Engineering science and mechanics head elected to two international posts


By Ashley J. WennersHerron

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Judith Todd, P.B. Breneman Chair, professor and department head of engineering science and mechanics at Penn State, was recently elected as president of ASM International and as planning chair for The Franklin Institute’s Committee on Science and the Arts.

“Both of these roles are regarded as positions of honor that highlight the holder’s contributions to their field and to the professional society,” said Justin Schwartz, Harold and Inge Marcus Dean in the College of Engineering. “Dr. Todd’s selection is both a testament to her reputation within her discipline, as well as to her ability to provide outstanding leadership in these roles. I have no doubt she will serve both organizations with enthusiasm, energy and her deep knowledge and appreciation of engineering as it applies to society.”

Todd was named a fellow of ASM International, formally known as the American Society for Metals, in 1997 and has served on the board of trustees since 2017. During that time, she liaised with the Women in Materials Engineering Committee and the Thermal Spray Society, and she chaired a task force on diversity, equity and inclusion. Most recently, she served as the organization’s vice president.

“As president, my priorities continue to focus on growing our membership and further expanding and disseminating knowledge on new materials frontiers and other technical areas where the society excels,” Todd said. “I will also continue to work closely with the  ASM Materials Education Foundation to employ highly interdisciplinary approaches to engage students and their teachers in materials education.”

Todd also noted that she will continue to advance equity and inclusion for all ASM International members. A priority is developing international chapters to facilitate strategic collaborations to provide existing members and engage potential members with the resources they need to advance materials and related disciplines.

“ASM International is a world leader for materials information, a recognition that should reflect the diverse breadth of individuals who hold expertise in materials,” Todd said.

While Todd plans to contribute to the infrastructure that advances science and engineering in her role at ASM International, she also aims to help recognize those who have made significant contributions in her other new position as planning chair for The Franklin Institute’s Committee on Science and the Arts.

The Franklin Institute was founded in 1824 in Philadelphia as a center of science education and development in tribute to Benjamin Franklin. Since its founding, the institute has issued Benjamin Franklin Medals across the world for outstanding achievements in science, engineering and industry. The Committee on Science and the Arts reviews the nominee and their accomplishment for “uncommon insight, skill or creativity” and “substantial scientific value and/or proven utility.” Todd previously served as a member and chair of the committee’s civil and mechanical cluster, where she contributed to the successful awarding of the Benjamin Franklin Medal to Subra Suresh in 2013, for mechanical engineering and materials science; and John Rogers in 2019, for materials engineering; and the 2015 Bower Award and Prize for Achievement in Science to Jean-Pierre Kruth in mechanical engineering.

“The Franklin Institute laureates include several of the most innovative and inventive individuals of the last three centuries, such as Nikola Tesla, Marie Curie, Stephen Hawking and so many more,” Todd said, noting that 121 laureates have also received Nobel Prizes for their work. “As planning chair for the Committee on Science and the Arts, I will contribute to the commemoration of the most influential scientific and technical work of the modern world. It is an honor.”


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College of Engineering Media Relations

a woman stands in a garden and smiles at the camera

Judith Todd, P.B. Breneman Chair, professor and head of engineering science and mechanics at Penn State. IMAGE: PENN STATE