Civil Engineering Alum's PhD Dissertation among Top 25 in the World

Antonio Velazquez studies wind energy and wind turbines. And the dissertation that earned him his PhD in Civil Engineering from Michigan Tech in 2014 has just been named one of the 25 most-accessed dissertations by ProQuest, an international database of scholarly research.

The title of the dissertation is "Model updating and structural health monitoring of horizontal axis wind turbines via advanced spinning finite elements and stochastic subspace identification methods."

In simpler terms, Velazquez and his faculty advisor in civil engineering, Assistant Professor R. Andrew Swartz, use mathematical models of wireless sensor data to monitor the structural integrity and efficiency of wind turbines.

"One of the strengths of this work is the formulation of a clear, formal, practical, integral and reproducible mathematical/numerical framework that anyone can follow from start to finish, specially designed for easy programming in microcomputers, wireless-sensing and mobile devices," Velazquez explains. "This work certainly serves as a tool for new upcoming emerging technologies such as cloud-assisted mobile sensing applications, distributed mobile sensing and computing, or participatory sensing, crowd-sensing, and human centric sensing."

Read the story

Alumni Reunion Aug. 4-6

It’s Alumni Reunion time again and this week we welcome more than 500 alumni and friends back to campus.

There’s much to do during Reunion and we invite you and your families to join us. Learn about rail transportation or the wolves of Isle Royale at Thursday’s Tech Talks, enjoy a pasty at the ever-popular Pasty Picnic, or run for scholarships during the 5K run/walk on Saturday. A full schedule of events can be found here.

Another opportunity you don’t want to miss is our campus open house showcase on Friday afternoon. Try out a paddleboard, go behind the scenes at the Mineral Museum, tour a Coast Guard vessel, or learn about innovative research—there’s something for everyone.

Thanks to all who made ISSRM conference a success

The organizers of the ISSRM Conference held on Michigan Tech’s campus June 22-26 would like to thank the Michigan Tech staff for helping us to run a successful conference.

We hosted almost 500 attendees from six continents for five days. Making this huge event successful required out-of- the-ordinary efforts from staff across campus.

As organizers of the event, we heard appreciative comments from dozens of attendees who were thoroughly impressed with our campus and community.

Thanks to everyone who had a hand in making such a good impression for Michigan Tech. During the entire process of planning and executing this event, we were struck by just how helpful, creative, supportive, professional and adaptable Tech's various units were to make the event work well.

We would especially like to thank Austin Kunkel, Steven Elkowitz, Kathy Wardynski, Judy Klutts, Sandy Kalcich and Chef Eric Karvonen at Dining and Catering Services. We got so many complements on the wonderful and creative food options.

Also big thanks are due to Kari Pietrzyk and staff with MUB reservations; Trish Bennett and the team in Housing and Residential Life who helped with residence hall accommodations; Kari Price and the staff in the Rozsa Center; Gina Stevens in the Department of Social Sciences for administrative assistance; Adam Laplander for help with sandwich boards; Paul Burke and the team in IT that helped with technology; Jared Johnson and the team at OAP who provided recreational opportunities; Crystal Verran, Allison Mills and the rest of the team at University Marketing and Communications and in the print shop; Tim Scarlett, Sam Sweitz, Nancy Langston, Erika Vye, Bill Rose, Carol MacLennan, Alex Mayer and Andrew Kozich for their help planning and leading field trips; the multiple Facilities directors and custodians from the buildings we used; Joan Chadde; Quincy Higgins Arney; Provost Jacqueline Huntoon and special thanks to the 17 Michigan Tech students who worked as volunteers.

Sponsorship from the Michigan Tech Graduate School, the School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science and the Department of Social Sciences allowed us to attract 180 student attendees to this event with subsidized costs.

Collectively, we made a great impression on the conference-goers and very proudly showcased Michigan Tech. Thank you.

IT Connect

Be Aware of Email Spoofing

This is a reminder to be aware of email spoofing and phishing attempts. Email spoofing occurs when a scammer mimics a trusted sender’s email address. Determining the authenticity of the email can sometimes be challenging; this is because the request’s origin may appear legitimate (e.g., from the President, CFO or CIO).
That said, the best way to spot a spoofed email is not by the sender’s email address, but by the nature of the request. Michigan Tech IT recommends that you always verify over the phone with the sender if you are being requested to send sensitive information such as:
  • Username

  • Password

  • Financial account information

  • Confidential data

Remember, passwords should not be shared with others. IT wants you to be safe and to not be a victim of a cybertheft. You are not in this alone—our staff is constantly on the lookout, too.

If you have any questions about email spoofing or what you should do if you receive a strange request, contact us at or call 7-1111.


New Funding

Timothy Colling (CEE/MTTI) is the principal investigator on a project that has received a $112,000 grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 

John Velat (CEE), Eric Seagren (CEE), Jennifer Becker (CEE), Ralph Hodek (CEE), Dave Hand (CEE), Jonathan Leinonen (SBE), Paul Nelson (SBE), Tom Merz (SBE) and Robert Handler (ChE) are Co-PIs on the project "EPA Environmental Finance Center for the Great Lakes Region (EPA Region 5)."

This is the first year of a potential six-year project totaling $4,727,879.

In Print

L. Syd M Johnson (HU) published the chapter "Reproductive Technologies" in the handbook Philosophy: Medical Ethics, Macmillan Interdisciplinary Handbooks: Philosophy series.

In the News

The Rochester (New York) Democrat & Chronicle published a lengthy article about the algae clogging Lake Ontario beaches, referencing data from the Michigan Tech Research Institute satellite maps of invasive species in the Great Lakes. Read the article here.


The Science section of Inquisitr, a news website, reported on Assistant Professor Xiaoqing Tang's (BioSci) work with microRNAs to determine how they affect surrounding genes, including those implicated in cancer. Read the story here


STEMBlog and STEMConnector published an opinion piece by  Professor Linda Ott (CS) about the need for computer science education for all. Ott is former chair of the Department of Computer Science and associate dean for special initiatives in the College of Sciences and Arts. Read the story here.


Chang K. Park, a 1973 alumnus and founder, president and CEO of Universal Remote Control Inc. (URC) has been selected as this year's CEDIA Lifetime Achievement Award recipient. CEDIA is a home technology trade association.

The CEDIA Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes an individual who has exhibited outstanding, creative, innovative and visionary leadership in the growth and advancement of the residential technology industry.

Park was Michigan Tech's December 2011 Commencement speaker.