Doctoral Finishing Fellowship Summer 2021 Recipient – Nathan Spike

I am a PhD candidate in the mechanical engineering – engineering mechanics program. I have been fortunate during my graduate studies to have served as a graduate teaching assistant for the SAE AutoDrive Challenge, working with an interdisciplinary team of graduate and undergraduate students on the development of an autonomous vehicle. Work with this competition has afforded me the use of an autonomous Chevrolet Bolt as a platform to perform research activities relevant to my dissertation. My research has focused on path planning and control of autonomous vehicles performing obstacle avoidance on low friction surfaces, an area that is essential for widespread adoption of autonomous vehicle technology. I have developed vehicle steering controls which react to un-detected ice on the road, allowing a vehicle to maintain control when traction is lost. I have also worked on optimal paths for obstacle avoidance when the friction surface is known. Finally, I have worked on stochastic methods for representing friction surfaces in simulation which improve correlation between a simulated vehicle model and hardware test platforms. 

I would like to thank my co-advisors, Dr. Darrell Robinette and Dr. Jeremy P. Bos for their support and guidance during my pursuit of the PhD. I would also like the thank the Dean Awards Advisory Panel and the graduate school for awarding me the finishing fellowship. This award will allow me to focus my efforts on completing my dissertation document and preparing for my defense in the Summer of 2021.

Dean’s Award for Outstanding Scholarship – Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 Recipients

Congratulations to the following students on receiving the Outstanding Scholarship Award!

Amit Acharya – Physics
Gabriel Edzordzi Agbozo – Humanities
Oluwatomisin Shalom Akinbo – College of Business
Jessica Alger – Civil and Environmental Engineering
Alejandra Itzel Almanza Perales – Materials Science and Engineering
Emily Anible – Mathematical Sciences
Austin Arenz – College of Business
Tanner Barnes – College of Forest Resources and Environmental Science
Beth Bartel – Geology and Mining Eng Sciences
Allison Berryman – College of Business
Prateek Sameer Bhalla – Mechanical Engineering and Engineering Mechanics
Chaitanya Ganesh Bhat – Civil and Environmental Engineering
Parth Parimalbhai Bhatt – College of Forest Resources and Environmental Science
Troy Bouman – Mechanical Engineering and Engineering Mechanics
Jessica Bruning – Kinesiology Integrated Physiology
Sam Celani – Electrical and Computer Engineering
FNU Chandan Kumar – Geology and Mining Engineering Sciences
Marina Choy – Humanities
Michael Conard – Computer Science
Anthony Custard – College of Business
William Dion – Biological Sciences
Akshay Shankarrao Dongre – Mechanical Engineering and Engineering Mechanics
Jon Furlich – Mechanical Engineering and Engineering Mechanics
Dylan Gaines – Computer Science
Anindya Ghoshroy – Electrical and Computer Engineering
Qing Guo – Physics
David Hallberg – Electrical and Computer Engineering
John Harron – Civil and Environmental Engineering
Brittany Hubbard – Civil and Environmental Engineering
Saeed Jafari Kang – Mechanical Engineering and Engineering Mechanics
Dongzhao Jin – Civil and Environmental Engineering
Shreya Joshi – Physics
Siva Krishna Kakula – Computer Science
Ranit Karmakar – Electrical and Computer Engineering
Joshua Kemppainen – Mechanical Engineering and Engineering Mechanics
Pegah Kord Forooshani – Biomedical Engineering
Arianna Laiho – Kinesiology Integrated Physiology
Weibing Li – Mathematical Sciences
Yanfang Liu – Mathematical Sciences
Evan Lucas – Electrical and Computer Engineering
Ali Moazzam – Electrical and Computer Engineering
Andrea Myers – College of Forest Resources and Environmental Science
Samerender Nagam Hanumantharao – Biomedical Engineering
Veena Sathish Namboodri – Humanities
Nicholas Newberry – Chemistry
Yugandhara Yuvraj Patil – Mechanical Engineering and Engineering Mechanics
Jessica Pitts – Kinesiology Integrated Physiology
Veronica Porter – College of Forest Resources and Environmental Science
Ashfiqur Rahman – Electrical and Computer Engineering
Nelmary Rodríguez-Sepúlveda – Geology and Mining Eng Sciences
Kaitlyn Roose – Cognitive and Learning Sciences
Cristhian Paul Salas Pazmiño – Geology and Mining Engineering Sciences
Mujeeb Olushola Shittu – Biological Sciences
Cameron Shock – Physics
Prasad Pramod Soman – Materials Science and Engineering
Steven Stelly – Kinesiology Integrated Physiology
Kevin Sunderland – Biomedical Engineering
Arman Tatar – Civil and Environmental Engineering
Subin Thomas – Physics
Ariana Tyo – Biomedical Engineering
Matthew Vander Molen – College of Forest Resources and Environmental Science
Isaac Wedig – Kinesiology Integrated Physiology
Zhuo Xu – Mechanical Engineering and Engineering Mechanics
Ruiting Zhan – Chemical Engineering
Jiongxun Zhang – Mechanical Engineering and Engineering Mechanics
Zhihao Zhao – Mechanical Engineering and Engineering Mechanics
Xiaodong Zhou – Civil and Environmental Engineering

Doctoral Finishing Fellowship Summer 2021 Recipient – Dominic Uhelski

I always had an admiration for inventors like the Wright brothers, pushing boundaries despite setbacks. The spirit of experimentation is much like the spirit of exploration – both tread into unknown territory for the purpose of discovery. At Michigan Tech, I got to feed both.

I began my journey at Michigan Tech as an incoming master’s student in January 2018. Joining the labs of Dr. Evan Kane and Dr. Rod Chimner, I immediately got to work learning a whole new set of skills necessary to be successful in graduate research. From my background in fisheries and wildlife and upland fire ecology, Rod and Evan gave me the opportunity and support to pursue a different course. I pushed my own boundaries making the transition to wetland fire ecology, then I started pushing the boundaries of the science. We wanted to know how frequently peatlands in the upper peninsula experienced wildfire. To that end, we had to find evidence of these wildfires. However, the options for finding the evidence we needed were limiting. With standard techniques, we could get an idea of fire frequency in only a few sites. We set our sights higher.

Rod and Evan helped me cultivate the spirit of experimentation with the perseverance of an inventor. With their help, I surpassed the limitations of the present methods by inventing my own. Like every other scientist and inventor, I stood on the shoulders of giants to reach as far as I have, but that makes me no less proud, only more humble. It was not easy, but my efforts were rewarded. Rather than three sites, we were able to study thirty. Now every other scientist who wants to do the same will be able to walk the trail we blazed.

Somewhere along the way, we realized that this work had potential beyond a master’s project, so I decided to stay on and make a Ph.D. project out of it, and I’m glad that I did. I have learned so much from working with Rod and Evan, about the field, the research process, about what my strengths and weaknesses are. Now, as my time at MTU winds gradually to a close, I know that I still have more to learn, but I also have a duty to publish all that we have learned. That may be the most difficult part of the whole process, but the support of the finishing fellowship that I have received will be an invaluable assistance. I am grateful to the graduate school for awarding me this fellowship, and to Rod, Evan, my committee, my coauthors, and the undergraduate assistants that have all contributed to bringing this work to fruition.

Doctoral Finishing Fellowship Summer 2021 Recipient – Josh Chase

I am currently a PhD candidate in the Rhetoric, Theory and Culture program in the Department of Humanities. I previously earned a Master of Arts in Rhetoric and Writing from St. Cloud State University, as well as undergraduate degrees in English literature and creative writing.

The Finishing Fellowship will allow me to continue my research on the rhetoric of conspiracy culture. My dissertation examines how conspiracy theories and anti-conspiracy discourses both draw from and shape public understandings of science and technology. I am especially interested in the rhetorical struggle for epistemic supremacy between conspiracy theorists and their detractors, as well as the emulation of scientific disciplinary practices by users of online conspiracy forums. My project seeks to better understand how terms like “conspiracy theorist,” “truther,” “debunker,” and “skeptic,” operate rhetorically to reify and mediate the boundaries between outlandish ideas and legitimated knowledge.

My time at Michigan Tech has allowed me to pursue interests in digital rhetoric and public understanding of science, to develop a critical and transdisciplinary pedagogy, and to refine my interests in writing program administration and writing center studies. I am grateful for the support of the Department of Humanities and the Graduate School. I am particularly thankful for my advisory committee—Dr. Abraham Romney, Dr. Marika Seigel, and Dr. Carlos Amador—whose mentorship and encouragement has been invaluable.

Doctoral Finishing Fellowship Summer 2021 Recipient – Daniel Bryne

I began my Ph.D. in computer science in the Fall of 2016. I currently work with Dr. Zhenlin Wang and Dr. Nilufer Onder to model and optimize caching systems deployed in cloud computing environments. Data caching helps improve the speed and efficiency of front-end cloud applications such as websites and video streaming. Specifically, we focus on utilizing new memory technologies to lower operational costs while meeting performance targets. In collaboration with researchers at the University of Rochester, we have developed a new data caching system. Our system uses intelligent data replication and allocation across multiple memory devices to maximize performance while reducing overall operating costs. My improvements to caching systems have gone outside the lab, being adopted into a widely-used open-source caching system, memcached.

I am incredibly grateful for my committee’s support as I finish my dissertation over the summer. It has been a wonderful journey, and I have greatly enjoyed my time as a graduate student, especially my tenure as GSG Vice President. I am happy to have had the opportunity to advocate for graduate students and achieve increased support for health care. I also would like to thank the College of Computing for its efforts in creating a strong research environment and a supportive community of graduate students and faculty. I extend my sincere gratitude to the Graduate School for this support during the final period of completing and defending my dissertation.

Nominations open for KCP Future Faculty Fellowships

The application deadline has been extended to June 18, 2021.

Applications are being sought for KCP Future Faculty Fellowships, a program funded by the State of Michigan.  The purpose of the King-Chávez-Parks Future Faculty Fellowship Program is to increase the pool of academically and economically disadvantaged candidates pursuing faculty teaching or administrative careers in post-secondary education.

Priority will be placed on applications submitted by 4pm on May 13, 2021, but applications will be accepted through May 31, 2021. KCP fellowships provide students up to $20,000 (MS students) or $35,000 (PhD students) to pursue their degrees.  Funds may be used to support students, including faculty and staff, pursuing degrees at Michigan Tech.  For Michigan Tech students, the Graduate School and nominating department must also contribute matching funds to help support the student.

Complete information about eligibility criteria and materials needed for an application is available on our web page. Please note that beginning this year, applications will be submitted through the MILogin Citizens Portal. Questions about eligibility or the application procedure can be directed to Dr. Debra Charlesworth.

Nominations for the Gustave O. Arlt Award in the Humanities Open

Nominations for the Gustave O. Arlt Award in the Humanities are due by April 15, 2021 to Debra Charlesworth in the Graduate School.  The award recognizes young scholars who have published an outstanding book in their field.  Fields eligible for nomination this year are Linguistics and Philosophy.

Eligible candidates can be alumni from Michigan Tech, or current faculty.  Michigan Tech may nominate one candidate.

See the CGS website for complete details on eligibility and materials required for a nomination.

Degree completion timeline on MyMichiganTech

Graduate students can now see a personalized list of items they need to complete for each graduate degree on MyMichiganTech. A full description of items needed to complete each degree along with details about when, how, and why to complete them is found on the Graduate School’s web site.

Students can access their personalized list by:

  1. Logging into MyMichiganTech using their Michigan Tech ID and password
    • For example, if your email is blizzard@mtu.edu, you would log in with “blizzard” as your ID along with the same password used to check email
  2. Clicking on the “Current Students” link in the menu bar across the top of the page
    • The “Student Checklist” box in the left column will show items that are due now or recently completed
    • More help on accessing MyMichiganTech is found in our previous tutorial

For detailed information about the degrees you are seeking, look for the “Degree Completion Timeline” section in the center “My Status” column:

Screen shot of the Current Students section of MyMichiganTech that links to the Degree Completion Timeline.
The Degree completion timeline section in the My Status area.
  • The question mark icon will display a pop-up window with helpful information and links
  • If links to any of the forms aren’t working, the helpful link will direct you to technical information
  • Click on the “your degree completion timeline” link to display a new window described in the screenshots below
  • The “timeline details” link will take you to more information on the Graduate School’s web site

Check if your Dissertation, Thesis or Report is Complete

Students can check whether their dissertation, thesis, or report submission is complete on MyMichiganTech.  Additional details about the submission process can be found online for dissertations, theses, and reports.

First, log into MyMichiganTech using your Michigan Tech ID and password and click on the “Current Students” tab.

  • For example, if your email is blizzard@mtu.edu, you would log in with “blizzard” as your ID along with the same password used to check email
  • More help on accessing MyMichiganTech is found in our previous tutorial

In the center column, labeled “My Status,” find the Degree Completion Timeline section.  Click on the hyperlink “your degree completion timeline” – boxed in red below.

Screen shot of the Current Student tab on MyMichiganTech showing where you can find the Degree Completion Timeline.
Click on “your degree completion timeline” to see items required for each degree you are seeking.

Defense scheduling moved to MyMichiganTech

The Graduate School is pleased to announce that final oral examinations (“defenses”) can now be scheduled on MyMichiganTech. This applies to students scheduling a defense of their dissertation, thesis, or report.  

Students will log into MyMichiganTech to complete a scheduling request, and their advisor will log into the Workflow system to review that request and make a decision. Email notifications will be sent throughout the process. A student tutorial and advisor tutorial with screenshots is available on our blog, as well as a presentation in our seminar archive. A complete overview of the process to complete a dissertation, thesis, or report is available online.

A few things to note:

  • Students who have already completed their defense or have a defense already scheduled with the Graduate School do not need to repeat this process on MyMichiganTech.
  • Faculty will need to log into the Workflow system to approve defenses. Please refer to our advisor tutorial.
  • The Graduate School will continue to accept PDF forms this semester if a student has already started that process with their advisor.
  • Please delete any PDF forms that have been saved to use later. Always go to our website for the most current information and forms.
  • This process applies to the final oral examination, and not to other examinations such as a qualifying examination or research proposal examination. 
  • Graduate programs should remove references and links to the “pre-defense form” from their website and handbooks, as this process replaces the form.

The Graduate School would like to thank our colleagues in EAS for their hard work on this project. For any questions, please contact the Graduate School.