Mahesh Gupta Named Fellow of Society of Plastics Engineers

Professor Mahesh Gupta (ME-EM) has been named a Fellow of the Society of Plastics Engineers.

Fellows are selected based on outstanding achievements in the field of plastics engineering, science or technology or in the management of such activities.

Gupta, who joined the Michigan Tech faculty in 1994, is president of Plastic Flow. The company markets software to the plastics industry. Its polyXtrue software lets design engineers quickly determine the final shape of extruded plastic parts, eliminating much of the costly tool-and-die shop trial-and-error typically required.

His research focuses on computer simulation of polymer processing and design of plastic parts.

Gupta has authored or coauthored more than 80 papers and co-edited the book “Manufacturing Science and Engineering.” In addition, he has been a reviewer for multiple academic journals and has served as a program chair and board member for several Society of Plastics Engineers conferences and committees.

He will be officially honored at the society’s 71st Annual Technical Conference in Cincinnati, on April 21.

Chemistry Grad Student Receives NSF Fellowship for Summer Research in China

Douglas Smith will be traveling to Beijing this summer, courtesy of the National Science Foundation East Asia and Pacific Summer Institutes.

Smith, who is earning his MS in Chemistry, received the EAPSI fellowship to conduct research at Beijing Technological University. The fellowships support research in several countries around the Pacific Rim, but Smith was drawn to China in particular.

"Since my adviser and most of my lab mates are from China, I thought, if they are making the effort to be here in the US, I should try and go over there and walk a mile in their shoes," he said.

EAPSI fellowships give graduate students first-hand research experience outside the US; an introduction to the host nation's science, science policy, and scientific infrastructure; and an orientation to the culture and language. NSF's aim is to prepare researchers for international collaborations early in their careers, thus ensuring a globally aware US scientific workforce.

Smith started his research career as an undergraduate, working with Assistant Professor Lanrong Bi (Chemistry). After he completed his BS in Pharmaceutical Chemistry, she continued as his advisor.

In China, Smith will be furthering studies on a series of new fluorescent dyes that can detect changes in the pH of organelles--minute structures within cells involved many physiological processes. Changes in pH can serve as an early warning system for disease, and the dyes can also help scientists understand the inner workings of cells.

Smith's research has been expedited by the confocal microscope the University acquired in December. It uses lasers and high-end optics to take 3D images of cells, tissue and nanomaterials without destroying samples. "I feel that the Olympus confocal microscope was key to generate the important preliminary results for applying the EAPSI fellowship," he said.

Bi agreed. "Doug has done excellent work, and he is highly deserving of this fellowship," said Bi. "Having access to this equipment has helped him--and our entire team--to be much more productive. All the members of our team are grateful to each of the units that helped fund the microscope, especially the College of Sciences and Arts, which spearheaded the purchase."

Long Snow Season Good for Ski Hill, Trails

by Dennis Walikainen, senior editor

Not everyone is gnashing their teeth at the recent snowfalls. Mont Ripley Ski Hill and the Tech Trails have benefited from the nonstop (it seems) white stuff.

Nick Sirdenis, manager of Mont Ripley, said they had their second earliest opening (December 1) since he started at the hill in 2000, and it tied the latest closing date (April 7).

And the 108-day season is right on the average since his tenure here. Before the snow guns, the average was 57 days, he says.

"We can open earlier and offer a good quality product, especially at Christmas," he said. "We can do 25 percent of our business then."

People assumed the ski hill had a bad beginning, Sirdenis said, because of the lack of snow. But that wasn’t true, again due to the snow guns.

This spring, his crew can't wait to get going on the Husky Lift, which will be rebuilt with a new wire rope, electric motor, gearbox, "bull wheels," and more.

He's looking at an exciting new addition to the hill, too: a tubing park.

"Eighty percent of the people who live here don’t ski," he said. "This will give us another bit of regional flare, a full winter experience."

They plan on locating the park to the right of the t-bar, with a run of about 700 to 800 feet. They’ll do the groundwork first, including removing trees and creating a ramp for getting off the towrope.

"We tested a tube park in Ironwood, and, when you are that close to the ground, it seems really fast!"

The Tech Trails had an interesting season, to say the least, and it's not over yet, according to Jeff Parker, trail manager.

"It was one of the latest starts for using our big groomer ever," he said. "Then the heavens opened up and we tripled our season total in three weeks. And now of course an epic April. Quite a contrast to last year when we had already lost all our snow a month ago."

The late-season onslaught has meant great skiing conditions, he said. This longer season can stretch the budget, however, so they must choose their grooming wisely.

As for the future, he said, "We'll be reducing the slope of the short hill at the bottom of Skidder Loop in preparation for our bid to host the US Cross Country National Ski Championships in 2015-16."

He said a main trail addition will be creating a single-track flow trail.

"A flow trail is a moderately downhill trail designed to be ridden rhythmically with connected berm turns, rollers, and tabletop jumps for mountain bikes," Parker said. "We're hiring the trail wizards at Copper Harbor Trails Club to bring down their mini-excavator to help with this roughly two-week project."

Employee's Benefits and Community Services Fair May 13

Want a chance to win two round-trip airline tickets from Houghton to Chicago on United Express? You can enter to win these by attending the Employee's Benefits and Community Services fair from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Monday, May 13, in the Memorial Union Ballroom, hosted by Michigan Tech Benefit Services.

Benefits will host nearly 30 vendors, including, TIAA-CREF, Fidelity, BCBSM, Metlife, Delta Dental, along with many other local businesses that will showcase their services, including Aspirus Keweenaw Hospital, Portage Health, Superior Chiropractic, Wells Fargo and many others.

Enjoy light refreshments and register to win prizes.

The fair is free and open to Michigan Tech employees, retirees, spouses, partners and adult dependents. For more information, contact Benefits at or see our website.

Special Spring Events Announced

Yoga for Athletic Conditioning
Sunday, April 14, 2-4p.m., SDC Studio
A beginning yoga workshop for athletes to enhance performance, increase flexibility, balance the body, improve strength and learn to focus. Click here for program details.
$15 per participant ($10 for Michigan Tech students).
Pay at the door. No preregistration required.

ZUMBA Fitness Party
Sunday, May 5, 12:30-2 p.m., SDC Studio
Learn the favorites and join the fun at our Cinco de Mayo Zumba Party. A fun event for beginners and Zumba addicts alike! Click here for program details.
$10 per participant.
Online registration available here or by calling the SDC Ticket Office at 7-2073.

Lifeguard Training Class
May 10, 11, 17 and 18, SDC Pool
American Red Cross course includes lifeguard and CPR certification as well as training materials. All participants must be 15 years of age or older and be able to swim a combination of front crawl and breaststroke for 500 yards without stopping. Click here for program details.
$250 per participant.
Register by calling the SDC Ticket Office at 7-2073 or online.

For more information on Michigan Tech Community Programs, please visit us online, email us at, or call 7-2975.

Summer 2013 information will be released soon—new classes have been added and current favorites will still be available.

Conner Playing with the NHL's Coyotes

Former Michigan Tech hockey player Chris Conner (Westland, Mich.) has played three games with the NHL's Phoenix Coyotes after being called up last Wednesday from their AHL affiliate Portland Pirates. Conner, who played at Tech from 2002 to 2006, is with his fourth different NHL team since joining the professional ranks in 2006.

A veteran of 60 games in the AHL this season, Conner amassed 13 goals and 27 assists for 40 total points with Portland. He made his Coyotes debut April 4 with a home game vs. the Detroit Red Wings and scored the go-ahead goal in an eventual 4-2 victory. Conner also played in a 4-0 win vs. Colorado and a 2-0 loss at Vancouver.

Conner was with the Detroit Red Wings a year ago where he played in eight games. The 5-8, 180-pound wing played his first 71 NHL games with the Dallas Stars from 2006 to 2009, posting 7-14=21. He then went on to a two-year stint with the Pittsburgh Penguins where he registered 9-10=19 in 68 games.

For his NHL career, Conner has played in 150 games with 18 goals and 26 assists for 44 total points.

Chemistry Seminar Monday

Jose Juncosa, Postdoctoral Fellow from the Department of Chemistry at Northwestern University, will present a seminar, "Understanding the binding properties of neurotransmitters by combining organic synthesis with molecular modeling," 3 p.m., Monday, April 15 Chem Sci 102. A discussion period will follow. Refreshments will be served, and all are welcome to attend.

For more information, visit

Biological Sciences Seminar Today Cancelled

The Biological Sciences seminar and informal talk about NIH grants scheduled for 2 p.m., Friday, today in Dow 642 has been canceled due to Haining Zhu's flight being canceled.

In the News, a Michigan news web site, published a feature story about two Michigan Tech alumni, Nate and Laura Gentry, who are renovating a 115-year-old building in Zeeland, Mich., to open a restaurant and brewpub. See for the full story.

Job Postings

Staff and faculty job descriptions are available in Human Resources or at For more information regarding staff positions 7-2280 or email For more information regarding faculty positions, contact the academic department in which the position is posted.

Custodian (12-month/full-time)
AFSCME Internal Only Posting
Facilities Management

Custodian (12-month/part-time)
AFSCME Internal and External Posting
Athletics and Recreation

Office and Accounting Assistant (N6)
UAW Internal and External Posting
J.R. Van Pelt and Opie Library

Computer Science
Apply online at

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

New Funding

Gretchen Hein (EF), Amber Kemppainen (EF) and Michael Meyer (PHYSICS) have received $2,000 grant for their first year project, "ENGAGE E3s for First-Year Engineering Students."