Category: Awards

Assistant Professor Hassan Masoud (ME-EM) awarded NSF CAREER grant

Hassan Masoud, PhD is Principal Investigator of the CFAM Lab. See https://www.masoud-lab.academy/ to learn more.

Hassan Masoud has been awarded the National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER award to study “Collective hydrodynamics of robotic swimmers and surfers at high Reynolds numbers”. Dr. Masoud received his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology and conducted post-doctoral research under the joint supervision of Howard Stone in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Princeton University and Michael Shelley at the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, NYU. Since July 2017, he has been an Assistant Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics at Michigan Tech.

CAREER awards, administered under the Faculty Early Career Development Program, are the NSF’s most prestigious form of support and recognition for junior faculty who “exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education and the integration of education and research within the context of the mission of their organizations.” We congratulate Assistant Professor Hassan Masoud on this outstanding accomplishment!

Abstract: Robotic swarms have attracted much attention in recent years due to their vast potential applications. In particular, there has been a growing interest in aquatic robots, either swimming underwater or surfing at the air-water interface. By using large numbers of individuals working in tandem through local communication, a swarm of underwater swimmers or interfacial surfers can augment their collective intelligence while maintaining relatively simplistic designs. Harnessing this unique, joint ability leads to achieving superior functionalities, which makes aquatic robots very appealing for a myriad of practical applications, including surveillance, monitoring of invasive species, tracking weather and sea conditions, pollution management, etc. This project aims to obtain an in-depth understanding of many-body hydrodynamic interactions in the collective motion of robotic swimmers and surfers at high Reynolds numbers. The design of robots chosen for the studies is motivated by species in nature that have mastered their respective terrains. The swimmers mimic the general form of a fish, with the tail flapping providing the thrust, while the surfers take inspiration from water-walking insects. The investigations will be conducted using a synergistic application of high-fidelity numerical simulations and laboratory experiments. Validated simulations allow for exploring an extensive range of flow regimes and combinations of relative positions between the robots. Coupled with reinforcement learning algorithms, they also enable searching for optimal strategies for collective locomotion. The unsteady flows generated by the motion of robots in the experiments will be captured via time-resolved, volumetric particle tracking velocimetry. The fundamental knowledge gained during this project is expected to directly contribute to the design and implementation of future aquatic robots capable of functioning alongside each other with a high degree of coordination, similar to the behaviors exhibited by fish in schools and birds in flocks. The planned research studies in this project are coupled with a range of educational activities that involve outreach to middle and high school students, engagement with the general public, mentorship of community college and graduate students, and curriculum development.

Jonathan Lund Receives the Making a Difference Award for Serving Others

Jonathan Lund
Jonathan Lund

Congratulations to all of our 2022 Making A Difference Award nominees and winners, who were honored at an awards program Jan. 4 in the Memorial Union Ballroom.

Senior Capstone Design Training Specialist Jonathan Lund was recognized for serving others.

Jon’s nominator says: Jon is a highly effective—and entertaining—trainer. Students seek him out because he is very friendly and motivated to help them succeed. While it is his job to teach students how to safely operate milling machines, lathes, and other tools, he does it in a way that is engaging and even fun. I can tell you that it is fun to watch him in action. The students appreciate the attention and the care that he provides while explaining the complex procedures for machine operation. Machine shops are full of intimidating equipment, so he tries to make them feel welcome and at ease through encouragement and conversation about their projects.

Top Teams Advance in NASA’s Break the Ice Lunar Challenge

NASA named 15 teams moving on to compete in the semifinal level of its Break the Ice Lunar Challenge on December 14, 2022. The $3.5 million multi-phase challenge invites problem-solvers from businesses, academia, maker communities, and more to play a role in building a lasting human presence and vibrant economy on the Moon by tapping into resources that are already there.

The second phase of competition kicked off in June with the goal of furthering development of lunar excavation and transport technologies. Level 1 challenged solvers to design a robotic system for digging and moving large quantities of icy Moon “dirt,” or regolith, found in the coldest, darkest places on the lunar surface.

Phase 2, Level 1

Twenty-five teams from around the world submitted entries for the first, qualifying level of Phase 2 competition. A panel of government, industry, and academic experts in in-situ resource utilization, or ISRU – the technical term for using local resources – evaluated teams’ entries and selected the winners based on submissions of detailed technical reports, engineering designs, and test plans.

Michigan Tech’s Planetary Surface Technology Development Lab (PSTDL) was selected among the winning teams. The founder and director of PSTDL is Paul van Susante, assistant professor in mechanical engineering-engineering mechanics and faculty advisor for Multiplanetary INnovation Enterprise (MINE).

Read more at NASA.gov.

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NASA Announces Newest Winners in Break the Ice Lunar Challenge

NASA Announces Newest Winners in Break the Ice Lunar Challenge

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To the Moon—and Beyond

Jason Blough Receiving SAE International Lifetime Achievement Award

Jason Blough
Jason Blough

Jason Blough, interim chair and distinguished professor of the Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics (ME-EM), has been selected as the 2023 recipient of SAE International’s Ralph K. Hillquist NVH Lifetime Achievement Award.

Established by the Noise & Vibration Conference Committee, this award recognizes those individuals who have shown a continued contribution to ground vehicle voise, vibration and harshness (NVH) over a period of 15 years or more.

According to the award notification, Blough has “been instrumental in shaping the sound package material industry over the last 30 years, alongside unmatched dedication and commitment to industry and SAE.” He was nominated for the award by Darrell Robinette (ME-EM), associate professor.

Blough’s research includes dynamic measurement problems, developing new digital signal processing algorithms to understand NVH-type problems and ways to improve the NVH characteristics of virtually any machine. He routinely teaches many experimental NVH techniques in both classroom settings and industry short courses, and serves as the SAE Clean Snowmobile Team faculty advisor under Tech’s Advanced Motorsports Enterprise.

Formal recognition of the award will occur during the 2023 SAE Noise & Vibration Conference, being held May 15-18.

Congratulations to Dr. Blough on this significant achievement.

By Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics.

Mattey and Sharma Place in 2022 3MT Competition

This year’s Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) competition, organized by the Graduate Student Government (GSG) of Michigan Tech, wrapped up with great success. Seventeen participants competed at the MUB Ballroom for a place at the finals, held at the East Reading Room of the Van Pelt and Opie Library.

Each presentation was scored by a panel of judges from diverse academic backgrounds. The judges for the finals were Will Cantrell (Grad School/Physics), Andrew Storer (Provost/CFRES) and Mark Rhodes (SS).

Congratulations to the winners:

  • First Place: Xiaoqing Gao
  • Second Place: Katy Matson
  • Third Place: Udit Sharma
  • People’s Choice: Revanth Mattey

If you missed the competition, do not worry — you will be able to watch the finals on the GSG YouTube channel soon. Stay tuned!

GSG would like to thank all the volunteers, participants and judges for making this event possible.

By Graduate Student Government.

PSTDL Advances in NASA Watts on the Moon Challenge

Assistant Professor Paul van Susante (ME-EM/MARC) and the Planetary Surface Technology Development (PSTDL) Lab, aka HuskyWorks, are one of seven teams advancing to Phase 2, Level 2 of NASA’s Watts on the Moon Challenge.

The advancement comes with a $200,000 award, building on the team’s previous Phase 2, Level 1 award of $100,000, and supports NASA’s Artemis I mission, the first in a series designed to enable sustainable human exploration of the moon and Mars.

Winners of the first stage of the challenge were eligible to compete for the second phase’s design competition, submitting technical documentation for their solutions. The seven winning teams will move on to compete for additional funding in Phase 2, Level 2.

“It’s really exciting because we’re developing new technology that will enable continuous human presence on the lunar surface,” noted Rob Button, deputy chief of the Power Division at NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio. “Specifically, we’re addressing long distance power transmission and energy storage in very cold conditions.” 

Van Susante designed and leads HuskyWorks’ research facilities, one of eight academic facilities listed on NASA’s ARES Dust Testing Facilities webpage. The central piece of the PSTDL is a custom-built rectangular Dusty Thermal Vacuum chamber (DTVAC) that can be cooled as low as minus 196°C and heated as high as 150°C, reach a vacuum of 10-6 Torr (10-4 Torr with simulant) and contain a box with up to 3,000 pounds of regolith simulant. For more details on the lab’s capabilities, visit the PSTDL’s Facilities page.

By Donna Jeno-Amici, Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics.

Stephen Morse Selected as ME Teacher of the Year

Congratulations to Assistant Professor Stephen Morse for winning the 2022 Mechanical Engineering (ME) Teacher of the Year Award! Morse taught a double section of MEEM 2150 Mechanics of Materials for the 2021-22 academic year.

Morse has been with the Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics (ME-EM) since 2017, with a joint appointment in the Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial Engineering (CEGE). He earned his PhD from Texas Tech University in 2009, and he previously served as an assistant professor at Texas Tech in the civil, environmental and construction engineering department. Morse’s areas of research expertise include window glass strength and design, wind loads on structures, finite element modeling of brittle materials, large-scale data processing and data mining.

The ME Teacher of the Year Award is selected solely by mechanical engineering students and conducted by the Mechanical Engineering Student Advisory Committee (MESAC). It is a two-step process similar to the process employed by the University teaching award. The first stage is the selection of the top three, voted upon by ME students. In the second stage, MESAC students go into all the spring classes of the three finalists with a questionnaire, which contains several questions about the finalists’ teaching, including why students believe they should be the ME Teacher of the Year.

Morse received a certificate and his name on the ME Teacher of the Year plaque with past winners in the lobby of the R.L. Smith Building (MEEM).

The award was announced during ME-EM’s 2022 Order of the Engineer ceremony, which was held in the Memorial Union Ballroom on April 19. This year’s runners-up were ME-EM Senior Lecturer Jaclyn Johnson and ME-EM Lecturer Mary Zadeh.

By Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics.

Cindy Wadaga and Karen Bess are Exceptional Staff Members

This year’s awardees for the Graduate Student Government (GSG) Merit Awards have been decided. A total of 37 nominations were received from departments all across campus. The decision process was not an easy one, as there was a very strong pool of nominations this year. We are very grateful to all of our nominees for all of the work they put in to improve and enrich the life of our graduate students.

Among the award winners in the Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics are Cindy Wadaga, coordinator of graduate programs, and Karen Bess, executive assistant.

Congratulations to the winners and thank you for all you have done for our graduate students.

By Graduate Student Government.

Cindy Wadaga
Cindy Wadaga
Karen Bess
Karen Bess

Ana Dyreson is an ISR Faculty Research Fellow

Ana Dyreson
Ana Dyreson

The Tech Forward Initiative on Sustainability and Resilience (ISR) is happy to announce the selection of two Sustainable and Resilient Communities Faculty Research Fellows!

Judith Perlinger is a professor in the Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial Engineering (CEGE) and an established scholar working in the realm of sustainability and resilience.

Ana Dyreson is an assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics (ME-EM) who works in the realm of energy systems transitions and the energy-water-climate nexus.

Perlinger and Dyreson will both be relieved of one course for the fall 2022 semester in order to focus on developing and submitting research funding proposals that will enhance Michigan Tech’s leadership in impactful sustainability and resilience research.

Perlinger will be working on new proposals for the National Science Foundation (NSF) Coastlines and People (CoPe) program, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Dyreson will be working on proposal submissions for NSF programs, including the NSF CAREER award program, and for the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

With this fellowship program, ISR aims to support researchers in developing new collaborations and opportunities to grow research activities that address contemporary research challenges in sustainability and resilience. This program will propel research leaders at Michigan Tech to pursue new opportunities and increase impactful research activities. ISR is delighted to support these dedicated scholars through the Faculty Research Fellows program.

For more information or with any questions, please contact Chelsea Schelly at cschelly@mtu.edu

By Tech Forward Initiative for Sustainability and Resilience.

Pandemic Research and Scholarship Impact Mitigation Grants

Susanta Ghosh
Susanta Ghosh
Trisha Sain
Trisha Sain

The ADVANCE Initiative, Provost’s Office, Office of the Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion, Vice President for Research Office and University Marketing and Communications have been working together over the past year to identify and begin to mitigate some of the ways that scholars, creators and researchers have been negatively impacted by the pandemic. This collaboration resulted in a session to learn specific impacts and discuss solutions.

One of the primary results of our joint work is the COVID impact statement document faculty are requested to develop and add to Digital Measures. This group has also solicited and published an ongoing Unscripted research blog series where Tech employees share how the pandemic impacted their work. In addition, the VPR office recently solicited and received proposals for funding to help mitigate financial losses to research, creative and scholarly work associated with the pandemic. Many individuals experienced significant negative impacts and applied for the funds. Unfortunately, we were unable to fund them all.

The following individuals in the College of Engineering were selected to receive one of these grants:

  • Susanta Ghosh (ME-EM)
  • Trisha Sain (ME-EM)

By Associate Vice President for Research Development.