Alabama shipbuilder Austal christens 14th littoral battle ship – Yellowhammer News

8September 2020

One of the most decorated researchers in the wide world of industrial systems and engineering is right here in Alabama: Dr. Alice Smith, a teacher at Auburn University.

Smith has actually authored over 200 academic articles in leading journals– a crucial sign of success amongst expert academics. Those pieces have actually been mentioned countless times over in market publications, another indication that her work has pressed the field forward.

She was awarded a distinguished position as a Fulbright Senior Citizen Fellow in 2014 and is presently the Joe. W. Forehand/Accenture Distinguished Professor at Auburn.


When she initially entered school, Smith had dispositions towards being an artist, but her daddy motivated her to study something he felt would have more readily available job opportunity.

“I picked engineering,” Smith stated in a recent interview with Yellowhammer News, including that she rapidly discovered her picked core curriculum to be “really artful.”

“In fact, my research is pretty artful, and by artistic I mean there is a great deal of creativity and motivation,” she described.

Smith’s journey to the top of her field started at Rice University, where she was a National Merit Scholar and graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering.

She later on made an MBA from Saint Louis University while working for Southwestern Bell Corporation.

After deciding she preferred the world of teaching, Smith earned a PH.D. from Missouri University of Science and Innovation in 1991 and later on that year became an assistant professor at the University of Pittsburgh.

Dr. Smith believes that no matter the complexity of one’s chosen field of employment, individuals must choose a course that can lead them to joy.

“The function of working is to make money and have a good time,” Smith said when Yellowhammer asked her what piece of suggestions she thinks of often. “You require to take pleasure in and feel gratified by what you do.”

“If you feel like your occupation and your work is not leading you long term to where you want to go, then it is time to make a change,” she explained, referencing her relocation from Southwestern Bell to academic community.

Smith quickly went up the ranks in Pittsburgh, ending up being an associate professor in 1996. She stayed at the level for 3 years before Auburn employed her to be a professor and to chair the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering.

Under her management, the department impressively increased its enrollment by 200% and its research study financing by 500%. Though she transitioned out of the chair position in 2011, she hired and arranged a department that now has 250 undergraduate trainees and 12 faculty positions.

Given that 2012, Smith has held two different prestigious professorships at Auburn, where she both teaches and carries out research study tasks.

“She loves what she does and is empathetic towards trainees who try hard,” a trainee composed online after taking one of Smith’s classes.

“My own work is influenced by natural systems so part of it is observing the world around us and how we can translate this into mathematical models and computer system algorithms to resolve problems,” Smith told Yellowhammer about the projects she deals with when not advising trainees.

Smith’s documents and research study work have now accumulated a lot of honors for a summary to even do her justice, however those wishing to peruse a few of her accomplishments can do so here.

Yellowhammer asked Smith about operating in a field that has for years been predominantly male.

The distinguished expert informed Yellowhammer that ladies who select to study engineering tend to have actually been at the really top of their class, something not real for lots of male engineering students.

“I think it is an intimidation thing that women aren’t feeling confident adequate to select engineering unless they’re an A or B+ student, while this is far from true,” she discussed.

“You can be a really effective engineer and be an average trainee as long as you have the willingness to learn and to strive,” Smith added.

The topic of greater female participation in her field is important to Smith. She modified a book entitled “Females in Industrial and Systems Engineering” that was released in fall 2019.

In the book, each chapter is by a female in the field who Smith views as doing crucial work. The collection is one in a series on women in the sciences, and Smith states it turned out much longer than the others due to the fact that there was a lot great work being done by women for her to highlight.

Smith says she was happy with how the book ended up, especially because “all of the authors and the other individuals who have actually examined the book and read the book have all thought it was a volume worth doing.”

“It will function as a landmark for ideally many years to come,” she said.

In addition to being a world-renowned engineer, Smith is also a mom and spouse. She states the important things in life of which she is most proud would be her 3 kids, all of whom are now grown and followed her into the field of engineering.

The engineering expert likewise spoke fondly of Auburn University, which all of her children attended.

“I can see the value of the education, and how essential it is to individuals of Alabama and this region,” she said of the school.

Smith informed Yellowhammer that when she first got here on The Plains she “never ever expected to be at Auburn this long,” however that she has actually “grown to like Auburn” and now considers herself “Auburn by choice not by birth.”

“I seem like the rest of my career will be here,” she said.

Yellowhammer asked Dr. Smith what guidance she had for those going into the engineering field, specifically girls.

“The main point is simply go for it,” she replied, further advising youths to “do your best and most likely things will turn out well.”

Yellowhammer News is proud to call Dr. Alice Smith a 2020 Lady of Effect.


Editor’s note: Yellowhammer Multimedia recently revealed the 3rd yearly Women of Impact Awards. Honorees are being featured on Yellowhammer News each weekday through September 30. We will tell their stories one-by-one, using written and video formats. Inspect back daily for more of Alabama’s best and brightest.

Henry Thornton is a personnel writer for Yellowhammer News. You can contact him by e-mail:!.?.! or on Twitter @HenryThornton95 Source:

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