Nominations open for the 2022 CGS/ProQuest Distinguished Dissertation Award

Nominations are now open for the 2022 Council of Graduate Schools (CGS)/ProQuest Distinguished Dissertation Award. Please submit nominations to the Graduate School no later than 4pm, June 15, 2022, 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 2022)

Michigan Tech may nominate one student in each field. PhD students who have completed all of their degree requirements between July 1, 2020, and June 30, 2022, are eligible.

The fields of competition for 2023 will be Biological/Life Sciences and Humanities and Fine Arts (including history).

Nominations must be delivered to Debra Charlesworth in the Graduate School no later than 4 p.m. on June 15, 2022; e-mail nominations to gradschool@mtu.edu are preferred.  Contact Debra Charlesworth (gradschool@mtu.edu) if you have any questions about the competition.


DeVlieg Graduate Summer 2022 Research Recipient – Samuel Hervey

I am a PhD student in the College of Forest Resources and Environmental Science and my main research interest is wildlife conservation and how we can utilize noninvasive methods to study and inform management of wildlife. For my PhD research, I am developing multiple noninvasive genetic methods to study the health of the recently introduced wolf population on Isle Royale.

Over the summer semester and with the support of the DeVlieg Foundation, I will be optimizing a set of molecular markers that will help us track the number of wolves occupying Isle Royale as well as the level of inbreeding within the population. With this information we can better understand the health of the wolf population through time and if interventions may be necessary. I cannot thank the DeVlieg Foundation and the Graduate Dean Awards Advisory Committee enough for their support.

Michigan Tech gratefully acknowledges support from The DeVlieg Foundation for the DeVlieg Summer Research Award.


Submission and Formatting 101: Master the Dissertation, Thesis, and Report Process

Students who are completing a dissertation, thesis, or report are invited to join the Graduate School to learn about the resources available to them to assist in scheduling their defense, formatting their documents, and submitting their documents.  In one afternoon, you can learn everything you need to be successful and complete your degree in a timely fashion!  Faculty and staff who assist students with submissions are also welcome to attend.  Attend the entire event, or stop in for the seminar that interests you.

  • When: Thursday, May 26, 2022 2 – 4pm (see detailed schedule below)
  • Who: Students completing a dissertation, thesis or report; faculty and staff who assist students with submission
  • Where: Virtual and in-person (Admin 404 – limit for room is 35); (register to attend online and receive participation instructions)
  • Registration: Please register to receive handouts via email or attend online. The seminar will be available online as well as on campus.

If you are unable to join us, the event will be taped and available online after the event. The previous semester’s seminars are always available online.

Information on submitting, formatting, and more can be found online for dissertations and theses or reports.

Detailed schedule

  • 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. – Submission 101
    Learn what is required to submit your document to the Graduate School and the deadlines for the upcoming semester.  Best for students who are completing their degree this semester or next semester.
  • 3:00 – 4:00 p.m. – Formatting 101-103
    Learn about templates, checking your document with Adobe Acrobat, and how to use copyrighted materials. You’ll also learn where resources are on the web page so you can learn more about the topics that interest you.
  • 4:00 – 4:30 p.m.: Questions
    Have a question that hasn’t been answered yet? We’ll be available to answer any additional questions you have.


Graduate School Represents Michigan Tech at MAGS

The Graduate School recently represented Michigan Tech at the Midwestern Association of Graduate Schools (MAGS) annual meeting held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, from April 6-8. Dean Will Cantrell, Melissa Baird (SS/GS), Debra Charlesworth (GS), Anna McClatchy (Dean of Students/GS), and PhD candidate in chemistry Priyanka Kadav attended the meeting.

Baird attended the New Graduate Administrators Workshop, providing graduate deans from across the Midwest the opportunity to network and discuss how to best support graduate education. Charlesworth and McClatchy presented an oral session titled “Bridging the Gap: Holistic Graduate Student Support at Michigan Tech.” They provided an interactive session for the attendees to learn from each other as well as Michigan Tech about support resources for graduate students. Finally, Kadav represented Michigan Tech in the Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition. Her presentation was titled “Capture and Release (CaRe): A novel protein purification technique.” Her slide and a picture of her group can be found on the Graduate School Newsblog.

MAGS sponsors several competitions to recognize graduate student and graduate school accomplishments; please consider nominating your outstanding students when nominations are open!


MTU Students Receive NSF Graduate Research Fellowships

Two Michigan Tech graduate students, Tessa Steenwinkel and Tyler LeMahieu, have been awarded National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowships, and one undergraduate student, Jenna Brewer, has been given an honorable mention.

The oldest STEM-related fellowship program in the United States, the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) is a prestigious award that recognizes exceptional graduate students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines early in their career and supports them through graduate education. NSF-GRFP fellows are an exceptional group; 42 fellows have become Nobel Laureates and about 450 fellows are members of the National Academy of Sciences.

The fellowship provides three years of financial support, including a $34,000 stipend for each fellow and a $12,000 cost-of-education allowance for the fellow’s institution. Besides financial support for fellows, the GRFP provides opportunities for research in national laboratories and international research.

The Graduate School is proud of these students for their outstanding scholarship. These awards highlight the quality of students at Michigan Tech, the innovative work they have accomplished, the potential for leadership and impact in science and engineering that the country recognizes in these students and the incredible role that faculty play in students’ academic success.

Tessa Steenwinkel

Steenwinkel is a biochemistry and molecular biology M.S. student under advisor Thomas Werner (BioSci). She has been studying the influence of nutrition on the interplay of fertility, fecundity and longevity in Drosophila. In the long term, she plans to focus on medicinal research and how genetic regulation plays a role in infertility

Werner writes: “Tessa is the best student I have ever had the pleasure to mentor in my lab. During her undergraduate and accelerated M.S. years, she won nine research awards and published 10 research papers and two books with me. I am extremely happy (but not surprised) that she won the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship. Her newest success proves that I was not mistaken in my choice to name a new fruit fly species in her honor last year, which is named ‘Amiota tessae.'”

Tyler LeMahieu

LeMahieu is an environmental engineering M.S. student under advisor Cory McDonald. LeMahieu’s proposal was titled, “Understanding Wild Rice Site Suitability in a Changing Climate.”

LeMahieu writes: “I plan to dedicate my career to bridging gaps between the scientific body and land managers. I would like to manage public and rural lands for the farmer, the logger and the hunter while managing those same lands for improved water and ecological health into perpetuity. Because fundamentally, rural land managers have the same goal in mind as those studying the environment — a useful, productive and sound ecosystem which will support and be supported by the next generation. That common ground is not always evident to both parties, but I am equipped to act as an intermediary with a foot in both worlds.”

Jenna Brewer

Brewer is a senior undergraduate student from Grand Rapids studying wildlife ecology and management under advisor Jared Wolfe. She plans to continue her education at Michigan Tech, pursuing a graduate degree this fall. Her research aims to develop an acoustic signal to deter birds from potential collision hazards such as city buildings during flight, effectively mitigating bird deaths. After graduate school, she hopes to become an avian ecologist, contributing to projects that focus on migration science.

Wolfe writes: “Jenna’s enthusiastic study of songbird ecology and conservation has long been recognized by her supervisors and peers; now that same passion has been recognized by the National Science Foundation. Faculty at CFRES are incredibly proud of Jenna’s accomplishment!”


Priyanka Kadav represents Michigan Tech in regional 3MT competition

Priyanka Kadav recently represented Michigan Tech in the Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition at the Midwestern Association of Graduate Schools (MAGS) annual meeting. The MAGS meeting was held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin from April 6-8, 2022. Priyanka is a PhD candidate in Chemistry advised by Dr. Tarun Dam.

Prior to representing Michigan Tech at MAGS, she earned the top prize at Michigan Tech’s 3MT competition. The Graduate Student Government sponsors a local 3MT competition each fall. Each university in our region was invited to send one representative to the MAGS annual meeting.

Her presentation was titled, “Capture and Release (CaRe): A novel protein purification technique.” The Graduate School is proud of her accomplishments and how well she represented Michigan Tech!

Priyanka Kadav's slide representing her dissertation.
Priyanka Kadav’s slide for her 3MT presentation describing the protein purification technique she is developing in her dissertation.
Priyanka Kadav (far left) with her 3MT competitors and judges.


Copyright Workshop for Graduate Students

by Van Pelt and Opie Library

What’s copyright and what does it have to do with your dissertation? Do you need permission to use someone else’s figure or image, or an article you wrote? Should you make your thesis open access? And what is a Creative Commons license? Get the answers to these and other questions at the library workshop: “Copyright and Your Dissertation, Thesis, or Master’s Report.”

In this workshop, you’ll learn the role U.S. copyright law plays in writing and publishing your report, thesis, or dissertation. We will explore the legal use of copyrighted material, publishing agreements, Creative Commons licensing and the role of Michigan Tech’s institutional repository, Digital Commons @ Michigan Tech. After this workshop, you will be prepared to make informed decisions about using copyrighted material and the publishing options for your dissertation, thesis, or master’s report.

Please join us in Library 244 at noon on Monday (March 21). Registration is required.


2022 Nominee for MAGS Excellence in Teaching Award – Parth Bhatt

“Those who know, do. Those who understand, teach,” is how Greek philosopher Aristotle put it.  My name is Parth Bhatt and I come from the western coast state of Gujarat in India. I came to Michigan Tech in the Fall of 2016 for a master’s in the College of Forest Resources and Environmental Science (CFRES). Before coming to the states, I completed my master of science in the field of Environmental Science in India and was working as a trainee at the Space Application Center, Indian Space Research Organization. It was during my time at the space agency I got exposure to the field of Geographic Information Science and Remote Sensing and realized that I want to go abroad for higher education. When I got the admit letter from  Michigan Tech, I was assigned Dr. Ann Maclean as my advisor, and to be honest, the email conversations I had with her were the driving factors for making Michigan Tech and CFRES my choice. I should say choosing Michigan Tech, CFRES, and Ann as my advisor were some of the best decisions of my life. I completed my MS here at Tech in Fall 2018 and continued the journey further by joining Ph.D. under Dr. Maclean. My master’s and Ph.D. project involve working with the USDA Forest Service, mapping the Hiawatha National Forest at the Natural Habitat Community level. We use high-resolution UAV and airborne NAIP imagery coupled with machine learning algorithms to classify the forest. The project is significant for the USFS as the end products (i.e. classified maps) help the management authorities to protect and manage the forest and help in better decision making. I also work on a national level project of mapping and monitoring the Forest Health by ecoregions across the contiguous United States using Google Earth Engine with the USDA Forest Service. Along with research, I have been enjoying teaching GIS classes in CFRES since Spring 2017, I mainly teach the undergraduate and graduate-level GIS classes and labs. Since Fall 2020, I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to be a Graduate Teaching Instructor (and thanks to my advisor Dr. Ann Maclean and my dean Dr. Andrew Storer, who trusted and motivated me) to take on this opportunity. I am thankful to my department who nominated me and grateful to the university for selecting me as a nominee for the Midwestern Association of Graduate School Excellence in Teaching Award. It is an absolute honor to represent Michigan Tech at the MAGS 2022.


Doctoral Finishing Fellowship – Spring 2022 Recipient – Chathura Adambarage

I joined the Department of Chemistry at Michigan Technological University (MTU) in Fall/2017 as a graduate student in chemistry. Before joining MTU, I obtained my BSc (Hons) in chemistry from the University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Sri Lanka and in parallel to that I completed my second BSc in chemistry at the Institute of Chemistry Ceylon, Sri Lanka. I had a strong desire to follow a Ph.D. in physical chemistry therefore, I joined Dr. Kathryn Perrine’s surface science research group. The reason why I decided to select surface science to pursue my Ph.D. is, it is an interdisciplinary subject area that connects several disciplines such as chemistry, vacuum technology, physics, and engineering. My Ph.D. research mainly focused on studying the influence of the chemical environment on interfacial corrosion at air/electrolyte/iron interface using surface sensitive infrared spectroscopy. I was able to develop a method to investigate interfacial corrosion and mineral formation at air/liquid/solid interfaces with the guidance of my research advisor. Also, I completed MS in chemistry on the way to my Ph.D. I was fortunate to obtain a lot of experience in vacuum science and technology as a part of my Ph.D. career. Furthermore, I gained knowledge and experience in studying chemical reactions of simple halogenated gas molecules on single crystal metal surfaces under in situ and operando conditions.

I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the Department of Chemistry and the Graduate College of Michigan Technological University for giving me an invaluable opportunity to join the MTU community as a graduate student and for their continuous support for achieving my Ph.D. goals. My special thank goes to my research advisor Dr. Kathryn A. Perrine and also to all the graduate committee members (Dr. Loredana Valenzano, Dr. Rudy Luck, and Dr. Lei Pan) for their invaluable guidance and mentorship extended for me throughout my journey to the Ph.D.


Doctoral Finishing Fellowship – Spring 2022 Recipient – James K. Rauschendorfer

James Rauschendorfer is a PhD candidate in the Forest Molecular Genetics and Biotechnology graduate program. He is the recipient of a spring 2022 finishing fellowship and is advised by Dr. Carsten Külheim and Dr. Molly Cavaleri. 

The main goal of his PhD project is to assess the climate change readiness of these species using provenance trials, genetics, and physiology. His study is the first to use such a combination to assess climate adaptation in trees and will help prevent deforestation through climate-related events.  He is personally excited to live at a time when genetic resources are becoming widely available for many tree species.