Category: Succeeding in Graduate School

Articles about professional development and seminar announcements.

Zinc: The Perfect Material for Stents?

Patrick Bowen, PhD in Materials Science and Engineering
Stents can be lifesavers, holding open coronary arteries to allow a healthy supply of blood to flow to the heart. But they can also cause problems, because they stay in the body for a lifetime.

Researchers have been trying to solve the problem by designing a stent that will hold an artery open and then dissolve harmlessly after the blood vessel heals. Traditional metals have not had the right properties, however.

Now a team of scientists at Michigan Tech is experimenting with a novel material that may lead to a new generation of bioabsorbable stents: zinc.

For the full story, click here.

Published in Tech Today by Marcia Goodrich, magazine editor

Grad Student Receives NSF Fellowship for Summer Research in China

Douglas Smith will be traveling to Beijing this summer, courtesy of the National Science Foundation East Asia and Pacific Summer Institutes.

Smith, who is earning his MS in Chemistry, received the EAPSI fellowship to conduct research at Beijing Technological University. The fellowships support research in several countries around the Pacific Rim, but Smith was drawn to China in particular.

“Since my adviser and most of my lab mates are from China, I thought, if they are making the effort to be here in the US, I should try and go over there and walk a mile in their shoes,” he said.

EAPSI fellowships give graduate students first-hand research experience outside the US; an introduction to the host nation’s science, science policy, and scientific infrastructure; and an orientation to the culture and language. NSF’s aim is to prepare researchers for international collaborations early in their careers, thus ensuring a globally aware US scientific workforce.

Smith started his research career as an undergraduate, working with Assistant Professor Lanrong Bi (Chemistry). After he completed his BS in Pharmaceutical Chemistry, she continued as his advisor.

In China, Smith will be furthering studies on a series of new fluorescent dyes that can detect changes in the pH of organelles–minute structures within cells involved many physiological processes. Changes in pH can serve as an early warning system for disease, and the dyes can also help scientists understand the inner workings of cells.

Smith’s research has been expedited by the confocal microscope the University acquired in December. It uses lasers and high-end optics to take 3D images of cells, tissue and nanomaterials without destroying samples. “I feel that the Olympus confocal microscope was key to generate the important preliminary results for applying the EAPSI fellowship,” he said.

Bi agreed. “Doug has done excellent work, and he is highly deserving of this fellowship,” said Bi. “Having access to this equipment has helped him–and our entire team–to be much more productive. All the members of our team are grateful to each of the units that helped fund the microscope, especially the College of Sciences and Arts, which spearheaded the purchase.”

Published in Tech Today

Yapici’s Research Places Third in Sigma Xi Research Showcase

Nazmiye Yapici, a PhD candidate in chemistry, has placed third in the graduate student division of the first virtual Sigma Xi Research Showcase, Cellular and Molecular Biology section.

She was honored for her presentation, “Detection of Mitochondrial Oxidative Stress.” The results will be featured in Sigma Xi social media and in American Scientist Magazine.

In addition, Yapici has been invited to give two oral presentations in the Gordon Research Seminars and Gordon Research Conferences, among the world’s premier scientific conferences. She has also been accepted to give two presentations in the American Chemical Society National Meeting.

The research was made possible in part by the recent acquisition of a new confocal microscope, which uses lasers and high-end optics to take 3D images of cells, tissue and nanomaterials without destroying the sample.

“The confocal microscope has helped many of us be so much more productive,” said Yapici’s advisor, Assistant Professor Lanrong Bi (Chemistry). “Our students are extremely appreciative because it has helped advance their research.”

Published in TechToday

Tranferring research skills to a business environment

This article from ASEE Prism has some great insights into the training some universities are offering students so that they can hit the ground running in industrial positions. Michigan Tech offers business training for its student both formally and informally. If a career in industry might be in your future, try checking out these suggestions to find relevant training to help you succeed.

Inaugural Ada Lovelace Day Celebration at Michigan Tech

Michigan Tech will hold its inaugural celebration of Ada Lovelace Day, an annual event held to recognize the accomplishments and contributions of women to the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics and to encourage young women to pursue careers in STEM fields.

Tech’s celebration will be a two-day series of events beginning at 7 p.m., on Tuesday, Oct. 16, in Fisher 139 as Professor Martha Sloan (ECE) and guest speakers Mary Long and Michelle Eggart discuss their experiences as women working in STEM fields.

On Wednesday, Oct. 17, from 8 to 10 p.m., in Fisher 135 there will be a film screening of “The Gender Chip Project” followed by a panel discussion featuring female faculty and graduate students from departments across campus, including Sarah Green, Nina Mahmoudian, Laura Brown, Patty Sotirin and Kaitlyn Bunker, who will discuss their experiences as women in STEM disciplines of academia.

Both events are free and open to the public, and concessions will be provided free of charge for the film screening. To view the event flyer, visit Ada Lovelace.

In addition, there will be a display on the first floor of the J. R. Van Pelt and John and Ruanne Opie Library featuring books and articles by women in STEM.

For information about upcoming diversity-related events, contact Renee Wells at to subscribe to the weekly Diversity Programs listserv.

Fair use in academia

Students who wish to use copyrighted materials in a thesis or dissertation must show that they have the ability to republish those materials.  One argument students can use is that their use is “fair use.”  This provision of US Copyright allows the reuse of materials if certain conditions are met.  Students sometimes think that all educational use of materials is fair use, but a recent court case illustrates that this is not true.

In order to use copyrighted materials in a thesis or dissertation, there are three simple steps:

  1. Determine if permission is needed to republish copyrighted materials
  2. Obtain permission for copyrighted materials (if necessary)
  3. Document the ability to republish copyrighted materials.

The Graduate School has helpful resources online, including a seminar from our copyright librarian.  Check them out!

Fall Career Fair Attracts Nearly 300 Employers

Michigan Tech’s Fall Career Fair has already attracted 279 registered employers, and more are registering every day. More than 3,000 Tech students are expected to visit the Student Development Complex to speak with potential employers from noon to 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 2. Thousands of interviews for internships, co-ops and jobs are scheduled all over campus on Oct. 3 and during the days that follow.

“From Michigan Tech’s perspective, the job market looks great,” said Jim Turnquist, director of Career Services. “Companies are so eager to get their names in front of students that they are sponsoring unique events such as a picnic outside the MUB, boat rides and a Ride and Drive, an opportunity for students to test-drive some of the latest model cars. The salaries being offered are higher than last year’s already excellent salaries, too.”

Career Services sponsors a job fair twice a year, in the fall and spring. Last year, 243 employers came to the October event and 178 participated in one in February.

“Tech graduates are simply fantastic,” commented Jason Biehl, a senior manufacturing engineer at GM and a 1994 graduate of Michigan Tech. Biehl was on the GM recruiting team that participated in a recent Career Fair. “Tech’s reputation extends from Virginia to Texas, from the US to Europe,” he said. “That’s why we’re here,”

Julie Way, assistant director of career development education, said: “Career Services is excited to organize and host this valuable event, where our students are given the opportunity to work in internships and co-ops during their college careers, and also to begin a new chapter of their life in a rewarding full-time career upon their graduation. We want to extend our thanks to all those who have generously donated rooms and offices for all the interviews.”

Published originally in Tech Today.

Attracting Underrepresented Graduate Students: GEM GRAD Lab This Saturday

Rod Carter credits his graduate education at Michigan Tech for the strong problem-solving skills it takes to succeed at his job: high-level materials research for Boeing. A research and technology engineer, Carter was the first African American to earn a PhD in Chemical Engineering from Michigan Tech, in 2008.

During an all-day seminar at Michigan Tech on Saturday, Sept. 15, Carter will talk about the doors that graduate education opened for him. Called the GEM GRAD Lab, the meeting addresses a critical shortfall in US engineering and scientific talent, focusing specifically on recruiting more underrepresented students into graduate programs. GRAD stands for Getting Ready for Advanced Degrees.

“Students will leave the GRAD event with a definite plan on how to apply and gain funding, and hear about real-life research and internship experiences,” says Marcus Huggans, senior director of external relations for the National Consortium for Graduate degrees for Minorities in Engineering and Science, Inc., sponsor of the program. “GEM appreciates Michigan Tech’s Graduate School leadership to bring this workshop to students in the Upper Peninsula.”

Jacque Smith, Michigan Tech Graduate School director of marketing, explains: “It’s all part of an even larger goal of creating a pipeline for this talent to move on to corporations and organizations after receiving their graduate degrees.”

A major component of GEM is fellowships for Master of Science in engineering students or PhD students in engineering or science. The GEM fellowships include full tuition, summer internships and stipends.

His GEM fellowship has made all the difference to Sterling Prince, a doctoral candidate in electrical engineering. “The GEM Fellowship has been a blessing to my life,” says Prince. “It has strengthened my decision and given me confidence to achieve a doctorate in electrical engineering. It has provided the financial support I needed for my graduate program, allowing me to dedicate my time to my studies rather than working. The program has also provided me with the opportunity to work at a national laboratory, an experience that allowed me to see that I enjoy the area of scientific research and want to pursue it in my future.”

In addition to Carter, Prince and two other current Michigan Tech GEM fellows and PhD candidates–James Alexander and Tayloria Adams–will speak at Saturday’s seminar. Other speakers include Huggans; Patty Lopez, a component design engineer at Intel; and Howard G. Adams, founder and president of H. G. Adams and Associates, a consulting and training firm. Michigan Tech’s Associate Provost for Graduate Education Jackie Huntoon and Jodi Lehman, coordinator of proposal and fellowship development for sponsored program enhancement, will also speak.

More than 100 of the nation’s top universities, many Fortune 500 companies, and numerous national laboratories support GEM, which began in 1976. Since then, more than 3,000 GEM Fellows have gone on to successful careers. Michigan Tech has participated in GEM since the 1990s.

Registration for the free event starts at 9:30 a.m. Saturday at the Great Lakes Research Center.