Engineering design faculty member awarded Hartz early career professorship


By Samantha Chavanic

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Jessica Menold, assistant professor of engineering design and mechanical engineering at Penn State, recently received the Hartz Family Career Development Professorship in Engineering.

The Hartz Family Career Development Professorship, made possible through support from Alma Hartz, provides outstanding College of Engineering faculty members with supplemental resources during the early years of their academic careers.

This endowment provides faculty with funding that may be used for costs such as research expenses, education and travel costs and graduate and undergraduate student support.

Menold joined the University in spring 2018 as an assistant professor upon completing a visiting scholar opportunity with the Technology, Innovation and Management Group at RWTH Aachen University in Germany.

“I am incredibly honored to receive the Hartz family professorship,” Menold said. “This award will support my lab’s continued efforts to understand the complex relationships between people, process and product within the context of engineering design.”

Menold’s research thrusts include design decision making; the relationship between design cognition and design outcomes; and advanced manufacturing technologies and their interactions with early-stage design. She has combined these interest areas with her entrepreneurial spirit to help found numerous startups including Amparo and Curiospace.

She serves as a co-director of the THRED Group and is the associate director of outreach and inclusion at the Bernard M. Gordon Learning Factory. Menold is the creator of BUILD Nights, events centered around empowered building and making, and Maker Ambassadors, a year-long program aimed at increasing confidence in designing, building and leading in making activities.

Menold received her doctorate in mechanical engineering in 2017 and her bachelor of science in mechanical engineering in 2013, both from Penn State.

“Jess has quickly established her research program and infused her energy and expertise into her engineering design and mechanical engineering courses,” said Sven Bilén, head of the School of Engineering Design, Technology, and Professional Programs and professor of engineering design, electrical engineering and aerospace engineering. “She has engaged women and underrepresented students in ‘making’ by establishing Build Nights held at the Learning Factory — and currently virtually — and the Maker Ambassador program. That is impact.”


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