Aerospace Enterprise Student Leader Wins Defense Department Fellowship

By Jennifer Donovan | Published

The US Department of Defense (DoD) is going to help Jeff Katalenich realize his dream of pursuing a graduate degree in nuclear engineering. Katalenich, a fourth year mechanical engineering major at Michigan Technological University, has won a National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship that will enable him to attend the University of Michigan graduate program in nuclear engineering and radiological sciences.

The DoD received 2,000 applications for the competitive fellowships this year and awarded 200. The fellowship covers full tuition and fees for up to three years of graduate study.

"I can't think of a student more deserving of an NDSEG Fellowship than Jeff," said his advisor, Brad King, associate professor of mechanical engineering at Michigan Tech. "His credentials and list of accomplishments will certainly impress you, but when you get a chance to work with Jeff, you will really be blown away by his maturity, leadership and work ethic. Michigan Tech is proud to have an alumnus like Jeff Katalenich."

A member of Michigan Tech's Honors Institute and project manager of the Aerospace Enterprise's nanosatellite project--which placed third in a national competition--Katalenich holds a perfect 4.0 grade point average. He participates in the College of Engineeering Research Scholar Program and was the program's only student speaker this academic year.

"Michigan Tech provided me with the intellectual space and resources to obtain an engineering education and to explore my research interests," Katalenich said. "I have received an excellent education in mechanical engineering, and I owe a debt of gratitude to the faculty here for helping me grow and learn."

Katalenich emphasized the value of the hands-on experiences that come with a Michigan Tech education. "While the coursework did a lot to prepare me for my future work, my hands-on experience came from the Aerospace Enterprise and the opportunity I had to lead the nanosatellite program," he explained.

After graduate school, Katalenich hopes to work at a national laboratory or at a company he recently co-founded. His interest focuses on nuclear power sources for remote environments and the detection of nuclear materials.

Katalenich is from Roscommon, Mich.

Michigan Technological University is a public research university, home to more than 7,000 students from 54 countries. Founded in 1885, the University offers more than 120 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in science and technology, engineering, forestry, business and economics, health professions, humanities, mathematics, and social sciences. Our campus in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula overlooks the Keweenaw Waterway and is just a few miles from Lake Superior.