Co-advisors: Evan Kane and Jason Keller
Tuesday, 11/12/2019 3:00 pm
Biogeochemical Response to Vegetation and Hydrologic Change in an Alaskan Boreal Fen Ecosystem
School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science
I am a fourth year PhD Candidate in the School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science. My area of study revolves around boreal ecosystems—particularly northern wetlands—and how these areas are responding to climate change. The research that I pursue at Michigan Tech specifically involves carbon cycling, microbial response, and plant community shifts due to hydrologic change. Other research I have been involved with during my time at Tech includes the investigation of permafrost thaw and its effects on nutrient cycling in and around thermokarst features. In so doing, I have spent the past three summers living and working in and around Fairbanks, Alaska—an area in which permafrost thaw and climate change are daily realities for both the landscape and the people who live there. During my time at Michigan Tech, I also had the opportunity to attain a Masters in Geographic Information Systems (GIS), which expands my technical skillset for any future career.
I am incredibly grateful to the graduate school for awarding me a Finishing Fellowship. The extra time to finish writing and publishing my research will make me a competitive candidate for many potential future careers. Careers I am interested in pursuing include nonprofit environmental research, land- or water-based management positions in federal agencies, land trusts, or non-profits, or environmental state-based careers in Alaska or other northern climates.
PhD Defense: Robert Richard
Co-advisors: Evan Kane and Dustin Bronson
Monday, 07/22/2019 9:00 am
Harvest Intensity and Soil Delineation of Nutrient-Poor Soils in Wisconsin
I am a fourth year PhD candidate in Forest Science, working with my advisor, Dr. Molly Cavaleri. My research seeks to better understand how tropical plants are impacted by climate warming. Tropical forests cycle more carbon than any other biome, but we lack insight on the mechanisms driving these vital ecosystems. My research will better inform global models and allow us to close critical gaps in our understanding of how tropical forests might shift their carbon balance in response to the warming climate. Throughout my PhD, I have been very fortunate to perform my field work at the first field-scale warming experiment in a tropical rainforest (Tropical Responses to Altered Climate Experiment– TRACE), located in Luquillo, Puerto Rico. In total, I spent eight months living and working in Puerto Rico. Alongside pursuing my PhD, I completed my master’s degree in Applied Ecology at MTU. In addition, I gained teaching experience through Michigan Tech, both as a teaching assistant and instructor for undergraduate courses.
I am very grateful to the graduate school and the Graduate Dean Awards Advisory Panel for awarding me the Finishing Fellowship. This fellowship will provide time for me to complete my degree and focus on publishing my research, which will allow me to be more competitive as apply for jobs in the next stage of my career.
Grace L. Parikh
I came to Michigan Tech in 2013 as a student in the Applied Ecology M.S. program with John Vucetich, where I had the privilege of working on the Isle Royale Wolf and Moose Project. The collegiality of the School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science, in addition to the spectacular wilderness of the UP made it an easy decision to continue at MTU for a PhD, using a long-term data set compiled by Chris Webster. I have been working with John Vucetich and Chris Webster, studying winter adaptations of white-tailed deer with a 13-year data set, using a combination of field surveys, quantitative methods, and molecular techniques. I have also had a great deal of teaching experience, ranging from field to lecture-based classes.
I am very grateful for the support of my co-advisors, John Vucetich and Chris Webster. It is an honor to be awarded the Finishing Fellowship, and I look forward to wrapping up my dissertation and taking on new challenges.
John “Moose” Henderson
As a self-financed student, the fellowship gave me the funds to complete my degree without working full time.
The Graduate School is pleased to announce the awarding of Finishing Fellowships for doctoral candidates. 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.
(listed by nominating department)
Spring 2018 Recipients
Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Gemechis Dereje Degaga
Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics
What does interdisciplinary mean? For Colin Phifer, a PhD student at Michigan Technological University, it has meant working with the wildlife ecologists he is used to as well as learning the methods and terminology of social scientists, hydrologists, soil scientists and engineers all working on the same questions but from different angles. For the past 4 years, Colin has been one of the over 130 members of an international, interdisciplinary team studying the socio-ecological effects of bioenergy development in four countries (Argentina, Brazil, Mexico and United States). Funded by the National Science Foundation’s Partnerships in International Research and Education program (PIRE), Colin’s research focuses on how land-use change associated with bioenergy development influences native bees, birds and ecosystem services while other PIRE team members examine water, soil, and social and policy impacts. After surveying for both native bees and birds in three of the countries, he is now applying ecosystem service modeling to understand trade-offs with multiple ecosystem services and land-use change.
Colin completed his MSc at the University of Hawaii in conservation biology and his BS from Humboldt State University in California. From bats to birds, plants to pollinators, gibbons to whales, Colin has worked in the US and abroad to conserve biodiversity and provide for human well-being. He wants his work to lead to actionable, impactful science and informed decision-making.
The Finishing Fellowship granted by The Graduate School in spring of 2017 has supported Colin in completing his part of the larger project. When not working, he enjoys cooking, reading a good (science fiction) book, and playing hockey with his son.