Category Archives: Students

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.

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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.


Robotics Changes Cora Taylor’s Career Trajectory

Cora Taylor
Cora Taylor

Recent Michigan Tech alumna Cora Taylor ’18, was featured in the article “Robotics changes student’s career trajectory,” in the Charlevoix Courier. The story chronicles how Taylor’s involvement in Charlevoix High School’s robotics led her toward a career in engineering. At Tech, Taylor was a member of the Formula SAE team.

Robotics changes student’s career trajectory

“I had no interest in engineering, in fact, I was interested in art, graphic design and drafting,” Taylor said. “If I hadn’t been convinced to join the team all those years ago, I don’t think I would be even remotely close to an engineer today.”

Taylor is a 2014 Charlevoix High School graduate. She is daughter of John and Kim Taylor, of Charlevoix, and is currently pursuing her master’s degree in mechanical engineering at Michigan Technological University in Houghton.

Read more at the Charlevoix Courier, by Anne Kelly.


VAKYA Business Model Places in Competition

Karuna Rana and Mayank Bagaria
Karuna Rana (left) and Mayank Bagaria (right) share second and third place awards.

The 2018 Bob Mark Business Model Competition took place Wednesday (Dec. 5, 2018) in the Opie Library. The Competition was hosted by the Innovation Center for Entrepreneurship, a collaboration between Pavlis Honors College, the School of Business and Economics and the Vice President for Research Office.

There were more than 20 participants making up 15 teams from various majors and disciplines who pitched to a panel of judges.

Ideas ranged from hypothermia preventing life jackets to a web-based stress management program. Participants had five minutes to pitch their ideas and present their business model. The judging panel then had time following the presentation to ask questions and provide valuable feedback.

The winners of the 2018 Bob Mark Business Model Competition were:

  • First Place and MTEC SmartZone Game Changer Award – Gary Tropp (Computer Network & System Administration) for VARS (Virtual Advising Registering and Scheduling)
  • Second and Third Place – Tie between Mayank Bagaria (Mechanical Engineering) for Vakya and Karuna Rana (Environmental and Energy Policy) for Reality Check
  • Audience Favorite – Nate LaJoie (Finance) and Michael Betz (Management) for Backpack Keg
  • Honorable Mention – Deanna Springgay (Biochemistry and Molecular Biology) for Little Trainer
  • Honorable Mention – Russ Crofton (Mechanical Engineering Technology) for Modern Steel Bicycles

Congratulations to all winners and participants, and thanks to the panel of distinguished judges for donating their time and expertise. The Innovation Center for Entrepreneurship would also like to thank MTEC SmartZone and Arroyo Networks for their support and prize contributions. Photos from the event can be viewed and downloaded here.

The Bob Mark Competition is part of Husky Innovate, a series of workshops and competitions that guide students through key phases of business development while emphasizing strategies for success. More information on upcoming Spring Husky Innovate events can be found at mtu.edu/husky-innovate.

By the Innovation Center for Entrepreneurship.

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Tech student teams compete in business

VAKYA Presentation by the speaker
Presentation on the VAKYA business model by Mayank Bagaria.

Bagaria’s proposal was for VAKYA, a set of glasses that would listen to speech and print the text on the lens for the wearer. Bagaria has those with total or partial hearing loss in mind for the first phase, but the second phase could include translation from different languages.

Read more at the Mining Gazette, by Joshua Vissers.


ME-EM is Represented at Noise and Vibration Conference

ISMA 2018 conference sign outsideThree members of the Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics presented at and attended the ISMA-USD Noise and Vibration Engineering conference at KU Leuven in Leuven Belgium. The 28th International Conference on Noise and Vibration engineering (ISMA2018) was organized in conjunction with the 7th International Conference on Uncertainty in Structural Dynamics (USD2018) on September 17-19, 2018. Approximately 700 people (50% from industry, 50% from universities) attended the conference.

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Jon Furlich, PhD student presented “Application of STFT and Wavelet analysis to MT clunk data: a case study.” Andrew Barnard (ME-EM) presented “Active noise control in pipes and ducts using carbon nanotube thermophones” and “Top 10 mechanical experiments for the teaching of sound and vibration in mechanical engineering”. Barnard also taught a seminar on acoustics in London Sept. 20.

  • Furlich, J. E., Blough, J., and Robinette, D. L., ‘Analysis of experimental mt clunk with stft and cwt to observe mode participation and reduction’, Michigan Technological University. ( abstractfull paper )
  • Barnard, A., and Senczyszyn, S., ‘Active noise control in pipes and ducts using carbon nanotube thermophones’, Michigan Technological University. ( abstractfull paper )
  • Peres, M. A., and Barnard, A., ‘Top 10 mechanical experiments for the teaching of sound and vibration in mechanical engineering’, The Modal Shop, Inc.. ( abstractfull paper )

Read more at ISMA Past Editions.

Jason Blough (ME-EM) chaired a session, attended the conference and met with peers to discuss future research topics.



Michigan Tech Mobile Lab Visits Grand Rapids Community College

Michigan Tech Mobile Lab
Michigan Tech Mobile Lab

The Michigan Tech Mobile Lab is visiting the campus of Grand Rapids Community College (GRCC) today, giving GRCC students the chance to gain exposure to an ongoing National Science Foundation (NSF) Project—”CAREER: An Ecologically Inspired Approach to Battery Lifetime Analysis and Testing.” The principal investigator on the project is Lucia Gauchia.

Participants range from all over the technical campus, with specialized tours for on-campus classrooms, as well as an open house for students and community members. Inside the Mobile Lab, there is further detail on the project and a real-world demonstration of a battery testing process.

Students in the Mobile Lab will be exposed to battery technology in today’s modern world. There will be discussions on battery types, chemistry and applications; including mobile devices, automotive, grid storage and more.

The Mobile Lab will be on the GRCC downtown campus, located in the student commons area. For more information on the Michigan Tech Mobile Lab, contact Chris Morgan.

By APS Labs.