How do Crazy Smart Girls Spend Summer Vacation? Building Robots to Help People

During the Women in Robotics Summer Youth Program at Michigan Tech this week, 23 girls going into sixth, seventh, eighth or ninth grades are learning to program, model, wire, troubleshoot and construct two robots, the GUPPIE and the Neu-pulator. 

The purpose of the camp is to teach participants how robots can assist humans in exploring the environment and can otherwise benefit us and improve quality of life.

But the approach to learning isn’t the typical classroom environment.

“Everything that we do is learn and play so students internalize what they learn,” says Nina Mahmoudian (MEEM). “They take the games seriously because they are implementing their concepts. At the end, they put all the components together and make it work to play.”

The final three days of the camp are devoted to building the GUPPIEs and Neu-pulators, then testing the robots. Tomorrow will be about swimming with the GUPPIEs and playing games using the Neu-pulators.

Read the full story.

SYP Students Visit MFF

Michigan Tech's Microfabrication Core Facility (MFF) was host to 15 students, ages 12-14, from the Summer Youth Program (SYP) Tuesday (July 18).

The students learned about the fabrication of silicon-based devices and how silicon wafers are produced. Additionally, they had hands-on experience in the cleanroom and used the photolithography process to transfer a pattern on a photomask to a silicon wafer. The pattern had a scale on it from 100 um (diameter of a human hair) to 1 um (diameter of bacteria) to allow the students to understand the scale that MFF users work at.

The students also hand cleaved silicon wafers to produce dies of gold Michigan Tech logos as a keepsake for their time in the MFF. A similar event is planned for another SYP group this Tuesday (July 25).

Lot 3 Closing for Paving

Paving in Lot 3 will begin tomorrow (July 21). During this time, employees who typically park in this lot will need to find alternate parking. As a reminder, Lot 27 (Pay Lot) is open for Faculty/Staff parking during the construction this summer.
Lot access will be opened again as soon as possible once paving has been completed. Thank you for your cooperation as we continue with our lot maintenance this summer.

Women's Basketball Team Has Second-Highest GPA in D-II

The Women's Basketball Coaches Association announced the 2016-17 WBCA Academic Top 25 Team Honor Rolls yesterday. Michigan Tech ranked second in all of NCAA II and fifth across all divisions with a team GPA of 3.736.

The WBCA Academic Top 25 recognizes NCAA Division I, II and III; NAIA and junior/community college women's basketball teams across the nation that carry the highest combined GPAs inclusive of all student-athletes on their rosters for the entire season. The 2016-17 season is the 22nd in which the WBCA has compiled the honor rolls.

"The WBCA family is committed to the student-athlete experience and celebrates these teams that have demonstrated excellence in the classroom," said WBCA Executive Director Danielle Donehew.  "This year's WBCA Academic Top 25 is a powerful list of teams and their head coaches who have winning cultures that prepare their student-athletes for success in life."

On the court, The Huskies closed the 2016-17 season with an overall record of 20-8 and 15-6 in the GLIAC, advancing to the GLIAC Final Four. The Huskies tip-off the 2017-18 season against Davis & Elkins Nov. 10 in Pepper Pike, Ohio before facing Ursuline on the road the next day. Read the full story and find out more about Michigan Tech sports at

Materials Science & Engineering Doctoral Defense Tuesday

Alex Poznak, doctoral candidate, Materials Science and Engineering(MSE), presents "The influence of prior natural aging on artificial age hardening in al-mg-si alloys" at 9 a.m. Tuesday (July 25) in M&M 610.

Rachel Clark, master's candidate, Materials Science and Engineering(MSE), presents "Heat Treatment of 4943 Aluminum produced by GTAW- and GMAW-based Additive Manufacturing" at 1 p.m. Tuesday (July 25) in M&M 610.


Campus Communicators Meet Today

Alumni Reunion is coming up August 3-5. We've got stories to share, events happening and ways to engage via social media.

We want to hear from you about your alumni stories and events for reunion. Join us for a Campus Communicators meeting from 10-11 a.m. today (July 20) in Memorial Union B001. Read the previous Tech Today story.


Chemical Stores Changes

The recent closure of Cliff Drive has signaled the beginning of the construction of the new facility for Chemical Stores. (Updates on the road closing and project status can be found at here.) Working in parallel with the planning and construction of the new building, a committee has begun to review improvements and adjustments in the processes for ordering, acquiring, and tracking chemicals for academic and research purposes. The committee also will explore ways to improve accounting and reporting of chemical purchases to departments and researchers. Future changes will include delivery of all hazardous materials from Chem Stores to labs and departments, although those details remain to be worked out.  Read the original Tech Today story.



In Print

Anna K. Swartz, a graduate student in the RTC master's program, has published a review of Beyond Schizophrenia: Living and Working with a Serious Mental Illness, in MetaPsychology. Read the review here.

Continuous Improvement Connection

A problem is defined as the gap between the actual and the desired conditions or as any deviation from the standard. Problems normally tend to fall into three types: The standard is not achieved, the standard is achieved but a higher standard is now required, or the performance to the standard varies and is not consistently achieved.

Although the Office of Continuous Improvement can provide tools to prevent many problems, some problems are inevitable. When problems occur in LEAN, we use the eight step practical problem solving process to overcome them. The eight step practical problem solving process creates an environment that focuses on the problem not the people and is performed by those who actually do the work. When employees are trained in problem solving it creates a culture that has a common understanding, common language and a common approach.

Want to learn more about the eight step practical problem solving process and implement it into your work? Stop by the Office of Continuous Improvement or email us at

In the News

The Smithsonian Air & Space Magazine published an article about Greg Odegard's (MEEM) Institute for Ultra-Strong Composites by Computational Design, recently funded by NASA. See here.


Wired (UK) published an article about "space mining" for fuel resources on Mars, quoting Michigan Tech's Paul van Susante (MEEM) on research he has done on the subject. See here.


Jennifer Daryl Slack (HU) and her book "Cultural Studies 1983: A Theoretical History (Stuart Hall: Selected Writings)," are discussed in a New Yorker article about Stuart Hall. See here. The story was spotlighted in First Bell, the American Society for Engineering Education newsletter.