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Doctoral students named Frostic Fellows

May 21, 2010

KALAMAZOO--Seven Western Michigan University doctoral candidates have been named the spring 2010 recipients of the Gwen Frostic Doctoral Fellowships.

2010 Gwen Frostic Doctoral Fellows

  • Berta Carrasco de Miguel, a Spanish student from Spain, whose dissertation "Cautiverio y Resistencia de la Mujer en la España Franquista" examines through their writings the fate of female political dissidents who were imprisoned and persecuted during the Spanish Civil War in the late 1930s and the 35-year dictatorship of Gen. Franco that followed. In her dissertation, Carrasco de Miguel proposes to "analyze how the Francoist apparatus invented and established a model of female behavior that was imposed through speeches, prohibitions, rules and unquestionable laws." Her dissertation chair is Dr. Mercedes Tasende. She is the recipient of the Department of Spanish Graduate Research and Creative Award in 2009, the All-University Graduate Teaching Effectiveness Award in 2008 and the Department of Spanish Teaching Effectiveness Award in 2007.

  • Ravin Kodikara, a physics student from Lansing, Mich., who is conducting research in the area of nuclear astrophysics. His dissertation is titled "Proton Capture Reactions and Network Calculations on 46Ti, 64Zn, 114Sn and 116Sn." His research has allowed him to perform experiments both in the Van de Graaff accelerator facility at WMU and the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory at Michigan State University. His dissertation chair is Dr. Michael Famiano. Kodikara earned his bachelor's degree from the University of Colombo in Sri Lanka in 2004 and his master's from WMU in 2009. He received two Department of Physics awards--the Jacob P. DeWitt Teaching Award for 2008-09 and the Haym Kruglak Graduate Student Award for 2006-07.

  • Lars Kohler, a chemistry student from Portage, Mich., whose dissertation is titled "Synthesis of Chiral 1,10-Phenanthroline Derivatives and Application as Ligands in Asymmetric Catalysis." His work in organic synthesis shows promise in making specific drugs in the pharmaceutical industry, especially leading to the development of antimicrobial and anticancer drugs. Kohler is a recipient of the Dissertation Completion Fellowship for 2010-11, the Department Graduate Teaching Effectiveness Award for 2007-08, the Graduate Student Travel Fund in 2009, the Graduate Student Research Grant in 2010 and the Department Research and Creative Scholar Award for 2009-10. His dissertation chair is Dr. Elke Schoffers.

  • Minghong Liu, a chemistry student from China, whose dissertation "Electrochemical and Magnetic Characterization of Metallic Nanomaterials" focuses on identifying strategies for the fabrication of magnetic nanowires for their use in biological applications. Her work applies a variety of techniques to the development of nanowires as a drug delivery and cancer cell detection system for the treatment of prostate cancer with fewer side effects than the conventional treatment. Her dissertation chair is Dr. Sherine Obare. Liu earned her bachelor's and master's degrees from Xiamen University in China in 2000 and 2003, respectively. She is a recipient of the Graduate Student Research Grant for 2009-10.

  • Miles Rogers, a biological sciences student from Warren, Mich., conducts research on pathogenic E. coli organisms that produce a toxin called Shiga toxin for his dissertation titled "Characterization of YghJ: A Novel Membrane Bound PP2C-like Protein." These toxins are a menace worldwide, causing infections associated with significant morbidity and mortality from such causes as kidney failure and brain infarcts. His dissertation chair is Dr. Maria Scott.

    Rogers earned his bachelor's degree in 2005 from Kalamazoo College. He was a Distinguished Doctoral Student for the Department of Biological Sciences in 2009 and received the Graduate Student Award for Teaching Effectiveness for biological sciences in 2010, a Graduate Student Travel Grant in 2009 and a Graduate Student Research Grant in 2010.

  • Buddhika Senarath-Dassanayake, a physics student from Sri Lanka, whose dissertation "Electron Transmission Through Glass Capillaries" investigates the transmission of atomic particles through electrically insulating capillaries. This research, which is at the intersection of atomic physics and materials science, offers potential applications in science, medicine, and technology. His dissertation chair is Dr. John Tanis. He earned his bachelor's degree in 2004 from the University of Peradeniya in Sri Lanka, and he is the recipient of the Haym Kruglak Award for Outstanding Teaching in 2007 and 2008, the Jacob DeWitt Award for Outstanding Teaching in 2009 and the Leo R. Parpart Scholarship for Outstanding Research in 2010.

  • Imad Zyout, an electrical and computer engineering student from Kalamazoo, whose dissertation is titled "Toward Automated Detection and Diagnosis of Mammographic Microcalcifications." His research focuses on automated detection and diagnosis of breast cancer in its early stages, using wavelet theory on image analysis and compression of mammograms to evaluate shape and appearance of microcalcifications on mammograms. His advisor is Dr. Ikhlas Abdel-Qader. Zyout earned his bachelor's and master's degrees from the Jordan University of Science and Technology in 1999 and 2005, respectively. He received a Research Day Poster Award in 2006 and has held research, graduate and doctoral assistantships from the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Frostic Doctoral Fellowships are given annually by WMU's Graduate College. They are made possible by an endowment from the estate of the late poet, artist and naturalist Gwen Frostic, a 1929 WMU alumna. The competitive fellowships ranged in amount from $1,400 to $4,000 and will assist doctoral students in all fields with dissertation expenses, including tuition and fees, materials and travel.

For more information, contact Dr. Julie Nemire, WMU Graduate College, at julie.nemire@wmich.edu or (269) 387-8208.

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Media contact: Deanne Puca, (269) 387-8400, deanne.puca@wmich.edu

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