One Thousand Days Transformed - The Campaign for Cedarville

by Sarah Mummert

Reducing road noise through research that helps the Ford Motor Company better understand vibration absorbers drove Michael Kennedy to his full-ride scholarship at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.  

Kennedy, who earned a degree in mechanical engineering from Cedarville University in 2023, began his doctoral research program at the University of Tennessee through the Bredesen Center — a joint program with the university and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Kennedy is pursuing a doctoral degree in energy science and engineering. 


Kennedy, of Cincinnati, Ohio, worked as a graduate research assistant, and his part-time research applies toward his dissertation. However, it was Kennedy’s award-winning undergraduate design project at Cedarville University that gave him the skills to succeed in research at the graduate level. 

For his senior design project, Kennedy partnered with Britton DeGarmo, another 2023 mechanical engineering graduate, on a vibration study in conjunction with Ohio State University and Ford. The duo was advised by Dr. Luke Fredette, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, and developed experimental methods to generate mathematical models and computer simulations to improve absorbers’ design and effectiveness. 

After compiling their research in a report, DeGarmo presented their paper at the Institute of Noise Control Engineering’s NOISE-CON 2023 as part of the student paper competition. The Cedarville alumni won the INCE-USA Student Paper Award, and their peer-reviewed paper was featured in the Noise Control Engineering Journal in September 2023. 

Though his graduate research on solid rocket motors and additive manufacturing (3D printing) differs drastically from his undergraduate research, the skills Kennedy learned at Cedarville have proved invaluable. 

“By topic, what I did for my senior research project has nothing to do with what I’m doing now,” said Kennedy. “But on the skill side of things, it has a lot to do with what I’m doing now.” 

Everything from reading background and current information on a topic to developing and testing designs is a skill that Kennedy brought with him to the graduate level. 

“You never know going to a small school how well you’ll be able to compete against other bigger universities,” Kennedy said. “But now that I’m doing graduate classes, I’m working with people from all around the world and from big name schools, and I can clearly see that my background has prepared me well. It’s a testament to how well the professors at Cedarville prepare their students.” 

Located in southwest Ohio, Cedarville University is an accredited, Christ-centered, Baptist institution with an enrollment of 5,456 undergraduate, graduate, and dual-enrolled high school students in more than 175 areas of study. Founded in 1887, Cedarville is one of the largest private universities in Ohio, recognized nationally for its authentic Christian community, rigorous academic programs, including its Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering, high graduation and retention rates, accredited professional and health science offerings, and the #4 national ranking by the Wall Street Journal for student engagement. For more information about the University, visit

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