Guest Blog: Life in a Galaxy Not So Far Away

At some point in every person’s life they wonder if there really is life beyond Earth. Instead of being “in a galaxy far, far away,” alien microbial life forms may be only three planets away — on Saturn’s moon, Titan.

As student writer Alyssa Abbas (BioSci) writes in her guest blog for Unscripted, many popular science fiction franchises depend on humanoid aliens to spin their stories. Titan is a popular sci-fi destination, but it is also of scientific interest since its chemistry and environment are promising for alien microbes. However, life on Titan would look different than life on Earth, largely because of the atmosphere and the chemical compounds that make up the moon.

What are the limits and possibilities of life on Titan? Read about them on Unscripted, the University’s research blog at

SDC, Gates Tennis Center, Tech Trails Adjust Facility Guidelines

In keeping with recently updated University, state and federal guidelines, the Michigan Tech Student Development Complex, Gates Tennis Center and Tech Trails are adjusting facility guidelines.

At Health and Safety Level Two:

  • Students, employees, and visitors who received their final dose of an FDA-approved or authorized COVID-19 vaccine at least two weeks ago do not need to wear a face covering or practice six-foot distancing. This applies both indoors and outdoors.
  • Those not fully vaccinated are required to wear a face covering only when they are unable to maintain six feet of distance from others on campus, whether indoors or outdoors.
  • In compliance with state regulations, daily symptom monitoring via the MTU Flex Portal is still required for all members of the campus community and general public before coming to campus. 
  • Group capacity limits, as dictated by the state of Michigan, also remain in place.
    • SDC and Gates will be at 50% capacity for all facilities.

Based on the most current CDC and MDHHS guidance:

  • All individuals can gather outdoors for purposes of organized sports without wearing face masks. This applies to both contact and non-contact organized sports.
  • MDHHS recommends that individuals who are not fully vaccinated continue to wear face coverings while participating in contact sports both outdoors and indoors.
    • See exceptions to the face covering requirement.
  • Fully vaccinated individuals can gather indoors for the purposes of organized sports without wearing face coverings. This applies to both contact and non-contact organized sports.

The SDC is open to current Michigan Tech students, members and action pass holders. SDC membership sales for the general public will resume on July 1. Membership information can be found at the Michigan Tech Recreation website.

HuskiesFit group exercise classes are taking place this summer, both indoors and outdoors. Read more information on the HuskiesFit web page.

Summer building hours will be in place through Aug. 29. Please view each facility page for its open recreation schedule, rules and requirements for entry: 
Fitness CenterPoolMultipurpose Room/Track/Racquetball CourtsClimbing WallGates Tennis Center and the OAP Rental Center

Nominations Open: 2021 CGS/ProQuest Distinguished Dissertation Award

Nominations are now open for the 2021 Council of Graduate Schools (CGS)/ProQuest Distinguished Dissertation Award. Please submit nominations to the Graduate School no later than 4 p.m. on June 16, following our online instructions.

This year, nominations are being accepted from dissertations in the fields of:

  1. Biological and Life Sciences
  2. Humanities and Fine Arts

Michigan Tech may nominate one student in each field. Ph.D. students who have completed all of their degree requirements between July 1, 2019, and June 30, 2021, are eligible. The fields of competition for 2022 will be Mathematics, Physical Sciences and Engineering; and Social Sciences.

Nominations must be delivered to Debra Charlesworth in the Graduate School no later than 4 p.m. on June 16. Email nominations to are preferred.

Contact Charlesworth at if you have any questions about the competition.

Michigan Tech to Host Bay College on June 23

Michigan Tech will host a small delegation of administrators and faculty from Bay College on June 23 to discuss opportunities for academic partnership, including articulations for transfer credit.

If you or your department wish to meet with Bay College during the visit, please contact Cassy Tefft de Muñoz, director of educational outreach, at

Bay de Noc Community College (commonly known as Bay College) is located in Escanaba, Michigan. Founded in 1962, it serves over 5,000 credit students each year through more than 90 academic programs. Bay College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

MTRAC Announces Funding for Projects Addressing Critical Human, Environmental Health Issues

The Michigan Translational Research and Commercialization (MTRAC) Advanced Applied Materials Innovation Hub at Michigan Tech recently awarded over $190,000 in funding to four projects from researchers across the state. These projects — led by researchers at Michigan Tech, University of Michigan and Michigan State University — strive to address crucial global issues.

The four projects awarded funding are:

  • Michigan Technological University — Researchers at Michigan Tech strive to develop a manufacturing process for a new polymer alloy derived from municipal mixed waste plastics to be used in packaging and shipping applications.
  • University of Michigan — Researchers at U of M will craft a flexible, self-healing, hypoallergenic adhesive material for bandages and wearable electronic devices.
  • Michigan State University — Researchers at Michigan State will advance manufacturing methods of thermoelectric generating materials that will be deposited with significant ease compared to present-day techniques, greatly expanding the possible application of these materials.
  • Michigan State University — Another team of researchers at MSU will create near-atomically flat diamond substrates to be used in cutting-edge electronics and thermal management applications.

“Michigan has a proud reputation for helping commercialize impressive technologies from within our university ecosystem, as demonstrated by the latest projects to be approved by the MTRAC Advanced Applied Materials Innovation Hub at Michigan Tech,” said Denise Graves, university relations director at the MEDC. “These projects have the potential to significantly improve our quality of life and solve some of the most pressing environmental challenges of our time, and we look forward to seeing how the funding and mentorship help them complete their milestones over the coming year.”

After successfully presenting their proposals to a 10-person oversight committee of venture capitalists, materials experts and entrepreneurs, the researchers will use the awarded funding and mentorship from the program to further develop their projects on a path toward commercialization. The four projects funded by the hub will have the potential to dramatically improve telecommunications equipment, improve patient well-being and reduce waste around the world.

“Translational research funding is critically important in moving discoveries from the laboratory to the marketplace. This year's round of projects is a great collection of projects that offer significant societal impact in areas ranging from plastic recycling to telecommunications," said Jim Baker, associate vice president for research at MTU. 

Funded through the Michigan Strategic Fund and administered by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), the MTRAC Advanced Applied Materials Innovation Hub at Michigan Tech supports materials-based technologies offering novel materials and novel applications of conventional materials that address well-documented market needs. To date, the hub at MTU has reviewed 56 proposals and supported 14 projects from researchers across Michigan.

The hub is part of a network of statewide innovation hubs strategically located at universities strong in the sector, further increasing the quality and quantity of resources available.

Author/Alum Michael Paddock to Present His Book

The Office of Alumni Engagement invites you to join author and alum Michael Paddock '87 '88 as he presents his book: "Bridging Barriers: How a Community Changes Its Future with Help from Engineers Without Borders USA Volunteers."

Paddock brings to us a true story about “the trials, tribulations and successes of the engineers and community members who gave new hope to La Garrucha." The book details the work that students from Milwaukee’s Marquette University Engineers Without Borders (EWD) program used to construct two life-changing projects, a bridge and a water project, for the rural community of La Garrucha, Guatemala.

Learn about what drives Paddock to focus on a life of service, lessons on community building, and important insights as to what it takes for a project to be sustainable. The invaluable takeaways can be applied to everyone’s personal and professional lives.

Paddock’s service to others earned him the honor of being selected as the recipient of the 2020 Humanitarian Award by the Alumni Board of Directors.

Learn more about Michael Paddock and his book — tune in via Zoom on Tuesday (June 1) at 2 p.m. for the live presentation and Q&A.

If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to Heather Sander, assistant director - alumni programming, at or 906-487-2466.

William Breffle Named COB Teacher of the Year

Enthusiastic, inspirational and adaptable are how William Breffle’s students describe the economics professor and are attributes they felt worthy of the 2020-21 Michigan Tech College of Business Teacher of the Year honor.

One student noted, “I have had Dr. Breffle for many courses. He cares about students, cares about the curriculum and offers exquisite insight. The way he relates coursework to current events and trends is fantastic. He’s the best professor I have had at Michigan Tech.”

William “Bill” Breffle is an applied microeconomist specializing in environmental economics. Prior to joining Michigan Tech in 2007, he conducted economics research for Natural Resource Damage Assessments at Superfund sites.

Read the complete story on the College of Business newsblog.

In the News

Rolf Peterson (CFRES) was quoted in an AP News article on a new study into road collisions and wolf movements in Wisconsin. Peterson was not involved in the new study, but was sought out by AP News as an expert. The article was picked up by ABC News, NBC News, US News and World Report and Yahoo News, as well as roughly 100 regional outlets across the country. 


Mark Rudnicki (CFRES) was a featured expert in a Lawnstarter article on tree cover.


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

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

Employees are required to monitor for symptoms daily before coming to campus using the Daily Symptom Monitoring Form.


Call for Nominations from RSO Advisors

Please consider nominating a registered student organization (RSO) you advise (and/or a student within the organization) for the Student Org Spotlight!

RSOs and students selected for the Spotlight are featured on the Student Leadership & Involvement social media and web page, highlighting your RSO and student members to a large audience. We want to hear about outstanding leadership, amazing events and exceptional organizations!

Please utilize the nomination form and include at least one picture for Student Leadership & Involvement to feature. Questions? Email us at


Summer Softball League 2021: Registration Open!

Hello all! The dog days of summer are fast approaching, and with them the return of GSG’s annual Summer Softball Extravaganza!

This no-holds-barred extreme slow-pitch softball league will be held over the summer semester from June 6 to August 8. Games will be held weekly on Saturday and Sunday afternoons from 1-3:30 p.m., with Wednesday reserved for makeup games.

Don’t have any softball equipment, you say? Well, no worries here! GSG will provide bats, balls and gloves for every registered player. Though, of course, if you do have your own equipment, you are more than welcome to use it (provided there’s no cork in your bat).

Also, feel free to start recruiting for your team. Anyone not affiliated with a team is welcome to register solo and will be placed with one.

Registration is open and live until tomorrow (May 27) — you can fill out the registration form online.

Saturday (May 29) will be a quick workshop to get everybody comfortable with the rules and regulations, as well as help get a little practice in before we start.

Be sure to register before the deadline is up and read over the rules and regulations concerning COVID safety.

Today's Campus Events

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UP & Moving Lunchtime High Noon Activity Break

We are a group of Michigan Tech graduate students who are focused on improving the health of our community. We are contributing to the COVID-19 response by providing health...


UP & Moving Lunchtime Noon-Thirty Activity Break

We are a group of Michigan Tech graduate students who are focused on improving the health of our community. We are contributing to the COVID-19 response by providing health...



Bring a friend (or two!) and join us for our fifth annual Plant-A-Palooza!! You can plant a succulent and take it home. Wednesday, May 26 at 2 PM on Walker Lawn. We will be...


Music in Sacred Spaces: conScience

conScience: Michigan Tech Chamber Singers, under the direction of Dr. Jared Anderson, present a series of three recorded mini-concerts in historic sacred spaces in the Copper...


Superior Wind Symphony: Reparations

The Superior Wind Symphony, under the direction of Dr. Michael Christianson, use the unique setting of the 2020-21 academic year to explore the music of Black composers in a...