Doctoral Finishing Fellowship Spring 2019 Recipient – Robert Zupko

Robert Zupko
Computational Science & Engineering

I am a PhD candidate in Computational Science & Engineering (CS&E) at Michigan Tech, affiliated with the Department of Social Sciences. My departmental affiliation reflects the non-departmental and interdisciplinary nature of CS&E in which complex problems are explored.  My doctoral research focuses on the applications of computer modeling to coupled human and natural systems with an emphasis on assessing the sustainability of biofuels in the Western Upper Peninsula region of Michigan. The development of biofuels is interesting since they can bring new industry into the region and help to address climate change; however, the need for feedstocks means that that their development may interfere with other regional concerns. Computer modeling techniques, such as agent-based modeling, offer as a means to explore how the region could respond to the introduction biofuels and conduct sustainability assessments of environmental, economic, and social concerns. Ultimately, the goal of this research is not only to conduct these assessments, but to develop a generalizable computational technique for the study of coupled human and natural systems.

I am extremely grateful to Dr. Mark Rouleau, in the Department of Social Sciences, and the Michigan Tech Graduate School for the opportunity to pursue this research. Likewise, I am humbled by the Finishing Fellowship which will allow the opportunity to dedicate my time solely to completing my doctoral studies.

 

 


Graduate School Celebrates Milestone

First, a little history.

Our first two master’s degrees were awarded in 1927 to Jack L. Byers and Corbin T. Eddy. The first two doctorates were granted in 1934 to Roy W. Drier and Corbin T. Eddy. The first female graduate student at Michigan Tech was Margaret R. Holly who entered the MS degree program in Chemistry in 1935.

The Board of Control approved the creation of the Graduate School in July, 1950 and in 1960, physicist Donald Yerg became the first dean of the Graduate School.

Over the years we’ve had many, many incredible graduates from all over the world go on to accomplish wonderful things. Just a few who stand out are:

  • Kanwal Rekhi, MS, Electrical Engineering 1969, an entrepreneur who was part of the first Indian-owned company to go public in the U.S.
  • Roxanne Gay, PhD, Rhetoric and Technical Communication 2010, professor and contributing opinion writer at the New York Times
  • Yong Bin Yuan, PhD, Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics 1991, CEO of Bethel Brake Company in Wuhu, China
  • The Most Reverend Alexander Sample, Archbishop of Portland, Oregon, MS, Metallurgical and Materials Engineering 1984
  • Otha Thornton, MS, Rhetoric and Technical Communication 2001, U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel (retired), board member of the National Parent Teacher Association (PTA)
  • Jason Carter, PhD, Biological Sciences 2003, associate vice president for Research Development at Michigan Tech and president-elect of the American Kinesiology Association

And this is just a sampling of the thousands of outstanding recipients of master’s and doctorate degrees from Michigan Tech who are making our world a better place.

Just how many have there been? Well, Michigan Tech is passing an important milestone Saturday (Dec. 15). Among the master’s and doctorate degrees awarded will be the 10,000th graduate degree in Michigan Tech’s history.

“I’m confident,” says Pushpalatha Murthy, dean of the Graduate School, “that among the upcoming and future graduate alumni, including the 10,000thgraduate degree recipient, we will continue to find the leaders the world needs to create a strong, productive and inclusive future.”

Tech will celebrate this milestone in true Tech fashion at commencement Saturday. Go Huskies.


Doctoral Finishing Fellowship Spring 2019 Recipient – David Rosen

David Rosen
Biomedical Engineering

My graduate study at MTU began the spring of 2015.  My broad research interests and aspirations are oriented toward soft tissue biomechanics and the physiology and technologies that are associated with the topic.  For my PhD research, my interest in biomechanics has been specifically focused on a medical ultrasound technology called elastography.  Elastography is a technique used to assess soft tissue elasticity in vivo. My graduate research efforts have focused on how the distinctive mechanical properties of soft tissue (i.e. viscoelasticity, heterogeneity, and nonlinear elasticity) manifest in elastography measurements and what role they have in elastographic uncertainty as it relates medical diagnosis.

I am immensely grateful for the support provided by the Graduate School through the Doctoral Finishing Fellowship. This support is instrumental in this final stage of my graduate study. It has been a privilege to study and work on research at MTU and I am excited to see how the skills and knowledge I have developed during my time here will impact my career and my field.


Formatting workshops for Fall 2018

Are you working on formatting corrections for your dissertation, thesis, or report? Do you need help? Are you unsure where to submit your dissertation, thesis, or report?

Join the Graduate School (gradschool@mtu.edu) for group work hours. These workshops are provided at no charge to students working on a dissertation, thesis, or report. Staff will able to help with the changes required by the Graduate School for these documents in MS Office. Assistance will also be available for converting documents to PDF from Word and how to make simple corrections and check your document in Adobe Acrobat. The workshops will be in rooms with PCs with University software, or you may bring your own laptop. Distance students may contact gradschool@mtu.edu about remote assistance during these times via web conferencing.  If you need additional help outside of these times, please contact the Graduate School.  On a limited basis, one-on-one assistance may be available.

 Last day to submit a post-defense document to successfully complete your degree in fall is December 10, 2018 by 4pm EST!

All workshops will be held from on the following dates at the mentioned time:

  • Tuesday, December 4, 2018 | 2:30-4:30pm | Dillman 211
  • Thursday, December 6, 2018 |2:30-4:30pm | EERC 723
  • Thursday, December 20, 2018 | 2:30-4:30pm |EERC 723

Doctoral Finishing Fellowship Spring 2019 Recipient – Simeon Schum

Simeon Schum
Chemistry

I arrived at Michigan Tech in Fall 2013 after receiving my Bachelor’s degree in chemistry from University of Alaska, Fairbanks the previous spring. After arriving, I joined Dr. Lynn Mazzoleni’s group, which is primarily focused on investigating the molecular composition of atmospheric organic aerosol using ultrahigh resolution mass spectrometry.

My research has focused on the analysis and interpretation of organic aerosol collected at the Pico Mountain Observatory, which is located on Pico Island in the Azores Archipelago, within the north Atlantic Ocean. Through this work I was able to go to the site in the summers of 2014 and 2017 for a total of ten weeks and helped operate and maintain the site so that samples and observations could be obtained for researchers at Michigan Tech and other collaborating institutions. Some of my work from the site highlighted interesting questions about the aging processes that organic aerosol undergo based on the ambient conditions in the atmosphere during long-range transport.

In addition to my work with organic aerosol, I learned how to write code in R and have used that knowledge to write a code package that includes functions that do molecular formula assignment, isotope filtering, signal to noise determination, and recalibration. These are all important for the analysis of ultrahigh resolution mass spectrometry data.

First, I would like to thank Dr. Mazzoleni for her incredible assistance over the years in mentoring and providing me the opportunity to do things I may not have otherwise done. I would also like to thank the Michigan Tech Graduate school for awarding me this finishing fellowship, which will allow me to focus on finishing my dissertation and journal publications related to my work.

 


Doctoral Finishing Fellowship Spring 2019 Recipient – Xin He

Xin He
Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics

It is never easy to approach to the finishing of a Ph.D. study since one could always explore a little more. I am extremely honored to be awarded the finishing scholarship, nevertheless, the study will never end. After obtaining M.S. in New Mexico State University, I joined Michigan Tech in Spring 2016 with my research interests in computational fluid dynamics. My research topic did not take long to be specified into high-speed boundary layer flow and its stability analysis. I appreciate the opportunity that Dr. Chunpei Cai granted for joining his research group. Tech has great resources to support one on both researching and surviving in the extreme weather. Gradually, snowboarding has become my primary after-work activity throughout the year since the winter session lasts so long. Tech is always my family, being here feels like home.


Doctoral Finishing Fellowship Spring 2019 Recipient – Lukai Zhai

Lukai Zhai
Biological Sciences

I started my life in Michigan Tech as a Ph.D student majoring in Biological Sciences from 2015 Fall. My advisor, Dr. Ebenezer Tumban, kindly offered me support in his lab till now. I have had a great time working in our lab and our department. Before I came here, I earned my bachelor’s degree majoring in Biotechnology in Shandong Normal University, China. I also worked as a research scientist for two years in Shandong University, China. My impression of Michigan Tech is that it is a wonderful place to do research!

Our research focuses on 1) Developing a novel chimeric MS2 bacteriophage virus like particles (VLPs), displaying a tandem HPV L2 peptide, as candidate vaccine to protect against diverse genital HPV infections. 2) In collaboration with Dr. Pavan Muttil (University of New Mexico), formulating the MS2-L2 VLPs into a dry powder by spray-freeze drying for thermostability test (2 Month) and assessing the potential of MS2-L2 VLPs to offer oral and vaginal protection from HPV pseudovirus infection, following sublingually immunized with mucosal adjuvants. 3) Cloning, co-expressing in E. coli, and purifying two coat proteins (ORF13 and ORF14) from a novel thermophilic phage ΦIN93. Assess the potentials of the coat proteins to assemble into VLP.

It is a great honor for me to receive the Finishing Fellowship and I would like to sincerely thank the Graduate School for offering me the support! Also I want to express my gratitude to everybody who helped me in my research and life. At last, I am proud of being a Husky!


Doctoral Finishing Fellowship Spring 2019 Recipient – Xian Li

Xian Li
Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics

In August 2015, I had my first time to take an airplane trip and to travel aboard, and the destination was Michigan Tech in Houghton. Since then, I have joined Dr. Ye Sun’s research group and began my exciting Ph.D. study here. I earned my Bachelor’s Degree (from Tianjin University, China) and Master’s Degree (from Chongqing University, China) in Biomedical Engineering in China. Currently, my research focuses on the Internet of Things and Energy Harvesting, and my dissertation is mainly about developing a hybrid-powered wireless wearable system for biopotential monitoring.

I would like to give my sincere thanks to Graduate School for providing me with this finishing fellowship. Thanks to this financial support, I will be able to concentrate my efforts on completing the dissertation and to expect to graduate this semester. I really appreciate for learning the techniques and skills I needed for my future career, and I feel very proud of being a Ph.D. Candidate in Michigan Tech. I am also very thankful to my advisor and department of MEEM for their big support.


Doctoral Finishing Fellowship Spring 2019 Recipient – Niranjan Miganakallu

Niranjan Miganakallu
Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics

I am a PhD candidate in Mechanical Engineering at MTU. I arrived in the US in the Fall of 2014 to pursue my PhD at Michigan Tech after 6 years in industry and academia in India. I started working under the guidance of Dr. Jeff Naber with research in injector studies to study the combustion and emission performance on Gasoline engines.

My research primarily focuses on the impact of water injection in gasoline engines in terms of improving the performance and reducing the NOx emissions. Studies are conducted on a single cylinder engine test bench at the Mechanical Engineering building at MTU to observe the combustion and emission characteristics of gasoline combustion with water injection. My research also includes studies on gasoline sprays to study the spray characteristics using conventional and alternative fuels. These studies are conducted at a state-of-the-art Alternative Energy Research Building (AERB) combustion lab in Hancock. Optical diagnostics including imaging from high-speed camera are used to observe the sprays emanating out of high-pressure injectors inside a spray vessel at varied operating conditions. This research helps in improving the fundamental understanding of the combustion process and combustion control for gasoline combustion and its impact on the environment.

Apart from research, I have been involved with the Graduate Student Government (GSG) at Michigan Tech since 2016 in various capacities as department representative, treasurer, student liaison for several committees with regular interactions with the administration. I have also had the opportunity of serving as a member of the search committee of Dean of College of Engineering at Michigan Tech representing the graduate student body.

I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the Michigan Tech Graduate School for awarding me the Finishing Fellowship for the Spring 2019 semester. This fellowship helps me in focusing exclusively on finishing the experiments and publishing in journals to complete my dissertation in a timely manner.


Doctoral Finishing Fellowship Spring 2019 Recipient – Stefan Hupperts

Stefan Hupperts
Forest Science

By spanning aboveground and belowground ecology, my research aims to strengthen our knowledge of plant and fungal community responses to disturbance and ultimately contribute toward improved forest management systems. My work will provide critical evidence to support or refute prevailing hypotheses that management systems in Great Lakes forests can be revised to better promote species diversity. Conclusions will also help identify which plant and fungal traits are selected for or against along disturbance gradients to better inform trait databases, future modeling efforts, and forest management.
I’m extremely grateful for the support of my advisor Dr. Yvette Dickinson, the McIntire-Stennis Cooperative Forestry Research Program, and the MTU Graduate School. Living, exploring, and conducting research in the forests of the Upper Peninsula has been an incredible privilege.