Professor named International Society for Optics and Photonics fellow


By Erin Cassidy Hendrick

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Zoubeida Ounaies, professor of mechanical engineering and associate department head for administration in the Penn State Department of Mechanical Engineering, has been named a fellow of the International Society for Optics and Photonics (SPIE).

SPIE fellows earn this distinction by making significant scientific and technical contributions to the multidisciplinary fields of optics, photonics and imaging.

Specifically, Ounaies was selected for her achievements in the analysis and realization of mechanical, electrical and chemical coupling in polymer nanocomposites. In her lab, the Electroactive Materials Characterization Laboratory, she strives to advance the application of functional polymer-based materials in sensing, actuation and energy harvesting. During her academic career, she has authored or co-authored more than 150 published papers and has obtained eight United States patents.

In addition to this distinction from the SPIE, Ounaies’ impact can be seen in her many other accomplishments. She also has been named a fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and the Big Ten Academic Alliance Leadership. Recently, she was awarded a $500,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to contribute new knowledge to the processing of polymer matrix composites.

She also received the 2019 Rosemary Schraer Mentoring Award, which honors a Penn State employee who exemplifies a strong commitment to mentorship, to recognize her mission in empowering and assisting the careers of junior faculty.

“Dr. Ounaies has a strong reputation as a talented researcher, mentor and professor,” said Karen Thole, distinguished professor and mechanical engineering department head. “This honor from the SPIE is an excellent recognition of her impact.”


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Megan Lakatos