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Defense Announcements

There are three phases to a dissertation defense:

Public Presentation of the Dissertation and Defense 

In the public lecture or presentation, the candidate is expected to share the results of his or her dissertation research with the dissertation committee and audience. This presentation may vary in length depending on the circumstances and discipline. At the end of this public presentation, members of the dissertation committee, as well as members of the audience are encouraged to direct questions to the candidate pertaining to the research.

The Dissertation Committee's Meeting with the Candidate

At the conclusion of the public presentation and defense, the dissertation committee members will meet privately with the candidate to pose further questions about the candidate's research or to address issues related to the dissertation manuscript. The dissertation committee can ask the candidate to address these additional questions or changes to the manuscript. The dissertation committee chair presides at this meeting.

Evaluation of the Candidate's Performance

Upon completion of the public presentation and defense and the private meeting, the dissertation committee members, in the absence of the candidate and the audience, discuss the candidate's performance and decide whether or not she or he has passed the defense. The committee chair or one of the co-chairs leads the discussion and communicates the result to the candidate. 

For any questions or concerns in regards to a dissertation defense contact [email protected].

Defense information

Defense date, time, room number, summary and committee chair:

  • 6/14/24
    • Hannah Bradley at 12 PM in 187 MSC
      • Applied and Computations Physics, Ph.D.
      • Antiferromagnetic (AFM) spin Hall oscillators can create ultra-short spikes in response to a weak external stimulus and, therefore, can be used as ultra-fast artificial neurons. This research explores the use of AFM neurons for a variety of neuromorphic computing tasks.
      • Doctoral committee chair: Vasyl Tyberkevych

  • 4/11/24
    • Ibtihal Alanazi at 10 AM in 168 MSC
      • Applied Mathematical Sciences, Ph.D.
      • The thesis deals with three problems: (i) bounded variance point estimation of a function of the gamma scale parameter; (ii) fixed-width confidence intervals for comparing two proportions; and (iii) fixed-accuracy confidence intervals for the Weibull shape parameter using record data.
      • Doctoral committee chair: Jun Hu

  • 3/13/24
    • Sanjana Yagnambhatt at 10 AM in 347 EC
      • Mechanical Engineering, Ph.D.
      • Meeting global water demands by improving desalination energy efficiency. 
      • Doctoral committee chair: Jonathan Maisonneuve
    • Jordyn Truax at 10 AM via Google Meet
      • Psychology, Ph.D.
      • Three studies contribute to our understanding of human-animal interactions for the improvement of animal welfare and public perceptions of these facilities.
      • Doctoral committee chair: Jennifer Vonk
    • Hunter Craig at 10 AM in 203 DH
      • Biological and Biomedical Sciences, Ph.D.
      • I combined scholarship of biology and learning by: (1) using Metabolic Theory to describe thermal responses of a fungal pathogen and its amphibian host and (2) evaluating online versus face to face versions of a teaching lab activity introducing MT-based thermal models.
      • Doctoral committee chair: Thomas R Raffel
    • Victoria O'Connor at 12 PM via Google Meet
      • Psychology, Ph.D.
      • Behavioral flexibility was measured in 80 individuals of 17 species of carnivores through personality assessments predicting success on a multi-access puzzle box (MAB) and behaviors associated with cognition on both a MAB and an Impossible Task.
      • Doctoral committee chair: Jennifer Vonk

  • 3/11/24
    • Ahmad Khan at 9 AM in 347 EC
      • Electrical and Computer Engineering, Ph.D.
      • Control method for electric air taxis using MPC and LQR for Li-Sulfur batteries. 
      • Doctoral committee chair: Mohamed Zohdy
    • Lei Zhang at 11 AM via Zoom
      • Mechanical Engineering, Ph.D.
      • Mitigating tin whisker growth in electronic connectivity. 
      • Doctoral committee chair: Xia Wang

  • 3/7/24
    • Todd Perkins at 10 AM via Zoom
      • Electrical and Computer Engineering, Ph.D.
      • Explores new ways to control the torque converter clutch in an automatic transmission to improve driveline efficiency.
      • Doctoral committee chair: Dr. Manohar Das

  • 3/5/24
    • Sherrayna Coleman at 1:15 PM via Zoom
      • Literacy, Culture, and Language, Ph.D.
      • This two manuscript dissertation includes both a literature review and empirical study focused on supporting the literacy success of African American students with religious literacy programming.
      • Doctoral committee chair: Tanya Christ

  • 3/1/24
    • Anthony James Kulick at 10 AM in 376 MSC 
      • Applied Mathematical Sciences, Ph.D.
      • Exact and heuristic algorithms for solving a vehicle routing problem with time windows and an autonomous vehicle security attack algorithm.
      • Doctoral committee chair: Eddie Cheng
      • Co-Chair: Daniel Steffy

  • 2/23/24
    • Abhishek Paul at 3 PM via Zoom
      • Mechanical Engineering, Ph.D.
      • A method for active force cancellation for automotive application.
      • Doctoral committee chair: Michael Latcha

  • 2/19/24
    • Joy Ott at 11 AM via Google Meet
      • Psychology, Ph.D.
      • This dissertation explored religious value transmission through the lens of internalization across three notable life stages in Catholic individuals: young adolescence (Study One), young adulthood (Study Two), and parenthood (Study Three).
      • Doctoral committee chair: Jennifer Vonk

  • 2/16/24
    • Gavin Vance at 1 PM in Pryale Hall 130 
      • Psychology, Ph.D. 
      • This research employed a within-subjects design to compare changes in vaginal lubrication and pH in response to different audio stimuli to investigate whether women have evolved a physiological mechanism (i.e. production of more acidic vaginal pH) to avoid fertilization by rape.
      • Doctoral committee chair: Todd K. Shackelford

  • 2/9/24
    • Xiaobao Huang at 3 PM in 347 EC
      • Mechanical Engineering, Ph.D.
      • A new method to detect debonding (crack initiation) for adhesive joints
      • Doctoral committee chair: Dr. Gary Barber

  • 2/6/24
    • Abdullah Alsubaie at 9:30 AM on Zoom
      • Educational Leadership, Ph.D.
      • After the Covid lockdown, the Saudi Ministry of Education launched the Madrasati platform for distance teaching and learning for schools. This research surveyed teachers in Saudi Arabia concerning their experiences using the Madrasati platform.
      • Doctoral committee chair: Julia Smith

  • 1/18/24
    • Louis James Williams at 1 PM on Zoom
      • Early Childhood Education, Ph.D.
      • This study examined conducting home visits in a Midwest rural elementary school.  Findings included support for development of student-teacher relationships for academic success and support for home visits as an educational strategy.
      • Doctoral committee chair: Julie Ricks-Doneen

  • 1/17/24
    • Theawiana Bracewell at 3 PM on Zoom
      • Educational Leadership, Ph.D. 
      • This study focused on the experiences of African-American women in administrative roles at a predominately White institution in the Midwest. Key findings revealed that these African-American women continue to experience barriers to gaining access to advancement or promotions. 
      • Doctoral committee chair: Julia Smith

  • 12/14/23
    • Stacy Ann Brazell at 9:30 AM on Zoom
      • Early Childhood Education, Ph.D.
      • This study explores how early childhood teachers perceive teacher-family communication, addresses gaps for collaboration and emphasizes teacher voices to enhance student success and well-being.
      • Doctoral committee chair: Tomoko Wakabayashi

  • 12/7/23
    • MoNique Price at 4 PM in 493 PH
      • Educational Leadership, Ph.D. 
      • This study used a phenomenological approach to explore Black students’ feelings of engagement, and sense of belonging at a predominantly White institution. Findings revealed their central focus was on persistence in the face of lack of belonging. Implications are discussed.
      • Doctoral committee chair: Julia Smith

  • 11/17/23
    • Khalid Amen at 10 AM in 347 EC
      • Systems Engineering, Ph.D.
      • A study to employ and develop a multi-stage approach to enhance the accuracy and optimize the performance of binary outcomes.
      • Doctoral committee chair: Mohamed Zohdy

  • 11/15/23
    • Tallal Mohamed Omar at 1 PM in 347 EC
      • Computer Science and Informatics, Ph.D.
      • A study of theoretical framework that leverages Artificial Intelligence techniques to detect and counteract malware behavior in computer memory.
      • Doctoral committee chair: Mohamed Zohdy

  • 11/3/23
    • Onkar Mande at 10 AM via Zoom
      • Mechanical Engineering, Ph.D.
      • Generating long non-Gaussian signals for accurate fatigue life estimation.
      • Doctoral committee chair: Zissimos Mourelatos
    • Elizabeth Fulks at 11 AM in 2045 HHB or Zoom
      • Nursing, Ph.D.
      • This study examines bystander presence and behavior during sexual assaults experienced by transgender undergraduates.
      • Doctoral committee chair: Dr. Laura Pittiglio

  • 11/2/23
    • Soloman Addai at 10 AM in 372 MSC
      • Applied Mathematical Sciences, Ph.D. 
      • This work applies transmutations to theoretical insurance. These are novel research results, with particular focus on the theoretical application of the exponential, Pareto and Weibull distributions. Our findings contribute insights into the domain of insurance studies.
      • Doctoral committee chair: Prof. T. Ogunyemi

  • 10/31/23
    • Azam Tayyebi at 9 AM in 204 EH
      • Electrical and Computer Engineering, Ph.D.
      • Implementing high-speed, lightweight hardware architecture for H.264-compatible compression on an FPGA
      • Doctoral committee chair: Darrin Hanna

  • 10/30/23
    • Yong Zeng at 1:30 PM via Zoom
      • Literacy, Culture and Language, Ph.D.
      • This empirical study investigated the impact of competition on EFL vocabulary learning outcomes and learners’ motivation. A four-week experiment showed that competition had a positive impact on both of the 331 participants’ vocabulary learning outcomes and motivation levels.
      • Doctoral committee chair: Tanya Christ

  • 10/27/23
    • Jasleen Kaur at 9 AM in 235 EH
      • Biomedical Sciences: Medical Physics, Ph.D. 
      • We describe the role of the cerebrospinal fluid and its exit routes in mediating Cerebral Waste clearance.
      • Doctoral committee chair: Yang Xia
    • Tony Ross at 1 PM via Zoom
      • Systems Engineering, Ph.D.
      • This work addresses the challenge of controlling and coordinating two electric motors as part of an electric all wheel drive (eAWD) powertrain to maintain vehicle stability during longitudinal and lateral motion of the vehicle.
      • Doctoral committee chair: Manohar Das

  • 10/26/23
    • Lei Zeng at 9 AM 347 EC
      • Electrical and Computer Engineering, Ph.D.
      • Improving the power flow calculation performance in power systems by harnessing the computational power of GPU computing.
      • Doctoral committee chair: Shadi Alawneh
    • Kaiqiao Tian at 2 PM via Zoom
      • Electrical and Computer Engineering, Ph.D.
      • Sensor Fusion enabling more reliable perception for mobile robots and autonomous vehicles.
      • Doctoral committee chair: Ka C Cheok

  • 10/23/23
    • Emily Caylor at 2 PM via Zoom
      • Literacy, Culture and Language, Ph.D.
      • The dissertation studies center humanity through complex reflective and relational work with literacy coaches and teachers, and highlight stories of teachers whose coaches successfully used the Collaborative Literacy Coaching Framework for Transformation developed by the author.
      • Doctoral committee chair: Gwendolyn Thompson McMillon, Ph.D.

  • 10/17/23
    • Ehab AbduhlRahman at 9 AM in 347 EC
      • Electrical and Computer Engineering, Ph.D.
      • Combining basic antenna geometries to synthesize and control the desired radiation characteristic mode (CM) at the intended frequency range to achieve an optimized radiation pattern.
      • Doctoral committee chair: Daniel Aloi
    • Ahmad Ibrahim at 1 PM in 347 EC
      • Electrical and Computer Engineering, Ph.D.
      • A study of the effect of vehicle environment on antenna performance.
      • Doctoral committee chair: Dan Aloi

  •  9/29/23
    • Xioawan Zheng at 11:30 AM in 347 EC
      • PhD in Systems Engineering 
      • Simultaneous dual resolution measurement to establish separated optical channels for different fields of view to achieve dual resolution.
      • Doctoral committee chair: Dr. Lianxiang Yang

  • 9/21/23
    • Mauricio Hernandez-Distancia at 10 AM in 347 EC
      • PhD in Electrical and Computer Engineering 
      • Controlling Zeta Converters using adaptive state observers and state feedback in the discrete-time domain that yields robustness in the presence of plant uncertainties.
      • Doctoral committee chair: Mohamed A. Zohdy

  • 9/13/23
    • Destaney Sauls at 1 PM via Google Meets
      • PhD in Psychology
      • This research examined the relationships that two forms of loyalty had with different aspects of friendship functioning. Across three studies, the results for passive loyalty were somewhat overshadowed by those for active loyalty.
      • Doctoral committee chair: Virgil Zeigler-Hill

  • 8/28/23
    • Mackenzie Millet at 1 PM via Zoom
      • PhD in Education: Educational Leadership
      • This study compared Black and White students' level of involvement compared to their self-reported level of wellness. Results showed significant differences in relationships between involvement and wellness. Implications for collegiate administrators are described.
      • Doctoral committee chair: Julia Smith 

  • 7/14/23
    • Walter Wolfsberger at 11 AM in 120 MSC
      • PhD in Biological and Biomedical Sciences 
      • The study reviews, applies, and proposes a software suite to address the challenges of advanced techniques in population genomics.
      • Doctoral committee chair: Taras K Oleksyk

  • 7/12/23
    • Khrystyna Shchubelka at 2 PM in 127 DH
      • PhD in Biological and Biomedical Sciences
      • This study explores genetic variation in Ukraine, relevant to personalized medicine and future clinical trials in the local population.
      • Doctoral committee chair: Taras K Oleksyk

  • 7/11/23
    • Yiju Liao at 2 PM on Zoom
      • PhD in Biomedical Sciences: Health and Environmental Chemistry
      • The main focus of this dissertation is to investigate the reaction pathways and mechanisms of a few common organic functional groups including alcohols, aldehydes, and amines, as well as their interactions with minerals and metal salts in hydrothermal systems.
      • Doctoral committee chair: Dr. Ziming Yang

  • 7/7/23
    • Emily Biernat at 11 AM on Zoom
      • PhD in Biological and Biomedical Sciences 
      • Histone H3 and H4 acetyltransferases (HATs) modulate RSC recruitment to chromatin in budding yeast. RSC increases nucleosomal DNA accessibility to promote transcription initiation and elongation.
      • Doctoral committee chair: Chhabi Govind

  • 6/12/23
    • Fakhare Alam at 11 AM in 347 EC or Zoom
      • PhD in Computer Science and Informatics 
      • This work proposes fully automated knowledge graph curation framework to curate information and create KG of different clinical domains by employing concept extraction, semantic enrichment, and optimized clustering.
      • Doctoral committee chair: Khalid Malik

  • 3/14/23 
    • Mohammad Yahya at 12 PM in 523 EC
      • PhD in Computer Science and Informatics 
      • Improve existing methods to detect cross-language source code clones
      • Doctoral committee chair: Dae-Kyoo Kim

  • 3/13/23
    • Sarah Moussaddy at 9 AM in 347 EC
      • PhD in Mechanical Engineering 
      • Introduction of new concept for energy and water recovery.
      • Doctoral committee chair: Jonathan Maisonneuve
    • Maen Hammod at 1 PM in 347 EC
      • PhD in Electrical and Computer Engineering 
      • A strategy developed for identifying a subset of objects (SRO) that the perception system for autonomous vehicles must perform exceptionally well on.
      • Doctoral committee chair: Osamah A.Rawashdeh
    • Syeda Saira Batool at 1:30 PM in 372 MSC
      • PhD in Biomedical Sciences: Medical Physics
      • This dissertation contains both experimental and computational studies of articular cartilage at microscopic resolutions, which aim to better understand the degradation of articular cartilage in osteoarthritis.
      • Doctoral committee chair: Yang Xia 
    • Svetle Matovski at 3 PM in 347 EC or Zoom
      • PhD in Systems Engineering 
      • Research brings four different pieces to show the risk value at each node within a supply chain network.
      • Doctoral committee chair: Nasim Nezamoddini

  • 3/10/23
    • Cody Scott Howe at 12 PM via Zoom 
      • PhD in Biological and Biomedical Sciences
      • The project investigates the function of Phosphatase and tensin homolog (Pten) in the intestine to uncover the molecular mechanism by which loss of Pten gene causes inflammatory diseases in the intestine. 
      • Doctoral committee chair: Sang H. Rhee, Ph.D. 
    • Mario Barnard at 2 PM in 347 EC
      • PhD in Electrical and Computer Engineering
      • Applying Model Predictive Control (MPC) to the automotive industry
      • Doctoral committee chair: Mohamed Zohdy

  • 3/8/23
    • Hannah Mantebea at 9 AM in 372 MSC
      • PhD in Biomedical Sciences: Medical Physics
      • This dissertation confirms the ability of µMRI and PLM to examine the cartilage structure in both healthy and diseased states. The study contributes to the treatment and early diagnosis of arthritis.
      • Doctoral committee chair: Yang Xia

  • 3/7/23
    • Samar Madi at 12 PM in 372 MSC
      • PhD in Applied Mathematical Sciences 
      • This research develops statistical methodology for diagnostic tests from single and multiple diagnostic variables, using NHANES complex survey data. ROC curves, logistic regression and kriging-based optimization will be used to construct the diagnostic tests.
      • Doctoral committee chair: Dorin Drignei

  • 2/24/23
    • Johnnie Romon Blunt at 11 AM via Zoom
      • PhD in Literacy, Culture, and Language
      • This dissertation examines the roles of literacy and literacy education in early 19th-century autobiographies of fugitive slaves in the US. Literacy and literacy education enabled these authors to establish their humanity through their engagement with the debates about slavery.
      • Doctoral committee chair: Linda M. Pavonetti

  • 2/16/23
    • Sweta Joshi at 2 PM via Zoom
      • PhD in Education: Early Childhood Education
      • This study explored teachers’ perceptions of developing leadership in children and the strategies they use to instill leadership. Eleven teachers participated. Findings indicated teachers were well aware of the leaders in their classroom.
      • Doctoral committee chair: Darlene A. Groomes, PhD, LPC, CRC

  • 2/7/23
    • Khaled Salhein at 12 PM via Zoom or 347 EC
      • PhD in Electrical and Computer Engineering
      • A new method to describe the heat transfer behavior of the vertical ground heat exchanger.
      • Doctoral committee chair: Mohamed Zohdy, Ph.D.

  • 1/13/23
    • Kwaku Twum at 9 AM via Zoom 
      • PhD in Biomedical Sciences: Health and Environmental Chemistry
      • Resorcinarenes are three-dimensional oligomers obtained by acid condensation between resorcinol and an aldehyde. This doctoral research presents biomedical applications of the macrocycle achieved with synthetic functionalization techniques.
      • Doctoral committee chair:Dr. Ngong Kodiah Beyeh

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