Category: Students

Hand Crank Cycle Student Design Teams Featured

Michigan Tech’s Mechanical Engineering Hand Crank Cycle Senior Design Team was featured in news stories and videos from GM. Links to the News articles and video are below as well as links to previous articles.

A video by Vehicle Planet features GM Chairman and mentions the Michigan Tech student team

Chevy, Michigan Tech Reveal Cycle for Wounded Veterans

GM Video of Hand Crank Cycle Team: Chevrolet and students from Michigan Technological University reveal a new hand cycle designed to make it easier for wounded veterans to compete in racing events, including marathons.

Michigan Tech ME-EM Video of Hand Crank Cycle Team

Autoweek Magazine News Video mentions Michigan Tech

Here is a Chevrolet ad about the Achillles Cycle: What Moves Me | Army vs. Navy Game | Chevrolet

Previous Articles:

Daily Mining Gazette News Story: Huskies helping heroes; Hand-crank cycle developed to aid veterans

Michigan Tech article: Student-designed Hand-cranked Cycles Unveiled at Army-Navy Game
Michigan Tech article: Engineering Better Bikes for Wounded Vets

Photos Sharing: Michigan Tech student engineers and the Achilles Freedom Team of Wounded Veterans at the 2012 Detroit Free Press/Talmer Bank Marathon

Hand-Crank Cycle Team 1: Team Members: Kellene Perry, Nicholas Ragsdel, Steve Schaenzer, Chad Zunich; Advisor: Michele Miller; Sponsor: General Motors

Hand-Crank Cycle Team 2: Team Members: Bethany Aebli, Gregory DeVillers, Jacqueline Kukulski, Elizabeth Reinke, Alicia Walby; Advisor: Paul van Susante; Sponsor: General Motors

Continue Reading

ME-EM Senior Awards Banquet December 2012

The December 2012 graduates of Michigan Technological University Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics were honored at the Senior Awards Banquet December 11, 2012 at the Memorial Union Ballroom. The graduating seniors were presented with a ring for induction into the Order of the Engineer.


The senior design and Enterprise advisors all have the opportunity to nominate students for the Outstanding Student Awards. There is no minimum or maximum number. It is an opportunity to recognize students who have excelled in working in a project and team environment. This semester we are recognizing three students with Outstanding Student Awards.

Emily Westerman was nominated by John Gershenson for Outstanding Enterprise Student. Emily Westerman has been a part of the Velovations Enterprise for 3+ years. It started with an email on October 21, 2009, “Hi, I am interested in joining the enterprise and I was wondering how I can get involved. Thank you, Emily Westerman.” After first coming on to a project where she helped finish off work on a novel chamois design for bike shorts, she became the first student to be promoted to a project leader in their sophomore year. Beginning with the first version of the incredibly successful Cane Creek project, Emily led three separate projects over the course of the last three years. It was the middle one where she earned her fame however. Working for Saris on a project to understand rider comfort on trainers, Emily led one of the hardest deadline projects we have ever undertaken. We never should have undertaken the project, but she got it all done on time with a delighted sponsor. All projects exceeded sponsor expectations, leading to follow on projects. Emily has been and will be an outstanding team leader, and a great engineer.

Nominated by Michelle Miller, the Senior Capstone Design outstanding student awardee Josiah Hooker is part of the GM sponsored handcycles project. His 8 person team produced one of two handcycles that were on display at the Army-Navy game last weekend. The large team started in the spring as two four person teams and then combined into one team at the beginning of the fall semester. The combined team has been more than the sum of its parts. The whole team came together well to produce a great product. Josiah was responsible for one of the design innovations of a new fork attachment that allows the bike to be reduced in size for transportation without significant disassembly. He was also invaluable as a go-to manufacturing person who did a lot of machining and welding and worked extensively with others on the team in these tasks.

The third awardee, nominated by Chuck Margraves, is Dylan Beyrle. Dylan is a member of the air knife optimization team sponsored by ArcelorMittal. According to Dr. Margraves, Dylan has been an extraordinarily focused and disciplined worker. He has been involved in all aspects of the project from the preliminary CFD analysis, to construction and testing of the final design. He has shown outstanding leadership qualities and has been very easy to work with. The team as a whole also deserves recognition for their work. Dr. Margraves commented that “this has been one of my best experiences as an advisor.”

View the Photo Set “ME-EM Senior Awards Banquet and Order of the Engineer: December 2012” on Flickr

Eric Roberts (1993 BSME) was the keynote speaker at the Mechanical Engineering – Engineering Mechanics Department Senior Awards Banquet on December 11, 2012.

Link to Video of Eric Roberts Speech

Eric graduated from Michigan Technological University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering in 1993. He began his career as a Manufacturing / Process Engineer with Kimberly-Clark in New Milford, CT. Mr. Roberts relocated to the Chicago area as a Senior Program Engineer in the New Product Development Organization with Sanford Corporation. Eric was selected to be the Engineering Operations interface with a Consulting Firm on a corporate-wide operations efficiency improvement initiative.

Mechanical Engineering R&D Group inside Motorola, as Director of Operations of the Enterprise Business Unit in Motorola Mobility, a developer, marketer and seller of Cellular Infrastructure Equipment. His role involved global, cross-functional management of all aspects of the business, including Engineering, Product Management, Sales, Marketing and PR.

Eric spent the next 14 years in various roles – predominantly focused on New Product Development and Operations, across all Hardware and Software Development disciplines. Mr. Roberts left Motorola Mobility following Google’s acquisition in June of 2012, and has spent much of his time building a computer school in Haiti and searching for the next big thing.

Continue Reading

Energy Poster Session 2012

Dr. Jeffrey Allen teaches Advanced Thermodynamics (MEEM 5200) and Principles of Energy Conversion (MEEM 4200/5290). Principles of Energy Conversion introduces the basic background, terminology, and fundamentals of energy conversion. Students develop project posters for  current and emerging technologies for production of thermal, mechanical, and electrical energy. Topics include fossil and nuclear fuels, solar energy, wind turbines, fuel and solar cells.


Continue Reading

ME-EM PACE Competition Fall 2012

The Fall 2012 Mechanical Engineering – Engineering Mechanics Department PACE competition was held on 14th November 14th.

The First Place team was Team 8: “Lego Fire Command Craft” with Drew Brennan, Robert Cooper, Michael Ponte and Matthew Verbiscus.

The PACE Design Competition will judge five critical areas of your design project:
1. Form: Design Concept, Creativity, Perceived Value, Safety
2. Fit: Physical Model (realism, aesthetics, detail, supporting design)
3. Function: Design Parameters and Performance (math models, simulations, spreadsheets, etc.)
4. Presentation: Effective, Professional, Credible
5. Teamwork and Collaboration.

PACE – Partners for the Advancement of Collaborative Engineering Education – is a university and industry partnership to support strategically-selected academic institutions worldwide, to develop the automotive product life cycle management team of the future. PACE partners include General Motors (GM), Electronic Data System (EDS), UGS and Sun Microsystems, with contributing companies such as Hewlett Packard, Altair Engineering and MSC Software. PACE has already provided over $10M in CAD/CAM/CAE hardware and software to the ME-EM department.

See contest results and team photos

Continue Reading

Woman Engineering Student Wins National Essay Contest

From a Tech Today article October 26, 2012

Andrea Walvatne, a fifth-year mechanical engineering student at Michigan Tech, is the national grand prize winner in the annual Stilettos to Steel Toes essay contest, sponsored by Schlumberger and endorsed by the Society of Women Engineers (SWE). Schlumberger is a leading international oilfield services provider.

The contest invites women engineering students to write short essays examining “Where will your shoes take you?,” explaining why a nontraditional job is the way to go.

The grand prize winner receives a $2,000 scholarship and an expense-paid trip to the SWE 2012 national conference in Houston in November, where she will read her essay.

In Michigan Tech’s SWE section, Andrea Walvatne’s essay placed first, winning $1,000; Britta Anderson’s took second place and a $500 prize, and Kimberly D’Augustino’s essay placed third, receiving $250.

Here is Andrea’s grand prize essay:

“My shoes can take me anywhere. Whether it is high heels to a business meeting, steel toes to a construction site, sneakers for the gym, or hiking shoes on the trails. My interests are as varied as my shoes. They range from donning snowboarding boots for the hill to sliding into slippers and curling up with a good book. But the worn gray high-tops are what I wear most of the time. Sitting in classrooms and labs getting an education in this field is a career choice most women would not pursue. I like to do things a little more non-traditionally. Like walking around the jungle in rural Panama in my hiking sandals, collecting data for a micro-hydro power project for my senior design. Or choosing a school where I need to wear insulated boots to walk to class through drifts of snow most of the year. I walk through the drifts to become an engineer, a job that requires a lot of intelligence, creativity, and determination. Not everyone can fill the shoes of this position. Engineers need to be adaptable and able to wear different kinds of shoes to succeed in a variety of positions. They also need to understand their customers and be able to wear their shoes. In a few months I will be walking across a stage in my black flats and planning many new experiences this accomplishment can achieve. My college life may be ending, but my feet are not tired enough to stop yet. There are still some shoes in my closet that have not been worn. I want to wear my brown boots all around Europe, my silver flats in the bright cities of Asia, and my slip-ons in small communities in Africa and South America. I want to visit all the strange and beautiful places in this world. I want to learn from the people and how I can help them as an engineer. I want to make a difference. Then when I have accomplished this, I will get some new high-tops and see how far they will take me.”

Continue Reading

ME-EM Senior Awards Banquet 2012

ME-EM Department lecturer Charles Margraves was awarded Teacher of the Year from The ME-EM Student Advisory Board.


At the annual ME-EM Senior Awards Banquet on April 17, several awards were presented to students.

Enterprise Students
Robert Page, advisor to the Hybrid Electric Vehicle Enterprise, nominated Travis Spilling for the Outstanding Enterprise Student award. For two semesters, Travis has served as the leader of the Mechanical Team, the largest team in the Enterprise with 23 students. He has provided strong leadership and organizational skills to the undergraduate and graduate students who work in the three sub-groups on this team. He has provided guidance on powertrain issues and has coordinated the development of several innovative solutions for the vehicle that will soon reach fruition. In addition, he has mentored several younger students who are now ready to step up to take their place as leaders. Travis’ dedication and humor will be greatly missed.

John Gershenson, Velovations Enterprise advisor, nominated Justin Schrand. Dr. Gershenson said Justin has led a year and a half long project that has resulted in two products and a wireless system that our sponsor is using to literally revolutionize the mountain bike industry. His great project leadership and work ethic led to great success.

Senior Capstone Design Students
Michele Miller nominated nominate Brian Oestreich from Team 2 Dual-Speed Auto-Shift Landing Gear sponsored by Jost International. The team developed a new trailer landing gear system. Producing a prototype that could achieve the project goals required a combination of creativity, analysis, practical know-how, adaptability, and, especially, hard work. The whole team contributed to the success of the project, but Brian, in particular, lived this project. If you look up gearhead in the dictionary, you might find Brian’s picture. He brought considerable knowledge and skill to the project, and, with the many hours put into this project, became that much more expert in the design and fabrication of complex gear systems.

Chuck Margraves, advisor for Team 7 Diesel Engine Air Shutoff Valve sponsored by Cummins, nominated Jay Anderson, saying he found Jay to be one of the most proactive students he has dealt with. Jay continually kept to the teams schedule and was not derailed when there were unexpected delays. He showed a maturity well beyond his years in not panicking when it looked like an important piece of equipment would not be delivered on time. Instead he and the team focused on completing all other necessary tasks so that when the equipment did arrive they would be ready to go.

Finally, Advisor Mike LaCourt nominated two students, Neil Rumschlag and Tyler Muckenhirn, from Team 11 Hydraulic Power Unit Efficiency Optimization sponsored by MTS. Mike said that Neil has been very inspirational throughout the project. He has worked well with all of the team members asking them to work in the areas where there experience can be most beneficial to the project. From his previous experience he has brought leadership and insight that has been beneficial from the start of the project to its successful completion. Tyler, although a late addition to the team, has shown that he can produce in an environment that is new and challenging, bringing a positive, enthusiastic demeanor and strong work ethic. Through his leadership, the team looked at expanded areas of design and analysis that helped the project be something that the customer and the university can look at as a success story.

Link to Photos of the ME-EM Senior Awards Banquet

John Soyring was the keynote speaker at the Mechanical Engineering – Engineering Mechanics Department Senior Awards Banquet.

After graduating from Michigan Tech with a BSEE in 1976, the L’Anse, Michigan native John Soyring joined IBM. During his 36 career with IBM, he has held a variety of technical, professional, managerial and executive positions within the company.

Soyring was involved in global business leadership for a multi-billion dollar annual revenue portion of the IBM software business. This role included functional leadership for strategy, research & development, marketing & sales, business development, product support, and services related to the IBM offerings that include: software solutions for enterprises in 17 global industries; IBM System z software products; and a set of software solutions related to emerging technologies, such as: RFID, new retailing solutions and speech recognition.

He is a member of the Industry Advisory Council of the American Indian Science & Engineering Society (AISES). He is also a member of the Industry Advisory Board of Michigan Technological University.

In addition to John’s normal IBM duties, he has successfully lobbied members of the US congress to support the normalization of trade with both China and Singapore. John was also involved with IBM’s work to convince the Chinese Communist Party to allow citizen’s of the People’s Republic of China to have access to the internet.

A video of John Soyring’s address to students is on the Mechanical Engineering Channel on Vimeo

All of the graduating seniors were inducted Order of the Engineer and recieved a ring.  After the Obligation Oath for Induction into the Order of the Engineer, the inductees signed the certificate of acceptance.

Continue Reading

Students Win NSF Graduate Research Fellowships

Four Michigan Tech students have received graduate research fellowships from the National Science Foundation (NSF). Six other Tech students received honorable mentions in the competition. Nationwide, the NSF awarded 2,000 fellowships and 1,835 honorable mentions.

Mark Hopkins, mechanical engineering-engineering mechanics; Brennan Tymrak, mechanical engineering-engineering mechanics and Peace Corps Master’s International; Jennifer Fuller, civil and environmental engineering; and Liz Cloos, electrical and computer engineering, received NSF fellowships for graduate study. Bryan Plunger, Alan Olds, Evan Lucas, Hilary Morgan, Byrel Mitchell and Patrick Bowen earned honorable mentions.

NSF graduate research fellowships recognize and support outstanding graduate students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines who are pursuing research-based master’s and doctoral degrees. The fellows receive a $30,000 annual stipend for three years, plus international research and professional development opportunities and supercomputer access. Each fellow’s institution receives a $12,000 allowance.

“This group is exceptional and well deserving of the awards and honors,” said Jodi Lehman, coordinator of sponsored programs enhancement. Lehman worked closely with the NSF graduate research fellowship applicants. “Their success is also largely due to faculty and administrators who are committed to providing our students with the challenging academic experiences, innovative research, leadership training, and local and global outreach opportunities that make Michigan Tech applicants competitive.”

Continue Reading

Railroad Engineering and Activities Club Meeting

The Railroad Engineering and Activities Club (REAC) will hold a business meeting from 6 to 7 p.m.,Tuesday Feb 28, in Dow 875.

This Rail Transportation Seminar presentation will be by Phil Pasterak, Sr. Vice President/Central Region Manager Rail & Transit for PB. The presentation title is:

“High Speed Rail Development in the US and Midwest”

REAC is open to members of any discipline who have an interest in finding out more about REAC activities and the rail industry.

Pizza and pop will be provided.

For more information, contact Pam Hannon, coordinator, MTTI, at 487-3065 or at .

Continue Reading