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UW Grad Heads ME Department at University of North Dakota

August 2, 2010

Born in Cheyenne, Dr. Matthew Cavalli grew up in Laramie. His mother taught elementary school and his father was a consulting civil engineer. After graduating from Laramie Senior High School in 1994, Matt enrolled in the Mechanical Engineering Department at the University of Wyoming. While at UW, he was a member of Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity as well as Mortar Board, Tau Beta Pi, Pi Tau Sigma and Phi Kappa Phi. He also worked part-time in Dr. David Walrath’s laboratory, learning more about the properties of material and material processing.

In the fall of 1998, Matt enrolled at the University of Michigan where he completed an M.S. (2000) and Ph.D. degree (2003) in the area of fracture of adhesive joints. While in Michigan, he met and married his wife, Kristy, a social worker and children’s therapist. Following graduation, he was appointed as an assistant professor in the Mechanical Engineering Department at the University of North Dakota (UND) in Grand Forks, hired primarily to teach courses in materials. At UND he taught courses ranging from ME 101: Introduction to ME through ME 542: Thermodynamics of Materials. For the past several years, he has facilitated a collaborative design project in a junior-level material selection course between his engineering students and technology students at the two local high schools.

Matt serves as a member of the Grand Forks Public Schools Career and Technical Education Advisory Board. He received instructional and research funding from 3M, NASA, DOD, NSF and LM Glasfiber (wind turbine blade manufacturer). Research activities for Matt have ranged from the corrosion fatigue of welded aluminum structures to diffusion bonding of metals for high temperature applications to the performance of fiber composites. His research group currently includes five M.S. and two Ph.D. students.

Matt became the Graduate Director for the ME Department in 2007, and received tenure and promotion to Associate Professor in 2009. Fall 2009, he was named Deputy Chair of the ME Department and became Chair of the ME Department on June 1. A proud father of two, his daughter, Emma, began kindergarten last spring, and his son, Josh, turned two in April.


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