MAE student is selected for the NRC Research Associateship Program

Posted: May 10, 2023
Photo of Nathaniel Wood

Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering graduate student Nathaniel Wood has been selected for a postdoctoral fellowship with the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) in Dayton, Ohio, through the National Research Council’s prestigious Research Associate Program.

The NRC’s Research Associateship Program provides postdoctoral scientists and engineers the opportunity to pursue research problems, largely of their own choice and that are compatible with the interests of sponsoring laboratories.

“It feels very good to be awarded this fellowship,” Wood said, “Securing proposals and associateships is a key component of doing research and it feels good to start my career on a solid foundation in this respect.”

His research will focus on a metal 3D printing technology called powder bed fusion, which uses a laser to fuse a part out of a bed of metal powder in a layer-by-layer fashion. With his research collaborators at AFRL, they will research how machines that contain multiple lasers can be used to enact advanced quality control procedures.

Wood previously worked on a project with AFRL, which is how he first heard of the opportunity to apply and helped him be successful during the application process. Each year the NRC sponsors a limited number of postdocs with the AFRL.

“Since my current research project is in collaboration with AFRL I have a close relationship with several researchers there,” Wood said. “Their guidance was helpful in determining what to emphasize and what language to use when writing the proposal.”

Photo of Andrew Gillman
Dr. Andrew Gillman

Dr. Andrew Gillman, Research Materials Engineer at AFRL, is a part of the Materials and Manufacturing Directorate’s Digital Manufacturing Research Team that worked closely with Wood.

“It’s great to see Nate be rewarded for the outstanding young researcher he is,” Gillman said, “I look forward to being able to continue to work with him on the research he proposed.”

Wood acknowledged David Hoelzle, his academic advisor, and Edwin Schwalbach and Sean Donegan, research collaborators at AFRL, as other mentors that helped him. He credited his time at Ohio State as rewarding and an experience that helped him be ready for this opportunity.

“I have written applications for several other fellowships and proposals at Ohio State before this one, while not all were accepted, the guidance provided to me by my advisors and others in the department was instrumental in developing this skill,” Wood said, “I feel that Ohio State strongly helped prepare me for this opportunity.”