Doctoral Finishing Fellowship – Fall 2021 Recipient – Andrew Puyleart

August of 2016, I started my journey toward an Applied Physics Ph.D. at Michigan Tech. I recently left an engineering job and was excited to start working on cosmic ray physics with Dr. Brian Fick. Since then Brian and I have completed several projects together over the course of 5 years.

We started with a service project for the Pierre Auger Observatory. The Pierre Auger Observatory has fluorescence telescopes that only operate on clear-moonless nights. Clouds in our atmosphere disrupt photons from entering the telescope eyes of this instrument. Together we used a modern satellite, GOES-16, to accurately tell if a cloud was present in 2×2 km square pixels that cover the entire array.

Our work now has turned to searching for anomalous air showers that are generated when a cosmic ray interacts with atmospheric matter. These showers typically all look relatively the same; however, when they exhibit exotic behaviors they may hold clues to new particle physics. We are developing methods using the Pierre Auger Observatory to classify which showers are anomalous.

Thanks to the Michigan Tech Finishing Fellowship I will be able to focus on wrapping up this last project. I have coding work, and optimization to finish, as well as finally getting it all written down on paper. With the extra time, the Finishing Fellowship will give me to focus I might be able to avoid another winter here in the Upper Peninsula! Thanks, MTU!


Doctoral Finishing Fellowship – Fall 2021 Recipient – Chethan Reddy

I joined Michigan Technological University (MTU) in Fall 2016 for the Ph.D. program in the Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics Department. I concentrated on my coursework in Fall 2016 and Spring 2017. Then in Summer 2017, I joined Dr. Mahdi Shahbakhti and Dr. Rush D Robinett III in the Energy Mechatronics Laboratory at Michigan Technological University. My Ph.D. research focus is on Model-based Predictive Control of Co-generation Energy Systems. Co-generation Energy Systems are Energy Systems with two simultaneous energy types (for example electricity and thermal energy) or two simultaneous energy sources (for example engine with a waste heat recovery system). The two Co-generation Energy Systems I am focusing on are (i) building an HVAC system with solar energy integration, and (ii) an internal combustion engine with waste heat recovery.

Previously, I graduated with my bachelor’s in mechanical engineering in 2011 and from my master’s in Mechatronics in 2013. I, then, was employed by Robert Bosch in the Automotive domain from 2012 to 2016. All in India. The main motivation for me to quit Robert Bosch was to develop my skills to contribute to the energy transformation of the world.

I am in the final stages of my Ph.D. and I am extremely grateful to the graduate school (MTU) for supporting me through the doctoral finishing fellowship during the Fall semester of 2021. I believe that this fellowship will allow me to concentrate completely on writing my dissertation and graduate sooner.


Doctoral Finishing Fellowship – Fall 2021 Recipient – Yunxiang Ma

I came from central China, where I was born and brought up. I obtained my Bachelor of Engineering degree in civil engineering from Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University, a young collaborated university symbolizing the cooperation and communication between the oriental and western world. Then I went to the United Kingdom and got my master’s degree in structural engineering and mechanics from the University of Glasgow and Edinburgh University. I joined MTU in January 2018 and started my study and research life as a Ph.D. student. The study and journey told me to embrace the difference, learn from the best and do what I can.  

Currently, human society is facing some common and severe problems, such as the extreme weather caused by global warming, pollution, and the increasing cost of human resources. As a civil engineer, I would like to help with what I can do. In my vision, the buildings have to be more resilient, ecofriendly, and efficient in cost and human resources in the future. A fundamental improvement to thaw the problems a little would be the improvement of structural systems. I was clueless; then, I met the mass timber structures. Unlike the manufacture of cement, which incinerates stones, or the casting of steel, which melt and treat iron in a furnace, timber structural components manufacture requires much less energy and consolidate the carbon absorbed by the trees. However, despite the outstanding sustainability performance, as a type of natural material, the variation in the mechanical properties and the directional differences limited the utilization. In recent decades, engineered wood products such as CLT broke through the limit and showed great potential as a new and better structural system.

Nevertheless, there are still a lot of technical problems limiting the promotion of mass timber structures. As a civil engineer, I wish to contribute and gain success. I got an opportunity here in MTU to study the manufacture of CLT with low-value timber for first-hand experience. I am studying the CLT wall structures with advanced finite element analysis tools for the structural dynamic response, which could help design and develop mass timber structures. I greatly appreciate MTU and my advisors that provided me the opportunity. And I would like to sincerely thank the Graduate Dean Awards Advisory Panel for approving me for the finishing fellowship award. The award will help me to fully concentrate on finishing my study and dissertation for my Ph.D. degree. It will be a significant step for me to pursue my career and my dream.  


Doctoral Finishing Fellowship – Fall 2021 Recipient – Ankith Ullal

I came to Michigan Tech in 2015 as a master’s student. Before this, I completed my undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering in NITK Surathkal, India. During my master’s degree, I was exposed to research work and enjoyed it very much. I like solving challenging problems and doing new things every day. Thus, I decided to pursue a Ph.D. degree which started in fall 2017 under the guidance of Dr. Youngchul Ra.

My research work deals with developing new accurate models for evaporation of liquid drops as well as wallfilms to be used in computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations. In particular, the first project involved the development of a model to predict pre-ignition (and thereby prevent) by lubrication oil drops in marine natural gas engines. Pre-ignition in marine engines can cause mechanical damage and thus financial loss. I have developed and tested a CFD computer code that can predict complex preignition processes. The second project was to develop a new analytical model for wallfilm evaporation. To lower emissions during the cold start of internal combustion (IC) engines, accurate modeling of the evaporation and heat transfer physics of wallfilm is required. First, the theoretical derivation of the model was developed. The model was then programed and implemented in KIVA-3V code. I hope my work will help engine/power plant designers and manufacturers to develop machines and processes that are more efficient, greener, and cleaner.

Now as I am closer to graduation, I am grateful to my advisor Dr. Ra for providing me valuable guidance. I also acknowledge the contribution of my lab mates who participated in our numerous discussions which helped me in my work. I sincerely thank the Graduate Dean Awards Advisory Panel and dean for awarding me this fellowship as it will help me concentrate on finishing my dissertation and defense.


Graduate School Resources and Response to COVID-19

This post summarizes the response and resources available to graduate students beginning spring 2020. Resources that continue to be available as of fall 2021 are marked with an asterisk (*).

Health and Safety Resources and Responses

*HuskyFAN Food and Delivery

Michigan Technological University’s campus food pantry, or HuskyFAN, moved their operations to include an online food order form. Through this form students, faculty and staff, can request items to be packaged and delivered or arrange a pick up day and time. Starting mid-September the food pantry will distribute vouchers to be used at the local Houghton Farmer’s Market. These can be used to purchase fresh produce.

*Provided Masks and Other Wellness Supplies

At the beginning of the fall 2020 semester, all student groups were provided a time to pick up a wellness packet which included a washable mask, hand sanitizer, and information on health and safety during the pandemic. Areas on campus including HuskyFAN and Residence Education and Housing, and Center for Student Mental Health and Well-Being have continued to provide masks and other wellness supplies like cleaners, wipes, and hand sanitizer to all students upon request.

*Telehealth

Michigan Technological University’s Center for Student Mental Health and Well-Being (CSMWWB) moved their operations online including the Graduate Student Support Group. Recognizing the need for additional mental health and well-being resources, the CSMWWB has launched another telehealth option through MySSP.

*On Campus Testing and Symptom Monitoring

Throughout the 2020-2021 academic year, Michigan Technological University encouraged, and at times required, all students to use the Daily Symptom Monitoring Form which provided the necessary offices with information to support students who felt unwell. On demand COVID-19 testing has continued to be available to students, faculty and staff throughout the academic year.

*Isolation/Quarantine Spaces

Throughout the pandemic multiple departments on campus (Residence Education & Housing Services, Graduate School, Dean of Students Office) worked together to ensure students had safe spaces if they were required to isolate or quarantine. During an isolation or quarantine period, students were contacted often to provide them with resources including food delivery, virtual engagement opportunities, mental health resources, assistance with children, and many other resources.

Financial Resources and Responses

*Emergency Funds

Even before the pandemic began, Michigan Technological University had a process in place for students to request emergency funds for extenuating circumstances. At the start of the pandemic, the decision was made to loosen the eligibility requirements of the emergency funds in order to allow as many students as possible the opportunity to apply. Over the last year and a half, Michigan Technological University has given out over $100,000. In addition, the Graduate School was gifted $100,000 which was distributed to graduate students in need.

Distribution of CARES Funds

For eligible students, CARES funds were distributed through block payments. Upcoming CARES funds will be distributed in a similar manner.

Daniell Heights

Policies regarding evictions and late fees were relaxed. Students with a payment plan in place could remain in their housing and late fees were waived.

Academic Related Resources and Responses

Deadline Flexibility

Many different deadlines including time for completion of an incomplete grade,and date for withdrawal with a “W”,  were extended for all students during the spring 2020, fall 2020, and spring 2021 semesters.

Course Retake Policy

The policy for the number and type of courses that can be retaken has been modified. Any courses taken during spring 2020, summer 2020, fall 2020 and spring 2021 will not count toward the limit of retaking a class a maximum of three times as stated in the University policy and may be repeated, regardless of the grade that was received.

Pass/Fail Grades

In the spring 2020, and fall 2020 semesters students were provided with the opportunity to choose a Pass/ Low Pass/ Fail Option as Michigan Technological University recognized that the alternative modalities for classes may not have been ideal for all types of students.

Suspensions/Dismissals

In spring 2020 the Graduate School amended the policy for Good Academic Standing and Dismissal to not penalize any students who may have been placed on probation, suspension, or dismissal.

Dissertation, Thesis, Report Deadlines

In spring 2020, the Graduate School extended the grace period and waived the fee to allow students to complete their degree without additional registration. In summer 2020, the grace period fee was also waived.

Scholastic Standards

Additional flexibility was offered for graduate scholastic standards. Pass (SCV) grades from spring 2020 and fall 2020 are allowed to be used to fulfill degree requirements, and programs have the flexibility to allow an additional 3 credits of pass (SCV) grades to be used toward graduate degree requirements.

*Electronic Forms and Processes

The Graduate School recognized that many forms and processes were not as functional once we transitioned to remote learning and work. All signatures on forms have been and will be accepted as an email from the signatory.  Other forms and processes were modified or moved online including:

  • Approval for a dissertation, thesis, or report
  • Application for an additional program (masters to PhD in same program)
  • Application for scheduling a dissertation, thesis, or report defense
  • Degree completion form moved to an updated format
  • Appeals of suspensions moved to an updated format
  • Report on final oral examination form moved to an updated format

*International Students

As the pandemic continues to affect international students, please continue to monitor the International Programs and Services and MTU Flex Portal webpages for information.

Additional flexibility was allowed by USCIS to permit continuing international students to take classes remotely or register for less than full-time to maintain their visa status.

*: Resources that continue to be available as of fall 2021.


American Association of University Women (AAUW) fellowship application support

The Graduate School is offering writing support to assist graduate students in applying for American Association of University Women (AAUW) domestic and international fellowships.  Funding amounts vary from $6,000 – $30,000 and may be available for master’s, doctoral, and post-doctoral studies.  Applications are due November 1st – November 15th.  See https://www.aauw.org/resources/programs/fellowships-grants/ for more details.  Questions? Contact Sarah Isaacson, GLAS Program Director, at sisaacso@mtu.edu


Nominations open for the 2022 MAGS/ProQuest Distinguished Thesis Award

Nominations are now open for the 2022 MAGS/ProQuest Distinguished Thesis Award. Please submit nominations to the Graduate School no later than 4pm, October 6, 2021, following our online instructions. This year, nominations are being accepted from dissertations in the fields of:

  1. Biological and Life Sciences
  2. Humanities and Fine Arts

Michigan Tech may nominate one student in each field. Master’s students who have completed all of their degree requirements between July 1, 2019, and June 30, 2021, are eligible. The fields of competition for 2023 will be Mathematics, Physical Sciences, and Engineering; and Social Sciences.

Nominations must be delivered to Debra Charlesworth in the Graduate School no later than 4 p.m. on October 6, 2021; e-mail nominations to gradschool@mtu.edu are preferred.  Contact Debra Charlesworth (gradschool@mtu.edu) if you have any questions about the competition.


Michigan Space Grant Consortium graduate fellowship application support

The Graduate School is offering support services to assist graduate students in applying for the Michigan Space Grant Consortium’s Graduate Fellowship, including a workshop and one-on-one writing support.

MSGC’s Graduate Fellowship opportunity supports graduate students from affiliate
institutions who are conducting research and public service projects relevant to NASA’s strategic interests as expressed in NASA’s 2014 & 2018 Strategic Plans, specifically, research focused on aerospace, space science, and earth system science. Graduate students working in other, related science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields are also eligible to apply. Starting this year, MSGC is piloting an expanded definition of STEM to include support for interdisciplinary projects that include art, so graduate students conducting research and projects relevant to NASA’s strategic interests in disciplines not traditionally considered STEM, such as the humanities or social sciences, are likewise encouraged to apply.

Fellowship recipients are awarded $5,000. To be eligible, applicants must be U.S. nationals, have a good academic record, and be in good academic standing. Women, under-represented minorities, and persons with disabilities are strongly encouraged to apply. Students currently receiving MSGC Fellowships are eligible to reapply.

Workshop information: Overview and tips from an MSGC Fellowship reviewer
Date and Time: Friday, September 17th, from 11:00 AM – 11:50 AM
Location: Admin 404
Presenter: Will Cantrell, Associate Provost and Dean of the Graduate School
Host: Sarah Isaacson, GLAS Program Director, sisaacso@mtu.edu
Register here: https://forms.gle/RSPYtUHVD6Yjimou6
A recording of the workshop will be available beginning September 21st.

Deadlines:
Wednesday, Nov. 3 at noon — Internal deadline for undergraduate and graduate fellowship proposals
Wednesday, Nov. 10 at 5 p.m. — Final materials, after review and approval by SPO, must be uploaded to MSGC by the applicant

For more information and specific application instructions, visit the MSGC website and the MTU Graduate School’s MSGC web page.


NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program Application Support

The Graduate School is offering support services to assist graduate students in applying for the National Science Foundation’s Graduate Research Fellowship Program, including workshops and one-on-one writing support.  Fellowship recipients earn an annual stipend of $34,000.  To be eligible, applicants must be a U.S. citizen, national, or permanent resident, have never previously applied to GRFP while enrolled in a graduate degree program, have never earned a master’s or professional degree in any field, or completed more than one academic year in a graduate degree-granting program.  Applications are due October 18th – 22nd.  See https://www.nsfgrfp.org/ for full benefits and eligibility details.

Workshop 1: Overview and tips from a former NSF program manager and reviewer
Date and Time: Friday, September 3rd, from 9:00 AM to 10:30 AM
Presenter: Dr. Pushpalatha Murthy, former NSF program manager
Co-hosts: Dr. Debra Charlesworth, former NSF GRFP reviewer, and Sarah Isaacson, NSF GRFP Support Coordinator
Zoom meeting link: Please make sure to sign in with your MTU account before joining the meeting to be admitted.
Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android: https://michigantech.zoom.us/j/83018958000

Workshop 2: Crafting your statements: Content and organization
Date and Time: Friday, September 10th, from 10:00 AM to 11:30 AM
Presenter: Sarah Isaacson, NSF GRFP Support Coordinator
Zoom meeting link: Please make sure to sign in with your MTU account before joining the meeting to be admitted.
Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android: https://michigantech.zoom.us/j/82410509516

Personalized writing support:
Applicants will receive support via an NSF GRFP Canvas course as well as individualized writing support on application drafts from qualified staff members.

See https://www.nsfgrfp.org/ for more details. Questions? Contact Sarah Isaacson, NSF GRFP Support Coordinator: sisaacso@mtu.edu


Smart Start Seminar – September 8, 2021

New graduate students to Michigan Tech are invited to our virtual Smart Start.  In Smart Start, we’ll introduce students to resources and policies to assist them to have a successful start to their graduate career. It will be especially useful for students in their first year, but all students are welcome to attend. The seminar will be recorded for any students who cannot attend the in person or zoom meeting.

The seminar will be on September 8, 2021 beginning at 2:00pm via Zoom and the Alumni Lounges in the MUB.  Please register online to receive streaming information and reminders to attend.
It will be taped and available online for those unable to attend at that time.