Kessler to direct School of Mechanical, Materials Engineering

KesslerPULLMAN, Wash. – Michael Kessler has been named Berry Family director of Washington State University’s School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering. He comes to WSU from Iowa State University where he was a professor of materials science and engineering.
“This is a critical time for the school, as we are dramatically growing our programs and increasing the number of engineering graduates in the state,” said Candis Claiborn, dean of the College of Engineering and Architecture. “I am confident that Dr. Kessler’s leadership style and expertise are the right fit for this important position.’’

Kessler conducts research in the mechanics, processing and characterization of polymer matrix composites and nanocomposites and has brought in more than $10 million in research funding from agencies such as the National Science Foundation (NSF) and NASA. He is a former associate of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Ames Laboratory.

His research areas include multifunctional- and nano-composites, materials with self-healing functionality, development of new manufacturing techniques for polymer composites and evaluation of these materials using experimental solid mechanics techniques and thermal analysis. His work spans the fields of organic chemistry, applied mechanics and processing science.

Among a number of honors, he received a Young Investigator Award from the Army Research Office and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, as well as an NSF CAREER award.
He has published more than 90 peer reviewed journal articles, holds six patents and has presented more than 100 talks at national and international meetings.
Kessler holds a B.S. degree in mechanical engineering from LeTourneau University and a Ph.D. in theoretical and applied mechanics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Support for the Berry Family directorship is a part of “The Campaign for Washington State University: Because the World Needs Big Ideas” (see Since July 2006, the campaign has raised more than $818.2 million toward a $1 billion goal to increase support for WSU’s students, faculty, research and programs and to leverage the university’s impact across the state, nation and world.
If you want to make a difference and support faculty programs in the College of Engineering and Architecture, contact Don Shearer, associate director of development, at 509-335-4733 or