Winter WonderHack Starts Tonight

 Students from throughout the Midwest will be at Michigan Tech beginning tonight for Winter WonderHack. Organizers describe the event as a 36-hour "make-something" marathon, where participants use their knowledge and creativity to make something new.

The event is organized by a number of individuals and organizations at Michigan Tech, including the Robotics Systems Enterprise, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), The Alley, Smash Club and Film Board.

Nathaniel Shapiro, one of the event organizers, says the goal of the weekend is to stimulate thinking and creativity and to appeal to a wide-range audience. “Winter WonderHack is a hackathon in the old MIT sense of the word,” Shapiro says. “Create something new from something old or from scratch.”

“While focused around technology, it’s designed to be open to people from many disciplines and all levels of experience. The theme here is innovation and creativity” he says.

While organizers are expecting the majority of participants to be current college students, in teams of one to four, MLH rules allow those who have graduated within the last 12 months to compete too. Shapiro says high school students may also participate with permission.

“We will be accepting registrants up to the start of the event until we are full,” Shapiro states, noting that students can register at

The event check-in begins at 9 p.m. tonight at the north entrance of the Rozsa Center. Opening ceremonies are at 9:30 p.m. with hacking set to begin at 10 p.m. and go straight through to Sunday morning.

There are events throughout tonight and into the day tomorrow. A project expo is set for Sunday morning with closing ceremonies at 10:30 a.m. 

Most activities will take place in the Rozsa Center and  the Walker Fine Arts and Humanities Center with additional spaces in the IEEE lab and the Alley makerspace.

Sponsors include Meridian, Ford, Mortech, the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, the Wireless Communications Enterprise, Handshake, Motorola and Jackson Life.

“This is an industry-sponsored event and we’ll have workshops, talks and demos tonight (Fed. 24) and tomorrow (Feb. 25) on topics that participants could use in their projects or may just find interesting by mentors, sponsors, faculty and community guests." That interaction is part of what makes this format work so well, Shapiro says.

He says additional activities include drone racing (first person view), a smash tournament, metal casting, workshops and talks on electronics, startups and other topics. Mentors will work with students as fellow makers to help complete their projects. “It’s going to be epic” Shapiro says.

This year's submissions will be published online. You can also view last year's submissions here.

 More information and registration is available online.

Funeral Arrangements for Hali Burchfield Announced

Funeral arrangements have been released for Hali Burchfield, of Hartford, Michigan. The 22 year old SBE student died Feb. 13 as a result of injuries she sustained in an automobile accident Feb. 5 in Minneapolis. 

Funeral services are scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday, March 4 at St. Paul's United Church of Christ in Watervliet, Michigan, of which she was a lifelong member. Burial will follow in St. Paul's Cemetery.

Visitation will be from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday, March 3 at the Duffield & Pastrick Family Funeral Home in Coloma, Michigan. Coloma and Watervliet are about 40 miles west of Kalamazoo. 

She was a senior majoring in accounting and management information systems in the School of Business and Economics and was scheduled to graduate on April 29. Read the previous Tech Today story.

Hali's complete obituary can be viewed at the funeral home's website.

Deans' Teaching Showcase: Tara Bal

School of Forest Resources and Environmental Sciences Dean Terry Sharik has chosen Tara Bal, research assistant professor, as this week's Deans' Teaching Showcase member. 

Bal is recognized not only for her innovations in teaching, but also for her involvement in curriculum development and assessment at all levels.

Sharik says "Bal has developed and delivered a novel online class in maple syrup management and culture." This class was recently added to the HASS list and thus is accessible to students throughout the University. Though content is delivered online, the course includes a hands-on experience in maple syrup production.

"Most students complete this at the Ford Center and Forest, which has facilities for maple syrup production. For most of our non-majors, this may be the only class they take that exposes them to forest ecosystems and products derived from those ecosystems."

Bal also teaches the introductory FW2051 Field Techniques class that is required of all SFRES majors, and is usually taken during their first semester at Michigan Tech. Dean Sharik indicates "It is an important course for retention of our students because we know they are attracted to the study of natural resources because of their love of the out of doors and nature, and this class reinforces this during their first semester.

"Tara has expanded this class from one credit to two credits to allow expanded exploration of the field techniques relevant to students in forestry, wildlife ecology, applied ecology and other areas in the natural resource field."

In the area of program development, Bal coordinates the Master of Forestry program and works to ensure that it meets the accreditation standards of the Society of American Foresters. Moreover, she has worked to develop several accelerated Master’s programs within this professional graduate degree.

Sharik says "Tara makes broad contributions in assessment. She is active in the University assessment of general education programs at Michigan Tech, but also is one of the leads in Michigan Tech’s involvement in the Global Outlook on Forestry (GOFE) Project.  Involving researchers from the United States and around the world, this international effort is designed to assess student learning outcomes in forestry and the extent to which employer needs are being met."

Put simply, Sharik chose Bal because he "suspects that there are very few, if any, research faculty who contribute more to the teaching mission of their respective units." 

Bal 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.

Spring Blood Drive Hosted By Fraternity and Sorority Life

Currently, there is a critical need for blood donors. The need is constant. The gratification is instant. Give blood.

Join Fraternity and Sorority Life from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday (Feb. 28 and March 1) in the Library Reading Room to donate blood.

Sign up for an appointment time online or call 800-733-2767. Walk-ins are always welcome. Bring a photo ID.

Click here for more information.


Josh Ellis (CLS) will present "The Relationship Between Reform-based Beliefs and Practices for Beginning Science Teachers in an Induction Program" at the ACSHF forum from 2 to 3 p.m. Monday (Feb. 27) in Meese 109.

In the absence of high quality, science-specific induction support, science teachers' beliefs and classroom practices are consolidated into teacher-centered, didactic practices as they are socialized into the classroom. This study presents early findings from an NSF Noyce research project investigating induction strategies that go beyond addressing retention to positively shape the professional growth of beginning secondary science teachers as reform-based practitioners. 


Chemistry Seminar

Xinfeng Xie (SFRES) will present "Harness the Natural Nano and Molecular Structures of Forest Biomass for High Value Products" at the Chemistry Seminar at 3 p.m. today (Feb. 24) in Chem-Sci room 101.


C-Cubed Week 7

C-Cubed lunches are offered from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays throughout the school year in the Memorial Union Alumni Lounge. 

Classic Lasagna 
Vegetable Lasagna (V) 
Garlic Toast (V) 
Dijon Walnut Spinach Salad (V)

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

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


Chinese Cuisine at Khana Khazana

Chinese fare is on tap at today's Khana Khazana in the Memorial Union North Coast Grill and Deli. 

The menu features:

  • Potato Stewed Pork Ribs
  • Dry Pot Cauliflower
  • Hot and Sour Potato Silk
  • Green Bean Soup

Serving is from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Cost is $7.95 for the full dinner and includes a fountain beverage. 

Like the Khana Khazana at Michigan Tech Facebook Page.


Graduate Students and Film Board Present "Movie Night"

The Graduate Student Government and Film Board invite you to "Movie Night" today (Feb. 24) in Fisher 135. Two movies will be screened through the evening, and entry to both are free. Dinner will be provided between the two movie screenings.

The event starts at 5:30 p.m. with the screening of "Captain Fantastic" followed by a brief discussion on the topic "My Family is Better Than Your Family." Free popcorn and soda will be provided to the first 100 attendees of this movie. The discussion after the movie will be moderated by Willam Lytle and Melissa Michaelson. At 9 p.m., the second movie, "Apollo 13," will be screened.


Biological Sciences Seminar

Jill Olin (GLRC) will present "Living on the Edge: Seaside Sparrows Response to the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill" at the Biological Sciences Seminar from 4 to 5 p.m. today (Feb. 24) in Dow 642.


Fourth RTC (Rhetoric, Theory and Culture) Graduate Seminar

PhD Students Vincent Manzie and Tolulope Odebunmi will present their papers on the topic of "Crisis and Communication in Cross-Cultural Contexts" at the RTC Colloquium from 4 to 6 p.m. today (Feb. 24) in Walker 134.


D. Keith Roper Chair Candidate Seminar

The Chemical Engineering Chair Candidate Seminar for D. Keith Roper will take place at 1 p.m. today (Feb. 24) in Rekhi G09.



Dalia Abbas, assistant professor at the Warnell School of Forestry, University of Georgia, will present "Forest Operations and Sustainable Supply Chains" at 3 p.m. today (Feb. 24) in the Noblet Forestry Building G-002.


Rozsa Gallery A-Space Presents "ChickenBus: A U.S. —Guatemalan Experience"

The Rozsa Center and Department of Visual and Performing Arts present the Rozsa Gallery A Space show, "ChickenBus," featuring work by VPA faculty member Lisa Gordillo. 

"ChickenBus" is the first U.S. exhibit of works inspired by Gordillo’s long-term collaboration with Guatemalan artists and writers. It will travel to Guatemala this summer, and the exhibit will run tomorrow (Feb. 25) to Friday, March 24.

There will be an opening reception from 5:30 to 7 p.m. tomorrow (Feb. 25), including a conversation with Gordillo at 6 p.m.


Last Chance to Save on Career Wear

Today is the last day to receive 75 percent off all career wear at the Campus Store.


Call for Proposals: REF

Proposals are being solicited for the Research Excellence Fund (REF) program, an internal award of the Office of the Vice President for Research. 

Budgets are due no later than 4 p.m. Thursday (March 3) and proposals are due no later than 4 p.m. Thursday, March 10. Both must be submitted electronically per the guidelines.

For additional information, see Research Excellence Fund.

If you are interested in serving on an REF proposal review committee, email Natasha Chopp.


Call for Proposals: Faculty Fellow

Applications are being solicited for the Faculty Fellow Program. The Faculty Fellow Program is sponsored by the Office of the Vice President for Research. The Program expands familiarity with sponsored program administration and strategic planning among the faculty, develops leadership capacity among the faculty and improves sponsored programs administration and strategic planning through faculty input.

Applications are due no later than 4 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 16 and must be submitted electronically per the guidelines. 

For additional information, see Faculty Fellow Program.

For questions, email Cathy Jenich or Dave Reed.

In the News

Keweenaw Now, a community news blog, posted a story, photos and videos of the Unity March in support of Tech's international students, faculty, staff and families impacted by the White House's initial travel ban. A video of Michigan Tech President Glenn Mroz's welcome speech is included. Visit the blog here.


Brooklyn Magazine published a feature article about Roxane Gay, a Michigan Tech Humanities alumna and outspoken women's rights author and activist.


UpNorthLive reported on a new grant from the Consumers Energy Foundation to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians and Michigan Tech. The grant will support a project to reintroduce the Arctic grayling to Michigan waters.


TechCentury, an engineering and technology news website published by the Engineering Society of Detroit, ran a story about Michigan Tech winning a $15 million NASA grant to lead a Space Technology Research Institute, one of only two funded nationwide. 


Joshua Pearce (MSE/ECE) was interviewed for an article run on 3D Printing: Should You Go Open Source?