From Michigan Tech to Mars

An inventor and innovator from Michigan Tech smiles in front of a mock-up of a Mars Rover in the same class at the Rover for which she and her team developed an experimental device to convert carbon dioxide to oxygen.

Creating oxygen from Martian air just became possible thanks to a toaster-sized solid oxide electrolyzer created by Husky Jessica Elwell ’02 ’03 (B.S. M.S. Chemical Engineering) and her team.

Learn more about Elwell, her work as chief operating officer of OxEon Energy, and what led to the creation of the device — named one of Time magazine’s Best Inventions of 2023 — at Stories from Husky Nation.

GLAS Spring 2024 Schedule Now Available

The Graduate Language Assessment and Support (GLAS) spring 2024 schedule is now available, and international graduate students are welcome to visit Admin 405 to sign up on the paper schedule. GLAS has discontinued online scheduling.

GLAS is a free program designed for international graduate students who wish to improve their English oral communication skills. Visit our webpage for more information.

Chem Office Closure

The Department of Chemistry (Chem) office will be closed starting today (Dec. 20) for the upcoming holiday. Office staff will be working remotely and can be contacted via email until the end of the day on Friday (Dec. 22).

Normal work hours will resume after the holiday break on Jan. 3.

2024 Annual Steam Shutdown

The annual steam shutdown for 2024 will take place the week following Spring Commencement, from April 28 through May 3 (weather permitting).

This outage is required to provide maintenance and service of the boilers and steam distribution system on campus. This planned maintenance improves the reliability of our system and reduces the likelihood of an unplanned failure during the winter heating season.

Note: There will not be heat or hot water in the affected buildings during the steam shutdown. There will be no distilled water available from the steam-driven stills. Steam-driven autoclaves/sterilizers will not be operational.

Annual steam shutdown dates/times:

  • Begins: Sunday, April 28, at noon
  • Ends: Friday, May 3, at noon

Buildings affected:

Administration Building
ROTC Building
Academic Office Building
Annex Building
Electrical Energy Resources Center
Dow Environmental Sciences and Engineering Building
Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts
Walker Arts and Humanities Center
Minerals and Materials Engineering Building
Grover C. Dillman Hall
Fisher Hall
J. R. Van Pelt and John and Ruanne Opie Library
U. J. Noblet Forestry Building
H-STEM Engineering and Health Technologies Complex
Chemical Sciences and Engineering Building
R. L. Smith Building (MEEM)
Student Development Complex
Kanwal and Ann Rekhi Hall
Douglass Houghton Hall
Memorial Union Building
Wadsworth Hall
McNair Hall
Central Energy Plant
Facilities Management
Hillside Place
Great Lakes Research Center

If there are questions or concerns with this plan, contact Steve Store, energy plant manager, at 906-487-2706 (office), 906-390-6336 (cell) or

PhD Proposal Defense: Abid Ali Khan Danish, GMES

Ph.D. in Mining Engineering student Abid Ali Khan Danish will present his doctoral research proposal defense today (Dec. 20) at 2 p.m. in person in Dow 610 and virtually via Zoom.

Ali Khan Danish is advised by Snehamoy Chatterjee, with Luke Bowman (GMES), Mohammadhossein Sadeghiamirshahidi (CEGE/GMES) and Sidike Paheding (AC) serving as committee members.

The research proposal defense is titled "Enhancing Occupational Safety: Development of Safety Domain-Adaptive Large Language Models and their Applications for Risks and Hazards Identification."

From the abstract:
Occupational health and safety are crucial concerns in industrial environments, particularly in high-risk sectors like mining where accidents can lead to significant human and economic losses. This underscores the importance of effective risk analysis and mitigation strategies to ensure a safe working environment for workers. Traditional safety analysis methods for risk and hazard identification often fall short in effectively leveraging unstructured data, i.e., accident narratives. Recent advancements in Natural Language Processing (NLP) and computational capabilities now provide an opportunity to leverage this rich text data more effectively in safety analysis and risk mitigation. However, the efficacy of traditional NLP techniques using non-contextual language models (Term Frequency – Inverse Document Frequency, Global Vectors for Word Representation, etc.) is limited in safety analysis. These models inherently lack contextual awareness, which is crucial for interpreting the complexities of language, rendering them less effective in comprehending the nuanced and detailed information present in rich textual data. Furthermore, advanced contextual language models, primarily developed for general domains also struggle to accurately interpret the specialized language and nuances present in safety-related data. Addressing these challenges, this research proposes the domain adaptive training of large language models, i.e., Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers (BERT) -based models, specifically tailored for the workplace safety domain. ... The overarching goal of this research is to improve risk identification and management in mining industry, while also assessing the broader applicability of these safety domain models in diverse industrial safety contexts, marking a significant contribution to the field of occupational safety analysis.

PhD Proposal Defense: Kobina Ofori, ChE

Department of Chemical Engineering (ChE) Ph.D. student Kobina Ofori will present his Ph.D. proposal defense today (Dec. 20) at 9 a.m. The defense will be presented in person in Chem Sci 201 and virtually via Zoom.

Ofori's defense is titled “Carbon dioxide mitigation: mine tailings as a sustainable raw material for mineral carbonation and recovery of critical minerals."

Ofori's advisor is Lei Pan.

Football Sees Four Named to CSC Academic All-District Team

Four members of the Michigan Tech football team have been named to the College Sports Communicators Academic All-District Team: Dante Basanese, Josh Cribben, Samuel Kinne and Marc Sippel.

Basanese is a mechanical engineering major with a 3.8 GPA. He competed in nine games for the Huskies this season, posting 50 total tackles, a team-high three interceptions and two forced fumbles.

Cribben, a electrical engineering major holding a 3.75 GPA, was stellar in 10 games for Tech. He averaged 1.2 tackles for loss per game for a team-high 14, totaling 47 yards. He also forced two fumbles and had three sacks.

Kinne, a chemical engineering major boasting a 3.82 GPA, earned Second Team All-GLIAC Defense honors and received the prestigious Jack H. McAvoy Award. He amassed 62 total tackles in 10 games, and accounted for three sacks and 8.5 tackles for loss.

Sippel, a civil engineering major with a 3.72 GPA, earned Second Team All-GLIAC Defense accolades. He racked up 93 total tackles to lead the team, averaging 9.3 total tackles a game, and also had two interceptions and eight tackles for loss.

Read more at Michigan Tech Athletics.

Job Postings

Job Postings for Wednesday, Dec. 20, 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.

Director of Operations, Facilities Management. Apply online.

Custodian (12 months/ 40 hours/ first shift) #23334, Facilities Management (AFSCME posting dates Dec. 20, 2023, to Jan. 4, 2024 — external applicants are encouraged to apply; however, internal AFSCME applicants are given first consideration if they apply during the internal AFSCME posting dates). Apply online.

Food Service Helper (nine months/ 40 hours/ first shift) #23205RPRP, 23206RPRP, 23251RPRP, 23252RPRP, Dining Services (AFSCME posting dates Dec. 20, 2023, to Jan. 4, 2024 — external applicants are encouraged to apply; however, internal AFSCME applicants are given first consideration if they apply during the internal AFSCME posting dates). Apply online.

Academic Advisor, Chemical Engineering. Apply online.
Contact: Michael Mullins

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

Ezra Bar-Ziv (ME-EM/APSRC) is the principal investigator on a project that has received a $198,591 research and development co-op joint agreement with the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE).

The project is titled "Solvent Targeted Recovery and Precipitation (STRAP) For Recovery of Biogenic Materials and Plastics from Municipal Solid Waste (MSW)."

This is a potential four-year project.


CTL Technical Workshop: Canvas Grading and Gradebook

Save the Date: The Jackson Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) will be hosting a technical workshop on Canvas grading and gradebook practices Jan. 11 from 1-2 p.m.

Do you have questions about how the Canvas gradebook works? Do you need help grading assignments in SpeedGrader and posting them in the gradebook? Making sure your students have accurate and updated grades in Canvas is important. We’ll cover some of the common pinch points that instructors encounter, including the use of assignment groups for grade weighting, setting up a grading scheme that matches your syllabus, using grade posting policies and attaching grading rubrics to your assignments.

Register to attend the CTL Technical Workshop: Canvas Grading and Gradebook at 1 p.m. on Jan. 11. The workshop location will be announced closer to the event date.

Contact the CTL at for more information.


Summer 2024 Research Mentors Needed

The MiCUP Scholars Program and McNair Scholars Program are currently seeking faculty to serve as mentors during summer 2024. Faculty mentors in the program will assist students with research projects in their field of study, including engineering, technology, business, computer science, health science and more.

All faculty interested in facilitating undergraduate research with the MiCUP or McNair program participants should complete the Summer 2024 Research Mentor Information Request form.

For questions about MiCUP or McNair, contact or


Mineral Museum Closed for Winter Break

The A. E. Seaman Mineral Museum will be closed from Sunday (Dec. 24) through Jan. 8 for winter break. We will reopen on Jan. 9, resuming regular business hours: Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Admission to the museum for Michigan Tech students, staff and faculty is waived with a Tech ID.

Happy Holidays!


Memorial Union Winter Break Schedule

The Memorial Union will have reduced office and building hours over the winter break. The hours of operation are as follows:

  • Memorial Union Office (MUB 101):
    • Dec. 18-22 — 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
    • Dec. 23 to Jan. 2 — Closed
    • Jan. 3-5 — 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
    • Jan. 8 — Resume normal operating hours (8 a.m. to 5 p.m.)

  • Memorial Union Building:
    • Dec. 18-22 — 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.
    • Dec. 23 to Jan. 2 — Closed
    • Jan. 3 — Resume normal operating hours (7 a.m. to 10 p.m.)


Tech Today Holiday Break

Friday (Dec. 22) will be the last Tech Today published for calendar year 2023. In observance of the Christmas and New Year's holidays and the University seasonal days, no Tech Today will be published from Monday (Dec. 25) through Jan. 2.

Tech Today will resume on Jan. 3. To be included in the Jan. 3 edition of Tech Today, items must be submitted by noon on Friday using our Submit a Story form.