Student Awards and Accomplishments

Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science

The Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science recognized three graduate students at the College of Engineering reception in March for academic excellence and service to the community.

Derek Baars, a graduate student working on a PhD in materials science engineering is researching the complex issues related to dislocation generation and interactions in body-centered cubic metal. He has acquired considerable skill as an experimentalist and has transferred these skills unselfishly to many other graduate students. Baars also has written a number of short papers that have been published in physics-based journals that serve the superconducting materials community. Thomas Bieler is his faculty adviser.

Joseph Gredell, a graduate student working on a PhD in chemical engineering is researching how to improve the function of short, interfering RNAs, a new class of therapeutics. Gredell received second place in the 2009 Fitch Beach Outstanding Graduate Research Awards. The Fitch Beach Awards are determined on the basis of a technical presentation and outstanding research in a PhD program in the MSU College of Engineering. The MSU Engineering Research and Graduate Studies Committee determine the winners of this award. Patrick Walton is Gredell's faculty adviser.

Sara Longanbach, a graduate student working on a PhD in materials science engineering, received a summer internship in the Mickey Leland Energy Fellowship (MLEF) Program and is completing a 10-week internship at the National Energy Technology Laboratory in Albany, Ore. This is Longanbach's second internship with the program. "For my project this year, I will be melting, casting, and processing a high-temperature super alloy," says Longanbach. "After my internship, I will bring all of the samples I've made of the alloy back to MSU to perform mechanical testing and microstructural characterization." She is enthused about the opportunity to work in a national lab again. "Last year's program was one of the best things I've ever done. I experienced what working in a national lab was like and I learned more in 10 weeks than I ever thought possible," says Longanbach. This year, she will be doing research for the lab, as well as for her thesis.

Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Andrew Baczewski and Donald VanderLaan have been selected to receive the 2009 National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship (GRF) awards. This award is based on abilities and accomplishments as well as potential to contribute to strengthening the vitality of the U.S. science and engineering enterprise.

Photo of Andrew BaczewskiBaczewski received his BS in electrical engineering from MSU in the spring of 2007. He then began studies in an interdisciplinary PhD in electrical engineering and physics. He hopes to pass all of the qualifying exams and officially be on his way as a PhD candidate by this fall. In June, Baczewski made a presentation at the IEEE Antennas and Propagation Symposium in Charleston, SC, and then spent eight weeks working as an Photo of Donald VanderLaanintern at Northrop Grumman in Los Angeles. Baczewski grew up in Grand Rapids, Mich.; his parents, both pharmacists are David and Monique Baczewski.

VanderLaan received his BS in electrical engineering from MSU this spring. He has served as a researcher with ECE professor Robert McGough in the biomedical ultrasonics and elctromagnetics laboratory, and most recently presented at the Society of Thermal Medicine conference in Tucson, Arizona. Donald plans to use his fellowship to pursue a PhD in electrical engineering with McGough, working in the area of thermal medicine. Donald is from Grand Rapids, Mich.; his parents, both doctors, are Ronald and Karen VanderLaan.

Department of Computer Science & Engineering

Photo of Chad MeinersChad R. Meiners has been named the 2009 Outstanding Graduate Student in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at MSU. Meiners graduated in May 2009 with is PhD in computer science and engineering. He received his BS (cum laude with departmental honors) from Truman State University in 2000 and his MS from MSU in 2004. Meiners works on optimizing hardware-based packet classification systems. Packet classification is the core mechanism that enables many Internet services, such as firewall protection and packet filtering.

Although he has been working in this area for only two years, he has made significant contributions to the field with four papers published in top conferences and four more ready to be published. Meiners also helped write five research proposals, one of which was funded by Cisco Systems, Inc., the leading supplier of Internet routers. In addition to his exceptional research, Meiners has been a model citizen with eight years of service on department and College of Engineering committees, including three years as graduate student representative to the CSE department's Advisory Committee and one year as graduate student representative to the college's Advisory Council. In spring 2009, the MSU College of Engineering Research and Graduate Studies Committee presented Meiners with an Honorable Mention for the Fitch Beach Outstanding Graduate Research Award for outstanding research in a PhD program in the MSU College of Engineering. Meiners holds a patent for system and method of sub-surface system design and installation.

Scott Fleming, received his PhD in computer science and engineering in May 2009. His advisor was Kurt Stirewalt, CSE Photo of Scott Flemingassociate professor. His research focused on how to understand and address the challenges involved in maintaining concurrent software. He was awarded the Honda Shing Endowed Fellowship in Computer Science. The Honda Shing Endowed Fellowship in Computer Science was established in 2008 to support promising full-time students who are majoring in computer science.

His work on the Szumo Project investigated how synchronization contracts could be used to simplify the development and maintenance of multi-threaded, object-oriented programs. His more recent work on the Copse project combines techniques from computer science and psychology to understand how successful developers maintain concurrent software and to design methods and tools that promote success.

In addition to his research contributions, Fleming has served as a representative on five different department committees and has been an exceptional advocate for student involvement through his work as a founding representative of the CSE Graduate Association (CSEGA). Prior to joining MSU, Fleming worked as a computer science instructor at Western Michigan University. His MSU teaching record includes object-oriented software design.