Xiucheng (Sheldon) Zhu
Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics
The story is about the final successful experiments after two weeks happened in 2014 summer. I was doing spark ignition of propane in CV. It was the first time we test with propane mixture. We only had experience with methane before that. We need to prepare fuel mixture (usually 800 bar in a 10 L mixing vessel) before testing and put the mixture into CV for ignition. The mixture preparation could take up to 1 hour. After making a new propane mixture, the first several ignitions were failed, then we got ignition. However, the peak pressure after combustion kept increasing which indicates the mixture composition were varying. We checked the literature, some say that it is due to the stratification of the mixture, some say that there is no stratification at all. For about two weeks, we didn’t get any normal combustion events as expected. We tried almost every method we could think of. Finally, Tejas and I triedto make less mixture (about 400 bar in a 10 L mixing vessel) and moved the mixing vessel piston up and down to help mix the mixture better. It was very a simple solution, but it did work. We got consistent combustion with this method, and we confirmed the stratification issue of propane mixture. That was the moment, we kept our fingers crossed, and felt vast joy. It feels like that you walked in the dark for a long journal and finally reach your destination. After that, we were keeping improving the mixing procedure by changing filling orders.
My interested towards volcanoes, rocks, and natural phenomena led me to pursue an undergraduate degree in Geosciences at Paris South XI University and, later, at a master’s level at New Mexico Highlands University. As part of my master’s degree I conducted research investigating fossil magma flow direction within an extinct volcano in New Mexico, to improve our understanding of volcanic eruptions. This research provided me with a fundamental understanding of the study of the Earth Magnetic field and the magnetic properties of rocks. The skills I acquired during my master’s degree provided a solid basis for the work I have undertaken as part of my PhD at Michigan Tech. Continue reading
Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
I’m a local and have been living in the UP for my entire life up to this point. My research focuses on the use of plants, mainly vetiver grass, for the treatment of metal impacted waters, where the plants use their roots for metal removal. I also do biochemical analyses on the plants to understand how they tolerate these types of environments. In addition to my research, I have been teaching classes at MTU and Gogebic Community College over the past four years, including first year biology and chemistry courses, microbiology, and botany. I have many interests outside of academia, which have included video games, bird watching, and music composition as a drummer.
The award will help me focus my time on finishing my lab work and writing without having to worry about work or finances.
Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics
I’m a PhD candidate in Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics at Michigan Technological University working with Jeffrey Allen in the microfluidics and interfacial transport lab. After graduating with a bachelor’s in mechanical engineering from Milwaukee School of Engineering in 2013, I decided to work in industry until I secured admission into a graduate program of my choice. In a few months, I was accepted at Michigan Tech and I started graduate school shortly after. I first met my adviser in my second semester and he talked to me about a research opportunity in cryogenic propellant (rocket fuel) evaporation and condensation and thus began my 4 year-long research career.
The primary motivation for my work thus far is rocket fuel management in space. Commonly used fuels, liquid hydrogen and liquid methane, are stored in metallic containers at temperatures as low as -260° C. The liquid fuel vaporizes with even minute amounts of heat, and results in a liquid-vapor mixture. This increases the pressure in the container, requiring ventilation to avoid over-pressurization, resulting in significant fuel loss. Fuel storage/management is one of the limiting factors to long term space missions. My dissertation focuses on novel methods to visualize, investigate, and predict the behavior of these fuels and enable long term manned space travel.
I am grateful for the finishing fellowship awarded by the Graduate School. There is no doubt that the support provided will someday result in “a giant leap for mankind”.
I am a PhD student in Computer Science and work in Computer Architecture and Compiler Lab with my advisor, Dr. Soner Onder. Before I came to Michigan Tech, I was an ASIC engineer in industry. I still remembered the day I decided to come back to school and pursue a higher education. I prefer a life with new adventures and learning new technologies. Finally I am able to contribute my research and share it with the whole world. When I look back on my PhD career, I think that is the best decision I ever made in my life to get a PhD degree. We learned from the work previous researchers have completed and contributed our work for the future researchers. Now it is my last year in Michigan Tech. I will write my dissertation which includes all the work I have finished in these years. The finishing fellowship immensely helps my situation so that I do not need to worry too much and can focus on my dissertation. Here I want to sincerely thank for the sponsor of the fellowship and the panel. With the help been given from you, I believe I can finish my dissertation outstandingly and defend it on time.
John “Moose” Henderson
As a self-financed student, the fellowship gave me the funds to complete my degree without working full time.
My PhD research is focused on developing computationally efficient algorithms for non-parametric high-dimensional density estimation, with applications in density-based data mining and machine learning techniques.
Besides research activities, since Fall 2014, I have been working as a Graduate Teaching Assistant, and I had the opportunity to teach five different ECE labs during seven semesters, which has been an invaluable experience for me.
I am truly grateful to the Graduate School for providing me with financial support through the Doctoral Finishing Fellowship. This fellowship has made it possible for me to put my entire focus on publishing my research and completing my thesis, towards completion of my PhD degree this semester.
I would also like to express my sincere gratitude and appreciation to MTU Alumni and Friends, for making this fellowship possible through their generous donations.
Gemechis D. Degaga
Before I came to Michigan Tech, I earned my BSc. degree in Physics from Haramaya University and MSc. degree in Materials Science from Addis Ababa University, both in Ethiopia. I then earned another MSc. degree in Physics from the University of Trieste (Università degli studi di Trieste) in Italy through the two-year TRIL Masters Fellowship, awarded from the International Center for Theoretical Physics (ICTP). I am currently a PhD candidate in the Chemistry Department. I joined Dr. Loredana Valenzano’s research group in the Fall of 2013. Since then I have conducted multiple PhD projects involving coordinative polymers (CPO-27) also known as Metal Organic Frameworks (MOF-74-Mg/Zn). Results of my DFT studies on the adsorption and diffusion of hydrocarbon molecules showed that MOF-74-Mg/Zn are energetically and economically promising materials for olefin-paraffin gas mixture separation, for application in petroleum refining industries. In my final project, I applied crystal engineering principles to improve the physicochemical properties of active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) co-crystals such as solubility, dissolution rate, hygroscopic stability, compressibility, and bioavailability to obtain better compatibility for human use. From these research project results, I was able to publish three peer-reviewed papers and conducted multiple poster and oral presentations on campus and at national and international conferences.
While at Michigan Tech I had opportunities to be involved in research and teaching activities within the Physics Department. Michigan Tech has provided me an environment in which I was able to take on leadership commitments such as Graduate Student’s Government (GSG) academic committee member and as a Chemistry Department representative. I also learned a lot from the professional development seminar series and many other seminars conducted through the Graduate School. I am grateful to the Graduate School and the Dean’s Advisory Panel for providing me with the Finishing Fellowship. This fellowship allows me the opportunity to focus on writing my dissertation and complete it in a timely manner.
The learning experience at Michigan Tech helps me learn how to solve problems and overcome challenges, which can benefit both my personal development and future career. It is my honor to receive the finishing fellowship and I greatly appreciate the support from the Graduate School.
Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics