Pettit is second UNL student ever awarded prestigious NASA graduate fellowship

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Logan Pettit, first-year Ph.D. student in mechanical engineering
Logan Pettit, first-year Ph.D. student in mechanical engineering

Logan Pettit, a first-year Ph.D. student in mechanical engineering, has been selected to receive the NASA Space Technology Graduate Research Opportunities (NSTGRO) Fellowship, which will provide funding for his graduate engineering studies and research in the College of Engineering.

Pettit is the second University of Nebraska-Lincoln student ever to be chosen to receive this prestigious NASA graduate fellowship. In 2014, mechanical engineering student Corey Kruse was awarded a NASA Space Technology Research Fellowship (NSTRF), now known as NSTGRO.

"Logan's credentials for these fellowships approach perfection – a 4.0 GPA as an undergraduate student, an internship at NASA that provided his application materials a strong recommendation letter from a NASA researcher, and his research performance in our labs and the independent development of an idea into a research program for his doctoral thesis," said George Gogos, professor of mechanical and materials engineering and Pettit's faculty advisor.

Pettit is working in a lab with Gogos and Craig Zuhlke, research assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering. Pettit will be conducting research in thermal fluids, specifically on two-phase heat transfer as it relates to thermal management.

The NSTGRO fellowship is for four years and provides annually about $80,000 in support – which includes tuition and fees, health insurance allowance, faculty advisor allowance, summer visiting technologist experience allowance, and a stipend.

Pettit also was chosen to receive the National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate (NDSEG) Fellowship – a three-year fellowship that annually provides nearly $65,000 in support to recipients for their graduate education and research.

Pettit said that not having to worry about the monetary demands of graduate education will be a significant advantage.

"Having that financial obligation already met means that I can devote all my time to my research and coursework," Pettit said. "The length of the fellowship will enhance my graduate education – I will be able to go deeper into my research and coursework and will therefore emerge with a deeper knowledge."

Pettit said he accepted the NSTGRO fellowship because it is more closely aligned with his career goal of working as a NASA researcher.

"I have wanted to work at NASA since I was a kid, and (with the NSTGRO fellowship) I get the opportunity to collaborate with a NASA researcher in my field every summer at a NASA center," Pettit said.

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