Category Archives: Fellowship Recipients

Doctoral Finishing Fellowship Summer 2019 Recipient – Nupur Bihari

Nupur Bihari
Materials Science and Engineering

I moved to the beautiful city of Houghton as a Master’s student in Electrical Engineering and worked on my thesis (under Dr. Paul Bergstrom) on a microfabricated blood typing sensor. Continuing to explore semiconductor microfabrication and vacuum systems, I joined the Department of Materials Science and Engineering in Fall 2016 under Dr. Joshua Pearce. I began my PhD research on integrating the disparate worlds of additive manufacturing and semiconductor fabrication.

Additive manufacturing is radically changing the way polymer-based components are manufactured. It has enabled customization, reduced costs and led to unprecedented growth in the acceptance and use of polymers in scientific research equipment. Despite the ubiquity of 3-D printed materials in research applications, they have remained conspicuously absent from semiconductor research, primarily due to their apparent incompatibility with vacuum equipment. This incompatibility is mainly in terms of outgassing of volatile organic species. Outgassing in polymers arises when low molecular mass entities present in the material matrix escape when exposed to vacuum. If polymers are coated with a conformal, crystalline, inorganic film introduced with atomic layer deposition (ALD), then outgassing can be reduced to a large extent because the surface layer acts as a seal to prevent these low molecular weight species present in the bulk of the material from escaping. Going a step further, I am in the process of building a first of its kind ALD system almost entirely out of 3-D printed polymeric materials.
I would like to express my gratitude to Graduate School for the finishing fellowship. I am honored to have my research get this recognition.


Three Students Awarded NSF Graduate Research Fellowships

Rose Turner, Gabriela Shirkey and Helena Keller were named GRFP Fellows while Katelyn Kring received Honorable Mention.

Turner, from Berkley, Michigan, graduated from Michigan Tech in December with a bachelor’s in environmental engineering. She was the student speaker for Fall Commencement and is planning to pursue graduate studies in Environmental Engineering here at Michigan Tech

Katelyn Kring, from Portage, MI, graduated from Michigan Tech in December and is continuing as a first-year master’s student in Tech’s Department of Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences.

Shirkey, from Manitou Beach, Michigan, graduated from Michigan Tech in the Fall of 2013 in scientific and technical communications  and is currently studying geography at Michigan State University.

Keller, from Elk River Minnesota, graduated from Tech in Spring 2014 with a degree in Chemistry. She is currently studying macromolecular, supramolecular and nanochemistry at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

THE NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students in NSF-supported science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines who are pursuing research-based master’s and doctoral degrees at accredited US institutions.

Doctoral Finishing Fellowship Spring 2019 Recipient – Daniel Trepal

Daniel J Trepal
Industrial Archaeology

As a previous graduate of Michigan Tech’s Industrial Archaeology Masters program, I returned to Michigan Tech and the Social Sciences department to undertake my doctoral studies due to the excellent student support, interdisciplinary research opportunities, and the unique benefits of living and working on the Keweenaw Peninsula. Having previously spent nearly a decade working as a professional archaeologist specializing in the study of industrial landscapes, my doctoral research embraces a more interdisciplinary approach influenced by Spatial History and the Digital Humanities. I focus on studying postindustrial urban landscapes and their constituent communities from a historical, spatial, big data based perspective using GIS and other geospatial technologies.

It is a great privilege to receive the Finishing Fellowship; I look forward to wrapping up my dissertation this spring and moving on to a new set of challenges. I would like to take this opportunity to thank my advisor, Dr. Don Lafreniere, my committee members, and all of the Michigan Tech faculty and fellow students who have supported me in many valuable ways as a student and colleague.

DeVlieg Foundation Fellowship Summer 2019 Recipient – Ami Kling

Ami Kling
Biomedical Engineering

I am a second-year PhD student in the Biomedical Engineering program, although I never intended to pursue a graduate education when I first came to Michigan Tech. I came to this school as an undergraduate student in the fall of 2013 with an associate degree in hand, intent on earning a bachelor’s in 2-3 years and obtaining a job – any job – in the medical device industry. Four years, an undergrad degree, and a newfound love of physics later, I became first a masters and then a PhD student in the Biomedical Engineering department.

My research focuses on a novel medical imaging technique called elastography, which is used to noninvasively quantify tissue stiffness distributions in vivo. Specifically, I am interested in combining optical and ultrasound elastography techniques in order to create an improved system that has potential applications in both research and clinical environments.

I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the DeVlieg Foundation and the Graduate Dean Awards Advisory Panel for the support that has been provided to me for the summer of 2019. This financial support will allow me to concentrate efforts on developing instrumentation, gathering experimental data, and publishing results. Consequently, this support will also further my overarching goal of creating a useful, portable, and readily available diagnostic imaging system. I would also like to thank: the Biomedical Engineering Graduate Programs Committee for their recommendation; my advisors, Dr. Jingfeng Jiang and Dr. Sean J. Kirkpatrick, for their guidance and support; and Mr. David Rosen for his assistance with this project.

DeVlieg Foundation Fellowship Summer 2019 Recipient – Chris Adams

Chris Adams
Biological Sciences

I am a fourth year PhD student in Biological Sciences. My research investigates life history variation in trout populations, which may be a mechanism for adapting to changing environments. Data is obtained by individually tagging fish with RFID tags and operating in-stream antenna stations to rack moments throughout a watershed. I look forward to working under the DeVlieg fellowship this summer to wrap up field work in the nearby Pilgrim River and prepare manuscripts for publication.

Nicholas Matwiyoff and Carl Hogberg Graduate Fellowship Fund, Spring 2019 Recipient – Kevin Phillips

Kevin Phillips
Integrative Physiology

I have been living in the Upper Peninsula for 5 years and began my Ph.D. at Michigan Tech in 2015. I am currently a Ph.D. candidate in the Integrative Physiology program. I have always loved the outdoors and exercise. Therefore, my research is focused on understanding how environmental demands and thermal interventions (hot/cold water immersion) influence performance and the perception of fatigue during physical exercise. We use a variety of techniques to quantify muscle and brain activation during these fatiguing tasks. This research may provide us with important implications for improving athletic performance and managing the perception of pain in clinical populations. I am incredibly thankful for the support that the Nicholas Matwiyoff and Carl Hogberg Graduate Fellowship Fund and the Graduate School has provided me to complete my degree. I would also like to thank my mentors and fellow students who have helped me along the way. I have learned so much at Michigan Tech and I will always be grateful for my time here.

Doctoral Finishing Fellowship Spring 2019 Recipient – David Rosen

David Rosen
Biomedical Engineering

My graduate study at MTU began the spring of 2015.  My broad research interests and aspirations are oriented toward soft tissue biomechanics and the physiology and technologies that are associated with the topic.  For my PhD research, my interest in biomechanics has been specifically focused on a medical ultrasound technology called elastography.  Elastography is a technique used to assess soft tissue elasticity in vivo. My graduate research efforts have focused on how the distinctive mechanical properties of soft tissue (i.e. viscoelasticity, heterogeneity, and nonlinear elasticity) manifest in elastography measurements and what role they have in elastographic uncertainty as it relates medical diagnosis.

I am immensely grateful for the support provided by the Graduate School through the Doctoral Finishing Fellowship. This support is instrumental in this final stage of my graduate study. It has been a privilege to study and work on research at MTU and I am excited to see how the skills and knowledge I have developed during my time here will impact my career and my field.

Doctoral Finishing Fellowship Spring 2019 Recipient – Simeon Schum

Simeon Schum

I arrived at Michigan Tech in Fall 2013 after receiving my Bachelor’s degree in chemistry from University of Alaska, Fairbanks the previous spring. After arriving, I joined Dr. Lynn Mazzoleni’s group, which is primarily focused on investigating the molecular composition of atmospheric organic aerosol using ultrahigh resolution mass spectrometry.

My research has focused on the analysis and interpretation of organic aerosol collected at the Pico Mountain Observatory, which is located on Pico Island in the Azores Archipelago, within the north Atlantic Ocean. Through this work I was able to go to the site in the summers of 2014 and 2017 for a total of ten weeks and helped operate and maintain the site so that samples and observations could be obtained for researchers at Michigan Tech and other collaborating institutions. Some of my work from the site highlighted interesting questions about the aging processes that organic aerosol undergo based on the ambient conditions in the atmosphere during long-range transport.

In addition to my work with organic aerosol, I learned how to write code in R and have used that knowledge to write a code package that includes functions that do molecular formula assignment, isotope filtering, signal to noise determination, and recalibration. These are all important for the analysis of ultrahigh resolution mass spectrometry data.

First, I would like to thank Dr. Mazzoleni for her incredible assistance over the years in mentoring and providing me the opportunity to do things I may not have otherwise done. I would also like to thank the Michigan Tech Graduate school for awarding me this finishing fellowship, which will allow me to focus on finishing my dissertation and journal publications related to my work.


Doctoral Finishing Fellowship Spring 2019 Recipient – Xin He

Xin He
Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics

It is never easy to approach to the finishing of a Ph.D. study since one could always explore a little more. I am extremely honored to be awarded the finishing scholarship, nevertheless, the study will never end. After obtaining M.S. in New Mexico State University, I joined Michigan Tech in Spring 2016 with my research interests in computational fluid dynamics. My research topic did not take long to be specified into high-speed boundary layer flow and its stability analysis. I appreciate the opportunity that Dr. Chunpei Cai granted for joining his research group. Tech has great resources to support one on both researching and surviving in the extreme weather. Gradually, snowboarding has become my primary after-work activity throughout the year since the winter session lasts so long. Tech is always my family, being here feels like home.

Doctoral Finishing Fellowship Spring 2019 Recipient – Lukai Zhai

Lukai Zhai
Biological Sciences

I started my life in Michigan Tech as a Ph.D student majoring in Biological Sciences from 2015 Fall. My advisor, Dr. Ebenezer Tumban, kindly offered me support in his lab till now. I have had a great time working in our lab and our department. Before I came here, I earned my bachelor’s degree majoring in Biotechnology in Shandong Normal University, China. I also worked as a research scientist for two years in Shandong University, China. My impression of Michigan Tech is that it is a wonderful place to do research!

Our research focuses on 1) Developing a novel chimeric MS2 bacteriophage virus like particles (VLPs), displaying a tandem HPV L2 peptide, as candidate vaccine to protect against diverse genital HPV infections. 2) In collaboration with Dr. Pavan Muttil (University of New Mexico), formulating the MS2-L2 VLPs into a dry powder by spray-freeze drying for thermostability test (2 Month) and assessing the potential of MS2-L2 VLPs to offer oral and vaginal protection from HPV pseudovirus infection, following sublingually immunized with mucosal adjuvants. 3) Cloning, co-expressing in E. coli, and purifying two coat proteins (ORF13 and ORF14) from a novel thermophilic phage ΦIN93. Assess the potentials of the coat proteins to assemble into VLP.

It is a great honor for me to receive the Finishing Fellowship and I would like to sincerely thank the Graduate School for offering me the support! Also I want to express my gratitude to everybody who helped me in my research and life. At last, I am proud of being a Husky!