ASTRO America Announces First Student Fellowship Award for Advanced Manufacturing

Virginia Tech Graduate Student Corinne Wells to Research Additive Friction Stir Deposition in Critical Industry Collaboration With Meld Manufacturing Corporation

Corinne Wells awarded ASTRO America Fellowship Grant
Corinne Wells awarded ASTRO America Fellowship Grant

Corinne Wells awarded ASTRO America Fellowship Grant

BETHESDA, Md. - July 13, 2021 - (

The Applied Science & Technology Research Organization of America, or ASTRO America, has announced its first Student Fellowship for Research in Advanced Manufacturing. Located at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech), graduate student Corinne Wells is the first recipient of the program.

ASTRO America, a leading organization on defense-related advanced manufacturing, recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students whose research in the fields of engineering and materials technology, advances manufacturing readiness in key defense industries.

Corinne Wells of Annandale, Virginia, will complete her Masters of Science in Materials Science and Engineering at Virginia Tech in December 2021. While enrolled at Virginia Tech as an undergraduate, she studied metallurgy and metal casting at the Foundry Institute for Research and Education (VTFIRE). She has also completed multiple internships in both the ferrous and non-ferrous industries. Through this fellowship, also co-sponsored by MELD® Manufacturing (Christiansburg, Virginia), she will be tasked with developing a database of mechanical test data and physical characterization of Additive Friction Stir Deposition (AFSD) aluminum builds, in as-deposited and heat-treated conditions.

"Corinne represents the very best in Applied Science and Technology Research. Her outstanding record in advanced materials research is truly worthy of recognition. ASTRO America is pleased to play some part in helping advance her career development," said Jason Gorey, ASTRO America. "Through this fellowship, she will undertake particularly important initiatives to generate industry-standard quasi-static and high-rate mechanical test data for two wrought aluminum alloys."

MELD Manufacturing, a pioneer in very large-scale additive manufacturing, is partnering on the student fellowship award. MELD has invented AFSD, a no-melt additive process for metal additive manufacturing that makes it capable of producing very large parts. The company is a repeat winner of the R&D 100 awards, Gold Winner of the 2019 Edison awards and more. MELD's process operates in open atmosphere with highly scalable equipment.

"Current research has not fully addressed the mechanical properties of materials built using AFSD," said Nanci Hardwick, founder and CEO, MELD Manufacturing. "We are happy to award student excellence in the advanced materials field and help to build industry knowledge in this exciting area of work."

Virginia Tech's Department of Materials Science and Engineering has a long history of unique programs emphasizing teaching and research in metals, ceramics, polymers, and more.

"We are exceptionally proud of Corinne and her achievements and dedication to industry and research," said professor Alan Druschitz, Virginia Tech. "This Student Fellowship by ASTRO America and MELD is indeed an honor."

For more information about ASTRO America's Student Fellowship program and its focus on advanced manufacturing technologies, processes and materials, please contact

Press Contact: │ (720) 317-9690

About ASTRO America

ASTRO America is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that advances Defense R&D to transition meaningful manufacturing technology into production.

ASTRO America convenes key segments of the Defense industrial base to advance qualification of key manufacturing technologies. Our stakeholders are members at every tier of the supply chain, accelerating adoption of cutting-edge production tools, efficiently and repeatably.

We support U.S. government agencies, driving transition of applied research to matured defense-related production. We are doing this through federally sponsored contracting, cooperative research, and other transactions.

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