Day: February 1, 2018

Doctoral Finishing Fellowship Spring 2018 – John “Moose” Henderson

John “Moose” Henderson
Forest Science

I returned to school in 2011 as one of the most senior members of the student body. I completed my master’s at the University of Nebraska and was accepted into the PhD program studying my passion, moose. For most students, completion of the PhD is the start of their career. For me, I had already completed 27 years as a laboratory scientist and moved into a new career doing wildlife photography. While photographing animals in Siberia, I decided I wanted additional education to further my ability to share about animal conservation.
I expect to graduate this spring; the month of May will be a time of receiving my sheepskin and my first Social Security check. I will use my degree in conjunction with my wildlife photography to help educate about the plight of animals, conservation, and the environment through presentations, teaching at nature centers, and books. I plan to head to Yellowstone to work on my fifth book and then back to Russia in 2019 to complete my sixth book.
I am very thankful to the Graduate School and to the donors who made my finishing fellowship possible.

As a self-financed student, the fellowship gave me the funds to complete my degree without working full time.


Doctoral Finishing Fellowship Spring 2018 – Aref Majdara

Aref Majdara
Electrical Engineering

Aref MajdaraI came to Michigan Tech in August 2013 to pursue my PhD in Electrical Engineering. I completed my Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in my home country, Iran.

My PhD research is focused on developing computationally efficient algorithms for non-parametric high-dimensional density estimation, with applications in density-based data mining and machine learning techniques.

Besides research activities, since Fall 2014, I have been working as a Graduate Teaching Assistant, and I had the opportunity to teach five different ECE labs during seven semesters, which has been an invaluable experience for me.  

I am truly grateful to the Graduate School for providing me with financial support through the Doctoral Finishing Fellowship. This fellowship has made it possible for me to put my entire focus on publishing my research and completing my thesis, towards completion of my PhD degree this semester.

I would also like to express my sincere gratitude and appreciation to MTU Alumni and Friends, for making this fellowship possible through their generous donations.


Doctoral Finishing Fellowship Spring 2018 – Gemechis D. Degaga

Gemechis D. Degaga
Chemistry

Gemechis Dereje DegagaBefore I came to Michigan Tech, I earned my BSc. degree in Physics from Haramaya University and MSc. degree in Materials Science from Addis Ababa University, both in Ethiopia. I then earned another MSc. degree in Physics from the University of Trieste (Università degli studi di Trieste) in Italy through the two-year TRIL Masters Fellowship, awarded from the International Center for Theoretical Physics (ICTP). I am currently a PhD candidate in the Chemistry Department. I joined Dr. Loredana Valenzano’s research group in the Fall of 2013. Since then I have conducted multiple PhD projects involving coordinative polymers (CPO-27) also known as Metal Organic Frameworks (MOF-74-Mg/Zn). Results of my DFT studies on the adsorption and diffusion of hydrocarbon molecules showed that MOF-74-Mg/Zn are energetically and economically promising materials for olefin-paraffin gas mixture separation, for application in petroleum refining industries. In my final project, I applied crystal engineering principles to improve the physicochemical properties of active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) co-crystals such as solubility, dissolution rate, hygroscopic stability, compressibility, and bioavailability to obtain better compatibility for human use. From these research project results, I was able to publish three peer-reviewed papers and conducted multiple poster and oral presentations on campus and at national and international conferences.

While at Michigan Tech I had opportunities to be involved in research and teaching activities within the Physics Department. Michigan Tech has provided me an environment in which I was able to take on leadership commitments such as Graduate Student’s Government (GSG) academic committee member and as a Chemistry Department representative. I also learned a lot from the professional development seminar series and many other seminars conducted through the Graduate School. I am grateful to the Graduate School and the Dean’s Advisory Panel for providing me with the Finishing Fellowship. This fellowship allows me the opportunity to focus on writing my dissertation and complete it in a timely manner.