Category Archives: Students

Engineering Ambassadors Fall 2019 Information Session

Engineering AmbassadorsDo you want to be a part of an effort to middle and high schoolers to reach out about engineering?

Do you want to grow in your professional communication skills?

You should check out Michigan Tech’s Engineering Ambassadors Program. Join a group of students who present an engineering topic and conduct a hands-on activity at local schools to excite students about engineering.

We will have an info session at 6 p.m. Thursday (Sept. 5, 2019) in Fisher 130. Our first general meeting will at 6 p.m.Thursday, Sept. 12 also in Fisher 130. Join us, and bring a friend to learn more about the program and help excite young students about STEM.

Contact advisors Jaclyn Johnson or Nancy Barr to be added to the email list, and with any questions. Also check us out on Facebook or our website to learn more. We look forward to seeing you.


Enterprise Teams Take Vehicles to School

Formula SAEMembers of Michigan Tech’s Enterprise competition teams in Formula I, Supermileage, Baja and Clean Snowmobile will visit with eighth-grade students at Houghton Middle School on April 26, 2019.

The eighth graders have been engaged in four-week long STEM projects led by Michigan Tech students and their instructors. These projects have immersed the middle school students in the engineering and testing of fuel cell automobiles. The project incorporates many science standards and practices. Today’s visit by the Enterprise teams, along with their vehicles, is the culmination of these projects.

The vehicles will be on display outside the Houghton Middle School from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. In addition, there will be demonstrations.

By Sarah Geborkoff.

Tech Enterprise students teach hands-on engineering to middle school students

Friday, the Tech students brought vehicles from the Clean Snowmobile Challenge, Baja and Formula Enterprise teams to explain the competitions to students.

Eighth-grader Katy Fay said the Tech students had been helpful in the projects, and in teaching the components of cars and fuel cells.

“I had no idea what it was,” Fay said of the fuel cell. “It looked just like a box. Now I know what it is, and how it actually can power things.”

Fay, who is considering becoming an engineer, said after some tinkering, her team had gotten its vehicle to travel far.

“It started pretty rocky, but we got it together,” she said.

Tech mechanical engineering student Patrick Gilland, who oversaw the outreach, said students performed well.

Read more at the Mining Gazette, by Garrett Neese.


Aerospace Enterprise Prepares for Launch of Satellite

OculusThe students in the Aerospace Enterprise and their faculty advisor, L. Brad King (ME-EM), are preparing to launch their Oculus satellite, which was designed and built by students.

Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics Department Chair William Predebon said, “This is an exciting time for our students, and Michigan Tech. The students worked on it for several years to get it ready for launch. Current students in the Aerospace Enterprise will be receiving data from outer space from Oculus during its mission in lower Earth orbit. Oculus will be in space for about 9 months and the launch is set for June (2019).”

According to SpaceX, Oculus will be the first small satellite ever deployed from the Falcon Heavy. The launch information is available on SpaceX’s website. If you scroll down to “The Mission” you will see a title bar below it with Oculus listed.

By Aerospace Enterprise.


Passing the Torch: Engineering Ambassadors Visit Local Schools

Barkell Elementary signSure signs of spring in the Copper Country are robins returning, ice leaving and Michigan Tech’s Engineering Ambassadors (AE) inspiring students.

For the eighth year, the engineering students that make up EA will visit local elementary and middle schools to create excitement for engineering disciplines through programs and hands-on activities designed for students in third through tenth grades.

Nancy Barr, professor of practice in engineering communications, said the Ambassadors present a 10-minute talk on a science or engineering topic to a classroom. Following the talk, the EAs engage students in a fun, 30-minute activity designed to reinforce the concepts presented in the talk. Each talk and accompanying activity are geared toward a particular age.

“The objective is twofold,” Barr said. “It helps our students develop confidence in their presentation skills and it gets younger students thinking about science and engineering as a possible career path.”

Barr said a unique aspect of the program is that it gives the college students an opportunity to share their own experiences with local school children. “We encourage our EAs to talk about why they chose engineering as a major, what cool projects they’ve had and where they plan to work after graduation. We try to recruit from across the College of Engineering, but the majority of students come from ME-EM.”

Jaclyn Johnson (ME-EM), advises EA, while Barr provides training on presenting science to young audiences and then offers feedback on their presentations.

The program, modeled after a similar program at Penn State, was started in 2012 by Michele Miller (ME-EM) a research professor and Danise Jarvey, director of academic services in the School of Technology.

Johnson said the program is part of a network of at least 30 Universities in the U.S. and internationally. “Since the fall of 2012, we’ve reached 2,936 students in eight schools within a 100-mile radius of Michigan Tech. During that time, we’ve had a total of 65 ambassadors.”

This spring, nine different AEs, working in pairs or groups of three, will visit two third-grade and three fifth-grade classes at the Barkell Elementary School in Hancock and four classes at Houghton Middle School. The program will run through April 12.

William Predebon, chair of ME-EM, said EA has been quite successful. “The Engineering Ambassador program is a terrific opportunity for engineering students to develop their communications skills and an important strategy to excite elementary and middle-school students to pursue engineering and science.”

More information can be found on the Engineering Ambassadors webpage.


Nancy Barr Presents on Undergraduate Portfolios

2019 CCCC

Nancy Barr (ME-EM) presented an overview of the the ME-EM Department’s undergraduate portfolio program as part of a panel at the Council on College Composition and Communication (CCCC) annual convention.

The panel, titled “The Performance of Portfolios Across the Curriculum,” highlighted the use of portfolios in undergraduate program assessment and student development at a range of universities.

The 2019 Conference on College Composition and Communication was held March 13-16 in Pittsburgh, PA.


Tech Does Well in SAE Clean Snowmobile Challenge

Clean Snowmobile Challenge SledMichigan Tech fared well in the 2019 SAE Clean Snowmobile Challenge (CSC) held March 4-9 at the Keweenaw Research Center.

There were 22 university teams competing this year from the U.S. and Canada, 13 in the Spark Ignition Gasoline Class and nine in the Compression Ignition Diesel Utility Class. The teams came from as far east as Clarkson University and as far west as Idaho University.

The Michigan Tech CSC team took first place in the Combustion Ignition Diesel Utility Class. They received a trophy and $1,000 prize, sponsored by Oshkosh. The team received one of the Can-Do E-Controls Innovation Awards with the prize of $1,000 in value products.

The Michigan Tech CSC team also earned the Most Sportsmanlike Award ($1,000 sponsored by AVL) as recognized by the other teams.

In the Spark Ignition Gasoline Class, the Michigan Tech CSC team received the Polaris Best Handling Award. They also received a MSA Award Plaque for Endurance, having completed the 100 mile endurance and fuel economy event.

By Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics. Photos by Janet Callahan.

Clean Snowmobile Challenge Group


2019 Rekhi Innovation Challenge Winners

Beach ChallengeThe 2019 Rekhi Innovation Challenge ended Feb. 28. This year there were seven teams competing. The Rekhi Challenge is a crowdfunding competition to help promote and support student innovation and entrepreneurship through Michigan Tech’s crowdfunding site, Superior Ideas. A total of $3,035 was raised between the projects. Congratulations to the Automated Beach Safety Flag project for raising the most at $2,245. This project team will receive a matching gift of $1,000.

Here are results in the other prize categories:

Most Unique Visitors – 1st Place Wins $50 For Their Project

  • 1st place – Audio to Visual Translator
  • 2nd place – Automated Beach Safety Flag
  • 3rd place – LifePro Jackets

Most Unique Funders – 1st Place Wins $50 For Their Project

  • 1st place – Audio to Visual Translator
  • 2nd place – Automated Beach Safety Flag
  • 3rd place – LifePro Jackets

Social Media Engagement – 1st Place Wins $50 For Their Project

  • 1st place – Automated Beach Safety Flag
  • 2nd place – Audio to Visual Translator
  • 3rd – LifePro Jackets

Most Creative Marketing Communications Strategy – 1st Place Wins $50 For Their Project

  • 1st place – Automated Beach Safety Flag

The Audio to Visual project won a total of $100 in prize money and the Automated Beach Safety Flag project won a total of $1,150. Thanks to all of the donors that contributed to these projects. Your support for student innovation and entrepreneurship at Michigan Tech is greatly appreciated.

Superior Ideas was established in 2012 to help bring University research and public service projects to life. The site uses crowdfunding to raise money and awareness for University research and public service projects that may not qualify for grant funding.

Meet the Researchers

Audio to Visual Translator

Automated Cellular Beach Safety Flag System

  • Jacob Soter
  • Andrew Barnard is an assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics.

ME-EM Senior Recognition Banquet December 11, 2018

MEEM Fall 2018 Ceremonies

Banquet and Program

The ME-EM Senior Recognition Banquet and Order of the Engineer Program was held on December 11, 2018.

VIEW THE PHOTO GALLERY

Keynote Speaker

Heidi Mueller
Keynote Speaker Heidi Mueller

Heidi Mueller

The speaker was Heidi Mueller, Supervisor – 2.3L GTDI Engine Calibration, Ford Motor Company.

Fall 2018 Outstanding Student Awards

Outstanding Senior Design Student Awards

John Hoffman, student Advisor Steven Ma

John Hoffman is a member of team 64 working on Laser Welding of Carbide Saw Blade contracted with Milwaukee Tool. His team’s advisor, Steven Ma, said that during the year working on the project John Hoffman has continuously shown graduate level skill in multiple areas of our senior design project in software/coding, CNC control, fixture design and hands-on machining and made great contribution to the success of the project. Although the whole team has worked well together and each individual contributed quality work, the project would not be at the point where it is currently without John’s knowledge, time, and commitment. His outstanding performance during this Senior Capstone Design project has been well recognized and is therefore nominated here for the Outstanding Student Performance Award.

Thomas Richter, SCD Team 59

Cam Hadden nominated Thomas Richter for his outstanding work on Team 59’s CAD model of the seatframe, as well as the work he has done with FEA. I believe that without his contribution, the team would not have nearly as impressive of a final presentation. From what I understand, he has done most of the modelling work by himself during semester 1, and he has done ALL of the FEA work by himself during semester 2. His FEA models are very impressive, which include not only stress analysis but also mass optimization for weight reduction… These were apparent in the team’s final presentation.

Nominee for Outstanding Enterprise Student

Cora Taylor, FSAE Enterprise

Nominated by Forumla SAE Advisor Jim De Clerck, Cora Taylor joined FSAE early in her college career. She has been involved in nearly every aspect of vehicle development and team operation. As team President, Cora proved that she could be counted on to get things done. Last May, Cora led the team through one of our most outstanding competition experiences ever.


Prospective Student Works on Bomb-defusing Robot

Jared RathburnThe School News Network ran the story “Bomb-defusing robot gets tweaked at Tech Center mechatronics lab.” The story focuses on the work of Rockford, Michigan high school senior Jared Rathburn, who is planning to attend Michigan Tech to major in mechanical engineering.

Bomb-defusing robot gets tweaked at Tech Center mechatronics lab

It’s not your average high school shop project. At the Kent Career Tech Center mechatronics lab, senior Jared Rathburn is modifying a bomb-defusing robot.

About the size of a backpack, the rubber-treaded “Packbot” is able to scoot across a room or field, open a door and pick up an object with a hand-sized claw.

The Rockford High School student spends a couple of hours most afternoons learning advanced robotics skills at the mechatronics lab.

After graduation, Jared says he is headed to Michigan Technological University in Houghton, where he plans to study mechanical engineering.

Read more at the School News Network, by James Harger.


Madhukar Vable on Enhancing Undergraduate Engineering Education

Madhukar Vable
Madhukar Vable

Undergraduate engineering struggles to attract women and minorities, 20 percent of the students drop out after one year, and 40 percent fail to graduate in six years. Professor Emeritus Madhukar Vable describes how we can take the elements of our (USA) world-renowned graduate education to enhance undergraduate education in the December edition of Prism. Prism articles can be accessed through the library electronic data base.

Rebuild the Foundation

When it comes to graduate education, U.S. engineering schools are clearly getting something right: They attract scholars and students from all over the world. At the same time, undergraduate engineering struggles to draw in women and minorities, 20 percent of the students drop out after one year, and 40 percent fail to graduate in six years. What can we borrow from graduate education to enhance the undergraduate experience?

Read more in PRISM Last Word, by Madhukar Vable.