Volunteers Needed to Assist in COVID-19 Testing After Spring Break

Once again the MTU Flex Task Force is looking for volunteers to act as "runners" during baseline COVID-19 testing as students return to campus from Spring Break. Michigan Tech's Spring Break begins with the end of classes today (March 5). Classes will resume on Monday, March 15.

Brian Cadwell, director and chief of the Department of Public Safety and Police Services, said high volume baseline testing will begin on Friday, March 19 and go through Tuesday, March 23. The testing will take place in the Wood Gym of the Student Development Complex (SDC).

Cadwell said COVID-19 testing requires two people ... a swabber and a runner. "The swabber applies the nasal swab to obtain a specimen. The runner stands nearby and holds a plastic bag in which the sample is placed. The runner then seals the plastic bag and places it in a cooler," Cadwell said

As was the case when increased baseline testing took place at the beginning of the spring semester, there are plenty of swabbers — mostly medical personnel. 

However, Cadwell said there is a real need for runners. "To make things run smoothly, there needs to be both runners and swabbers. Without runners, the work of the swabbers is doubled and we can't produce the volume of testing needed to ensure a safe return to campus." According to Cadwell, a full staff of volunteers can perform between 50 to 60 tests an hour. 

Cadwell said a runner's task is simple but is made a more challenging because it requires full PPE. "Runners must wear a gown, gloves, face shield, N95 mask and a hair cover," he said.

Testing will take place from 4 to 10 p.m. on March 19, 22 and 23, and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, March 20/21.

The schedule is broken into one-hour increments, with volunteers able to choose the shift length that best suits their schedule. "Once again, this is a great service opportunity for the Greek community and all student organizations and well as individual students, faculty and staff who want to help out.

Those interested in requesting more information or signing up to volunteer can contact Cadwell at bjcadwel@mtu.edu.

Geological Engineers Create Landslide Atlas of Kerala, India

Dedicated to the thousands of lives lost in landslides, a new landslide atlas assesses risk in 13 districts in the Indian state of Kerala.

The Western Ghats trailing the western edge of India are a global hotspot for biodiversity. The southern reach of the range extends into Kerala, where the steep slopes, soft soils and heavy monsoon rains greatly increase the risk of landslides.

Thomas Oommen (GMES) is from Kerala, and he produced the Landslide Atlas of Kerala with colleague K.S. Sajinkumar, an assistant professor of geology at the University of Kerala. Their work started in 2016 while Sajinkumar was a postdoctoral fellow at Michigan Tech under Oommen’s guidance. The atlas, which provides detailed, up-to-date data about landslide risks in the state, was written for practical use by those who need it most — folks on the ground in the region. Each section focuses on a specific district and is accompanied by geographic information system (GIS) maps.

Read the full story on mtu.edu/news.

Students Receive KCACTF Awards

Several students who participated in the Tech Theatre Company's production of "The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) [revised]" have been awarded Certificates of Merit from the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF).

The comedy, which relies heavily on improvisation, was performed live via Zoom conference and live stream for six performances last month. A unique aspect of the production was the participation of several audience members who interacted with the cast via Zoom.

The respondent who reviewed the show for the KCACTF was impressed with the dual way the production was offered (Zoom and live stream), stating it was one of the best online productions he's seen. 

The ensemble cast was specifically noted, which is impressive considering the show was rehearsed entirely through Zoom.

The media, sound and lighting design/technical teams including the stage manager, advised by Kent Cyr, Josh Lohr and Christopher Plummer (VPA), received a KCACTF Certificate of Merit for the use of technology in production.

Cyr said he was particularly proud of the lighting design that drew the attention of the Kennedy Center reviewer. “Our lighting designer was controlling the lighting on four different actors, who were in four different rooms, from four different iPads,” Cyr said. He noted the reviewer lauded the ability of the stage managers to call the show and cue the actors, who were acting in costumes and with props. In addition, Snapchat filters and backgrounds were used to evoke a variety of locations.

“The students really engaged and worked to create the theater atmosphere they know,” Cyr said. 

Joseph Pickens and Alyssa Helminen were signaled out with nominations for the Irene Ryan Award for acting.

Patricia Helsel, the show's director, said "I am extremely proud of the collaborative effort of the entire cast, crew, and production/artistic staff.  Terror turned to delight as the first audiences joined our Zoom conference each night."

UCS Hours for Spring Break

ChemStores will be open from 10 a.m. to 12 noon, and from 1 to 4 p.m. from March 8-12.

Please continue to fill out our order form normally, email or call 7-2049) with any questions you may have.

Are OERs right for you?

If you have been following our conversation this week, you have learned that Open Educational Resources or OERs are high-quality instructional materials, available in many formats. They provide students with cost savings over traditional course materials and give faculty the flexibility to make course materials work for themselves and their students.

Faculty who decide to create their own OER should know that unlike traditional publishing models, they retain their copyright and, through the application of easy-to-use licenses, direct how their content may be used by others.

OER authors also see equitable open access to their work, leading to greater discovery, increased readership and significant impact and recognition in their field. If you are interested in learning more about OERs contact the library at any time.

Michigan Tech Best Construction Management College in Michigan

Michigan Tech was rated the Best Construction Management College in Michigan by Universities.com, a website designed to help people make informed decisions about their education.

Universities.com rated all the colleges in Michigan that offer Construction Management degrees. Each school's ranking is based on the compilation of data from government sources, student surveys, college graduate interviews, and editorial reviews.

On the website is the list of all 11 Construction Management schools located within Michigan, including reviews, facts, and questions and answers regarding each college listed.

What Role Does Scholarship Play in Our Campus Engagement with Discourse on Race and Equity?

The MTU Humanities Department Diversity Studies Program proudly introduces a new roundtable discussion series on diversity, equity and inclusion. Special guests, scholars and activists will present on featured topics, with particular emphasis on critical race, ethnic, and gender scholarship and social justice issues of public concern.

The first event in the series takes place at 1 p.m. Friday, March 19 via Zoom. Our first roundtable panel will include special guest, MTU Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion, Wayne Gersie, Director of Diversity Studies Program, Kette Thomas, and Director of Modern Languages, Carlos Amador.

Featured topic: "What role does scholarship play in our campus engagement with discourse on race and equity?"

Volunteers Needed for Augmented Reality Study

We are looking for volunteers to take part in a study exploring how people may interact with future Augmented Reality (AR) interfaces. During the study, you will record videos of yourself tapping on a printed keyboard. The study takes approximately one hour, and you will be paid $15 for your time. You will complete the study at your home.

To participate you must meet the following requirements:

  • You must have access to an Android mobile phone
  • You must have access to a printer
  • You must be a fluent speaker of English
  • You must be 18 years of age or older
  • You must live in the United States

If you would like to take part, please contact rhabibi@mtu.edu.

An alternate form may contain the contact details of someone else on the research team.

This Week in the Lode

Featured this week in the Michigan Tech Lode:





Check out our website to see past articles and more!

PS - do you enjoy writing, editing, photography or graphic design? We are currently in need of new individuals to join our staff. We meet weekly on Wednesdays and publish the same night on our website. Eventually, we will be returning to print publishing as well. We are a dedicated and fun group of individuals who enjoy representing campus life through news. Email us and find out how you can join the Lode.

Michigan Tech - UP and Moving Program

Stay Physically Active During the Pandemic with UP and Moving

Are you sitting more and moving less during the COVID-19 pandemic? The "UP and Moving" program in the Department of Kinesiology and Integrative Physiology is offering a free exercise program open to students, staff, faculty and community members. The program provides live and recorded home-based workouts online, through social media, and on TV. No equipment is needed and workouts can be done right from the comfort of your home. The program goal is to keep adults in the Upper Peninsula and Northern Wisconsin physically active and healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. For more information see our schedule below, go to our website, or join us for a workout at noon (EST) Sunday (March 7) on ABC 10.

Virtual Workout Schedule (Live on Zoom and Social Media):

  • Monday - Strength workout (5:30 p.m.)
  • Tuesday - High intensity interval training "HIIT" (6 p.m.)
  • Thursday - Circuit workout (9:30 a.m.)
  • Friday - Yoga (9 a.m.)
  • Saturday - Surprise workout (10 a.m.)

Also, join us on Zoom for a shorter lunchtime movement activity (15-20 min. This is designed as a quick movement break from prolonged sitting/computer work and can be done right from the office, desk, or home. It is held at 1noon and 12:30 p.m. on Wednesday.

All workouts are recorded and available to watch on our website through a YouTube channel. 

TV Workout Schedule (ABC 10):

  • First and third Sunday of every month, noon (EST)

For more information about UP and Moving go to the website or contact Steven Elmer (KIP).

Upper Peninsula's Teaching and Learning Conference Continues on Virtual Platform

The Upper Peninsula Teaching and Learning Conference (UPTLC) will continue in the virtual format, offering two more sessions:

March 16

  • "From Classroom to Resume - Skills that Count," by Feralyn Narkewicz, Lake Superior State University (LSSU)
  • "WRITE-D: Applying Write-on-Site to Graduate Work in the Disciplines," by Andrew Fiss (HU), Sarah Isaacson (Graduate School), Will Cantrell (Graduate School/Physics) and Pushpalatha Murthy (Graduate School) from MTU.

To register for this event, follow this link

April 13

  • "Returning Students to the Classroom Post Concussion," by Joseph Susi II and Erin Young from LSSU
  • "'This Firm Made Me Want to Pull My Hair Out!' The Value of Student Diaries for Course Assessment" by H. Russell Searight from LSSU

To register for this event, follow this link. All sessions start at 3:30 p.m. and consist of two 20 minute presentations, followed by time for Q&A.

Women's Basketball Advances to GLIAC Semifinal

Ellie Mackay and Jordan Ludescher scored 15 points apiece and No. 1 seed Michigan Tech defeated No. 8 seed Davenport University 79-52 in a Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference quarterfinal Yesterday afternoon in Westville, Indiana. The Huskies assembled a 10-2 run to start the game and played a strong third quarter to extend a five-point halftime lead to win comfortably. Sara Dax played well off the bench and finished with 12 points.

The Huskies (18-1) will play Saginaw Valley in a semifinal game at 5 p.m. today (March 5).

"I thought for three quarters we defended them exceptionally well," said head coach Sam Hoyt. "In the first, third, and fourth quarters we communicated really well and executed and that led to more offense. I always feel the first two or three minutes usually sets the tone. We saw that with too many turnovers but also in the success we had on offense. Anytime you can come out and create early confidence, that bodes well for the rest of the game."  

Michigan Tech shot 29-for-55 (52.7-percent) overall, including 6-for-14 (42.9-percent from the 3-point arc. The Huskies also made frequent trips to the free throw line and converted 15 of 17 tries. Ludescher made 6 of 12 shots and nabbed seven rebounds, one steal, and one block. 

Michigan Tech has now won 16 games in a row dating back to Jan. 15 and is ranked No. 9 in NCAA Division II nationally, No. 1 in the Midwest Region.

Job Posting

Job Posting for Friday, March 5, 2021

Staff and faculty job descriptions are available in Human Resources. For more information regarding staff positions, call 487-2280 or email mtujobs@mtu.edu.

For more information regarding faculty positions, contact the academic department in which the position is posted.

Food Service Helper (9 months/ 40 hours/ 1st Shift), Dining Services. AFSCME posting 3/5/2021 - 3/11/2021. External applicants will not be reviewed until after all internal applicants. Apply online.

Michigan Technological University is an Equal Opportunity Educational Institution/Equal Opportunity Employer that provides equal opportunity for all, including protected veterans and individuals with disabilities. Accommodations are available. If you require any auxiliary aids, services, or other accommodations to apply for employment, or for an interview, at Michigan Technological University, please notify the Human Resources office at 906-487-2280 or mtujobs@mtu.edu.

Advance Weekly Roundup

Today’s edition of the ADVANCE Weekly Roundup features an article from the Harvard Business Review on ways an organization can support individuals to reduce imposter syndrome. Imposter syndrome, coined in 1978, describes the feeling of doubting one’s abilities, second-guessing one’s accomplishments, and having mild-anxiety about work success. Imposter syndrome places the blame for feeling this way on the individual rather than considering how the organization’s historical and cultural context sends signals to women, particularly women of color, about their professional contributions. Rather than seeking to correct the individual, the answer lies in creating organizations that position racial, ethnic, and gender diversity as the norm. Addressing systemic bias and toxic cultures can reduce experiences that lead to imposter syndrome and maximizes the net productivity of all members of the community.

Today’s feature was shared with us by the Advocates and Allies Advisory Board. If you have an article you think we should feature, please email it to advance-mtu@mtu.edu and we will consider adding it to the ADVANCE Weekly Roundup.

The ADVANCE Weekly Roundup is brought to you by ADVANCE at Michigan Tech, which is an NSF-funded initiative dedicated to improving faculty career success, retention, diversity, equity, and inclusion.

These articles are available on the ADVANCE Newsblog. To learn more about this week’s topic, our mission, programming efforts, and to check out our growing collection of resources, contact us or visit our website


Fill Out the COVID-19 Symptom Tracking Form Before Coming to Campus

If you are working on campus while the University is at Health Safety Level Three, remember that no one is permitted to come to campus with symptoms consistent with COVID-19.

Employees are required to monitor their symptoms daily before coming to campus. The Daily Symptom Tracking Form is a short form that will help you determine if you have COVID-19 symptoms.


Mathematical Sciences Distinguished Colloquium Today

The next Mathematical Sciences Distinguished Colloquium takes place at 1 p.m. today (March 5) via Zoom.

Fioralba Cakoni will present, “Spectral Problems in Inverse Scattering for Inhomogeneous Media.”

Caroni is a distinguished professor at Rutgers University.


Call to Fill Professional Staff Vacancies on University Senate

Michigan Tech's University Senate includes both faculty and staff representatives across units and departments who are active partners in University decisions that affect both academic and administrative affairs, from teaching quality to fringe benefits. There are currently several professional staff Senator and Alternate positions vacant including:

  • Academic Services A: Representing professional staff of Biological Sciences; Biomedical Engineering; Center for Teaching and Learning; Chemical Engineering; Chemistry; Electrical and Computer Engineering; Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics; Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs; Registrar's Office
  • Academic Services B: Representing professional staff of Civil and Environmental Engineering; College of Engineering; Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences; Materials Science and Engineering; Michigan Tech Transportation Institute
  • Administration A: Representing professional staff of Associate Vice President for Administration; Budget and Planning; Chief Financial Officer and Senior Vice President for Administration; Financial Services and Operations; Human Resources; Institutional Research; Internal Audit; Vice President for Finance
  • Auxiliaries and Athletics: Representing professional staff of A.E. Seaman Mineral Museum; Athletics; Business Support Center; General Recreation; Memorial Union; Mont Ripley; Portage Lake Golf Course; Residential Dining; Rozsa Center
  • Research 1: Representing professional staff of Innovation and Industry Engagement; Keweenaw Research Center; Michigan Tech Research Institute; Sponsored Programs Office; Vice President for Research
  • Research 2: Representing professional staff of Innovation and Industry Engagement; Keweenaw Research Center; Michigan Tech Research Institute; Sponsored Programs Office; Vice President for Research

Senators serve three-year terms, with the obligation of meeting every other week and participating in at least one Senate committee. Alternates also serve on committees but are not required to attend meetings except in the absence of their unit’s Senator.

Terms begin this summer and run through July 2024. If you are considering making this commitment to Michigan Tech’s community or wish to nominate a representative, you can get more details by emailing Senate Assistant Ashley Buchanan.

Deans' Teaching Showcase

College of Engineering Dean Janet Callahan has selected Smitha Rao, assistant professor in Biomedical Engineering, as our eighth spring 2021 Deans’ Teaching Showcase member.

Rao was selected for her extensive recruiting and supervision of undergraduates in student research. She has four to five undergraduate students each year that she mentors in her lab. Three of her students have won the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) Award and she has participated in the Undergraduate Research Internship Program (URIP) six times. Both of these programs run out of the Pavlis Honors College.

Her approach to mentoring in her words is that she wants students to seek and gain a sense of accomplishment and ownership, to develop confidence in their own abilities, and — in the process — contribute to science. She likes to get undergraduates involved in topics that are of interest to them, so their efforts take on a deeper personal meaning. She sees mentoring undergraduate students as an opportunity to train the next generation of engineers while honing her own skills.

The results? Rao’s description of her work speaks for itself: “Out of the 20 plus students that I directly mentored either as an advisor or as an instructor, about 10 are in graduate school. One student from my lab was recently offered a full fellowship to pursue a PhD at a different university. I typically have about four to five undergraduate students each semester. However, this year I have 9 undergrad students (freshman through senior).”

Rao’s mentoring does not stop at just teaching them fundamental lab skills. She encourages them to participate in different events from competitions to conferences, provides them information relevant to their own interests, and continues to offer guidance as they gain independence in their own research projects. Many of them become co-authors on papers describing the research they help with and some have stayed on for graduate school. Several of her undergraduate students continue to remain in touch with her even after they graduated. She often discusses with students their future goals and expectations, offering them information about different ways to define and achieve success. Most importantly, she encourages leadership and independence. Students are encouraged to explore their interests, invest time and effort in their work, mentor others and enjoy their work.

She extends this approach to her teaching as well, peppering students with difficult challenges, coaxing responses, and sharing a laugh with over-the-top examples used to illustrate a point. In one student’s words, “When starting the Biomedical Engineering program in 2014, I was not expecting to build a relationship with any of the professors in the department. That all changed in the fall of 2016 when I took one of Dr. Rao’s classes. From there, so many doors of opportunity were opened for me just by reaching out to Dr. Rao. I was fortunate enough to work alongside her in her research lab gaining incredible experience in research. She was one of the most enthusiastic professors I had during my time at Michigan Tech and I attribute a lot of my success thus far to her guidance. During my last year, Dr. Rao helped revamp my resume, prepare me for interviews, and was excited to be a part of the process of helping me start my career. I will never forget when I got the call of being offered my dream job during a meeting with her and she was jumping up and down just as much as I was. Dr. Rao is truly a one-of-a-kind professor and person, I am so honored and thankful to have worked with her and continue to connect with her.”

A second student agrees that Rao's mentoring extends to the classroom, saying “Dr. Rao’s mentorship of undergraduate students has been exemplary, giving students hands-on experience at applying exactly what they are learning in class towards solving real-world problems related to improving human health. Meaningful undergraduate research is part of the culture in our department and Dr. Rao has certainly promoted this important piece in the education of the next generation of engineers and scientists.”

Dean Callahan’s choice especially valued how seriously Rao takes mentoring. In her words, “Dr. Rao’s emphasis on hands-on science is inspirational. And in the classroom, she is well-known for engaging students with their learning. Working with students is her passion.”

Rao will be recognized at an end-of-term event with other showcase members, and is also a candidate for the CTL Instructional Award Series (to be determined this summer) recognizing introductory or large-class teaching, innovative or outside the classroom teaching methods, or work in curriculum and assessment.

Today's Campus Events

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DENALI: Artists Respond to Music Inspired by Wilderness

Friday, Jan. 22 - Saturday, April 17. Art and music inspired by Alaska's wild places. This gallery exhibit features new musical compositions and works created in response to...


UP and Moving - Yoga

Michigan Tech students in the Department of Kinesiology and Integrative Physiology are offering an "UP and Moving" initiative for campus and community members. UP and Moving...


Mathematical Sciences Colloquium: Spectral Problems in Inverse Scattering for Inhomogeneous Media

Speaker: Professor Fioralba Cakoni (Rutgers); Abstract: The inverse scattering problem for inhomogeneous media amounts to inverting a locally compact nonlinear operator, thus...


PhD Defense: Qing Guo

Physics Advisor: Ravindra Pandey Application of Graphene-Based 2D Materials and Exploration of Lithium Polysulfides Solid Phases – First-Principles Study Based on Density...


Chat & Chill Group

We used to be the board game group. Then COVID... Now, we just chat and chill, and someday, we hope to meet in person again. For now, the goal is to relax, meet new friends,...


CS Dept. Lecture: Hongyu An

The Department of Computer Science will present a lecture by Assistant Professor Hongyu An, ECE, on Friday, March 5, 2021, at 3:00 p.m. An’s lecture is titled, “Designing an...


American Red Cross Lifeguard Certification Course

Earn your American Red Cross Lifeguard Certification in this 3-day intensive training course located at the Michigan Tech SDC Pool. The certification includes Lifeguard/First...


RQE Lecture: Zhiyuan Lu, Computer Science

Zhiyuan Lu, a Department of Computer Science graduate student, will present his RQE lecture on Thursday, March, 5, 2021, at 4:00 p.m. The lecture will be presented virtually....


DENALI: Music and Art Inspired by Wilderness

What do you get when you set nine composers loose in Denali National Park? You get nine great pieces of music! Give this music to artists as inspiration and you get eighteen...