Author: ssvairo

Doctoral Finishing Fellowship – Fall 2021 Recipient – Ankith Ullal

I came to Michigan Tech in 2015 as a master’s student. Before this, I completed my undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering in NITK Surathkal, India. During my master’s degree, I was exposed to research work and enjoyed it very much. I like solving challenging problems and doing new things every day. Thus, I decided to pursue a Ph.D. degree which started in fall 2017 under the guidance of Dr. Youngchul Ra.

My research work deals with developing new accurate models for evaporation of liquid drops as well as wallfilms to be used in computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations. In particular, the first project involved the development of a model to predict pre-ignition (and thereby prevent) by lubrication oil drops in marine natural gas engines. Pre-ignition in marine engines can cause mechanical damage and thus financial loss. I have developed and tested a CFD computer code that can predict complex preignition processes. The second project was to develop a new analytical model for wallfilm evaporation. To lower emissions during the cold start of internal combustion (IC) engines, accurate modeling of the evaporation and heat transfer physics of wallfilm is required. First, the theoretical derivation of the model was developed. The model was then programed and implemented in KIVA-3V code. I hope my work will help engine/power plant designers and manufacturers to develop machines and processes that are more efficient, greener, and cleaner.

Now as I am closer to graduation, I am grateful to my advisor Dr. Ra for providing me valuable guidance. I also acknowledge the contribution of my lab mates who participated in our numerous discussions which helped me in my work. I sincerely thank the Graduate Dean Awards Advisory Panel and dean for awarding me this fellowship as it will help me concentrate on finishing my dissertation and defense.


American Association of University Women (AAUW) fellowship application support

The Graduate School is offering writing support to assist graduate students in applying for American Association of University Women (AAUW) domestic and international fellowships.  Funding amounts vary from $6,000 – $30,000 and may be available for master’s, doctoral, and post-doctoral studies.  Applications are due November 1st – November 15th.  See https://www.aauw.org/resources/programs/fellowships-grants/ for more details.  Questions? Contact Sarah Isaacson, GLAS Program Director, at sisaacso@mtu.edu


Michigan Space Grant Consortium graduate fellowship application support

The Graduate School is offering support services to assist graduate students in applying for the Michigan Space Grant Consortium’s Graduate Fellowship, including a workshop and one-on-one writing support.

MSGC’s Graduate Fellowship opportunity supports graduate students from affiliate
institutions who are conducting research and public service projects relevant to NASA’s strategic interests as expressed in NASA’s 2014 & 2018 Strategic Plans, specifically, research focused on aerospace, space science, and earth system science. Graduate students working in other, related science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields are also eligible to apply. Starting this year, MSGC is piloting an expanded definition of STEM to include support for interdisciplinary projects that include art, so graduate students conducting research and projects relevant to NASA’s strategic interests in disciplines not traditionally considered STEM, such as the humanities or social sciences, are likewise encouraged to apply.

Fellowship recipients are awarded $5,000. To be eligible, applicants must be U.S. nationals, have a good academic record, and be in good academic standing. Women, under-represented minorities, and persons with disabilities are strongly encouraged to apply. Students currently receiving MSGC Fellowships are eligible to reapply.

Workshop information: Overview and tips from an MSGC Fellowship reviewer
Date and Time: Friday, September 17th, from 11:00 AM – 11:50 AM
Location: Admin 404
Presenter: Will Cantrell, Associate Provost and Dean of the Graduate School
Host: Sarah Isaacson, GLAS Program Director, sisaacso@mtu.edu
Register here: https://forms.gle/RSPYtUHVD6Yjimou6
A recording of the workshop will be available beginning September 21st.

Deadlines:
Wednesday, Nov. 3 at noon — Internal deadline for undergraduate and graduate fellowship proposals
Wednesday, Nov. 10 at 5 p.m. — Final materials, after review and approval by SPO, must be uploaded to MSGC by the applicant

For more information and specific application instructions, visit the MSGC website and the MTU Graduate School’s MSGC web page.


NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program Application Support

The Graduate School is offering support services to assist graduate students in applying for the National Science Foundation’s Graduate Research Fellowship Program, including workshops and one-on-one writing support.  Fellowship recipients earn an annual stipend of $34,000.  To be eligible, applicants must be a U.S. citizen, national, or permanent resident, have never previously applied to GRFP while enrolled in a graduate degree program, have never earned a master’s or professional degree in any field, or completed more than one academic year in a graduate degree-granting program.  Applications are due October 18th – 22nd.  See https://www.nsfgrfp.org/ for full benefits and eligibility details.

Workshop 1: Overview and tips from a former NSF program manager and reviewer
Date and Time: Friday, September 3rd, from 9:00 AM to 10:30 AM
Presenter: Dr. Pushpalatha Murthy, former NSF program manager
Co-hosts: Dr. Debra Charlesworth, former NSF GRFP reviewer, and Sarah Isaacson, NSF GRFP Support Coordinator
Zoom meeting link: Please make sure to sign in with your MTU account before joining the meeting to be admitted.
Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android: https://michigantech.zoom.us/j/83018958000

Workshop 2: Crafting your statements: Content and organization
Date and Time: Friday, September 10th, from 10:00 AM to 11:30 AM
Presenter: Sarah Isaacson, NSF GRFP Support Coordinator
Zoom meeting link: Please make sure to sign in with your MTU account before joining the meeting to be admitted.
Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android: https://michigantech.zoom.us/j/82410509516

Personalized writing support:
Applicants will receive support via an NSF GRFP Canvas course as well as individualized writing support on application drafts from qualified staff members.

See https://www.nsfgrfp.org/ for more details. Questions? Contact Sarah Isaacson, NSF GRFP Support Coordinator: sisaacso@mtu.edu


Nominee for 2021 CGS/ProQuest Distinguished Dissertation Award: Hongmei Lu

The Graduate School is pleased to announce that Hongmei Lu is Michigan Tech’s nominee for the 2021 CGS/ProQuest Distinguished Dissertation Award in the area of Humanities and Fine Arts.  Dr. Lu received her Ph.D. in Environmental and Energy Policy in the department of Social Sciences in 2020 and was advised by Dr. Audrey Mayer.  Her dissertation was entitled, “From Garden City to Sponge City: Urban Green Infrastructure Policy Development.”  As described by her advisor, her dissertation focused on Chinese policies and policy actors in the rapidly-emerging area of urban green infrastructure. Green infrastructure is increasingly used around the world to solve common environmental problems in cities, such as flooding, air pollution, and climate change. In China, as in the rest of the world, urban green infrastructure has a significant environmental justice dimension; green space is more commonly found in wealthier neighborhoods and has a positive feedback effect on real estate prices and rents. In response to the rapid urbanization of China, the central government has put forth an increasing number of policies (such as the Sponge City program) to try to address flooding and pollution issues through the implementation of green infrastructure. As Hongmei’s work is revealing, the success or failure of these policies often rely upon the presence of astute policy agents who can shepherd programs and projects through a sometimes-byzantine bureaucratic system.

Currently, Dr. Lu is working with Dr. Angie Carter on a community-based research project of local food system development in the Western Upper Peninsula, Michigan, and explores how grassroots co-production of a local food system can improve community wellbeing, especially food security and food sovereignty during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dr. Lu was nominated by the Social Sciences department and the nomination was supported by Dr. Audrey Mayer, Dr. Shan Zhou, and Dr. Melissa Baird.

The CGS/ProQuest Award operates on a two-year cycle with regard to fields of competition. The next competition will occur in 2022 and will consider applicants who have completed their degrees between July 1, 2021, to June 30, 2022 in the fields of Mathematics, Physical Sciences & Engineering; and the Social Sciences.  Please consider nominating your Ph.D. graduates next year.


Doctoral Finishing Fellowship Summer 2021 Recipient – Oudumbar Rajput

I obtained my Bachelor of Engineering degree in Mechanical Engineering from University of Pune in 2013.I started my graduate studies at Michigan Technological University in Fall 2015. During my master’s degree program, I joined Dr. Youngchul Ra’s research lab (Reacting Flows and Fuel Research Lab) at Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics department and started my Ph.D. program in January 2017. The focal point of my research is to use in-house computational fluid dynamics tool to numerically develop a novel six-stroke gasoline compression ignition (6S-GCI) engine cycle to improve fuel consumption, reduce emissions, extend the operating range of conventional four-stroke GCI, and stabilize the engine operation at low loads.

A high compression ratio engine with two intake/exhaust valves is used for this work. The first task completed focused on understanding the impact of valve opening/closing timings on the overall combustion behavior in 6S-GCI engine. It successfully demonstrated that the 6S-GCI cycle improves fuel consumption compared to corresponding four-stroke operation. An important finding is that both kinetically-controlled mode (KCM) and mixing-controlled mode (MCM) of combustion could be achieved in the second power stroke maintaining low soot levels. Next, attention was paid to understand the underlying physics of combustion regime change (KCM/MCM). To achieve this, the impact of the variation of split ratio (ratio in which total fuel was divided amongst both the power stokes), fuel injection timings, intake temperature, boost pressure, EGR ratio, and injection pressure on overall combustion and emissions performance was analyzed. Finally, the effects of injector configuration and piston bowl geometry characteristics on fuel oxidation rates and formation and oxidation rates of emissions were analyzed. The work completed thus far helps not only to gain an understanding of the mechanism of enhancement of combustion phasing controllability, stabilizing of engine operation at low engine loads, and improvement of combustion efficiency, but also in planning new experiments, and in designing new engines.

I would like to sincerely thank the Graduate Dean Awards Advisory Panel for providing me with the Finishing Fellowship award. This will allow me to focus on defending my dissertation in summer 2021.


Doctoral Finishing Fellowship Summer 2021 Recipient – Sandip Aryal

I joined Michigan Tech in Fall 2018 as a graduate student in the Department of Physics and began working with Dr. Ranjit Pati. Before coming here, I completed a Master’s from the University of Utah and a postgraduate diploma in condensed matter and statistical physics from International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP).

At MTU, my research focuses on the prediction of new materials with novel properties using density functional theory (DFT) and spin transport in these materials using DFT and non-equilibrium Green’s function method for possible applications in spintronic devices. In these three years, I have completed a couple of research projects under the supervision of my advisor in which we tailored the properties of pristine semiconducting Ge-Si core-shell nanowire via doping of transition metals to predict a new class of materials. We then theoretically showed that the newly tailored materials act as an excellent spin filter (Mn-doped devices) or a switch (Cr-doped devices) with a high ON-OFF current ratio. Our results have laid the foundations for experiments and are expected to generate experimental interest in the near future due to compatibility with the current Si-based technology for potential applications in low dimensional spintronics.

I am extremely grateful to the graduate school (MTU) for supporting me through the doctoral finishing fellowship during the summer semester. I believe that this fellowship will allow me to concentrate completely on writing my dissertation and graduate sooner.


The DeVlieg Foundation Research Award; Summer 2021 Recipient – Michelle Kelly

I’m an ecosystem ecologist, which means I work to understand the connections and feedbacks between organisms, nutrient cycles, and the environment. For my PhD dissertation, I’m exploring the links between nitrogen cycling and ecosystem metabolism in streams, rivers, and wetlands using environmental sensor data and mathematical modeling.

I’m so thankful to the DeVlieg Foundation and the Graduate Dean Awards Advisory panel for this support. With their help, I’m able to spend this summer focused on data analysis for the third chapter of my dissertation, which explores the drivers of seasonal changes in nutrient retention and export in a coastal Lake Erie wetland using a decade of sensor data. Hopefully, the results of this analysis can inform management of shoreline wetlands, which may help mitigate cyanobacterial blooms in Lake Erie.


Doctoral Finishing Fellowship Summer 2021 Recipient – Sriram Valluri

Statement

Firstly, I want to thank MTU for awarding me the prestigious doctoral finishing fellowship award. I was born and brought up in south India. I did my undergraduate and master’s degree at IIT-Dhanbad, which accepts only the top 1% of students of India every year. For my Ph.D., I was offered a full scholarship at University of Queensland, Australia, and Penn state university, but I rather chose MTU to work under Dr. S. Komar Kawatra.

Prof Komar Kawatra is leading the CO2 capture and utilization research team at Michigan Tech University. Our goal is to capture CO2 from coal-fired power plants at minimal cost and convert CO2 into value-added products like Syn-gas, Oxalic acid, etc. For the last four years, I have worked extensively on carbon capture and utilization projects. I and my team of undergraduate researchers have continuously improved the efficiency of our CO2 scrubber system and also tested the prototype in a pilot-scale environment. We presented our work at International Conferences representing MTU and received applause. I have published several papers on chemical absorption CO2 capture, in high-impact journals.

I Worked on multiple CO2 capture projects and successfully submitted reports. Successfully captured CO2 from Michigan Technological University steam plant as part of my Ph.D. thesis project. I have installed our pilot-scale CO2 scrubber system at the Michigan tech Power plant and reduced the CO2 emissions from 8% to 4%. I have trained Sam Root, a Chem Eng. Freshman on this project, who won national awards in Poster competitions.

Photography and rock climbing are two of my favorite pastimes. I am extremely pleased with my decision to pursue my Ph.D. at MTU. The upper peninsula of Michigan is a photographer’s dream, both in winter and in fall. When I have free time, I like to explore different parts of UP and take some landscape pictures. 


Doctoral Finishing Fellowship Summer 2021 Recipient – Nathan Spike

I am a PhD candidate in the mechanical engineering – engineering mechanics program. I have been fortunate during my graduate studies to have served as a graduate teaching assistant for the SAE AutoDrive Challenge, working with an interdisciplinary team of graduate and undergraduate students on the development of an autonomous vehicle. Work with this competition has afforded me the use of an autonomous Chevrolet Bolt as a platform to perform research activities relevant to my dissertation. My research has focused on path planning and control of autonomous vehicles performing obstacle avoidance on low friction surfaces, an area that is essential for widespread adoption of autonomous vehicle technology. I have developed vehicle steering controls which react to un-detected ice on the road, allowing a vehicle to maintain control when traction is lost. I have also worked on optimal paths for obstacle avoidance when the friction surface is known. Finally, I have worked on stochastic methods for representing friction surfaces in simulation which improve correlation between a simulated vehicle model and hardware test platforms. 

I would like to thank my co-advisors, Dr. Darrell Robinette and Dr. Jeremy P. Bos for their support and guidance during my pursuit of the PhD. I would also like the thank the Dean Awards Advisory Panel and the graduate school 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 in the Summer of 2021.