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.