Nominations Open for 2023 MAGS Excellence in Teaching Awards

Nominations are now open for the Midwestern Association of Graduate Schools (MAGS) Excellence in Teaching Awards.  Michigan Tech may nominate one student at the MS and PhD level. Each graduate program may nominate one student at the MS and PhD level. Nominations are due to the Graduate School no later than 4pm, January 4, 2023.

Eligible students

  • will have been enrolled at Michigan Tech during the 2022 calendar year and have a teaching appointment
  • will have earned the Michigan Tech Outstanding Graduate Student Teaching Award
  • will have an excellent teaching portfolio and student evaluations

See the application page for complete details on what is required for a nomination.

KCP Future Faculty Fellow – Tim Raymond

Ever since my early teen years I have been involved in teaching. At 13 years of age I was leading martial arts classes for even younger students. Although the techniques were still quite rudimentary, I found a passion within teaching that has continued to evolve. My teacher as he taught me had enough insight into how much I enjoyed teaching that he began to teach me how to teach. Instead of just throwing concepts or techniques at me, he made sure I understood them all at a deeper level with the intention I continue teaching them. 

I can’t say that academia has always been a major concern for me. Due to unforeseeable reasons, I dropped out of high school when I was 17 years old to help out with the family business. I never thought I would return to a school setting but after many bumps in the road, I eventually found my way back.

The most amazing part about being an educator or at least aspiring to be one is that we are continuously humbled every day through our interactions with colleagues and people above us. These interactions can lead us to new and unique paths that we would have never imagined. My time here at MTU has brought me to psychology and eventually grad school where under my current advisor, Elizabeth Veinott, I have recently been exposed to research regarding the railroad industry. 

While on this new journey through academia I have been able to find ways to combine the knowledge I am receiving from Michigan Tech with my knowledge of the ‘real-world’ and I endeavor daily to become an educator that teaches not just the concepts or ideas but how we can use them within industry and alongside our daily lives.

KCP Future Faculty Fellow – Jessica Czarnecki

While working on my B.S. in Chemistry at William Paterson University of New Jersey, I had taken part in an REU program with Maryland SeaGrant. That summer is when I realized I wanted a career in biogeochemistry and soil science. I continued on with my studies, receiving my M.S. in Marine Studies from University of Delaware in 2020, and after graduating, I worked for a year and a half in Alaska, where I fell in love with boreal ecosystems. I am now in my second year of pursuing a PhD in Forest Science, working with Evan Kane, conducting research in biogeochemistry of peatlands. When I finish my degree, I want to continue to conduct research in biogeochemistry of wetland environments of boreal systems. I also want to be a mentor to the next generation of scientists who may have come from a non-traditional background or who have struggled with differences in learning that a traditional education may have overlooked.

KCP Future Faculty Fellow – Alyssa Abbas

I had my first introduction to the biological sciences during my sophomore year of high school in 2015. While I found most of what we learned interesting, I had a fascination with how changes in DNA could cause cancers. It wasn’t until my teacher brought in a cancer researcher to speak to the class that I decided I would want to do my own research one day. Little did I know the journey this curiosity would take me on.

After graduating high school in 2018, I continued my education at Mid Michigan College. I had been taking dual enrollment classes through Mid during high school and had the opportunity to take both General Biology and Microbiology at this time. I still loved biology and was planning on pursuing a career within the sciences. Right before the Fall semester began, I was contacted about being a Supplemental Instructor (SI), as one of my professors had recommended me to the program. I had always enjoyed helping my fellow classmates and decided to take on this role. During my time as an SI, I found that I had a love for teaching and at this point knew that I would one day want to be a professor myself.

By the Fall of 2019, I had transferred from Mid to Michigan Technological University to pursue my Bachelor’s of Science in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology with a minor in Microbiology. My interest in cancer research had not faded and by the Spring of 2021, I was working in the Cancer Metabolism and Functional Genomics lab led by Dr. Xiaohu (Mark) Tang. During my master’s I will continue my work in Dr. Tang’s lab where I will be performing the knockdown and knockout of specific genes within pancreatic cancer cell lines. The goal here is to see how the pancreatic cancer cells’ resistance to drug therapies will be changed. I hope that by doing this research I can help make a difference in how cancer is treated and learn more technical lab skills to teach to my future students.

Once I have completed my master’s I plan to become a professor to help build the foundation for future scientists. I look forward to the rest of this journey and hope to one day inspire others to follow their own dreams the way so many of my own professors have supported and inspired me.

Graduate School Announces Fall 2022 Finishing Fellowship Award Recipients

The Graduate School proudly announces the recipients of the Doctoral Finishing Fellowships for the fall semester, 2022. Congratulations to all nominees and recipients.  

  • Vishnu Chakrapani Lekha, Geological Engineering
  • Shobhit Sanjeev Chaturvedi, Chemistry
  • Emily Shaw, Environmental Engineering
  • Parth Parimalbhai Bhatt, Forest Science
  • Jiachen Zhai, Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics
  • Rasoul Bayaniahangar, Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics
  • Jessica R. Bruning, Integrated Physiology
  • Peng Quan, Forest Science
  • Donna Susan Mathew, Rhetoric, Theory and Culture
  • Sushree Shrabani Dash, Applied Physics
  • Xuebin Yang, Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics
  • Jacob J. Blazejewski, Mathematical Sciences

Doctoral Finishing Fellowship – Fall 2022 Recipient – Parth Bhatt

My journey in the field of GIS and Remote Sensing started back home in India when I was working with the Space Application Center, Indian Space Research Organization in the year 2016. The joy and happiness I received from looking at the Remotely Sensed imageries for hours and to discover the things I can achieve with the use of GIS techniques made me firm to pursue further into this field.

I arrived at Michigan Tech for my master’s in the field of GIS in Fall 2016, in the College of Forest Resources and Environmental Sciences and was fortunate enough to begin my MTU journey with my advisor Dr. Ann Maclean. After completion of my MS degree, I started my PhD in Spring 2019 with Dr. Maclean. During my research, I focused on using high and ultra-high spatial resolution NAIP and Drone (UAS) imageries to map and monitor the natural habitat communities of the Hiawatha National Forest using machine learning algorithms. The goal of this study was to develop a robust approach using remotely sensed imagery and geomorphological variables to classify the complex vegetation and wetland communities and generate GIS maps which can be extremely useful to resource managers and/or officials to manage the forests in a timely and efficient manner, monitor vegetation changes, and help in enhancing decision making. Along with my PhD research, I am part of a national-level Forest Health Mapping project with the U.S. Forest Service since Fall 2018 where we use high-resolution NAIP imagery along with other variables and developed a model to detect and map individual tree mortality.

I have fully enjoyed my MS and PhD life in the Keweenaw Peninsula, Houghton and CFRES-MTU has awarded me with some of the best things, memories, and blessed people in my life. I am full of gratitude towards my advisor Dr. Ann Maclean for her constant support and guidance throughout this journey at MTU. I am grateful to the Graduate Dean Awards Advisory Panel for the finishing fellowship award and to help me get one step closer to my endeavors.

Doctoral Finishing Fellowship – Fall 2022 Recipient – Xuebin Yang

My PhD started in Fall 2016 at the Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics. My research activities centers around the project titled “High BMEP and High Efficiency Micro-Pilot Ignition Natural Gas Engine”. The objective of DOE project in partnership between MTU and Westport is to develop a robust combustion system for a low-cost, low diesel contribution, premixed charge medium/heavy duty (MHD) natural gas engine. The research goal with respect to my contribution is to develop a novel physically based ignition model for micro-pilot diesel NG dual fuel combustion leveraging results obtained from S&CV, engine data, and analytical modeling. Ignition delay in micro-pilot diesel NG dual fuel engines is of critical importance to the operation and control as it directly affects the combustion phasing, initial heat release, and combustion stability. 

I greatly appreciate the Graduate Dean Awards Advisory panel for awarding me the fellowship. I am grateful to my advisors, Dr. Naber and Dr. Shahbakhti, and the department for all their support along my amazing journey.

Nominations open for the 2023 MAGS/ProQuest Distinguished Thesis Award

Nominations are now open for the 2023 MAGS/ProQuest Distinguished Thesis Award. Please submit nominations to the Graduate School no later than 4pm, October 11, 2022, following our online instructions. This year, nominations are being accepted from dissertations in the fields of:

  1. Social Sciences
  2. Mathematics, Physical Sciences, and Engineering

Michigan Tech may nominate one student in each field. Master’s students who have completed all of their degree requirements between July 1, 2020, and June 30, 2022, are eligible. The fields of competition for 2022 will be humanities and biological and life sciences.

Nominations must be delivered to Debra Charlesworth in the Graduate School no later than 4 p.m. on October 11, 2022. Please e-mail nominations to  Contact Debra Charlesworth ( if you have any questions about the competition.

Portage Health Foundation Graduate Assistantship Fall 2022 – Xuewei Cao

I am currently a PhD candidate in the Department of Mathematical Sciences. My advisor is professor Qiuying Sha. My research is in statistical genetics. I focus on the development of novel statistical methods and efficient bioinformatical tools to find genetic variants or genes related to complex diseases and traits, such as type II diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, et al. My main project is incorporating the genotype and phenotype association network to simultaneously analyze multiple phenotypes and multiple genotypes and improve the power to identify genes that are associated with complex diseases by using the constructed network. Under the supervision of Dr. Sha, I have also collaborated with the Upper Peninsula Health Plan (UPHP) in Marquette, MI since 2019 to determine the relationship between health service costs and diabetic medication compliance for patients with diabetes in the UPHP population.

I would like to express my deepest gratitude to the Portage Health Foundation for the support, which allows me to focus on such cutting-edge research here at Michigan Tech and prepare the manuscripts for publications in the coming fall. I also want to thank my advisors Professor Qiuying Sha and Professor Shuanglin Zhang for all of their valuable guidance and support over the last four years, and I am extremely grateful to the graduate program in Math Department for their constant help and generous support throughout my entire graduate school studies.

Doctoral Finishing Fellowship – Fall 2022 Recipient – Peng Quan

In the spring of 2020, I started my PhD life in the College of Forest Resources and Environmental Science at Michigan Technological University. Under the guidance of Prof. Xinfeng Xie, I have been doing research on the recovery of Kraft lignin from black liquor and its application in polyurethane foams. In my research, I developed a new one-pot liquefaction process to recover Kraft lignin with tunable and predicable yield and molecular properties directly from black liquor. Then, the lignin was used to partially replace the fossil-based polyols to prepare polyurethane foams. I wish my research can contribute to the sustainable development of both pulping and polyurethane industries. 

I would like to thank the College of Forest Resources and Environmental Science and the Graduate School for their support in my PhD life here. I also really thank the continuous support from my advisor Prof. Xinfeng Xie, committee members, and my lab members.