Tech Concrete Canoe Team Sweeps Regionals

The Michigan Tech Concrete Canoe team took first place in the North Central regional competition held last weekend at Lawrence Technological University in Southfield, Michigan. 
Tess Ahlborn (CEE), one of the club's advisors says the 35-member team swept the competition in all four categories:
  • Technical Paper: The team writes a professional quality design paper detailing the engineering that went into designing our concrete mix proportions, hull design, management techniques, testing procedures, and construction methods.
  • Technical Presentation: A group of presenters summarize the Technical Paper into presentation which can be no longer than five minutes. The challenge is to condense an entire year of work into a concise and dynamic presentation.
  • Races: Michigan Tech has traditionally excelled in the race category and this year was no exception. Tech racers, once again, captured all five races: two-person women's sprint, two-person men's sprint, two-person women's endurance, two-person men's endurance and a four-person co-ed sprint.
  • Final Product: The canoe is displayed and judged for aesthetics and compliance with official rules of competition which detail dimensions and materials used in construction.
Ahlborn says the team is headed to the national competition June 17-19, hosted by the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Colorado.  

SFRES Alumnae to Speak On Careers in Politics Today

School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science Alumnae Eva Vrana (2014 BS in applied ecology and environmental sciences) is in town and has volunteered to discuss careers in politics. Vrana is executive assistant and legislative assistant  for natural resources/environment/forestry/interior appropriations to US Rep. John Moolenaar from Michigan’s Fourth Congressional District. 

The discussion will take place at 2 p.m. today (April 14), at 2-3 p.m. in Forestry 144.

This is a great opportunity to hear from someone on Capitol Hill who is putting her education in natural resources to work on a national level, and will share with you how your education can position you for a successful career in politics.

Instructors Needed for Summer Youth Programs

As Summer Youth Programs (SYP) gears up for another exciting season, we are constantly seeking ways to make explorations engaging, impactful and fun for all participants. With the semester coming to a close, enrollment is strong — over 700 participants have already enrolled, with several major program deadlines rapidly approaching. We have hired nearly 65 undergraduate and graduate student staff, built our executive team and begun preparations for our annual move to Wadsworth Hall. At this time, one remaining hurdle is finding instructors and TA’s to deliver academic curriculum for several of our popular explorations.

What does it take to be an SYP Instructor or TA? Enthusiasm is a must, and previous classroom experience is ideal. If you are interested in delivering structured, hands-on learning to excited and engaged students from across the country, we’d love to hear from you. Learn more at SYP Instructors. Here is a list of courses we are still hiring instructors for:

  • Rocketry and Space Science (July 10-14 and July 24-28)
  • Aquatic Ecology Field Study @ Gratiot Lake (July 24-28)
  • PAAMEE: Preparing African American Males for Energy and Education (July 17-21 and July 24-28)

For a detailed look at each course, and general idea of what we’re looking for from instructors, below is some additional information:

Rocketry and Space Science

  • Instructors Needed: 1 — TA’s: 1
  • July 10-14 (grades 6-8, capacity 15 students)
  • July 24-28 (grades 9-11, capacity 15 students)

Students in this course will learn about aerodynamics and propulsion while building their own rockets. During the week, they use software to explore design elements, build a homemade rocket, explore concepts in physics and engineering, and learn about careers in space science. The week culminates with the students launching rockets at the Gay Stamp Sands. Instructor should be comfortable working with middle and high school students, have experience in rocketry/space science and have confidence explaining STEM topics to a wide variety of learners.

Aquatic Ecology Field Study at Gratiot Lake

  • Instructors Needed: 1 - TA’s: 1
  • July 24-28 (grades 9-11, capacity 8 students)

Students will spend a week out at the rustic Noblet Field Station on Gratiot LakeDuring the week, they will explore ecological topics as they relate to lakes, rivers, wetlands and streams. Aquatic plants, insects, mammals, birds, fishes and many other topics are welcome — past activities have included extensive canoeing, water quality testing, learning about beaver dams, plant identification and much more. Instructors should be comfortable with rustic cabin accommodations and have experience in some aspects of aquatic ecology.

PAAMEE: Preparing African American Males for Energy and Education

  • Instructors Needed: 3 — TA’s Needed: 3
  • July 17-21 (grades 10-11, three sections each capped at 20 students)
  • July 24-28 (grades 10-11, three sections each capped at 20 students)

A National Science Foundation sponsored project, 120 students from the Detroit Area Pre-College Engineering Program (DAPCEP) will participate in a multi-week program centered on the engineering and science of renewable energy (specifically wind and solar). The program is designed to attract and retain these students and their participation in science and engineering fields. The students will begin the summer spending a week at Michigan State University in June, then attend Michigan Tech SYP in July. Additional project partners include Lawrence Tech, Oakland University, Walker-Miller, Consumers Energy and Marathon Oil. Instructors should be comfortable working with high school students, have experience delivering renewable energy science curriculum and have confidence explaining STEM topics to a wide variety of learners.

SYP invites interested applicants to contact us via

Humanities Professor Wins Fiction Award

Stephanie Carpenter (HU) has been named winner of the 2017 Press 53 Award for Short Fiction for her short story collection "Missing Persons."

Besides publication by Press 53 in October, Carpenter will receive a $1,000 advance and a quarter-page color ad in Poets & Writers magazine. The judge for the competition was Kevin Morgan Watson, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Press 53.

Of the winning manuscript, Watson says, "These stories are diverse in voice, setting, conflict and style. Ms. Carpenter's skills shine in this collection, as does her ability to step into the shoes of a wide range of people while peeling back the complex layers of their lives. For a group of stories to rise above 230 other manuscripts competing for my attention, every story has to deliver an interesting, satisfying and powerful experience, and 'Missing Persons' did just that. I'm looking forward to sharing this collection of stories with readers everywhere."

Carpenter's prose has appeared in prestigious journals and magazines such as Witness, Nimrod, The Cossack Review, Big Fiction, The Crab Orchard Review and others. She teaches creative writing and literature at Tech. "Missing Persons" is her first book-length publication.

A limited number of advanced reading copies of "Missing Persons" will be available for review. If interested, contact Press 53 at 336-770-5353 or email

Michigan Tech Biomedical Engineers Take Second Place at Stryker Engineering Challenge

A team of biomedical engineering undergraduates from Michigan Tech earned second place at the 7th Annual Stryker Engineering Challenge competition in Kalamazoo March 30-31.

Each year Stryker Corporation invites engineering student teams to its global headquarters to show off their engineering prowess while competing against six rival schools. During an overnight competition, teams are given approximately 12 hours to build something (with materials provided) to navigate the challenge.

The students on the Michigan Tech team were Ana-Lisa Powder, Zachary Vanderstelt, Peter Beach and Sterling Korstadt. The team's mentor, Biomedical Engineering Associate Professor Keat Ghee Ong, traveled to Kalamazoo with the team to advise them during the challenge. 

"It was the first time that biomedical engineering students from Michigan Tech have competed in the Stryker challenge," says Biomedical Engineering Department Chair Sean Kirkpatrick. "Students have competed in the past, but this is the first time a Michigan Tech team has earned second place. It demonstrates the way we approach biomedical engineering education at Michigan Tech — we focus first and foremost on rigorous engineering skills."

Also participating were teams of mechanical and electrical engineering students from Purdue University, Notre Dame, University of Michigan, Michigan State University, Western Michigan University and the Michigan Engineering Alliance (a combined team from Andrews University and Hope College). The team from Purdue took first place.

The competition was comprised of three parts: Tech Challenges, a series of rapid-fire Jeopardy-style questions; and "homework" given to the teams to do on their own time: various word problems pertaining to engineering, computer science and design team dynamics; and the main challenge, to design, build and test a robot able to complete a variety of specific tasks on Stryker's challenge course. Tasks involved activating a magnetic sensor at a specific frequency to completing a circuit using components on the robot.

Simplicity was the key to their success. "We learned it was better to think of a viable solution and go for it instead of debating every step of the way," says Vandersteldt.

Korstadt agrees. "The most challenging part of the experience was trying to make sure to keep the design simple and not overthink the situation."

Powdhar's take away from the experience: "I learned to just try it. If it fails, figure out why, fix it or try something else. Ask all the questions no matter how dumb they sound. And don't give up, as cliché as that sounds. We were vigilant and determined."

Stryker Corporation, active in over 100 countries, is one of the world's leading medical technology companies, offering products and services to help improve patient and hospital outcomes.

College of Engineering Seeks Input on Dean Draft Position Description

The College of Engineering dean search committee will hold a public Open Forum to present and discuss the draft dean position description at 4 p.m. Monday (April 17) in Dow 642.

The draft description and associated survey to provide comments and feedback is open to current Michigan Tech faculty, staff and students. A link to the content is available on the provost's web site.

Don Williams Retirement Social Set for April 27

After 28 years of service to Michigan Tech, Don Williams, director of counseling services, is retiring. 

Williams earned a bachelor's in social work from Grand Valley State University and his MSW from the University of Michigan. After eight years with mental health, Williams taught at Lake Superior State and Gogebic Community College before coming to Tech in November 1989.

Dean of Students Bonnie Gorman says Williams has made a significant impact on the campus community.

"Don has served our students, faculty and staff consistently," Gorman says. "He has provided a meaningful experience whether counseling, training or responding to critical situations. As a community, we have always relied on his expertise."

Williams influence extends beyond the University. He has received several professional awards and was cited for outstanding contributions to social work education. 

He has served on numerous community boards and councils and was a founding member of the Houghton County Critical Incident Stress Management team.

Williams says there have significant changes since he began at Michigan Tech.

"When I started, there was no Rozsa Center, no Dow Building, no Hillside place and no Les and Bonnie," he says.

Williams estimates Counseling Services has seen more than 17,000 students during his tenure."

The campus community is invited to a retirement social for Don Williams from 2 to 4 p.m. Thursday, April 27 in Memorial Union Ballroom A1. Refreshments will be served.  

Retirement Social for Nancy Auer

Biological Sciences invites the campus community to a retirement social to recognize Nancy Auer (Bio Sci) from 7:30 to 9 a.m. Thursday (April 20) at the Heritage Atrium on the seventh floor of the Dow building.

Breakfast refreshments will be served. Auer has been on the biological sciences faculty since 1984. She is well known for her research on the restoration of iconic Great Lakes species such as lake sturgeon and Arctic grayling.

Her work as the editor and author of a book on larval fishes of the Great Lakes remains the standard reference, and her recent book "The Great Lake Sturgeon," co-edited with Dave Dempsey, was recognized as a Michigan Notable Book.

Auer maintains active committee service for state and regional groups such as several sturgeon task forces and steering committees of the Great Lakes Fishery Commission, and in 2015 received the Michigan American Fisheries Society J.W. Leonard award for professional achievements.

Her teaching and service record at Michigan Tech is broad and highlights her dedication to diversity, curriculum and assessment, graduate programs, and general education, and her personal and professional achievements earned her membership on the Michigan Tech Presidential Council of Alumnae.

Auer will continue as research professor in the Biological Sciences Department after her retirement.

End-of-Semester Student Art Exhibit Opens

The Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts and the Department of Visual and Performing Arts (VPA)  announce their semi-annual student showcase, "Measure."

The exhibit features works of art created by Michigan Tech students who are participating in Project Learning Lab, an innovative arts classroom based inside of Rozsa gallery b.

Pieces on display were created by students in Lisa Gordillo’s (VPA) traditional sculpture, advanced sculpture and advanced drawing classes.

Students from many campus disciplines are represented, including forestry, materials science and theatre arts.

The exhibition opens Monday and runs  through April 22.  A reception will be held from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Thursday (April 20). The reception is free and all are welcome. Gallery hours are 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday – Friday and 1 to 8 p.m. Saturday.

Students in Traditional Sculpture study traditional ways of making art around the globe, including Guatemalan kites, Shona carving and Italian clay work.

Students in Advanced Sculpture are encouraged to work with the gallery’s architecture and to create large-scale installations in the gallery.

Students have been inspired by artists such as Alberto Giocometti, Tara Donovan, Do Ho Suh, Ai Wei Wei and Maurizio Cattelan.

Also on display, in the Rozsa Gallery’s adjoining A-Space, is the ongoing exhibition Amusement Park Avenue: Works by VPA faculty and staff.

Student artists represented:

  • Kassie Baril
  • Luke Dixon
  • Hannah Fisher
  • Charles Heckel
  • Wyatt Hurst
  • Alyssa Leach
  • Anastasia Rogers
  • Olivia Smith
  • Cambry Totten-Wade
  • Tiffani Whipple

For more information Gordillo at 7-3096 or by email

Baseball Club Team to Host Wisconsin

Michigan Tech's Baseball Club will host three games with the University of Wisconsin's club team this weekend.

There's a doubleheader tomorrow (April 15) with the first pitch of the first game scheduled for noon.

The three-game set concludes with a single game at 11 a.m. Sunday. 

Games are against University of Wisconsin. All games will be played at the Hancock Driving Park at the Houghton county fairgrounds. Admission is free. 

Lifeguard Course and Renewal Course Coming Soon

Michigan Tech HuskiesFit Programs is offering a Red Cross Lifeguard Certification Course and a Lifeguard Renewal Course starting May 30. This certification is applicable to anyone who will be 15 years of age or older by May 30. Michigan Tech Recreation is also actively seeking to hire Red Cross Certified lifeguards May through August.

Rates and registration are not yet available. Below are the dates scheduled for the full course and renewal course.

Full Certfication Course Dates:

  • 6 to 9 p.m. May 30
  • 6 to 9 p.m. June 1
  • 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. June 3
  • 6 to 9 p.m. June 5
  • 6 to 9 p.m. June 6
  • 6 to 9 p.m. June 8
  • 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. June 10
  • 6 to 9 p.m. June 12
  • 6 to 9 p.m. June 13

Renewal Cerification Course Dates:

  • 6 to 9 p.m. May 30
  • 6 to 9 p.m. June 1
  • 6 to 9 p.m. June 5
  • 6 to 9 p.m. June 6

GMES Speaker Today

The Department of Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences presents a talk by Mehdi Zeidouni at 3 p.m. today (April 14) in Dow 610.

Zeidouni will present "Pressure Monitoring for Early Leakage Detection with Application to CO2 Sewquestration."

Containment of produced/injected fluids in their intended wellbores or geologic zones is critical to the success of oil and gas operations. The containment depends on the integrity of the wells and integrity of the subsurface. Loss of integrity of the wellbores (during post-drilling period) or subsurface seal components creates pathways for fluid leakage to the overlying zones initially isolated from the target wellbore/formation. Such leakage events can eventually cause fluids releases at the seafloor.

Zeidouni is assistant professor of petroleum reservoir engineering at LSU. He has a BS from Abadan Institute of Technology, MS from Delft University and PhD from the University of Calgary, all in Petroleum Engineering. He works on various aspects of transient behavior in the reservoir and its implications for reservoir characterization.

Community Discussion to Focus on Forest Ownership

Evan McDonald, executive director of the Keweenaw Land Trust, will present "Whose Forest is it Anyway? Why Forest Ownership Matters Now and in the Future." This talk will take place from 6:30 to 8 p.m.Tuesday (April 18) at the Carnegie Museum Community Room located on Huron and Montezuma in downtown Houghton.

In the Keweenaw it is easy to take forests for granted as there are so many of them around. For many of us, enjoying those forests is part of our way of life. But much of this region's forestland is privately owned and that ownership is likely to change in the future. In this talk, McDonald will discuss the consequences of different types of forestland ownership and explain how the community can have the quality of life benefits of local forests while those forests also support the economy.


Maryam "Shabnam" Fakhr Hosseini, a PhD student in applied cognitive science and human factors, will present at the next ACSHF Forum from 2 to 3 p.m. Monday (April 17) in Meese 109.

Twenty-one participants played an online game with the help from two humanoid robots, Nao (more human-like looking) and Darwin (less human-like looking). Participants interacted with each robot either with emotional words or without emotional words.

Results show that only when the robot both looks more human-like and speaks with emotional expression, participants perceive it as their companion. Implications are discussed with future works.

Alumna Eva Vrana to Discuss Opportunities for a Career in Politics

Eva Vrana, a 2014 graduate in applied ecology and environmental sciences, is in town and has volunteered to discuss careers in politics. Her talk will take place from 2 to 3 p.m. today (April 14) in the Noblet Forestry Building room 144.

Vrana is executive assistant and legislative assistant  for natural resources, environment, forestry and interior appropriations to U.S. Representative John Moolenaar from Michigan’s Fourth Congressional District.

This is a great opportunity to hear from someone on Capitol Hill who is putting her education in natural resources to work on a national level, and will share with you how your education can position you for a successful career in politics.


C-Cubed Week 13
C-Cubed lunches are offered from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays throughout the school year in the Memorial Union Alumni Lounge. Faculty and staff, along with their guests, are invited.

Hummus and Feta Lavash Wraps (V)
Roasted Vegetable and Balsamic Chicken Lavash Wrap
Tomato and White Bean Soup (GF, VE)

V — Vegetarian, VE — Vegan, GF — Gluten Free

Send any suggestions to Christina Fabian at or fill out a feed-back form online.


Spring Fling is Today

Michigan Tech's annual Spring Fling is today. Sponsored by the Memorial Union Board, the student-run event features activities, games, giveaways, food, music and even a motorcycle thrill show.

Make to sure to check us out from noon to 4 p.m. today as Spring Fling takes over campus and see what our many Student Organizations have to offer.

Note that while we want you to join us for the fun, classes are not canceled at this time.  


Lot 27 Closed Today

The Full Throttle Motorcycle Club will host a motorcycle stunt show during Spring Fling (April 14) in the Pay Lot (Lot 27, between the Memorial Union Building and Admin Building). The parking lot will be closed all day for the event.

Shows will begin at 1 and 3 p.m. One group will perform: Sick Air FMX, a premiere freestytle motorcross stunt performance team. The event is free.


The Enterprise Program: Interdisciplinary, Multi-semester, Experiential Learning at Michigan Tech

There will be a SFRES Friday Forum at 3 p.m. today (April 14) in the Noblet Forestry Building G002. A social will follow from 4 to 5 p.m. 

Rick Berkey, director of the enterprise program, will provide a brief overview of the enterprise program at Michigan Tech, followed by an interactive discussion and question and answer session on opportunities for increasing SFRES student involvement in the program.


Biological Sciences, VWMLSS Seminar

Carol Lee from the department of Zoology at University of Madison, will present "Rapid Evolution during Habitat Invasions" from 4 to 5 p.m. today (April 14) in Dow 642.

The abstract can be found online.


Green Talks

Green Campus Enterprise will host an on-campus series of "green conferences" called Green Talks that will highlight the green and sustainable efforts taking place in groups all over campus.

This will be a two day event. Talks will take place from 6 to 7:30 p.m. today (April 14) and 2 to 3 p.m. tomorrow (April 15) in the Noblet Forestry Building G002.

Both events will be followed by a poster reception with snacks and refreshments. For more information, read previous Tech Today post.


"West Side Story" Continues Tonight, Tomorrow

The Michigan Tech Theatre Company and the Keweenaw Symphony Orchestra bring the musical “West Side Story” to the Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts tonight and tomorrow (April 14-15). Curtain time is 7:30 p.m. each evening.

Tickets are $19 for adults, $6 for youth and no charge for Michigan Tech students with the Experience Tech fee. Tickets are available by phone at 7-2073, online, in person at the Central Ticketing Office in the Student Development Complex or the night of the event, one hour before show time, at the Rozsa Center Box Office.


Pad Thai 101 Tomorrow

The Thai Student Association with have a Thai food demonstration entitled "Pad Thai 101" from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. tomorrow (April 15) in the MUB Commons. 

There will be a demonstration on how to cook popular Thai food including Pad Thai and summer rolls. 

100 servings will be given away (you can get the coupon at the event).


Michigan Tech Campus Telephone System Upgrade

Michigan Tech will undergo a major upgrade to the campus telephone system. This project will improve the aging system and include new features to unify communications throughout the University.

The new system is being built and configured in parallel to our current system to minimize impact to campus operations. Many of the upgrades will take place behind the scenes and will not have a direct impact on users. Friday, May 5 through Sunday, May 7, IT will migrate all campus phones to the new system. There will be intermittent interruptions to the following services:

  • Campus Voice Mail
  • Telephones
  • Call Centers
  • Inbound/Outbound Calling

For more information, visit this webpage. Questions and concerns can be addressed to or 7-1111.

In the News

WLUC TV6 ran a story on the Michigan Tech Theatre Company's production of "West Side Story." The show opened last night at the Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts with additional performances tonight and tomorrow at 7:30 p.m. Watch the TV6 story.


"The Heroes of Science" is the cover story and theme of the just-published May 2017 issue of Discover magazine, and Rolf Peterson (SFRES) is one of the magazine editors' "top picks."


Maritime Global News reported on a research project to locate and study Great Lakes shipwrecks. Michigan Tech is one of four research partners on the study led by the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Tech's Great Lakes Research Center will deploy an autonomous underwater vehicle in June to collect data from shipwrecks targeted by other teams.

In Print

Myounghoon "Philart" Jeon (CLS/CS) published a handbook, "Emotions and Affect in Human Factors and Human-Computer Interaction" with Elsevier Publisher. You can find the book here.


Karol Pelc (SBE) published the chapter entitled "Diffusion of Innovation in Social Networking" in the book "Technology, Society and Sustainability: Selected Concepts, Issues and Cases."

Deans' Teaching Showcase: Steve Elmer 

College of Sciences and Arts Dean Bruce Seely has selected Steve Elmer (KIP) as the final member of the Spring 2017 Dean’s Teaching Showcase. Seely chose Steve for the way he has approached teaching. 
In about 1990, the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching issued a path-breaking publication on the professional trajectory of faculty that urged faculty to approach teaching in a similar fashion to their disciplinary research. The Foundation introduced the concept of the scholarship of teaching, which has since morphed into the scholarship of teaching and learning.
The idea was that faculty could study teaching, seek external funding about teaching and present papers and publish about teaching, just as they conducted other research. The influence of this idea has been quite powerful and has helped revive discussions about teaching and learning that occur on most campuses now including Michigan Tech.  
Seely nominated Elmer because he has adopted and successfully implemented this approach to his own teaching.
Elmer explained that as he was finishing up his dissertation, he found a paper in Science reporting that “Graduate Students’ Teaching Experiences Improve Their Research Experiences” [Feldon et al., 333 (2011): 1037-39].
It struck a chord, since he had been working to understand the classroom as much as the laboratory. When he sought assistance from the university’s teaching center, the associate director observed his undergraduate biomechanics class and subsequently evaluated a DVD of Elmer’s lecture.
Elmer noted, “This painful experience made me realize that I had to view teaching like research in that in order to get better I had to constantly work at it. I had to try new things, keep up on the literature, write about it to share what was working, and seek funding to develop and implement innovative teaching ideas.”
He reported that a domain-specific education journal, Advances in Physiology Education, was especially influential with its articles describing innovations to improve teaching and student learning.  Elmer has incorporated many of these ideas and activities into courses and has now published work of his own in this journal.
He reflects, “My philosophy is that research and teaching truly complement one another and by being a better teacher I am a better researcher. And this balance of research and teaching has allowed me to introduce undergraduate students to research, provide them with research mentorship, and help them begin the transition from a consumer of information to a producer of new knowledge.” 
Seely summarizes by saying "Steve's approach certainly matches with the scholarship of teaching, but it also confirms that there is no reason to see teaching and research in tension with each other."
Elmer will be recognized at an end-of-term luncheon with 11 other showcase members, and is now eligible for one of three new teaching awards to be given by the William G. Jackson Center for Teaching and Learning this summer recognizing introductory or large class teaching, innovative or outside the classroom  teaching methods, or work in curriculum and assessment.