Day: April 16, 2010

Michigan Space Grant Consortium Funds 27 Projects at Michigan Tech

The Michigan Space Grant Consortium (MSGC), sponsored by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), has awarded approximately $375,000 to nine Michigan universities with aerospace, engineering and space- science-related programs. Michigan Tech submitted 40 proposals, and 27 received funding totaling $105,000.

Of that, $20,000 supports undergraduate fellowships, $30,000 is for graduate research fellowships, $30,000 provides seed grants for faculty, and $25,000 is designated for outreach, including K-12 and teacher training programs.

Undergraduate students receiving $2,500 research fellowships include Andrew Ramsey (ME-EM), Phil Hohnstadt (ME-EM), Peter Solfest (Physics), Stephen Schweitzer (Biomedical Engineering), John Visser (ME-EM), Samantha Wojda (Biomedical Engineering), Patrick Bowen (MSE), William Grant (Chemical Engineering) and Ben Gerhardt (ME-EM).

Graduate students receiving $5,000 fellowships include Christopher Schwartz (Biological Sciences), Elisabet Head (Geology), Jarod Maggio (Environmental Engineering), Adam Abraham (ME-EM), Matthew Barron (Biomedical Engineering), Megan Killian (Biomedical Engineering) and Amalia Anderson (Physics).

Faculty members receiving $5,000 seed grants included Shiyan Hu, Jason Carter, Audrey Mayer, Qingli Dai, Ashok Goel and Claudio Mazzoleni. Faculty and staff members receiving $5,000 for outreach, precollege and teacher training programs include Douglas Oppliger, Shawn Oppliger, Joan Chadde and Kristi Isaacson.

One student receiving an undergraduate fellowship is Samantha Wojda. She plans to use her grant to study how hibernation affects the bones of marmots. Disuse osteoporosis is a common problem faced by astronauts in microgravity. Hibernating mammals are also at high risk for the condition, and many have developed adaptive ways of dealing with it. Wojda plans to study hibernating marmots to see how they are affected by or protected from disuse osteoporosis. What she learns may help researchers find ways to prevent human astronauts and others who are immobilized for long periods of time from developing the debilitating condition.

NASA implemented the National Space Grant College and Fellowship Program in 1989 to provide funding for research, education and public outreach in space-related science and technology. The program has 52 university-based consortia in the United States and Puerto Rico. As part of the Michigan Consortium, Michigan Tech has been an active participant in MSGC for over fifteen years.

“The MSGC offers faculty, staff and especially students opportunities to develop ideas and submit competitive proposals,” said Chris Anderson, special assistant to the President for institutional diversity and the University’s MSGC liaison. “For undergraduates, the process of developing a proposal and then doing the research allows them to apply what they’re learning in the classroom, get hands-on experience and work closely with faculty.” She added, “The Consortium allows us to do more of this, as well provide graduate fellowships, seed grants and program support.”


Four Michigan Tech Graduate Programs Rank in Top 50 Nationwide

Graduate school rankings released by US News and World Report today rank four of Michigan Tech graduate engineering programs in the top 50 nationwide. The annual rankings evaluated graduate programs in 192 schools of engineering.

Michigan Tech’s ranked engineering programs included:
• Environmental engineering–28th
• Mechanical engineering–48th
• Materials science and engineering–48th
• Civil engineering–49th

Tech’s College of Engineering overall ranked in the top 100, at 86th.

For the first time this year, US News and World Report also ranked biological sciences, chemistry, computer science, earth sciences, mathematics and physics. Earth sciences at Michigan Tech ranked in the top 100, at 81st. Physics ranked 122nd, and biological sciences, 207th.

“This year’s rankings really show that competition for the ‘top 50′ is increasing. We are neck-and-neck with some very strong programs” said Jackie Huntoon, dean of the Graduate School.

Each year, US News and World Report ranks graduate schools of engineering, business, the sciences, the humanities and social sciences, medicine and other health specialties, law and education. They base these rankings on two types of data: expert opinions by the programs’ peers and statistical indicators of program quality. The data come from surveys conducted in the fall of 2009 of more than 12,400 academics and professionals and more than 1,200 graduate programs.

Engineering specialties are ranked solely on the basis of assessments by department chairs in each specialty. The American Society for Engineering Education recommends the department chairs to be surveyed.

The rankings will be featured in the May 2010 issue of US News and World Report, scheduled to be on the newsstands on April 27. A guidebook called “America’s Best Graduate Schools” will be available for purchase on April 20.

Information is also available online at www.usnews.com/grad .