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Three students from MAE receive NSF Graduate Research Fellowship

Two Ohio State mechanical engineering students and one alumnus have been notified that they will each receive a 2020 National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) Fellowship.

The three Ohio State-related recipients are Dustin Goetz, a current undergraduate student in mechanical engineering, Brian Block, a PhD student in mechanical engineering, and Jonathon Blank, a PhD student in mechanical engineering at the University of Wisconsin.

Selection for the honor is based on a graduate student's abilities and accomplishments, as well as their potential to contribute to the vitality of US science and engineering enterprises, according to the NSF GRFP website. The GRFP has a long history of selecting recipients who achieve high levels of success in their future academic and professional careers.

Dustin GoetzDustin GoetzGoetz plans to pursue a PhD in mechanical engineering, specializing in robotics with a focus in soft robotics and controls. As an undergraduate, Goetz worked closely with the Doan-Nguyen Group studying lithium-ion batteries.

“Dr. Doan-Nguyen has been instrumental in my growth as a researcher and has encouraged me to explore different topics of interest,” Goetz said.

Receiving the fellowship was very meaningful to Goetz.

“It reflects the terrific mentorship that I have received thus far in my career. These mentors include my undergraduate research mentors, my parents and my older brother,” he said. “The fellowship will allow me more intellectual freedom during my graduate career so that I can focus on research projects that I find fulfilling.”

For Block, he has an internship at General Motors planned as part of their EXCEL program. With four years left in his schooling, Block is not entirely sure what he would like to do exactly after graduation, but would like to pursue a position in a national lab or stay in academia.

Brian BlockBrian BlockBlock’s research focus is in optimization and control, with a focus in using control theory and optimization techniques as they pertain to energy conservation and sustainability. He believes that climate change is a very important issue in our society especially in the transportation sector, his current research focus under advisor Dr. Stephanie Stockar.

The fellowship is a huge honor for Block.

“It not only provides me with the financial support to continue my studies,” he said. “It also will allow me to further investigate how we can increase sustainability and push towards becoming a more energy conscience society. “

Currently at the University of Wisconsin to pursue his PhD, Blank graduated from Ohio State in 2018. When he completes his PhD, he would like to pursue a career in academic research and becoming the head of his own research lab.

Blank’s research focus is in biomechanics, with his most prominent research interests in musculoskeletal soft tissue mechanics. His future research goal is to have a broad research focus in translational applications of engineered technologies in biomechanics and rehabilitation using a combined experimental and computational approach.

Jonathon BlankJonathon BlankBlank is very thankful to receive this fellowship and the opportunities it allows him going forward.

“The NSF Graduate Research Fellowship is an incredible opportunity that supports developing young scientists and engineers in pursuit of their graduate research,” Blank said. “Accordingly, the fellowship will allow me to freely apply myself to research projects of my own interest as my research and career goals continue to evolve.”