Safety protocol changes

Because we are seeing an increase in cases, both on campus and in the local community, we are returning to the Health and Safety Level protocols that were in place at the start of the fall semester. Beginning Monday, October 25, face coverings will be required indoors on campus, with the exception of the SDC and Gates Tennis Center, where face coverings remain recommended for all. You are not required to wear a face covering when alone in an enclosed space. Please refer to our Health and Safety Levels for additional information. 


Vaccine requirements for graduate student employees

To comply with requirements for federal contractors and subcontractors issued by the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force, all Michigan Tech student employees — including Graduate Teaching Assistants, Graduate Research Assistants, Graduate Teaching Instructors, and graduate hourly employees — must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or have an approved exception prior to January 10, 2022.

More detailed information regarding vaccination and exception requirements is included below and on the MTU Flex website. Please send your questions about any of these topics to mtuflex@mtu.edu

Vaccination Timing

All employees must be fully vaccinated or have an approved exception by January 10, 2022. A person is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Please note that the Pfizer vaccine doses are given 21 days apart and the Moderna doses are given 28 days apart. Vaccines approved by the World Health Organization (WHO) are also acceptable under CDC guidance. 

The COVID-19 vaccine is free, and doses are available at most pharmacies and health care providers. Please visit the Copper Country Strong website for information about where and how to get vaccinated in the Western Upper Peninsula. 

Vaccination Documentation

Under the federal requirements, employees will need to show proof of their vaccination status. We are building a confidential process employees can use to provide this proof, either electronically or in person, and which Michigan Tech will use to review that documentation. We will provide more information as soon as we are able. 

Exception from Vaccination

Employees with documented medical reasons for being unvaccinated may be entitled to a disability accommodation excepting them from the vaccination mandate. Medical exceptions can be requested by contacting Michigan Tech’s ADA Coordinator at adacoordinator@mtu.edu. Information and a form will be sent to employees for completion, and documentation will be required from a medical provider.

Employees with a sincerely held religious belief, practice, or observance that prevents them from receiving a COVID-19 vaccine may be entitled to an accommodation excepting them from the vaccination mandate. Accommodation requests based on a religious belief, practice, or observance should be made using the religious exception form. When completed, this form should be submitted to Michigan Tech General Counsel Sarah Schulte at shschult@mtu.edu.

All accommodation requests are confidential. In the event that a request is granted, only those individuals who need to know of the accommodation will be informed of it. In the event that an accommodation request is denied, it will not be shared beyond those performing the review, except as requested by the individual seeking the exception. Employees who receive a vaccination exception may be required to comply with alternative health and safety protocols. 

All employees need to be fully vaccinated or have an accommodation in place prior to January 10, 2022. Human Resources will work with employees who have challenges with those requirements. 

Please send your questions about any of these topics to mtuflex@mtu.edu


Nominations sought for KCP Future Faculty Fellowships

Applications will be sought in mid-November for KCP Future Faculty Fellowships, a program funded by the State of Michigan.  The purpose of the King-Chávez-Parks Future Faculty Fellowship Program is to increase the pool of academically and economically disadvantaged candidates pursuing faculty teaching careers in post-secondary education.  Funding may begin in spring 2022, pending timely opening of the portal by the State.

Prospective applicants should complete the following steps before the portal reopens:

Once the portal opens in mid-November, applicants will have approximately 1-2 weeks to submit their application (step 4). The time to submit for spring funding will be short so that we can complete the review process in time to award funding for spring 2022.

KCP fellowships provide students up to $20,000 (MS students) or $35,000 (PhD students) to pursue their degrees.  Funds may be used to support students, including faculty and staff, pursuing degrees at Michigan Tech.  For Michigan Tech students, the Graduate School and nominating department must also contribute matching funds to help support the student.

Complete information about eligibility criteria and materials needed for an application is available on our web page. Please note that applications will be submitted through the MILogin Citizens Portal. Questions about eligibility or the application procedure can be directed to Dr. Debra Charlesworth.


Copyright Workshop for Graduate Students

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 and 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.

Join us on Oct. 14 at noon in the Van Pelt and Opie Library, Room 244. Registration is required.


Nominations Open for 2022 MAGS Excellence in Teaching Awards

Nominations are now open for the Midwestern Association of Graduate Schools (MAGS) Excellence in Teaching Awards.  Michigan Tech may nominate one student at the MS and PhD level. Each graduate program may nominate one student at the MS and PhD level. Nominations are due to the Graduate School no later than 4pm, January 6, 2022.

Eligible students

  • will have been enrolled at Michigan Tech during the 2021 calendar year and have a teaching appointment
  • will have earned the Michigan Tech Outstanding Graduate Student Teaching Award
  • will have an excellent teaching portfolio and student evaluations

See the application page for complete details on what is required for a nomination.


Doctoral Finishing Fellowship – Fall 2021 Recipient – Erin Eberhard

Erin Eberhard came to Michigan Technological University in June 2015 after earning her B.S. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Michigan. She earned her Master’s degree from Michigan Tech in summer 2017 with the thesis, “Co-occurrence of nitrogen fixation and denitrification across a stream nitrogen gradient in a western watershed,” as part of Dr. Marcarelli’s lab NSF CAREER project looking at the dynamics of nitrogen fixation and denitrification in streams – read more about it in Biogeochemistry (Eberhard et al. 2018). She has continued her PhD studies on the same project, focusing on small-scale factors that facilitate the co-occurrence of N transformations and how they are related to microbial assemblages in streams and also across wetland-stream-lake interfaces of Great Lakes coastal wetlands. After graduation, she plans to pursue a career in a federal or state agency working to conserve and protect freshwater ecosystems and communicate science with the public.


Doctoral Finishing Fellowship – Fall 2021 Recipient – Geeta Sachdeva

When I was in high school, my father once told me that he was very inspired by all the professors in his Lab, where he worked as a lab assistant. He always wished one of his children would study science and become a professor. I first realized that I adored Physics when I scored the highest marks on the Physics exam among all the other students. With the encouragement of my parents and my favorite science teacher, who recognized that I would excel in the challenging environment of like-minded students, I pursued my further studies in Physics. My love for physics has increased exponentially ever since. I used that fire inside me, pushed myself throughout this Ph.D. program, and am now ready to graduate with the finishing fellowship award and a cumulative GPA of 3.9.

Growing up in an underprivileged community, I never imagined that I would go to the United States of America, especially at Michigan Technological University for my Doctorate study. Coming from such a community had not only offered financial and academic challenges but had also helped me realize the true value and potential of a college education. I have a long-held fascination with the inner workings of the universe, which I feel are best learned from the study of physics. My primary area of interest is Quantum Mechanics. Although I understand enough of it mathematically, there is always more and more to learn. Normally, when things are separated in space, we view them as independent entities. However according to Quantum Mechanics, in certain circumstances, things that are separate in space can be viewed as a single entity. One particle can cause a change in another even though they have no direct relationship. This phenomenon seemed very fascinating to me and I decided to pursue my research in this field.

My experience of pursuing a Ph.D. at Michigan Technological University has been incredible. On my first day at Tech, I knew I had a long way to go, but I am very fortunate that I had a mentor like Dr. Ravindra Pandey, who was always patient. He guided me to conduct professional and analytical research and taught me several aspects of life by setting up great examples by his deeds. I have worked with Dr. Pandey on multiple projects where I could investigate how constituents of one material can affect the properties of another material and how combining them will result in an extended material with enhanced properties and applications. I have been working on a project in collaboration with the NASA team on various polymer molecule interactions with graphene and BN monolayers, and have investigated the structure-property relationship among such complex systems.

I have been in Houghton for four years now and it has been a life-changing experience; summers were always the most beautiful and winters had shown their extreme. I got several opportunities to participate in events and organizations at MTU and have always tried my best to help others. I am thankful to MTU for allowing me this chance to pursue a Ph.D. in my area of interest. I am grateful to the Graduate Dean Awards Advisory Panel and the Graduate School for awarding me the Finishing Fellowship during the final period of completing and defending my dissertation. Lastly, I am thankful to my Professor, my committee members, and my friends who have supported me in this wonderful journey.


Doctoral Finishing Fellowship – Fall 2021 Recipient – Morteza Shaker Ardakani

I began my journey at Michigan Tech as an incoming PhD’s student in fall 2017 in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering. During my studies, I have completed a couple of research projects in which the mechanical properties of zinc (Zn) based alloys, as a new class of biodegradable metallic implants (BMIs), have been tailored.

Ideally, BMIs will be designed to be absorbed and metabolized by the body after successfully completing their tasks as structural supports. The structural demands for BMIs necessitate a careful balance of the alloy chemistry and material processing. My PhD research involves the development of alloying and processing strategies to address deficiencies in the mechanical behavior of Zn-based alloys.  My project serves to establish workable balances among the mechanical characteristics without compromising the required underlying alloy’s biocompatibility and corrosion rate.

I would like to sincerely thank the Graduate Dean Awards Advisory Panel and the Graduate School for providing me with the Finishing Fellowship Award. This will allow me to focus my efforts on defending my dissertation in fall 2021. I am particularly thankful to my advisors, Dr. Kampe and Dr. Drelich, whose mentorship and encouragement has been invaluable


Doctoral Finishing Fellowship – Fall 2021 Recipient – Shabnam Konica

I joined Michigan Technological University as a Ph.D. student in the Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics Department in Fall 2017. I obtained my Masters’ degree from Concordia University, Montreal, Canada, and a Bachelors’ degree from Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology in Mechanical Engineering. Before I started pursuing my Ph.D., I was engaged as a faculty member in the Military Institute of Science and Technology in Bangladesh. 

At Michigan Tech, I work at the Laboratory of Mechanics & Modeling of Advanced Materials under Dr. Trisha Sain’s supervision. We develop experimentally informed multiscale, coupled multiphysics continuum level models to predict the constitutive response of polymers and their composites: from the manufacturing stage to operational condition until failure. I mainly study the thermal aging and degradation of these materials in their operating environments at great detail. Our model predicts aging-related phenomena in these materials, such as oxidation-induced cracking, property degradation, ductile to brittle transformation, and the constitutive response changes.

I am grateful to the graduate school of MTU for the financial support through the doctoral finishing fellowship for the fall semester. This aid will surely help me to complete my thesis on time.


Doctoral Finishing Fellowship – Fall 2021 Recipient – Ruiting Zhan

I began my Ph.D. study in 2017 and have been working with Dr. Lei Pan in the Department of Chemical Engineering. I previously obtained a Master of Science degree from the same department in 2017 and received my Bachelor of Science degree in Applied Chemistry from Hunan University in 2014. 

My research focuses on the application of mineral processing methods towards lithium-ion battery recycling activities. With the surging worldwide sales of Electric Vehicles in recent years, proper management and disposal methods on retired batteries are needed to prevent environmental pollutions and to scavenge valuable materials back into the supply chain. With the guidance of Dr. Lei Pan, I have been working on exploring and investigating physical methods to recycle and separate materials from lithium-ion battery scraps. High grade and high recovery of valuable cathode electrode materials can be obtained with preserved function integrities. Other components include copper, aluminum, electrolyte, and battery-grade graphite can be separated and concentrated through physical separation processes. 

I would like to thank the Graduate School, Graduate Dean Awards Advisory Panel, and the Graduate School for providing me with the Finishing Fellowship award. This will allow me to focus on writing and defending my dissertation in Fall 2021.