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Transportation Graduate Student Receives Prestigious Doctoral Fellowship at University of New Hampshire

David Mensching CE ’10, MSCE ’11 has been awarded the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences (CEPS) doctoral fellowship at the University of New Hampshire (UNH). He plans to pursue his Ph.D. in Civil Engineering Transportation after finishing his master’s of science degree in Transportation Engineering at Villanova this December. His first year in the program will be paid in its entirety through the CEPS fellowship.

“Receiving this fellowship means a lot to me because it shows that there are professionals who believe that I can make a difference in the industry,” says Mensching. “I think that's the part that makes me most proud of being selected for this award. One of my long-term professional goals is to become a well-respected official in my field, so it's nice to be valued as a young member of the asphalt community.”

The CEPS Graduate Fellowship Program launched in 2007 and has sponsored 18 Ph.D. students since its start. Applicants are promoted by a UNH faculty mentor and are voted upon within the respective departments before being reviewed by the awards committee. Mensching was selected as one of four winners among a number of candidates from a variety of disciplines within engineering and the sciences from schools across the country. He will study under the direction of Dr. Jo Daniel, Professor of Civil Engineering. Dr. Daniel is an esteemed member of the asphalt pavement field and the Chair of the Transportation Research Board’s (TRB) Committee on Structural Characteristics of Bituminous Mixtures.

“Part of what made David the clear winner is his experience on the National Academy of Sciences-funded project, ‘Field Validation of Quality-Related Standard Specifications for Hot-Mix Asphalt.’ He has been working on this project with me in direct coordination with the Rhode Island Department of Transportation, Arizona State University, and Fugro Consultants,” says Mensching’s current academic advisor Dr. Leslie McCarthy P.E., Assistant Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

“David has done presentations of his research work this year at the Northeast State Materials Engineers Association meeting in Saratoga, N.Y., and at the Mid-Atlantic Quality Assurance Association in Hershey, Pa.,” says Dr. McCarthy. “In addition, he has been added as a Young Member of the TRB Committee on Flexible Pavement Design. This is a prestigious honor because most young members are already practicing engineers with completed doctorate degrees; however, David’s work at Villanova and the New Jersey Turnpike Authority gave him this unique opportunity. He also worked as an undergraduate researcher with me on the National Academy of Sciences-funded project ‘Effective Delivery of Small-Scale Federal-Aid Projects,’ which resulted in a synthesis publication that was distributed to 5,000 transportation professionals world-wide.”

Mensching is excited to begin his work with Dr. Daniel on innovative asphalt development projects. In the future, he hopes to become a university professor because he has recognized the critical need to instruct students on bituminous materials before they enter the workforce.