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NDSU faculty member appointed to Vettel Family Fellowship

Lokesh Narayanan, assistant professor of industrial and manufacturing engineering, has been appointed to a newly-established fellowship in the NDSU College of Engineering. Narayanan was named the inaugural holder of the Vettel Family Fellowship during a ceremony at the NDSU McGovern Alumni Center on Nov. 14.

Matt Vettel and his wife, Jenna, established the fellowship to support a faculty member in the Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering.

“This is such an honor, and I’d like to give my heartfelt thanks to the Vettels” Narayanan said. “I was elated when I heard the news.”

Narayanan joined NDSU in 2019 after earning his doctorate from North Carolina State University. His research focuses on making human organ manufacturing using a patient’s own cells possible on an industrial scale.

“This work has the potential to change the way we look at health care,” Narayanan said. “And the money provided by Matt and Jenna will help kickstart my program by providing funding for students, supplies and equipment.”

Narayanan will include undergraduate and graduate students on his research team, providing them valuable hands-on experience. He’s also planning workshops for area high school students interested in learning more about the fast-growing field of biomedical engineering.

“I understand the impact a fellowship has on the ability to attract quality faculty to the institution. It is so important in making sure the students’ educational experience is as exciting and rewarding as when I was on campus,” said Vettel, a 1990 NDSU industrial engineering graduate. “It all starts with the faculty.”

Vettel credits his professors at NDSU for providing the education and career advice to find excellent opportunities as an engineering graduate. The mentorship eventually led Vettel to Harvard Business School where he earned his Master of Business Administration.

“Investing in faculty is one of the most transformative ways philanthropy can impact our college,” Michael Kessler, dean of the College of Engineering, said. “In higher education today, named faculty positions are critical to recruiting and retaining faculty who provide the best educational experiences possible, drive innovation that will shape a better world and mentor the next generation of engineering leaders.”

Benefactors who establish faculty fellowships provide a minimum of $30,000 in annual funding for at least five years. The Vettel Family Fellowship is the first fellowship announcement since the university publicly launched “In Our Hands,” a $400 million comprehensive campaign to support NDSU students.

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