Graduate School Student Success

Niknam photoMehrdad Niknam, a 3rd year Civil Engineering Ph.D. student, recently presented his research at the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) conference. His work, entitled A Social Networking Website for AEC Projects, presents a project social networking website that facilitates professional interactions among a project’s participants and provides a dynamic project knowledge base that would allow combining knowledge created during various phases of a project life cycle. Architecture, Engineering and Construction projects involve a number of individuals and organizations with different roles and responsibilities. In a new project, participants may initially not know each other; however, to be effective, those with a common interest must be able to easily find each other to share their knowledge about the project. Another requirement for effectively managing a project is the ability to easily add new knowledge to the project knowledge base. The current format for representing, accessing, and sharing project data cannot take advantage of the full potential of the Internet. In Niknam's proposal, the participants in a new project may join the project website using OpenID. The project website uses a Semantics-based approach to information modeling that allows project website members to add new knowledge to the project knowledge base and perform graph query on project data. 



Nicholas Winninger, a first year MBA student in the Graduate School of Management, won at both the Marquette ImpactNext Business Plan Competition and the Rice University Business Plan Competition this past spring. He was accompanied by College of Engineering students Devin Turner and Charlie Beckwith who created FocalCast, a versatile presentation app, the primary venture of their company Narsys LLC. Together they won the Graduate Student Team prize and the Top Overall Business Model Prize at Marquette’s Impact Next competition receiving $3,000 in prize money. Later that same week, they traveled to Rice University in Houston to compete in the “Richest and Largest Business Plan Competition”. There they competed in a rigorous week-long competition against 42 international ventures selected from a pool of over 600 applicants. As a result, they won the $3,000 Gimmal Group Outstanding IT Prize and the Trailblazer Capital Start-up Entrepreneur Investment Prize for $50,000. Since their success, the group has been featured in a variety of publications including the Journal Sentinel and the Milwaukee Business Journal. Moving forward, the venture has been approached by numerous accelerators offering to help grow the company.



This June, Biomedical Engineering master's student Josh Hughey was awarded 2nd

place for his poster in the Biofluids category of the World Congress of Biomechanics (WCB) MS poster competition in Boston. Josh's poster was titled Impact of stent platform on wall shear stress distributions after implantation: Insights from computational fluid dynamics simulations using optical coherence tomography and coronary CT angiography​. In addition to Josh and Dr. John LaDisa, Associate Professor of  Biomedical Engineering at Marquette, the coauthors on this work were Hiromasa Otake MD and Ken-ichi Hirata MD of Kobe University Graduate School of Medicine in Japan. The WCB is a prominent meeting held every 4 years in a different international location, and features the best work in many areas of biomechanics from around the globe.



Merit Schumaker photo

1st year Mechanical Engineering master's student Merit Schumaker presented his paper entitled Mesoscale Simulations of Dry Sand at the Society for Experimental Mechanics conference this June. Merit explains that there is an interest in producing accurate and reliable computer simulations to predict the dynamic behavior of heterogeneous materials and to use these simulations to gain further insight into experimental results. In so doing, a more complete understanding of the multiple-length scale involved in heterogeneous material compaction can be obtained. In this work, planar shock impact experiments were simulated using two different hydrocode formulations: iSALE and CTH. The simulations, which were based on a Georgia Tech experimental setup, consisting of a flyer of different thicknesses impacting dry sand over a range of impact. Average particle velocity traces obtained from the computer simulations were compared to experimental measurements. The mesoscale simulations compare well with the dynamic behavior of dry sand. Improvements on these simulations with the inclusion of these mesoscale phenomena were presented with this paper. Upon completion of his master's degree, Merit hopes to begin a career in Aerospace or Mechanical Engineering for government contractors or various government agencies in and around Washington DC, with hopes of someday returning to academia as an instructor.


Jeff LaJeunesse photo

Jeff LaJeunesse, a first year M.S. student in Mechanical Engineering, recently presented a paper at a conference for the Society for Experimental Mechanics. His work, summarized in his paper entitled Simulating the Planar Shock Response of Concrete, sought to create computational simulations that predicted the shock response of high strength concrete under blast loading. Experimental test data was obtained from an Air Force Research Laboratory senior research engineer, Dr. Bradley Martin, at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida. Simulations were performed using a hydrocode software in which material response under shock loading can be observed and characterized. Computational simulations involving concrete, and other granular materials, have been of great interest to the Air Force due to the vast use of concrete in roads, bunkers, etc. After finishing his master's work at Marquette, Jeff will consider pursuing a doctorate degree in mechanical engineering or entering industry in a related field. 


This May, 4th year Interdisciplinary Ph.D. student Hugo Maxwell Pereira presented an academic poster at the annual meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine in Orlando, FL. His presentation, entitled Cognitive Stress and Visual Gain Affects Force Fluctuations at Low Forces looks at further investigating sex difference in neuromuscular physiology. Understanding sex differences in neuromuscular physiology will improve exercise prescription for training and rehabilitation. This study investigated different levels of cognitive demand imposed during sustained elbow flexor contraction in different intensities. Results showed that that increased cognitive demand impaired steadiness of the elbow flexor muscles in women, especially at very light contractions. The amount of visual feedback also influenced steadiness in women; however, manipulating the visual feedback did not offset the decline in steadiness when cognitive demand was imposed. These results highlight the influence of cognitive demand in the control of force especially in women. Understanding these sex differences will help to prevent work related injuries during light contractions under dual task activities that requires cognitive demand.


This June, first year Computational Sciences Ph.D. student Drew Williams, will be presenting a poster at the Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America Conference in Indianapolis, IN. His research and poster, entitled Smartphone-based Light Intensity Calculation Application for Accessibility Measurement, is part of the Access Ratings for Buildings project, in conjunction with UWM and funded by the National lnstitute of Disability and Rehabilitation Research. Drew and his team have developed a light meter that runs as an application on a smart phone and determines whether or not a particular environments' lighting is accessible for users as outlined by ADA guidelines. As the application can assist building and business owners in determining if their buildings and businesses are accessible for disabled users quickly and easily, without the need to buy additional hardware, this in turn can greatly improve the quality of life for those with differing abilities, allowing them to visit a wider variety of establishments. Last year, as a Computational Sciences master's student at Marquette, Drew won an A.T. Anderson Memorial Scholarship from the American Indian Science and Engineering Society. Upon completing his Ph.D., Drew hopes to become a research scientist, creating accessible human-computer interfaces.


Stacy Stolzman, a Ph.D. student in the Clinical and Translational Rehabilitative Health Sciences program, is the recipient of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) American Dissertation Fellowship for 2014 - 2015.  AAUW is a leading source of funding for graduate education for women and the awards are highly competitive.  This American Fellowship will support Stacy to completer her PhD dissertation entitled "Inflammatory Markers, Physical Fitness, and Pain in Children".


Christina Figueroa PhotoThis April, Christina Figueroa, a 3rd year Clinical Psychology Ph.D. student, presented a posted and the Cognitive Neuroscience Society's conference in Boston. Her poster, entitled Reinforcement Learning in Individuals at Risk for Alzheimer's Disease, aimed at providing a novel method of differentiating individuals who carrier a genetic risk factor for AD from those who do not using reinforcement learning. By so doing, her findings are the first to assess this population within this cognitive domain, effectively filling a gap within the literature and helping to bridge a divide between various areas of psychological research (cognitive, clinical, and neuroscience). This conference was the first national presentation of Christina's work and publication is expected to follow in the near future. After completing her Ph.D. from Marquette, Christina plans on pursuing a career in clinical neuropsychology, either within academia or at an academic medical center.


Katie Hazlett photoKatie Hazlett, a 4th year Clinical Psychology Ph.D. student, presented a poster entitled Executive functioning and risk for Alzheimer’s disease: Family history predicts performance on the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test (WCST) at the Cognitive Neuroscience Society's conference in Boston this April. Given the sensitivity of the WCST in the context of Alzheimer's disease (AD), examining differences in performance among at-risk cognitively intact individuals (i.e., those with positive family history (FH) of AD) would provide valuable insight into preclinical cognitive changes. The current study examined WCST performance in 24 FH- and 17 FH+ older adults. Results revealed significant group differences for multiple WCST variables, such that the FH+ group consistently exhibited poorer performance. Moreover, family history predicted performance on the WCST above and beyond the contribution of demographic variables such as age. These results speak to the potential role of executive functioning (EF) in bolstering our understanding of early cognitive markers of future decline. Expanding our understanding of the relationship between additional domains of cognitive functioning (i.e., EF) and risk for AD may allow for better prediction of cognitive decline and potential progression to AD. After graduation, Katie plans to pursue a career in neuropsychology, either in an academic setting or within an academic medical center. She was also recently selected to receive the Rev. John P. Raynor, S.J. Fellowship for the 2014-2015 academic year.


Lauren and Ashley Photo Ashley Beaudoin (left) and Lauren Thomas (right) are 2nd year Masters students of the College Student Personnel Administration program in the College of Education. Recently, they co-presented with Tina McNamara, the Director of Undergraduate Advising in the College of Education, at the National Academic Advising Association's Regional V Conference in Madison, WI. Their presentation, entitled Not Just Minions: Graduate Assistants and Practicum Students as Advising Partners, discussed different strategies for graduate students to gain meaningful opportunities and experience in academic advising that will benefit an advising office. The presentation gave an overview of the reasons a graduate assistantship position in advising was created at Marquette, the challenges associated with the assistantship, the evolution of a summer practicum experience, and the benefits of both opportunities. Marquette's Advising Assistantship Experience and Practicum Guidelines lends itself to be a model for programs at peer institutions.  


Corey Haala photoCorey Haala, a Master's student in History, recently presented his research at the Midwest Labor and Working-Class History Conference at the University of Illinois-Chicago. His presentation, entitled Time for a New 'Minnesota Leader': Mounting Left-Wing Frustration with the DFL after 1944, analyzes breaks within the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party of Minnesota in the 1970s through the lens of the revived party press of the old Farmer-Labor Party, the Minnesota Leader. It discusses how the authors of the Minnesota Leader invoked the memory of the old tradition of progressive radicalism in Minnesota to rebuild the political coalitions which instituted progressive change in the state in the 1930s. This work serves as a jumping-off point for Cory's intended Master's thesis. Upon graduation from Marquette, Cory hopes to pursue his Ph.D. in 20th-century Midwestern political history.


Shelley Bobb photoThis April, Interdisciplinary Ph.D. student Shelley Bobb will be presented with the Marquette Alumni Leadership Excellence Award by Marquette's College of Professional Studies. Shelley previously completed a Master's in Dispute Resolution at Marquette, writing her thesis on practices that could make clinical healthcare teams do their work more effectively and prevent disputes. Over the past three years, she has been invited to give presentations of her work at several conferences, both nationally and internationally, including the University of Massachusetts Dispute Resolution Conference; The National Communications Association; Rhetoric in Society (Antwerp, Belgium); International Healthcare Communication Conference ( St. Andrews, Scotland); and International Healthcare New Practices (Belfast, Ireland). Upon completion of her Ph.D., Shelley would like to work either in a hospital setting in organizational development or consult with clinical teams to strengthen communication, leadership, and teamwork, as well as engage in qualitative research studies for healthcare teams, mediation, systems design, strategic planning, and organizational assessment.


Fr. Matthew S. C. Olver, a first year doctoral student in the Theology Department, presented a paper entitled The Downfall of Darkness: A Theological and Canonical Readings of 1 John 3:8 on March 31, 2014 at the Eschatology and Moral Order Conference hosted by the University of Chicago Divinity School, who cosponsored the event with the University of Notre Dame and the Martin Marty Center for the Advanced Study of Religion. The paper discusses the claim made in 1 John 3:8 that the reason for the incarnation of Jesus concerned the “destruction of the works of the devil.” The paper set this claim within the context of the treatment of Satan in the Gospel of John and 1 John, showed their strong overlap, and situated this reading within the larger claims of the New Testament. Fr. Olver, a priest in the Episcopal Church and a recipient of a Graduate Fellowship from the Theology Department, has been a member of the Anglican-Roman Catholic Consultation in the U.S. since 2006, and assists at the Cathedral Church of All Saints, Milwaukee. His research interests are in the development of liturgy considered as theological development, ecumenism, and ecclesiology. He hopes to teach at the seminary level.


Theresa Kapke photoTheresa Kapke is a current Ph.D. student in the Clinical Psychology program. This March, she presented a poster, entitled Rates and Predictors of Psychopathology for Latino Youth: Influence of Paternal Acculturation, at a conference for the Society for Research on Adolescents in Austin, TX. Results from her study suggest that Latino youth demonstrate comparable rates of psychopathology to normative samples. Additionally, parental acculturation appears to predict the incidence of psychopathology in Latino youth, with youth of “traditionalist” (i.e., high orientation to Latino culture and low orientation towards Anglo culture) parents demonstrating increased odds of anxious/depressed problems. Implications include the need for outreach to Latino youth of traditionalist parents in an effort to prevent the development of psychopathology in this subpopulation. More culturally-sensitive research that is conducted with generalizable Latino samples is needed to fully support these initial findings. After she completes her degree at Marquette, Theresa plans to work as a clinical child psychologist in a community or outpatient medical center, where she hopes to be able to do clinical work and conduct research. 


Christina Ciaozzo, a second year Clinical Psychology Ph.D. student, recently participated in a poster presentation at the Society for Research on Adolescence conference in Austin, TX. Her project, entitled Exploring the Connection Between Personality and Attachment in the Perpetration of Physical and Sexual Abuse, focused on exploring the risk and protective factors of physical and sexual perpetration in adolescent romantic relationships. According to her research, many adolescents engage in dating violence perpetration. Being involved in an aggressive incident increases the likelihood that you will experience more aggression in the future. Understanding more about the causes of aggression will help prevention and intervention efforts. To date, physical perpetration and sexual perpetration have been either lumped together or treated as completely different. This research explores how the risk factors related specifically to personality contribute to both and which risk factors are unique to each form of violence. Additionally, this research looks at how relational factors may operate as protective mechanisms for physical and sexual perpetration. After completing her degree at Marquette, Christina would like to work as a child psychologist in an outpatient medical center, where she hopes to have the opportunity to teach as well as conduct research. 


Jiangbiao He photoJiangbiao He, a 4th year Ph.D. student in Electrical Engineering, had the opportunity to present an academic paper at the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers' Applied Power Electronics Conference and Exposition. His paper, entitled Loss Balancing SVPWM for Active NPC Converters, focuses on the reliability improvement and condition monitoring of electric motor drive systems, which are widely used in powertrains of electric/hybrid vehicles, aircrafts and ships, renewable energies, and medical instruments. The presentation introduced a novel control method developed for multilevel power converters widely used in power train systems, of which the system reliability can be significantly improved with such novel control method. After completing his Ph.D. degree at Marquette University in spring of 2015, Jiangbiao would like to work in industry in the area of power and automation technologies.

Maggie Nettesheim Hoffmann is a first year Ph.D. student in the History department studying the history of American philanthropy and religious movements. She is presenting her paper entitled Mammon in the Temple of the Lord: Financial Management Practices at the New York Catholic Worker, c. 1959-1980 at the American Catholic Historical Association's Spring Meeting at Xavier University on March 29, 2014.

Maggie was awarded the ACHA's Presidential Graduate Scholarship which provides travel funds for graduate students to present research at their conferences. The award amount was $500. The research she conducted is rooted in the Dorothy Day-Catholic Worker collection housed in the Marquette University Archives. She would also like to express her gratitude to Marquette archivist Phil Runkel for his assistance, knowledge, and guidance regarding the Catholic Worker collection.

Kevin Berg pictureKevin Berg, a first year master's student in Civil Engineering, recently presented a poster at a conference for the University of Michigan Civil/Environmental Engineering & Michigan Section of American Water Works Association (MI-AWWA). His poster, entitled Pyrolysis of a Combined Waste Stream for Energy Recovery and Solids Reduction, describes how pyrolysis, the thermal processing of organic matter in the absence of oxygen, could be used to generate combustible gas from food waste. Overall, pyrolysis of combined waste streams can yield renewable energy in the form of combustible gas, convert waste solids into valuable products, and reduce landfill use for products with recoverable energy potential. Once he completes his graduate work, Kevin hopes to pursue work in the wastewater engineering field specializing in anaerobic treatment.

Bridget Kapler photoBridget Kapler, a second year English Ph.D. student, attended the

Southeastern Society of Eighteenth Century Studies

conference in Knoxville, TN in February. Her presentation, entitled

Mapping Science and the Pseudo-Sciences: Within the Familial Structures in Maria Edgeworth’s 'Belinda,' focused around the early adoptions of science into literature, with particular attention to how science is defined and approached in familial settings. In this novel, Edgeworth can be seen as a rational supporter of a modified system of domestic loyalty and the promotion of education through scientific and reasoned means, but not beyond a socially accepted brink that would challenge the dominant social structures, which means that the scientifically-minded Percival family cannot completely convince the Delacour family to act rationally and appreciate the validity of science as a means of understanding the world. Her presentation explained how to measure the success of science’s integration into the British system of domestic loyalty in the early nineteenth century. After completing her Ph.D. at Marquette University in spring of 2016, Bridget would like to become a tenure track professor at a Catholic arts and sciences university.



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