Research in Focus: H-STEM Rising

Processing a sample in the COVID-19 testing lab.

Michigan Tech Magazine’s “Research in Focus” highlights how Michigan Tech researchers are breaking through boundaries between scientific disciplines, leveraging the full depth and breadth of knowledge across campus.

One of the guiding principles of the H-STEM Engineering and Health Technologies Complex's design is the ability for those within and outside the building to witness teams working together in shared, flexible, collaborative lab spaces.

The H-STEM Complex is perhaps the most visual definition of how interdisciplinary research works at Michigan Tech. But the cohesive elements of the University’s overall health research, teaching and outreach strategy, which have just as surely been building momentum, are also abundantly clear.

Find out how Tech's researchers are developing solutions for better detection and treatment for cancer, cardiovascular disease and Alzheimer’s in our 2024 Michigan Tech Magazine.

Daniell Heights 1800 Block Construction

Construction is underway in the 1800 block of Daniell Heights. During this time, contractors are updating sewer lines, water lines, sidewalks, paving, street lighting and landscaping. The project is expected to be completed by August 2024.

Residents of the Daniell Heights 1800 block may experience interruptions in water service over this time. Please watch for emails from MTU Residence Education and Housing Services (REHS) regarding project updates and notifications. For questions regarding parking, please contact MTU Transportation Services.

We appreciate your patience and understanding as we make these major improvements to Daniell Heights. As always, please use caution around construction sites and follow all posted signage and barricades.

For further project-related questions or concerns, please email

Nominations Open: 2024 CGS/ProQuest Distinguished Dissertation Award

Nominations are now open for the 2024 Council of Graduate Schools (CGS)/ProQuest Distinguished Dissertation Award. Please submit nominations to the Graduate School no later than 4 p.m. on May 30, following our online instructions.

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

  1. Mathematics, Physical Sciences and Engineering
  2. Social Sciences (Note: History is classed within the humanities and is not a field of competition in 2024.)

Michigan Tech may nominate one student in each field. Ph.D. students who have completed all of their degree requirements between July 1, 2022, and June 30, 2024, are eligible. The fields of competition for 2025 will be Biological/Life Sciences and Humanities and Fine Arts (including History).

A nomination packet must be submitted by the student's department chair or college dean to our CGS/ProQuest Distinguished Dissertation Nomination form no later than 4 p.m. on May 30. Contact Debra Charlesworth at if you have any questions about the competition.

TRIO Pre-College Programs Take Students on Spring Break Trip

During March 2024, the TRIO Pre-College Programs, TRIO Upward Bound and TRIO Talent Search, took two groups of students from the Gogebic/Ontonagon Intermediate School District (GOISD) and the Copper Country Intermediate School District (CCISD) during their respective spring break weeks on trips to explore college and culture.

Students visited Lake Superior State University and the Soo Locks, then spent a day at Central Michigan University learning about life on campus and exploring the inner workings of running a museum. Students were also given the opportunity to splatter paint at a small art boutique, “For Art’s Sake” in Mount Pleasant, Michigan, followed by an evening of shopping at the mall. The final day was spent visiting Northwestern Michigan College in Traverse City, Michigan, to explore nontraditional educational options in aviation, maritime, culinary arts and the trades.

“The TRIO College Field Trip not only exposed the students to some majors and trades that they might not have previously considered (museum curation to airplane mechanics), but it also gave them a chance to meet students from other schools in the area and to realize that furthering their education after high school is something achievable for all of them. The trip had some challenging moments (an overnight weather delay at the Mackinac Bridge), and we as a staff were very impressed with the flexibility and positive behavior of the students,” said Frank Pergande, Upward Bound coordinator.

When asked for their favorite memories of the trip, students replied:

  • “I liked the splatter painting and the medical robots at LSSU.”
  • “I liked the health simulator. It was super cool.”
  • “My favorite memory from the trip was making new friends and exploring new opportunities I've never been offered before.”

The TRIO Pre-College Programs, TRIO Talent Search and TRIO Upward Bound, are community-based programs focused on helping to empower potential first-generation students and/or students from income-eligible homes to be successful in middle and high school and prepare for college. TRIO is hosted by Michigan Technological University and 100% grant funded by the U.S. Department of Education.

If you’re interested in finding out more about the programs or are interested in participating, please visit the TRIO Pre-College Programs website or call 906-487-2219.

SWE Reflects on History and Notable Alumnae: Part 3

This week, as the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) section at Michigan Tech  transitions to a new advisor, the section reflects on its history and the accomplishments of its alumnae.

From SWE’s History: More than 20 section members have presented at SWE’s WE Societal Conferences and WELocal Conferences, and more than 10 section members have received SWE-Wisconsin scholarships. At the 2024 SWE-Wisconsin Professional Day on April 13, Kyla Dewick (electrical engineering), Renee Ruman (biomedical engineering) and Carissa Best (mechanical engineering) were awarded three of the four SWE-Wisconsin scholarships. Additionally, the section has nominated members for MTU’s Student Leadership Awards — and for 2024, Skyler Brawley (computer engineering) won the Exceptional Enthusiasm as Student Leader Award (and was also the ECE Department Scholar).

Notable SWE Alumnae:

  • Britta Jost ’02 ’04 (B.S. Mathematics M.S. Mechanical Engineering)
    SWE Service:
    - Section Counselor
    - WE14 Distinguished New Engineer
    - WE19 Emerging Leader

  • Amy (Palmgren) Rokos ’08 (B.S. Computer Engineering)
    SWE Service (SWE Grand Rapids, formerly West Michigan):
    - FY16-17, FY24 Grand Valley State University Counselor
    - FY14-16 SWE Webmaster/Secretary
    - FY17-19 SWE President
    - FY21-23 Calvin University Counselor
    - FY20-24 SWE Outreach Chair

  • Pamela (Wolting) Seibert ’10 (B.S. Civil Engineering)
    MTU Service:
    - FY19-24 Michigan Tech Construction Management Industrial Advisory Board Member
    SWE Service:
    - FY15-19 West Michigan - Vice President
    - FY20-24 West Michigan - Outreach
    - FY16-18 Grand Valley State University Counselor
    - FY19-24 Ferris State University - Women in Technology Sponsor
    - FY19-24 Grand Rapids Public Museum Engineers Week Board Member

Women's Basketball Adds Grad Transfer Kaitlyn Maxwell to 2024 Class

Michigan Tech women's head basketball coach Sam Clayton has announced the signing of graduate transfer Kaitlyn Maxwell. Maxwell joins the Huskies as a graduate transfer from Saint Francis, a DI institution affiliated with the Northeast Conference.

"I'm really excited about adding Kaitlyn to our roster for this next season," Clayton said. "She brings a lot of game experience and individual success from her time at Saint Francis. She's an athletic guard who can really shoot the ball, make tougher jumpers and create for teammates. Most importantly, she's a phenomenal person who fits our culture of academic excellence and servant leadership."

Maxwell plans to earn a master's degree in kinesiology at Tech.

Read more at Michigan Tech Athletics.

Men's Basketball Announces Team Awards

The Michigan Tech men's basketball coaching staff has announced the annual team award winners for the 2023-24 season:

  • Marcus Tomashek was selected for the Ken Hamar Award given to the team's most valuable player.
  • Dawson Nordgaard is this year's Billy Gappy Most Improved Player.
  • Josh Terrian received the Harold Meese Sportsmanship Award for the second consecutive season.
  • Matt Schamainda earned the Bob Olson Award for Outstanding Newcomer this season.
  • Peyton LaCombe was awarded the Scholastic Achievement Award.

Read more at Michigan Tech Athletics.

New Funding

Sigrid Resh (CFRES/ESC) is the principal investigator on a project that has received a $75,000 research and development grant from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

The project is titled "Expanding KISMA’s Terrestrial and Aquatic Invasive Species Programming through Targeted Outreach and Removal."

In the News

Michigan Tech’s 2024 Spring Commencement student speakers, Zazil Santizo-Huerta ’24 (Ph.D. Mathematical Sciences) and Vincent Barfield ’24 (B.S. Computer Science/Mathematical Sciences), were mentioned by Radio Results Network and the Keweenaw Report in stories previewing Michigan Tech’s commencement exercises. Ceremonies are set for Friday (April 26) at 3 p.m. (master’s and Ph.D. recipients) and Saturday (April 27) at 10:30 a.m. (bachelor’s recipients). The stories were picked up from Michigan Tech News.


The Keweenaw Report picked up Michigan Tech’s announcement of Michelle Scherer as the new dean of the College of Engineering. The story ran Wednesday (April 17) in Tech Today.


Iowa State University mentioned Michigan Tech in a news release announcing a new cybersecurity center called CyDERMS — the Center for Cybersecurity and Resiliency of DERs and Microgrids-integrated Distribution Systems — based at Iowa State. MTU researchers are among the center’s project team members.


The Daily Mining Gazette covered Michigan Tech track and field’s Sam Lange being named the GLIAC Track Athlete of the Week.


Financial Consulting with TIAA

Making decisions about your money can feel difficult, especially when it comes to retirement. But you don’t have to go it alone — especially since access to financial consulting is included as part of your retirement plan. They will help you determine whether you’re saving enough, invested appropriately and on track.

Ryan Hallowell and Matthew Bunch from the Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America (TIAA) will be available on Michigan Tech's campus for one-on-one sessions from Tuesday (April 30) through next Thursday (May 2) in the following locations:

  • Ryan Hallowell — MUB Greenstone Room (MUB 106A)
  • Matthew Bunch — MUB Superior Room (MUB B001)

RSVP today, as space is limited. You can register for sessions with TIAA directly by logging in to your TIAA or guest account, then searching for "Michigan Tech" in the Institution field. When asked how you would like to meet, select "In Person at My Employer."

You can also register for a meeting by calling TIAA at 800-732-8353 on weekdays from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET.


PhD Defense: Michelle Kelly, BioSci

Ph.D. in Biological Sciences candidate Michelle Kelly will present a final doctoral defense from 10:30-11:30 a.m. today (April 24) in Fisher 231. Virtual attendance is also invited via Zoom.

Kelly's dissertation is titled "Novel Analytical Approaches for the Study of Energy and Nutrient Flow in Streams."

Kelly is a fifth-year Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Biological Sciences and a 2021 graduate of the Data Science Foundations Certificate program at Michigan Tech.

Advised by Amy Marcarelli, her research explores energy and nutrient cycling in aquatic ecosystems using machine learning and Bayesian modeling-based approaches. She completed a master's degree in ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Kansas in 2019.

From the abstract:
The goal of this dissertation was to improve the research and understanding of energy and nutrient cycling in streams through 3 studies: (1) patterns of respiration and denitrification in streams across the United States, (2) simultaneous estimation of denitrification and nitrogen (N) fixation rates, and (3) the interacting role of microbial communities and dissolved organic matter (DOM) quality on respiration. In the first study, I used predictive modeling approaches to show that respiration and denitrification were positively correlated across the landscape but were predicted by factors at different spatial scales. Denitrification rates were best predicted by the characteristics of the stream, such as phosphorus and nitrogen concentrations and streambed cover type. In contrast, respiration was best predicted by characteristics of the landscape, such as watershed land cover and slope. In the second study, we identified several opportunities to improve modeling of the simultaneous estimation of denitrification and N fixation through model structure adjustments and experimental parameterization. I also improved upon standard methods of air-water exchange rate estimation by using the natural abundance of argon as a tracer gas. In the final study, I determined that experimental conditions, such as incubation time and measurement frequency, as well as calculated decay metrics, impact interpretation of experiments designed to test the biodegradability of dissolved organic matter in water. Overall, this dissertation applied novel modeling, experimental and statistical approaches to overcome challenges for measuring and comparing processes on compatible scales and provided a path forward for future studies of the interacting effects between energy and nutrient cycling in streams.


GLAS Summer Track A Schedule Now Available

Do you know of current or incoming international students who wish to practice their English conversation skills during the summer? If so, the GLAS Track A schedule is now available. Students may sign up for a weekly recurring online appointment by visiting the GLAS webpage.

Graduate Language Assessment and Support (GLAS) is a free program designed for international graduate students who wish to improve their English oral communication skills.

Through small-group conversations that matter, students gain experience participating in class discussions, responding to questions and listening effectively. GLAS coaches work with students to help them better understand U.S. university expectations and gain insight into what students and instructors expect from each other in classrooms. GLAS students who are already teaching can practice lectures or lab presentations with their coach.

All international students and scholars are welcome to attend and participate in the program.

Questions? Contact Sarah Isaacson, GLAS program director, at

Today's Campus Events

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PhD Defense: Katherine Higdon



Master's Defense: Sifat Naseem

Health Informatics Advisor: Guy Hembroff Advancing Health Literacy through Generative AI: Utilization of Open-Source Large Language Models (LLMs) for Text Simplification and...


PhD Defense: Michelle Kelly

Biological Sciences Advisor: Amy Marcarelli Novel analytical approaches for the study of energy and nutrient flow in streams Attend Virtually:...


Visioning Session: Advanced Characterization and Fabrication at MTU

You are invited to participate in a visioning session focused on advancing characterization and fabrication capabilities at Michigan Technological University. This session...


Master's Defense: Jenna Brewer

Applied Ecology Advisor: Jared Wolfe Divergent responses to anthropogenic change within the songbird taxon: insights from the range expansion of Northern Cardinal and...


Master's Defense: Vasu Bhardwaj

Mechanical Engineering Advisor: Gordon Parker Design, Modeling and Testing of a Low-Friction WEC


Master's Defense: Jessica Mehregan

Biomedical Engineering Co-advisors: Chunxiu Yu and Lan Zhang Application of Machine Learning Techniques in the Design of Adaptive Deep Brain Stimulation for Parkinsonism ...


Master's Defense: Saad Asim

Biomedical Engineering Advisor: Muhammad Rizwan Multi-functional Gelatin-Dithiolane Hydrogels for Tissue Engineering Attend Virtually:...