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GAANN Fellowship

Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education

GAANN Fellowship: Motivation and Goals

The GAANN Fellowship program provides opportunities to impact areas of national need as defined by the Secretary of Education. At Virginia Tech, we are addressing the national need of professional engineering education in core disciplines, with a focus on materials manufacturing. 

Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need (GAANN) Program Goals:

  1. Assist graduate students with excellent records to pursue PhD studies in the areas of absolute priority defined by the Department of Education (DEd). 
  2. Train PhD students in an important science and engineering field, encompassing research topics in select technical areas related to the research theme of Multifunctional Material Synthesis and Advanced Manufacturing (MM-SAM).
  3. Help PhD students obtain doctoral degrees with financial assistance.
  4. Train a vibrant and highly educated workforce with backgrounds from a multitude of engineering disciplines
Grad student stirring liquid in a beaker.

Groundbreaking Research Areas

Our exciting and interdisciplinary education and research program in MM-SAM, a subject of critical importance to our national needs, includes the following technical areas:

  • Advanced Manufacturing and Processing for Metals, Polymers, Ceramics and Metamaterials.
  • Development of New Materials and Feedstocks for Advanced and Additive Manufacturing
  • Materials Performance and State-of-the-Art-Characterization
  • Machine Learning, Materials Informatics, Data Analysis and Process Monitoring
  • Synthesis, Nucleation and Growth of new phases
  • Particle and Molecular Interactions.

Since this new area of PhD study requires specialized research and training experiences that are not available from any traditional fields, the interdisciplinary faculty team will provide a much needed PhD experience to the GAANN Fellows, helping to transform discoveries in the nation’s universities and research laboratories to the manufacturing floors here in America.

Our excellent laboratory facilities from a least four departments are well-recognized nationally for a wide range of outstanding interdisciplinary research. 

Grad student standing by an airplane engine inside of Goodwin Hall.

GAANN Programming

Seminar Program

A monthly seminar series will be offered where the fellows and core faculty will assemble for research presentations and poster sessions and listen to invited speakers.

Students will attend a weekly colloquia related to MM-SAM on the Virginia Tech (VT) campus to stimulate cross-fertilization of ideas.

Course Offerings

The GAANN Fellows will have access to the course offerings of 4 long-established academic departments: Chemical Engineering, Materials Science and Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, and Industrial and Systems Engineering.

Core Faculty

Our Interdisciplinary and Complementary Team


Dr. Kathy Lu
Program Co-Director
Materials Science & Engineering



Dr. William Reynolds
Program Co-Director
Materials Science & Engineering


Dr. Carolina Tallon
Materials Science & Engineering


Dr. Walter Lee
Engineering Education


Dr. Michael Bortner
Chemical Engineering


Dr. Zhenyu (James) Kong
Industrial and Systems Engineering

Exciting Features

  • An interdisciplinary PhD program in Multifunctional Material Synthesis and Advanced Manufacturing (MM-SAM).
  • Access to and collaboration with an interdisciplinary and complementary faculty team .
  • Access to world class additive manufacturing, material processing and characterization facilities
  • Travel funds to attend conferences to present your research and network with peers.
  • Attend a widely acclaimed teaching effectiveness workshop offered by National Effective Teaching Institute.
  • Four participating departments for course selection and interaction.
  • Opportunity to grow your vita with teaching training and coaching in a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) field.
  • Participate in Graduate School’s Future Professoriate program.
  • Opportunity to attend workshops and seminars through the AdvanceVT program    



Drs. Kathy Lu and William Reynolds

Learn More

To learn more about the GAANN Program, please contact Kim Grandstaff

142 Randolph Hall (MC0286)
460 Old Turner Street.
Blacksburg, VA 24060
Tel: 540-231-3178