Graduate Research Symposium

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March 31, 2015

Graduate students are developing innovative solutions to improve health and safety, from redesigning footwear to reduce ankle injuries to creating transparent solar panels that could turn windows into energy collectors.

The trending ideas of more than 300 graduate students will be featured by the Michigan State University College of Engineering at the annual Engineering Graduate Research Symposium on Thursday, April 9. The event is open to the public from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the MSU Breslin Center.

Katy Luchini Colbry, director for graduate initiatives in the College of Engineering, coordinates the MSU Engineering Graduate Research Symposium. 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.Zheng Fan won last year's Fitch H. Beach Award for the research he did in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering on 3D printing of metallic nanostructures. He is pictured here with his advisor Lixin Dong.

The 2015 Fitch H. Beach Award nominees are:

Keith Button: Footwear Design Affects Ankle Injury: Experimental and Computational Studies, Department of Mechanical Engineering

Mohannad Z. Naser: Response of Fire Exposed Steel Girders under Combined Effect of Flexure and Shear, Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering

Sean Woznicki: Development of a comprehensive framework to assess the impacts of climate change on stream health, Department of Biosystems Engineering

Jianguo Zhao: Biologically Inspired Approach for Robot Design and Control, Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering

Yimu Zhao: Transparent Solar Panel, Department of Chemical Engineering & Materials Science

Muhammad Shahzad: Statistical and Learning Algorithms for the Design, Analysis, Measurement, and Modeling of Networking and Security Systems, Department of Computer Science & Engineering

In addition, nine PhD candidates will be honored as the Outstanding Graduate Student in their engineering program; these awardees receive a certificate, stipend, and medal to be worn at graduation.

Brian M. Kent, an internationally recognized scientific expert in radar technology who earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from MSU in 1980, will offer the keynote address. Kent retired in June 2014 as chief technology officer of the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) in Dayton, Ohio, after a distinguished 37-year civilian engineering career in the Air Force. He is an expert in the field of electromagnetics and radio frequency technologies, and is a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE), Antenna Measurement Techniques Association (AMTA), and AFRL, an IEEE Distinguished International Lecturer, and an adjunct professor of electrical engineering at MSU. He joined Applied Research Associates Inc. as senior scientist and science and technology lead for electromagnetic, radio frequency, and sensing systems in March. Read more on Brian M. Kent '80.

The symposium 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.

To review abstracts of the poster presenters, visit:

Katy Luchini Colbry, director for graduate initiatives in the College of Engineering, coordinates the MSU Engineering Graduate Research Symposium. The symposium schedule on April 9 is:

8-9 a.m.: Registration, Continental Breakfast, Poster Set-Up

9-9:15 a.m.: Welcome by Dean Karen Klomparens, MSU Graduate School

9:15-10:45 a.m.: Fitch H. Beach Research Award Nominee Presentations

11-11:45 a.m.: Research Poster Session 1; authors will be available to discuss research from Biosystems Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Electrical Engineering and Materials Science

11:45 a.m.–12:30 p.m.: Research Poster Session 2; authors will be available to discuss research posters from Civil Engineering, Environmental Engineering, Computer Science and Mechanical Engineering

12:45-2:15 p.m.: Networking Lunch & Awards Ceremony

2:15-2:45 p.m.: Keynote Address: The “Accidental Career” – Lessons for Post Graduate Life by Brian M. Kent, PhD

2:45-5 p.m.: Career Connections dessert reception

The symposium is sponsored in part by the MSU Federal Credit Union, Dewpoint, the Grand Traverse Pie Company, and Bell’s Greek Pizza.

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