Stephanie L. Kwolek developed the first liquid crystal polymer which provided the basis for Kevlar® brand fiber. Kwolek earned a degree in chemistry from what is now Carnegie Mellon University. She joined DuPont in 1946, enlisting in the search for polymers and lower temperature condensation processes needed to produce specialty textile fibers. Researchers struggled to develop a stiffer and tougher nylon-related fiber until 1965, when Kwolek broke the deadlock by devising a liquid crystal solution that could be cold-spun. Kwolek was awarded the National Medal of Technology in 1996.