Day: May 27, 2019

Doctoral Finishing Fellowship Summer 2019 Recipient – Kelsey Carter

Kelsey Carter
Forest Science

I am a fourth year PhD candidate in Forest Science, working with my advisor, Dr. Molly Cavaleri. My research seeks to better understand how tropical plants are impacted by climate warming. Tropical forests cycle more carbon than any other biome, but we lack insight on the mechanisms driving these vital ecosystems. My research will better inform global models and allow us to close critical gaps in our understanding of how tropical forests might shift their carbon balance in response to the warming climate. Throughout my PhD, I have been very fortunate to perform my field work at the first field-scale warming experiment in a tropical rainforest (Tropical Responses to Altered Climate Experiment– TRACE), located in Luquillo, Puerto Rico. In total, I spent eight months living and working in Puerto Rico. Alongside pursuing my PhD, I completed my master’s degree in Applied Ecology at MTU. In addition, I gained teaching experience through Michigan Tech, both as a teaching assistant and instructor for undergraduate courses.

I am very grateful to the graduate school and the Graduate Dean Awards Advisory Panel for awarding me the Finishing Fellowship. This fellowship will provide time for me to complete my degree and focus on publishing my research, which will allow me to be more competitive as apply for jobs in the next stage of my career.

Doctoral Finishing Fellowship Summer 2019 Recipient – Qi Zhong

Qi Zhong

I came to Michigan Tech in Spring 2014 and joined Dr. Ramy El-Ganainy’s group in Summer 2016. Currently, my research focuses on the fundamental aspects and applications of non-Hermitian physics. In general, non-Hermiticity arises in open systems that exchange energy with their environment. Particularly, my work deals with a special type of non-Hermitian degeneracies called exceptional points. I have explored the mathematical features of these singularities as well as their potential benefit in building new photonic components such as ultra-responsive optical sensors as well as a new generation of optical amplifiers that outperform standard devices. Additionally, I am also investigating how the engineering of dissipation in non-Hermitian nonlinear optical systems can be used to build new light sources that can produce coherent light at any color on demand.

I would like to thank the Graduate School for granting me this fellowship, which will allow me to focus on my dissertation writing and thesis defense. I am grateful for the Physics Department for the continuous support and would like to thank my adviser Dr. El-Ganainy for guiding me throughout my work.

Doctoral Finishing Fellowship Summer 2019 Recipient – Behdad Afkhami

Behdad Afkhami

My good memories from Michigan Tech started from a chilly summer night of August 05, 2014 when my flight landed in Houghton! Later at the end of my first semester (Fall 2014) I joined Dr. Scott Miers’ research team and since then I have been involved in several engine-related researches. Working on my PhD research topic became serious in summer 2015 with focusing on developing a turbulent flame speed model for spark ignition (SI) engines. The novelty of the project was on incorporating the effect of flame stretch into the flame speed; the parameter that can affect the flame speed significantly or result in flame extinction and high unburned hydrocarbon emission especially right after ignition in SI engines. To visualize the flame, its propagation and the flame stretch in a SI engine, an optically accessible-engine was utilized and tested in Advanced Power Systems Research Center (APSRC). I want to take this opportunity to also thank Dr. Jeffery Naber, the director of APSRC for all his helps and contributions to the project.

During my graduate studies I was fortunate enough to serve as a Teaching Assistant since Spring 2015, getting promoted to the Lead Teaching Assistant in Fall 2016, and selected to receive the Distinguished Doctoral Teaching Fellowship in Spring 2019 as the instructor of Mechanical Engineering Practice 2 (MEP2) course in the ME department.

I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the Graduate School at Michigan Tech for this financial support. This gave me an opportunity to focus on my dissertation and put all my efforts toward completion of my PhD degree. And, last but not the least, I want to thank snow and Mont Ripley which helped me to stay powered during the Houghton long winters :).

Doctoral Finishing Fellowship Summer 2019 Recipient – Ruizhe Si

Ruizhe Si
Civil Engineering

I came to Michigan Tech in Fall 2015 after finishing my undergraduate degree in Civil Engineering at Changsha University of Science and Technology.

My research is focused on improving the performance of the geopolymers and analyzing the multiscale structure and chemical composition of materials. Geopolymer is a type of binder material similar to cement paste. The production of the geopolymer can potentially reduce up to 80% of CO2 emission compared with that of ordinary Portland cement. However, large drying shrinkage of the geopolymer limited its application in construction industry. My research will help to understand the shrinkage mechanisms of geopolymer and provide the methods to reduce the shrinkage of the geopolymer. All these will facilitate the large application of geopolymer and also improve the service life of this eco-friendly construction material.

I am very grateful to the Graduate School for providing me the Finishing Fellowship, which helps me focus on finishing my dissertation during the summer semester. I also want to express my gratitude to my advisor Dr. Qingli Dai, who mentored me in my research and provided me many opportunities to collaborate with research groups from different universities to improve my research quality.