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ME Student Kurt DeGoede Honored with Distinguished Dissertation Award

Kurt DeGoede, a recent University of Michigan Mechanical Engineering graduate, was honored with a Distinguished Dissertation Award for outstanding original scholarship. In a ceremony held on April 26, DeGoede received a $1,000 honorarium and award certificate. The program was sponsored by the Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies and Bell & Howell Information and Learning.

DeGoede, who completed his dissertations in 2000, was nominated by ME faculty members and selected by members of the Michigan Society of Fellows and Graduate School associate deans. Criteria for his award included the innovation, creativity and insight shown by the author; the scope and importance of the work to the department and to the field; and the effectiveness of the dissertation's writing.

DeGoede’s thesis addressed the causes of forward falls in people, attempting to mitigate the injuries caused by such falls. Completed in mechanical engineering, his dissertation research focused on the impact forces on the hands, shoulders and arms upon breaking a fall.

Using mathematical models and experiments exploring the biomechanical factors associated with a forward fall, DeGoede found that neuromuscular reflexes are never fast enough to protect the wrist or elbow and often are unable to protect the shoulder soft tissues. The importance of arm strength in protecting the torso or head also was examined. "The insights he has achieved in this research carry great potential for reducing upper extremity and head injury risk in the human population," the committee noted. "These insights will guide future therapeutic programs aimed at building arm strength in the elderly."

Congratulations Kurt on a job well done!

Dissertation information provided by the Michigan Society of Fellows and The University Record (5/7/2001)

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