Aaron Kessman, a graduate student in the West Virginia University Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering , has been awarded two highly competitive fellowships for his research in materials engineering.

The first, a National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate (NDSEG) Fellowship, is funded by the U.S. Department of Defense. The second is a Graduate Research Fellowship funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF).

The fellowships will pay for Kessman’s WVU tuition and fees and also provide for approximately $150,000 over five years. The fellowship programs are also key pathways to future research opportunities.

Kessman, a Ph.D. candidate, is conducting research in the development of improved water- and oil-repellent coatings for materials. The work has potential applications in textiles, medicine, civil infrastructure, computers, energy and many other fields.

Coatings that resist water and oil are important in many materials, from solar cells to touch-screen monitors to the clothes we wear and more,said Kessman,but problems with lack of durability and susceptibility to abrasion and wear have prevented their widespread adoption and use. My research is aimed at increasing the durability of these types of coating materials. In the long term, this will reduce waste and pollution by increasing the useful lifespan of materials with which consumer goods and other products are manufactured.

Kessman is collaborating in his work with Darran Cairns , assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering in WVU s College of Engineering and Mineral Resources .

Kessman earned his bachelors degree in chemical engineering from Northeastern University in his home state of Massachusetts. He then joined 3M, where he met Cairns and worked with him on a project involving the development of durable coatings for optoelectronic devices such as touch screens.

After three years with 3M, Kessman decided to come to WVU to pursue graduate studies under Cairns, who had joined the faculty in the College of Engineering and Mineral Resources.

After completing his Ph.D., Kessman plans to pursue a career in research as a university professor or as a researcher with a national laboratory.

For more information on the NDSEG Fellowship program, visit https://ndseg.asee.org/

For more information on the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship program, visit http://www.nsfgrfp.org/