Category Archives: Awards

Doctoral Finishing Fellowship Summer 2019 Recipient – Erin Burkett

Erin Burkett
Social Sciences

I am a PhD candidate studying Environmental and Energy Policy in the Department of Social Sciences. Over the past four years I have studied demographic trends and changes among recreational anglers in Michigan, Minnesota, Indiana, Illinois, and Wisconsin. I have also studied the importance of fishing to women and how women-specific outreach programs engage with this important group. This research includes working with both state natural resource agencies and recreational fisheries stakeholders. The MTU Finishing Fellowship comes as a pivotal time in my dissertation as I am mainly writing my final research papers and preparing to give my oral defense. I am very grateful to have funding and support during this stage of my research. Go Huskies!

 


Nominee for 2019 CGS/ProQuest Distinguished Dissertation Award: Aranya Srijongjai

Aranya Srijongjai
Rhetoric, Theory and Culture

I received a PhD in Rhetoric, Theory and Culture in 2019 at Michigan Tech under the supervision of Dr. Karla Kitalong. My dissertation focused on digital rhetoric of cosmopolitanism of people from a marginalized culture as situated in the context of a transnational experience. Using cases of Thai students studying at Michigan Tech, my dissertation project investigated their digital practices as they engaged with the Other on social media in everyday life. The methodological framework of this project was designed by consolidating various concepts and perspectives of new cosmopolitanism and digital rhetoric. In its contributions, apart from theoretical and pedagogical implications, this project also helps to shape the idea of digital rhetoric of cosmopolitanism by proposing a definition and a model to explain its ontological dimension.

After graduation, I returned to Thailand and resumed the position of a lecturer at the Faculty of Humanities, Srinakharinwirot University, Bangkok, Thailand.


Portage Health Foundation Graduate Assistantship Summer 2019 Recipient – Zainab I. Alshoug

Zainab I. Alshoug
Chemical Engineering

In 2013, I graduated from MTU with a master’s degree under Dr. David Shonnard supervision. My master’s research was on biofuel production. Working with Dr. Shonnard was one of the valuable experiences at MTU. Dr. Shonnard’s research group not only strengthened my research skills but also provided me a hand-on experience of working in a lab.

In order to pursue my aim of getting a doctorate degree in Chemical Engineering, I joined Dr. Adrienne Minerick’s M.D.-ERL research group which provided me an opportunity to work on the design of lab-on-a-chip device to measure the level of lipids in human blood by using different art-of-the-state techniques, such as Liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS). It is a great experience working with Dr. Minerick in many different projects include measuring the effect of consumption of different teas in lipid levels in human blood. She is always a source of encouragement and motivation for me.

I am incredibly grateful for the support of my advisors Dr. Adrienne Minerick, chemical engineering program, and the MTU graduate school. I want to express my deepest gratitude to the Portage Health Foundation, which has supported me to focus on my research and to publish my research in the coming summer. With the help of my advisor Dr. Minerick and the support of the Portage Health Foundation, I will be able to accomplish my publication goals and defend my Ph.D. dissertation by the end of December.



Portage Health Foundation Graduate Assistantship Summer 2019 Recipient -Bhaskar Halami

Bhaskar Halami
Chemistry

In the past semesters I have developed procedures and protocols to study the antisense properties of modified DNA strands. Also, I tried my best to develop an oligo anticancer drug mimic. The other graduate students in our lab are continuing the work. The project is most likely to yield great results in coming days. I feel really accomplished as my research is acknowledged by the highly reputed organization like you. The financial assistance included in the award will help me complete my Ph.D. degree in summer 2019. This would not have been possible without a vision of the Portage Health Foundation, an initiative by the Michigan Tech, and the support from my adviser Dr. Shiyue Fang and the chemistry department.

 


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
Physics

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
MEEM

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.

 


Portage Health Foundation Graduate Assistantship Fall 2018 Recipient – Xue Mi

Xue Mi
Chemical Engineering
I am a Ph.D. candidate in Chemical Engineering and has been working on my Ph.D. project in Dr. Caryn Heldt’s lab since 2015 fall. My research has focused on creating methods to remove, detect, characterize, and purify viruses. Virus removal explored cheaper and easier ways to purify water; detection of viruses can be used to determine the cleanliness of surfaces from viral contamination and also possibly as a quick way to screen blood donations for viral contamination in underdeveloped countries; characterization studied viral surface properties to stabilize vaccines; purifying viruses can create less expensive vaccines and other viral therapies and bring them to market faster. All of these projects and applications can help improve both the health of our local population, but also health worldwide.

I want to express my deepest gratitude to the Portage Health Foundation for financial support. It allows me to focus on my paper and dissertation writing for the summer of 2019. I also want to thank my advisor Dr. Heldt for her constant help and generous support throughout my entire graduate school studies.