Category: Students

Hunter Wilke is the 2021 Podkul Competition Winner

Three people, with Hunter Wilke in the center.
Hunter Wilke (center)

MET student Hunter Wilke is the winner of the 2021 Zachary Richard Podkul MET Memorial Annual Scholarship Challenge.

2021 Winning Design

“Door Opening Device”

The challenge was to design an item that can be used to decrease the spread of the COVID-19 virus. The device could be something that can be worn, hooked to a backpack or clothing or easily carried on one’s person. The competition required a 3D CAD model to be produced using Siemens NX software. The winning design was to be 3D printed using a Stratasys Fortus 400 MC which uses a Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) process of extruding plastic filament.

Competition Description

$1,000 Scholarship Award for MET Student Fall 2021

Design a device/gadget that can be manufactured using additive manufacturing (3D printing) methods. The CAD model must fit inside a 3D printing volume envelope of 4 cubic inches. The challenge is to design an item that can be used to decrease the spread of the COVID-19 virus. The device can be something that can be worn, hooked to a backpack or clothing, or easily carried on one’s person. The competition requires a 3D CAD model to be produced using Siemens NX software. To choose the winning design, the top rated entries will be 3D printed using the Stratasys Fortus 400 MC which uses Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) process of extruding plastic filament. Competitors are not required to 3D print their own designs, but it is okay if they desire to test their design prior to entry.

Judging Rubric

  1. Parametric – 3D CAD model utilizes sketches fully constrained with parametric features – 5 points
  2. Originality – Unique idea to decrease spread of virus – 5 points
  3. Optimized – Minimized use of material not compromising strength – 5 points
  4. Manufacturability – Minimal need for support material and post processing – 5 points
  5. Ease of use – The design is ergonomic and simple to operate – 5 points

Note: designs not meeting the requirement of volume and software will be disqualified from judging.

In Memory of Zachary Richard Podkul, MET Alum

The winner of the competition will be awarded the Zachary Richard Podkul Memorial Scholarship.

John Irwin standing by a poster.
Dr. John Irwin, chair of MMET department, stands by Zachary Podkul’s senior design project team poster “Incremental Forming Tool Design.”
Three people standing by memorial table.
Hunter Wilke (center)
Five people standing in the shop.
Family of Zachary Podkul standing with Hunter Wilke (rightmost back), MMET Operations/Facilities Supervisor Nicholas V. Hendrickson (left), and College of Engineering Director for Advancement Bryant Weathers (second from left).


Mehendale and Warty Co-author Paper on Energy Modeling

Sunil Mehendale (MMET) co-authored, with graduate student in ME-EM Amarnath Warty, the peer-reviewed paper “Energy Modeling and Energy Efficiency Opportunities for a Public Library Building in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.” 

The paper has been accepted for publication and presentation at the 2021 Purdue High Performance Buildings conference.

Brief description of research: The present research has a twofold aim: (1) to model the natural gas consumption and the total electricity consumption of a 12600 sq. ft. public library building in Houghton, MI, and (2) to identify any opportunities to improve energy efficiency. This was accomplished by first developing and validating an eQUEST model for the library building in conjunction with a linear regression model correlating the natural gas consumption (during winter) with heating degree days and the electricity consumption (during summer) as a function of cooling degree days. The said library building, which is serviced by two rooftop furnaces, each with a DX coil, and a hot-water loop using two boilers, has been facing HVAC issues for a few years now, the most common complaint being that it gets too hot in the winter despite the thermostat being set to provide comfortable temperatures. Preliminary results suggest that the principal factors affecting the building energy consumption are the HVAC loads, lighting, and occupancy and that the natural gas consumption of the building could be lowered by up to 20% using the furnace units alone (i.e., by dispensing with the boilers), while still meeting the building’s heating requirements.


2018 and 2019 Program Scholar Awards

2018 Program Scholars
2018 Program Scholars

The 2018 and 2019 Program Scholar Awards were given to the following students:

  • Surveying Engineering: Kyle Hiltunen and Steven Smendzuik
  • Mechanical Engineering Technology: Frances Luo and Alyssa DePauw; Isai Jonatan Hudy-Velasco
  • Construction Management: Brandon Taavola and John Batsikouras
  • Computer Network and System Administration: Michael Dabish and Dina Falzarano
  • Electrical Engineering Technology: Thomas Prica and Spencer Thompson

Thomas Prica (EET) was also selected from the above program scholars as the nominee for the University’s 2018 Departmental Scholar Award and Isai Jonatan Hudy-Velasco (MET) was nominated for the University’s 2019 Departmental Scholar Award.


Epsilon Pi Tau Induction Spring 2019

Epsilon Pi Tau Spring 2019 Initiates
Epsilon Pi Tau Spring 2019 Initiates

Nine students were inducted into the Michigan Tech Delta Zeta Chapter of Epsilon Pi Tau Honor Society, Spring 2019. Epsilon Pi Tau is the international honor society for professions in technology, recognizing students and technology professionals for academic excellence. The student chapter of Delta Zeta Epsilon Pi Tau was recently selected as the recipient of the 2019 Warner Chapter Award for Region 3.

Spring 2019 Delta Zeta—Epsilon Pi Tau MET Initiates

  • Anna Connelly
  • Isai J. Hudy-Velasco
  • Timothy Ingram
  • Justin Mondeik
  • Taren Odette