Engineering student Rachel Evans wins prestigious fellowship from Ohio Space Grant Consortium

Wright State University mechanical engineering student Rachel Evans will pursue a master’s degree in the College of Engineering and Computer Science thanks to an Ohio Space Grant Consortium fellowship.

A much sought-after fellowship from the Ohio Space Grant Consortium will enable Wright State University mechanical engineering student Rachel Evans to launch her graduate school education.

Evans, who graduates in May with her bachelor’s degree, will use the $16,000 Master’s Fellowship award to begin pursuing her master’s degree at Wright State in the fall in the College of Engineering and Computer Science.

Evans will continue her study of additive manufacturing —  specifically the laser powder bed fusion process, which is a method of metal 3D printing.

“This fellowship will allow me to pursue a graduate-level education in a field that I am passionate about,” said Evans, who will conduct the research along with Joy Gockel, assistant professor of mechanical and materials engineering. “I am unsure of the career path I want to follow at this time, but this fellowship will provide me with the necessary resources and experiences to guide me through my future endeavors.”

Evans, who grew up just outside Urbana, Ohio, interned last summer at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, where she printed 3D specimens out of carbon fiber and tested them.

Additive manufacturing is the use of a computer and 3D modeling to build 3D objects by adding layer-upon-layer of plastic, metal, concrete or other material in order to customize the objects and reduce costs. It is used to fabricate products for aircraft, dental restorations, medical implants, automobiles and in other areas.

Evans also co-authored a paper that was presented in August at the 2018 Solid Freeform Fabrication Symposium, an international additive manufacturing conference in Austin, Texas. Her mentor at Oak Ridge delivered the presentation.

Master’s fellowship recipients are required to attend the Annual Student Research Symposium at the Ohio Aerospace Institute in Cleveland and give a PowerPoint presentation on their research project.

“It has been several years since we last had a student win an OSGC fellowship,” said Mitch Wolff, professor of mechanical engineering. “These fellowships are very competitive.”

The Cleveland-based consortium was established in 1989 by Congress and is part of the National Space Grant College and Fellowship Program known as Space Grant administered by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

The consortium’s mission is to advance the nation’s capability in STEM leading to the continued development of a diverse workforce. It is done through collaborations within Ohio’s network of scientists, researchers, engineers and educators at universities, the Ohio Aerospace Institute, NASA Centers, the Air Force Research Laboratory and industry.

A key goal is to attract and retain students in STEM disciplines with an emphasis on increasing participation by women, underrepresented minorities and persons with disabilities.

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