Tag: Environmental Engineering

US Department of Energy Computational Sciences Graduate Fellowships

U.S. Department of Energy Computational Sciences Graduate Fellowships

The U.S. Department of Energy provides funding for students in their first or second year of graduate study in the fields of physical, engineering, computers, mathematics and life sciences. The fellowships are renewable up to four years. Students receive about $31,000 a year, as well as a $1,000 annual academic allowance for travel, research activities and attending conferences. Some students may also get matched funds for computer support up to $2,475.

New theses and dissertations available in the Library

The Graduate School is pleased to announce new theses and dissertations are now available in the J.R. van Pelt and Opie Library from the following programs:

  • Civil Engineering
  • Computer Science
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Engineering Science
  • Industrial Archaeology
  • Materials Science and Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics
  • Rhetoric and Technical Communication

Tech Reseachers Honored for Great Lakes Research

The International Association for Great Lakes Research has honored five Michigan Tech faculty members and students.

The Chandler-Misener Award for the outstanding article published in the Journal of Great Lakes Research (JGLR) in 2010 was given to coauthors Professor W. Charles Kerfoot, PhD student Foad Yousef (Biological Sciences), Professor and Chair Sarah A. Green (Chemistry), former faculty member Judith W. Budd (GMES), and David J. Schwab and Henry A. Vanderploeg of NOAA.

Their paper, “Approaching Storm: Disappearing Winter Bloom in Lake Michigan,” documented the disappearance of a “doughnut” of phytoplankton in southern Lake Michigan associated with the proliferation of quagga mussels.

The award was presented to Kerfoot at the 54th International Conference on Great Lakes Research in Duluth, Minn. The Chandler-Misener Award acknowledges the most notable paper based on originality, contribution and presentation.

Cory McDonald, a recent PhD graduate in environmental engineering, received the JGLR/Elsevier Young Student Award. This award is given to “emerging young scientists with a JGLR article ranked in the top 10, as determined by the IAGLR Chandler-Misener Review Committee.” Recipients receive a complimentary one-year IAGLR membership and a $750 cash prize.

Published in Tech Today

New theses and dissertations available in the Library

The Graduate School is pleased to announce new theses and dissertations are now available in the J.R. van Pelt and Opie Library from the following programs:

  • Chemical Engineering
  • Chemistry
  • Civil Engineering
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Forest Ecology and Management
  • Geological Engineering
  • Geology
  • Geophysics
  • Industrial Archaeology
  • Mathematical Sciences
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics

Lake Superior Binational Forum Honors Professor

Professor Alex Mayer (CEE) has received the Lake Superior Binational Forum’s 2011 individual Environmental Stewardship Award for the US. The award honors “extraordinary achievements by ordinary people.”

The Lake Superior Binational Forum is composed of 12 Canadian and 12 American stakeholders, representing industrial, Tribal/First Nations, business, environmental, recreational, tourism, health, labor and academic interests.

The forum is recognizing Mayer, who heads the Center for Water and Society (CWS), for his efforts to restore the health of the Huron Creek watershed. That project was the first one taken on by the CWS.

Mayer worked with other faculty and graduate students, as well as public school teachers and their classes, home-schooled students and concerned citizens who formed the Huron Creek Club under Mayer’s guidance. They won funding to analyze, restore and monitor the creek and to develop a recreational and interpretive trail along it. They have also helped the City of Houghton and Portage Township develop storm water management ordinances.

“Alex’s unflagging efforts have raised awareness and galvanized local concern in the community, spawning many new community efforts and activities, and bringing very diverse partners together to enhance the environment and the aesthetics of the area, and attract residents to the area,” said Joan Chadde, education program coordinator.

Mayer called the award “quite an honor for all of the people who have been working to improve and protect Huron Creek.” He cited others closely involved, including Chadde, Associate Professor Hugh Gorman (SS), Assistant Professor Rod Chimner (SFRES), Scott MacInnes (Houghton city manager) and dozens of students, including former graduate student Linda (Kersten) Watson (MS in Environmental Engineering).

Published in Tech Today.

Agassiz Tours Teach Community about Lake Ecology

Last Saturday, people flocked to Chassell for the Strawberry Festival, but not everyone was there for the strawberries. “The Strawberry Festival was nice, but I really came here for the Agassiz,” said Carl Groeneveld, a resident of Houghton.

The Western UP Center for Science, Mathematics and Environmental Education hosted the public aboard the Agassiz, Michigan Tech’s research vessel. Participants learned how scientists study the Great Lakes and what factors contribute to a healthy lake. More than 100 adults and children signed up for the scientific excursions on Chassell Bay, so many that the organizers added two 45-minute trips.

Participants pitched in, dropping a small dredge to pick up a sediment sample from the lake bottom and collecting plankton using a fine-mesh net. The plankton were then scooped it into a jar and passed around for a sniff. (It smelled like fish.)

“It was interesting and a lot of fun,” said youngster Josh Eckloff, from Allouez. “I liked learning about science and, of course, the mud.”

The chief scientist, PhD graduate student Marcel Dijkstra (Environmental Engineering), addressed a variety of ecological concerns, such as stamp sand in Torch Lake, zebra mussels in the Great Lakes and unbalanced oxygen levels in the water.

See Tech Today for the complete news story.

South African Graduate Student Plans to Bring Education to Her People

PhD student Taile Leswifi
PhD student Taile Leswifi
Like Michelle Obama, who is visiting South Africa this week, a black South African young woman who is studying for her PhD in environmental engineering at Michigan Tech, has a message of hope and inspiration for young women in remote areas of her country.

Nelson Mandela, who led the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa, is Taile (pronounced Dah-ee-lay) Leswifi’s hero. And the graduate student is certainly following his counsel. She is making the most of what she has: an aptitude for science and math, the problem-solving mind-set of an engineer, a deep commitment to improving life for the people of her native land, and a fierce dedication to communicating to coming generations of South African children that education is the key that can open the doors of their world.

Studying on Fulbright and PEO Sisterhood international scholarships, Leswifi is researching new ways to produce a sustainable, renewable, low-cost source of hydrogen energy from water and sunlight–energy that does not add to the pollution of the environment. She is also preparing herself to teach at Tshwane University of Technology back in South Africa. The university is holding a professorship for her, and she plans to work with a South African Fulbright group to take the promise of success through education to children in remote reaches of her country.

“I can’t change all of South Africa by myself,” she says, “but if I can change the mind-set of one person, then that person can change one other person, and that’s the way real change takes root.”

Leswifi knows about the challenge of living in a remote area. She grew up in one herself, the small town of Phalaborwa in northern South Africa. When she was small, apartheid was still the law of land. It deprived black South Africans of citizenship and gave them limited access to education, health care and other public services. Blacks could only get jobs considered undesirable by whites. Racial segregation was total and enforced by law.

For the rest of her amazing story, see Hope.

Published in Tech Today.

National Science Foundation Hands Out CAREER Awards

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has named three assistant professors winners of NSF CAREER Awards. Veronica Griffis (Civil and Environmental Engineering), Shari Stockero (Cognitive and Learning Sciences) and Greg Waite (Geological/Mining Engineering and Sciences) received the 2011 awards.

CAREER Awards are among the most prestigious honors granted by the NSF. They recognize faculty members early in their careers who are effectively integrating research and teaching.

“The CAREER program recognizes and supports teacher-scholars who are most likely to become the academic leaders of the 21st century,” said David Reed, vice president for research. “These young faculty members add tremendously to the reputation of Michigan Tech.”

See Tech Today for the complete story.

Tech Professor, Grad Students Introduce School Children to Life in Lake Superior

Today and Tuesday, April 18-19, Professor Martin Auer (CEE) and his graduate students will bring hands-on science investigations about Lake Superior to CLK Elementary School students in Calumet. Each grade level will spend 55 minutes with the scientists, learning about Lake Superior.

This special event is part of CLK’s Lake Superior Stewardship Initiative Heritage Garden project and the school’s monthlong celebration of Earth Month, “3LK at CLK: Living, Learning and Loving the Keweenaw.”

The Lake Superior Stewardship Initiative connects schools and communities in the stewardship of Lake Superior and its watershed. The initiative is one of eight hubs statewide that are part of the Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative, with support from the Great Lakes Fishery Trust and the Wege Foundation.

The Auer team’s activities will include

  • Lake Superior: big, deep, cold, and beautiful
  • Riding the Waves: field sampling equipment demo
  • Plankton: Lake Superior’s vegetable garden
  • From the Lake: sediment, benthos and fish

Auer’s research focuses on modeling of Great Lakes and inland waters and field monitoring and laboratory studies related to water quality modeling and management. He is familiar to many in the Keweenaw for his work with the Agassiz, which has become Tech’s floating ambassador, bringing people to the water and the water to people in the Lake Superior basin. Each year, Auer and colleagues host hundreds of K-12 students aboard the R/V Agassiz, where they learn how the Great Lakes are studied by scientists.

Published in Tech Today

Tech Students Receive NSF Awards for Grad Study, Research

The National Science Foundation has selected three Michigan Tech students and a recent graduate to receive highly competitive awards that support their research and graduate study. Another student, now at Northern Michigan University, will use his award to pursue an advanced degree at Michigan Tech.

Master’s student Chris DeDene and recent graduate David Schaeffer have received NSF Graduate Research Fellowships. DeDene will pursue a PhD in Civil Engineering at Michigan Tech. Schaeffer will continue work on his PhD in Psychology at the University of Georgia.

Fellowship recipient Erich Petushek is completing his master’s at Northern Michigan University and will be coming to Tech, where he expects to pursue a doctorate degree in Applied Cognitive Science and Human Factors focusing on Biomechanics.

Graduate Research Fellowships support students in NSF-supported STEM disciplines who are pursuing research-based degrees. Each fellow receives a three-year annual stipend of $30,000, a $10,500 cost-of-education allowance and access to the TeraGrid supercomputer network. The NSF selected 2,000 fellows from more than 12,000 applicants.

An additional 2,064 applicants received honorable mentions. Among them are Tech students Eric Peterson, a physics PhD student; Eric Wesseldyke, an environmental engineering PhD student; mechanical engineering student Andrew Tulgestke; and Jonathan Ebel, a master’s student in biological sciences. Anieri Morales of the University of Puerto Rico, who plans to pursue a graduate degree at Michigan Tech, also received an honorable mention.

Tech students Erin Thomas and John Lyons, who are earning PhD degrees in mathematical sciences and geophysics, respectively, were selected to participate in NSF’s East Asia and Pacific Summer Institutes. The institutes place US graduate students in research labs throughout East Asia and the Pacific, to help students initiate scientific relationships that will lead to future international collaborations. The awards include airfare, lodging, living expenses and a $5,000 stipend.

Thomas will be conduct research in Beijing, while Lyons will travel to Japan.

To learn more about federal funding opportunities for graduate students, attend an information session at 6 p.m., Wednesday, April 20, in Fisher 131. Faculty, advisors, undergraduates and graduate students are encouraged to attend. For more information, contact Jodi Lehman at 487-2875 or at jglehman@mtu.edu.

Published in Tech Today.