Category: Students

My Story: Patrick Moeller, MTUengineer

L to R: Henry Inyang, Logan Schultz, Andrew Brodowski and Patrick Moeller

Michigan Tech MET student Patrick Moeller had a co-op at Georgia Pacific last fall, and an internship this past summer at Milwaukee Tool. Both helped him to prepare and decide on his career.

Recently Patrick traveled to Washington DC with three fellow students for the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) S-STEM REC Scholars Conference. Their travel and expenses were fully funded by AAAS. The annual event is co-hosted by the National Science Foundation.

“If you’re unsure about applying for college, I challenge you to submit your applications. After all, you may have doors open that you never even knew existed.”

Advice for prospective students, from Patrick Moeller
Henry, Patrick, and Logan, outside the White House in Washington DC.

At Michigan Tech, Patrick is part of the Engineering Technology Scholars-IMPRESS Program. “The ETS-IMPRESS scholarship has opened more doors than I possibly could have imagined. This trip is a great example of one of those doors,” he says.

“The thing that stuck with me the most from the conference was when a panelist asked the audience to raise their hand if they had ever felt ‘impostor syndrome’ at some point in their educational career. I was surprised to see almost every scholar in the room raise their hand. This made me realize the feeling of ‘I don’t belong here’ is something that most people will experience in their careers and I was not alone. However, this is actually a good thing because a majority of the time it means you are on the road to success. Feeling the impostor syndrome means that you have challenged yourself enough to be outside of your comfort zone which is the first step in personal and professional development. I felt this way when applying to college. I did not believe that I could be successful and wasn’t sure if college was for me.”

“In high school, I had a few teachers who believed in me and pushed me to go to college. Having this support inspired me to do so. Applying to college can be stressful and intimidating, but it is also one of the most rewarding decisions you can make. The MMET Department is a community of faculty, staff, and scholars who inspire each other to achieve their goals and overcome challenges along the way.”

John Irwin, professor and chair of the MMET Department serves as Patrick’s ETS-IMPRESS faculty mentor. “I would like to give Dr. John Irwin a special thank you for nominating Henry, Logan, Andrew, and me to attend this fantastic networking and professional development event!”

Not a transfer student, but still want info on MMET scholarships and opportunities?

Contact MMET Department Chair John Irwin for more details

More about ETS IMPRESS

Incoming community college transfer students who plan to major in electrical engineering technology, mechanical engineering technology, computer network and system administration, cybersecurity, or mechatronics are invited to apply for the Engineering Technology Scholars-IMPRESS program. In addition to an annual scholarship, students admitted to the program engage in high-impact curricular and co-curricular activities designed to increase their success.

Students receiving an ETS-IMPRESS scholarship are admitted to the Pavlis Honors College at Michigan Tech, an innovative and inclusive honors program designed around high-impact educational opportunities.

Students selected for the program can receive up to $10,000 per year. Additionally, transfer students who engage in the bridge program will receive a $2,500 stipend for a 7-week research program the summer before their first semester.

New Faculty Spotlight: Rachel Store

Rachel Store

Rachel Store recently joined the Department of Manufacturing and Mechanical Engineering Technology (MMET) as an assistant teaching professor. She earned her BS and MS at Michigan Tech, both in Mechanical Engineering.

What first drew you to Michigan Tech?

It all started when I was in high school. My parents moved back to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula after a 25-year military career. They were living in Escanaba. I knew I wanted to study engineering; I wanted to play varsity soccer; and I wanted to be close enough to my family that I could see them within a day. Michigan Tech was honestly the only school that fit that bill—so it was an easy decision. It was also the only campus I visited. But I fell in love with Tech. So much so, that after I finished my undergrad, I went for a victory lap masters degree—Tech has a fantastic accelerated masters program! And I loved the campus, the community, and the Keweenaw. Houghton truly is a special place.

After graduating with my Master’s degree, I got a job in Milwaukee. I still found myself coming back to Houghton several times a month to see my boyfriend. He’s really what brought me back to Houghton. As soon as I could, I started looking for jobs back in the Houghton area (spoiler, we’ve been married for four years and are blessed with two wonderful children).  

I was delighted when I found work back at Michigan Tech, in the Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics. I actually had several offers from local companies that I passed on because I wanted to be part of the Tech community again. I was in the ME-EM Department for 5 years. Now, I am super excited to move into a more student-focused position in the MMET Department.

“Get out and talk to people. Talk to your classmates, talk to your professors, talk to the locals.  The best thing about Houghton and MTU are the people.”

Advice to incoming students, from Rachel Store.

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

My background in industry was manufacturing and quality. I really enjoy teaching the topics where you go from a design or theory into making something physical, for example, a product or a lab sample. I enjoy additive manufacturing and especially forming processes. My research right now is focused on materials manufacturing with friction stir processing. I am working with Dr. Scott Wagner (MMET) and Dr. Vinh Nguyen (ME-EM) on a project right now. I am hoping to earn a PhD in a few years. In the meantime, I want to continue to develop as a teacher.

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

I’ve been spending a lot of time lately thinking about teaching—how to teach, why it matters, and how I can help make my students the best future employees that they can be.  A lot of students see the class, the grade, the degree as an end goal. But really those are just the starting points for the rest of their lives. This is my first year in a full-time instructor role, so I know I still have a lot to learn myself.

Aerial view of the Black Creek Nature Sanctuary. Credit:

What do you like to do in your spare time?

Fun question!  I have two and a half year old twins, so spare time at my house is more like ‘how do I multi-task!’ We live just south of Chassell on a little hobby farm (I’m a bit of a crazy chicken lady). And now my kids are starting to pick that up too. They love collecting the eggs with me, or going to the garden and looking for vegetables. We do a lot of stuff on our property—apple cider, maple syrup, gardening, foraging.

I also really enjoy being creative. I quilt and make soap, or sometimes I like to bring that creativity to the kitchen and cook fun meals. I am always excited for a welding, construction, or repair project. And I love the outdoors. That includes hunting, camping, kayaking, snow sports, and hiking (or snowshoeing!) especially.  

“I need a quota of ‘tree time’ as I call it every week, and the Keweenaw is such a great place to soak it in!”

Rachel Store

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

The Princess Bride and Finding Nemo are two movies that come to mind. I like the stories about doing whatever it takes for someone that you love.    

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

Anywhere on Lake Superior, but I am partial to the Black Creek Trail. It’s where my husband and I met. I also really love the Gratiot River Park. I think is so cool how the mouth of the Gratiot River changes every year depending on how the ice and snow was that winter.  

Any advice for incoming students?

Get out and talk to people. Talk to your classmates, talk to your professors, talk to the locals.  The best thing about Houghton and MTU are the people. It is such a rich community. Also, get out and play in the snow. I always tell people new to the area and snow that you have to find ways to play in the snow. 

“The winters are long. And they can be hard. But if you don’t find ways to seek joy in the snow, you have the same amount of snow and much less joy!”

Rachel Store

Teresa Hoving Named MMET Department Scholar

Student and faculty member standing outside in the snow with an award.
Teresa Hoving (left) accepts the MMET Department Scholar Award from MMET Chair John Irwin.

The Department of Manufacturing and Mechanical Engineering Technology (MMET) is pleased to announce that Teresa Hoving has been selected as the 2023 MMET Department Scholar.

Teresa is a third-year mechanical engineering technology student who always seeks to aim high in her coursework. She has been on the 4.00 Dean’s List every semester. Teresa continues to learn new information, grow in curiosity, and take advantage of opportunities to be creative. When given a task, Teresa strives to do it perfectly. Whether it is academic or personal, she frequently sets goals to the highest standard possible. Academically, she has shown this through her attention to detail in each assignment. Furthermore, Teresa has a persistent curiosity, especially pertaining to the subjects of manufacturing and machining.

As a great opportunity to make use of her creativity, Teresa designed a candy mold for the 3rd Annual ZRP MMET student scholarship competition. Her problem-solving approach involves “When working on homework or projects, I inevitably run into roadblocks. If I have an issue solving a problem one way, I commonly brainstorm different approaches and research possible solutions” as described by Teresa.

Teresa has demonstrated communication skills through forming a study group with her classmates, actively participating in classroom discussions, and as a contestant in the Winter Carnival Royalty competition. Teresa explains, “I enjoy building relationships with my professors and classmates. I am thankful for all the opportunities that I have received to practice teamwork in projects and labs.”

Patricia Stein, Four Students Inducted Into MTU’s Epsilon Pi Tau Honor Society

Group of five people holding the EPT triangle.

The Department of Manufacturing and Mechanical Engineering Technology (MMET) and the College of Computing (CC) inducted four Michigan Tech students and MMET’s academic advisor into Michigan Tech’s Delta Zeta Chapter of the Epsilon Pi Tau Honor Society on April 6, 2023.

Epsilon Pi Tau is the international honor society for professions in technology, recognizing students and technology professionals for academic excellence.

Congratulations to the Delta Zeta Chapter Spring 2023 Epsilon Pi Tau initiates: Donovan Choa and Robert Coene (mechanical engineering technology), Noah Harvey and Ryan Kern (computer network and system administration), and Academic Advisor Patricia Stein (MMET).

For more information, contact Delta Zeta Chapter Trustee John Irwin (MMET) at, co-trustee Todd Arney (CC) at, or visit Epsilon Pi Tau’s website.

By Manufacturing and Mechanical Engineering Technology | College of Computing.

Chocolate Anyone? Announcing the 3rd Annual Zachary Richard Podkul ’18 MET Design Challenge

Who doesn’t like chocolate around the holidays? For the third annual Zachary R. Podkul Design Challenge, MET students are tasked with developing a mold to make their own chocolates. The process involves first designing a 3D CAD model of the finished chocolate—Michigan Tech related, of course!

Zach and his mom together on Mt. Ripley. Read more about Zachary R. Podkul Design Challenge here.

The MMET AM facility will 3D print patterns of all entries on the Stratasys Fortus 400 MC which uses Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) process of extruding plastic filament. The students will create a flask made of poster board strips to hold the food safe silicone mold material and 3D printed patterns of the chocolates.

The students will remove their silicone mold from the flask. Fill the mold with melted chocolate, then freeze to perfection.

MMET Faculty judges will rate the student’s work on the following criteria:

  • 3D CAD Model – Utilizes sketches fully constrained with parametric features
  • Originality – Unique and innovative design representative of Michigan Tech
  • Quality – Uniformity, strength and surface finish
  • Manufacturability – Ability for chocolate to be easily formed in mold
  • Detail – The chocolate conforms to the mold intended design
Finally, the finished product will be ready for judging and eating (it’s a tough job, but someone’s gotta do it!)

Three winners will be announced on April 19, 2023 with the prize going towards Fall 2023 tuition.
First Place: $1,000
Second Place: $500
Third Place: $250

Industry Sponsors Support Michigan Tech MET Senior Design Teams

MET student Derek Flory at the 2022 Fluid Power Vehicle Challenge, sponsored by NFPA.

At Michigan Tech, we proudly refer to Senior Design as a “first job” rather than a “last class,” as it tasks senior-level project teams to address practical, open-ended design challenges. This past year, the MMET Department at Michigan Tech has been fortunate to have four Senior Design team projects generously sponsored by industry partners: Donald Engineering, Equinox Bicycleworks and Engineering, National Fluid Power Association (NFPA), and Kohler. These project supporters make a strategic investment in our educational mission.

New hydraulic power equipment at Michigan Tech, donated by Donald Engineering

MMET typically has 6-10 senior design projects each year, says John Irwin, MMET Department Chair. “We’re always interested in forming new partnerships with alumni and friends of the department who are interested in contributing to the education of MET students,”

Senior design projects can be sponsored at various funding levels. The projects involve providing engineering guidance to the team over the span of two semesters, fall-spring or spring-fall. 

The most recent sponsorship came from Donald Engineering, long-time supporter of the “Mechatronics Playground”—a set of labs that support both MMET and the Applied Computing departments at Michigan Tech.

Donald Engineering President Mark Gauthier and his employees supported a Fall 2022 interdisciplinary team made up of two MET students and one EET student. The team designed, built and tested a hydraulically-powered tensile and compression testing apparatus.

Pedaling test fixture, designed for Equinox Bicycleworks by a Michigan Tech MET senior design team.

“The equipment donated by Donald Engineering will be put to good use in other ways,” notes Irwin. “Additional student teams will use it to test their project materials. It will serve as lab equipment in the MET Strength of Materials course—and last but not least, it will enable fluid power mechatronics students to see a real-life application of electro-hydraulics in action.”

Last spring, Equinox Bicycleworks, a local UP company that manufactures mountain bikes, needed a fixture to test the tubular frames to meet industry standards. The Michigan Tech MET senior design team, led by Joseph Williams (now a Michigan Tech alumnus) produced various designs for performing tests, such as fatigue testing per ISO 4210-6 standards on bicycle frames. The team manufactured a testing fixture, and tested the solution. It all came about through a partnership formed with help from Michelle Jarvie-Eggart, an assistant professor in the Department of Engineering Fundamentals at Michigan Tech. Dr. Jarvie-Eggart connected us with her husband, Brian Eggart, who owns and operates Equinox. He is also a research engineer at the Advanced Power Systems Research Center at Michigan Tech.

The National Fluid Power Association (NFPA) runs a yearly contest each April called the Fluid Power Vehicle Challenge, which has many industry sponsors, including Danfoss Power Solutions, Norgren, Parker Hannifin, Lubritech, Hydroforce, and IFP (Iowa Fluid Power). University teams from all over the country develop a timeline to design, simulate, build, test, qualify, and compete with their concepts. MMET Associate Teaching Professor David Wanless has been the advisor for many iterations of Senior Design project groups tackling this challenge. Each fall semester, a new set of students refine the design of the previous groups and then develop a new, improved solution. The outcome of the 2022 contest was that the team won the Sprint Race and were awarded $1,000.

Students at the 2022 Fluid Power Vehicle Challenge, including Michigan Tech’s MET team
MET students Cody Eby and Stewart Daniels present their senior design concept, part of the NFPA Fluid Power Vehicle Challenge
MET student Brendan Bloom worked on the Engine Flow Bench senior design project, sponsored by Kohler. The team presented their project at Michigan Tech’s Design Expo.

Kohler entered into an agreement with the MMET Department for a sponsored project that started in the fall of 2020. The project has since continued, with the goal of assisting Kohler’s Engine Department in designing a new, highly accurate flow bench for small engines.

The first MET senior design team developed an initial flow bench design, but the COVID pandemic slowed their progress and prevented them from completing the manufacturing and testing. The next Michigan Tech MET team took over the project and presented their results in spring 2022.

A flow bench is generally designed to move air through cylinder heads or other components to measure the overall airflow throughout the entire system. The project was mostly complete, except for the controls and data acquisition portion, which is now the task of a third Senior Design team. Their goal is to complete the Engine Flow Bench by spring 2023.

Longtime MMET Advisory Board member Brian Hartwig, director of Kohler Engines’ Application Engineering and Development Lab, provided engineering guidance for this project, along with his team at Kohler.

Pictured here: the MET senior design team’s fan motor and controls, for sponsor Kohler

Seasons Greetings from John Irwin, MMET Department Chair

Aerial view of campus and the Portage Canal in winter.
John Irwin portrait
Dr. John Irwin

Dear Friends,

The Michigan Tech MMET Department continues to prosper. Thirty MET students graduated in spring semester, and another nine this fall! Our total number of students continues to grow, due to the large incoming class of new and transfer students. 

One of the courses our students really enjoy is “Fundamentals of Machining,” where future engineers learn how parts are manufactured using traditional machining methods. Building a product from a piece of raw material is very satisfying. It’s an experience that lasts a lifetime. 

Making mistakes along the way is part of the process. It teaches the difficulty inherent in machining—and develops a lasting appreciation for manufacturing design—something that is instilled in every proud graduate from the MET program.

I hope you enjoy reading these stories about what has happened here at Michigan Tech over the past year.

Happy Holidays!


John L. Irwin, Professor and MMET Department Chair

group of MET students on campus
Introducing our Fall 2022 MET First Year Class
Group of MET students on campus
Congratulations to Fall 2022 MET Graduates!
Group of MET students on campus
Congratulations to all Spring 2022 MET Graduates!

Mason Petersen Named MMET Department Scholar

Congratulations to MMET student Mason Petersen!

The Department of Manufacturing and Mechanical Engineering Technology (MMET) is pleased to announce that Mason Petersen has been selected as the 2022 MMET Department Scholar.

“Mason is a Mechanical Engineering Technology student who just completed his third year at Michigan Tech. He enjoys working with his hands on automotive and industrial machine projects,” says John Irwin, MMET department chair. 

“Once Mason challenged himself by purchasing a fully deconstructed motorcycle to reassemble, and with the help of a service manual and internet forums, he completed the build. This allowed him to analyze the engineering design features behind the motorcycle’s engine as well as establish priceless problem-solving skills for use later in his career,” adds Irwin.

Last year, Petersen served as R&D intern at International Woodworking Technologies (IWT) where he led the design and creation of a prototype for a new particle board concept. He applied numerous skills learned in his MMET courses at Michigan Tech, such as stress analysis and designing for manufacturability. While at IWT, Petersen worked closely with local machine and fabrication shops to produce parts for the prototype. This experience built the foundation for his understanding of process flow in the manufacturing industry.

This past year, Petersen’s leadership qualities were on display as treasurer and assistant coach of the Michigan Tech Men’s Rugby Football Club. He applied accounting skills and managed the budget for expenses, such as field maintenance, traveling, and game fees. He also leaned heavily on his communication and teamwork skills, and helped teammates train. 

Petersen is also involved with the Advanced Metalworks Enterprise (AME) team, where he collaborates with peers and Enterprise team advisor, MMET Assistant Professor David Labyak, to implement industry 4.0 technology into the Michigan Tech foundry. This includes adopting modern methods for monitoring molten metals as well as monitoring the moisture of the sand used for casting molds.

This summer, Petersen is working as an intern at General Motors focusing on engineering design in GM’s Cranktrain, Fuel Delivery, and Lubrication department. “This experience in the corporate environment will further develop Mason’s engineering skills,” notes Irwin. 

After graduation, Petersen plans on pursuing a MS in Mechatronics, and aspires to establish a business that provides automation solutions to manufacturing and production companies.

ZRP Memorial Scholarship Challenge: Cookie Cutter Contest Winners Announced

Hey, did someone take a bite out of that wrench? Cookies made by MMET Administrative Aide Pammi Washuleski.

The second annual Zachary Richard Podkul Memorial Scholarship Challenge at Michigan Tech has come to its (delicious) completion.

Students in the Department of Manufacturing and Mechanical Engineering Technology set out to design a cookie cutter, one that the department could send out to prospective students, employers and alumni. Students were also required to provide an NX CAD assembly model of the process used to manufacture the cookie cutter.

This 3D CAD assembly model was provided to the students as a guide for size and configuration.

If you ever wondered how cookie cutters are made, just take a look at this YouTube video, which helped serve as the inspiration for the challenge. The sponsors, Richard and Cathy Podkul, wanted to honor their late son Zachary with a design contest that incorporated his passions for both cooking and machine design. The contest was announced in late fall semester, and students began their thought process on what to design.

During the spring semester, sophomore mechanical engineering technology (MET) students enroll in a parametric 3D CAD modeling course that teaches how to use Siemens NX CAD modeling software. Many of the students enrolled in this parametric modeling course submitted entries for the cookie cutter contest.

To help get them started, students were provided with a 3D CAD assembly model as a guide for size and configuration. Later this design was substituted with a wrench shape to use as a prototype—something that could be used by students to test and see how the cookie cutter assembly operates prior to submitting their own entries.

MMET machine shop student workers—with assistance from Master Machinist Scott Meneguzzo and Operations/Facilities Supervisor Nick Hendrickson—produced a working model of the cookie cutter manufacturing fixture. After two design iterations of the 3D printed pushers connected to the clamps, the first, successful wrench-shaped “test” cookie cutter was produced.

A working model of the wrench cookie cutter set-up
Wrench-shaped cookie cutter manufacturing set-up
Some wrench-shaped cookie cutters!

The material used for the cutter is a thin strip of brass, cut to the precise circumference of the cutter outline. It is then formed into a hoop, spot welded together, and tempered for formability. Each clamp is manually operated and each has a 2,500 pound holding force. The cookie cutter form in the center was 3D printed on the Fortus 400MC Stratasys 3D Printer, located in the MMET department’s Polymeric Additive Manufacturing Facility

Many interesting cookie cutters designs were evaluated by the contest judges for the following qualities: 1) Parametric⁠—3D CAD model(s) utilizes sketches fully constrained with parametric features and fully constrained parts in the assembly; 2) Originality—a unique and innovative design; 3) Optimized—minimized use of material, while not compromising strength; 4) Manufacturability—the part’s ability to be easily formed in manufacturing fixture; and finally 5) Ease of use—the manufacturing design is ergonomic and simple to use.

The results? Three students tied for second place in the contest. They were Ben Engle, who designed a gear-shaped cookie cutter; Luz Aparicio, who designed a lightbulb, and Patrick Moeller, who designed a Lift Bridge cookie cutter.

Second Place: a gear-shaped cookie cutter submitted by MET student Ben Engle (3-way tie for second place)
Second Place: a lightbulb-shaped cookie cutter submitted by MET student Luz Aparicio (3-way tie for second place)
Second Place: a Lift Bridge cookie cutter designed by MET student Patrick Moeller (3-way tie for second place)

In the end, the contest yielded the first-place winning cookie cutter, Hunter Wilke’s design, also in the shape of the Portage Lift Bridge.

First Place: a Lift Bridge cookie cutter designed by MET student Hunter Wilke. Congratulations!
The winning cookie cutter form is at the center of the manufacturing set-up. See the brass cookie cutter beneath.

All the winners were presented certificates at an awards ceremony on April 19, which was the celebration of Zachary’s birthday.

The next challenge for the Podkuls, together with Michigan Tech MMET department faculty, will be to develop an idea for the 3rd Annual ZRP Memorial Scholarship! With Zachary’s love of cooking, the outdoors and nature, writing, poetry, and his curiosity for discovering how things worked, it could be just about anything!

Congratulating the 2022 ZRP Memorial Scholarship Challenge winners! From L to R in photo: Hunter Wilke, Cathy Podkul, Luz Aparicio, Patrick Moeller, Richard Podkul, Ben Engle
Zachary and his mom, Cathy, together on Mt. Ripley

Richard T. and Catherine F. Podkul established an endowed scholarship in honor of their son, Zachary Richard Podkul ’18. Zach earned a BS in Mechanical Engineering Technology at Michigan Tech. He suffered from Crohn’s disease, and died in 2020 at age 25. Thankfully, Zachary’s wonderful legacy lives on here at Michigan Tech, now and always.

Five Michigan Tech Students Inducted into Epsilon Pi Tau Honor Society

Epsilon Pi Tau Spring 2022 Inductees: Patrick D. Moeller (MMET), Mason Petersen (MMET), Oliver Shakal (MMET), Bradley Gipson (CNSA), and Keegan McInerney (MMET).

The Department of Manufacturing and Mechanical Engineering Technology and the College of Computing inducted five Michigan Tech students into Michigan Tech’s Delta Zeta Chapter of the Epsilon Pi Tau Honor Society on April 7.

Epsilon Pi Tau is the international honor society for professions in technology, recognizing students and technology professionals for academic excellence.

Congratulations to Delta Zeta Chapter’s Spring 2022 Epsilon Pi Tau initiates: Bradley Gipson (CNSA), Keegan McInerney (MMET), Patrick D. Moeller (MMET), Mason Petersen (MMET), and Oliver Shakal (MMET).

For more information, contact Delta Zeta Chapter trustee John Irwin (MMET) at, co-trustee Todd Arney (CoC) at, or visit Epsilon Pi Tau’s website.