Meditation Could Help Anxiety and Cardiovascular Health

In a student-led study, one hour of mindfulness meditation was shown to reduce anxiety and some cardiovascular risk markers.

It sounds like a late-night commercial: In just one hour you can reduce your anxiety levels and some heart health risk factors. But a recent study with 14 participants shows preliminary data that even a single session of meditation can have cardiovascular and psychological benefits for adults with mild to moderate anxiety.

John Durocher (Bio Sci) is presenting the work of a team of Michigan Tech researchers about mindfulness meditation and its ability to reduce anxiety at the 2018 Experimental Biology meeting this week in San Diego, which is attended by approximately 14,000 people.

Read the full story on mtu.edu/news.

Take Me Home, Country Roads: The Future of Autonomous and Electric Vehicles in Rural Areas

Autonomous vehicles hold a lot of promise. But what about in rural communities? Undergraduate students look into the environmental, social and economic impacts of advanced vehicle technology.

Three engineers. Four non-engineers. Together they wrote a report on the social and human aspects of the autonomous technology development as a part of the AutoDrive Challenge. The report is a requirement in the new collegiate challenge and the students wrote it as a part of their Seminar in Sustainability: Renewable Energy and Alternative Fuels class with Roman Sidortsov (SS), assistant professor of energy policy at Michigan Tech.

While the engineering students from the Robotics Systems Enterprise grapple with the challenges of syncing sensors and designing vehicle communication systems, Sidortsov's crew tackled the fundamental questions around the social impact and acceptance of autonomous vehicles.

Read the full story on Unscripted.

Facilities Annual Steam Shutdown and Power Outages

Once again, the annual steam shutdown and power outage to provide maintenance and service of the 12,470­ volt switchgear and associated breakers on campus will take place the week following Spring Commencement.

We understand that shutting off power can be inconvenient, so these outages will affect the least number of buildings possible. These planned outages are important and help reduce the chance of an unplanned failure at a time during the academic year that is even more inconvenient or disruptive.

Annual Steam Shutdown begins at noon Sunday, May 6 until noon on Thursday, May 10.

Buildings Affected; Admin Building, AOB, ChemSci, DHH, Dillman, Dow, EERC, Fisher, Forestry, Gates, GLRC, Hillside Place, Ice Arena, Library, M&M, McNair, MUB, R.L Smith (MEEM), Rehki, Rosza, ROTC, SDC, Wads, Walker

Note: There will not be heat or hot water in these buildings during the steam shutdown. There will be no distilled water from steam driven stills. Steam driven autoclaves/sterilizers will not be operational.

There will be two power outages.

Power Outage One begins at 5 p.m. Wednesday, May 9 until 6 a.m. Thursday, May 10.

Power Outage Two begins at 5 p.m. Thursday, May 10 until 6 a.m. ­ Friday, May 11. 

Buildings affected: Central Heating Plant, Daniell Heights, DHH, Dow, EERC, Facilities Building, GLRC, Hillside Place, McNair, Rozsa, Wads and Walker.

Buildings with power, but no internet or phone:

  • Honors House
  • University Residence

In most cases, elevators, fume hoods, exhaust fans, ventilation equipment, normal lighting, plug-in appliances and plug-in equipment will not operate during the outage. Information Technology will turn off all network equipment in the affected buildings for these outages starting at 5 p.m. on the days of the outage.

If there are questions or concerns with this plan, contact Facilities Management at 7-2303. If you have any questions about the IT outage during these times, contact IT Help or call 7­1111.

Associate Vice Presidents Selected for the Research Area

Vice President for Research David Reed announced the selection of two associate vice presidents—Jason Carter, associate VP for Research Development and James Baker, associate VP for Research Administration. Both will begin serving in their new roles on July 1.

Carter will provide strategic leadership with a focus on the coordination and promotion of excellence in research. This includes the facilitation of developmental opportunities, the oversight of academic/virtual centers and core facilities, and activities related to the translation of research discoveries into application.

Baker will also provide strategic leadership and direction, however, he will focus on the planning, implementing, improving and evaluating of the VPR administrative sponsored programs and sponsored accounting, industry contracting and the technology commercialization units while promoting operational improvements.

According to Reed, these two positions will help the overall unit strategize the best ways to efficiently handle the administrative needs of a growing research institution. The realignment in services will help to improve the coordination of activities across divisions and serve the researchers in a stronger capacity as the campus community works to achieve future institutional research goals.

Student Leadership Awards Ceremony Held Friday

Outstanding students, staff and a special alumna were honored Friday at Michigan Tech’s 24th Annual Student Leadership Awards Ceremony. The event’s keynote speaker, Captain Amanda (Taylor) Nerg ’10, was also the winner of the 2018 Outstanding Young Alumna Award. Captain Nerg earned a bachelor’s in business administration at Michigan Tech and is currently the Chief of Contracting Office at Morón Air Base in Spain, where she supports multiple Air Force, Marine and NATO missions.

Nerg says Tech helped her discover who she wanted to be, “Everything you do and have done at this University has shaped you into who you are today. Aspire to be your best and do your job with integrity and passion,” she says.

The President’s Award for Leadership, perhaps the most prestigious undergraduate award, was presented to Sarah Jo Martens, who is pursuing a degree in Environmental Engineering. Her nominators cited Martens’ numerous accomplishments including serving as President of Blue Key Honor Society, Campus Tour Guide, Orientation Team Leader and co-section Leader of the Huskies Pep Band. Martens has also played an important role in the Michigan Tech Theatre Company, having taken part in seven productions.

Gina Roose was the recipient of the Vice President for Student Affairs and Advancement Award for Service, Hossein Tavakoli received the Exceptional Leadership in Student Governance Award. The Exceptional Enthusiasm as Student Leader Award was presented to Nathan Shaiyen and the Student Employee of the Year was awarded to Madison Olmstead.

The Rising Star of the Year, presented to a first or second year student showing great potential for leadership, was awarded to Gi West. Erica Coscarelli was named Outstanding Future Alumna and Brendan Beecham was named Outstanding Future Alumnus. These awards are presented to a student living the Alumni Board of Director’s motto of "Celebrating Traditions, Creating Connections.”

Other awards handed out included:

  • Exceptional Program of the Year: Undergraduate Student Government’s Snowman Left Behind
  • Most Improved Student Organization: Indian Students’ Association
  • Exceptional Community Service Project: Order of Omega – Fall & Spring Blood Drives
  • Claire M. Donovan Award: Hossein Tavakoli
  • Student Organization of the Year: Mind Trekkers
  • Student Organization Advisor of the Year: Ellen Horsch, Alpha Gamma Delta
  • The Provost’s Award for Scholarship was selected from the Departmental Scholars. This year’s recipient was Dillon Babcock, Departmental Scholar from Mechanical Engineering – Engineering Mechanics.

Award recipients who received their awards at previous ceremonies were also recognized Friday. They include:

  • Percy Julian Award: Logan McMillan 
  • Exceptional Graduate Student Leader: William Lytle, PhD Student, Social Sciences Department
  • Exceptional Graduate Student Scholar: Haihang Ye, PhD Student, Chemistry
  • Exceptional Graduate Mentor: Chelsea Shelly, Associate Professor, Social Sciences Department and Kathleen E. Halvorsen, Professor, Social Sciences Department

AMP-UP Progress Report

Over the last two years, listening sessions for associate and full professors have been held, giving opportunities for faculty to voice perspectives on teaching and mentoring, research and scholarship, service and outreach, life balance and any other topics. The feedback from these sessions was compiled, prioritized by faculty focus groups in spring of 2017, shared with campus leaders and then brought into discussions within the Advanced Matrix Process for University Programs (AMP-UP).

The insights gained from these listening sessions have resulted in the following initiatives related to teaching:

  1. In an attempt to clarify the selection process for teaching awards, the process for selection for the Distinguished Teaching Awards has been described on the William G. Jackson Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) website.
  2. The new CTL Instructional Award Presentation Series, also described on the website, has been developed to recognize other instructional contributions. This process, driven partially by nomination through the academic deans, recognizes teaching innovation, effective teaching of large classes, curriculum development and assessment.
  3. In cooperation with the CTL, a University Senate Ad-hoc committee has completed a preliminary investigation of the issue of bias in Michigan Tech evaluations. This has resulted in a proposal requiring departments to share their “other 50%” departmental evaluation systems. The hope is to help identify and develop effective alternative evaluation methods and allow triangulation between them.
  4. After identifying a bias that larger classes receive overall evaluation scores 0.1-0.2 lower than smaller classes, CTL now reports university-wide averages and “top 10%” evaluations in four separate class-size ranges to help chairs/deans make more accurate comparisons.
  5. Three common bits of misinformation were investigated:
    • Campus-wide response rates (62-70%) for student rating of instruction (SRI) forms were found not to have changed significantly since paper evaluations were used.
    • Contrary to concerns about online surveys having a sampling bias toward students who might be more critical, overall campus average ratings on SRI’s are the same or slightly higher since the move to an online system.
    • Students who are no longer enrolled in classes are not (and never have been) allowed to complete online SRI’s.

Though no evaluation or reward system is without bias, these systems are essential in both recognizing excellent teaching and finding ways to improve. It’s important that we continue to openly discuss evaluation systems and work to evolve them in ways that identify, reduce, eliminate or accommodate for known biases. The CTL (ctl@mtu.edu) welcomes further feedback.

Restorative Justice Healing Circle Saturday

The Office of Academic and Community Conduct has organized a Restorative Justice Healing Circle and you are invited to participate. The event will be from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday (April 28) in Wads G17-19 (located on the ground floor of Wadsworth Hall, across from the sauna). The focus of the healing circle will be to address the number of bias-related incidents that have occurred during the 2018 spring semester.

Healing circles can be used to address conflict holistically and solve problems. They provide an opportunity for individuals impacted by incidents that create harm and/or negative impact to have a voice to address those harms/impacts. They also provide an opportunity to discuss solutions to restore integrity to the community by making things whole again.

What does it look like?

At a healing circle, a minimum of three participants sit in a circle of chairs, ideally without tables or other obstructions between them. They use a talking piece to take turns speaking and determine (1) what happened and why, and (2) how it can be fixed. Healing circles can be used in a myriad of settings including schools, neighborhoods, workplaces, among family and friends, and in the juvenile and criminal legal systems.

Discussion and resolution of the problem may be achieved in a single session, but healing circles may extend into multiple sessions until genuine consensus is reached. Circle processes are simple and organic, but are by no means the complete resolution. Feel free to join the conversation.

ICC Distinguished Lecturer Series

The next Institute of Computing and Cybersystems (ICC) Distinguished Lecture is 3 p.m. Friday in Rekhi 214.

Tom Hou will present,"Advances in Wireless Networking with Multiple Antennas." Hou is an IEEE Fellow and the Bradley Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Virginia Tech. A full bio and abstract can be found online.

Refreshments will be served.

Chemistry Seminar Friday

H. Peter Lu will present, "Probing Protein Conformational Dynamics from Single Molecules to Single Living Cells," at 3 p.m. Friday (April 27) in Chem Sci 101.

Lu has been an Ohio Board of Regents Eminent Scholar and full professor at Bowling Green State University in Ohio since 2006. He was elected an American Physical Society Fellow in 2014. Lu's research focuses on single-molecule spectroscopy studies of molecular kinetics and dynamics in condensed phase and at interfaces.

On the Road

Joshua Pearce (MSE/ECE) gave an invited talk, "Production for the People: How open source hardware design and 3D printing enable real distributed manufacturing," at the 20th Finnish Rapid Prototyping Association Conference and Nordic3DExpo last Thursday (April 19) in Espoo, Finland.

In the News

A study by Michigan Tech on the benefits of meditation for stress (see story above) continues to receive national coverage. Among the outlets covering the story are earth.comgreenstyle (Italian language), Schwartz ReportAhlan! and Health Medicine Network, among others.

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The Michigan Tech news story on liquid cell transmission electron microscopy, was covered by Semiconductor Engineering, phys.org and Times News of Russia, among others.

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Joshua Pearce's (MSE/ECE) work was covered by 3D Print, in the story "Researchers Develop the Kijenzi 3D Printer to Respond to Humanitarian Crises."

Reminders

University Senate to Meet Today

The University Senate will hold its last meetings of the academic year beginning at 5:30 p.m. today (April 25) in Dow 642. There will be pizza and refreshments provided.

Meeting #608 is a special meeting for new and continuing senators who will, among other actions, elect the officers for the 2018-19 academic year.

Meeting #609 starts immediately afterward and is the last official meeting for the current senators.

The agendas for both meetings and meeting minutes from the last Senate meeting #607 can be found here.

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.

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Alpha Gamma Delta Fights Hunger One Sip at a Time

The sisters of Alpha Gamma Delta Women’s Fraternity will hold a fundraiser to benefit the Copper Country Senior Meals on Wheels and HuskyFan today (April 25) in the Library Cafe.

All day, 10 percent of total sales will be donated by Dining Services. In addition, Alpha Gamma Delta cash cards will also be on sale for $5. These cards have discounts for Michigan Tech Dining Services, Joey's Seafood & Grill, Subway, Domino's, McDonald's, Culver's and more.

An anonymous donor has generously offered to double all proceeds raised. Drop by the Library Café and join the sisters of Alpha Gamma Delta in fighting hunger locally, one sip at time. For more information contact Loryn Zeno.

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Internet Safety Presentation Today

Join us for the presentation, "Internet Safety: What Parents Need to Know" from 1 to 3 p.m. today (April 25) in MUB Ballroom B3. Community members are welcome. This is a free event, open only to adults due to the subject matter. You are asked to RSVP to attend.

An additional parent presentation (open to the community) is at 6:30 p.m. tomorrow (April 26) at Jeffers High School in Painesdale. If you have any questions, contact Shannon Brodeur.

Read the full Tech Today story.

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Creative Commentary on Issues in American Education: Reception Today

The students in ED2000: Issues in American Education will exhibit their final semester projects in the main library on campus from today to Friday (April 27). The course instructor, Amy Lark (CLS), encouraged students to address issues they found important in as creative a way as possible.

The work ranges from papers and posters to poetry and works of art. There will be an opening reception at 10 a.m. today (April 25), and the exhibit will remain in the East Reading room until the end of the day on Friday. All are welcome to attend.

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CDI Presents Diverse Dialogues: Changing the Conversation: LGBTQIA* in STEM

The Diverse Dialogues series provides opportunities for students, faculty and staff to have conversations about relevant issues of equity, diversity, inclusion, social justice and much more.

Join us at noon tomorrow (April 26) in MUB Ballroom B1 (and at future Diverse Dialogues) and engage in meaningful campus dialogue around topics of diversity and inclusion. Bring your own lunch. Light refreshments and beverages will be provided.

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Opportunities in Transportation Research Series Tomorrow

Michigan Tech Transportation Institute will host a discussion on upcoming transportation research opportunities. This informational session is open to all researchers, with or without past transportation research experience. Light refreshments provided.

The session is at 11 a.m. tomorrow (April 26) in Dillman 315 – Federal Railroad Administration Research. FRA has released RFPs for its Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) and Intellectual Railway Systems (IRS) research that is restricted to university teams. Pasi Lautala (CEE) will lead the discussions on these programs and the steps to develop proposals for FRA. More information on both RFPs is available here. You can register to attend.