Physical Therapy.

Read more about Gracie’s scholarly and athletic achievements at Michigan Tech Athletics.

KIP Department Hosts National Biomechanics Day

After a hiatus due the COVID-19 pandemic, Michigan Tech’s Department of Kinesiology and Integrative Physiology is gearing up for 2024 National Biomechanics Day. National Biomechanics Day is part of a worldwide initiative to increase the influence and impact of biomechanics in our society with a focus on outreach and education in schools.  

Nathan, Kate, Logan, Blake, Wil (students in Dr. Duncan’s Advanced Biomechanics class)

This year’s theme for NBD is celebrating the 21st century’s breakthroughs in science. Our department, led by Dr. Carolyn Duncan’s Advanced Biomechanics class, will be taking students through a series of fun activities related to biomechanics technologies, including motion capture, surface electromyography, and force platforms. These activities will show how we can explore real-life situations (e.g. fall prevention, the NFL combine, and strength training). They will also demonstrate to students how the concepts that they are currently learning in their high school STEM classes, such as biology and physics, applies to the world around them since biomechanics is the study of physics acting on the living organisms. 

KIP Doctoral Student Elected as GSG Research Chair

Oluwatosin Oyeniran, a doctoral student in Integrative Physiology, was elected to serve as the Research Chair for the Michigan Tech Graduate Student Government (GSG).

Oluwatosin Oyeniran (PhD student) was elected to the serve as the Research Chair of GSG.

The GSG research chair is responsible for organizing the major GSG research events and activities on campus, which include the Graduate Research Colloquium, 3 Minute Thesis Competition, Merit Awards Program, and Alumni Reunion Poster Session. Oluwatosin’s one-year term as a research chair will start May 1st with the possibility of re-election for an additional one-year term.