An Unforgettable Journey

The Michigan Tech Concert Choir, along with friends and family, spent two weeks sharing their music with the people of South Africa. What they received in return, was life changing.

In May, 45 members of the choir, along with 29 guests, embarked on a two-week concert tour of South Africa. The group traveled to Chicago on May 2 and boarded a plane the following day for the 25-hour trip to Pretoria. In addition to concert stops in Pretoria, Johannesburg, Soweto and Cape Town, the they spent three nights in the African countryside at the Cradle Moon Safari Lodge. The group ranged in age from 14 to 87 and included 12 current Michigan Tech students and 19 current or retired faculty/staff members among the singers.

The group performed a total of five concerts; at the University of Pretoria, Holy Cross Anglican Church in Soweto, Hillbrow Theatre in Johannesburg, Old Apostolic Church in Khayelitsha (Cape Town) and Phandulawazi High School, Mitchell’s Plain (Cape Town). In addition to the concerts, the choir participated in two church services and five choral workshops and exchanges with local choirs.

Choir Director Jared Anderson (VPA), says the choir also embarked on a pair of outreach activities. “We worked with the Amy Biehl Foundation in Cape Town, with pre-K through grade 12 students in an after-school program that included music,” he said. “At the Baphumelele Children’s Home, also in Cape Town, our group interacted with orphans, including many who are the victims of the HIV/AIDS crisis in South Africa.”

Read the full story.

eCYBERMISSION Team Thanks Michigan Tech for Support

The Whiz Kids (Siona Beaudoin, Beau Hakala and Gabriel Poirier), an 8th grade eCYBERMISSION Team from Lake Linden-Hubbell High School greatly appreciated the support they received from Michigan Tech over the past year.

From October through June, they were advised by Gretchen Hein (CoE), faculty in engineering fundamentals, and Ryan Knoll, fourth-year chemical engineering student.

eCYBERMISSION is sponsored by the Army Educational Outreach Program (AEOP) and is for sixth through ninth grade teams. This is our second year participating in this competition.

This year we competed at nationals, whereas last year we made it to regionals. Since we made it to the national level, we went to Washington D.C. this week.

As part of the week-long activities, we participated in STEM workshops, visited the National Inventors Hall of Fame, went on a tour of the Capitol building, participated in activities with the Army and presented our project for judging purposes.

From 1:30-4 p.m. today (June 29), you can vote for our team to receive the People's Choice Award. The link to vote is here. You can also view our presentation, along with the other teams and the Awards Luncheon here. We'd like to win this award for our school and community.

eCYBERMISSION's goal is for student teams to research and develop a process that will benefit their community. Because we live in the Copper Country, we wanted to focus on something related to that industry. Our elementary school, playground and football field were constructed on top of stamp sands which are materials that are left over from stamping the copper out of the mine rock. Also, many of our grandparents worked in the area mines. When we went to areas containing stamp sands, we noticed that few plants were growing on them. Then we visited places where the stamp sands had been remediated by placing 6" - 12" topsoil on top of the stamp sands and then planting various plants.

We wanted to see how plants would grow in different mixtures of stamp sand and topsoil, and how soil stressors would affect that growth. To test this, we completed two experiment.

For our first experiment, we planted four types of plants (Red Fescue, Red Clover, Alfalfa, and Trefoil) in five different quantities of stamp sand and topsoil. Our results showed that Alfalfa and Red Fescue had adequate plant growth in 100% stamp sand, with Red Fescue being the best.

In our second experiment, we tested different stressors with the plant types selected from the first experiment, which were Fescue and Alfalfa. These plants proved to grow the best in 100 percent stamp sand. The stressors were wind, wheel tracks,l and high water table.

Participating in eCYBERMISSION the past two years has been an enjoyable learning experience for us, and we will be able to apply what we have learned in our future endeavors. We were recently interviewed on the Keweenaw Report that can be read here.

When we competed at the regional competition, we came to Michigan Tech where Jeff Toorongian from the Jackson Center for Teaching and Learning set up and ensured our virtual presentation worked with the eCYBERMISSION software.

When we made it to the national competition, we learned that only one adviser would be funded to travel with us. We were so happy when Chemical Engineering, Engineering Fundamentals and the Parent Fund supported Ryan's travel. Ryan makes our team better. He has spent the school year and his summer working with us. He came to the regional competition even though it was his finals week.

In addition to funding Ryan's travel, Engineering Fundamentals and the College of Engineering supported the poster printing costs. If they had not, our display would have just been print-outs. Instead, we learned how to make a Powerpoint poster and they funded the printing.

We are very thankful that the Parent Fund, Chemical Engineering, Engineering Fundamentals and the College of Engineering supported our project and helped to make us a successful team.

A. E. Seaman Mineral Museum Special Offer for Faculty and Staff

The A. E. Seaman Mineral Museum is offering a special to encourage all Michigan Tech employees to visit us this summer.

Admission to the museum is currently waived for all Michigan Tech employees. For the month of July, the museum will also waive the admission fee for up to three accompanying guests.

We welcome Michigan Tech faculty and staff to visit one of North America's great mineral museums.

The museum is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday (we are closed July 4). Visit our website for more information about the museum.

No Tech Today Monday and Tuesday

In observance of the Independence Day holiday, there will be no Tech Today Monday and Tuesday (July 3-4). Tech Today will resume on Wednesday July 5.

The deadline for items to be published on July 5 is noon tomorrow (June 30).

Birks Attends Penguins Development Camp

Michigan Tech Hockey's Dane Birks is one of 12 defensemen at the Pittsburgh Penguins Development Camp that opened yesterday. The camp runs through Saturday (July 1) with all on-ice practices being held at the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex in Cranberry, Pennsylvania.

Birks enters his junior season in 2017-18 with 73 games played in a Tech sweater. He appeared in 42 games in 2016-17, tallying nine points with two goals and seven assists. Birks was second amongst Tech defensemen with a +12 rating and blocked 43 shots.

Like in previous years, the camp's off-ice activities take on a bigger importance for the prospects than the on-ice sessions. This year, the prospects will partake in several strength and fitness presentations, participate in team-building exercises and listen to guest speakers provide tips on becoming, and then succeeding as, a professional athlete.



AutoDrive Autonomous Vehicle Competition Community Forum Today

The Electrical, Computer Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering and Engineering Mechanics Departments will hold a community forum at 5 p.m. today (June 29) in EERC 100 concerning the AutoDrive Autonomous Vehicle competition.

Michigan Tech is one of eight schools selected to participate in this three year competition. In this forum, we will discuss the high level details concerning the first year of the competition and ways the greater campus community can get involved.

The competition team is also currently looking for motivated students with engineering and software design experience to assist the team on critical design activities during the month of July. Several paid positions are available to exceptionally well-qualified students.


Some NSF Sites Unavailable June 30-July 4

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is moving its Data Center IT servers to the new headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia, from  8 p.m. (EDT) June 30 to 6 p.m. (EDT) July 4 to prepare for NSF staff relocation in August. Be advised the NSF website, FastLane, and will be unavailable throughout this time.

We encourage you to share this information with your colleagues. For IT system-related questions, contact the NSF Help Desk at 1-800-381-1532 or Any policy-related questions should be directed to For additional information about NSF's relocation, see See previous Tech Today article.

In Print

L. Syd M Johnson (HU) published a review of the film "Concussion", titled "Concussion: How Bennet Omalu exposed the worst kept secret in football," in Journal of Ethics in Mental Health. Read it here.

New Funding

Chad Deering (GMES/EPSSI), is the principal investigator on a project that has received a $250,718 research and develop grant from the National Science Foundation. 

The project is titled "Assessing Changes in the State of a Magma Storage System Over Caldera-Forming Eruption Cycles, a Case Study at Taupo Volcanic Zone, New Zealand."

This is the first year of a potential three-year project which could total $349,665.