Bob Mark Elevator Pitch Competition Held Saturday

An idea for a breast cancer screening device took the top prize in the 2017 Bob Mark Elevator Pitch Competition held Saturday in the Van Pelt and Opie Library.

The pitch for "ICanID," by biomedical engineering graduate student Suhel Shaikh, actually captured two prizes. He won the top prize for Most Actionable Business with a $5,000 Berquist Prize, a year of SmartZone space and Smart Start tuition waiver.

Shaikh's pitch also took home the Best Technical Innovation, which comes with a $1,000 cash prize, free patent discovery from Brooks-Kushman ($2,500 value) and Smart Start tuition waiver.

In addition to monetary prizes, winners in all nine categories received a ticket to the Silicon Valley Experience, where they will spend a week networking with Silicon Valley entrepreneurs.

ICanID, as described by Shaikh, is an alternative breast cancer screening protocol that is less expensive, less time consuming and more accurate than conventional diagnostics. The device is being developed by a team led by Marina Tanasova (Chem) and Smitha Rao (Bio Med). He said he was bit nervous appearing before the large crowd, “I’ve never done anything like this before, I’ve been practicing for two weeks.”

In the Bob Mark Elevator Pitch Competition, named after the late School of Business and Economics professor, individuals, or two-person teams, have two minutes to pitch their business plans to a potential investor.

A total of 25 pitches were presented in the fast-paced competition. Andre Laplume (SBE), told the crowd that 40 teams had signed up for the competition and were whittled down to 25 earlier in the day. In his opening remarks, Laplume said “Our goal is to shake the tree and find the entrepreneurs on campus.” He said it wasn’t just SBE students involved in the competition but representatives from every college and school.

Pitches ranged from the ultra high-tech—a device that converts your cell phone into a drone, to the practical, a sensor which measures a roof’s snow load.

In addition to Shaikh, Saturday’s winners and their business ideas included:

  • Audience Prize—Jacob Carley and Gabe Giddings, “Fitstop,” an app that allows travelers easy access to fitness centers by combining online day pass purchases and liability waivers.
  • Lifestyle Prize—Ankita Bakshi, “Puppy Ccino,” a pet-therapy/coffee shop providing doggy day care and caffeine.
  • Most Economic Impact on the UP—Jake Mager, “Supreme Duck Hunting,” the development of a social media community designed to encourage duck hunting and related conservation efforts.
  • Best Social Innovation—Mayank Bagaria and Arvind Ravindran, “VacChrono,” a storage system to extend the life and effectiveness of vaccines.
  • Best Elevator Pitch—Isaiah Pfund and Jack Horrigan, “The Split,” a device which converts water into renewable energy.
  • Most Disruptive Technological Innovation—Brennan Lautner, “PeerNet” challenging the way conventional internet works
  • Best Green Innovation—Cameron Philo, “3D Windmill,” compact unique windmill design to bring electricity to underdeveloped regions

Luplume said he was pleased with the competition and innovative ideas presented.  “We’ve found a lot of apples by shaking the tree. More than ever before.”

Michigan Tech’s student entrepreneurs can also pitch their ideas at the 2018 New Venture competition next spring at Central Michigan University. Michigan Tech students Nick Dubeil and Morgan Crocker captured the $30,000 top prize in the 2017 competition.


Tech Theatre Opens Steve Martin Comedy Thursday

Art or science—which has more power to change the future? See that debate unfold over drinks in a Paris Bar in 1904 as the Michigan Tech Theatre Company presents "Picasso at the Lapin Agile." 

Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday (Oct. 12-14) in the McArdle Theatre in the Walker Arts and Humanities Center. Additional performances are Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of next week, (Oct. 18-20).

In his first full-length play, the comedy legend presents a fictional meeting between Pablo Picasso and Albert Einstein where the future icons debate the genius and imagination that inspires them both. 

A few lucky audience members will get an up close and personal view of the discussion at cafe tables set up with refreshments and snacks as part of the performance. 

With a mixture of Tech Theatre Company veterans as well as newcomers, the play is under the direction of Christopher Plummer (VPA). 

Tickets are on sale now, $13 for adults, $5 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 on the night of each performance at the McArdle Theatre beginning one hour prior to show time.

Nominations Open for Making A Difference Awards

Nominations are now open for the 2017 Staff Making a Difference Awards. Nominate a deserving colleague today in one of seven categories:

  • Above and Beyond
  • Rookie Award
  • Serving Others
  • Bringing Out the Best
  • Creative Solutions
  • Unsung Hero
  • Outstanding Supervisor

Each award recipient receives $500. Staff Council is coordinating the awards and asks that you follow these steps:

  1. Download the nomination form
  2. Fill out the nomination form electronically and save as a PDF
  3. Create your nomination letter and save electronically
  4. Collect your statements of support and save electronically
  5. Email all documents as one document 

Nominations will be accepted until 5 p.m. Friday, Nov. 10. For more information, contact staff council at

Note: If you prefer to submit a nomination using paper, send to Alumni House 204 through campus mail.

Call for Proposals: Century II Campaign Endowed Equipment Fund

The Office of the Vice President for Research is requesting Century II Campaign Endowed Equipment Fund proposals (C2E2). The program provides funds to purchase equipment that will have a broad, campus-wide impact and will improve the lives of faculty, staff and students.

Submissions will be accepted until 4 p.m. Oct. 19. Late submissions will not be accepted. For more information and proposal submission requirements, visit C2E2.

Book Donations Sought by Library Friends

The Friends of the Michigan Tech Library are seeking donations for our three book sales: Winter Carnival, the Annual Book sale in April and the Friends' bookshelf, for which donations are always appreciated.

There is a need for gently used books, paperbacks, CDs and DVDs. Make room for new books by donating your old books to the Friends. All proceeds go to help the Van Pelt and Opie Library.

If you only have a few books to donate, you may drop them off in the Friends Book Drop located in the Library vestibule. If you have a box or bag of books, bring them to the Library Service Desk located on the first floor of the Library. If you require assistance, call the Service Center at 7-2508 to have someone meet you at the back door to help. If you need help getting your donations to the Library and would like someone to pick them up, call Dana Richter at 7-2149 or e-mail

We do not accept the following items:

  1. Old, tattered, yellowed, marked-up or damaged books
  2. Marked-up lab manuals
  3. Instructor's class guides
  4. Magazines, journals and similar things
  5. Conference proceedings
  6. Outdated almanacs, travel guides, computer manuals, etc.
  7. Catalogs, telephone books
  8. Encyclopedias and similar sets (unless of high quality)

Our larger annual book sale will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. April 6, 2018 for members (memberships are sold for $20 at the door) and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 7, 2018 for the general public. The sale is held in the MUB Ballroom.

Tech Faculty to Participate in Kraft Lignin Forum

Several Michigan Tech faculty members will be on hand this week at a forum in Iron Mountain to discuss the future of the paper industry. 

The Kraft Lignin Innovation Forum takes place Wednesday and Thursday (Oct. 11/12) at the Verso Quinnesec Mill, just outside of Iron Mountain.  The event is coordinated by the Michigan Forest Biomaterials Institute (MIFBI). Mark Rudnicki (SFRES), executive director of MIFBI, says the forum intends to bring researchers and companies from across Michigan, and beyond, to learn first hand the availability and opportunities surrounding residual black liquor from Michigan's largest pulp producer. 

Among the Tech faculty presenting are Rebecca Ong (ChE), David Shonnard (ChE), Michael Mullins (ChE), Xingeng Xie (SFRES) and Wen Zhou (ChE). 

For more information and for a complete schedule of the conference, visit here.

Tech Wins Ice Breaker Tournament

Michigan Tech won the 2017 Ice Breaker Tournament with a 4-3 victory over host, and No. 6-ranked, Minnesota Duluth Saturday. The Huskies scored three straight power play goals after falling behind 2-0 and received the game-winning goal from freshman Justin Misiak midway through the second.

Mark Auk was named the Tournament MVP after scoring two goals and adding two assists on the weekend. Joel L'Esperance joined him on the All-Tournament Team after scoring a pair of goals in Friday's win over No. 16 Union.

"We're honored to be here and honored to show well and represent our school and community well," Tech coach Joe Shawhan said. "To have some success is immeasurable early in the year."

Auk started the scoring for Tech 11:47 into the game, capitalizing on a 5-on-3 power play with a long wrist shot to the back of the net. Mitch Reinke and Jake Lucchini assisted on Auk's second of the weekend.

Houghton's Raymond Brice scored his first collegiate goal after he created a turnover on a power play. Brice had two great scoring chances earlier in the period and was finally able to put one in.

Tech was outshot 36-17, but Patrick Munson backstopped the Huskies with 33 saves. He stopped 13 shots in the first and 10 in each of the second two periods.

Tech is now 2-1 on the season with all three games against top 20-ranked teams. The Huskies open WCHA  play next weekend against Lake Superior State in Sault Ste. Marie.

Making the Most of Entrepreneurship: For You and Your Community

General Counsel and Chief Ethics Officer for the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, John Tyler, will be on campus Thursday, Oct. 19, to share his insights on entrepreneurship and the importance of considering the social impact of our endeavors.

Tyler has spoken and authored publications relating to the roles and responsibilities of philanthropy in society. He contributes to the Foundation’s work through his extensive knowledge regarding public policy and law relating to foundation and charity assets.

Tyler has published academic articles on topics ranging from improving university technology transfer to reforming U.S. immigration policy, many of which can be found here.
Making the Most of Entrepreneurship will take place from 3:30 to 5 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 19, in the PHC Collaboration Space (M&M 722) located on the graduate side of the M&M building overlooking the canal.

All members of the campus community are invited to attend. Refreshments will be served. This event is co-sponsored by the Center for Social Innovation (CenSI), the Sustainable Futures Institute (SFI), the School of Business and Economics, and the Pavlis Honors College Innovation Center for Entrepreneurship (ICE).

If you would like information regarding Tyler’s visit or arrange more time to meet with him while he is on campus, contact Latha Poonamallee.

Chemistry Seminar

Tommy Sewell, professor at the University of Missouri-Columbia, will present "Atomic-scale Theoretical Studies of Fundamental Properties and Processes in CHNO Plastic-bonded Explosive Constituent Materials under Static and Dynamic Compression." The seminar will take place at 1 p.m. tomorrow (Oct. 10) in Chem-Sci 215.  

Sewell's research focuses primarily on methods development and applications of atomic-scale simulations and theory to condensed phase molecular systems under extreme conditions such as shock wave excitation, intense thermal heating or large static compression.

Social Sciences & Humanities Research Skills Refresher

Has it been a little while since you have had to do any library research? Feel like your information-finding skills are a little rusty? Join us for our Social Sciences & Humanities Research Skills Refresher session to brush off the dust.

We will cover services specific to Michigan Tech as well as a variety of searching techniques and strategies to help you get the most out of the library and your research. Join us from 12:05 to 12:55 p.m. Wednesday (Oct. 11) in Library 242. Registration is required.

Technical Problem Solving at Ford Motor Company with Scott Sterbenz

Scott Sterbenz, Six Sigma Master Black Belt at Ford Motor Company, will be on campus from 4 to 5 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 17, in EERC 100. He will talk about his experience applying Six Sigma and Lean concepts to solve complex technical problems.

Sterbenz solves customer satisfaction and quality issues using the DMAIC and DFSS toolsets at Ford Motor Company. A licensed Professional Engineer in the State of Michigan, Sterbenz holds bachelor's and master's degrees in mechanical engineering from Wayne State University in Detroit—having graduated first in his class in both programs.

He serves as a volunteer technical advisor for the United States Bowling Congress, the national governing body for the sport of bowling. There, he uses the Six Sigma toolset to help develop test plans and data analysis methods to set specifications for bowling lanes, pins, and balls—in addition to conducting groundbreaking research for the sport.

Light snacks and refreshments will be served. Everyone is welcome.

Challenges of the Academic Founder: Serial Entrepreneur Ted Dacko

Michigan Tech's Office of Innovation & Industry Engagement and the MTEC SmartZone are hosting a seminar focusing on faculty startup challenges. Ted Dacko, from Ann Arbor, is a serial entrepreneur with many years of experience in turning around and growing various firms. At this session Ted will share his thoughts on the challenges an academic founder might face when commercializing an idea and starting their company.

This event will take place at noon today (Oct. 9) in Ballroom B1 in the MUB. Coffee and snacks will be provided and participants are welcome to bring a lunch.

Teaching at Tech Luncheon Workshop: Note Taking - How do I get students to take notes and learn from them?

Many instructors express concern about a preceived decline in note taking during class. This issue is compounded by questions about whether lecture capture and posting of notes before or after class might discourage the behavior even further. 
In this luncheon workshop, we’ll examine best practices, both for students and instructors, as they relate to note taking and distribution. Join us Tuesday, Oct. 17 for this luncheon workshop. Lunch will be provided to those who register by Friday, (Oct. 13)

IT Connect

Using Classroom Phones

Have you ever had technological problems while teaching or giving a presentation? Michigan Tech IT is here to help.

One great way to let us know about the problem is by using the phone in the classroom. When using a mobile phone, precious time can be lost determining your exact location. By using the classroom phone, we can immediately determine where you are and get someone over to help you as soon as possible. We have a team dedicated to solving your classroom issues.

If you have any questions about getting classroom help, contact us at or call 7-1111.

In the News

Lake Superior Magazine published an article on tips for getting a job. The article quoted Shelley Farrey from Michigan Tech's Career Services. Read the full article here.


WJMN TV3/UPMatters aired a story about the Michigan Transportation Asset Management Council's annual meeting, quoting Tim Colling, director of Michigan Tech's Center for Technology and Training. Read the full article here.


MPR News published a story about a report that shows that Lake Superior is no longer the clearest of the Great Lakes. It quoted study co-author Robert Shuchman (MTRI). Read the full article here


PowerNetwork, a website where professionals offer career preparation advice to students and others seeking jobs, quoted Michigan Tech Career Services Director Steve Patchin on tips for making the best use of Career Fairs. Read the full article here


Reports on Recent Initiatives at Next Presidents Campus Forum

The next President's Campus Forum, 2 p.m. tomorrow, (Oct. 10) in the Memorial Union Ballroom, will include reports on initiatives recently implemented by the University.

Many of these initiatives have been proposed through the use of the Advanced Matrix Process for University Programs (AMP-UP). AMP-UP began meeting in November, 2015. It is a systematic, data-drive, change management process used to drive change and strategic transformation utilizing continuous improvement. The initial focus of this change has been:

  • Improve support for creating and maintaining an inclusive, civil culture that values diversity and unique contributions of each faculty member
  • Improve the ability of new faculty to conduct research
  • improve the recruitment and retention of dual career partners

Read the full Tech Today Story


Materials Science & Engineering Seminar Tomorrow

Ehsan Mostaed, postdoctoral associate at Michigan Tech and Politecnico di Milano, will present "Properties of ultrafine-grained magnesium alloys for biodegradable implant applications" at 11a.m. tomorrow (Oct. 10) in M&M 610.


MTRAC Program Managers on Campus Wednesday

A reminder that beginning with a noon luncheon Wednesday (Oct. 11) in the Great Lakes Research Center, room 202, Commercialization Program Managers of the four Michigan MTRAC Innovation Hubs will be available to explain funding opportunities, funding cycles and how to develop a successful proposal for the program.  

All interested faculty are invited to attend but an RSVP to John Diebel for the luncheon would be appreciated by 8 a.m. tomorrow (Oct. 10). Additional details can be found here.


ACSHF Forum Today

Julie Brown, Assistant Professor of Gerontology in the Department of Social and Public Health at Ohio University, will present at the ACSHF Forum today from 2 to 3 p.m. in Meese 109. Her presentation is on "Using a Life Course Lens to Examine 'Play' Among Middle and Older Adulthood Digital Gamers". For more information, read the original Tech Today article here


Biological Sciences Seminar

Guo-qing Song of the department of horticulture at Michigan State University will present his seminar "Biotechnological Approaches to Enhance Productivity of Horticultural Crops" at 3 p.m. Thursday (Oct. 12) in EERC 229.

His presentation will focus on biotechnological approaches to increase productivity of two major fruit crops (cherries and blueberries) in Michigan. For more information, read the original Tech Today article here


Spring 2018 PHF Graduate Assistantship Nominations Open

Applications for Spring 2018 PHF Graduate Assistantships are being accepted and are due no later than 4 p.m. on Wednesday (Oct. 11) to the Graduate School (email preferred). Instructions on the application and evaluation process are found online