Paul van Susante, PSTDL Student Researchers Advance in NASA's Break the Ice Challenge

It's no surprise to see Huskies developing innovative solutions to both current and future problems. Case in point: A team of student researchers led by Assistant Professor Paul van Susante (ME-EM) will compete with five other teams in the final round of NASA's Break the Ice Lunar Challenge.

From its inception in 2020, teams in this challenge have proposed robotic systems that can use resources found on the lunar surface in regolith (icy moon dust) to aid astronauts living on the moon.

"Excavating lunar regolith before humans arrive on the Moon will allow us to find uses for that material before they get there — if we could build a lunar habitat out of the regolith or extract the water for our astronauts to drink, that means less mass on our vehicles and less work for our crews," said Denise Morris, program manager for NASA's Centennial Challenges.

The six finalist teams will bring their prototypes to a NASA-designated test facility in spring 2024 for the final showdown. Their designs will be tested under reduced gravity and transportation over complex terrain — not unlike conditions found on the moon.

The first place team will receive a $1 million prize, with $500,000 going to the second place team. Teams can also be awarded testing time at one of NASA's Thermal Vacuum Chambers, which can simulate the temperature and atmospheric pressure conditions at the Lunar South Pole.

To learn more about the team's challenge journey, visit the Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics News blog and Michigan Tech's 2022 Research Magazine.

Congratulations to the team — we can't wait to see what's next!

University Beginning Update of Hazard Mitigation Plan

Michigan Tech is updating our Multi-Hazard Mitigation Plan, which will identify and mitigate the risks of natural and human-caused hazards that may impact people, buildings, infrastructure and research at the University.

Hazard mitigation plans are required to receive Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grants and must be updated and approved every five years. Michigan Tech’s current plan was approved on Jan. 15, 2020, and must be updated by Jan. 15, 2025, to remain in compliance.

Facilities Management has established the Hazard Mitigation Plan Steering Committee, which will assist in updating the plan by reviewing hazard identifications and risk analyses based on events and changing climate. They will also propose mitigation actions to prevent or lessen the impact of future disasters.

The project lead on the Hazard Mitigation Plan update is Lori Weir (FM). Members of this steering committee include:

  • Erik Crowley, general manager/director of golf, Administration and Auxiliary Services
  • Matthew Weekley, executive director of the residential enterprise, Residential Education and Housing Services
  • Kellie Raffaelli, dean of students, Student Affairs
  • Josh Olson, chief information officer, Information Technology
  • Brian Cadwell, director and chief of police, Public Safety and Police Services
  • John Velat, manager of risk management and compliance, Office of the General Counsel
  • Alan Turnquist, director of sustainability and resilience, Office of Sustainability and Resilience
  • Gregg Richards, associate vice president for facilities management, Facilities Management (Planning and Construction)
  • Robert Garnell, maintenance manager, Facilities Management (Operations)
  • Kathy Halvorsen, associate vice president for research development, Vice President for Research Office

Michigan Tech wants input from students, staff, faculty and community members as well. The steering committee will be meeting regularly, and all meetings are open to the public. The next meeting will be Dec. 19 at 3:30 p.m. in the Facilities conference room, located in the Facilities/Husky Motors Building.

To learn more about Hazard Mitigation Planning at Michigan Tech, visit our webpage.

Call for Applications: Faculty Fellow Program

Applications are being solicited for the Faculty Fellow Program, sponsored by the Vice President for Research Office (VPR).

The program:

  1. Expands familiarity with VPR operations among the staff and faculty.
  2. Develops leadership capacity among the staff and faculty.
  3. Improves VPR operations through staff and faculty input.

Please note that the Faculty Fellow program does not support staff and faculty in developing their own research grant proposals, promoting the goals of a particular center or carrying out a project focused on a single department or college.

For the 2024-25 academic year, there are four possible appointment areas:

  • Faculty Fellow, Sponsored Programs (e.g., pre- and post-award processing and administration)
  • Faculty Fellow, Research Integrity (e.g., HRPP, ARPP, laboratory operations, Responsible Conduct of Research, and Research Misconduct)
  • Faculty Fellow, Research Development (e.g., proposal development, building teams for large proposals, etc.)
  • Faculty Fellow, Commercialization (e.g., translational research, technology de-risking, proprietary projection strategy, management talent recruitment, value proposition development, customer discovery)

Applications are due no later than 4 p.m. Feb. 15 and must be submitted electronically per the guidelines. For additional information, visit the Faculty Fellow Program page.

Tomorrow: Keweenaw Symphony Orchestra Concert

The Keweenaw Symphony Orchestra performs “Enigma Variations,” presented by Michigan Tech Music, at 7:30 p.m. tomorrow (Dec. 9) at the Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts. This 80-minute concert will be a true delight for those new to the symphony and classical music lovers. 

The evening opens with Dmitri Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 9, which premiered near the end of WWII. Originally intended as a celebration of the Soviet victory over Hitler and Nazi Germany, it ended up being the opposite: a coded denunciation of Stalin's brutal Soviet regime. Stalin was not amused. He banned the symphony throughout the Soviet Union, and his regime officially denounced Shostakovich. The first half of the concert will close with the most infamous moment in Shostakovich’s symphony: its finale, where instead of a rousing, patriotic, Tchaikovsky-like climax, Shostakovich writes mocking circus music, an anti-finale.

The second half of the concert features the titular piece, “Enigma Variations.” British composer Edward Elgar wrote “Enigma Variations” as a tribute to 14 dear friends, including his bulldog, Dan. Each movement represents the character and personality of the friend. The most well-known song is “Nimrod,” played yearly on Remembrance Sunday at The Cenotaph in London. 

Check out the digital program in advance to view the full program and list of performers.

Considering bringing someone to their first symphony concert?
This event is an outstanding choice. Conductor Joel Neves will introduce each of the characters being portrayed and share distinctive sounds to listen to for some of Elgar's friends (like Dan, the bulldog). 

Concert Details:

Tonight: Michigan Tech Choirs Concert

Tonight (Dec. 8), Michigan Tech Choirs take the stage with “Bon Voyage, New Zealand,” a concert presented by Michigan Tech Music.

The evening will feature spectacular music from around the world performed by conScience: Michigan Tech Chamber Singers and a sneak peek into the Michigan Tech Concert Choir’s spring 2024 tour to New Zealand. Check out the digital program in advance to view the full program and list of performers.

“Bon Voyage, New Zealand” begins at 7:30 p.m. tonight at the Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts. Tickets are available online, at the Rozsa Box Office (open today from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.), and at the door.

Concert Details:

Keweenaw Crossroads: A Student Pop-Up Exhibition

Today (Dec. 8) only! What can we learn from interpreting a banjo pick, a pipe stem and an Ojibwe graduation medallion together?

Join graduate students in SS5503 Material Culture Studies as they offer a pop-up exhibition in the Department of Social Sciences from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Nordic Ski Teams Opening Season at Duluth CXC Cup

The Michigan Tech Nordic ski teams open the 2023-24 campaign this weekend at the Duluth CXC Cup at the Grand Avenue Nordic Center in Duluth, Minnesota.

The Huskies will compete in the skate sprint on Saturday (Dec. 9) and the Classic Interval Start 7.5K on Sunday (Dec. 10). The women will take to the course first on Saturday starting at 9:30 a.m. EST with the men to follow. Sunday the men will compete first at 9:30 a.m. EST.

"We have an outstanding returning class, some really strong first-year additions to our team, and everyone is excited to get on snow and start racing," head coach Tom Monahan Smith said. "This first race weekend we try to not set a lot of high expectations because the first two weekends of the season are pretty low-stakes races in terms of what they count as for future qualifications. These races are great opportunities for us to focus on process and performance as a team and individually to ensure we use these opportunities to help build our performances and get stronger."

Michigan Tech returns 15 student-athletes from last season while adding five newcomers to the 2023-24 roster.

Read more at Michigan Tech Athletics.

Job Posting

Job Posting for Friday, Dec. 8, 2023

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.

Residence Education Coordinator, Residence Education and Housing Services. 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

New Funding

Yixin Liu (ChE) is the principal investigator on a project that has received a $140,041 research and development contract with Iowa State University.

The project is titled "Sensing Hydrogen Losses at 1 ppb-Level for Hydrogen-Blending Natural Gas Pipelines."

This is a potential three-year project.

In the News

NASA announced Michigan Tech’s Planetary Surface Technology Development Lab as one of the teams selected to advance to the final round of competition in the Break the Ice Lunar Challenge. As one of six winning teams, the PSTDL earned a $75,000 prize and will bring their prototype to a NASA-designated test facility for a series of head-to-head matchups with the other finalists in spring 2024.


UPWord ran a preview of the OneUP Copper Trail Festival, coming to Michigan Tech on Tuesday (Dec. 12). The festival will feature hands-on demonstrations by MTU’s Mind Trekkers traveling STEM road show in the Student Development Complex Varsity Gym from 9-11 a.m.and 1-2:30 p.m.


Southeast Michigan’s Metro Parent mentioned Michigan Tech as the state’s most expensive public university in an article reviewing college costs in Michigan in 2023.


Financial Services Holiday Deadlines

With the University being closed from Dec. 25 through Dec. 29 for the holiday break, Financial Services and Operations will not be processing payments during that time.

To ensure timely processing of payments for the University and Michigan Tech Fund before the holidays, please submit check requests by Thursday (Dec. 14).

Request for Invoice forms must be submitted to Accounts Receivable at by Dec. 18 if you would like an invoice sent before the end of the year.


Human Resources Office Closure

The Human Resources office will be closed from 2:30-5 p.m. today (Dec. 8) for our departmental holiday party. Inquiries during this time can be sent to

We apologize for any inconvenience.


December KIP Seminar with Patrick Mueller

Please join the Department of Kinesiology and Integrative Physiology (KIP) today (Dec. 8) from 3-4 p.m. in ATDC 101 for our final seminar of the fall semester.

The guest speaker will be Patrick Mueller from the Department of Physiology at Wayne State University's School of Medicine. The title of the presentation is "Mechanisms of Neuroplasticity Involved in Inactivity-Related Cardiovascular Disease."

For more information about the speaker and his research, please visit the KIP Newsblog.


EPSSI Seminar with Clio Sleator

Earth, Planetary, and Space Sciences Institute (EPSSI) guest Clio Sleator, astrophysicist at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, will give a talk today (Dec. 8) at 3 p.m. in M&M U115. Please note: This is not the regular time and location of EPSSI seminars.

Sleator's talk is titled "The Compton Spectrometer and Imager Telescope for Gamma Ray Astronomy: From Balloon to Satellite."

For additional information on the seminar, visit the University Events Calendar.


GSG Open Skate

Enjoy some winter fun ice skating with Graduate Student Government (GSG)! Join GSG for one of two one-hour graduate student open skate blocks at the John MacInnes Student Ice Arena in the SDC​.

​The open skate blocks are S​unday (Dec. 10) from 4-5 p.m. and 5-6 p.m.

Rental skates and head protection are available, but must be reserved on sign-up due to limited availability. Admission is free to all students.

Sign up for the open skate!

We hope to see you there!

Collaborators: MTU Athletics and Recreation


Farewell Celebration for Gabriel Escobedo

The Center for Diversity and Inclusion (CDI) is hosting a going-away celebration today (Dec. 8) to honor Gabriel Jesus Escobedo and the work he has done for Michigan Tech. He will be transitioning from his current role as director of the CDI to his new role at Indiana University’s Maurer School of Law as their assistant dean for diversity, equity, and inclusion.

With Gabe’s departure, Christopher Sanders, assistant director in CDI, has been named the interim director. Sanders brings three years of experience at CDI and is well-respected by MTU students.

Please join us as we celebrate Gabe’s accomplishments and wish him well in the next step of his journey. Light refreshments and warm beverages will be served.

Event Details:

  • What: Farewell Celebration for Gabriel Escobedo
  • When: Friday, Dec. 8, from noon to 2 p.m.
  • Where: The Center for Diversity and Inclusion


2024 Benefits Open Enrollment Ends Today

As a reminder, the 2024 Benefits Open Enrollment ends today (Dec. 8) at 5 p.m.

Open Enrollment is your opportunity to assess your individual and family needs and to elect the benefits package that is right for you. If you were unable to attend the Open Enrollment informational forums in person, the Benefits website has a link to the 2024 Open Enrollment Forum recording.

Passive Enrollment Option:
Open Enrollment for 2024 is not mandatory. It is a passive enrollment, meaning that employees can roll over most of their benefits from the previous year without making updates in the system.

Please note, however, that flexible spending accounts (FSAs), health savings accounts (HSAs) and accident coverage will not automatically roll over. It’s important if you would like to elect these to do so during Open Enrollment.

While Open Enrollment is optional, it is recommended that all employees complete Open Enrollment, regardless of whether you are making changes to your benefit elections or not.

You can confirm that you successfully completed Open Enrollment by noting the “Reopen Open Enrollment” button on the lower left of the main Open Enrollment page. This indicates that your choices for 2024 Open Enrollment have been submitted.

To find more information on Open Enrollment, please visit our Open Enrollment website to get the most up-to-date details on benefits for 2024.


Become a Day of Giving Campus Partner or Ambassador!

Michigan Tech's upcoming day of giving, Give Back to the Pack, scheduled on April 10 and 11, is an opportunity for all areas on campus to garner support from alumni and friends. The Office of Alumni Engagement invites all campus partners to join us in maximizing the impact of this event.

Today, we’re calling all deans, department heads and program leaders to champion this year’s day of giving as ambassadors for your respective areas. Your commitment would involve leveraging personal and departmental channels (mainly social media), as well as recruiting ambassadors within your areas.

By hosting a day of giving, we hope to generate excitement and urgency around supporting a variety of areas at Michigan Tech. Part of that excitement can be in matches or challenges; however, areas do not need to have a challenge or match in order to participate in Give Back to the Pack, have ambassadors or encourage donating to their specific fund. So, we encourage every unit/area on campus to participate and help us raise awareness!

Opting in now allows you to work alongside the Office of Alumni Engagement to plan, organize content and contribute to a more efficient and successful campaign. Let’s join forces to make a lasting impact on Michigan Tech and its students.

Please email Jordan Shawhan at to confirm your area’s participation and establish primary points of contact in your area to keep in touch with leading up to April. The deadline to opt in is Dec. 22.

Thank you for your commitment to our shared success!

Today's Campus Events

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

Graduating and Still Looking? Walk In for Coffee and a Chat

Are you graduating soon and need help finding a job? Come in for a coffee and chat with one of our career advisors. We can help tailor your search, review your resume, bounce...


EPSSI Seminar: Dr. Clio Sleator

Dr. Clio Sleator, Astrophysicist at U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, will give a talk on Friday, Dec 8th at 3:00 pm In M&M U115. (NOT THE REGULAR ROOM THAT EPSSI SEMINARS ARE...


Soft Materials as Neural Interfaces: Brain, Gut, Skin, and Beyond

Biomedical Engineering Research Seminar Jinxing Li, PhD Department of Biomedical Engineering and the Institute for Quantitative Health Science and Engineering Michigan State...


(Men's Ice Hockey) Northern Michigan vs. Michigan Tech

Men's Ice Hockey: Northern Michigan vs. Michigan Tech


Bon Voyage, New Zealand Presented by Michigan Tech Music

The choirs of Michigan Tech present a concert of music in preparation for a Concert Choir tour to New Zealand in May 2024. CONTENT GUIDANCE