Saving Buffalo Reef

Researchers at Michigan Tech will play a key role in designing long-term solutions for removing mine waste from the shoreline of Lake Superior and Buffalo Reef, an important fish spawning ground. It's estimated that without action, more than 60 percent of the reef will be smothered by the sands by 2028.

Working in partnership with state and federal agencies, the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community, area businesses and community members, stakeholders are approaching the problem of removing a large volume of stamp sands to protect fish habitat, homes and beaches. They plan to attack the problem from numerous angles.

“Buffalo Reef is an enormous breeding field—its contribution is 22 percent of total commercial fish along the southern side of Lake Superior,” says Charles Kerfoot, professor of biological sciences and director of Lake Superior Ecosystem Research Center. “These are big, important numbers. This is a serious issue and there is reason for concern.” 

Read the full story on the Michigan Tech News Website.


Online Tool Speeds Up Evolution Education

Students often learn best when they can apply what they’re learning. In the world of science, that means engaging in the practice of science. But this can be a challenge for teachers when dealing with subjects that are hard to observe—like biological evolution. The solution? Digital evolution—computer software in which populations of digital organisms evolve.

Avida is a digital evolution software used by biologists and engineers in which digital organisms replicate, mutate and compete with other digital organisms for resources in their virtual environment. Avida is said to provide a true instance of evolution, not a simulation. Recognizing that Avida could be a powerful educational tool, researchers developed an educational version of the software called Avida-ED.

Read the full story on the Michigan Tech News Website.

Parking During Winter Carnival and Extended Shuttle Service

To accommodate the many visitors to campus during Winter Carnival, beginning at 4 p.m. Wednesday (Feb. 7) the following lots will be available free of charge and will not require a parking permit:

  • Lot 9 (commuter lot by the Rozsa)
  • Lot 5 (graduate student lot by the Rozsa)
  • Lot 27 (visitor lot between the Administration Building and MUB)

Overnight parking—Visitors may park in Lot 9 (commuter lot by the Rozsa) without a permit. Additionally, there will be free parking at all metered areas throughout Winter Carnival.

Note that all residential and faculty/staff lots will still be monitored for proper permits.

Transportation Services will also run a Campus Parking Shuttle on Thursday and Friday, which will include service to Mont Ripley during their extended hours. The Winter Carnival Shuttle schedule can be viewed online.

The City and Lamers shuttles will run their normal routes with an additional Saturday campus loop from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

For any questions regarding Winter Carnival parking regulations or shuttle bus service, contact Transportation Services at or 7-1441.

Winter Weather is Here

With winter weather here, departments should discuss communication procedures for weather-related absences. During times when weather conditions deteriorate, each person within the University community must exercise personal judgment on their ability to get to or from campus.

Interruptions in work due to weather are no different from other events that cause us to leave work early or arrive late. The first thing employees should do is contact their supervisor directly and explain the situation.

Hourly employees may use vacation or comp time to make up for the hours missed due to bad weather. Exempt employees are expected to fulfill their regular job responsibilities.

​​Exercise caution in adverse conditions. In the event the local public schools are closed, remember that Michigan Tech has a policy regarding Children in the Workplace.

For questions or concerns, employees should contact Human Resources at 7-2280 or email Amy Mensch.​

Instructors Needed for Summer Youth Programs

As Summer Youth Programs (SYP) gears up for another exciting season, we are constantly seeking ways to make explorations engaging, impactful and fun for all participants.

With the semester coming to a close, enrollment is strong—more than 360 participants have already enrolled, with several major program deadlines rapidly approaching. We have hired nearly 65 undergraduate and graduate student staff, built our executive team and begun preparations for our annual move to Wadsworth Hall.

At this time, one remaining hurdle is finding instructors and TA’s to deliver academic curriculum for several of our popular explorations. What does it take to be an SYP Instructor or TA? Enthusiasm is a must, and previous classroom experience is ideal. If you are interested in delivering structured, hands-on learning to excited and engaged students from across the country, we’d love to hear from you. Learn more at SYP Instructors.

Here is a list of courses for which we are still hiring instructors:

  • Digital Photography (June 18 - 22 and June 25 - 29)
    • Instructors Needed: 1 - TAs: 1
    • June 18 - 22 (grades 9-11 / capacity 20 students) and June 25 - 29 (grades 6-8 / capacity 15 students)
    • Digital photography combines the art, technology and the great outdoors. Students will capture images on explorations throughout the Keweenaw Peninsula, which offers beautiful shorelines, waterfalls and abandoned mine structures. They will also learn about exposure, composition and visualization and refine your images with software. Instructors should have photography and editing experience for this course.
  • Rocketry and Space Science (June 18 - 22 and June 25 - 29)
    • Instructors Needed: 1 - TAs: 1
    • June 18 - 22 (grades 6-8 / capacity 15 students) and June 25 - 29 (grades 9-11 / capacity 15 students)
    • Students in this course will learn about aerodynamics and propulsion while building their own rockets. During the week, they use software to explore design elements, build a homemade rocket, explore concepts in physics and engineering, and learn about careers in space science. The week culminates with the students launching rockets at the Gay Stamp Sands. The instructor should be comfortable working with middle and high school students, have experience in rocketry/space science, and have confidence explaining STEM topics to a wide variety of learners. 
  • Aquatic Ecology Field Study at Gratiot Lake 
    • Instructors Needed: 1 - TAs: 1
    • June 25 - 29 (grades 9-11 / capacity 8 students)
    • Students will spend a week out at the rustic Noblet Field Station on Gratiot Lake. During the week, they will explore ecological topics as they relate to lakes, rivers, wetlands and streams. Aquatic plants, insects, mammals, birds, fishes and many other topics are welcome—past activities have included extensive canoeing, water quality testing, learning about beaver dams, plant identification, and much more. Instructors should be comfortable with rustic cabin accommodations and have experience in some aspects of aquatic ecology. Instructor or TA should be, or be willing to become, First Aid/CPR certified.
  • Wildlife Ecology (July 9 - 13)
    • Instructors Needed: 1 - TAs Needed: 1
    • July 9 - 13 (grades 6-8 / capacity 12 students) 
    • The U.P. has many striking habitats that support a wide variety of plant and animal species. Students will get a close look at the importance of protecting and conserving our natural resources for the sake of the living things that rely on them while exploring the diverse and beautiful environments and habitats of the Keweenaw Peninsula. Their observational skills will be challenged as they search for animal tracks, signs, scents, sounds and other indicators of quality habitats. Track animals using telemetry with a map and compass. Identify and make plaster castings of animal tracks and learn how to set noninvasive hidden camera and hair traps. Instructors should have a familiarity with the area and these topics.
  • PAAMEE: Preparing African American Males for Energy and Education (July 16 - 20 and July 23 - 27)
    • Instructors Needed: 3 - TA’s Needed: 3
    • July 16 - 20 (grades 10-11 / three sections each capped at 20 students) and July 23 - 27 (grades 10-11 / three sections each capped at 20 students)
    • A National Science Foundation sponsored project, 120 students from the Detroit Area Pre-College Engineering Program (DAPCEP) will participate in a multi-week program centered on the engineering and science of renewable energy (specifically wind and solar). The program is designed to attract and retain these students and their participation in science and engineering fields. The students will begin the summer spending a week at Michigan State University in June, then attend Michigan Tech SYP in July. Additional project partners include Lawrence Tech, Oakland University, Walker-Miller, Consumers Energy and Marathon Oil. Instructors should be comfortable working with high school students, have experience delivering renewable energy science curriculum and have confidence explaining STEM topics to a wide variety of learners.

 SYP invites interested applicants to contact us via

University Senate to Meet Wednesday

The University Senate will hold meeting #603 at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday (Feb. 7) in Dow 642.

Senators are responsible for making their constituents aware of the agenda for this meeting. Senators who are unable to attend should arrange for their alternates to attend in their place.

Read the agenda for meeting #603. Read the minutes from meeting #602.

A reminder that all University Senate meetings are recorded and can be found here.

Scholarships Available

Sons and Daughters Scholarships

A reminder that Michigan Tech Employee Sons and Daughters Scholarship applications, valued at $100 each, are available for the 2018-2019 academic year. Applicants must be children of Michigan Tech employees. Applications must be submitted by Wednesday, Feb. 28 and are available online.

Leann Becia Family/AFSCME Scholarships

Two $250 Leann Becia Family/AFSCME Scholarships are available for 2018-2019. Applicants must be the son, daughter or spouse of a current AFSCME Local 1166 member. Applications, which must be submitted by Wednesday, Feb. 28, are available online.

Both scholarships require applicants be full-time Michigan Tech undergraduates in their first four years of study or high school students planning to be enrolled for Fall 2018.

For more information contact the Financial Aid Office at 7-2622 or at

Portage Lake Golf Course Launches Online Store

The Portage Lake Golf Course is pleased to announce the launch of its online store. The store provides for the purchase and registration of season passes, cart storage, cart leases, club lockers, range passes, league memberships, golf lessons and merchandise. Visit the online store for all of your golfing needs.

Winter Carnival Book Sale Saturday

The Friends of the Michigan Tech Library (FMTL) will hold a Winter Carnival book sale from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday (Feb. 10) in the lobby of the J. Robert Van Pelt and John and Ruanne Opie Library. Hundreds of used books on topics to please students, parents and kids, with prices from $0.25 to $2 per book.

Merchandise will include Michigan Tech heritage souvenir blankets, Copper Country historic photo note cards and selected used books. Free hot chocolate and cookies will be available. Take a break from the wind chill and enjoy the library—and pick up a book or two. All proceeds will go to support the Michigan Tech Library. Happy Carnival!

Huskies Shut Out BGSU for Weekend Split

Michigan Tech shutout No. 14 Bowling Green State 4-0 Saturday in front of a sellout crowd at the Slater Family Ice Arena. Robbie Beydoun had 26 saves for his second career shutout, while Jake Lucchini scored a pair of goals and added an assist.

"That was a hockey game tonight," Tech coach Joe Shawhan said. "Everyone in our lineup played well, and there wasn't a weak link in the armor. I think that win was our biggest so far this season. Even bigger than the Ice Breaker.

"Robbie Beydoun was excellent. He made the saves when he needed and deserved the shutout. We did a good job protecting him and it was just a gutsy effort by our team."

The Huskies bounced back from a 7-2 loss Friday to earn the split and pick up three important points in the conference.

Finding a Research Mentor Workshop

Do you know undergraduate students interested in conducting research? Are they unsure how to locate a faculty member to work with? Lorelle Meadows, dean of the Pavlis Honors College, will host an interactive discussion on how to find and approach a faculty member for a research position. In addition, students will learn about paid research internship opportunities at Michigan Tech and beyond.

The workshop will take place from 6 to 7 p.m. tomorrow (Feb. 6) in Library 242. For information on other upcoming undergraduate research workshops click here.

Teaching at Tech Luncheon Workshop - ZOOM: In and Out of the Classroom

Everyone at Michigan Tech has a Zoom account. This video conferencing application offers some interesting instructional possibilities. From virtual office hours, to remote industry experts, to student-to-student collaborations, we’ll help you identify ways to leverage Zoom in your classes and raise awareness of some potential new challenges.

Bring your laptop to this session at noon Tuesday, Feb. 20, to learn the basics of Zoom and see how others are using it. Lunch will be provided to those who register by Friday, Feb. 16.

Free Webinar for Engineering Department Chairs, Faculty, & Change Leaders

The Women in Engineering ProActive Network (WEPAN), American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), and Purdue University College of Engineering are offering an evidence-based approach for fostering a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive (DEI) engineering culture via a series of webinars. The first webinar is 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 22.

In this interactive webinar you will learn:

  • Why to engage in DEI-focused change
  • How to lead DEI-focused culture change using the new, evidenced-based TECAID (Transforming Engineering Culture to Advance Inclusion & Diversity) Model
  • Who are other engineering department teams that have applied the TECAID Model
  • What additional resources are available to help engineers lead department culture change

Want to get MORE out of this webinar? Invite colleagues to participate with you by setting up a conference room and setting aside time after the webinar to continue the conversation about ways you can adapt the ideas presented in your own department. Watch this 3-minute 2017 NSF Showcase award winning TECAID Project Overview video.

The Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics was one of five universities that participated in developing the TECAID model. (See this Tech Today article for more details.)

Department Chair William Predebon is one of the presenters in this webinar. Register at this link.

IT Connect

Beware of Phone Number Spoofing

Michigan Tech IT wants the campus community to know that telemarketers, sales teams and scammers now have the ability to spoof or mimic local phone numbers.
This means that your caller ID may display a local number in the attempt to trick you into thinking that the call is coming from someone you know.
There are increased cases of this occurring with both campus and personal cell phones.  Like phishing scams, the most important thing to remember is to not provide any personal information. At this time, we don't have the ability to block these incoming numbers, so the best action to take is to hang up or don’t answer calls you consider suspicious calls.
If you have any further questions regarding this, contact us at or call 7-1111.

On the Road

MTTI Researchers and Students Attend 2018 Transportation Research Board (TRB) Annual Meeting

The 97th Transportation Research Board (TRB) annual meeting titled "Transportation: Moving the Economy of the Future" was held Jan. 7-11 in Washington, DC. The meeting program covered all transportation modes, with more than 5,000 presentations in nearly 800 sessions and workshops. Attending this year’s meeting were 26 members and students of the Michigan Tech Transportation Institute (MTTI). See the full list of MTTI student and member attendees and details of their presentations on the MTTI website.


Rail Transportation Program Announces CN Scholarship Winners

The Michigan Tech Rail Transportation Program (RTP) is delighted to announce three 2018 winners of the CN Railway Scholarship. CN Railway has been an industry partner of the RTP since 2010, and in 2013 established an endowed fellowship that provides support for the RTP and scholarships to students attending Michigan Tech and involved in the rail industry. Aaron Dean (4th year, MEEM), Clarice Hill (2nd year, MEEM) and Alex Christmas (2nd year, CEE) will all receive a $1000 scholarship from the CN Endowment fund. Scholarship winners are selected each year by RTP's Rail Transportation Advisory Board.