Tag: Finishing Fellowship

Doctoral Finishing Fellowship Summer 2020 Recipient- Elizabeth Barnes

I am compassionate about forest resource conservation, and came to Michigan Tech to pursue a doctoral degree in Forest Science to gain skills in ecological field research, geospatial technologies, and forest management. My studies center on ecological succession in northern forests, and the dual influences of natural disturbance and resource management on shaping the future of maple-dominated hardwoods stands. I specifically carry out research to assess the effect of wind disturbance on canopy openness, understory microclimate, and tree species recruitment and replacement. In addition, I am involved in research to model pathways of forest carbon sequestration, particularly the transfer of carbon from down dead wood to the soil matrix. During my three years at the College of Forest Resources and Environmental Science, I also attained a two-year professional degree in Forestry, endowing me with the technical skills needed to support a career in forest resource management. 

Words cannot express my gratitude for the opportunity provided to me by the Graduate School to complete my Ph.D. in Summer 2020 with the Finishing Fellowship award. I look forward to graduating and entering the fields of forestry, resource conservation, or ecological restoration in the northern Great Lakes.

Doctoral Finishing Fellowship Summer 2020 Recipient- Pratik Umesh Joshi

I started my journey at Michigan Tech in Fall 2015. My Ph.D. research has focused on understanding the behavior of viruses (coded in nature and not in computers!) and developing methods for vaccine and biotherapeutic manufacturing. Prevention against the spread of viral diseases has been one of humankind’s foremost challenges. The current vaccine manufacturing strategy to separate target viral products from the contaminants necessitates an upgrade to increase production capacity using low-cost methods. My research is geared towards characterizing viruses to generalize a method to purify various viral-based biotherapeutics. In these graduate school years, perceiving the complexity of viral interactions has intrigued me to pursue a research career to keep investigating in-depth the nature of viruses and other biotherapeutic agents. These answers will help in developing better technologies to process such intricate moieties.

I consider myself very fortunate to be mentored by Dr. Caryn Heldt who guided me to develop an advanced, scientific thinking process. I am very thankful to be awarded with the Finishing Fellowship for summer 2020 and for the support to focus on my degree completion.

Doctoral Finishing Fellowship Summer 2020 Recipient- Ali Jalooli


I am a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Computer Science, studying the optimization of message routing in heterogeneous wireless networks. Over the past years, I have mainly focused on vehicular networks in smart cities. Research in this area is of great importance, as it advances cutting-edge connected and autonomous vehicle technologies. This has far-reaching consequences for many aspects of daily life, given the expanding world of the Internet of Things.  Connected vehicles provide various benefits, spanning from advanced driver assistance, remote diagnostics, and infotainment for consumers to road safety, improving response time for emergency vehicles, and even improving national and international economies by ameliorating traffic congestion. My work at Tech on the underlying networks that drive these technologies enhances the performance and feasibility of robust wireless networks. During my time at Tech, I have also gained teaching experience and increased responsibility in course development and assessment as a teaching assistant and lead instructor.

I am grateful to the graduate school and the graduate dean awards advisory panel for awarding me a Finishing Fellowship. I am also grateful to my advisors, Dr. Kuilin Zhang and Dr. Min Song, for their support and guidance.

Fall 2020 Finishing Fellowship Nominations Open

Applications for fall 2020 finishing fellowships are being accepted and are due no later than 4pm, July 1, 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.

Doctoral Finishing Fellowship Spring 2020 Recipient – Mingyang Li

Mingyang Li
Mechanical Engineering- Engineering Mechanics

I am a Ph.D. candidate studying design for reliability in the Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics. In Fall 2014, I came to Michigan Tech as a master student in Material Science and Engineering department, and Dr. Yu Wang was my advisor for the research regarding ferroelectric materials. I joined MEEM to pursue Ph.D. after finishing my master degree in 2016. Fortunately, I decided to work with Dr. Zequn Wang, and our research interests are mainly focused on reliability analysis, uncertainty quantification, and machine learning techniques. During the past three years, we have done lots of work for improving the efficiency and accuracy of reliability analysis, and deep learning methods have been integrated for dealing with the curse of dimensionality.

I am extremely grateful to the Graduate School for the award of Doctoral Finishing Fellowship, which ensures that I can fully devoted myself to my dissertation and complete my degree within next semester. I would like to thank the guidance from my master and Ph.D. advisors. I cannot achieve my goals without the massive support from them.

Doctoral Finishing Fellowship Spring 2020 Recipient – Samerender Nagam Hanumantharao

Samerender Nagam Hanumantharao
Biomedical Engineering

I moved to the city of Houghton to pursue my M.S. degree in Biomedical Engineering in Fall 2015. I completed my Masters’ thesis, titled “ A 3D Biomimetic Scaffold using Electrospinning for Tissue Engineering Applications” under the guidance of Dr. Smitha Rao in Spring 2017. I continued to work with Dr. Rao in pursuit of my Ph.D. My PhD work focuses on understanding and exploiting the role of biomechanical cues in chronic wound healing and cancer. Interestingly, these two diseases share some common factors that can be used to make bandages that can accelerate wound healing or trap metastatic cancer cells.  I want to thank the Graduate School for the funding during the last stage of my research.

Doctoral Finishing Fellowship Spring 2020 Recipient – Zachary Morgan

Zachary Morgan
Materials Science & Engineering

Specializing in computational materials research as a Ph.D. student, I am motivated by opportunities where I can utilize knowledge of numerical analysis, scientific visualization, and data processing to investigate problems in materials science. I have had many opportunities to grow as a professional in research, teaching, and volunteering here at Michigan Tech which has given me a fulfilling experience. Currently, I am working on modeling and simulation of defects in materials under the influence of driving forces due to harsh and extreme conditions including electric fields and stresses. I develop my own software that allows me to investigate these interesting problems. A special thank you is given to my advisor Dr. Yongmei Jin for all of her wonderful support and encouragement. Additionally, I’d like to thank the Department of Materials Science and Engineering here at Tech. I am grateful to the Graduate School for its support through the Finishing Fellowship.

Doctoral Finishing Fellowship Spring 2020 Recipient – Olivia Barbee

Olivia Barbee

I am a Ph.D. Candidate studying igneous petrology in the Department of Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences. I conduct crystal-scale studies of magmatic minerals primarily within a voluminous eruption deposit from Toba caldera volcano in Indonesia. Before eruption, these minerals were recording the evolving conditions of their subsurface environment as they were growing (crystallizing) from the magma. I decipher their preserved records, similar to how one studies tree rings. I specifically link changes in crystal texture with changes in crystal chemistry to better understand magma dynamics in potentially hazardous, caldera-forming magma systems (e.g., Toba, Yellowstone, Taupo Volcanic Zone). My findings have important implications for the application of petrologic tools used to study magmas, such as mineral geothermometers, geobarometers and geospeedometers, as well as models of caldera magma systems. My research may also help inform timescales of the production and gestation of giant silicic magma bodies stored in the Earth’s crust, whose eruptions are known to have global impacts.

I thank my advisor, Dr. Chad Deering, for his generous support, and allowing me to explore various research avenues throughout my time at Michigan Tech. I am also indebted to Dr. Craig Chesner, a long-time mentor and Michigan Tech Alumni (M.S.; Ph.D. ’88), as his Toba research at Tech led me to where I am today (and ironically, back to where it all started). I am very grateful to the Graduate School for their support through a Doctoral Finishing Fellowship, which will allow me to finish writing my dissertation and research publications.

Doctoral Finishing Fellowship Spring 2020 Recipient – Karl Meingast

Karl Meingast
Forest Science

My M.S. research project was focused on peatland fuel characterization using remotely sensed data and was published in Remote Sensing of the Environment. After that, my research focus shifted to organic matter movement from terrestrial inputs (leaf litter for example) to Lake Superior through snowmelt flushing. This research is in line with the NASA Arctic COLORS project focused on similar questions in the Bering, Chukchi Seas and Beaufort Seas. These questions have led our team to employ in-situ validations of remotely sensed data, land and boat based field studies of Lake Superior, and laboratory tests to answer our main research question: How do snowpack and soil water flowpath dynamics affect dissolved carbon exports from forested watersheds? After publishing my dissertation, I look forward to continuing research focused on these questions; however, I am very passionate about Lake Superior, and I look forward to engaging in new and ongoing research opportunities related to geographic, biological, physical, and chemical questions associated with it.

Doctoral Finishing Fellowship Spring 2020 Recipient – Di Huang

Di Huang
Materials Science & Engineering

I am a Ph.D. candidate in Material Science and Engineering, working with my advisor, Dr. Jiann-Yang Hwang. Over the past four years, my research interest has been focused on ion exchange membranes, which play important roles in desalination and purification industry. Ion exchange membranes that are more related to my research is the industrial wastewater treatment. Studying the high-performance ion exchange membranes helps to solve the excessive water pollution issue, such as wastewater of plating industry. The synthesis method implemented in my research can appropriately decrease the production cost of ion exchange membranes applied for treating wastewater with high heavy metal ions. Furthermore, this ion exchange membrane would better save electrical energy for electrochemical device which were widely used in wastewater retreatment field.

am extremely honored to be awarded the finishing scholarship and very grateful to have this support during this stage of my research. This fellowship provides me  precious time and energy to focus on my final dissertation and allows me equipping myself to start the next stage of my career.