Tag: Finishing Fellowship

Doctoral Finishing Fellowship – Spring 2022 Recipient – Modupe Yusuf

I am currently a PhD candidate in the Rhetoric, Theory and Culture (RTC) program of the Department of Humanities. My research is situated at the intersection of discourse studies, technical communication and rhetoric of health and medicine. In my dissertation, I examine the discourses surrounding the adoption and implementation of ICT-driven health technologies (such as medical apps and electronic health records) with Nigeria as a case study while I draw broader implications for other low- and middle-income countries and contexts. 

My research contributes to understandings of health disparities as intersectional and layered between multiple socio-economic, political, cultural, and geo-locational contexts. I argue for a bottom-up approach to the development of ICT-driven health systems that thinks from the lives of situated users in LMICs instead of duplicating models which may not serve the communities for which they are designed in the long term. This research also contributes to understandings of technological models developing from Global South contexts and how these models might contribute to the development of health technologies for social justice work in healthcare systems in the Global North.

I am immensely grateful to the Graduate School and The Graduate Dean Awards Advisory Panel for granting me the finishing fellowship. This award will enable me to focus on completing my dissertation as scheduled. I am also grateful to my co-advisors, Dr. Marika Seigel and Dr. Victoria Bergvall, and my committee member, Dr. Diane shoos for their support and mentorship.


Doctoral Finishing Fellowship – Spring 2022 Recipient – Aynaz Biniyaz

I started my journey at Michigan Tech by joining the Ph.D. program in Geotechnical Engineering in Spring 2019. Dr. Zhen Liu’s research group (LiuRG) provided me with an environment to grow and thrive in my future career. The current goal of LiuRG is to use Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning algorithms to solve geotechnical engineering problems more efficiently. My Ph.D. research focuses on the development of intelligent geosystems with AI, multiphysics, and system analysis to help mitigate natural hazards, especially landslides. An autonomous water pumping system in slopes exemplifies an intelligent geosystem. The objective of my study is to reduce the operational costs and enhance slopes safety by proposing an autonomous pumping system enabled by Deep Reinforcement Learning (DRL), which is a subfield of machine learning for automated decision-making. Such a system can learn from past experiences like a human to improve the safety, resilience, and cost of the system. This system can benefit geotechnical practitioners during flooding and extreme weather events to prevent landslides and disasters.

I want to express my gratitude to my advisor, Dr. Zhen Liu, who supported me along the way. Also, I would like to sincerely thank the Graduate Dean Award Advisory Panel for awarding me the Finishing Fellowship. This will allow me to focus on completing my dissertation and defending it.


Doctoral Finishing Fellowship – Spring 2022 Recipient – Zhuo He

I started my Ph.D. in 2018 and transferred to the Department of Applied Computing at Michigan Tech in the fall of 2019. I obtained my Bachelor’s degree from Central South University in China. 

At Michigan Tech, I work at the Laboratory of Medical Imaging and Informatics under Dr. Weihua Zhou’s supervision. We focus on the application of improving the treatment outcome of cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) using artificial intelligence, which is a life-saving treatment for patients with failing hearts. Like any therapy, CRT is not suited for all patients, and patient selection is critical to achieving optimal performance. My dissertation work intelligently fuses mechanical dyssynchrony with electrical dyssynchrony to identify the right patient for CRT, thereby significantly improving the outcome of CRT.

I would like to thank the Graduate School, the Department of Applied Computing, and the Graduate Dean Awards Advisory Panel for providing me with the Finishing Fellowship award. This award will allow me to focus on wrapping up my dissertation and preparing for my defense.


Doctoral Finishing Fellowship – Spring 2022 Recipient – Zhihong Wang

I began my Ph.D. study in 2017 and working with Dr. Xiaoqing Tang in the Department of Biological Sciences. I received my Bachelor of Science degree in Biotechnology from Northwest A&F University in 2016. 

My research focuses on the role of miR-483 in pancreatic beta-cells. Pancreatic β-cell dysfunction is central to the development and progression of type 2 diabetes. Dysregulation of microRNAs (miRNAs) has been associated with pancreatic islet dysfunction in type 2 diabetes. I found out that Loss of miR-483 could enhance high-fat diet–induced hyperglycemia and glucose intolerance by the attenuation of diet-induced insulin release. and I further demonstrated that the loss of miR-483 induces expression of Aldh1a3, a marker of β-cell dedifferentiation. My results suggest that miR-483 mimic would be a potential therapeutic target to revert β-cell dedifferentiation and be a treatment of diabetes. 

I would like to thank my advisor, Dr. Xiaoqing Tang, for her support and guidance. And I would like to thank the Graduate School, Graduate Dean Awards Advisory Panel, and the Graduate School for providing me with the Finishing Fellowship award. This will allow me to focus on writing and defending my dissertation in Spring 2022.


Summer 2022 Finishing Fellowship Nominations Open

Applications for Summer 2022 finishing fellowships are being accepted and are due no later than 4pm, March 2, 2022 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 – Fall 2021 Recipient – Erin Eberhard

Erin Eberhard came to Michigan Technological University in June 2015 after earning her B.S. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Michigan. She earned her Master’s degree from Michigan Tech in summer 2017 with the thesis, “Co-occurrence of nitrogen fixation and denitrification across a stream nitrogen gradient in a western watershed,” as part of Dr. Marcarelli’s lab NSF CAREER project looking at the dynamics of nitrogen fixation and denitrification in streams – read more about it in Biogeochemistry (Eberhard et al. 2018). She has continued her PhD studies on the same project, focusing on small-scale factors that facilitate the co-occurrence of N transformations and how they are related to microbial assemblages in streams and also across wetland-stream-lake interfaces of Great Lakes coastal wetlands. After graduation, she plans to pursue a career in a federal or state agency working to conserve and protect freshwater ecosystems and communicate science with the public.


Doctoral Finishing Fellowship – Fall 2021 Recipient – Geeta Sachdeva

When I was in high school, my father once told me that he was very inspired by all the professors in his Lab, where he worked as a lab assistant. He always wished one of his children would study science and become a professor. I first realized that I adored Physics when I scored the highest marks on the Physics exam among all the other students. With the encouragement of my parents and my favorite science teacher, who recognized that I would excel in the challenging environment of like-minded students, I pursued my further studies in Physics. My love for physics has increased exponentially ever since. I used that fire inside me, pushed myself throughout this Ph.D. program, and am now ready to graduate with the finishing fellowship award and a cumulative GPA of 3.9.

Growing up in an underprivileged community, I never imagined that I would go to the United States of America, especially at Michigan Technological University for my Doctorate study. Coming from such a community had not only offered financial and academic challenges but had also helped me realize the true value and potential of a college education. I have a long-held fascination with the inner workings of the universe, which I feel are best learned from the study of physics. My primary area of interest is Quantum Mechanics. Although I understand enough of it mathematically, there is always more and more to learn. Normally, when things are separated in space, we view them as independent entities. However according to Quantum Mechanics, in certain circumstances, things that are separate in space can be viewed as a single entity. One particle can cause a change in another even though they have no direct relationship. This phenomenon seemed very fascinating to me and I decided to pursue my research in this field.

My experience of pursuing a Ph.D. at Michigan Technological University has been incredible. On my first day at Tech, I knew I had a long way to go, but I am very fortunate that I had a mentor like Dr. Ravindra Pandey, who was always patient. He guided me to conduct professional and analytical research and taught me several aspects of life by setting up great examples by his deeds. I have worked with Dr. Pandey on multiple projects where I could investigate how constituents of one material can affect the properties of another material and how combining them will result in an extended material with enhanced properties and applications. I have been working on a project in collaboration with the NASA team on various polymer molecule interactions with graphene and BN monolayers, and have investigated the structure-property relationship among such complex systems.

I have been in Houghton for four years now and it has been a life-changing experience; summers were always the most beautiful and winters had shown their extreme. I got several opportunities to participate in events and organizations at MTU and have always tried my best to help others. I am thankful to MTU for allowing me this chance to pursue a Ph.D. in my area of interest. I am grateful to the Graduate Dean Awards Advisory Panel and the Graduate School for awarding me the Finishing Fellowship during the final period of completing and defending my dissertation. Lastly, I am thankful to my Professor, my committee members, and my friends who have supported me in this wonderful journey.


Doctoral Finishing Fellowship – Fall 2021 Recipient – Morteza Shaker Ardakani

I began my journey at Michigan Tech as an incoming PhD’s student in fall 2017 in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering. During my studies, I have completed a couple of research projects in which the mechanical properties of zinc (Zn) based alloys, as a new class of biodegradable metallic implants (BMIs), have been tailored.

Ideally, BMIs will be designed to be absorbed and metabolized by the body after successfully completing their tasks as structural supports. The structural demands for BMIs necessitate a careful balance of the alloy chemistry and material processing. My PhD research involves the development of alloying and processing strategies to address deficiencies in the mechanical behavior of Zn-based alloys.  My project serves to establish workable balances among the mechanical characteristics without compromising the required underlying alloy’s biocompatibility and corrosion rate.

I would like to sincerely thank the Graduate Dean Awards Advisory Panel and the Graduate School for providing me with the Finishing Fellowship Award. This will allow me to focus my efforts on defending my dissertation in fall 2021. I am particularly thankful to my advisors, Dr. Kampe and Dr. Drelich, whose mentorship and encouragement has been invaluable


Doctoral Finishing Fellowship – Fall 2021 Recipient – Shabnam Konica

I joined Michigan Technological University as a Ph.D. student in the Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics Department in Fall 2017. I obtained my Masters’ degree from Concordia University, Montreal, Canada, and a Bachelors’ degree from Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology in Mechanical Engineering. Before I started pursuing my Ph.D., I was engaged as a faculty member in the Military Institute of Science and Technology in Bangladesh. 

At Michigan Tech, I work at the Laboratory of Mechanics & Modeling of Advanced Materials under Dr. Trisha Sain’s supervision. We develop experimentally informed multiscale, coupled multiphysics continuum level models to predict the constitutive response of polymers and their composites: from the manufacturing stage to operational condition until failure. I mainly study the thermal aging and degradation of these materials in their operating environments at great detail. Our model predicts aging-related phenomena in these materials, such as oxidation-induced cracking, property degradation, ductile to brittle transformation, and the constitutive response changes.

I am grateful to the graduate school of MTU for the financial support through the doctoral finishing fellowship for the fall semester. This aid will surely help me to complete my thesis on time.


Doctoral Finishing Fellowship – Fall 2021 Recipient – Ruiting Zhan

I began my Ph.D. study in 2017 and have been working with Dr. Lei Pan in the Department of Chemical Engineering. I previously obtained a Master of Science degree from the same department in 2017 and received my Bachelor of Science degree in Applied Chemistry from Hunan University in 2014. 

My research focuses on the application of mineral processing methods towards lithium-ion battery recycling activities. With the surging worldwide sales of Electric Vehicles in recent years, proper management and disposal methods on retired batteries are needed to prevent environmental pollutions and to scavenge valuable materials back into the supply chain. With the guidance of Dr. Lei Pan, I have been working on exploring and investigating physical methods to recycle and separate materials from lithium-ion battery scraps. High grade and high recovery of valuable cathode electrode materials can be obtained with preserved function integrities. Other components include copper, aluminum, electrolyte, and battery-grade graphite can be separated and concentrated through physical separation processes. 

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