Alumni Newsletter – January 2018

College of Engineering Honors Program


Engineering Honors Alumni Come Together for Inaugural Homecoming Event

Approximately 40 alumni and their guests joined us for our inaugural Engineering Honors Alumni Homecoming gathering at Ashley’s on State Street. Sponsored by the Engineering Honors Alumni Advisory Board, this gathering brought together alumni and friends of the Engineering Honors Program. If you missed out on the fun – don’t worry! We’ll be hosting this event again next year. Keep your eyes peeled for updates and additional information!

Record High Admittance for Winter 2018!

The College of Engineering Honors Program will be welcoming a record number of new students for Winter 2018! Admission was offered to 94 students spanning over 10 different majors, including: Aerospace Engineering, Biomedical Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Computer Engineering, Computer Science Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Environmental Engineering, Industrial and Operations Engineering, Materials Science and Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, and Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Sciences.

This incoming class represents students who call “home” to 12 different countries spanning across 4 continents!

We extend a warm welcome to these new Honors Students and look forward to engaging with them in Honors during their time here!

Engineering Honors Alumni Resources

The Engineering Honors Alumni Advisory Board (HAAB) was formed in 2016 with the vision of connecting alumni to one another, as well as current students. Initiatives such as this newsletter, the homecoming gathering, and the alumni map have all been generated through the Alumni Advisory Board.

Have an idea for the HAAB? Reach out to them at

Capstone Project Highlight: Katie Matton

Senior Katie Matton (BSE ’18, CSE) is currently working on her capstone project conducting research in the CHAI (Computational Human Analysis and Integration) Lab under Professor Emily Provost. Katie’s project in the CHAI lab involves finding patterns of a change in speech with the onset of a mental health disorder to classify the mood state a person is experiencing. “The sound of someone’s speech – including their pitch, timbre, structure of language, and word choice – correlates with their mood state,” Katie explained. “The vision of my project is to be able to build machine learning models to take in speech as input, using the feature of someone’s speech in a model, and output the likelihood of a person being in a specific state (neutral, manic, or depressive).”

 While researchers already know that people experiencing a manic or depressive episode exhibit differences in their speech, what’s unique about Katie’s project is how the speech is captured.”Prior to this project, speech was captured in a clinical setting. The data I have collected by bipolar individuals is from their cell phones.” This brings up new questions – are there speech features we can newly identify that are more indicative of a manic or depressive episode? Will the same features carry over when speech is captured in everyday conversation?

Katie chose to pursue this project because she could see real value in the work with regard to the social impact it can make. Katie first started working on this project in Winter 2017, and hopes to write a paper by March 2018 to present at the Interspeech Conference.

After graduation, Katie plans to continue her education by pursuing a Master’s Degree in Computer Science Engineering from the University of Michigan. Congratulations to Katie on this impactful, exciting capstone project!


Alumni Profile: Mihir Sheth

We recently caught up with Engineering Honors alumni, Mihir Sheth! Mihir is originally from Mumbai and now lives in Baltimore, Maryland working as a Project Engineer for Sisu Global Heath(SGH). At SGH, he is currently designing, prototyping, and testing a new generation of their product, and setting up the manufacturing process and supply chain for transitioning the device from a prototype to a usable product in Ghana. While at the University of Michigan, Mihir earned his BSE (’15) and MSE (’16) in Electrical Engineering.

Q: Where is your favorite place on campus?

A: The roof of West Hall

Q: How did your Engineering Honors Experience impact you as a student?

A: The Honors community always pushed me to go above and beyond what I thought my capabilities were. Whether it was my friends from Honors pushing me to try something new, or the staff pushing me to reach the next highest milestone for the capstone, Honors had a huge impact on my development.

Q: What difference, if any, has your time in Engineering Honors made in your life and career after Michigan?

A: The Engineering Honors Program really pushed my boundaries and helped me develop as a person, outside of an engineer. It gave me many soft skills that I have been able to hone further after Michigan, and introduced me to a breadth of people who share similar basic passions (of doing good and changing the world around us), but each person approaches it in their own unique way.

Q: What is the most interesting or exciting thing you have done since graduating from Michigan?

A: The most exciting thing I have done since graduating from Michigan is performing in an improv theatre show.

Q: What advice do you have for Michigan Engineering students?

A: Take some time and develop skills of your own outside of doing well in engineering. Have experiences that are worth telling stories about. And mostly, just do the things that you find fulfilling and meaningful – in academia, in your capstone, and in your life.

Mihir currently serves on the Honors Alumni Advisory Board. If you find yourself in Baltimore, look for Mihir performing at an improv show!

Lunch with Honors

The College of Engineering Honors Program has continued to host special guests to engage with the community throughout the school year through our Lunch with Honors program.

In 2017-2018, we kicked off the Lunch with Honors series with our first ever Lunch with Honors: TED Talk. Students chose to watch How to make stress your friend presented by Dr. Kelly McGonigal, who provided tips on seeing stress as a positive motivating factor. Afterward, a lively discussion ensued about how students could incorporate Dr. McGonigal’s message into their lives, and into the Engineering Honors Program.

Our second Lunch with Honors talk featured the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education, Joanna Millunchick. Faculty members who served as capstone advisors joined Engineering Honors students to listen to Dean Millunchick speak about the importance of risk-taking in your engineering education. 


Honors Global Outreach Volunteers in Ecuador

by Stuart Daudlin (BSE ’18)

At the beginning of summer 2017, three other Engineering Honors students and I eagerly left Ann Arbor to embark on an international volunteer trip. The destination was Quito, Ecuador, where we planned to educate children whose upbringing obstructed their entrance to traditional school. Upon arrival, the non-profit UBECI assigned us to day camps of children outnumbering our group roughly five to one. We spent the following two weeks at the day camps, located in various markets of Quito, interacting with children who would otherwise be working a continuous twelve hours at the markets. On top of the long workdays the children were accustomed to, many also came from abusive households and had limited opportunities to develop socially. The children’s disadvantaged background was evident when they were first presented with toys, as they would play solemnly and alone. We worked to inspire positive social interaction between the children, teach how to wash hands, develop fine motor skills, and express feeling through words and art. It was an awesome experience to see the children open up and start playing with others! Apart from teaching children, we were able to enjoy the beauty of Quito, the surrounding area, and Ecuadorian culture. On our time off we kept busy with activities such as learning how to salsa dance, having a taste of guinea pig, and rappelling down a waterfall. The volunteer trip was a great experience and inspired us to be further involved in outreach in our future careers.

If you would like to donate to a future Honors GO trip and allow Honors students to have the opportunity to volunteer abroad, please visit our website.