Category: Succeeding in Graduate School

Articles about professional development and seminar announcements.

NASA Space Tech Research Fellowships – Fall 2014

NASA is seeking applications from U.S. graduate students for the agency’s Space Technology Research Fellowships.

Eligibility:

  • US citizens or legal permanent residents.
  • Graduate students pursuing advanced degrees in STEM disciplines.
  • Undergraduates planning to enroll in graduate school by the start of this fellowship

The fellowship begins at the start of the Fall 2014 semester.

The application deadline is November 13, 2013.  Click here for the application submission instructions.

The maximum award is $68K per year.

For more information on the fellowship:
https://nspires.nasaprs.com/external/solicitations/summary.do?method=init&solId=%7BBD3F49F4-611F-D9EC-1B84-16F4D7551609%7D&path=open


Peace Corps MS Student Tackles Water, Waste, Volcanoes, Earthquakes in Panama

To the people of Peña Blanca, Panama, Chet Hopp must seem like a godsend. He’s helping them get cleaner water, improve sanitation and understand their local volcanic hazards.

“I’m an environmental health extensionist, which means that my main responsibilities to my community of Peña Blanca deal with sanitation,” says Hopp, a Peace Corps Master’s International student in geology at Michigan Tech. “Specifically, we work to improve access to potable water through development and construction of gravity-fed aqueducts, as well as improving sanitation practices through education and access to various types of latrines.”

From the beginning, Hopp says, the priority has been latrines, although the water system does concern many in the community. He gives talks on sanitation practices, as well as how to properly construct and maintain the latrines they are building.

And, there’s buy-in, literally, from the locals.

“Each participating family is required to make a $5 deposit, to be returned upon successful completion, and they must pay for half the cost of corrugated metal roofing,” Hopp says. “There are other roofing options, though, so they can opt out of this.”

Read the full story.

Published in Tech Today by Dennis Walikainen, senior editor


Lactation Room Locations

Michigan Tech has adopted the recommendation that the University provide lactation rooms throughout campus for faculty, students, staff and visitors. This list has been updated to include the Center for Diversity and Inclusion (CDI).

Campus lactation room locations are:

  • Administration Building, 1st Floor
  • Electrical Energy Resources Center (EERC), 1st Floor
  • Great Lakes Research Center (GLRC), 1st Floor
  • Lake Shore Center, 3rd Floor
  • Citizen’s Bank, Ground Floor near lunch room
  • Center for Diversity and Inclusion (CDI), 2nd Floor

At the end of the summer, two additional rooms will be open in the Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics building (MEEM), 4th Floor and the Student Development Center (SDC), 1st Floor.

Please contact Chris Anderson, 7-2474 or Jim Heikkinen, 7-2305 for questions.


Are You Cited? Find Out With Library’s New Citation Searching Guide

The Van Pelt and Opie Library is pleased to offer a new guide to citation searching, which can be found online. This guide, created specifically for faculty and graduate students at Michigan Tech, contains helpful information for researchers in all academic disciplines.

Save yourself hours of searching time by using the guide to learn how to:

  • Determine if and where your publications have been cited
  • Discover works related to other authors, articles, or topics
  • Assess the relative quality or merit of a publication

If you have a suggestion for a database or other resource that should be added to the guide, please send an e-mail to reflib@mtu.edu or submit your suggestion using the link on the front page of the guide.


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


Jim Hwang, Zhiwei Peng Selected for Bhakta Rath Research Award

Materials science and engineering professor Jiann-Yang “Jim” Hwang and 2012 PhD graduate Zhiwei Peng have been chosen to receive Michigan Technological University’s 2013 Bhakta Rath Research Award for their studies on the use of microwaves in steelmaking.

The award, endowed by Michigan Tech alumnus Bhakta Rath and his wife, Shushama, recognizes a doctoral student at Michigan Tech and his/her faculty advisor for “exceptional research of particular value that anticipates the future needs of the nation while supporting advances in emerging technology.” Hwang and Peng, now a research assistant professor, will share a $2,000 prize.

Peng and Hwang were nominated by Stephen Kampe, the St. John Professor and chair of the materials science and engineering department.

Kampe called Peng’s work “incredibly thorough in scope and rigorous in its approach.” He noted that Hwang has researched microwave steelmaking for years “and has become a renowned authority on environmental and sustainability issues within the materials processing industries.

“This project represents an excellent fit with Dr. Rath’s vision of this award,” Kampe said.

The researcher did theoretical and experimental work on the use of microwaves to heat materials, particularly magnetic substances, and offered ways to improve microwaves’ heating efficiency. They also provided guidelines for making large-scale microwave furnaces for industrial use. Peng’s dissertation research was an integral part of three grants totaling $2.6 million.

Their work has led to five books, 25 papers and invitations to prepare books on microwave heating.

In support of the nomination, Dinesh Agrawal of Penn State wrote that Peng’s work “will surely accelerate the development of microwave heating for various applications in the field of ceramic and metallic materials, organics synthesis, biomedical treatments, etc.” And Jian Li of Canada’s CanmetMATERIALS research laboratory wrote that Peng’s dissertation reveals “great potential in energy saving and environmental safety.”

Mingming Zhang of the Canadian steel and mining company ArcelorMittal wrote that Peng’s research “attracted my attention because of its huge potential in energy savings and environmental protection compared with conventional technologies,” adding that the achievement is all the more remarkable because steelmaking consumes more energy than any other industry. “Moreover, there is a great possibility to substantially reduce the CO2, SOx and NOx emissions, contributing to an environmentally friendly world,” Zhang said.

Peng’s solid foundation in math and science and his interdisciplinary approach have been key to the project’s success, said his advisor. “He is not afraid of challenges, and he willingly took courses from other departments that advanced his research,” Hwang said. “By combining knowledge from several disciplines, Zhiwei has developed a new field of research.”

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.