Category: News

My Story: Ryan Schwartz, MTUengineer

Ryan Schwartz ’24, mechanical engineering

Ryan Schwartz grew up in Saline, Michigan. He’ll earn his BS in mechanical engineering this spring, and plans to earn an MS in engineering management, too. Ryan works as a LEAP Leader in the Department of Engineering Fundamentals, as a good role model, effective mentor, and learning coach—all rolled into one.

“As a LEAP Leader, I lead a group of roughly 20 students through the First-Year Engineering courses at Michigan Tech. I am with my students in the classroom—along with other groups and their LEAP Leaders—while they work through projects and assignments. I also lead a class once a week with just my students to reinforce the concepts taught that week in a new and interactive way.

When I was a student in the First-Year Engineering courses, I had a fantastic LEAP Leader that made my experience fantastic. I wanted to be able to provide that same experience to others, so I became a LEAP Leader.

“The thing I enjoy most about being a LEAP Leader is helping my students grow and find their place here at Michigan Tech.”

Ryan Schwartz
Ryan has seen the Northern Lights during his time at Michigan Tech
“I love exploring the Keweenaw. My friends and I will often go out adventuring and have great times along the way.”

In my future career, I want to do something in the realm of sustainability and alternative energy. I don’t know yet what form that will take, but I want to do my part to reverse climate change.

I also want to be a manager and leader, wherever I may end up. I’ve developed strong leadership skills, many by serving as a LEAP Leader, that I would love to apply throughout my career.

I knew I would enjoy my time here but I’d had my heart set on going to the University of Michigan my whole life. I did not get accepted there, and I think that was the best thing that ever happened to me.

At Michigan Tech, I’ve been able to flourish. I’ve been exposed to more opportunities than I ever thought possible.

“Classes are only a part of college.”

Advice to incoming students, from Ryan Schwartz, LEAP Leader

The best advice I can give is that classes are only a part of college. College is also about discovering yourself and making friends and memories along the way. Michigan Tech is a great place to do that while getting a quality education.

I am currently the Vice President and a Captain for the MTU Men’s Ultimate Frisbee Club – DiscoTech. My first year at Michigan Tech, I made literally every single one of my friends on Walker Lawn throwing a frisbee, and then our whole group joined the Ultimate team.

Read More

Michigan Tech LEAP Leaders: Assist Fellow Students

My Story: Kasandra Waldi, MTUengineer

First-year engineering student Kasandra Waldi ‘27

I am from Shelby Township, but I grew up in Warren, Michigan until 6th grade, and those are both in the Metro-Detroit area. I chose to come to Tech because of the great community and its strong mechanical engineering degree program, which is what I chose as my major.

When I was younger, I originally wanted to be a veterinarian but, I eventually realized that it wasn’t my calling. Then, I settled on being a computer science major because I liked the small coding projects we did in middle school. In high school, I discovered that I did not want to code any more than I had to. Fortunately, another degree was calling my name. Since I had always loved building things, including in FIRST Robotics, I realized that mechanical engineering was the path I truly wanted to follow.

“Remember to breathe.”

Kasandra Waldi

My advice for incoming students? I would recommend creating a schedule. I use Google Calendar, and set up deadlines and tasks that need to be completed. I even make sure to schedule in my meals and sleep!

My favorite part of Engineering Fundamentals is the first-year engineering class. I love doing small but fun projects!

My biggest challenge thus far is finding a way to resist hanging out with friends. I must do this in order to make sure I can get all of my homework done on time.

I am not exactly sure what my future path holds, but I would like to be in charge of a project and take it from concept to completion.

The best advice that I have been given is, “Remember to breathe.” This is important as I often will spend way too much time on homework and forget to just take a break and relax.

My Story: Sophie Bollin, MTUengineer

Sophie Bollin ’24, mechanical engineering

During her time at Michigan Tech, Sophie Bollin has attended four career fairs, learning more and more about job opportunities each time. But for internships, she started at Caterpillar, and the wonderful experience she had there has inspired her to return—to do more, and learn more.

“I’ve had the opportunity to complete two internships at Caterpillar as a testing, validation, and design engineering intern within its Paving Products division. I initially spoke with Caterpillar at Michigan Tech’s CareerFEST, an event that takes place on campus each year just prior to the fall Career Fair. It led to an internship offer and, then I returned the following summer to rejoin the same team. Design engineering was my main focus, which allowed me to work on a wide range of projects and designs, with wonderful mentors. I met so many fantastic people. I look forward to returning yet again next summer.

I was born and raised in Woodbury, Minnesota. Michigan Tech was honestly my dream school. I knew I wanted to work in the automotive or related industries and Tech had great opportunities to work in these fields. They also had one of the best mechanical engineering programs, so for me it was a perfect fit.

Each year it seems like more companies come to campus, wanting to hire MTU students. They’re super enthusiastic about every student’s unique background and experiences.

Sophie is a member of Michigan Tech’s Clean Snowmobile Enterprise team.

Michigan Tech has definitely changed my life in many ways. During my time here I have met some lifelong best friends—and some of the best professors and mentors.

Long term I would like to stay in the heavy equipment or motorsports industries as a test engineer, where I can enjoy my work every day. The best advice I have been given is ‘to do what makes you happy,’ which I do try to implement in my everyday life.”

If I could change the world…

I would want it to be by sharing my experiences and passions with others so that they can find what inspires them. 

My advice for first year ME students 

Mechanical engineering allows for you to interact with many of the different aspects of industry and the engineering world. Some of the courses may be intimidating or difficult, so take advantage of the many resources Michigan Tech offers you. 

“Prioritize school, but make sure to explore and have fun.”

Advice for incoming students, from Sophie Bollin

New Faculty Spotlight: Shawn Brueshaber

Shawn Brueshaber comes to Michigan Tech from Western Michigan University, where he earned his MS and PhD in Mechanical Engineering. He earned his BS in Aerospace Engineering at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Florida. After graduating, he spent several years in industry, eventually earning his Master’s degree while working full time. His research at Western focused on the polar atmospheric dynamics of the giant planets—Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. And that’s just for starters. Welcome, Dr. Brueshaber!

What drew you to Michigan Tech?

I like the climate—cool and snowy.  Seriously, I applied to multiple universities and when I interviewed here, I found it to be a good fit.  

What is your primary area of research and what led you to it?

I’ve always had an interest in weather and planetary science. Once I discovered I could combine them with my formal education of mechanical and aerospace engineering to conduct research, I was off and running!

My primary area of research is basically figuring out how weather works on other planets. 

Dr. Shawn Brueshaber

Can you share a little more about your research and what you like about it?

At first glance, atmospheric planetary science doesn’t seem to hold a lot of everyday, practical problem-solving here on Earth, which is what many engineering students tend to do.  However, because our understanding of weather and climate is a subset of fluid dynamics, and, in turn, is a huge area of physics that is still not fully understood, atmospheric planetary science provides another rich field of science that may eventually lead to a more complete understanding of fluid mechanics. 

My ultimate goal is to develop a comprehensive theory of weather and climate applicable to all planetary bodies with an atmosphere. Perhaps along the way, we will gain a better understanding of turbulence, which can help with generating sustainable fusion power production.

What do you consider an important long-term goal for your research, teaching, or outreach?

I am working towards developing a deeper understanding of how planetary atmospheres work.  I intend to do this by continuing my current research plans, as well as conducting new research focusing on clouds and precipitation in the Keweenaw Peninsula. 

I have some nascent research ideas applicable to biological sciences, too. Through all this, I want to create industry- and graduate school-ready engineers with a love of learning and appreciation for the natural world–and how we can move humanity forward in a more sustainable and compassionate path to the future.

What do you hope to accomplish, as an educator and as a researcher, over the next few years?

The Flammarion engraving is a wood engraving by an unknown artist that first appeared in Camille Flammarion’s L’atmosphère: météorologie populaire (1888).

I want to set up a more comprehensive suite of meteorology instrumentation for the Keweenaw area, while continuing my current research inquiries on the giant planets. Additionally, I have a strong interest in branching into researching meteorology on Saturn’s giant moon, Titan.  

As for education, I want to develop a new course that teaches engineering students the basics of planetary science, for those that wish to work in the space industry. Understanding why scientists impose a set of instrument requirements for engineers to figure out is an important component in making more efficient and less expensive space exploration missions. In turn, we will get more science return per dollar. 

And, of course, I desire to improve my teaching abilities. I have taught on and off since 1995. I started out by teaching a graduate course (developing a fluids class from scratch), and then undergrad courses (Thermodynamics, Introduction to Mechanical Engineering, and Material Science), and Developmental Algebra. 

Where are you from? What do you like to do in your spare time?

Originally, I’m from Maryland. I like hiking, cross-country skiing, SCUBA diving, backpacking, and running (although I need to start from scratch again). Also reading—history and science fiction—and gaming (both computer and board games).  I enjoy astronomy, cooking, and spending time serving my three cats.

What’s your favorite book, movie, or piece of art?

That is a very difficult question. How can one have only ONE favorite book, movie, or piece of art?  ;-). I’ll answer by saying one of my favorite recently-read books was “Sleepwalkers, How Europe went to War in 1914,” by Christopher Clark.  This book goes into a deep analysis of the situation in Europe and the Near East in the late 19th century and how Europe’s leaders avoided a number of potential flashpoints into the 20th century, but infamously and not at all inevitability, stumbling into the catastrophe of World War I, the Great War. This war, perhaps every bit as the Second World War, shapes much of our geopolitics today. 

As for movies, I can’t really single out a favorite.  But I have been very pleased with the recent Star Trek TV series “Strange New Worlds.”  I’m also a big fan of The Expanse, Star Wars, and Battlestar Galactica. If it is science fiction, I’m going to pay attention.   

As for art, the Flammarion engraving is probably my favorite piece. It first intrigued me as a four-year old. I couldn’t stop looking at it and trying to understand it.

In September of 2022, I attended a planetary science conference in Granada, Spain.  I visited the Alhambra complex and fell in love with the architecture of the Nasrid dynasty, and in Cordoba, the Grand Mosque-Cathedral. The use of thin tall columns, arches, color, use of light, water features, and the elaborate application of geometric patterns on tile, and natural, and astronomical themes was breathtaking. 

“Be open to new ideas and new experiences. You get a finite number of orbits around the Sun so make the most of them.”

Dr. Shawn Brueshaber’s advice to incoming students

Any favorite spots on campus, in Houghton, or in the UP?

I’m new to the area so I don’t really have a truly  favorite place yet. However, on previous trips to the UP, I really enjoyed Munising and hope one day to hike part of the long trail above Pictured Rocks. 

Any advice for incoming students?

Learn to organize your day, week, and semester. Establish a healthy and energetic lifestyle, and engage in intellectual interests beyond your major.  I became a huge history buff in college and took several additional history courses as electives. I read many a book on ancient and military history and it has provided me with useful lessons and a sound understanding of how the world really works. If you are an engineering student, simply sticking to engineering courses is a severe detriment, both as a citizen and as an employee. So, find or rejuvenate your intellectual curiosity. Be open to new ideas and new experiences. You get a finite number of orbits around the Sun so make the most of them. 

A view from the hiking trail above the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore on Lake Superior. Photo by Richard Hurd, Flickr.

New Faculty Spotlight: Chad Walber

Dr. Chad Walber

Chad Walber recently joined the faculty as an Associate Teaching Professor. He earned a BS in Electrical Engineering and a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Michigan Tech, then went to work for PCB Piezotronics for several years as a technical support engineer. He returned to Michigan Tech in 2007 to earn an MS and PhD in Mechanical Engineering. After that, he returned to PCB, working as a research and development engineer for 12 years. He joined Michigan Tech as a Visiting Professor of Practice in January, before joining the ME-EM Department full time this fall.

“I like to tell people I have the Michigan Tech Grand Slam.”

Dr. Chad Walber

What drew you to Michigan Tech?

I’m originally from Wisconsin. I’ve loved the Houghton-Hancock area from the first moment I saw it, when I came up for a tour as a prospective undergrad. After living here and making some of the best friendships of my life during college, I knew I always wanted to end up back up here. To me, the Keweenaw is one of the most beautiful places in the world.

What is your primary area of research and what led you to it?

My background is in Dynamic Systems, Noise and Vibration, Acoustics, and specifically the test and measurement of those quantities. I was very interested in the Signal Processing aspect of all of this from my electrical engineering classes, and really dug into it more when I started to work for PCB. At PCB I helped develop not only new sensors, but new calibration methods for microphones and accelerometers. I am also very involved in microphone and accelerometer calibration standards through the IEC.

Can you share a little more about your research and what you like about it?

As a teaching professor, I’m not really focused on research. For my other professional activities though, I am involved in international standards with respect to microphones and accelerometers. I’ve helped develop both specification and calibration standards around microphones and sound level meters. I’m also involved in the sensors and instrumentation technical committee for the Society of Experimental Mechanics. This coming year at the International Modal Analysis Conference, I will also be teaching Modal Theory at the New/Young Engineer Workshop. 

When it comes to collaboration, I’m happy to help people with various measurement requirements. I’ve got a lot of experience in measurements of dynamics systems, but I’ve done a fair amount of destructive testing as well.

What do you consider an important long-term goal for your teaching, research, and outreach?

I’d like to get more people talking about Metrology. Part of almost every type of research that’s done here has a measurement component, but sometimes we don’t really think about how accurate our measurements really are, or if there might be a better way to measure that phenomena we look at. I worked a lot in calibrated dynamic transducers, and showing how different calibration methods can give you a slightly different answer as to the performance of the particular device.

“Ask for help on anything you have questions on. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, it’s the best way to learn something.”

Dr. Chad Walber’s advice for incoming students

What do you hope to accomplish over the next few years?

The Starry Night (1889) by Vincent Van Gogh

I’d like to get to know my students better and help them figure out how best they learn. I feel like when folks come to MTU, they don’t realize that they can and should adapt their learning processes. The way a student learned things in high school may not be the best way for them to learn things going forward. 

I also want to make them all more curious about the world around them. I want my students to be okay with questioning things as well as understanding that it’s alright to not know all of the answers the first time.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I’m very much a tinkerer, and I’ve gotten into 3-D printing, carpentry, programmable electronics, and photography. Astrophotography is a hobby of mine. I also enjoy board games, computer games, and LEGOs. If you come by the ME-EM Department front desk, and my office, you’ll see some of the models I’ve built. I also enjoy camping and all forms of outdoor cooking. Grilling, smoking, and open fire foods are high on my list of favorites.

What’s your favorite book, movie, or piece of art?

My favorite book is “The Martian,” by Andy Weir. My favorite movie is WALL-E. My favorite piece of artwork is The Starry Night by Vincent van Gogh. I just received the LEGO version of this painting today and will be putting it together in the coming week.

Any favorite spots on campus, in Houghton, or in the UP?

Anywhere along the Portage “canalside” is a great place to just sit and collect your thoughts. On campus I do enjoy the green space between the EERC and Rehki Hall. It’s a great place to relax in some shade, and enjoy the day.

New Faculty Spotlight: Bhisham Sharma

Bhisham Sharma

Associate Professor Bhisham Sharma comes to Michigan Tech from Wichita State University, where he worked as an assistant professor in the Department of Aerospace Engineering. He earned his BS in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Pune in Pune, India, and his MS and PhD in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering at Purdue University. He also spent a few years at Purdue as a post-doctoral research associate and a visiting assistant professor. Welcome, Dr. Sharma!

What drew you to Michigan Tech?

I was initially drawn to Michigan Tech for its exceptional academic reputation and its commitment to interdisciplinary research and innovation. This environment offers a fantastic opportunity to foster collaboration, a critical element in addressing complex research challenges. What sets Michigan Tech apart is the visible support and resources provided by the administration, a feature not commonly found at every university.

Another significant factor in my decision was the ME-EM department’s outstanding academic program and its strong emphasis on equipping students with real-world experiences. As a faculty member, my own teaching philosophy and vision perfectly align with the department’s approach as we bridge the gap between theoretical knowledge and practical engineering applications.

Last but not least, who wouldn’t jump at the chance to reside in such a breathtaking and unique natural environment? Michigan’s Upper Peninsula offers a quality of life that is second to none, with an abundance of outdoor activities and natural beauty. I am looking forward to exploring all there is to explore!

“Always remember that the word ‘school’ derives from the Greek word for leisure. True learning only happens when your mind is free to explore and think new thoughts.”

Dr. Bhisham Sharma’s advice for incoming students

What is your primary area of research?

My research primarily falls in the overlap of solid mechanics, structural dynamics, acoustics, and advanced manufacturing. At one end of the spectrum, I seek to understand fundamental mechanics and acoustics of novel engineered material systems such as acoustic metamaterials, phononic structures, architected lattice structures, and stochastic foams. At the other end, I focus on developing advanced manufacturing methods that can enable such structures and to translate this fundamental knowledge—create performance-tailored solutions to critical engineering problems across various industries.

Can you share a little more about your research and what you like about it?

Overall, my research revolves around a central question: Can we develop lightweight structures that possess tailored multifunctional properties for specific applications? Let’s take, for example, the outer casing of a cutting-edge aircraft engine, a nacelle, which is designed as a set of separate components. Each serves a single function: the duct shells bear the primary loads; acoustic liners absorb engine noise; thermal management relies on heat shields; and composite fabric wraps ensure blade containment. This conventional “single-component, single-function” approach hampers cost savings, weight reduction, and fuel efficiency gains. It also constrains innovation in vehicle configuration.

My overarching research objective is to drive a paradigm shift and replace this design approach with a new, “single-component, multiple-functions” approach, a transformation that involves creating application-specific multifunctional structures, and advancing the essential tools for their design, analysis, and certification.

My work is inherently interdisciplinary, encouraging me to delve into physics, mathematics, and manufacturing. This continuous opportunity to acquire new knowledge fuels my passion and excitement for this field. I am motivated by the prospect of pushing the boundaries of what is possible. I find immense fulfillment in the daily process of discovery and learning that this field offers.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

Most of my spare time these days is spent enjoying the adorable shenanigans of my two 1-year old kittens. I love Indian classical music and enjoy discovering new aspects to its underlying theory. I also read quite a bit. I have always been fascinated by geopolitics, so I spend a fair amount of time reading up on the current state of world affairs. I am also an ardent Manchester United soccer fan, and make sure to watch their game over the weekends. Watching TV—baking shows or murder mysteries—is my go-to after a busy day at work.

What’s your favorite book, movie, or piece of art?

Candide by Voltaire and Animal Farm by George Orwell. I have read both books multiple times. Guide, an old Bollywood movie—and Taxi Driver are my favorite movies. My favorite piece of art is Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5. I don’t think any human being has ever created anything more beautiful than its allegro con brio.

Great Sand Bay, source: Visit Keweenaw

Any favorite spots on campus, in Houghton, or in the UP?

I have only been here two months, so it is too early for me to pick a favorite spot! For now, I think the Great Sand Bay in Eagle Harbor is my favorite spot on a warm day.

Jeffrey Allen receives NASA funding for Physical Sciences Informatics (PSI) research

Professor Jeffrey S. Allen is the John F. and Joan M. Calder Endowed Professor in Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics at Michigan Tech. Dr. Allen also serves as Associate Chair and Director of Undergraduate Studies for the department.

Jeffrey Allen (Professor, ME-EM) is the principal investigator on a recently awarded NASA Physical Sciences Research Program grant that will build on prior reduced-gravity research to advance fundamental research in the physical sciences.

The project, titled “Reduced-order modeling of interfacial dynamics to enable large-scale, mission-length simulations of low-gravity propellant management using CVB PSI data”, is one of six funded proposals under this initiative. Anurag Ranjan, PhD (postdoc) is a co-investigator.

The overall objective of the proposed research is to develop a new efficient computational approach for fast, long duration, high fidelity simulations of the interface dynamics of liquid vapor mixtures in microgravity using a vortex sheet evolution equation coupled to a
vorticity-velocity bulk fluid solution in an extended FEM technique.

The Physical Sciences Informatics (PSI) system is an online database of completed physical science reduced-gravity flight experiments conducted on the International Space Station (ISS), Space Shuttle flights, Free Flyers, or commercial cargo flights to and from the ISS, and of related ground-based studies.

For more information:

Access Professor Allen’s publications here:

Visit Professor Allen’s faculty profile here:

PSTDL Finalists in NASA Watts on the Moon Challenge

Assistant Professor Paul van Susante (ME-EM/MARC) and the Planetary Surface Technology Development Lab, aka HuskyWorks, advanced to the “final four” in Phase 2 of NASA’s Watts on the Moon Challenge. Through this challenge, NASA seeks to partner with a broader community of experts to augment its investments in power generation.

The first competition phase started in September 2020 and included 60 eligible teams, from which seven winners were chosen. Winners in each phase receive equal shares of a prize purse, used to fuel the development of ideas for building energy infrastructures on the Moon.

“As we tread new ground in exploration, we’ll need to draw on creativity across the nation. The technologies created through Watts on the Moon are one example, with new perspectives helping us address a crucial technology gap.”

Denise Morris, acting program manager for Centennial Challenges at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama

Building on previous success, the team will use the current $400,000 prize to refine their Phase 2, Level 3 prototype and test it under a simulated lunar environment (vacuum chamber) at NASA facilities in 2024. Up to two teams at this level will receive awards: The first-place team will be awarded $1 million, and second place will be awarded $500,000. Winners are expected to be announced in September, 2024.

You can learn more about the challenge by visiting NASA’s Watts on the Moon fact sheet. For more details on Dr. van Susante’s lab capabilities, visit the PSTDL’s  Facilities page.

Play Four Teams Advance to Final Level of NASA’s Watts on the Moon Challenge video
Preview image for Four Teams Advance to Final Level of NASA’s Watts on the Moon Challenge video

Four Teams Advance to Final Level of NASA’s Watts on the Moon Challenge

Michigan Tech ME-EM Grads Advance to 2023 ASME/SME Student Manufacturing Design Competition Finals

Husky graduates will pitch their design at the 2023 MSEC.
Pictured from left to right are Dante Cardinali, Jake Holwerda, Jack Pluta, and Connar Christensen.

A group of recent Michigan Tech ME-EM graduates will compete against seven other finalists at the 2023 Manufacturing Science and Engineering Conference (MSEC) on June 13, 2023.

A forum for students to share ideas, this competition supports interest in manufacturing and provides the manufacturing community with fresh perspectives on design. The Michigan Tech team competed against universities including Harvard, Northwestern, UC – Davis and University of Michigan to advance to the finals.

Competition faculty advisor Vinh Nguyen notes, “This is an impressive feat for our students to make it this far into the competition. I have no doubt that our students will perform well at the finals given their experience working in real-world environments from their time at Michigan Tech.”

The team’s project for an improved camshaft delivery system was created as part of ME-EM’s Senior Design program, a capstone option connecting students and industry through challenging projects that have an open-ended design solution. The industry customer, CWC-Textron, requested the assistance of Senior Capstone Design (SCD) Team 11 to improve the safety and efficiency of their Hemi camshaft line.

Due to the extreme conditions in which these camshafts are subjected during use, they endure the Selectively Austempered Ductile Iron (SADI) process to increase their mechanical properties. SADI castings are treated in a quick quench bath of molten salt, which can cause buildup that impacts the reliability of the hatch.

The team developed a solution for a reliable opening system with reduced risk to operators. The customer can expect a reduction in downtime resulting from the basket door being unable to open, with increases in worker safety.

Team members participating in the competition are:

Dante Cardinali: Currently doing a manufacturing engineering internship in Muskegon. “I Intend to obtain a MBA at the University of Madonna along with continuing my athletic collegiate career. I either want to focus on leading an engineering team or hold a position in supply chain management on the administrative side.”

Jake Holwerda: “Having recently concluded my undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering from Michigan Tech, I am eager to apply my knowledge and skills at JOST International as a newly appointed product engineer. In my position, I will be primarily focused on manufacturing as a member of the design team.”

Jack Pluta: “I’m transitioning into a full-time position as a process engineer at Excel Engineering in Fond du Lac, WI while pursuing my master’s in engineering management at Michigan Tech.”

Connar Christensen: “I am a Quality Engineer for Kohler Co., in Dallas, TX.”

“The Senior Capstone Design Program in Mechanical Engineering at Michigan Tech strives to give students an experience more like their first job than their last class. We highly emphasize the early stage of solution development we call situational understanding—gaining an understanding of the people involved and the problems they battle. The CWC-Textron team did a fantastic job in that regard. Their solid understanding of the problem and of those in production who would work with their solution led to a highly functional yet very simple result. And that’s not an easy combination. Having owned a small machine shop, developed advanced cutting tools for high-volume production operations, and by way of that interacting with folks on the line, in tool rooms, and in the engineering offices, I can speak to the value and challenges of achieving functional simplicity in a manufacturing environment. They nailed it!”

Bill Endres, Richard and Elizabeth Henes Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics, Michigan Technological University

The team will pitch their idea on June 13th along with seven other finalists. The finalist competition will take place at Rutgers University, this year’s host of the Manufacturing Science and Engineering Conference. The top team will be awarded $1,000 followed by $750 and $500 for second and third place, respectively. We wish them the best of luck as they represent Michigan Tech and MEEM!

Greg Odegard Receives NASA Outstanding Public Leadership Medal

Professor Greg Odegard, recipient of the NASA Outstanding Public Leadership Award

Professor Greg Odegard (ME-EM) is the director of the Ultra-Strong Composites by Computational Design (US-COMP) NASA Space Technology Research Institute (STRI), one of the inaugural STRIs funded by the agency’s Space Technology Mission Directorate. And now he has received a NASA Outstanding Public Leadership Medal, awarded to nongovernment employees for “notable leadership accomplishments that have significantly influenced the NASA Mission.”

3 gold medals, small, medium and large, imprinted with the word "NASA" and six connected stars, with a set of three striped ribbons, one for each that are light blue, dark blue and gold.
The NASA Outstanding Public Leadership medal, presented to Professor Gregory Odegard on April 26, 2023.

The five-year US-COMP collaboration brings together 22 professors from 11 universities and two industry partners with a range of expertise in molecular modeling, manufacturing, material synthesis and testing.

Odegard’s nomination letter outlines how he harnessed the group’s talents to successfully overcome challenges and make significant progress:

“Dr. Odegard leads by example, exhibiting the NASA core values for safety, integrity, teamwork, excellence and inclusion. He respected the constraints imposed by safety measures taken to protect students during COVID, while finding ways to continue making progress. He embraced the challenges of working with industry, where open sharing of information is tempered by the need to maintain their competitive edge. He walked the fine balance of demonstrating investment payoff for the funder through publications, while respecting intellectual property concerns by the industry members. Dr. Odegard’s openness to change to more effectively serve NASA’s mission needs is exceptional. He led with the courage and humility of leaders who leave an indelible legacy because they are different. His service to the Agency and to the nation deserves recognition.”

Jenn Gustetic, director of NASA Early Stage Innovations and Partnerships, told Odegard the medal is well deserved. “Leading extensive and complex transdisciplinary research across numerous partners is no small feat — and you did so to great effect,” Gustetic said. “I am delighted that the Agency is recognizing your individual leadership contribution in this way, as institutes do not come together well without exceptional leadership.”

Odegard received the medal at a ceremony held in Washington, D.C., on April 26, 2023. The US-COMP team was also recognized by the agency as a whole for their contributions.

Please join us in congratulating Professor Odegard on this important recognition and achievement.