Going Places: Voyager Scholarship Takes Future Leader to the Next Level

An Obama Foundation Voyager Scholar winner stands in front of the forestry building where she studies wildlife ecology, on the campus of Michigan Technological University

Given the amount of hours that Michigan Tech Huskies devote to research, it’s not too surprising that Quinn Riordan (applied ecology and environmental science) was in a lab when she received some of the biggest news of her life.

The junior briefly stepped away from her work as part of a summer internship to check her email. Results for the 2023-24 selection of the Obama-Chesky Voyager Scholarship for Public Service were expected soon.

“All of July, I was checking my email more often than usual,” Riordan said. “Although I never really thought I’d get it.”

But she did. Riordan is one of 100 Voyager students chosen nationwide as part of the program’s second cohort. She joins students from 33 states and territories representing 74 colleges and universities. As a scholarship winner, she’ll receive up to $25,000 per year in financial aid for her junior and senior years.

The scholarship also includes a $10,000 stipend and free Airbnb housing to fund a six-week Summer Voyage between her junior and senior year, intended as a work-travel experience that exposes her to new communities and helps her gain experience in her chosen field.

Learn more about Riordan’s study and leadership focus and where the scholarship will take her at Stories from Husky Nation.

Retired Physics Professor Bryan Suits Passes Away

Bryan Suits, a professor in the Department of Physics (Physics) from 1985 to 2023, passed away this month.

Bryan’s primary research focus was nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR). His most cited work concerned remote sensing by nuclear quadrupole resonance, applied to problems such as explosives detection. Notably, the NMR spectrometers and processing electronics in Bryan's lab contained almost no commercial instruments. Everything was Bryan Suits’ brand, designed and built by him and his students. He couldn’t find any instruments matching the impedance of his coils, and phase-sensitive detector and boxcars were not fast enough for him, so he simply built everything himself.

Bryan was also a regular contributor to the American Journal of Physics and The Physics Teacher, writing on wide-ranging topics from frequency and pitch, to the propagation of typos, to long pendulums in gravitational gradients. The latter was inspired by Bryan’s historical research into early 20th century pendulum experiments conducted in the Tamarack Mine by MTU Physics faculty. In 2005, these were recognized by Guinness World Records as the World’s Longest Pendulum thanks to Bryan’s efforts (the piano wire and iron weights were hung 4,250 feet down Shaft No. 5, and the pendulum period was a remarkable 70 seconds).

Bryan answered the call of duty to serve as department chair during Physics’ crucial and extraordinarily difficult transition to a significant focus on research. Afterward, Bryan dedicated himself to teaching. His experimental skills became invaluable assets for our students. He developed a state-of-the-art electronics lab that accompanied his lectures. The lab wasn’t just based on computer simulations; instead, students built electronic gadgets from scratch using a soldering iron and basic components.

Bryan received the MTU teaching award in 2007. He fully deserved it just for that electronics class, but in addition, he developed a highly successful and popular Physics of Music course containing fascinating demonstrations, another example of Bryan's exceptional experimental abilities. Finally, the many live demonstrations experienced by hundreds of MTU students in introductory physics courses Mechanics and Electricity and Magnetism were developed and refined by Bryan. His legacy of teaching lives on through his demos and through two textbooks he wrote for the courses he developed: "Electronics for Scientists" (Springer, 2020) and "Physics Behind Music" (Cambridge, 2023).

Bryan also had a rich personal life. He raised his family in Houghton. He was a stalwart member of the Physics softball team. He was a musician extraordinaire, performing for many years as the principal flutist of the Keweenaw Symphony Orchestra. His artistry on the flute created many memorable performances, including major solos by Debussy, Saint-Saens and Shostakovich. One of his prized accomplishments was rediscovering a lost symphony by astronomer-composer William Herschel (who discovered Uranus). After Bryan edited and rescored it, the KSO premiered the symphony in October 2022.

Bryan’s dry wit, warmth and musicality made a lasting impression on all who knew him. Ten years ago or so, Bryan started to run. He was determined to run and finish the Boston Marathon, and his dream came true: in 2017 he ran and finished the race.

Read Bryan's full obituary.

CoE Dean Search Job Posting

The College of Engineering (CoE) Dean Search job posting is now live. You can view the posting on the Human Resources Job Openings webpage.

Please feel free to share the opportunity broadly within your networks. Additionally, nominations can be submitted to the search committee chair, Dennis Livesay (CC), at dlivesay@mtu.edu.

CSA Dean Search Committee Meeting

The College of Sciences and Arts (CSA) Dean Search Committee will be meeting today (Oct. 18) at 2 p.m. in AOB 201.

Provost Andrew Storer will be attending and the committee will be finalizing the position description. The meeting is open to the public.

RSVP Open Enrollment Ends Oct. 31

The Retirement Supplemental Voluntary Program (RSVP) is a voluntary retirement program offered to eligible Michigan Tech employees. The enrollment period during which an employee may sign their RSVP election ends Oct. 31.

Employees electing the monetary retirement option must retire on or before June 30, 2024. The monetary retirement option provides a benefit equal to 20% of the eligible employee’s annual salary (nine-month salary for faculty), up to the cap amount of $55,000 at the time of their actual retirement date.

For further clarification, please see the RSVP policy and the RSVP matrix, which explains the gradual phase-out of all RSVP options.

Prior to electing RSVP, employees must meet with the Joanne Chalgren in the Benefits Office for a confidential meeting to verify eligibility. RSVP program information may be found online.

RSVP questions may be directed to Joanne Chalgren in Benefits Services at 906-487-2517 or benefits@mtu.edu.

2023 Flexible Spending Account Claims Deadline

The Benefits Office would to remind employees that the deadline to submit claims for their 2023 Flexible Spending Account (FSA) is March 31, 2024. Health care and dependent care claims during the 2022 calendar year are eligible if the date of service was in 2023. Any money remaining in the account after this date is forfeited per IRS regulations.

Dependent care claims require an invoice or receipt from the provider. All medical, dental and optical claims should be processed through your insurance plans before submitting them to your health care reimbursement account.

Attach the Explanation of Benefits (EOB) or a claim summary from your insurance plan to the claim form when submitting a claim. For expenses not processed through insurance, submit the itemized receipt.

More information and the FSA claim form can be found online on the Human Resources Flex Spending page.

For questions, contact Benefits Services at benefits@mtu.edu or call 7-2517.

Michigan Tech Testing Center Open House

As part of our 10-year celebration, the Michigan Tech Testing Center is hosting an open house tomorrow (Oct. 19) from 9 a.m. to noon.

We would like to invite staff and faculty/instructors to stop in to ask questions, take a tour and enjoy some coffee and cookies.

SDH Open House and Tenant Applications

The tenants of the Sustainability Demonstration House (SDH) would like to invite you to our upcoming Sustainability Open House on Oct. 27 from 6-8 p.m. We will have interactive demos of our sustainable systems (including composting, hydroponics, aquaponics, a solar array, a beehive, energy-efficient appliances, a zero-waste household and many more) and fun sustainability games. We hope you will be able to stop by!

Apply to live at the SDH! The deadline to apply is Nov. 6 at noon. A QR code to the application is included in our Open House flyer. Please email your applications to sdh@mtu.edu. We encourage you to apply and share this application with anyone who is interested.

The SDH is located at 21680 Woodland Road, just down the road from East McNair. Parking is available at East McNair, Hillside and Lot 10E.

Please see our flyer for more information. Feel free to email sdh@mtu.edu if you have any questions.

Volunteers Needed for 41 North Film Festival!

Be a part of the action and volunteer with 41 North Film Festival. This year’s festival will take place Nov. 2-5, and we need your help to make it happen! We welcome film enthusiasts, members of the campus community and local area residents. Individuals and groups are invited to join us as volunteers.

Our volunteers help us keep 41 North free and open to the public and are an integral part of the festival. Volunteers may assist with welcoming festival attendees, ushering and answering general questions regarding the festival and films. Help is needed for any and all of the four days of the festival: Thursday through Sunday. Volunteer for one film or for the whole festival — it’s up to you! Our core group of volunteers who are able to commit to multiple volunteer shifts receive a free T-shirt as a thank-you. We look forward to having you on our team!

What do I do when volunteering at 41N?
As a volunteer usher, you play a critical role in creating a joyful experience at arts events. With Rozsa and 41N leadership, you and other ushers work together to greet guests, admit folks into the theater, assist with seating and wayfinding, connect guests to venue accommodations, and support effective crowdflow and emergency procedures. Usher roles will be decided as a team at the beginning of the volunteer shift.

I am / would like to be a 41N core volunteer!
41N relies on volunteer support, and volunteers who commit to serving for a notable part of the weekend-long festival are recognized as the core 41N volunteer group with T-shirts. To sign-up for the 41N core volunteer group and to confirm schedule/service levels, contact Allison Neely at alneely@mtu.edu.

What do I wear and bring?
Wear clothes and shoes that you’re comfortable in! Please make sure they are free from stains and tears. The core group of 41N volunteers will receive 41N T-shirts. The Rozsa will provide a purple ushering bib-style apron to be worn over your clothes. You are welcome to bring a water bottle, and we encourage you to leave valuables at home.

How do I prepare for the event?
No experience is needed. All the training you need will take place the day of the show, before guests arrive. If you're arriving by car and don't require an accessible parking spot, please park in Lot 14 next to the Walker Arts and Humanities Center, as we're doing our best to keep the closest spots available for the show's audience. Ensure you arrive at or before the shift start time, and check in with the front-of-house lead in the Rozsa lobby for a brief orientation.

The 41 North Film Festival spans four days and showcases award-winning independent films and filmmakers from around the region, country and world. Its mission is to provide Michigan Tech students and the surrounding community with an opportunity to critically engage films that are currently in distribution and under discussion, as well as the chance to interact with filmmakers, producers and other industry professionals about the art and business of cinematic storytelling.

Visit the volunteer registration page on GivePulse and search for 41N to sign up for individual volunteer shifts, or contact our volunteer coordinator, Allison Neely, at alneely@mtu.edu or 906-487-2816.

Friends of the Library Annual Lecture

The Friends of the Michigan Tech Library will have their Annual Meeting on Monday (Oct. 23) from 4-6 p.m. in the East Reading Room of the Van Pelt and Opie Library.

Mark F. Rowe will be giving a talk on "The 1926 Wreck of the City of Bangor," in which he will tell the tale of the ill-fated ship and its cargo of brand-new Chrysler automobiles destined for Duluth. Come hear about her grounding east of Copper Harbor, the salvage of the cars, the salvage of the ship and the current display at the Eagle Harbor Lighthouse history museum.

Refreshments will be served and all are welcome.

Virtual Workshop: 'Finding the Source of the Problem'

The Office of Continuous Improvement is offering a virtual workshop, "Finding the Source of the Problem: Root Cause Analysis and Decision-Making Tools," next Thursday (Oct. 26) from 9 a.m. to noon.

Practice with several fun tools for exploring the how, what and why of the gap between how things are and how you want them to be, brainstorming possible causes and using decision-making tools to select the most likely root cause to pursue. These tools can assist you in your efforts to create the best possible experience for students, faculty, staff and other customers.

To see the workshop description and register, complete our brief form or visit our website. Once registered, we'll add you to a calendar event for the course. This workshop will be taught virtually using Zoom and Miro. There will be a brief pre-work assignment before the workshop, and you'll receive a certificate after completing a post-work assignment.

This stand-alone workshop is part of the Lean Basics workshop series. It can be taken independently, or, if you participate in all five workshops in the series, a Lean Yellow Belt certification is awarded to those who satisfactorily complete all requirements. For more information, email improvement@mtu.edu.

ChE External Advisory Board Poster Session

The Department of Chemical Engineering (ChE) invites the campus community to the ChE External Advisory Board Poster Session on Friday (Oct. 20) from 12:30-2 p.m. on the third floor of Chem Sci.

Cash prizes will be awarded in the categories of Graduate Research, Undergraduate Research, and Student Organization. 

Read each entry's abstract at the University Events Calendar.

Questions? Contact Yixin Liu at yixinliu@mtu.edu.

Graduate Research poster entries:

  • No. 1: "Optimization of water extraction conditions for removal of yeast inhibitory compounds from switchgrass"
    Authors: Iman Najafipour, Rebecca Ong

  • No. 2: "Microbial Community Forms Biofilm in Hybrid Chemical-Biological Upcycling Process"
    Authors: Hunter Stoddard, Rebecca Ong

  • No. 3: "Prediction of ex-situ Direct Carbonation of Natural Minerals using Machine Learning Algorithms"
    Authors: William Hanson, Lei Pan

  • No. 4: "Investigating thermal stabilization of porcine parvovirus by sugars and amino acids"
    Authors: Idris Tohidian, Lynn Manchester, Rohan Chaudhari, Caryn Heldt

  • No. 5: "Aquous two phased system for influenza b virus purification"
    Authors: Tara Sarvari, Liza Korolkov, Amanda Bekkala, Lynn Manchester, Caryn Heldt

  • No. 6: "Low-cost, Stable, and Selective Synthetic biosensors for Lactate Detection"
    Authors: Grace Dykstra, Yixin Liu

Undergraduate Research entries:

  • No. 7: "Scaling Down High-Solids Enzymatic Hydrolysis to Increase Sample Throughput"
    Authors: Morgan Redding, Mikayla Marshalek, Andrea Senyk, Rebecca Ong

  • No. 8: "Quantifying Dielectrophoretic Responses of RAW 264.7 Macrophages: Baseline and LPS Activated Cells"
    Authors: Prajeet Kadam, Juan Cruz-Moreno, Holly Flores, Nick Peterson, Roger Guillory, Zainab Alshoug, Adrienne Minerick

Student Organization entry:

  • No. 9: "The American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE)"
    Authors: Addymae Palecek, Alicia Hinman, Jeffrey Kennedy, Devin Spencer, Brandon Mitchell-Kiss, Jacqui Foreman, Allison Swanson, Danya Salame, Spencer Kaastra, Jeana Collins

BioMed Seminar Series Speaker: Juhyun Lee

The next guest speaker in the Department of Biomedical Engineering (BioMed) Seminar Series will present Friday (Oct. 20) at 4 p.m. in person in M&M 610 and virtually via Zoom.

Juhyun Lee from the University of Texas at Arlington will present "Light-Sheet Imaging and Biomechanical Effects to Study Cardiac Trabeculation."

Read the abstract and speaker bio at the University Events Calendar.

Navigating Parenthood While Thriving as an Academic

The provost’s office will host a session focused on strategies to integrate faculty roles as an academic and a parent. The event will take place next Thursday (Oct. 26) from 1-2:30 p.m. in Admin 404.

The session will include viewing an Academic Impressions webcast, followed by a discussion about the issues raised in the webcast.

Please indicate that you plan to attend by completing our RSVP form.

Presentation and Panel on Pumped Hydropower Potential

Learn how Michigan Tech and its research partners propose reusing mines for grid-scale support of the energy transition, unleashing the power of giant underground hydroelectric batteries to power our homes and businesses. Presentations featuring Timothy Scarlett, Roman Sidortsov, Chelsea Schelly, Shardul Tiwari (all SS) and industry partners, plus a live panel discussion, will take place Friday (Oct. 20) in the MUB from 9 a.m. to noon.

Tech is collaborating with Dairyland Power Cooperative and Mine Storage International AB (Mine Storage) to explore the potential for pumped storage hydropower in the Upper Midwest. Dairyland has been evaluating the development of underground pumped hydro at closed mines to support grid reliability for its members while repurposing retired industrial sites in an innovative way that supplies essential storage.

“Pumped hydro is an exciting opportunity for Dairyland as part of our commitment to adopting viable new storage technologies that support the clean energy transition,” said Dairyland President and CEO Brent Ridge. “The Mine Storage system brings unique benefits as it essentially recycles an existing, but unused, site into a flexible, carbon-free power storage system without some of the environmental concerns of traditional battery storage.”

What is pumped storage hydropower? It is an energy storage system familiar to those who know Michigan’s Ludington Pumped Hydropower Storage facility. Pumped hydro performs similarly to a giant battery, storing power in an upper pond or reservoir and then releasing it on demand — typically during times of high energy use. The facility generates power as water flows down from one reservoir to the other, passing through a turbine. When power is plentiful and inexpensive, the system pumps water back into the upper reservoir.

“The American market for energy storage is growing quickly,” said Mine Storage CEO Thomas Johansson. “We view Dairyland as a forward-thinking utility with an attractive location and a portfolio of energy resources. Dairyland also has a business strategy and corporate culture which makes a collaborative partnership ideal for us at Mine Storage when entering the U.S. market.”

Mine Storage (Stockholm, Sweden) develops abandoned mines into pumped hydro energy storage, a flexible resource similar to utility-scale battery storage. Instead of constantly drawing water from a river or lake, the natural resources are contained within a mine where the water quality can be monitored and used over and over. Information on the Mine Storage concept is available in Michigan Tech's 2023 Research Magazine and on Dairyland's website.

Michigan Tech continues to support the collaboration as Dairyland examines potential development options. The University has led significant research on the potential of pumped hydro storage systems in mines through grants provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and the National Science Foundation.

Lindy Oujiri Named to All-Tournament Team

Michigan Tech volleyball outside hitter Lindy Oujiri has been named to the Midwest Region Crossover All-Tournament Team.

Oujiri helped lead the Huskies to a 2-1 record at the crossover, leading the offense with 43 kills, averaging 4.3 per set while hitting .298. She also added a pair of block assists. The team captain tied a career-high with 20 kills in the sweep of Maryville on Friday (Oct. 13) and hit .457. She put down 20 kills again on Saturday (Oct. 14) in the 3-2 victory over Findlay with a .302 hitting percentage.

Read more at Michigan Tech Athletics.

This Week in Michigan Tech Esports

Wednesday (Oct. 18)
• Valorant vs. Drexel, 7 p.m. NACE Varsity Premier
• Counter-Strike 2 vs. Mississippi 7 p.m. NACE Varsity Premier

Thursday (Oct. 19)
• Super Smash Bros: Ultimate A vs. Oakland 7 p.m. NACE Varsity Premier
• Super Smash Bros: Ultimate B vs. Grand Valley State 7 p.m. NACE Varsity Plus
• League of Legends vs. Farmingdale State 7 p.m. NACE Varsity Premier

Times are subject to change. Check Twitter @MTUEsports for updates.


Esports News
Read more in the MTU Esports weekly update.

Watch MTU Esports on Twitch.

Job Posting

Job Posting for Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2023

Staff and faculty job descriptions are available on the Human Resources website. For more information regarding staff positions, call 487-2280 or email humanresources@mtu.edu. For more information regarding faculty positions, contact the academic department in which the position is posted.

Academic Advisor, College of Forest Resources and Environmental Science. Apply online.
Contact: Marjorie Banovetz

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 humanresources@mtu.edu.

New Funding

Jaroslaw Drelich (MSE/IMP) is the principal investigator (PI) on a project that has received a $461,657 research and development grant from the National Institutes of Health.

The project is titled "Novel Bioresorbable Vascular Scaffolds with Uniform Biodegradation."

Jeremy Goldman (BioMed/IMP) is a co-PI on this project.


Accepting Proposals: SYP Visiting Instructor Program

Summer Youth Programs (SYP) is currently accepting proposals for our Visiting Instructor Program and we would greatly appreciate your help spreading the word!

The Visiting Instructor Program invites educators to propose their own SYP course for next summer. Educators will enjoy benefits, including a salary of $920, up to $350 of reimbursement for travel expenses, on-campus lodging and meal plan, and a student from their school or organization will also receive a scholarship to attend an SYP course! Educators will also have the opportunity to enjoy the gorgeous Keweenaw Peninsula during their evenings.

Full details regarding proposal requirements and selection expectations can be found on the Summer Youth Programs website. Proposals are due Nov. 1, and proposals for middle-school-level programming are especially encouraged!

If you have any questions regarding SYP or the Visiting Instructor Program, please contact us at syplogic@mtu.edu.


AppsAnywhere Downtime Tomorrow

Tomorrow (Oct. 19) from 6-8 a.m., AppsAnywhere software will be unavailable while we perform system maintenance. This will not affect locally installed software (CORE, COMSOL, aspen One and Labview).

For questions about this maintenance, we can help. Contact IT at it-help@mtu.edu or call 7-1111.


WIBIT Wednesdays at the SDC Pool

MTU students, SDC Access Pass holders (minimum one-month) and WIBIT Wednesday Pass holders, come make a splash with our inflatable pool obstacle course called the WIBIT!

Events will be held this fall for current MTU students and SDC Access Pass holders (minimum one-month). Test your individual skills on the course or challenge a friend to a race across the obstacles. The course is set up in the deep water and requires users to be able to pass our swim test. See the WIBIT rules and swim test content on our website for more information.

There are many different pieces of the WIBIT and each event will have a featured combination. Potential featured pieces include:

  • The Step — This piece allows users to climb up onto the course.
  • The Base — Users must make their way across a horizontal surface. Be careful how fast you move, as it can get slippery!
  • The Cliff — Users must navigate either side of a slope using the handles and their balancing skills.
  • V-Connect — Users must use limited footing space to navigate across the horizontal structure.
  • The Bridge — Users must navigate up and over an arched structure without falling through.
  • The Slope — Users must climb up a six-foot wall that leads to a slide into the pool water below!

Upcoming WIBIT Dates, Times and Combinations:

  • Wednesday, Oct. 25, from 5-8 p.m. — Step/Bridge/V-Connect/Slope
  • Wednesday, Nov. 29, from 5-8 p.m. — Step/Bridge/Cliff/Slope

Come visit us at the pool to try out your skills! For more information, visit our WIBIT page.


Walk a Mile in Her Shoes

Next Wednesday (Oct. 25), Walk a Mile in Her Shoes® will return to Michigan Tech. Walk a Mile in Her Shoes is the International Men's March to Stop Rape, Sexual Assault & Gender Violence. Students will have the opportunity to walk in women's high-heeled shoes to actively confront gender stereotypes and expectations. This event will be an opportunity to raise awareness and support for the Barbara Kettle Gundlach Shelter, a safe place in the Houghton community for survivors of domestic violence and their children.

Join us to support the shelter and raise awareness next Wednesday at 1 p.m. outside of the Center for Diversity and Inclusion (CDI). You can support in many ways, including walking to support the cause, giving monetary or supply donations, or just stopping by to learn more!

Volunteers are also needed for this event. If you would like to volunteer, please complete the Volunteer Sign-Up.

We hope to see you there!

Today's Campus Events

To have your event automatically appear, please submit them to the University Events Calendar.

Layered in Between: Prints by Erin Hoffman Presented by Michigan Tech Art

Erin Hoffman is an artist and printmaker from Muskegon, Michigan, who deals primarily with political and social concerns. Through the presentation of mismatched ideas and...


International Student Success: A Conversation with a Michigan Tech Alumnus

All Michigan Tech alumni, current students, and friends are invited to join us for a webinar featuring Michigan Tech alumnus, Sudhir (Sid) Vaidya '69, on Wednesday, October...


MATLAB Workshop

Free MATLAB Workshop! Women in Physics is hosting a MATLAB workshop that is available to anyone who is interested. It is a 7 week course that will begin with the basic...


Study Abroad Scholarship Info Session

Planning on studying abroad? Attend our information session to learn more about scholarship availability and eligibility, application deadlines, and tips for crafting your...


Race Practice

Race practices are pretty casual. We set a few marks in the portage and have a few races on Monday and Wednesday nights. Anyone is welcome to attend, regardless of sailing...


Students For Life General Meeting

Students For Life General Meeting


USG Weekly Meeting

This meeting includes weekly updates from all representatives, liaison positions, and committees. Official business carried out by USG is conducted throughout old and new...


Winter Coat & Boot Drive

The Husky Closet Collective is seeking winter coat and boot donations for the Clothing Closet at Michigan Tech. To help keep our Huskies warm, we need to secure donations of...