Tag: Environmental Engineering

DeVlieg Graduate Summer 2022 Research Recipient – Emily Shaw

I am a settler scholar living and working within the Anishinaabe Ojibwe homelands of Northern Michigan. Currently, I am a PhD candidate, at Michigan Technological University, in environmental engineering doing research that bridges knowledge systems to understand mixture toxicity. As an indiginist researcher, my work rebuilds systems of accountability and responsibility between humans and the environment that are aligned to Anishinaabe philosophies. Prior to graduate school, I earned a bachelor’s degree in public affairs from Indiana University in Bloomington, IN. For four years, I was the Education and Volunteer Coordinator at Inland Seas Education Association, a non-profit in Suttons Bay, MI with a mission to inspire a lifetime of Great Lakes curiosity, stewardship, and passion in people of all ages. In the two years leading up to graduate school I spent most of my time in Antarctica, washing dishes at the South Pole research station and hiking and sailing throughout New Zealand. Now I enjoy exploring Houghton, playing roller derby, and gardening.

Michigan Tech gratefully acknowledges support from The DeVlieg Foundation for the DeVlieg Summer Research Award.

MTU Students Receive NSF Graduate Research Fellowships

Two Michigan Tech graduate students, Tessa Steenwinkel and Tyler LeMahieu, have been awarded National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowships, and one undergraduate student, Jenna Brewer, has been given an honorable mention.

The oldest STEM-related fellowship program in the United States, the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) is a prestigious award that recognizes exceptional graduate students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines early in their career and supports them through graduate education. NSF-GRFP fellows are an exceptional group; 42 fellows have become Nobel Laureates and about 450 fellows are members of the National Academy of Sciences.

The fellowship provides three years of financial support, including a $34,000 stipend for each fellow and a $12,000 cost-of-education allowance for the fellow’s institution. Besides financial support for fellows, the GRFP provides opportunities for research in national laboratories and international research.

The Graduate School is proud of these students for their outstanding scholarship. These awards highlight the quality of students at Michigan Tech, the innovative work they have accomplished, the potential for leadership and impact in science and engineering that the country recognizes in these students and the incredible role that faculty play in students’ academic success.

Tessa Steenwinkel

Steenwinkel is a biochemistry and molecular biology M.S. student under advisor Thomas Werner (BioSci). She has been studying the influence of nutrition on the interplay of fertility, fecundity and longevity in Drosophila. In the long term, she plans to focus on medicinal research and how genetic regulation plays a role in infertility

Werner writes: “Tessa is the best student I have ever had the pleasure to mentor in my lab. During her undergraduate and accelerated M.S. years, she won nine research awards and published 10 research papers and two books with me. I am extremely happy (but not surprised) that she won the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship. Her newest success proves that I was not mistaken in my choice to name a new fruit fly species in her honor last year, which is named ‘Amiota tessae.'”

Tyler LeMahieu

LeMahieu is an environmental engineering M.S. student under advisor Cory McDonald. LeMahieu’s proposal was titled, “Understanding Wild Rice Site Suitability in a Changing Climate.”

LeMahieu writes: “I plan to dedicate my career to bridging gaps between the scientific body and land managers. I would like to manage public and rural lands for the farmer, the logger and the hunter while managing those same lands for improved water and ecological health into perpetuity. Because fundamentally, rural land managers have the same goal in mind as those studying the environment — a useful, productive and sound ecosystem which will support and be supported by the next generation. That common ground is not always evident to both parties, but I am equipped to act as an intermediary with a foot in both worlds.”

Jenna Brewer

Brewer is a senior undergraduate student from Grand Rapids studying wildlife ecology and management under advisor Jared Wolfe. She plans to continue her education at Michigan Tech, pursuing a graduate degree this fall. Her research aims to develop an acoustic signal to deter birds from potential collision hazards such as city buildings during flight, effectively mitigating bird deaths. After graduate school, she hopes to become an avian ecologist, contributing to projects that focus on migration science.

Wolfe writes: “Jenna’s enthusiastic study of songbird ecology and conservation has long been recognized by her supervisors and peers; now that same passion has been recognized by the National Science Foundation. Faculty at CFRES are incredibly proud of Jenna’s accomplishment!”

Doctoral Finishing Fellowship – Fall 2021 Recipient – Behnam Azmoon

I am a Ph.D. candidate in the Civil and Environmental Engineering department. I started my journey at Michigan Tech in the summer of 2018. I was fortunate to work with Dr. Zhen (Leo) Liu from the beginning of my Ph.D. He helped me navigate the world of higher education, taught me critical thinking and problem solving, and guided me during my time in LiuRG. I worked on a handful of projects during my Ph.D., but my dissertation is focused on automated landslide prediction and mapping via deep learning. My project introduces a new category of slope stability analysis methods based on the recent advancements in artificial intelligence. These new methods are time efficient, automated, and accurate. I am especially interested in bridging the gap between traditional engineering methods for analyzing complex geosystems and exploring new data-driven solutions for similar engineering applications. 

I would like to thank my advisor, Dr. Zhen (Leo) Liu, for his support and guidance. I would also like the thank the Graduate Dean Awards Advisory Panel and the dean 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.

Doctoral Finishing Fellowship Spring 2020 Recipient – Christa Meingast

Christa Meingast
Environmental Engineering

My Ph.D.  research at MTU focuses on pathogen inactivation in clinical and wastewater applications. Pathogenic infections are prevalent throughout the world, and public safety measures to prevent these diseases are essential. Currently, my research aims to determine an effective process for inactivating viruses in pharmaceutical manufacturing without harming proteins. Throughout my graduate career in environmental engineering, I have found a passion for teaching and researching. When I graduate in May 2020, I plan to obtain a career in post-secondary education in the STEM Field. I wish to spread scientific knowledge and an understanding of environmental sustainability through education.

I am very grateful for being awarded the Finishing Fellowship to support my Ph.D. research for Spring 2020. This funding allows me to focus my attention on my research so I can complete my degree. I also want to thank my advisors Dr. Caryn Heldt and Dr. Veronica Webster for their constant guidance and support throughout my graduate career.

Portage Health Foundation Graduate Assistantship Fall 2019 Recipient -Christa Meingast

Christa Meingast
Environmental Engineering

My current research at Michigan Technological University aims to determine mechanisms of pathogen inactivation in both clinical and wastewater applications. Pathogenic infections are prevalent throughout the world, and effective and sustainable public safety measures to prevent these diseases are desirable. During this past year, I have been researching the mechanisms and optimal conditions of inactivating viruses in pharmaceutical manufacturing. Throughout my career as a PhD student in the field of environmental engineering, I have found a passion for teaching and researching.  After I graduate my PhD I want to obtain a career in post-secondary education to continue to spread scientific knowledge and an understanding of environmental sustainability.

I am very grateful for being awarded the Portage Health Foundation Fellowship to support my Ph.D. research for Fall 2019. This funding allows me to focus my attention on my research so I can graduate by the end of the academic year. I also want to thank my advisors Dr. Caryn Heldt and Dr. Veronica Webster for their help and support throughout my graduate career.

Doctoral Finishing Fellowship Summer 2019 Recipient – Hossein Tavakoli

Hossein Tavakoli
Environmental Engineering
I came to Michigan Tech in August 2014 to pursue my PhD in Environmental Engineering. My research focuses on the environmental and socioeconomic impact of algae cultivation, and algal biofuel production. Apart from research, I have been involved with the Graduate Student Government (GSG) at Michigan Tech since 2016 in various capacities as department representative, sustainability liaison, and president. I have also been working as a Teaching Assistant in different departments 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 helps me in focusing exclusively on finishing the experiments and publishing in journals to complete my dissertation in a timely manner.

Three Students Awarded NSF Graduate Research Fellowships

Rose Turner, Gabriela Shirkey and Helena Keller were named GRFP Fellows while Katelyn Kring received Honorable Mention.

Turner, from Berkley, Michigan, graduated from Michigan Tech in December with a bachelor’s in environmental engineering. She was the student speaker for Fall Commencement and is planning to pursue graduate studies in Environmental Engineering here at Michigan Tech

Katelyn Kring, from Portage, MI, graduated from Michigan Tech in December and is continuing as a first-year master’s student in Tech’s Department of Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences.

Shirkey, from Manitou Beach, Michigan, graduated from Michigan Tech in the Fall of 2013 in scientific and technical communications  and is currently studying geography at Michigan State University.

Keller, from Elk River Minnesota, graduated from Tech in Spring 2014 with a degree in Chemistry. She is currently studying macromolecular, supramolecular and nanochemistry at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

THE NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students in NSF-supported science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines who are pursuing research-based master’s and doctoral degrees at accredited US institutions.

Dean’s Award for Outstanding Scholar Award – Fall 2018 Recipients

Congratulations! Outstanding Scholar Award Fall 2018 Recipients

Gina Roose (Accounting MS)
Shuaidong Zhao (Civil and Environmental Engineering PhD)
Priscilla Addison(Geological Engineering PhD)
Sampath Kumar Reddy Boyapally (Mechanical Engineering MS)
Rahul Jitendra Thakkar (Mechanical Engineering MS)
Nikhil Appasaheb Shinde(Mechanical Engineering MS)
Mitchel Timm (Mechanical Engineering MS)
Xinyu Ye (Environmental Engineering PhD)
Janarjan Bhandari (Atmospheric Science PhD)
Mingxi Fang (Chemistry PhD)
John Barnett (Environmental and Energy Policy PhD)
Dolendra Karki (Physics PhD)

Doctoral Finishing Fellowship Fall 2018 Recipient – Zhimin Song

Zhimin Song
Environmental Engineering

Zhimin SongI came to Michigan Tech in Fall 2013 and got my Master’s degree in Environmental Engineering in 2017 with a GPA of 3.9. I started my Ph.D. under the direction of Dr. Paul Doskey in 2015, which focusing on the “diagenesis of organic matter in peat and porewater of a poor fen”. This program studies the seasonal variation of organic matters in the peatland. Peatlands, as unbalanced wetland ecosystems, contain approximately 30% of the global soil carbon. This large amount of carbon is so sensitive to variations in the climate system that it can serve as the indicator for climate changes. Understanding how the organic matter decomposition at different seasons is of great importance.

My study was conducted at an extensive poor fen peatland in Nestoria, Michigan, USA (46.34º N, 88.16º W). Our field sampling was conducted monthly at three different experimental plots and three different depth under the ground. We were able to track the organic matter decomposition through the year and see the effect of plant functional groups and sampling depths on the organic matter decomposition inside the peatland. These research experiences are invaluable to me as an international student from China.

I would like to thank my adviser Dr. Paul Doskey, my committee member Dr. Erik Lilleskov, and Dr. Evan Kane for their guidance and contributions to these projects. These works cannot be done without their unconditional support. I would also like to thank the Graduate School for granting this finishing fellowship. It really helped a lot reducing my financial burden and allows me to focus on writing my dissertation.

The King-Chávez-Parks Future Faculty Fellowship Program Fall 2018 Recipient – Christa Meingast

Christa Meingast
Environmental Engineering

My current research at Michigan Technological University aims to determine mechanisms of pathogen inactivation in both clinical and wastewater applications. Pathogenic Christa Meingastinfections are prevalent throughout the world, and effective and sustainable public safety measures to prevent these diseases are desirable. During this past year, I have been researching the mechanisms of synergistic arginine enveloped viral inactivation in therapeutic protein manufacturing. This research will aid in producing a more effective way inactivate viruses in therapeutic protein manufacturing. Throughout my career as a PhD student in the field of environmental engineering, I have found a passion for teaching and communicating with people from diverse backgrounds.  After I graduate my PhD I want to obtain a career in post-secondary education to continue to spread scientific knowledge and an understanding of environmental sustainability.