Graduate School Student Success

Third year Clinical and Translational Rehabilitation Health Science Ph.D. student Brice Cleland presented at the Society of Neuroscience conference in Chicago, IL this fall. His presentation, entitled Reducing pedaling-related brain activation volume post-stroke does not depend on task performance, investigates factors that contribute to movement-related brain activation in stroke survivors. A recent study demonstrated that stroke survivors have decreased brain activation compared to controls during a pedaling task. This change in brain activation may result from changes in the structure or function of the brain or changes in the way that movements are performed. The factors causing changes in brain activation post-stroke are important because they potentially can be manipulated to improve brain activation and movement. When Brice graduates from Marquette, he plans to work as a researcher and professor at a university.


Shaun Miller, sixth year Philosophy Ph.D. student, was a presenter at the North American Sartre Society's conference in Bethlehem, PA. Shaun's work, entitled Bodily Consciousness: A Sartrean Response to Irigaray, focused on philosopher Luce Irigaray's critiques of Sartre's phenomenology. The main criticism is that Sartre is ignoring the body when it comes to relationships. Shaun responded in his research by defending Sartre against Irigaray by offering textual evidence that Sartre does pay attention to the body in the way that Irigaray asks for. Moreover, understanding Sartre's notion of the body can give insight on what it means to be a conscious being by focusing on the body. During his time at Marquette, Shaun plans on finishing his dissertation about the ethical assumptions of sex education programs in the United States.


Kimberly Engels photFifth year Philosophy Ph.D. student Kimberly Engels recently had the honor of presenting a research paper at the North American Sartre Society's conference, held at East Stroudsburg University in Bethlehem, PA. Kimberly's paper was entitled Ethical Subjectivity in Sartre and Foucault and focused on the ethical thought of Sartre and Foucault, arguing that each presents ethics as a type of self-creation in relation to the social practices of one’s historical epoch. Kimberly developed Sartre’s and Foucault’s claims that creating oneself as an ethical subject involves critical reflection, empathy, and creative invention. Her research is significant to the discipline and to the wider community because she contributes historical scholarship on Sartre and Foucault, and further presents a conception of ethics that is compatible with contemporary moral practices. Kimberly was also awarded the Smith Family Fellowship for 2015-16.


Benjamin Linzy is currently a master's student in the History department. This November, Benjamin had the honor of presenting a research paper, entitled The Shame of Nations: International Responses to Genocide in the Wake of the 1948 Genocide Convention at Northern Illinois University Graduate Student Association's eighth annual conference. He also presented his paper Indigenous Eclipse: How indigenous victories shaped the British Empire, 1842-1885 at the 81st Annual Meeting of the Southern Historical Association.


First year History Ph.D. student Cory Haala presented at the 41st Annual Great Lakes History Conference at Grand Valley State University in October. The paper he presented, entitled Remembering and Rebuilding Farmer-Labor Gains in 1970s Minnesota, focused on the role historical memory played in the revival of a modern progressive movement in 1970s Minnesota. In his presentation, he argued that a new generation of liberals used the rhetoric, publications, and names of the Farmer-Labor Party in creating new networks which challenged the rising tide of conservatism in America.


Masters students in the Foreign Languages and Literatures program Sandra Baer, Julia Grubich, and Caitlin Carini all attended the Newberry Workshop on Don Quixote on October 15th in Chicago. The workshop allowed MA and PHD students from around the U.S. to connect, network, and share different opinions and theories on the well-known novel Don Quixote. The students reported that it was interesting getting to know people from all around the U.S. with different backgrounds and majors, such as political science, history, and English. Caitlin recalls that her favorite part of the workshop was touring the rare books section of the library where the Newberry staff displayed old, rare editions of Don Quixote that they had collected over the years. 


Dylan SnyderDylan Snyder is currently a 5th year Ph.D. student in Marquette's Biomedical Engineering program. This fall, Dylan presented his research, entitled Effects of wrist tendon vibrations on cortical activity during arm stabilization, during a poster presentation at the Society for Neuroscience Conference in Chicago. This research is focused on the human brain and how it uses sensory information to control the body. More specifically, how the brain uses sensory information to control, arm stability. Past research in Dylan's lab has shown that applying vibration to the forearm flexor tendons can improve arm stability. Even though the application of tendon vibrations is known to improve the function, the mechanism behind the improvement is unclear. During his time here at Marquette, Dylan has built a passive robotic device that allows him to investigate how the brain controls arm stability and explore the mechanisms behind improved arm stability with applied tendon vibrations. Once the mechanisms of arm stability and tendon vibration are better understood, it may be possible to transfer this knowledge into the clinical setting to improve current neurorehabilitation techniques and to develop therapeutic devices. After graduating from Marquette University, Dylan plans to enter into industry and design neurological devices meant to restore or enhance function.


DJ HobbsD.J. Hobbs, 3rd year Philosophy Ph.D. student, traveled to Atlanta, Ga. to present his research at the Society for Ricœur Studies conference this October. His paper, entitled Ricœur's Hermeneutics of Translation and the Case of Religious Language, discusses D.J.'s interpretation of the motivations behind Paul Ricœur's account of translation as “linguistic hospitality.” It subsequently tests this model against the difficult case of religious language. Although Ricœur's view of translation accounts well for the everyday occurrence of translation, D.J. argues, certain instances of religious language remain beyond its scope. This position stands in contrast to the attempts of some philosophers to extend Ricœur's model to religious speech without qualification. The article therefore serves to help keep Ricœurian hermeneutics of translation on the correct path towards its most practical uses. After attaining his doctorate, D.J. intends to remain in academia, hopefully securing a tenure-track job to continue his research and teaching.


Sophie SchunkSecond year Biomedical Engineering master's student Sophie Schunk had the honor of presenting her research at the Biomedical Engineering Society's Conference in Tampa, Florida. Sophie's poster presentation described a nonlinear computer simulation model for blood glucose regulation consisting of 3 compartments for glucose (blood plasma, muscle tissue/mitochondria, non-muscle tissue), insulin and glucagon control action, and new approaches for addressing the diverse nature of meal and exercise inputs. Results illustrate how differences with meal type (slow vs. fast glycemic index [GI]) and exercise/activity based glucose-glycogen consumption affect predictions of blood plasma glucose dynamics and hormonal control action. Current challenges are addressed with model personalization, providing input flexibility for body mass, muscle ratio, stress, and types of diabetes (T1D, T2D) informing drug delivery design. The model was created in Matlab (and Simulink) with future implications and algorithm development to help inform diabetics on how to best regulate blood glucose. Sophie is currently completing her master's thesis at Marquette and hopes to work directly with diabetic medical devices and supplies in a clinical applications role after graduation.


Jen Bonniwell is in her third year of the Electrical and Computing Engineering Ph.D. program, and she presented the results of her accepted paper, entitled Performance Analysis of Resilient Dynamic Feedback H2 Controllers, at the 2015 IEEE Multi-Conference on Systems and Control, in Manly, NSW, Australia. Her presentation provides an a priori analysis procedure useful to engineering system control designers by aiding them to make insightful selections of components with adequate tolerances. Jen was also awarded the Schmitt Leadership Fellowship.


This summer, Father Matthew Olver, a third year Ph.D. student in the Department of Theology studying Systematic Theology, published Contraception's Authority: An Anglican's Liturgical and Synodical Thought Experiment in Light of ARCUSA's 'Ecclesiology and Moral Discernment' in volume 50 of the Journal of Ecumenical Studies.


Brian Pattengale photoThis summer, 2nd year Chemistry Ph.D. student Brian Pattengale presented a research poster at the Gordon Research Conference of Photochemistry at Stonehill College in Massachusetts. His research, entitled The Effect of W/Mo Doping on the Electronic Structure, Optical Properties, and Photocatalytic Performance of BiVO4 Photoanode, strives to understand how solar energy conversion materials work on a fundamental level. A promising solar fuel, hydrogen, can be created by splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen - the only by-product. This reaction can already be performed, but isn’t yet efficient enough to compete with other energy sources. The material of interest in this study, bismuth vanadate (BiVO4), is a promising catalyst for the water splitting reaction but needs some improvement. There are a number of ways to modify materials like BiVO4 such as doping, depositing co-catalysts on the surface, and nanostructuring. Exactly how these modifications improve the material is poorly understood so this study aims to examine the optical properties through transient absorption spectroscopy right here in Dr. Jier Huang’s lab at Marquette as well as the structural properties through X-ray absorption studies at Argonne National Laboratory in IL. If we can understand exactly how the aforementioned modifications (in this case, doping) improve the material, it would be very informative toward the rational design of improved water splitting systems with a BiVO4 photoanode. Brian was also awarded the Jobling Fellowship this summer.



Shaoli Wu photoThis August, 2nd year M.S. student in Mechanical Engineering, Shaoli Wu, presented a paper at the ASME 2015 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences in Boston, Mass. Wu's paper, entitled The Development of a Human Gait Model with Predictive Capability and the Simulation of Able-bodied Gait, discusses how the development of current prostheses and orthoses typically follows a trial and error approach. In this type of approach, devices are designed based on experience, tried on human subjects and then redesigned iteratively. This design approach is costly, risky and time consuming. A predictive human gait model is desired such that prostheses can be virtually tested so that their performance can be predicted qualitatively, the cost can be reduced, and the risks can be minimized. The development of such a model is explained in this paper. The developed model includes two parts: a plant model which represents the forward dynamics of human gait and a controller which represents the central nervous system (CNS). The development of the plant model is explained in a different paper. This paper focuses on the control algorithm development and able-bodied gait simulation. The controller proposed in this paper utilizes Model Predictive Control (MPC). MPC uses an internal model to predict the output in advance, compare the predicted output to the reference, and optimize control input so that the error between them is minimal. The developed predictive human gait model was validated by simulating able-bodied human gait. The simulation results showed that the controller is able to simulate the kinematic output close to experimental data. Shaoli plans to continue on to his Ph.D. at Marquette and further pursue his gait research.



peter malak photoPeter Malak, 2nd year M.S. student in Mechanical Engineering, had the honor of presenting his research at the International Design Engineering Technical Conferences in Boston, Mass. this August. His research, entitled Dynamic Analysis of a Planar Mechanism with Variable Topology, explains the demand for mechanisms with variable topology (MVTs) that can perform multiple tasks with the least amount of actuators. This could drive manufacturing costs down in industry. These devices have the ability to provide numerous motion profiles within one device. In this work, a specific planar MVT was dynamically analyzed. This mechanism functions as a RRRP mechanism (i.e., slider-crank) in one configuration and as a RRRR mechanism (i.e., crank-crank) in the other. The kinematics and kinetics of the RRRP and RRRR configurations were analyzed with a Lagrangian approach. The resulting equations were coded both in equation form and in Matlab SimMechanics then compared. A method for transitioning between configurations was also developed. These equations could be used to develop an applicable controller and principles for synthesizing future MVTs. Upon graduating from Marquette, Peter plans to pursue a career in the mechanical engineering field specifically in robotics or industrial automation.


Kelly LeMaire photoThis August, 5th year Clinical Psychology Ph.D. student Kelly LeMaire attended and presented her research at the American Psychological Association annual conference in Toronto. Kelly's project, entitled Confrontation of Sexual Orientation Prejudice: The Effect of Gender, examines the way gender and gender roles impact the way people react when they witness sexual orientation prejudice. Specifically, she is interested in what qualities about the situation and/or a person make it more likely for someone to stand up and speak against prejudice toward the LGBT community. Kelly was recently awarded the Arthur Schmitt Fellowship for the 2015-2016 academic year. Additionally, she received a research award from the Gender and Sexuality Resource Center for her dissertation research. Upon completing her degree at Marquette, Kelly hopes to work in an Academic Medical Center where she can be involved in clinical practice, training of future professionals, and research.



Jack Senefeld photoJack Senefeld, 2nd year Ph.D. student in the Clinical and Translational Rehabilitation Health Science program, recently traveled to San Diego, CA to present his research at the American College of Sports Medicine conference. Jack created a poster entitled Sex Differences in Ultra-marathon Running: Performance and Participation to showcase at the conference. His research has important implications for our understanding of sex differences in elite sport performance and clinical relevance for understanding implications for rehabilitation. Although it has been established that men outperform women in sport performances because men have a larger and faster muscle mass and a higher maximal oxygen consumption compared with women, there is evidence suggesting a lack of depth in participation by women in sport. Therefore, sex differences in elite performance of sport are exaggerated. This project determined that sex differences in ultra-marathon performance were strongly associated with greater ratio of men finishers compared with women, providing evidence that observed sex differences in sport performance are strongly influenced by participation rates between the sexes. Jack has previously presented his research at academic conferences and has been honored with various awards, including the 2013 Outstanding Graduate Student Poster Presentation at the Midwest ACSM Annual Meeting and the 2013 American College of Sports Medicine National Meeting Non-Invasive Neuromuscular Interest Group Poster Award.


Rita Deering photo3rd year CTRH Ph.D. student Rita Deering also presented her research at the American College of Sports Medicine conference in San Diego. Her project, entitled Fatigability and Steadiness of the Trunk Flexor Muscles in Young, Healthy Adults, presents data describing the strength, endurance, and steadiness of contraction of the abdominal muscles of young adults. Both men and women were tested, and all women included had never been pregnant. This information is important because the abdominal muscles are an important muscle group for many tasks performed in daily life, including breathing, lifting tasks, and pushing/pulling tasks. This study showed that there were no differences in strength, endurance, or steadiness between men and women. The participants in this study will serve as controls for her next study, which will assess the same parameters in women after having a baby. As a Physical Therapist, Rita is interested in physiological and functional changes that occur as a result of pregnancy and childbirth. Her Ph.D. studies will examine abdominal muscle function, pain perception, and functional mobility in women after childbirth. This January, Rita was also awarded $50,000 from the Women’s Health Research Program Grant (Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Medical College of Wisconsin) to help support her Ph.D. studies.




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