MechSE grad student receives prestigious national fellowship


MechSE graduate student Johnny Felts has received a National Research Council postdoctoral fellowship, one of the top postdoctoral fellowships in the country for science and engineering students.

The fellowship competition is directed by the National Research Council Research Associateship Programs (NRC RAP). Their mission is to promote excellence in scientific and technological research conducted by the U. S. government through the administration of programs offering graduate, postdoctoral, and senior level research opportunities at sponsoring federal laboratories and affiliated institutions.

Felts will be conducting research at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL), the corporate research laboratory for the Navy and Marine Corps that conducts a broad program of scientific research, technology, and advanced development.

"My work at the NRL will apply my knowledge of tip-based nanomanufacturing to create new electronic devices with exceptional performance out of grapheme," Felts said. "I am fortunate enough to have collaborated with my future advisor at the Naval Research Laboratory on tip-based nanomanufacturing, whereby nanometer sharp tips create structures on the order of 100 nm with a variety of electronic materials."

At MechSE, Felts works for the research group of Professor Bill King, who also specializes in nanomanufacturing.

"The NRC Postdoctoral Fellowship program recognizes the most elite and accomplished graduate students in all of science and technology," King said. "With this award, Johnny is in a group that is the best of the best."

Felts hopes to use his time at NRL to expand his knowledge of nanoscale surface chemistry and device fabrication, and to eventually use these skills to create new electric device architectures based on organic materials.

“Working in the MechSE department has been a very rewarding experience,” Felts said. “The department and Professor King’s research group are very collaborative across campus and across the country, which has exposed me to many skills outside of conventional mechanical engineering disciplines. This collaborative nature has given me skills in electrical engineering, chemistry, physics, optics, and materials which I otherwise may not have had, which is very important in nanoscale engineering.”

Felts is tentatively set to start research at NRL in early September.