Tag: Geology

Science and Engineering Expo on National Mall

Michigan Tech will have a dual presence at the first annual USA Science and Engineering Festival, Oct. 23-24, on the National Mall in Washington, DC.

The Science and Engineering Expo is the grand finale of a two-week event promoting public interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. More than 1,500 interactive activities for all ages, hosted by more than 350 of the nation’s leading science and engineering organizations, will expose attendees to a broad spectrum of science. All events are free and open to the public, and hundreds of thousands of visitors are expected to attend.

NSF Program Answers Burning Questions About Volcanoes

How can you tell if a volcano is about to blow? What tools do you use to monitor a volcano? What’s so important about volcanoes, anyway? The world–including thousands of school-age youngsters–will get hands-on answers from Michigan Tech.

Tech’s volcano exhibit is in Freedom Plaza (Section PA-13, Booth #1317). Graduate students Luke Bowman, Kyle Brill and Anieri Morales Rivera will demonstrate equipment and techniques used by field researchers to monitor volcanic activity. By doing this monitoring, volcanologists can learn more about volcanic processes and identify potential precursors to eruptions.

The team hopes its exhibit will get people interested in geology. “Geology is a science full of wonders, excitement and lots of things to discover,” says Morales Rivera, “from understanding natural processes that may become a hazard to humans, such as volcanoes, to improving our knowledge of Earth and planetary sciences.” People are “exposed to geology in a daily basis,” she points out, “from the use of mineral resources to the location of petroleum and water supplies.”

To help illustrate what they look for when monitoring volcanoes, the Tech team is bringing an accelerometer and a Forward-Looking Infrared, or FLIR, camera. To demonstrate the accelerometer, which measures seismic activity, guests will be invited to jump on the ground, creating earthquake-like vibrations that the accelerometer will pick up and display as a seismogram.

The graduate students will also show visitors pictures of themselves taken with the FLIR camera, which measures an object’s radiant energy, translates it into temperature, and displays an image using light intensity or color brightness to show levels of heat.

“Scientists can’t predict eruptions,” says Morales Rivera, “but we can talk about the probability of one based on changes in the volcano’s behavior, such as increased seismicity, changes in gas concentrations coming out of the volcano, and deformation of the volcano itself.”

The exhibit will also explain the kinds of hazards posed by a volcanic eruption, from ash clouds that can block sunlight and interfere with airline flights, to lava flows that can burn everything in their path.

The Department of Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences is one of only 15 National Science Foundation-funded projects invited to participate nationwide. Tech’s project is part of the NSF’s Partnership for International Research and Education (PIRE) program. Tech operates PIRE programs in Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama and Peru.

“The NSF Office for International Science and Education, which manages the PIRE program, was very excited about our selection,” says Chair John Gierke (GMES). “We were the only PIRE project that was selected.”

Does the Tech team feel intimidated? Of course not, says Bowman. “We hike active volcanoes. We can handle the Mall.”

Tech’s MindTrekkers are also traveling to the National Mall. The group, which is a traveling science road show produced by Youth Programs, will share some of the stranger mysteries of science.  Read the complete article in Tech Today

by Jennifer Donovan, director of public relations

Inter-American Foundation (IAF) Grassroots Development Fellowship Program

IAF Fellowships are available to currently registered students who have advanced to candidacy for the Ph.D. in the social sciences, physical sciences, technical fields and the professions as related to grassroots development issues. Applications for clinical research in the health field will NOT be considered.

Awards are based on both development and scholarly criteria. Proposals should offer a practical orientation to field-based information. In exceptional cases the IAF will support research reflecting a primary interest in macro questions of politics and economics but only as they relate to the environment of the poor. The Fellowship Program complements IAF’s support for grassroots development in Latin America and the Caribbean, and preference for those applicants whose careers or research projects are related to topics of greatest interest to the IAF.

IAF’s Fellowships provide support for Ph.D. candidates to conduct dissertation research in Latin America and the Caribbean on topics related to grassroots development. Funding is for between four and 12 months. The Inter-American Foundation expects to award up to 15 Doctoral Field Research Fellowships in 2011. Research during the 2011-2012 cycle must be initiated between June 1, 2011 and May 31, 2012.

  • Round-trip economy-class transportation to the field research site from the Fellow’s primary residence. Fellows must comply with the Fly America Act.
  • A research allowance of up to $3,000, pro-rated monthly.
  • A stipend of $1,500 per month for up to 12 months.
  • Accident and sickness insurance
  • Attendance at a required “mid-year” Grassroots Development Conference to discuss each Fellow’s progress with members of the IAF’s academic review committee and meet with IAF and IIE staff.

For more information please visit:


First In Series of Federal Funding Workshops – Sept 15th and 16th.

A federal fellowship/scholarship writing workshop will be held on Wednesday, September 15th  and Thursday, September 16th at 4:00 in Fisher 135.

You will only need to attend one of the workshops, as they are the same workshop, different days and time.

During the workshop we will review 3 samples of NSF GRFP personal statement essays. Tips will be given on how to organize your essay, utilize wording, and meet the merit criteria expected by reviewers

Prepare for the workshop by:

1. Understanding how NSF defines “broader impacts”

2. Brainstorming answers to NSF “personal statement” questions

    If you (or someone you know) plan on attending, please RSVP to Jodi Lehman (jglehman@mtu.edu).

    NSF Program Helps Guatemalans Prepare for Volcanoes

    When Rudiger Escobar-Wolf, a PhD candidate in geology, traveled to Guatemala under the sponsorship of the National Science Foundation (NSF), he never imagined that he would be meeting the nation’s vice president–let alone be asked to counsel the nation’s science advisors.  But because of his knowledge of volcanoes and volcano risk management, that’s exactly what he wound up doing.

    Escobar-Wolf’s recent presentation to the National Disaster Reduction Council and Rafael Espada, vice president of Guatemala, outlined volcanic risks and the benefits of an early warning system.  Wolf also pointed out the importance of international cooperation between Michigan Tech and Guatemalan volcanologists.

    “This is a great example of what the NSF envisioned when they created this unique funding program called PIRE (Partnerships in Research and Education) to develop international partnerships with researchers and universities,” said John Gierke, interim chair and professor of geological and mining engineering and sciences and director of PIRE at Michigan Tech.

    For the full story and photos see the volcano.

    Published in Tech Today.

    New theses and dissertations in Library

    The Graduate School is pleased to announce new theses and dissertations from the following programs:

    • Applied Ecology
    • Applied Natural Resource Economics
    • Biological Sciences
    • Chemistry
    • Civil Engineering
    • Electrical Engineering
    • Environmental Engineering
    • Forest Molecular Genetics and Biotechnology
    • Geology
    • Mineral Economics
    • Rhetoric and Technical Communication

    are now available in the J.R. van Pelt and Opie Library.

    Michigan Space Grant Consortium Funds 27 Projects at Michigan Tech

    The Michigan Space Grant Consortium (MSGC), sponsored by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), has awarded approximately $375,000 to nine Michigan universities with aerospace, engineering and space- science-related programs. Michigan Tech submitted 40 proposals, and 27 received funding totaling $105,000.

    Of that, $20,000 supports undergraduate fellowships, $30,000 is for graduate research fellowships, $30,000 provides seed grants for faculty, and $25,000 is designated for outreach, including K-12 and teacher training programs.

    Undergraduate students receiving $2,500 research fellowships include Andrew Ramsey (ME-EM), Phil Hohnstadt (ME-EM), Peter Solfest (Physics), Stephen Schweitzer (Biomedical Engineering), John Visser (ME-EM), Samantha Wojda (Biomedical Engineering), Patrick Bowen (MSE), William Grant (Chemical Engineering) and Ben Gerhardt (ME-EM).

    Graduate students receiving $5,000 fellowships include Christopher Schwartz (Biological Sciences), Elisabet Head (Geology), Jarod Maggio (Environmental Engineering), Adam Abraham (ME-EM), Matthew Barron (Biomedical Engineering), Megan Killian (Biomedical Engineering) and Amalia Anderson (Physics).

    Faculty members receiving $5,000 seed grants included Shiyan Hu, Jason Carter, Audrey Mayer, Qingli Dai, Ashok Goel and Claudio Mazzoleni. Faculty and staff members receiving $5,000 for outreach, precollege and teacher training programs include Douglas Oppliger, Shawn Oppliger, Joan Chadde and Kristi Isaacson.

    One student receiving an undergraduate fellowship is Samantha Wojda. She plans to use her grant to study how hibernation affects the bones of marmots. Disuse osteoporosis is a common problem faced by astronauts in microgravity. Hibernating mammals are also at high risk for the condition, and many have developed adaptive ways of dealing with it. Wojda plans to study hibernating marmots to see how they are affected by or protected from disuse osteoporosis. What she learns may help researchers find ways to prevent human astronauts and others who are immobilized for long periods of time from developing the debilitating condition.

    NASA implemented the National Space Grant College and Fellowship Program in 1989 to provide funding for research, education and public outreach in space-related science and technology. The program has 52 university-based consortia in the United States and Puerto Rico. As part of the Michigan Consortium, Michigan Tech has been an active participant in MSGC for over fifteen years.

    “The MSGC offers faculty, staff and especially students opportunities to develop ideas and submit competitive proposals,” said Chris Anderson, special assistant to the President for institutional diversity and the University’s MSGC liaison. “For undergraduates, the process of developing a proposal and then doing the research allows them to apply what they’re learning in the classroom, get hands-on experience and work closely with faculty.” She added, “The Consortium allows us to do more of this, as well provide graduate fellowships, seed grants and program support.”

    New Theses and Dissertations in the Library

    The Graduate School is pleased to announce the arrival of new theses and dissertations from our recent graduates in the J. R. Van Pelt Library and John and Ruanne Opie Library.  The names of our graduates, their degrees, advisors, and titles of their research are listed below.

    Brian Beachy
    Doctor of Philosophy in Forest Science
    Advisor: Andrew J Storer
    Dissertation title: Impacts of the Exotic Beech Bark Disease Complex in Michigan

    Jessica Beachy
    Doctor of Philosophy in Forest Science
    Advisor: Andrew John Storer
    Dissertation title: The Development of Trapping, Survey and Educational Tools for the Exotic Invasive Emerald Ash Borer (Agrilusplanipennis Fairmaire) (Coleoptera: Buprestidae)

    Luke Bowman
    Master of Science in Geology
    Advisor: William I Rose
    Thesis title: Community Perceptions of an NGO’s Impact on Disaster Preparedness in Los Planes de La Laguna, Santa Ana Volcano, El Salvador

    Venkat Donuru
    Doctor of Philosophy in Chemistry
    Advisor: Haiying Liu
    Dissertation title: Design and Synthesis of Novel BODIPY Polymeric Dyes, and Redox-active Tetrathiafulvalene-Carbohydrate Conjugates for Potential Biosensing Applications

    Chad Fortin
    Master of Science in Applied Ecology
    Coadvisors: Christopher Raymond Webster and David James Flaspohler
    Thesis title: Floristic Quality as a Potential Driver of Vegetative Diversity-Productivity Relationships and Arthropod Habitat in Restored Grasslands

    Bryan Franklin
    Master of Science in Computer Science
    Advisor: Steven R Seidel
    Thesis title: Analysis and Performance of a UPC Implementation of a Parallel Longest Common Subsequence Algorithm

    Valerie Fuchs
    Doctor of Philosophy in Environmental Engineering
    Coadvisors: John S Gierke and James R Mihelcic
    Dissertation title: Nitrogen Removal and Sustainability of Vertical Flow Constructed Wetlands for Small Scale Wastewater Treatment

    Alex Joseph Varghese
    Master of Science in Electrical Engineering
    Advisor: Paul L Bergstrom
    Thesis title: Fabrication of Piezo Resistive Strain Sensor for Orthopedic Fracture Implant System

    Jodi Lehman
    Doctor of Philosophy in Rhetoric and Technical Communication
    Advisor: Patricia J Sotirin
    Dissertation title: International Teachers in the American Classroom: Deposing the Myth of Monolingualism

    Ruben Otoniel Matias Gomez
    Master of Science in Geology
    Advisor: William I Rose
    Thesis title: Volcanological Map of the 1961-2009 Eruption of Volcande Pacaya, Guatemala

    Julian Mills-Beale
    Master of Science in Civil Engineering
    Advisor: Zhanping You
    Thesis title: New Test Procedures for Aggregate Specific Gravities and Absorption

    Srichand Pendyala
    Master of Science in Computer Science
    Advisor: Robert Louis Pastel
    Thesis title: Sketch Recognition through Shape Based Interaction

    Ratul Saha
    Doctor of Philosophy in Biological Sciences
    Advisor: Susan T Bagley
    Dissertation title: UV Disinfection of Metalworking Fluids: Analysis Using Molecular Tools

    Steven Vormwald
    Master of Science in Computer Science
    Advisor: Steven M Carr
    Thesis title: Predicting Remote Reuse Distance Patterns in Unified Parallel C Applications

    Fuyu Xu
    Doctor of Philosophy in Forest Molecular Genetics and Biotechnology
    Advisor: Chandrashekhar Pralhad Joshi
    Dissertation title: Molecular Mechanism of Cellulose Biosynthesis in Plants

    Dean’s Fellowship Recipients Announced

    The Graduate School is pleased to announce it’s inaugural group of Dean’s Fellows.  These students began their doctoral studies in 2009, and have received a supplement to their stipend and summer support.

    The following PhD candidates have received a one-time award:

    • Carol A. Engelmann, Geology
    • Weston H. Thomas, Electrical Engineering
    • Michael D. Via, Chemical Engineering

    The fellowships are made possible by the Graduate School and the Class of 1950.

    Application procedures for the Graduate School fellowship programs and photographs of recent recipients can be found online.   Nominations are currently open for Finishing Fellowships and Dean’s Fellowships.

    If you have any questions, contact Debra Charlesworth.

    AIAA Graduate Fellowships: Open to International Students


    The Foundation and the Technical Committees of AIAA present several funding opportunities.

    Martin Summerfield Graduate Award in Propellents and Combustion

    Eligible applicants will be actively participating in research endeavors in propellants and combustion as part of their graduate studies.

    Guidance, Navigation, and Control

    Eligible applicants will be participating in research endeavors that will impact one or more of the areas of guidance, navigation, and control as part of their graduate studies.

    Gordon C. Oates Air Breathing Propulsion Graduate Award

    Eligible applicants will be participating in research endeavors in air breathing propulsion as part of their graduate studies.

    Orville and Wilbur Wright

    Eligible applicants will be participating in research endeavors in engineering sciences.

    John Leland Atwood

    Eligible applicants will be participating in research endeavors in one of the 65 specialty areas represented by AIAA Technical Committees

    Open Topic Graduate Award

    Eligible applicants will be participating in research endeavors in one of the 65 specialty areas represented by AIAA Technical Committees

    Open to any nationality.

    Eligible applicants must have completed at least one academic year of full-time graduate work.  Applicant must have a grade point average of not less than 3.3 on a 4.0 scale.

    Deadline: Jan 31