Connecting research and practice

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March 18, 2014

Graduate students are a creative source for new technologies, like nanotube fountain pens and security improvements through advancing fingerprint recognition.

The trending ideas of more than 220 graduate students will be featured by the Michigan State University College of Engineering at the annual Engineering Graduate Research Symposium on Thursday, March 27, 2014. The event is open to the public from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. in the MSU Breslin Center.

The Engineering Graduate Research Symposium is an opportunity to explore the connections between research and practice, said associate dean Manooch Koochesfahani.“This impressive showcase displays the range of quality graduate research in our college and is an excellent opportunity for students, faculty, industry, and others to explore the connections between research and practice,” said Manoochehr Koochesfahani, associate dean for graduate studies and faculty development.

The event is coordinated by Katy Luchini Colbry, director for graduate recruiting in the College of Engineering.

She said the symposium includes presentations by the departmental nominees for the Fitch Beach Award for Outstanding Graduate Student Research. Each department nominates one doctoral student. Awards are based on a review of students’ academic and professional records and on an oral presentation of their research. Awardees receive a stipend from this endowed award, along with a certificate and a medal to be worn at graduation.


The Fitch H. Beach Award nominees are:

Gloria Lehr: Engineering Ytterbium-Based Alloys for Space-Based Cooling Applications, Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science

Venkat Ramakrishnan: Vibration Phenomena: From Wind Turbines to Hockey Sticks, Department of Mechanical Engineering

Soweon Yoon: Fingerprint Recognition: Models and Applications, Department of Computer Science and Engineering

Ruan Zhenhua: A Solar-Bio-Powered Lignocellulosic Biodiesel Refinery, Department of Biosystems and Agriculture Engineering

Zheng Fan: Nanotube Fountain Pen: Towards 3D Printing of Metallic Nanostructures, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Purushotham Pakala: Strategies for Enhancing Fire Performance of Connections in Steel Framed Structures, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Medals will be awarded for Outstanding Graduate Student and Fitch H. Beach Award for Outstanding Graduate Research.The day also includes the presentation of the MSUFCU Research Translation Award. Judges review research posters submitted to the symposium and award $2,000 for first place and $500 for second place to the student presenters who best communicate the commercial application of their research and create posters that spark conversations with potential industry collaborators. The judges are industry representatives.

The symposium schedule on March 27 is:

8-9 a.m.: Registration, Continental Breakfast

9-9:30 a.m.: Welcome by Leo Kempel, acting dean of the College of Engineering, followed by a keynote address

9:30-11 a.m.: Fitch Beach Research Award Nominee Presentations

11:15 a.m.–12:30 p.m.: Research Poster Session 1

Authors will be available to discuss research posters from civil engineering, environmental engineering, electrical engineering and materials science

Noon-2:15 p.m.: Networking Lunch and Award Ceremony

2:15-3:30 p.m.: Research Poster Session 2

Authors will be available to discuss research posters from biosystems engineering, chemical engineering, computer science, and mechanical engineering

To review abstracts of the poster presenters, visit:

Questions can be directed to Katy Luchini Colbry, or 517-432-1064.