Author: ssvairo

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.


Doctoral Finishing Fellowship – Fall 2021 Recipient – Prithvi Reddy

I started my Ph.D. in the Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics Department at Michigan Tech in May 2018 under the guidance of Profs. Mahdi Shahbakhti and Darrell Robinette. My research work is in the field of automotive powertrain controls and focuses on developing physics-based control systems for reducing undesirable noise and vibration characteristics called clunk and shuffle, respectively, in automobiles. The goals of this project are to improve the driving comfort in passenger vehicles while simultaneously reducing vehicle development time and calibration effort. Therefore, our work aims at providing benefits to both the customer and the manufacturer of the vehicle. This is an industry-focused project and we have been collaborating with an automotive OEM to exchange ideas and our results from this work.

I am thankful to the Graduate school, the MEEM department, and our industry partner for supporting me throughout my Ph.D., through assistantships, and this fellowship. This fellowship will help me focus on wrapping up my Ph.D. deliverables and finishing my thesis.


Doctoral Finishing Fellowship – Fall 2021 Recipient – Behnam Azmoon

I am a Ph.D. candidate in the Civil and Environmental Engineering department. I started my journey at Michigan Tech in the summer of 2018. I was fortunate to work with Dr. Zhen (Leo) Liu from the beginning of my Ph.D. He helped me navigate the world of higher education, taught me critical thinking and problem solving, and guided me during my time in LiuRG. I worked on a handful of projects during my Ph.D., but my dissertation is focused on automated landslide prediction and mapping via deep learning. My project introduces a new category of slope stability analysis methods based on the recent advancements in artificial intelligence. These new methods are time efficient, automated, and accurate. I am especially interested in bridging the gap between traditional engineering methods for analyzing complex geosystems and exploring new data-driven solutions for similar engineering applications. 

I would like to thank my advisor, Dr. Zhen (Leo) Liu, for his support and guidance. I would also like the thank the Graduate Dean Awards Advisory Panel and the dean for awarding me the finishing fellowship. This award will allow me to focus my efforts on completing my dissertation document and preparing for my defense.


Doctoral Finishing Fellowship – Fall 2021 Recipient – Andrew Puyleart

August of 2016, I started my journey toward an Applied Physics Ph.D. at Michigan Tech. I recently left an engineering job and was excited to start working on cosmic ray physics with Dr. Brian Fick. Since then Brian and I have completed several projects together over the course of 5 years.

We started with a service project for the Pierre Auger Observatory. The Pierre Auger Observatory has fluorescence telescopes that only operate on clear-moonless nights. Clouds in our atmosphere disrupt photons from entering the telescope eyes of this instrument. Together we used a modern satellite, GOES-16, to accurately tell if a cloud was present in 2×2 km square pixels that cover the entire array.

Our work now has turned to searching for anomalous air showers that are generated when a cosmic ray interacts with atmospheric matter. These showers typically all look relatively the same; however, when they exhibit exotic behaviors they may hold clues to new particle physics. We are developing methods using the Pierre Auger Observatory to classify which showers are anomalous.

Thanks to the Michigan Tech Finishing Fellowship I will be able to focus on wrapping up this last project. I have coding work, and optimization to finish, as well as finally getting it all written down on paper. With the extra time, the Finishing Fellowship will give me to focus I might be able to avoid another winter here in the Upper Peninsula! Thanks, MTU!


Doctoral Finishing Fellowship – Fall 2021 Recipient – Chethan Reddy

I joined Michigan Technological University (MTU) in Fall 2016 for the Ph.D. program in the Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics Department. I concentrated on my coursework in Fall 2016 and Spring 2017. Then in Summer 2017, I joined Dr. Mahdi Shahbakhti and Dr. Rush D Robinett III in the Energy Mechatronics Laboratory at Michigan Technological University. My Ph.D. research focus is on Model-based Predictive Control of Co-generation Energy Systems. Co-generation Energy Systems are Energy Systems with two simultaneous energy types (for example electricity and thermal energy) or two simultaneous energy sources (for example engine with a waste heat recovery system). The two Co-generation Energy Systems I am focusing on are (i) building an HVAC system with solar energy integration, and (ii) an internal combustion engine with waste heat recovery.

Previously, I graduated with my bachelor’s in mechanical engineering in 2011 and from my master’s in Mechatronics in 2013. I, then, was employed by Robert Bosch in the Automotive domain from 2012 to 2016. All in India. The main motivation for me to quit Robert Bosch was to develop my skills to contribute to the energy transformation of the world.

I am in the final stages of my Ph.D. and I am extremely grateful to the graduate school (MTU) for supporting me through the doctoral finishing fellowship during the Fall semester of 2021. I believe that this fellowship will allow me to concentrate completely on writing my dissertation and graduate sooner.


Doctoral Finishing Fellowship – Fall 2021 Recipient – Yunxiang Ma

I came from central China, where I was born and brought up. I obtained my Bachelor of Engineering degree in civil engineering from Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University, a young collaborated university symbolizing the cooperation and communication between the oriental and western world. Then I went to the United Kingdom and got my master’s degree in structural engineering and mechanics from the University of Glasgow and Edinburgh University. I joined MTU in January 2018 and started my study and research life as a Ph.D. student. The study and journey told me to embrace the difference, learn from the best and do what I can.  

Currently, human society is facing some common and severe problems, such as the extreme weather caused by global warming, pollution, and the increasing cost of human resources. As a civil engineer, I would like to help with what I can do. In my vision, the buildings have to be more resilient, ecofriendly, and efficient in cost and human resources in the future. A fundamental improvement to thaw the problems a little would be the improvement of structural systems. I was clueless; then, I met the mass timber structures. Unlike the manufacture of cement, which incinerates stones, or the casting of steel, which melt and treat iron in a furnace, timber structural components manufacture requires much less energy and consolidate the carbon absorbed by the trees. However, despite the outstanding sustainability performance, as a type of natural material, the variation in the mechanical properties and the directional differences limited the utilization. In recent decades, engineered wood products such as CLT broke through the limit and showed great potential as a new and better structural system.

Nevertheless, there are still a lot of technical problems limiting the promotion of mass timber structures. As a civil engineer, I wish to contribute and gain success. I got an opportunity here in MTU to study the manufacture of CLT with low-value timber for first-hand experience. I am studying the CLT wall structures with advanced finite element analysis tools for the structural dynamic response, which could help design and develop mass timber structures. I greatly appreciate MTU and my advisors that provided me the opportunity. And I would like to sincerely thank the Graduate Dean Awards Advisory Panel for approving me for the finishing fellowship award. The award will help me to fully concentrate on finishing my study and dissertation for my Ph.D. degree. It will be a significant step for me to pursue my career and my dream.