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.


Summer 2021 Finishing Fellowship Nominations Open

Applications for Summer 2021 finishing fellowships are being accepted and are due no later than 4pm, March 3, 2021 to the Graduate School. Please email applications to gradschool@mtu.edu.

Instructions on the application and evaluation process are found online. 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 have submitted no more than one previous application for a finishing fellowship.
  4. Must be eligible for candidacy (tuition charged at Research Mode rate) at the time of application.
  5. Must not hold a final oral examination (“defense”) prior to the start of the award semester.

Finishing Fellowships provide support to PhD candidates who are close to completing their degrees. These fellowships are available through the generosity of alumni and friends of the University. They are intended to recognize outstanding PhD candidates who are in need of financial support to finish their degrees and are also contributing to the attainment of goals outlined in The Michigan Tech Plan. The Graduate School anticipates funding up to ten fellowships with support ranging from $2000 to full support (stipend + tuition). Students who receive full support through a Finishing Fellowship may not accept any other employment. For example, students cannot be fully supported by a Finishing Fellowship and accept support as a GTA or GRA.


The University of Alaska Fairbanks announces the opening of applications for its 2021 Arctic Innovator Program.

Fairbanks, AK – The University of Alaska Fairbanks today announced the opening of applications for its 2021 Arctic Innovator Program.  The application deadline is January 8, 2021.  To learn more or apply, visit: https://orise.orau.gov/arctic-innovators/.

The Arctic Innovator program provides early career innovators and entrepreneurs the opportunity to spend up to two years developing their technology at a U.S. Department of Energy National Laboratory and University of Alaska Fairbanks pursuing commercialization.

The Arctic Innovator program is open to early career professionals:

  • who currently have or will have a graduate degree in a science, technology, engineering and mathematics related field before the program start date;
  • with a technology or area of research that they are interested in developing toward real-world adoption; and
  • whose technology or area of research addresses Arctic-based challenges and aligns with U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Manufacturing Office Strategic Goals (energy.gov/eere/amo/about-us).

This program, formally titled the Arctic Advanced Manufacturing Innovator Program, provides selected Innovators with the resources and guidance to maximize their likelihood of success.  Innovators receive: a competitive personal stipend, a travel and training allowance, health insurance, a mentor at University of Alaska Fairbanks and a U.S. Department of Energy National Laboratory, and space and collaborative support at each organization.  Innovators also have the adventure of living in Alaska while working on Arctic-related challenges.

Nathan Prisco, a 2020 Arctic Innovator, is representative of the passion and skill that the Arctic Advanced Manufacturing Innovator Program is seeking in candidates.  Prisco is working on ammonia-based technologies for improving energy production.  He explained that the program offers him “a great way to get science out of the laboratory and into the world at large.”  Prisco says he was attracted to the significant research and commercialization support while also being “intrigued by Alaska, both in its pristine wilderness and the feeling that there is an incredible opportunity in the last frontier.”  To read more about Prisco’s experience, visit: https://uaf.edu/oipc/news/2020/Welcome-Arctic-Innovator-Dr-Nathan-Prisco.php.

To learn more or to apply, visit: https://orise.orau.gov/arctic-innovators/

This program is sponsored by the Department of Energy Advanced Manufacturing Office and is a collaboration with the University of Alaska Fairbanks.


Nominee for MAGS Distinguished Thesis Award – Mitch Timm

I arrived at Michigan Tech in 2017, after completing my bachelor’s in mechanical engineering at the University of Minnesota the previous year, deciding to pursue my graduate degree at Michigan Tech for its nationally ranked engineering program (and weather). I completed my masters at Michigan Tech in 2018 and am currently a Ph.D. student under my advisor Prof. Hassan Masoud.

My research consists of the study of complex fluids and transport phenomena; simply speaking I study the interactions of fluids with solid objects and how certain materials are transported within fluids by utilizing the combined tools of theoretical (mathematical), computational (computer simulation), and experimental analysis. Though to many people this may seem impractical or pointless, this research has numerous real-world applications. For example, for my master’s thesis, I researched the rate of evaporation of a liquid droplet when it rests on an inclined surface (sessile drop). Most people are familiar with sessile droplets from when it rains on your windshield or when you wash the dishes, however, most people don’t understand that it is these droplets that can lead to the stubborn stains on these surfaces. This is also known as the coffee ring effect. By understanding the way in which these droplets evaporate and deposit the suspended particles therein on these surfaces, we can develop ways to avoid this, or even utilize it to our advantage.

It is for this research and subsequent thesis that I have been nominated to represent the university for the MAGS/ProQuest Distinguished Thesis Award Competition.

I am extremely grateful and humbled to be nominated for this competition, and I especially want to thank my advisor Prof. Masoud, Dr. Predebon, and the graduate committee for this nomination and for recognizing my hard work. It is times like these that I am reminded of the fantastic community at Michigan Tech and am glad I decided to come here for my graduate education.


Nominations Open for 2021 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 7, 2021.

Eligible students

  • will have been enrolled at Michigan Tech during the 2020-21 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.


Reviewing a scheduling request for a final oral examination

Effective spring 2021, students will schedule their final oral examination (“defense”) by submitting information about their dissertation, thesis, or report and defense to MyMichiganTech.

When a defense request is submitted by the student, the committee will be notified of the details and the advisor will also be notified to review the request in Workflow. If the advisor is missing the appropriate roles to review the workflow, the Graduate School will be notified immediately and will initiate updating the faculty record. Banner access for advisors is described on our web page. Please contact the Graduate School if there are any technical issues.

The advisor will log into Banner Workflow and select the scheduling request to review from their worklist. It is expected that faculty will review these requests within two business days.

Advisors will review the information provided by the student.

A portion of the form to show the scheduling information submitted by the student for the defense.

After reviewing the information, select “Approve” or “Reject” at the bottom of the page.

At the bottom of the scheduling request, select “Approve” or “Reject”

Return to the top of the form and select “Complete” to save the approval decision.

At the top of the form, select “Complete” to save the approval decision.

The committee, advisor, and student will be notified of the advisor’s decision. If the decision is to approve the defense scheduling, the graduate program director and assistant will also be notified. Committee members who are not Michigan Tech employees may not be notified; please confirm details with them individually.

If the committee does not receive the dissertation, thesis, or report with sufficient time for review prior to the defense, the advisor may request that the defense be rescheduled. Please contact the Graduate School to reschedule the defense.


Scheduling a final oral examination

A final oral examination (“defense”) is a milestone for students completing a dissertation, thesis, or report. To schedule a defense, students must log into MyMichiganTech and navigate to the Current Students tab.

In the “Dissertation, Thesis, or Report” area in the center column, students will see a link to schedule their final oral examination. If this section is blank, please contact the Graduate School for assistance.

A link to schedule a final oral examination is on the Dissertation, Thesis, or Report status area.

Please review the information at the top of the form. If there are any errors, please contact the Graduate School for assistance. Screenshots are very helpful.

Please complete the form with the following information:

  • The title of the dissertation, thesis, or report (55 characters per line; 4 lines maximum)
  • The date of the defense (must be at least two weeks into the future)
  • Start time of the defense
  • Building (select “Virtual defense – online only” if there isn’t a physical location)
  • Room (only required if there is a physical location)
  • URL for virtual attendance
    • Required for virtual defenses, optional for physical defenses
    • Passwords are not allowed as defenses must be public
    • Waiting rooms are recommended (Zoom waiting room support)

Click “Submit” when you have completed entering the information. A confirmation page will appear.

Confirmation page once a final oral examination scheduling request has been submitted.

The student, committee, and advisor will receive a confirmation email with the information provided by the student. The student should ensure that the required items listed in the email have been completed. Committee members who are not Michigan Tech employees may not be notified; please confirm details with them individually.

The advisor will receive an email from the Graduate School and can approve or reject the request online. All committee members with a Michigan Tech email address and the student will be notified of the decision. Committee members who are not Michigan Tech employees may not be notified; please confirm details with them individually. If the defense request is approved, the graduate program director and assistant will also be notified.