Breaking Rocks, Making Water: The Secret Formula for a Trip to Mars?

Michigan Tech researchers have been awarded a grant to study ways to extract water from gypsum rock on Mars, bringing a human trip to the red planet closer to reality.

Jeffrey Allen (MEEM) is the principal investigator on a project that has received $200,000 first-year funding from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Paul van Susante (MEEM), Ezequiel Medici and Timothy Eisele (ChE) are co-principal investigators on the project, “Low Mass, Low Power, Non-Mechanical Excavation of Gypsum and Other Evaporites and Water Production on Mars.”

NASA awards Early Stage Innovation grants to help scientists do fundamental, preliminary research to test ideas and advance new technologies. This two-and-a-half-year project, funded for a total of $500,000, will investigate whether robots sent to Mars can use powerful jets of water to excavate gypsum, blast the rocks to disintegrate them, and heat the gypsum particles to release the water bound within mineral’s crystal structure. This could be a way to expeditiously make more water and oxygen for human consumption and to make rocket fuel on Mars. 

Read the full story on the Michigan Tech News Website.

Exterior Doors Lock at 8 p.m. Wednesday for Carnival

If you plan to be on-campus after 8 p.m. Wednesday, (Feb. 7) during the Winter Carnival All-Nighter, read the following information.

In an effort to mitigate property damage, the Winter Carnival Safety Task Force will secure all exterior campus doors at 8 p.m.

Building Schedules:

  • Campus buildings will lock at 8 p.m.
    • Evening classes will be in session by this time
    • Students should not leave the building while class is in session otherwise they will be locked out
  • All undergraduate and graduate students will have card access removed beginning at 8 p.m. Wednesday (Feb. 7) through 6 a.m. Thursday (Feb. 8)
    • Students needing access for research or other department-sanctioned purposes should request permission from their department chair by 8 a.m. Wednesday (Feb. 7)
    • An email address and M-number will be needed by the department chair to request student access
  • Faculty and staff will have normal access except as noted below

Fisher Hall

  • First floor open for restrooms and warming area
  • Basement, second and third floor stairwells will be locked, but will open in the event of an emergency
  • Elevators will be disabled
  • Faculty or staff needing access to or from the upper floors or needing access to the elevator should call Public Safety and Police Services at 7-2216, and a security clerk or officer will be sent to assist


  • Entire building open for restrooms and warming area

Walker Arts & Humanities Center

  • First floor open for restrooms and warming area
  • Second and third floor stairwells will be locked, but will open in the event of an emergency
  • Elevators will be disabled
  • Faculty or staff needing access to or from the upper floors or needing access to the elevator should call Public Safety and Police Services at 7-2216, and a security clerk or officer will be sent to assist


  • Closed

DHH, Hillside, McNair and Wads

  • Exterior building doors will lock at 5 p.m. Wednesday and return to normal operating schedule 6 a.m. Thursday
  • Residential students will have access to the building where they live
  • Residential students will have access to the main door of Wads (lot 15 entrance) while the Dining Hall or Campus Cafe is open
  • McNair Dining Hall doors will remain unlocked during operating hours until 9 p.m.

If you have any questions, please contact Ryan Bennett committee chair.

Nominations Open for Bhakta Rath and Michigan Tech Research Awards

The Vice President for Research Office is accepting nominations for the Bhakta Rath Research Award. The award offers an opportunity to promote and reward excellence in scientific and engineering research in the fields of physical and natural sciences and engineering. For complete submission guidelines, see Rath Research Award.

The Vice President for Research Office is also accepting nominations for the Michigan Tech Research Award, which offers an opportunity for an individual to be recognized for outstanding achievements in research. For complete submission guidelines, see Michigan Tech Research Award.

Nominations should be submitted electronically in PDF format, per the guidelines, no later than 4 p.m., March 8. All nominations should be sent to Natasha Chopp.

Winter Carnival Apparel and Souvenirs

2018 Michigan Tech Winter Carnival is here and there are only three places to get your official Winter Carnival gear: the Michigan Tech Campus Store, University Images and online.

During Winter Carnival week, we will offer Winter Carnival long and short sleeve t-shirts, crewneck sweatshirts, hoodies, hats and glassware. For store operating hours, check our website and social media feeds.

We will be open until 10 p.m. Wednesday (Feb. 7) for the all-nighter. Stop by to warm up and enjoy some fun games. Accept no substitutes, as we are your official headquarters for all your Michigan Tech and Winter Carnival apparel and souvenirs.

Tech Women Climb One Spot in National Poll

The Michigan Tech women's basketball team moved up one spot to No. 17 in this week's edition of the Women's Basketball Coaches Association NCAA Division II Top 25 Coaches' Poll, announced by the national office. The Huskies have been ranked as high as 10th this season and held the number 18 ranking in last week's poll.

Michigan Tech secured two important Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference victories last week, defeating Davenport 82-54 in Sault Ste. Marie Thursday before sweeping the regular season series against rival Northern Michigan 61-54 at home Sunday. The two wins improved the Huskies' overall record to 16-3 and 10-2 in the conference heading into this week.

The official WBCA press release can be viewed by clicking here.

Hockey Huskies at BGSU

The Hockey Huskies wrap up a four-game road trip tonight and tomorrow taking on Bowling Green. This will be the fourth and fifth meeting of the season for the two teams. It is also the final road trip of the season for Michigan Tech. 

The puck drops at 7:07 p.m. tonight and tomorrow at the Slater Family Ice Arena. Tech is 13-11-5 overall and 9-8-5-2 in the WCHA. BGSU is 16-8-6 overall and 13-4-5-2 in the conference. The Huskies are in fifth place in the conference with 34 points, five points behind fourth place Bemidji State. Bowling Green is in second place in the WCHA with 46 points, three behind league-leader Northern Michigan. The teams last met in the final of the Great Lakes Invitational, Jan. 2. 

This weekend's games can be heard on live radio on 93.5 FM and live streamed on Video streaming is available at Live Tweeting is available as well.

Monroe Named National Player of the Week

Michigan Tech junior forward Kyle Monroe has been selected as the U.S. Basketball Writers Association Division II Men's Basketball National Player of the Week, announced by the national office late Tuesday night. Monroe was also named the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference North Division Player of the Week for the fourth time this season and second week in a row on Monday.

Monroe, from Green Bay, scored a career-high 41 points in a win over Davenport on Jan. 25 and averaged 36 points per game for the week. Monroe followed up with 31 points Sunday afternoon against Northern Michigan and in the process, posted 31 or more points for the seventh time this season. Monroe has also eclipsed 30 points in three consecutive games and reached or surpassed 40 points twice.

The official USBWA press release can be viewed by clicking here.

Michigan Tech Athletics Grand Raffle Tickets Available Online

Less than a month remains to purchase tickets for the annual Michigan Tech Athletics Grand Raffle, which includes a top prize of $10,000. Winners will be drawn Feb. 24 during the hockey game vs. Northern Michigan inside the John MacInnes Student Ice Arena.

Tickets are available from Michigan Tech student athletes and also online.

Nineteen other winners will be drawn in addition to the $10,000 top prize. Second and third-place prizes are $2,000 and $1,000, respectively. Other prizes include a Samsung 50" Smart TV, plane tickets, hotel packages and free oil changes for an entire year.

Online ticket sales will end Feb. 19, but tickets will be available to purchase in-person during the hockey game Feb. 24 until the drawing begins. Raffle tickets are $10 each, with all proceeds benefitting Michigan Tech athletic programs. 


  • 1st - $10,000 (Subject to Federal & State Withholding) 
  • 2nd - $2,000
  • 3rd - $1,000
  • 4th - Samsung 50" Smart TV, LED 1080P HD
  • 5th - Dell Inspiron 2-in-1 Convertible Laptop PC/Tablet
  • 6th - $500
  • 7th - $400
  • 8th - Two round-trip airline tickets to Chicago
  • 9th - Autographed Tanner Kero Blackhawks jersey (Donated by Tanner Kero)
  • 10th - Sports Stay Package - Three nights at the Magnuson Franklin Square Inn and $50 restaurant certificate (Donated by the Franklin Square Inn)
  • 11th - $300
  • 12th - Two night stay at Ojibwa Casino Hotel in Baraga (Donated by Objibwa Resort)
  • 13th - Auto Z-glaze package (Donated by Sayens Auto Sales)
  • 14th - $200
  • 15th - Free oil changes for one year (Donated by Keweenaw Chevrolet)
  • 16th - $100 University Images gift card
  • 17th-20th Prizes - $100 

Break to Educate with Sponsored Programs

Sponsored Programs invites you to a "Break to Educate" session. This event will take place at 10 a.m. Tuesday (Feb 6) in MUB Ballroom A1.

A few of the topics we plan to cover in this session are participant support changes, future changes in SPO/SPA, SPO's implementation of the two-tier deadline and miscellaneous questions. 

We encourage suggestions on other topics that you would be interested in learning more about in future Break to Educate sessions.

We also encourage you to share this information with those in your department you feel may benefit from this session. If you have any questions regarding our "Break to Educate" sessions and to RSVP, email

Register for Mental Health First Aid Training

Mental Health First Aid training will be offered to faculty and staff on Thursday and Friday of next week (Feb. 8/9). This training is focused on the college student population. The information received over the course of eight hours will assist individuals in learning how best to respond to a person experiencing a mental health crisis. The cost of the course is $30 per individual. Arrangements to pay for the course must occur prior to the training. The cost includes the manual, all materials for the training, as well as light refreshments. A certificate of completion will be provided at the conclusion of the training. 

For additional information and to register for the training, see this form.


"Murder on the Orient Express"

This weekend, Film Board presents "Murder on the Orient Express." When a murder occurs on the train he's traveling on, celebrated detective Hercule Poirot is recruited to solve the case. The all-star cast includes Kenneth Branagh, Penelope Cruz, Willem Dafoe, Judi Dench, Johnny Depp, Josh Gad and Michelle Pfeiffer.

Showtimes: today — 5:308:3011:30 p.m.; tomorrow — 2:305:308:3011:30 p.m.; Sunday —  2:305:30 p.m.

Located in Fisher 135, Tickets are $3 and concessions are one dollar each. "Murder on the Orient Express" is rated PG-13 for violence and thematic elements. Visit Film Board online.


MSE Seminar Series

The Department of Materials Science and Engineering Seminar Series Speaker will be Stephen Morse (CEE). Morse's research focuses on the window glass strength, wind loads on structures and finite element analysis. He will present “Architectural and Structural Use of Glass, Current Methods and Future Challenges” from 11 a.m. to noon Tuesday (Feb. 6) in M&M 610. Refreshments provided. A full abstract can be found here.


Communicating STEM Alan Alda Style

Many people on campus are pushing for better STEM-based communication, both in formal classrooms and beyond. How can we connect better?

Last August, around 30 faculty and staff participated in a two-day workshop with the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science.

Join them as they share activities they learned and brainstorm how to build momentum for better STEM communication at Michigan Tech. Please note, this is not a training session to teach best practices for STEM communication; it's more about getting people working on similar initiatives into one room.

The gathering is from 3:30 to 5 p.m. today (Feb. 2) in the MUB Superior Room (B001). Contact Allison Mills with questions.


Cubed Luncheon Today

A C-Cubed luncheon takes place from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. today  in the Memorial Union Alumni Lounge. All faculty and staff, along with their guests, are invited. The buffet lunch is $10 per person. Cash, credit cards and C-Cubed gift certificates (available in the Memorial Union office) are accepted. Find more information and share C-Cubed feedback online. To join the C-Cubed Google Group and receive weekly menus, email

The menu:


  • Thai Style Ribs (GF)
  • Red Curry Noodles with Tofu (GF, VE)
  • Bok Choy in Garlic Sauce
  • Thai Tossed Salad with Fresh Mango

    (GF, VE) V- Vegetarian, VE-Vegan, Vegetarian, GF- Gluten Free


ECE Hosts Today's First Friday

The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering invites faculty, staff, graduate students and retirees to a First Friday Social, from 4 - 6 p.m. today  in the EERC 5th floor social space (515). Complimentary soft drinks, beer, wine and appetizers will be served, along with special music provided by jazz guitarist Pat Valencia. 

New Funding

Beth Lunde-Stockero, executive director of Institutional Equity and Inclusion, is the principal investigator of a project that has received a $11,920 grant from the State of Michigan—Michigan State Police. The project is titled "Innovative Sexual Misconduct Prevention Programming Based on Student's Assessed Needs." This is a one year project.

In the News

An article featuring William Bulleit (CEE) recently ran on the front page of the Houghton Daily Mining Gazette. The story is available online

Dean's Teaching Showcase: Kris Mattila

Dean Wayne Pennington of the College of Engineering has selected Kris Mattila, associate professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE), as the second member of the Spring 2018 Deans' Teaching Showcase.
CEE Chair Audra Morse nominated Mattila because "every student remembers Kris Mattila as a positive influence on their success at Michigan Tech and their career." She calls Mattila a "highly skilled and innovative teacher," and praises his unique ability to "connect with and challenge every student, in large or small classes."  
In addition, Morse wanted to recognize the leadership roles Mattila has taken in curriculum development and assessment, especially in courses related to professional practice. 
Pennington echoes Morse's sentiments, saying "Dr. Mattila stands out as a dedicated teaching professor—one who has made a determination to excel in student support and mentoring, and who has volunteered to take on additional challenges in undergraduate education. His work enables students to enter the workforce with a greater knowledge of their potential avenues to success in the 'real world,' with a firm foundation in the principles of construction and its practice. We are fortunate to have Kris leading the charge for excellence in teaching in this discipline."
Mattila's success as an instructor has made him a member of the Michigan Tech Academy of Teaching Excellence and a five-time recipient of the Howard E. Hill Outstanding Faculty of the Year Award. He has also been recognized for his contributions in construction engineering education, including an American Society for Engineering Education Outstanding Educator Award.
Mattila's ability to focus on each student is, perhaps, the reason his teaching has been so well received. Morse, when asked to provide more detail about how Mattila connects with students, says: "Kris doesn't see students in his class. Rather he sees people with individual needs he seeks to fulfill so that they are successful in his class and in our program. He learns students’ names and other details, and he weaves this information into the material he is teaching. He cares about students and increases their self-efficacy. Because he is open and caring, the students reciprocate, ensuring a high positive rapport is created in the classroom."
Mattila will be recognized at an end-of-term luncheon with 11 other showcase members. He 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 and outside-the-classroom teaching methods, or work in curriculum and assessment.

Continuous Improvement Connection

Do you ever find a process has room for improvement? Can you clearly see your reality and your ideal state, but getting there is overwhelming? Are you stuck craving change but dreading the implementation?

Here in the Office of Continuous Improvement, we break up the gap between “current state” and “future state” into one improvement at a time. Just as it takes one step at a time to build a staircase. We understand how overwhelming change can be, but that doesn’t need to hold you back.

Michael L. Heifetz says in his book "Leading Change, Overcoming Chaos" that, “the real work of the changed process involves achieving lasting shifts in attitude and behavior … This is a time of excitement and uneasiness.”

If you’d like to read more of "Leading Change, Overcoming Chaos" you can check it out from our library. Or, if you’re ready to start reaching for your future state and need a little boost, you can reach us by emailing