U.S. Department of Education Awards $900,000 for Engineering Ph.D. Fellowships at Rensselaer

The U.S. Department of Education (DoE) 2018 Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need (GAANN) Program has awarded Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute nearly $900,000 to support an interdisciplinary Ph.D. program in aeronautical engineering and mechanical engineering.

“These awards are among the most competitive and prestigious awards made by the U.S. Department of Education,” said Suvranu De, a distinguished professor of engineering and head of the Rensselaer Department of Mechanical, Aerospace, and Nuclear Engineering (MANE). “We are competing with leading universities to attract the highest quality graduate students from around the nation, and these fellowships represent a strong acknowledgement of the quality of not only our research programs, but also the expertise of our faculty.”

According to DoE, grants are awarded to programs and institutions to sustain and enhance the capacity for teaching and research in areas of national need. The GAANN programs provide opportunities to students who demonstrate financial need and superior ability.

This marks the first time in decades that MANE has received such an award, which will support six graduate fellowships per year for three years. This will advance the department’s progress toward three critical goals: to increase the number of U.S. students enrolling in mechanical and aeronautical engineering Ph.D. programs; to increase the number of women and underrepresented minorities receiving doctorate degrees in mechanical and aeronautical engineering; and to offer an interdisciplinary Ph.D. program that includes a strong teaching instruction component, which will prepare students for successful careers in research and academia.

The team of MANE faculty members who received this award and will work closely with the university’s GAANN fellows includes Theodorian Borca-Tasciuc, Farhan Gandhi, Catalin Picu, Diana Borca-Tasciuc, and Mamadou Diagne.