Doctoral Finishing Fellowship Fall 2020 Recipient – Chandan Kumar

I started my journey to my Ph.D. at Michigan Tech in the Department of Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences in Spring 2018 under the supervision of Dr. Snehamoy Chatterjee and Dr. Thomas Oommen.

The sustainable exploration of mineral resources plays a significant role in the economic development of any nation. My research aims to develop innovative spectral and machine learning methods for mineral and lithological mapping using multi-sensor datasets. The developed methods in this study should be a valuable contribution to the field of geological exploration. The part of my research was funded by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (grant number: 80NSSC17K0543) grant available with my guides.  

I have published three research papers from my Ph.D. research work in reputed peer-reviewed journals, including the  International Journal of Remote Sensing (Taylor and Francis) and the International Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation (Elsevier). I have also presented my research findings at several recognized meetings, including the AGU and AEG annual meeting in 2018 and 2019. I have also received a few awards and travel grants, such as the project proposal incentive award (Michigan Tech) in 2019 to write a research proposal, GSG travel grant in 2018 and 2019. 

I express my sincere gratitude to the graduate school for awarding me the fall 2020 finishing fellowship. Finally, I would like to thank my guides for their continuous encouragement, motivation, and support throughout my Ph.D. 


Doctoral Finishing Fellowship Spring 2021 Recipient – Mujeeb Shittu

I joined Michigan Tech University in Spring 2017 as a Ph.D. student in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology program. I earned a Bachelor’s degree in Medical Laboratory Science at Ladoke Akintola University of Technology and a master’s degree in Cell Biology and Genetics at the University of Lagos.
My doctoral research in Dr. Thomas Werner’s lab focuses on answering one of the most pertinent questions in evolutionary biology – How do animals develop their color patterns? My overall goal is to understand how animals develop their color patterns and discover the regulatory pathways involved in complex color pattern formation in animals. I am using the fruit flies in the quinaria group species (D. guttifera, D. deflecta, D. palustris, D. subpalutris, D.recens, and D. quinaria) as the model to unravel the process of color patterns development in animals. This research will help the scientific community understand the genetic mechanisms that coordinate the assembly of complex color patterns in animal species. It will also benefit cancer research because the toolkit genes that we have identified as pigmentation genes in fruit flies are known human proto-oncogenes; that is, they can cause cancer in humans if misregulated.
My profound gratitude goes to the Michigan Tech Graduate School for the invaluable opportunity to award me the Doctoral finishing fellowship. I am highly grateful to the National Institute of Health (NIH) for providing me financial support for 2.5 years. I especially want to thank my advisor Dr. Werner and my committee members (Prof. Joshi, Dr. Techtmann, and Dr. Hairong Wei), for their excellent guidance throughout my research.


Doctoral Finishing Fellowship Spring 2021 Recipient – Zhuo Xu

I joined Michigan Tech in Fall 2015 as a master’s student after receiving my B.S. in automobile engineering from Tongji University, Shanghai in Summer. After I got my degree in Spring 2017, Dr. Ezra Bar-Ziv offered me the opportunity to pursue a Ph.D. 

Solid waste generation is increasing around the world, and most of these wastes were landfilled since they are not feasible for recycling for various reasons. With the guidance of Dr. Bar-Ziv, my research focuses on the fundamental studies of waste valorization through thermal treatment. I have investigated the thermal degradation of paper wastes, plastic waste, and eliminating hazardous materials from the wastes. Currently, I am devoting myself to explore the synergistic effects between paper and plastic wastes. The studies would help design the process parameters for the thermal treatment of wastes and provide alternatives to landfills. It would help achieve the circular economy

I am grateful to Michigan Tech’s grad school for the financial support through the finishing fellowship. This would help me focus on completing my degree.


Doctoral Finishing Fellowship Spring 2021 Recipient – Mikhail Trought

I obtained my Bachelor of Arts degree in Chemistry at Lawrence University, Appleton Wisconsin in June 2016 and started my graduate studies at Michigan Technological University in September 2016. Currently, I am a PhD. candidate in Dr. Kathryn A. Perrine’s research group in the Chemistry Department. The research projects that I have focused on involves investigating the influence of functionalization and surface morphology on the growth of metal oxide nanostructures deposited on 2D model substrates using atomic layer deposition, which can directly assist in designing and creating next-generation semiconductors and heterogeneous catalysts. Additionally, we investigate surface reactions of earth-abundant metal/metal oxide surfaces at ultra-high vacuum pressures to ambient pressure conditions. Performing our experiments at the ambient pressure regime allows us to bridge the knowledge gap between surface reactions occurring at low (ultra-high vacuum) and high pressures. We also, incorporate a myriad of Atomic force microscopy techniques to investigate topography, hydrophilicity and insitu surface reactions.
I would like to sincerely thank the Graduate Dean Awards Advisory Panel and the Graduate School for providing me with the Finishing Fellowship award. This will allow me to focus on writing and defending my dissertation in Spring 2021.


Nominations open for summer 2021 fellowships from The DeVlieg Foundation

Due to the generous support of The DeVlieg Foundation, the Graduate School is happy to accept nominations for 2021 summer fellowships.

All graduate programs may nominate one eligible PhD student per program.  The recipient will  receive a stipend for summer 2021 plus tuition support (one credit or three research credits for PhD candidates).  Eligible students will meet all of the following criteria:

  1. Must be a graduate student in the field supported by the DeVlieg Foundation:
    1. Biology (2021 Summer Graduate Research Award in Biology)
  2. Must be a US citizen or permanent resident.
  3. Must be enrolled in a PhD program.
  4. Must be nominated by student’s graduate program.  Each PhD program may nominate one student.
  5. Must not be supported by another funding mechanism while supported by The DeVlieg Foundation (part-time job, fellowship, GTA, GRA, etc.).

Nominations are due no later than 4pm on February 24, 2021 to the Graduate School. Please submit as a PDF file sent to gradschool@mtu.edu.

Please see our web page for details on the application procedure and materials needed.  Each program may determine its own internal selection procedure.Please contact the Graduate School with any questions.


Doctoral Finishing Fellowship Spring 2021 Recipient – Joe Shannon

I am excited to have the opportunity of a finishing fellowship to complete my research. I am interested in using site-level ecohydrology research to estimate watershed-scale impacts with the goal of providing results that can guide land managers and policymakers. My current research is a combination of modeling future conditions and mapping wetland distribution. These projects build on the 10 years I have spent studying the impact of emerald ash borer on black ash wetlands. Using a combination of optical imagery and synthetic aperture radar, I am working to quantify the distribution of these relatively unmapped wetlands. Mapping these wetlands is the first step to mitigating the effects of EAB, which will require long-term management strategies. To guide climate-adapted management tactics, I am also modeling the combined impacts of EAB and climate change. Using wetland models, I simulate how mitigated and impacted wetlands will respond to changing temperature and precipitation patterns.

Specifically, how will wetland inundation patterns change, and what impacts will those changes have on other ecosystem components. With the knowledge of where these wetlands are located and how they will change in the future, better decisions can be made to retain their benefits.

Joe Shannon

Research Scientist & PhD Candidate

School of Forest Resources and Environmental Sciences Michigan Technological University


Doctoral Finishing Fellowship Spring 2021 Recipient – Saeid Jamilan

I am a Ph.D. candidate in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department. From the beginning of my Ph.D. program at Michigan Tech, I started to perform research on developing novel electromagnetic and photonic devices. They include invisibility cloaks, collimators, and metasurfaces formed from low-loss all-dielectric photonic crystals and resonators. I performed theoretical calculations and analysis involving Maxwell’s equations, Transformation Optics, and Mie theories. In addition, I conducted numerical simulations and experimental measurements. This led to achieving promising results that appeared in publications, already cited by well-known research groups from different countries. These results allow for developing advanced applications in shielding the objects from harmful irradiations, sensing, imaging, holography, communications, and medicine. I also had opportunities to improve my teaching skills as a graduate teaching assistant for four semesters. Furthermore, I have frequently served as a reviewer for high-impact scientific journals during recent years.

I would like to thank the Graduate School, Graduate Dean Awards Advisory Panel, and dean for awarding me a Finishing Fellowship that allows me to finish my research. I am also grateful to my advisor, Dr. Elena Semouchkina, for her continuous guidance and support.


Doctoral Finishing Fellowship Spring 2021 Recipient – Zhihao Zhao

I am Zhihao, a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics. In Fall 2016, I decided to come to Michigan Tech as a master’s student but transferred to a Ph.D. student after my first semester. At the same time, I joined Dr. Seong-Young Lee’s group for spray and combustion studies during the past four years. I am also a Research Assistant of Combustion Science Exploration Lab (CSEL) Group especially in Alternative Energy Research Building (AERB). My research mainly focuses on Laser-Based combustion diagnostics, Spray-wall interactions, and Alternative fuel combustion characteristics. I have enjoyed my Ph.D. life at MTU and I hope I can continue my academic life after my graduation.

At last, I would like to thank the Graduate school for awarding me with the Doctoral finishing fellowship. Also, I would like to thank my advisor, Dr. Seong-Young Lee, for supporting me during the past four years.


Doctoral Finishing Fellowship Spring 2021 Recipient – Gabrial Edzordzi Agbozo


I am currently a PhD candidate on the interdisciplinary Rhetoric, Theory and Culture program in the Department of Humanities. Previously I obtained a Master of Philosophy degree in English Linguistics and Language Acquisition from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Trondheim, Norway, and a BA in English and Linguistics from the University of Ghana. My current research interests are located at the intersections of Technical Communication, Critical Discourse Studies, and Rhetoric. My dissertation contributes to international technical communication and technologies through analyzing how a locally developed geo-spatial technology was created to organize a digital addressing system in a Global South context. I demonstrate the consequences of such technological innovations and policies for developing countries. My work has been well received with at least seven awards for its importance in centering and theorizing technologies emerging from the complex transnational context. Additionally, I work within medical rhetoric, researching the rhetorical ethics of medical discourse, especially transnational Coronavirus vaccine trials, and how multinational pharmaceutical writing could be more audience-focused. I have developed a Multimodal Critical Discourse Pedagogy that emphasizes critical-rhetorical micro disciplinary and macro social contexts that address real-world exigencies and audiences beyond students’ familiar geographies. This Finishing Fellowship will help me totally concentrate on writing and revising my dissertation, defending it, and graduating as scheduled. I am grateful to the Michigan Tech Graduate School and the Graduate Dean Awards Advisory Panel for this fellowship. I am also grateful to my advisor, Dr. Victoria L. Bergvall, for her guidance and support and to the Department of Humanities for supporting my graduate studies.


Smart Start Seminar – January 20, 2021

New graduate students to Michigan Tech are invited to our virtual Smart Start.  In Smart Start, we’ll introduce students to resources and policies to assist them to have a successful start to their graduate career. It will be especially useful for students in their first year, but all students are welcome to attend. The seminar will be recorded for any students who cannot attend the zoom meeting.

The seminar will be on January 20, 2021 beginning at 2:00pm via Zoom.  Please register online to receive streaming information and reminders to attend.

It will be taped and available online for those unable to attend at that time.