Tag: Materials Science and Engineering

PCA Inducts New Members and Honor Students

On Friday, April 16, nine alumnae were inducted into the Presidential Council of Alumnae (PCA). In addition to the nine new inductees, 30 PCA members were also on campus for their annual business meeting April 14-16.

The PCA advises the President on campus climate issues, provides suggestions for enhancing the University’s environment for students, and assists the President by identifying programs and activities that will benefit Michigan Tech. PCA works with the Office of Institutional Diversity, the Advancement area and the academic departments to help implement their ideas and support the University’s strategic plan.

The inductees are as follows:

  • Nancy A. Auer (Arnold), Biological Sciences, ’95 (PhD Alumna Graduate)
  • Ellen M. Bauman (Barrett), Electrical Engineering, ’90 and ’93 (MS Alumna Graduate)
  • Elzbieta G. Berak, Civil Engineering, ’81, Engineering Mechanics, ’85 (PhD Alumna Graduate)
  • Michelle-Anne Christensen (Irmen), Geological Engineering, ’84, Civil Engineering, ’86
  • Kathleen Haselmaier (Calder), Computer Science, ’84
  • Wendy L. Kram (Davidson), Mechanical Engineering, ’91
  • Catherine A. Leslie (Kuchta), Civil Engineering, ’83
  • Barbara K. Lograsso (Kiiskila), Metallurgical Engineering, ’80 and ’82, Metallurgical and Materials Science, ’91 (MS, PhD Alumna Graduate)
  • Erin A. Zimmer (Atwell), Chemistry, ’98

Another component of the PCA program includes the annual Women of Promise awards. This award recognizes current female students from each academic department who go above and beyond what is expected of them in terms of being a well-rounded student. The award goes to students who have demonstrated academic achievement, campus and community leadership, good citizenship, creativity and other characteristics of high-achieving individuals.

The honorees are as follows:

  • Anne E. Aho, Social Sciences
  • Ashley N. Benjamin, School of Technology
  • Kaitlyn J. Bunker, Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • Danae N. Danen, Mathematical Sciences
  • Heather L. Dickey, Computer Science
  • Andrea Dixon, Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences
  • Roxane Gay, Humanities (PhD Alumna Candidate)
  • Krista M. Kasuboski, Exercise Science, Health and Physical Education
  • Chelsea R. Leighton, Visual and Performing Arts
  • Britta C. Lundberg, Material Science and Engineering
  • Amanda L. Malburg, Civil Engineering
  • Jaclyn E. Nesbitt, Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics (MS Alumna Graduate,  PhD Candidate)
  • Annie L. Putman, Chemistry
  • Leslie M. Sabbann, Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics (undergraduate)
  • Erin M. Scanlon, Physics
  • Alison J. Springer-Wilson, Chemical Engineering
  • Danielle M. Stoll, Biomedical Engineering
  • Anna A. Uhl, Biological Sciences
  • Donieka R. Walker, Cognitive and Learning Sciences
  • Katherine R. Waring, Environmental Engineering
  • Jill C. Witt, School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science (PhD Alumna Candidate)
  • Katie L. Wysocky, School of Business and Economics

Published in Tech Today

Four Michigan Tech Graduate Programs Rank in Top 50 Nationwide

Graduate school rankings released by US News and World Report today rank four of Michigan Tech graduate engineering programs in the top 50 nationwide. The annual rankings evaluated graduate programs in 192 schools of engineering.

Michigan Tech’s ranked engineering programs included:
• Environmental engineering–28th
• Mechanical engineering–48th
• Materials science and engineering–48th
• Civil engineering–49th

Tech’s College of Engineering overall ranked in the top 100, at 86th.

For the first time this year, US News and World Report also ranked biological sciences, chemistry, computer science, earth sciences, mathematics and physics. Earth sciences at Michigan Tech ranked in the top 100, at 81st. Physics ranked 122nd, and biological sciences, 207th.

“This year’s rankings really show that competition for the ‘top 50′ is increasing. We are neck-and-neck with some very strong programs” said Jackie Huntoon, dean of the Graduate School.

Each year, US News and World Report ranks graduate schools of engineering, business, the sciences, the humanities and social sciences, medicine and other health specialties, law and education. They base these rankings on two types of data: expert opinions by the programs’ peers and statistical indicators of program quality. The data come from surveys conducted in the fall of 2009 of more than 12,400 academics and professionals and more than 1,200 graduate programs.

Engineering specialties are ranked solely on the basis of assessments by department chairs in each specialty. The American Society for Engineering Education recommends the department chairs to be surveyed.

The rankings will be featured in the May 2010 issue of US News and World Report, scheduled to be on the newsstands on April 27. A guidebook called “America’s Best Graduate Schools” will be available for purchase on April 20.

Information is also available online at www.usnews.com/grad .

Award Recipients Announced for NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program

The results of the 2010 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) competition have been announced. Michigan Tech applauds six of its student applicants who received Fellow Awards this year:

  • Kaitlyn (Reed) Bunker (Electrical Engineering)
  • Nicole Colasacco-Thumm (Geosciences/Climate Dynamics)
  • Jared Cregg (Biomedical Engineering)
  • Ashley Thode (Civil Engineering)
  • Eli Vlaisavljevich (Bioengineering)
  • Samantha Wojda (Biomedical Engineering)

Fellows benefit from a three-year annual stipend of $30,000 along with a $10,500 cost of education allowance for tuition and fees, a one-time $1,000 international travel allowance and the freedom to conduct their own research at any accredited US or foreign institution of graduate education they choose.

Six Michigan Tech students were recognized with honorable mention:

  • Sarah Gray (Biomedical)
  • Katherine Becker (Materials Science)
  • Brian Devree (Biology)
  • Katelyn FitzGerald (Geological Engineering, graduate student)
  • Joseph Licavoli (Engineering – Metallurgical, graduate student)
  • Peter Radecki (Mechanical Engineering)

As the oldest graduate fellowship of its kind, the GRFP has a history and reputation of selecting recipients who achieve high levels of success in their future academic and professional careers. To be eligible for the NSF GRFP, students must:

  • be a US citizen, US national or permanent resident alien
  • be in a research-focused Master’s or PhD program in an NSF-supported field
  • be in the final year of an undergraduate program, first year graduate student or first semester of second year in graduate school (no more than 12 months of graduate courses).

An informative session on applying to the 2011 NSF GRFP will be held at 6 p.m., Wednesday, April 14, in Fisher 130. Contact Jodi Lehman for more information.

Alumnus Endows Bhakta Rath Research Award

When Bhakta B. Rath was earning his master’s degree in metallurgical and materials engineering at Michigan Tech in 1958, the US was an undisputed world leader in science and technology. Now he’s the associate director of research and head of the Materials Science and Component Technology Directorate at the US Naval Research Laboratory, and Rath worries about a declining interest in this country in studying science and technology.

So he and his wife, Sushama Rath, have endowed the Bhakta Rath Research Award to motivate Michigan Tech faculty and doctoral students to conduct the kind of research that will meet the nation’s needs and the challenges of emerging technologies. The annual award will be $2,000, split between a graduate student and his or her faculty advisor.

Rath’s gift supports the strategic direction of Michigan Tech: to grow and strengthen its research enterprise and graduate program.

Published in Tech Today

Safer Helmet, Safer Head

Michigan Tech Team Takes Its Award-winning Invention to San Francisco Inventors Expo

by Jennifer Donovan, director of public relations

In the heat of a football game, a player is tackled and pounded to the ground. His head takes a mighty sideways whack. What happens next–a concussion or some other kind of traumatic brain injury–is rarely good.

Now a team of inventive engineering students from Michigan Tech has designed a new and promising protective layer for sports and motorcycle helmets. They used the human head itself as a model for building a helmet lining that mimics the body’s own tricks for deflecting blows to the head. For example, the scalp, designed for redirecting oblique impacts; the skull, for absorbing normal impacts; and the cerebral spinal fluid, for dampening the final impact on the brain.

The team was one of 16 chosen from more than 200 colleges and universities to introduce their invention at a national inventors conference in San Francisco this week. Michigan Tech undergraduates and graduate students will be demonstrating a prototype Enhanced BioMorphic (EBM) helmet layer at March Madness for the Mind, sponsored by the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance (NCIIA) and Inventors Digest magazine at the Exploratorium science museum.

In their prototype, they simulate the skull with a light composite sandwich shell, the scalp with thin elastic discs, and the spinal fluid with a soft padding system. The protective layer can be inserted into a helmet in addition to the regular helmet liner. It protects the head inside the helmet against both oblique and normal impacts.

“Normal helmets are designed for direct, straight-on impact,” explains Wayne Bell, a graduate student at Michigan Tech and helmet team member. “They aren’t designed to protect against rotational acceleration, even though ‘normal’ impacts in football often involve rotation.”

In an online competition, viewers have already voted a two-minute video about the helmet produced by Michigan Tech’s team one of the top three videos of student inventions. The top three videos will be shown today. A panel of independent reviewers and NCIIA and Inventors Digest staff will choose the winning video, and a People’s Choice Award will be presented to the team that receives the most votes from conference attendees.

The Michigan Tech team and advisor Gopal Jayaraman, a professor of mechanical engineering-engineering mechanics at Michigan Tech, have been designing, building, testing and refining prototype helmets for several years. Their latest prototype has passed drop-test standards set by the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE), preventing damage at 155 times the force of gravity (155 g’s), the maximum load the brain can take without sustaining injury. They are also evaluating their invention using a mathematical model that enables them to optimize performance based on the properties of the materials they use.

Michigan Tech’s Technology and Economic Development Office is working with the students to patent and license the new helmet technology. They hope to license their invention to a commercial sports equipment manufacturer, paving the way for a full-fledged athletic equipment research center at Michigan Tech.

Sponsors of the helmet research and development are Michigan Tech’s Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics, Athletics, and Exercise Science, Health and Physical Education Departments; the Michigan Universities Commercialization Initiative; and NCIIA.

Spring 2010 Finishing Fellowships Awarded

The Graduate School has awarded its Finishing Fellowships for spring 2010.

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

  • Shreehari Elangovan, Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics
  • Margot J. Hutchins, Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics
  • Aaron David LaLonde, Materials Science and Engineering
  • Sara Robinson, Forest Science
  • Yuejun Yin, Civil Engineering

The fellowships are made possible by the Graduate School.

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.

New theses and dissertations in the Library

The Graduate School is pleased to announce the arrival of new theses and dissertations in the Van Pelt and Opie Library.

Stephanie Groves
Master of Science in Biological Sciences
Advisor: Susan T Bagley
Thesis title: Optimization of Ethanol Production by Yeasts from Lignocellulosic Feedstocks

Juan Morinelly
Master of Science in Chemical Engineering
Advisor: David R Shonnard
Thesis title: Dilute Acid Pretreatment of Lignocellulosic Biomass from Forest Resources: Kinetic Characterization of Xylose Monomer and Oligomer Concentrations and Reactor Performance Mathematical Modeling

Madhana Sunder
Doctor of Philosophy in Materials Science and Engineering
Advisor: Peter Dane Moran
Dissertation title: Growth of Heteroepitaxial Single Crystal Lead Magnesium Niobate-Lead Titanate Thin Films on R-Plane Sapphire Substrates

Andrew Waisanen
Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering
Advisor: Jason R Blough
Thesis title: The Application of Experimental Transfer Path Analysis to the Identification of Vehicle Sensitivity to Tire Cavity Resonance

Peipei Zhao
Master of Science in Applied Natural Resource Economics
Advisor: Mark C Roberts
Thesis title: Duration and Co-Movement Analysis of Energy Price Cycles

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

Predoctoral STEM Awards

The Association for Women in Science offers $1000 awards for women pursuing PhDs in the STEM fields.  Four categories of awards are available:

  • Predoctoral Award
    For a female graduate student who has advanced to PhD candidacy studying in any STEM field except Physics (
  • Schutzmeister Award
    For a female predoctoral student who has advanced to PhD candidacy studying Physics
    The Schutzmeister Award has a separate application process managed by Dr. Gerald Hardie at Western Michigan University. Do not use the materials on this site. To request application forms contact Dr. Hardie at gerald.hardie@wmich.edu.
  • Satter Award
    For a female predoctoral student who has interrupted her career for three or more years to raise a family
    The Satter Award application includes an additional document provided by the applicant’s graduate department certifying that you meet the Satter criterion.
  • Filner Award
    New this year, this award honors Barbara Filner, a long-time active AWIS member who served as President of National AWIS, and as President of the AWIS Educational Foundation for ten years. This award is given to a predoctoral student who has advanced to PhD candidacy and has participated in activities, such as mentoring and organizing workshops, that encourage women to pursue careers in science and related fields. The application process includes an additional document (up to 700 words) reviewing activities to help women achieve their career goals.

Fall 2009 Finishing Fellowship Recipients

The Graduate School has awarded its Finishing Fellowships for fall 2009.

The following PhD candidates have received a one-time finishing fellowship:

  • Venkat K. Donuru, Chemistry
  • Valerie J. Fuchs, Environmental Engineering
  • Steven Johnson, Chemistry
  • Sarah N. Kiemle, Biological Sciences
  • Mark D. Rowe, Environmental Engineering
  • Madhana Sunder, Materials Science and Engineering
  • Zhonghai Wang, Electrical Engineering
  • Jill C. Witt, Forest Science

The fellowships are made possible by the Graduate School.

Application procedures for finishing fellowships, photographs of recent recipients, and descriptions for all of the school’s fellowship programs can be found on the Graduate School’s web page.