MTU Design Expo Unveils Student Innovations

Nancy J. Delong

An unprecedented event for unprecedented times: one of Michigan Tech’s most important
and innovative events is going virtual. You’re invited to Design Expo 2020.

What do a smart pet door, a lunar trencher and a portable high-speed surgical drill
for underserved populations have in common? They’re among the hundreds of life-improving
undergraduate student projects on display at Michigan Technological University’s 20th
annual — and first virtual — Design Expo 2020 on Thursday, April 16.

All Welcome To Expo

Design Expo 2020 Create Design Innovate logo for Michigan Tech

Michigan Tech’s Virtual Design Expo 2020 takes place throughout the day on Thursday,
April 16. Here’s how to register and be a part of activities:

  • Visit the Design Expo project gallery.
  • Take part in text-messaged voting throughout the day. 
  • Attend the brief 10 a.m. kickoff. 
  • Tune in at 4 p.m. for the 30-minute awards ceremony.

Huskies aren’t allowing the challenge to stem the spread of COVID-19 prevent them
from celebrating an important milestone for real-world, discovery-based learning at
Michigan Tech. With challenge comes opportunity: the opportunity to demonstrate agility
and new thinking, to pull together as a community and to realize and maintain a focus
on students and the bright future they will create.  

Nothing Can Stop MTU Husky Innovation

“For 20 years, Design Expo has focused the spotlight on thousands of student teams
as they embrace design challenges and push through adversity to develop solutions
and communicate results. It should come as no surprise at all that when COVID-19 disrupted
our well-established plans for a traditional ballroom event, we found inspiration
in our students,” said Rick Berkey, director of Michigan Tech’s award-winning Enterprise

Instead of gathering on campus this year, a panel of judges will critique videos of team projects, solutions and results. Judges include distinguished
corporate representatives, alumni, community members and Michigan Tech faculty and
staff. As in past years, teams have a chance to earn cash awards along with well-deserved

Design Expo has always been open to the public. “Now that it will be held online,
I’m glad it will be much more accessible for others to share,” said Janet Callahan,
dean of the College of Engineering. “This year visitors to Design Expo can vote on their favorite projects, too, via
text message.” 

“We invite all current and future students, families of students, alumni, K-12 teachers
and their students — anyone and everyone — to please join us, and spread the word!”Dean Janet Callahan, College of Engineering

MTU Huskies Learn By Doing 

Design Expo showcase represents the work of more than 1,000 students from the University’s
Senior Design and Enterprise programs. At Michigan Tech, the Senior Design program is more like a first job than
a last class, where teams of highly dedicated senior-level students address practical,
open-ended design challenges. In Enterprise, interdisciplinary teams of first-year
through graduate-level students from more than 30 majors work in a business-like setting
to invent products, provide services and pioneer solutions.

A Big Day for Industry Sponsors, Too

Design Expo is supported by industry and University sponsorship. For the ninth consecutive
year, ITC Holdings is directing partner of Design Expo. Supporting partners include
Kohler, Nexteer Automotive and OHM Advisors. Collaborating partners include Code Blue,
FCA, Kimberly-Clark, Michigan Tech’s Husky Innovate, Nucor and Plexus. 

In all, more than 100 team project and program supporters made a strategic investment in Michigan Tech’s educational mission. 

Michigan Technological University is a public research university, home to more than
7,000 students from 54 countries. Founded in 1885, the University offers more than
120 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in science and technology, engineering,
forestry, business and economics, health professions, humanities, mathematics, and
social sciences. Our campus in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula overlooks the Keweenaw Waterway
and is just a few miles from Lake Superior.

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