Undergraduate Expo Showcases Student Work

Hundreds of students will show off their work--which entails hands-on, discovery-based learning--at the 11th annual Undergraduate Expo from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Thursday, April 12, in the Memorial Union Ballroom.

The students comprise 52 Senior Design teams and 25 Enterprise teams--all supported by more than 175 sponsors, mostly from industry.

"The Expo gives the students the opportunity to showcase their hard work, creativity and innovation," says Mary Raber, who oversees Enterprise.

"The students," adds Leonard Bohmann, associate dean of the College of Engineering, "create new things, solve global problems and make lives better--that's what engineers do."

In Senior Design, students explore and solve real industry challenges throughout their senior year--from ideation to realization. Projects range from a prosthetic knee joint to a solar-powered patio umbrella.

In the Enterprise Program, teams of first- through fourth-year students from diverse disciplines operate much like real companies to develop products, services and solutions. Projects include a hybrid electric vehicle, alternative fuels and efforts to lower the carbon footprint on campus.

In all, says Bohmann, the Expo "is a great way to recognize student accomplishments and build excitement. It also serves as a model for younger students."

Student teams will compete for awards. The Expo, which is free and open to the public, is a combined effort of the College of Engineering and the Institute for Leadership and Innovation.

Know Any Interesting Grads Walking at Commencement?

by Marcia Goodrich, magazine editor

Commencement is a perfect opportunity to get good publicity for our students and the University. Local reporters attend the ceremony and are eager to interview graduates about their experiences at Tech and their plans for the future. If the graduate is from the Keweenaw or the UP, so much the better, since the reporters like to interview students from the local area.

If you know any interesting graduates with a good story to tell who will attend Spring Commencement, please let me know. Send their names, some information about what makes them interesting, and contact information if you have it to me, Marcia Goodrich, at mlgoodri@mtu.edu. Thanks for your help!

Keeping Wood Preservatives Where They Belong: In the Wood

by Marcia Goodrich, magazine editor

Pressure-treated wood is great stuff, but the chemicals used to preserve it from decay can leach out, where they can be toxic to bugs, fungi and other hapless creatures that have the bad luck to be in the neighborhood. Now, a team of scientists has used nanotechnology to keep the chemicals inside the wood where they belong.

"It's a new method that uses nanoparticles to deliver preservatives into the lumber," said chemistry professor Patricia Heiden. "In our experiments, it reduced the leaching of biocides by 90 percent."

The nanoparticles are tiny spheres of gelatin or chitosan (a material found in the shells of shrimp and other shellfish) chemically modified to surround the fungicide tebuconazole. The little spheres require no special handling.

"You just pressure-treat the wood in the usual way," Heiden said.

The initial tests show that the nanoparticle-treated wood is just as resistant to rot and insects as conventionally treated lumber. The researchers are now testing the wood in the warm, wet weather of Hawaii.

The research is funded by the US Environmental Protection Agency. Also contributing to the project are chemistry PhD student Xiaochu Ding and, from the School of Forest Research and Environmental Science, Research Engineer/Scientist II Dana Richter, Senior Research Engineer/Scientist Glenn Larkin, Assistant Research Scientist Erik Keranen and Professor Peter Laks.

Blue Key Honor Society Names Two Award Winners

Gary Brown, production manager at the Rozsa Center, was named Blue Key Honor Society's Honorary Member for 2012. His contributions to the scheduling and coordination of this year's Winter Carnival Queen's Coronation and Stage Revue earned him the honor.

The recipient of the 2012 Clair M. Donovan award for service is Ruth Kramer, advisor in the material sciences and engineering department. Blue Key noted that Kramer not only shows a dedication to postsecondary education, but to secondary education as well: "She hosts many departmental outreach events which get high school teachers and students excited about the opportunities that Michigan Tech has to offer

ESC/BRC Research Poster Forum Winners Announced

The Ecosystem Science Center (ESC) and the Biotechnology Research Center (BRC) announced the award recipients at the eighth annual ESC/BRC Student Research Forum, held March 30.

For the graduate students, four grand prize awards and six merit awards were presented. They were selected from among 59 posters and abstracts submitted by graduate students conducting research related to ecology, the environment and biotechnology.

Each center also awarded a Grand Prize to an undergraduate researcher in a separate division of 17 submissions.

Posters will be on display in the atrium of the Forestry building through Friday, April 13.

Graduate Research

$500 Grand Prizes

* Adam Coble (SFRES) for "Investigating Vertical Gradients of Leaf Morphology and Anatomy in a Sugar Maple ... Forest." Advisor: Assistant Professor Molly Cavaleri.

* Jonathan Ebel (Biological Sciences) for "Biofilm Response to Nutrient Mitigation Using Salmon Carcass Analog in Central Idaho Streams." Advisor: Assistant Professor Amy Marcarelli.

* Kefeng Li (Biological Sciences) for "Multiple Metal Resistant Bacteria from Metal Contaminated Lake Sediments Promote Metal Accumulation and Plant Growth." Advisor: Associate Professor Ramakrishna Wusirika.

* Maria Tafur (ChE) for "Reduction of Virus Infectivity in the Presence of Osmolytes." Advisor: Assistant Professor Caryn Heldt.

$100 Merit Awards

* Lilli Kaaraka (SFRES) for "Long-term Effects of Whole-tree Harvest on Soil Properties in a Norway Spruce ... stand." Advisor: Associate Professor Andrew Burton.

* Karl Romanowicz (SFRES) for "Do Peatland Plant Communities Influence Carbon Storage Mechanisms?" Adviser: Adjunct Professor Erik Lilleskov.

* Tayloria Adams (ChE) for "Characterizing the Dielectric Behavior of Human Mesenchymal Stem Cells." Advisor: Associate Professor Adrienne Minerick.

* Ran An (ChE) for "Micron-scale Ion Concentration Gradients in Nonuniform AC Electric Fields." Advisor: Adrienne Minerick.

* Jennifer Lind (SFRES) for "Examining Genetic Variation and Local Adaptation in Hybridizing Sympatric Oak Species. ..." Advisor: Assistant Professor Oliver Gailing.

* Rafi Shaik (Biological Sciences) for "Epigenetic and MicroRNA Mediated Regulation of Drought Responsive Genes in Rice." Advisor: Ramakrishna Wusirika.

Undergraduate Research

$150 Grand Prizes

* Nicole Matthias (SFRES) for "Nutrient Limitation of Biofilm Biomass in Streams of the Keweenaw Peninsula, Michigan." Adviser: Amy Marcarelli.

* Hal Holmes (Biomedical Engineering) for "Remote Modulation of Cellular Behavior with Magnetoelastic Materials." Advisor: Assistant Professor Rupak Rajachar.

Orchestra, Choir Present "Dona Nobis Pacem" and More

submitted by Bethany Jones, marketing manager, Rozsa Center

The Keweenaw Symphony Orchestra and the Concert Choir will perform Ralph Vaughan Williams" war cantata, "Dona Nobis Pacem," at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, April 14, in the Rozsa Center.

Conductor Jared Anderson states, "Vaughan Williams' orchestral colors and lush instrumentation make this piece a real pleasure to perform. We are excited to have two first-rate soloists join us in this monumental work. The singers and instrumentalists from Michigan Tech have been working very hard to make this performance an experience to remember."

Soprano Lara Neves and baritone Nathan Herfindahl will join in the performance of this gripping portrait of warfare and heartfelt plea for peace.

This year the US is in the midst of the 150-year commemoration of the Civil War. "Dona Nobis Pacem" incorporates the war poetry of Walt Whitman from 1862 in a vivid portrayal of the violence of war, the loss of life, the need for reconciliation, as well as a hopeful vision of peace among nations.

A portion of the concert will also feature each Michigan Tech ensemble alone. The KSO will perform Camille Saint-Saens' "Bacchanal" and Claude Debussy's "Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun." The choir will perform Jonathan Dove's "Ring Out, Wild Bells!," followed by the world premiere of "Moments" by Milton Olsson.

Mezzo-soprano Lara Neves is currently the private voice instructor at Michigan Tech. She has performed with the Keweenaw Symphony Orchestra and with the Pine Mountain Music Festival, including its "OPERAtion Imagination," which introduces opera to local schools.

American baritone Nathan Herfindahl has been praised across the globe. He was selected by Placido Domingo to join the prestigious Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program at Washington National Opera, which he completed in 2009. Herfindahl has received many awards and has sung with the Metropolitan Opera, Duluth Festival Opera, Opera on the James, Opera de Monte Carlo, the National Symphony Orchestra, the Martha Graham Dance Company, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and the Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra.

For more information, contact Bethany Jones at 487-1836 or at bjones@mtu.edu .

Tickets are $15 for general admission, $7 for students and free for Michigan Tech students. To purchase tickets call 487-2073, go online at tickets.mtu.edu , or visit SDC Ticketing Operations. SDC box office hours are 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday-Friday; 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday; and noon to 8 p.m., Sunday. The Rozsa box office is closed during regular business hours and will only open two hours prior to showtime.

Carnegie Museum Hosts Science and Engineering Evening

The Carnegie Museum will host an evening of science and engineering activities for students in grades one through eight and their families from 6:30 to 8 p.m., today.

The program, including hands-on activities such as designing parachutes, is sponsored by the Western UP Center for Science, Mathematics and Environmental Education, Michigan Tech and the Carnegie Museum.

The program will also feature award-winning projects from the recent 14th annual Western UP Science Fair, which will be on display at the museum from today through May 11. For results and photos from this year's science fair, see Education.

Admission is free. Parking is available at the rear of the building, located on the corner of Montezuma and Huron Streets, or across Montezuma in the city parking lot.

ME-EM Seminar

Kurt Schneider, an engineering group manager at General Motors, will present "Importance of Structural Vibrations to Mechanical Engineers" at 4 p.m., Thursday, April 12, in ME-EM 112.

For more information, visit ME-EM Seminar.

Lunch and Learn: How to Encourage Self-confidence in Children

Benefits Services, along with Little Huskies Child Development Center, will host a lunch and learn, "How to Encourage Self-confidence in Children," from noon to 1 p.m., Tuesday, April 17 in Memorial Union Alumni Lounge B. Cathy Benda, of the Keweenaw Family Resource Center, will present. Bring a lunch; beverages will be provided.

GLRC Seminar Series

Professor W. Charles Kerfoot (Biological Sciences) will present "LiDAR and MSS Applications for Coastal Ecosystem Research and Restoration Projects" at 3 p.m., Thursday, April 12, in Dow 642.

Biological Sciences Seminar

Research Assistant Professor Purnima Bandyopadhyay (Biological Sciences) will present "Interaction of Bacteria with Free-Living Amoebae: Risks and Benefits" at 2 p.m., Friday April 13, in Chem Sci 101.

RTP Program Hosts CN Engineer

The Rail Transportation Program (RTP) hosts Nigel Peters, chief engineer-structures of CN Railroad, for three presentations today. All sessions, which are open to the public, will be held in Dillman 214. Here is the schedule:

2 to 3 p.m.--"Introduction to Railroad Bridges and Structures"
4 to 5 p.m.--"Rail: Latest Developments and Challenges"
6 to 7 p.m.--"CN Bridge Projects"

In the News

R&D Magazine reported on the hydrogen fuel cell research of Associate Professor Jeff Allen (ME-EM). See Fuel Cell.

Job Postings

Staff job descriptions are available in Human Resources or at http://www.admin.mtu.edu/hro/postings . For more information regarding staff positions, call 487-2280 or email jobs@mtu.edu .

Faculty job descriptions can be found at http://www.admin.mtu.edu/hro/facpers/facvac.htm . For more information regarding faculty positions, contact the academic department in which the position is posted.

Facilities Helper
Facilities Management

Golf Course Technician
Portage Lake Golf Course
Apply using new online system at https://www.jobs.mtu.edu

Please note: Human Resources is transitioning to an online application process for the job posting above. To read the notice to applicants, see Posting.

Michigan Technological University is an equal opportunity educational institution/equal opportunity employer.