Tag: Finishing Fellowship

Fall 2021 Finishing Fellowship Nominations Open

Applications for Fall 2021 finishing fellowships are being accepted and are due no later than 4pm, June 30, 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.

Doctoral Finishing Fellowship Summer 2021 Recipient – Oudumbar Rajput

I obtained my Bachelor of Engineering degree in Mechanical Engineering from University of Pune in 2013.I started my graduate studies at Michigan Technological University in Fall 2015. During my master’s degree program, I joined Dr. Youngchul Ra’s research lab (Reacting Flows and Fuel Research Lab) at Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics department and started my Ph.D. program in January 2017. The focal point of my research is to use in-house computational fluid dynamics tool to numerically develop a novel six-stroke gasoline compression ignition (6S-GCI) engine cycle to improve fuel consumption, reduce emissions, extend the operating range of conventional four-stroke GCI, and stabilize the engine operation at low loads.

A high compression ratio engine with two intake/exhaust valves is used for this work. The first task completed focused on understanding the impact of valve opening/closing timings on the overall combustion behavior in 6S-GCI engine. It successfully demonstrated that the 6S-GCI cycle improves fuel consumption compared to corresponding four-stroke operation. An important finding is that both kinetically-controlled mode (KCM) and mixing-controlled mode (MCM) of combustion could be achieved in the second power stroke maintaining low soot levels. Next, attention was paid to understand the underlying physics of combustion regime change (KCM/MCM). To achieve this, the impact of the variation of split ratio (ratio in which total fuel was divided amongst both the power stokes), fuel injection timings, intake temperature, boost pressure, EGR ratio, and injection pressure on overall combustion and emissions performance was analyzed. Finally, the effects of injector configuration and piston bowl geometry characteristics on fuel oxidation rates and formation and oxidation rates of emissions were analyzed. The work completed thus far helps not only to gain an understanding of the mechanism of enhancement of combustion phasing controllability, stabilizing of engine operation at low engine loads, and improvement of combustion efficiency, but also in planning new experiments, and in designing new engines.

I would like to sincerely thank the Graduate Dean Awards Advisory Panel for providing me with the Finishing Fellowship award. This will allow me to focus on defending my dissertation in summer 2021.

Doctoral Finishing Fellowship Summer 2021 Recipient – Sandip Aryal

I joined Michigan Tech in Fall 2018 as a graduate student in the Department of Physics and began working with Dr. Ranjit Pati. Before coming here, I completed a Master’s from the University of Utah and a postgraduate diploma in condensed matter and statistical physics from International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP).

At MTU, my research focuses on the prediction of new materials with novel properties using density functional theory (DFT) and spin transport in these materials using DFT and non-equilibrium Green’s function method for possible applications in spintronic devices. In these three years, I have completed a couple of research projects under the supervision of my advisor in which we tailored the properties of pristine semiconducting Ge-Si core-shell nanowire via doping of transition metals to predict a new class of materials. We then theoretically showed that the newly tailored materials act as an excellent spin filter (Mn-doped devices) or a switch (Cr-doped devices) with a high ON-OFF current ratio. Our results have laid the foundations for experiments and are expected to generate experimental interest in the near future due to compatibility with the current Si-based technology for potential applications in low dimensional spintronics.

I am extremely grateful to the graduate school (MTU) for supporting me through the doctoral finishing fellowship during the summer semester. I believe that this fellowship will allow me to concentrate completely on writing my dissertation and graduate sooner.

Doctoral Finishing Fellowship Summer 2021 Recipient – Sriram Valluri


Firstly, I want to thank MTU for awarding me the prestigious doctoral finishing fellowship award. I was born and brought up in south India. I did my undergraduate and master’s degree at IIT-Dhanbad, which accepts only the top 1% of students of India every year. For my Ph.D., I was offered a full scholarship at University of Queensland, Australia, and Penn state university, but I rather chose MTU to work under Dr. S. Komar Kawatra.

Prof Komar Kawatra is leading the CO2 capture and utilization research team at Michigan Tech University. Our goal is to capture CO2 from coal-fired power plants at minimal cost and convert CO2 into value-added products like Syn-gas, Oxalic acid, etc. For the last four years, I have worked extensively on carbon capture and utilization projects. I and my team of undergraduate researchers have continuously improved the efficiency of our CO2 scrubber system and also tested the prototype in a pilot-scale environment. We presented our work at International Conferences representing MTU and received applause. I have published several papers on chemical absorption CO2 capture, in high-impact journals.

I Worked on multiple CO2 capture projects and successfully submitted reports. Successfully captured CO2 from Michigan Technological University steam plant as part of my Ph.D. thesis project. I have installed our pilot-scale CO2 scrubber system at the Michigan tech Power plant and reduced the CO2 emissions from 8% to 4%. I have trained Sam Root, a Chem Eng. Freshman on this project, who won national awards in Poster competitions.

Photography and rock climbing are two of my favorite pastimes. I am extremely pleased with my decision to pursue my Ph.D. at MTU. The upper peninsula of Michigan is a photographer’s dream, both in winter and in fall. When I have free time, I like to explore different parts of UP and take some landscape pictures. 

Doctoral Finishing Fellowship Summer 2021 Recipient – Nathan Spike

I am a PhD candidate in the mechanical engineering – engineering mechanics program. I have been fortunate during my graduate studies to have served as a graduate teaching assistant for the SAE AutoDrive Challenge, working with an interdisciplinary team of graduate and undergraduate students on the development of an autonomous vehicle. Work with this competition has afforded me the use of an autonomous Chevrolet Bolt as a platform to perform research activities relevant to my dissertation. My research has focused on path planning and control of autonomous vehicles performing obstacle avoidance on low friction surfaces, an area that is essential for widespread adoption of autonomous vehicle technology. I have developed vehicle steering controls which react to un-detected ice on the road, allowing a vehicle to maintain control when traction is lost. I have also worked on optimal paths for obstacle avoidance when the friction surface is known. Finally, I have worked on stochastic methods for representing friction surfaces in simulation which improve correlation between a simulated vehicle model and hardware test platforms. 

I would like to thank my co-advisors, Dr. Darrell Robinette and Dr. Jeremy P. Bos for their support and guidance during my pursuit of the PhD. I would also like the thank the Dean Awards Advisory Panel and the graduate school 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 in the Summer of 2021.

Doctoral Finishing Fellowship Summer 2021 Recipient – Dominic Uhelski

I always had an admiration for inventors like the Wright brothers, pushing boundaries despite setbacks. The spirit of experimentation is much like the spirit of exploration – both tread into unknown territory for the purpose of discovery. At Michigan Tech, I got to feed both.

I began my journey at Michigan Tech as an incoming master’s student in January 2018. Joining the labs of Dr. Evan Kane and Dr. Rod Chimner, I immediately got to work learning a whole new set of skills necessary to be successful in graduate research. From my background in fisheries and wildlife and upland fire ecology, Rod and Evan gave me the opportunity and support to pursue a different course. I pushed my own boundaries making the transition to wetland fire ecology, then I started pushing the boundaries of the science. We wanted to know how frequently peatlands in the upper peninsula experienced wildfire. To that end, we had to find evidence of these wildfires. However, the options for finding the evidence we needed were limiting. With standard techniques, we could get an idea of fire frequency in only a few sites. We set our sights higher.

Rod and Evan helped me cultivate the spirit of experimentation with the perseverance of an inventor. With their help, I surpassed the limitations of the present methods by inventing my own. Like every other scientist and inventor, I stood on the shoulders of giants to reach as far as I have, but that makes me no less proud, only more humble. It was not easy, but my efforts were rewarded. Rather than three sites, we were able to study thirty. Now every other scientist who wants to do the same will be able to walk the trail we blazed.

Somewhere along the way, we realized that this work had potential beyond a master’s project, so I decided to stay on and make a Ph.D. project out of it, and I’m glad that I did. I have learned so much from working with Rod and Evan, about the field, the research process, about what my strengths and weaknesses are. Now, as my time at MTU winds gradually to a close, I know that I still have more to learn, but I also have a duty to publish all that we have learned. That may be the most difficult part of the whole process, but the support of the finishing fellowship that I have received will be an invaluable assistance. I am grateful to the graduate school for awarding me this fellowship, and to Rod, Evan, my committee, my coauthors, and the undergraduate assistants that have all contributed to bringing this work to fruition.

Doctoral Finishing Fellowship Summer 2021 Recipient – Josh Chase

I am currently a PhD candidate in the Rhetoric, Theory and Culture program in the Department of Humanities. I previously earned a Master of Arts in Rhetoric and Writing from St. Cloud State University, as well as undergraduate degrees in English literature and creative writing.

The Finishing Fellowship will allow me to continue my research on the rhetoric of conspiracy culture. My dissertation examines how conspiracy theories and anti-conspiracy discourses both draw from and shape public understandings of science and technology. I am especially interested in the rhetorical struggle for epistemic supremacy between conspiracy theorists and their detractors, as well as the emulation of scientific disciplinary practices by users of online conspiracy forums. My project seeks to better understand how terms like “conspiracy theorist,” “truther,” “debunker,” and “skeptic,” operate rhetorically to reify and mediate the boundaries between outlandish ideas and legitimated knowledge.

My time at Michigan Tech has allowed me to pursue interests in digital rhetoric and public understanding of science, to develop a critical and transdisciplinary pedagogy, and to refine my interests in writing program administration and writing center studies. I am grateful for the support of the Department of Humanities and the Graduate School. I am particularly thankful for my advisory committee—Dr. Abraham Romney, Dr. Marika Seigel, and Dr. Carlos Amador—whose mentorship and encouragement has been invaluable.

Doctoral Finishing Fellowship Summer 2021 Recipient – Daniel Bryne

I began my Ph.D. in computer science in the Fall of 2016. I currently work with Dr. Zhenlin Wang and Dr. Nilufer Onder to model and optimize caching systems deployed in cloud computing environments. Data caching helps improve the speed and efficiency of front-end cloud applications such as websites and video streaming. Specifically, we focus on utilizing new memory technologies to lower operational costs while meeting performance targets. In collaboration with researchers at the University of Rochester, we have developed a new data caching system. Our system uses intelligent data replication and allocation across multiple memory devices to maximize performance while reducing overall operating costs. My improvements to caching systems have gone outside the lab, being adopted into a widely-used open-source caching system, memcached.

I am incredibly grateful for my committee’s support as I finish my dissertation over the summer. It has been a wonderful journey, and I have greatly enjoyed my time as a graduate student, especially my tenure as GSG Vice President. I am happy to have had the opportunity to advocate for graduate students and achieve increased support for health care. I also would like to thank the College of Computing for its efforts in creating a strong research environment and a supportive community of graduate students and faculty. I extend my sincere gratitude to the Graduate School for this support during the final period of completing and defending my dissertation.

Doctoral Finishing Fellowship Spring 2021 Recipient – Pegah Kord Forooshani

I joined Dr. Bruce Lee’s lab in the Department of Biomedical Engineering in Fall 2016, where we focused on designing biomimetic materials for different biomedical applications. The overall objective of my research is to manipulate a unique reduction-oxidation chemistry found in mussel adhesive proteins to create novel biomimetic model systems for robust antibacterial activity and enhanced wound healing. Specifically, I have been developing biomimetic hydrogel/microgels which can be activated to release Reactive Oxygen Species such as hydroxyl radical (OH) and hydrogen peroxide (H2O2). OH is an extremely potent oxidizer which, unlike H2O2, no known enzyme can detoxify it in the bacteria cells, leading to fast and efficient antibacterial activities. H2O2 is a mild oxidizer, which effectively functions as a broad-spectrum biocide and disinfectant in many biomedical applications. The introduction of a relatively high concentration of H2O2 is antimicrobial and a relatively lower concentration promoted wound healing. We are anticipating that our H2O2-releasing hydrogels can serve as a simple and inexpensive approach for the treatment of healing-impaired wounds such as diabetic foot ulcers.

I would like to thank Dr. Lee for his valuable guidance and support. I am also incredibly grateful to the Graduate Dean Awards Advisory Panel and the Graduate School for awarding me Finishing Fellowship. This will allow me to concentrate on my research and complete my doctoral project in Spring 2021.

Doctoral Finishing Fellowship Spring 2021 Recipient – Rashi Yadav

Doctoral Finishing fellowship

There are a number of aspects in my life that inspired me to be a scientist. I grew up in Chandimandir Cantt, India and as a young girl, I wanted to be an army officer. I remember being awestruck whenever I would see soldiers as they worked relentlessly to protect people and I would think how fulfilling that would be. As I reached high school, I found myself appreciating various scientists that have contributed in revolutionizing the whole world. A scientist can defeat a microorganism capable of wiping out the human population. That is just incredible! That’s why I tell everyone that I am extremely proud of my work line as our unceasing efforts will eventually benefit the society and that is my key motivation which is extremely fulfilling. I am so glad that I am close to my 12 years long dream of getting a Ph.D.

I am very fortunate that I worked with Dr. Ebenezer Tumban, who guided me to conduct professional and analytical research and also taught me several aspects of life by setting up a great example by his deeds. I have done multiple projects under his guidance including assessing MS2-L2 based virus-like particles (VLPs) against Human Papillomavirus (HPV) associated with genital and oral cancer. In addition to this, I have worked on development of a novel thermostable bacteriophage VLP platform-based vaccine.

My experience of pursuing Ph.D. at Michigan Technological University has been incredible. It has been a life-time experience; MTU has the most beautiful summer and winter, though sometimes I have seen extreme winter. But, I must say it is absolutely worth it. I got several opportunities to participate in competitions at MTU and have won awards such as 3-minute thesis, summer fellowship, finishing fellowship etc.  When I am not doing research, I like to spend my time exploring places, going for a hike, painting and dancing.

I am so grateful to Graduate school, MTU for awarding me this prestigious doctoral finishing fellowship. I am so elated and thankful to the people who have supported me in my journey.