You've Got a Friend in Me: Childhood Pals Achieve Michigan Tech Milestones Together

Two students who went to Michigan Tech together stand in front of the University sign outside the year they came to MTU.

Friends since first grade, scholastic competitors, Summer Youth Programs (SYP) campers, fraternity brothers and 2022 Michigan Tech grads A.J. Alexa and Cody Slagle share their journey from Pokémon cards to diplomas.

SYP and academic excellence brought the pair to Tech from their small Upper Peninsula communities near Iron Mountain.  “We became friends through A.J. giving me his extra Pokémon cards and we’ve been close ever since,” said Slagle. “We lived together our first two years of college, joined the same fraternity and now we’re moving to the same area. Can’t avoid this guy even if I tried to!”

Find out why SYP made such an impression, how the pair chose their majors and more about their longtime friendship at Michigan Tech News.

MTU Partners with 20Fathoms to Advance Tech Entrepreneurship

Michigan Technological University is developing a growing partnership with 20Fathoms, a startup incubator in Traverse City, as part of their ongoing efforts to turn outcomes of research on campus into startup businesses.

Representatives from the Michigan Tech Office of Innovation and Commercialization (OIC) recently visited Traverse City to discuss a number of ongoing commercialization projects in areas including 3D printing, renewable energy, plastics recycling and advanced batteries. 20Fathoms recruited leaders from the local startup business community, including tech business veterans, investors and professional service providers. The event, jointly organized by Michigan Tech and 20Fathoms, was held at Michigan Tech’s Traverse City Research Workspace on May 10.

“The University has a high volume of research that produces discoveries with significant commercial potential, but one of our greatest challenges in moving these discoveries to the market is recruitment of people with business experience in technology startups who can join our companies and take a leadership role in moving the companies in partnership with our technical experts,” explained Jim Baker, Tech’s associate vice president for research administration. 

Through the course of the event, participants learned about individual commercialization projects that have come out of research on campus and have the potential to become businesses that solve real-world problems. The startup leaders attending the event were presented the opportunity to serve as entrepreneurs-in-residence for the commercialization projects as they move from development within the University into private companies.

An entrepreneur-in-residence serves as an early-stage startup’s first leader, taking the first steps to develop a business around technology licensed from the University. This includes establishing and following through on business milestones, recruiting private investment, identifying lead customers and engaging strategic partners.

“It takes a lot of work to turn University research into a business, but in Traverse City, we have the startup business leaders and resources to make it happen,” said Eric Roberts, executive director of 20Fathoms. “We’re grateful for the opportunity from the commercialization team at Michigan Tech to get involved in this inspiring work.”

“We are very excited about the ongoing collaboration with 20Fathoms to address this challenge in a way that results in economic growth for both of our regions,” said Baker.

Geospatial Escape Trailer Visiting Area Schools

During the month of May, a team from the Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial Engineering (CEGE) is visiting area middle schools to introduce students to geospatial engineering with a grant funded by the Engineering Information Foundation.

The purpose of the grant is to enhance interest and increase students' awareness of geospatial engineering by providing hands-on experiences that mimic the work of geospatial engineers while interacting with female role models in engineering. By the end of the month, the program will reach over 1,000 middle school students in Baraga, Gogebic, Houghton and Ontonagon counties.

The Geospatial Escape Trailer is the centerpiece of the outreach event, and was made possible with gifts from Atwell LLC, R.A. Smith, Seiler Instrument Geospatial and Spalding DeDecker. The grant was written by Ph.D. student Jess Alger and CEGE faculty: Audra Morse, Joan Chadde, Melanie Kueber Watkins, Joseph Foster and Jeffery Hollingsworth.

Job Postings

Job Postings for Thursday, May 12, 2022

Staff and faculty job descriptions are available on the Human Resources website. For more information regarding staff positions, call 906-487-2280 or email

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

Visiting Assistant Professor, Cognitive and Learning Sciences. Apply online.

Administrative Aide 7 (12 months/ 40 hours/ first shift) 22065RP, Electrical and Computer Engineering. 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

In Print

William H. Cooke (KIP) is the co-author of an article accepted for publication in Frontiers in Network Physiology.

The article is titled "Beyond the baroreflex: A new measure of autonomic regulation based on the time-frequency assessment of variability, phase coherence and couplings."

Cooke's co-authors are Philip Clemson of the University of Liverpool, U.K.; Jeffrey Hoag of Thomas Jefferson University; Dwain Eckberg of Virginia Commonwealth University; and Aneta Stefanovska of Lancaster University, U.K.


HRI Research Scientist Candidate Seminar

The Health Research Institute (HRI) is pleased to invite you to a seminar given by research scientist candidate Maria Kwesiga.

Kwesiga is a research scientist in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Michigan Tech. She obtained her doctor of medicine degree (M.D.) from the University of Algiers in Algeria in 2015. During her medical internship, she was inspired to pursue further studies in research. Kwesiga completed her Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering at Michigan Tech in 2019.

Kwesiga will give her seminar, titled "Pathological Considerations in In vitro Cell Culture Studies," from 1-2 p.m. today (May 12).

Attendance is invited in person in ChemSci 201 and virtually via Zoom.

The seminar recording will be available upon request.


Huskies Engage at Traverse City during Innovation Week

As part of Michigan Tech’s Grand Traverse region initiative, Huskies will be active in Traverse City this week (May 9-15) during a series of events to celebrate innovation and entrepreneurship.

Husky Innovate students Bayle Golden (master’s student, engineering management) and Rourke Sylvain (biomedical engineering) will pitch their ideas during the TCNewTech University Idea Showcase today (May 12). On Sunday evening (May 15) they will pitch again, competing for prizes.

College of Business alumnus and local business owner David McBride ‘82 will serve as a judge of the showcase. This event will be livestreamed via TCNewTech's Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn channels beginning at 6 p.m. Register to attend virtually or in person.

Golden and Sylvain have engaged in Husky Innovate events including the Bob Mark Business Model Pitch Competition and the New Venture Competition (NVC), where both took top prizes. At NVC, Golden won first place in the Social Mission category and received $10,000 pitching “SafeRow,” an innovative wearable device designed to keep children safe when every second counts. Together, Sylvain and Ali Dabas (biomedical engineering) won second place in the High Tech High Growth category, receiving $5,000. Their pitch, “imi (integrated molecular innovations),” is an electrochemical biosensor for T4 detection.

Husky Innovate is a collaboration between the Pavlis Honors College, the Office of Innovation and Commercialization, and the College of Business. Thanks go out to the collaborators and the Department of Biomedical Engineering (BioMed) for sponsoring student engagement.