Study on Solar-Hybrid Energy Systems Featured in Several Media Outlets

Richelle Winkler
Richelle Winkler

A new study focused on solar-hybrid energy systems using cogeneration, photovoltaics and battery technology and its potential impact in the Upper Peninsula was picked up by several media outlets including Solar Thermal and e! Science News.

The research was conducted by Abhilash Katamneni (CS), Richelle Winkler (SS), Joshua Pearce (ECE/MSE) and Lucia Gauchia (ECE/ME).

From Tech Today.

Schelly Co-Authors Article on Perceptions of the Risks and Opportunities of Fracking

Chelsea Schelly
Chelsea Schelly

Chelsea Schelly (SS) is co-author of the article “To Frack or Not to Frack: Perceptions of the Risks and Opportunities of High-volume Hydraulic Fracturing in the United States,” published in Energy Research and Social Sciences.

Amanda Kreuze, who completed her MS in Environmental and Energy Policy in 2015 was a co-author.

From Tech Today.

Summer Field School Joins Forest Service’s “Passport in Time”

Coalwood lumber camp c.1900

This year’s archaeological field school at Coalwood logging camp, run by Prof. LouAnn Wurst, has been included in the U.S. Forest Service’s “Passport in Time” (PIT) program. PIT is a volunteer cultural heritage resources program sponsored by the Forest Service, with partners including some State Parks and Historicorps. This year’s dig at Coalwood will have Wurst overseeing 10 volunteers from 1-5 Aug. in excavations at the camp’s boarding houses.

For mor information on the PIT program and this year’s offering, click here.

John Baeten

John Baeten (Ph.D. candidate, IHA) has received a research grant from the Mining History Association to study the industrial heritage of the Mesabi Iron Range of Northern Minnesota. Baeten’s research project investigates the historic context of low-grade iron ore mining and processing in the Mesabi Range through the lens of industrial heritage and environmental history. His project will consist of  both archival and field research. While in the field he will be conducting a driving and pedestrian survey of the western Mesabi Range, documenting the historical footprints of iron ore “beneficiation” plants that produced both “washed ores” and the more familiar taconite, concentrated iron ore pellets, before shipment to the steel mills of the Great Lakes and beyond. The landscape he is investigating has undergone extensive abandonment and scrapping. This project hopes to connect the stories of direct shipping iron ores to taconite by exploring how the development of washable iron ores in the Mesabi Range helped pave the way for the eventual success of the taconite industry.


A Digital Time Travel Machine Reveals Keweenaw History

The miners in the boom days of the Copper Country knew that in order to find what they wanted, they had to “drill down.” Today, thanks to the efforts of researchers in Michigan Technological University’s Social Sciences Department and a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, those wishing to find out about the people and the places of the Keweenaw’s past can “drill down” through history.

Keweenaw Time Traveler is an online map-based tool allowing visitors to explore the layers of history for any location in the Houghton, Keweenaw and Ontonagon county region. The project uses proven technologies and techniques of participatory Geographic Information Systems (GIS). It also employs collections of geographic data and tools that are interactively connected, enabling users to incorporate their own information about a place and store that data long-term, to create a high-resolution database that maps changes in the social, natural, industrial and built environments of the Copper Country from 1850 to 1970.

The project is the brainchild of Social Sciences faculty Don Lafreniere, assistant professor of historical geography; Sarah Scarlett, assistant professor of history; and PhD candidate John Arnold, an architect by profession. They have received $259,882 from the National Endowment of the Humanities to support their work.

The project can be accessed at

Read the full story.

From Tech Today.   



Lafreniere Co-Authors Paper on Racist Housing Practices

housingstudiesAssistant Professor Don Lafreniere (SS) co-authored a paper, “Racist housing practices as a precursor to uneven neighborhood change in a post-industrial city” in the journal Housing Studies




Racial dynamics and discrimination have been extremely important in influencing decline in the American Rust Belt. The mid-twentieth century departure of white and middle-class populations from cities was precipitated by a breakdown of discriminatory housing practices. This study examines the relationship among housing condition, vacancies, poverty, and demographics in Flint, Michigan, from 1950 to 2010. Historical census data from the National Historical GIS and housing condition data from the City of Flint government are aggregated to neighborhoods defined by economic condition factor (n = 102). Results of rank-difference correlation and geographically weighted regression indicate that, across neighborhoods with the greatest decline in housing condition, the strongest correlate was most often the increase in vacancy rates driven initially by racially motivated suburbanization – suggesting that demographic change alone is not primarily responsible for neighborhood decline. This research is important to understanding the long-term and ongoing consequences of mid-twentieth century racist housing practices, particularly as it relates to the implications of maintaining legacy infrastructure.