Graduate Students Present at the 2009 Annual Conference of the Society for Industrial Archaeology

Published in Tech Today

An incoming faculty member and several Michigan Tech graduate students of the Industrial Heritage and Archaeology program of the Department of Social Sciences presented papers at the 2009 Annual Conference of the Society for Industrial Archaeology, held May 28-31 in Pittsburgh.

  • master’s student Seth DePasqual, “Winning Coal at 78 Degrees North: Mining, Management and Negotiations at Old Longyear City”
  • master’s student Megan Glazewski, “Discovering Landscape Gardening Practices within Industrial Landscapes of the 19th Century: William Kemble’s Cottage, Cold Spring, New York”
  • doctoral candidate Cameron Hartnell, “High Arctic Coal Mining: The Strategy of the Arctic Coal Company”
  • doctoral student Marc Henshaw, “The Steamboat Industry in Brownsville, Pa.: The Beginnings of the Industrialization in the Upper Monongahela Valley”
  • doctoral student Erik Nordberg, “The Nordberg Manufacturing Company of Milwaukee: History, Archives and Research Potential”
  • incoming Associate Professor Fredric Quivik (Social Sciences), “What Has Happened to Other Gritty Cities: Putting Paterson into Context”
  • doctoral candidate Scott See, “National Heritage Area Candidate: The Iron Ranges of Lake Superior”

The society awarded Michigan Tech alum Marco Meniketti ’98 (MS in Industrial Archaeology) its 2009 Robert M. Vogel Prize. The award honors the author of the best article to appear in the society’s journal, IA, every three years.

Conference organizer and doctoral candidate Bode Morin (Industrial Heritage and Archaeology) was quoted in the May 29 issue of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette here.

Michigan Tech Tops in the Nation for Women Earning Engineering PhDs

From Tech Today

by Jennifer Donovan, public relations director

Michigan Tech’s College of Engineering graduates a higher percentage of women with PhDs in engineering than any other engineering school in the nation, the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) reports.

Forty percent of Michigan Tech’s engineering doctoral degrees were awarded to women, according to the ASEE’s annual report, “Engineering by the Numbers.” The report is based on data from 2008. The next highest percentage of women PhD recipients in engineering was 38.7 percent, at the University of Rochester.

“What great news,” said Jacqueline Huntoon, dean of the Graduate School. “I congratulate the faculty in our College of Engineering and the Graduate School staff on recruiting and retaining these outstanding women. Michigan Tech’s STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) focus makes it challenging for us to maintain high levels of gender diversity on our campus because STEM programs tend to attract males. We plan to build on this success and continue to increase the diversity of our students.”

According to the report, only engineering schools that award at least 25 doctoral degrees during the year are ranked. There were 100 engineering schools nationwide that awarded 25 or more PhDs during 2008.

In undergraduate engineering degrees, Michigan Tech ranked third in the nation in numbers of bachelor’s degrees in mechanical engineering; 11th in numbers of civil engineering bachelor’s degrees; 16th in both computer engineering and electrical engineering; and 22nd in the number of bachelor’s degrees awarded by the College of Engineering.

“At a time when the state, nation and world need more women in engineering, I am pleased that the percentage of women receiving engineering PhDs at Michigan Tech is the highest in the nation,” said Tim Schulz, dean of the College of Engineering. “As these young women rise to leadership positions in industry, government and academia, they will serve as excellent role models for future generations.”

View the full ASEE report at www.asee.org/publications/profiles/upload/2008ProfileEng.pdf .

Image Now Training Schedule for June 15th and 18th

The Graduate School is switching to imaged documents for students’ Masters forms on July 1, 2009.  Before that date we have scheduled two training sessions conducted by Jarrod Karau.

Session 1: Monday June 15th from 10-11am in MUB Ballroom B

Session 2: Thursday June 18th from 3-4pm in MUB Ballroom A1

Graduate Assistants and any other department members are welcome to attend.

Please RSVP to Patt Ross (peross@mtu.edu) for the session you plan to attend.

Ulrich Hansmann Wins 2009 Michigan Tech Research Award

Tech Today

by Jennifer Donovan, public relations director

Ulrich Hansmann, professor of physics and leader in computational and biophysics research, has received the 2009 Michigan Tech Research Award.

He developed seminal numerical techniques for modeling the workings of living cells and led efforts to apply computational algorithms to protein physics. He recently was named a Fellow of the American Physical Society (APS), a recognition of excellence by his peers and one of the highest honors in his field.

Hansmann is a pioneer in computational modeling of protein folding, a molecular process that, when it goes awry, can give rise to neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s. His work could help uncover the underlying processes causing proteins to misfold, potentially leading to effective therapies.

“Uli’s achievements in the protein-folding problem–one of the most significant challenges in science today–have been astonishing,” Robert H. Swendsen, professor of physics at Carnegie Mellon University, remarked.

“Uli is one of Tech’s leading computational scientists, with his outstanding work and international reputation among leaders in his field,” said David Reed, vice president for research. “He has taken the lead in trying to build computational capacity at Tech, and we look forward to continued advancement in this area through the current Strategic Faculty Hiring Initiative in computational discovery and innovation.”

Ravindra Pandey, chair of the physics department, also had high praise for Hansmann. “We are extremely proud of Professor Hansmann’s achievements in computational biophysics,” Pandey said. “He is an internationally known scientist in protein folding. He has established a well funded research group here at Michigan Tech and conducts extremely productive collaborative work with several national and international research groups.”

A leader in a computational approach to understanding the complex interactions in biological systems in a new, interdisciplinary field known as systems biology, Hansmann organized three international workshops on computational biophysics in systems biology. While continuing to teach and do research at Michigan Tech, he also helped the John von Neumann Institute for Computing in Jülich, Germany, develop a computational biology and biophysics research group.

“Not all key processes or molecules are accessible by experiments; simulations are sometimes the only technique to detect hidden processes or proteins,” Hansmann explained. “A systems biology approach that aims at deciphering the life functions in a cell requires a close interplay between experiments and computing.”

The physicist’s research goals include analysis and interpretation of biological data through modeling of molecular networks and simulation of cellular biophysics. He hopes this will enable scientists to analyze and predict complex diseases at a molecular level.

Although Hansmann is doing cutting-edge work, he is in no way proprietary about it. He already has developed a software program called Simple Molecular Mechanics for Proteins (SMMP) that is freely available as open source software on the Internet. One of his ongoing research goals is to develop public software for molecular simulation of cells.

As a teacher, Hansmann is devoted to helping students from a variety of fields, including physics, computer science, chemistry and biology, learn how to use supercomputers in their research. He also mentors community college students from underrepresented and disadvantaged populations through the Michigan Colleges and Universities Partnership (MICUP) program at Michigan Tech.

Born in Germany, Hansmann received his PhD in Physics from Freie Universität in Berlin. He has taught physics at Michigan Tech since 1998. His research is supported by the National Science Foundation.

Michigan Tech Partners With IBM in Global Rail Innovation Center

Tech Today

by Jennifer Donovan, public relations director

When IBM set its sights on becoming an international rail transportation leader, one of the first university partners they turned to was Michigan Tech. Michigan Tech’s Rail Transportation Program is an emerging player educating future leaders for the rail industry.

Today, as IBM unveils plans for its Global Rail Innovation Center in Beijing, Pasi Lautala, director of the Rail Transportation Program, and graduate student Shane Ferrell will represent Michigan Tech.

“Countries worldwide are recognizing the importance of rail transportation and are accelerating their efforts to develop 21st-century rail systems,” said Lautala. “With its Global Rail Innovation Center, IBM is modeling a new way of thinking, one that is not bound by national borders. Michigan Tech is honored that IBM has recognized our leadership in rail-related research and education and has invited us to participate in such a groundbreaking effort.”

Michigan Tech’s Rail Transportation Program, established in fall 2007 as part of the Michigan Tech Transportation Institute, has attracted strong support from the railroad industry. Its corporate sponsors include CSX, Union Pacific and CN. CN gave Michigan Tech $250,000 this spring to establish the Rail Transportation Education Center, a physical home for the Rail Transportation Program.

The program’s innovative Summer in Finland has already integrated an international component as part of an interdisciplinary approach to rail education, and an initiative to establish a multidisciplinary certificate in rail transportation and engineering is currently in progress.

Michigan Tech joins Massachusetts Institute of Technology Professor Joseph M. Sussman; Judge Quentin L. Kopp, chairman of the California High Speed Rail Authority; the German railroad Deutsche Bahn; Motorola; Railinc Corporation (a subsidiary of the American Association of Railroads) and Sabre (a travel network) as initial members of the new center’s advisory board.

Based at IBM’s China Business Innovation Center, the Global Rail Innovation Center will focus on developing technologies that can increase railroad capacity, efficiency, speed and safety while improving customer service.

“The global demand for rail is outpacing capacity, and today’s aging infrastructure and technology won’t support the transportation needs of the future,” said Keith Dierkx, director of the new center. “Through the Global Rail Innovation Center, IBM is committed to working with our partners to develop and implement smarter rail systems around the world. Railroads are energy efficient and can help cities manage traffic congestion, improve environmental conditions and increase economic competitiveness.”

The rise of high-speed passenger rail and smarter freight rail systems presents an enormous challenge and an opportunity for the information technology and rail industries. IBM already has researchers and consultants working on high-speed rail projects around the world, including Australia, China, France, the Netherlands, Russia, Taiwan and the United Kingdom.

IBM chose Beijing as its rail innovation hub because of China’s rapid advances in rail. In China, investment in railway transportation has tripled over the last year and is expected to reach 600 billion yuan (approximately $88 billion) by 2012.

Research Associateship Programs Application Period Now Open

The National Research Council of the National Academies sponsors a number of awards for graduate, postdoctoral and senior researchers at federal laboratories. These awards provide generous stipends ($42,000 – $74,000 per year for recent Ph.D. recipients and higher for additional experience), and the opportunity to do independent research in some of the best-equipped and staffed laboratories in the U.S. Research opportunities are open to U.S. citizens, permanent residents, and for some of the laboratories, foreign nationals.

Applications now available. Submission deadline is August 1.  Support Document deadline is August 15th.

For more information visit Research Associate Programs

Fall Finishing Fellowship Applications Due June 26th

Applications for fall Finishing Fellowships are now open.  The Graduate School anticipates funding up to 10 fellowships per semester with support ranging from $2,000 to full support (stipend plus tuition).  Applications are due to the Graduate School no later than 4pm on June 26th.

Students are eligible if all of the following criteria are met:

  1. Must be a PhD student.
  2. Must expect to finish during the semester supported as a finishing fellow.
  3. Must be in Research Only Mode.
  4. No other source of support for fall semester.

Refer to our web page for full details regarding eligibility, application procedure, and evaluation criteria.  Our online presentation also provides some tips to prepare your application.

Contact Debra Charlesworth or Heather Suokas with additional questions.

National Science Foundation Proposal Writing Series, #1

Are you or do you know of a student who would be a competitive applicant for a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship?

The Graduate School is sponsoring a series of seminars to help students apply for a NSF Graduate Research Fellowship.  The first is June 18, 11am and will discuss:

  • Why apply for to the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program
  • Who is eligible
  • What is a reasonable proposal writing time-line

Once you register, you will receive a confirmation with the location and a reminder of the date and time.  Space is limited, so register early!  The presentation will be available online for those unable to join us at this time.

How to Write a Competitive, Fundable Proposal

Join the Graduate School and Research and Sponsored Programs for a seminar on “How to Write a Competitive, Fundable Proposal”  June 16, 11 am.

Seniors and current graduate students interested in applying for external funding or a National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship will gain:

  • 6 proposal writer tips
  • 7 proposal writing guidelines
  • 4 effective proposal package strategies

Once you register, you will receive a confirmation with the location and a reminder of the date and time.  Space is limited, so register early!  The presentation will be available online for those unable to join us at this time.

An Introduction to External Funding

Update: View this seminar online – see the items listed for June 4, 2009.  It will be online for approximately one year.

Join the Graduate School and Research and Sponsored Programs for an “Introduction to External Funding” seminar June 4, 2 pm.  Learn how to:

  • access and develop strategies for prospect searches on free internet databases,
  • understand proposal jargon,
  • evaluate grant requirements with your qualifications for eligibility
  • unravel the seemingly complex processes for proposal submissions.

To illustrate some of these concepts, we will discuss the criteria and evaluation process for Finishing Fellowships and National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship.

Once you register, you will receive a confirmation with the location and a reminder of the date and time.  Space is limited, so register early!  The seminar will be taped and available online for those unable to join us at this time.