Doctoral Finishing Fellowship Spring 2018 – Jeffrey Kiiskila

Jeffrey Kiiskila
Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Jeffrey KiiskilaI’m a local and have been living in the UP for my entire life up to this point. My research focuses on the use of plants, mainly vetiver grass, for the treatment of metal impacted waters, where the plants use their roots for metal removal. I also do biochemical analyses on the plants to understand how they tolerate these types of environments. In addition to my research, I have been teaching classes at MTU and Gogebic Community College over the past four years, including first year biology and chemistry courses, microbiology, and botany. I have many interests outside of academia, which have included video games, bird watching, and music composition as a drummer.

The award will help me focus my time on finishing my lab work and writing without having to worry about work or finances.


Doctoral Finishing Fellowship Spring 2018 – Kishan Bellur

Kishan Bellur
Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics

Kishan BellurI’m a PhD candidate in Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics at Michigan Technological University working with Jeffrey Allen in the microfluidics and interfacial transport lab. After graduating with a bachelor’s in mechanical engineering from Milwaukee School of Engineering in 2013, I decided to work in industry until I secured admission into a graduate program of my choice. In a few months, I was accepted at Michigan Tech and I started graduate school shortly after. I first met my adviser in my second semester and he talked to me about a research opportunity in cryogenic propellant (rocket fuel) evaporation and condensation and thus began my 4 year-long research career.

The primary motivation for my work thus far is rocket fuel management in space. Commonly used fuels, liquid hydrogen and liquid methane, are stored in metallic containers at temperatures as low as -260° C. The liquid fuel vaporizes with even minute amounts of heat, and results in a liquid-vapor mixture. This increases the pressure in the container, requiring ventilation to avoid over-pressurization, resulting in significant fuel loss. Fuel storage/management is one of the limiting factors to long term space missions. My dissertation focuses on novel methods to visualize, investigate, and predict the behavior of these fuels and enable long term manned space travel.

I am grateful for the finishing fellowship awarded by the Graduate School. There is no doubt that the support provided will someday result in “a giant leap for mankind”.


Doctoral Finishing Fellowship Spring 2018 – Zhaoxiang Jin

Zhaoxiang Jin
Computer Science

Zhaoxiang JinI am a PhD student in Computer Science and work in Computer Architecture and Compiler Lab with my advisor, Dr. Soner Onder. Before I came to Michigan Tech, I was an ASIC engineer in industry. I still remembered the day I decided to come back to school and pursue a higher education. I prefer a life with new adventures and learning new technologies. Finally I am able to contribute my research and share it with the whole world. When I look back on my PhD career, I think that is the best decision I ever made in my life to get a PhD degree. We learned from the work previous researchers have completed and contributed our work for the future researchers. Now it is my last year in Michigan Tech. I will write my dissertation which includes all the work I have finished in these years. The finishing fellowship immensely helps my situation so that I do not need to worry too much and can focus on my dissertation. Here I want to sincerely thank for the sponsor of the fellowship and the panel. With the help been given from you, I believe I can finish my dissertation outstandingly and defend it on time.


Doctoral Finishing Fellowship Spring 2018 – John “Moose” Henderson

John “Moose” Henderson
Forest Science

I returned to school in 2011 as one of the most senior members of the student body. I completed my master’s at the University of Nebraska and was accepted into the PhD program studying my passion, moose. For most students, completion of the PhD is the start of their career. For me, I had already completed 27 years as a laboratory scientist and moved into a new career doing wildlife photography. While photographing animals in Siberia, I decided I wanted additional education to further my ability to share about animal conservation.
I expect to graduate this spring; the month of May will be a time of receiving my sheepskin and my first Social Security check. I will use my degree in conjunction with my wildlife photography to help educate about the plight of animals, conservation, and the environment through presentations, teaching at nature centers, and books. I plan to head to Yellowstone to work on my fifth book and then back to Russia in 2019 to complete my sixth book.
I am very thankful to the Graduate School and to the donors who made my finishing fellowship possible.

As a self-financed student, the fellowship gave me the funds to complete my degree without working full time.


Doctoral Finishing Fellowship Spring 2018 – Aref Majdara

Aref Majdara
Electrical Engineering

Aref MajdaraI came to Michigan Tech in August 2013 to pursue my PhD in Electrical Engineering. I completed my Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in my home country, Iran.

My PhD research is focused on developing computationally efficient algorithms for non-parametric high-dimensional density estimation, with applications in density-based data mining and machine learning techniques.

Besides research activities, since Fall 2014, I have been working as a Graduate Teaching Assistant, and I had the opportunity to teach five different ECE labs during seven semesters, which has been an invaluable experience for me.  

I am truly grateful to the Graduate School for providing me with financial support through the Doctoral Finishing Fellowship. This fellowship has made it possible for me to put my entire focus on publishing my research and completing my thesis, towards completion of my PhD degree this semester.

I would also like to express my sincere gratitude and appreciation to MTU Alumni and Friends, for making this fellowship possible through their generous donations.


Doctoral Finishing Fellowship Spring 2018 – Gemechis D. Degaga

Gemechis D. Degaga
Chemistry

Gemechis Dereje DegagaBefore I came to Michigan Tech, I earned my BSc. degree in Physics from Haramaya University and MSc. degree in Materials Science from Addis Ababa University, both in Ethiopia. I then earned another MSc. degree in Physics from the University of Trieste (Università degli studi di Trieste) in Italy through the two-year TRIL Masters Fellowship, awarded from the International Center for Theoretical Physics (ICTP). I am currently a PhD candidate in the Chemistry Department. I joined Dr. Loredana Valenzano’s research group in the Fall of 2013. Since then I have conducted multiple PhD projects involving coordinative polymers (CPO-27) also known as Metal Organic Frameworks (MOF-74-Mg/Zn). Results of my DFT studies on the adsorption and diffusion of hydrocarbon molecules showed that MOF-74-Mg/Zn are energetically and economically promising materials for olefin-paraffin gas mixture separation, for application in petroleum refining industries. In my final project, I applied crystal engineering principles to improve the physicochemical properties of active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) co-crystals such as solubility, dissolution rate, hygroscopic stability, compressibility, and bioavailability to obtain better compatibility for human use. From these research project results, I was able to publish three peer-reviewed papers and conducted multiple poster and oral presentations on campus and at national and international conferences.

While at Michigan Tech I had opportunities to be involved in research and teaching activities within the Physics Department. Michigan Tech has provided me an environment in which I was able to take on leadership commitments such as Graduate Student’s Government (GSG) academic committee member and as a Chemistry Department representative. I also learned a lot from the professional development seminar series and many other seminars conducted through the Graduate School. I am grateful to the Graduate School and the Dean’s Advisory Panel for providing me with the Finishing Fellowship. This fellowship allows me the opportunity to focus on writing my dissertation and complete it in a timely manner.


The 2018 Communicating Science (ComSciCon) Workshop for graduate students

ComSciCon18_FlyerTo all graduate students in STEM and related fields:

Applications are now open for ComSciCon 2018, the 6th annual Communicating Science workshop, to be held in Boston, MA on June 14-16th 2017. Graduate students at U.S. and Canadian institutions in all fields of science, technology, engineering, health, mathematics, and related fields are encouraged to apply. The application will close on March 1st.

Acceptance to the workshop is competitive; attendance is free and travel support and lodging will be provided to accepted applicants. Continue reading


Doctoral Finishing Fellowship Spring 2018 – Chaofeng Wang

Chaofeng Wang
Electrical Engineering

Chaofeng_WangMy name is Chaofeng Wang and I am currently a Ph.D. candidate at Michigan Tech majoring in Electrical Engineering. My research interests lie in the areas of signal processing, communications, and machine learning, with the recent focus on statistical learning for underwater acoustic communications. My research goal is to improve the performance of underwater acoustic network systems from various perspectives such as security, throughput, and energy consumption, by adopting advanced signal processing and machine learning techniques.

The learning experience at Michigan Tech helps me learn how to solve problems and overcome challenges, which can benefit both my personal development and future career. It is my honor to receive the finishing fellowship and I greatly appreciate the support from the Graduate School.


Doctoral Finishing Fellowship Spring 2018 – Meng Tang

Meng Tang
Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics

Meng Tang

I am Meng Tang from Siping, China. I am currently a PhD candidate in Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics working with Dr. Jeffrey Naber and Dr. Seong-Young Lee. Before my graduate studies, I earned a Bachelor’s degree in Thermal Energy and Power Engineering from Beijing Jiaotong University. At Tech, I work in the Combustion Vessel Laboratory, conducting experimental research on the spray and combustion of alternative fuels using automotive injectors. These research provide information on spray injection, fuel-air mixing, ignition and combustion of the fuels, which are fundamental in developing models. Numerical simulation is a modern approach in developing clean and efficient combustion engines, where the accuracy of the model cannot be more important. During my studies at Tech, I was able to connect to Aramco Research Center-Detroit through their summer program for research opportunities on numerical model development based on the experimental studies conducted at the Combustion Vessel Laboratory.
I am grateful for the research opportunities made available through my advisors. Special thanks to the Graduate School Dean’s Advisory Panel for recommending me as a recipient of the prestigious Spring 2018 Finishing Fellowship. The fellowship made available through the Graduate School is greatly appreciated and it will help me focus on my research work towards the completion of my dissertation.

Doctoral Finishing Fellowship Spring 2018 – Gorkem Asilioglu

Gorkem Asilioglu
Computer Science

gorkem-headshot I came to Michigan Tech in Fall 2011 to work on my PhD in Computer Science. Even prior to my arrival at Tech, I had been working on computer architecture research. With guidance from my advisor, Dr. Soner Onder, I focused my efforts toward dynamic dependency collapsing. At Tech, I had the opportunity to work on many interesting research problems in defining and exploiting dependent parallelism in code as well as publish my design and results in the top conference in my field (ISCA). In addition to working on research, I had the opportunity to serve Michigan Tech and the Computer Science Department’s teaching mission by instructing a number of classes.
The finishing fellowship allows me to focus completely on completing my dissertation during this semester. This award would not have been possible without my advisor, the Computer Science Department and the Graduate School.