Doctoral Finishing Fellowship Fall 2020 Recipient – Kevin Sunderland

I am a PhD Candidate in my final year with the Biomedical Engineering department at Michigan Tech. My research focuses on the study of complex swirling blood flow patterns and how analyzing their characteristics can help to better understand the development, growth, and rupture of cerebral aneurysms. In my doctoral dissertation, I have utilized computational fluid dynamics to simulate blood flow patterns in 3D vascular models taken from medical imaging files of patients with cerebral aneurysms and applied a novel computational analytic method to identify areas of complex swirling flow and measure their changes over the cardiac cycle. This has led to novel quantified metrics that can improve statistical models to predict areas of aneurysm development, and improve models capable of differentiating ruptured and unruptured aneurysms giving new insights into flow conditions suggestive of aneurysm rupture that are often overlooked in other studies. The final aspect of my doctoral research is to use a specialized flow chamber to expose human vascular endothelial cells to multiple areas of swirling flow, with each area having varied spatiotemporal characteristics. These cells will be analyzed to see if varied swirling flow characteristics lead to differing levels of cellular changes indicative of aneurysm rupture: expression of cell-to-cell adhesion proteins, inflammatory markers, and levels of cellular apoptosis (death).

My hope is that this work will one day help doctors further understand the complex nature of aneurysms, and that the quantified measure of swirling flow characteristics will be utilized in the clinical setting to better identify which aneurysms are at high rupture risk. This could help guide clinical decision making to determine if aneurysm surgery prior to rupture is worth the risk, or if an aneurysm is likely to remain stable, posing minimal risk to patient health.

I am extremely grateful to Michigan Tech’s graduate school for this financial support, allowing me the opportunity to finish my research. I also would like to express my gratitude to my advisors Dr. Jingfeng Jaing and Dr. Feng Zhao (now faculty at Texas A&M), as well as my committee members Dr. Sean Kirkpatrick, Dr. Gowtham, and Dr. Min Wang for their expertise and guidance throughout my research at Michigan Tech.


Nominations open for the 2021 MAGS Distinguished Thesis Award

Nominations are now open for the 2021 Council of Graduate Schools (CGS)/ProQuest Distinguished Dissertation Award. Please submit nominations to the Graduate School no later than 4pm, October 8. 2020, following our online instructions. This year, nominations are being accepted from dissertations in the fields of:

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

Michigan Tech may nominate one student in each field. Master’s students who have completed all of their degree requirements between July 1, 2018, and June 30, 2020, 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 8. 2020; e-mail nominations to gradschool@mtu.edu are preferred.  Contact Debra Charlesworth (gradschool@mtu.edu) if you have any questions about the competition.


The DOE Office of Science Graduate Student Research (SCGSR) program is now accepting applications!

Dear Colleagues,

The Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Science is pleased to announce that the Office of Science Graduate Student Research (SCGSR) program is now accepting applications for the 2020 Solicitation 2.  Applications are due 5:00pm Eastern Time on Thursday, November 12, 2020.

We would like to bring to your attention 4 new transdisciplinary research areas for encouraging graduate training activities at the convergence of multiple disciplines and communities, including Microelectronics, Data Science, Conservation Laws and Symmetries, and Accelerator Science. We strongly encourage applications in these areas.  Detailed information about the program, including eligibility requirements and access to the online application system, can be found at: https://science.osti.gov/wdts/scgsr/.  

The SCGSR program supports supplemental awards to outstanding U.S. graduate students to conduct part of their graduate thesis research at a DOE national laboratory/facility in collaboration with a DOE laboratory scientist for a period of 3 to 12 consecutive months—with the goal of preparing graduate students for scientific and technical careers critically important to the DOE Office of Science mission.

The SCGSR program is open to current Ph.D. students in qualified graduate programs at accredited U.S. academic institutions, who are conducting their graduate thesis research in targeted areas of importance to the DOE Office of Science. The research opportunity is expected to advance the graduate students’ overall doctoral thesis/dissertation while providing access to the expertise, resources, and capabilities available at the host DOE laboratories/facilities. The supplemental award provides for additional, incremental costs for living and travel expenses directly associated with conducting the SCGSR research project at the DOE host laboratory/facility during the award period.

The Office of Science expects to make approximately 95 awards in 2020 Solicitation 2 cycle, for project periods beginning anytime between June 14, 2021 and October 4, 2021.

Since its inception in 2014, the SCGSR program has provided support to over 580 graduate awardees from 141 different U.S. universities to conduct thesis research at 18 DOE national laboratories/facilities across the nation.

The SCGSR program is sponsored and managed by the DOE Office of Science’s Office of Workforce Development for Teachers and Scientists (WDTS), in collaboration with the six Office of Science research programs offices and the DOE national laboratories/facilities, and program administration support is provided by the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE).

For any questions, please contact the SCGSR Program Manager, Dr. Ping Ge, at sc.scgsr@science.doe.gov.

U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Science


Spring 2021 Finishing Fellowship Nominations Open

Applications for Spring 2021 finishing fellowships are being accepted and are due no later than 4pm, October 21, 2020 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.


Smart Start Seminar – September 2, 2020

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 September 2, 2020 beginning at 1:00pm 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.


Submission and Formatting 101: Master the Dissertation, Thesis, and Report Process

Students who are completing a dissertation, thesis, or report are invited to join the Graduate School to learn about the resources available to them to assist in scheduling their defense, formatting their documents, and submitting their documents.  In one afternoon, you can learn everything you need to be successful and complete your degree in a timely fashion!  Faculty and staff who assist students with submissions are also welcome to attend.  Attend the entire event, or stop in for the seminar that interests you.

  • When: Wednesday, September 9, 2020, 2 – 4pm (see detailed schedule below)
  • Who: Students completing a dissertation, thesis or report; faculty and staff who assist students with submission
  • Where: Zoom webinar; (register to attend online and receive participation instructions)

If you are unable to join us, the event will be taped and available online after the event. The previous semester’s seminars are always available online.

Information on submitting, formatting, and more can be found online for dissertations and theses or reports.

Detailed schedule

  • 2 – 3pm – Submission 101
    Learn what is required to submit your document to the Graduate School and the deadlines for the upcoming semester.  Best for students who are completing their degree this semester or next semester.
  • 3 – 4pm – Formatting 101-103: Word, Acrobat and Copyright
    • Learn how to find what you need in the Guide and use a Word template to create a perfectly formatted document the first time. 
    • Learn how to use Adobe Acrobat to check your document to ensure it meets our formatting requirements and correct it without recreating the PDF.
    • Learn how to use copyrighted materials in your document, including papers you have published as well as materials created by someone else.
  • 4pm – ?: Final questions
    Have a question that hasn’t been answered yet? We’ll be available to answer any additional questions you have.


GSG and the CTL to Host Teaching Seminar for GTAs and GTIs

The Graduate Student Government (GSG), in collaboration with the William G. Jackson Center for Teaching and Learning, is hosting a seminar for GTAs and GTIs who will be teaching in the Fall 2020 semester.

This virtual event will take place from 4 to 6 p.m. Thursday (Aug. 20). Topics such as teaching resources, safety, student engagement and classroom policies will be discussed, and participants will have the opportunity to ask questions.

Mike Meyer from the CTL will lead the session. Please feel free to submit any questions you may have in advance on this document. We hope to see you there.

Register here. Link to the Zoom meeting.


Nominee for MAGS Distinguished Thesis Award – Erin Eberhard

The Graduate School is pleased to announce the nomination of two theses to the Midwestern Association of Graduate Schools 2020 Distinguished Master’s Thesis Competition. These theses represent the best in their discipline at Michigan Tech, and represented Michigan Tech in the regional competition.


Erin Eberhard represents the field of Biological/Life Sciences.  She earned a Master of Science degree in 2017 in Biological Sciences, and is continuing her work at Michigan Tech as a PhD candidate.  Her thesis was entitled, “Co-Occurrence of Nitrogen Fixation and Denitrification Across a Stream Nitrogen Gradient in a Western Watershed.” She was nominated by her advisor, Dr. Amy Marcarelli.  Erin’s work sought to address several long-standing assumptions about nitrogen (N) cycling in stream ecosystems.  According to her advisor, “Her MS research has transformed research in our lab and broadened our ecological understanding of N cycling processes in stream ecosystems.”  Her work can be accessed on Digital Commons @ Michigan Tech.


Nominee for MAGS Distinguished Thesis Award – Emily Simmons

The Graduate School is pleased to announce the nomination of two theses to the Midwestern Association of Graduate Schools 2020 Distinguished Master’s Thesis Competition. These theses represent the best in their discipline at Michigan Tech, and represented Michigan Tech in the regional competition.

Emily Simmons represents the field of Humanities.  She earned a Master of Science degree in Rhetoric, Theory and Culture in 2018.  Her thesis was entitled, “Accessing Library Space: Spatial Rhetorics from the U.S. to France and Back Again.” She was nominated by her advisor, Dr. Andrew Fiss. In his nomination, Dr. Fiss said that Emily’s work “…provided a framework for the development and implementation of a new evaluation tool that linked urban public libraries in Toulouse, France with those in the small, rural communities local to Michigan Tech.” Her work, “… strengthened both our opportunities for international, inter-university exchange and also the research profile of the Humanities department as a whole.”  Her work can be accessed on Digital Commons @ Michigan Tech.


Doctoral Finishing Fellowship Summer 2020 Recipient- Hua Wang

I am a fourth year PhD Candidate on the program of Rhetoric, Theory and Culture in Humanities Department. My research focuses on the rhetoric of healthcare and medicine and technical communication, particularly in the Chinese context. To be specific, I study the relationship between the healthcare and medicine rhetoric and Chinese culture and how they shape each other with the advancement of communication technologies. In my doctoral dissertation, by rhetorical analysis, I examine the expression of rhetorical agency in the 2017/2018 No. 1 childbirth and pregnancy commercial app named Babytree to see to what extent the app spreads the information and knowledge of pregnancy and mothering to empower its users (Chinese women); how the users write their embodied experience of pregnancy into the online narratives and stories to respond to China’s dominant and hegemonic healthcare and medical discourse and practice; how the users who, having been excluded from labor markets or having limited choices in labor markets due to getting pregnant, use technological affordances of social media to enter those markets, become professional communicators, and achieve their rhetorical agency economically. My study expands our understanding of the rhetoric of health and medicine in an international context and extends the field’s conceptions of rhetorical agency by exploring how rhetorical agency can be asserted economically in a non-capitalist, non-Western context. To put it another way, my study on rhetorical agency is considered on a more global scale than previous studies. At last, I am extremely grateful to the graduate school for this generous financial support. I also would like to express my gratitude to my advisor Dr. Marika Seigel and my committee members Dr. Robert Johnson and Dr. Sarah Bell for their enlightening and intellectual guidance.