Mizdail, first female engineering professor at Penn State Berks, retires

Barbara Mizdail, Senior Lecturer in Mechanical Engineering at Penn State Berks, officially retired on December 31, 2014, after 13 years of service to the college. She was the first full-time female engineering professor at the college. Among her accomplishments are founding the college?s student chapter of the SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) and serving as the first female adviser to SAE Berks Chapter competing in the SAE International Baja competition.

Mizdail, a mechanical engineer, taught materials, processes, and production courses. She introduced discipline-specific research into the college?s first-year seminars for engineering majors.

?I think it?s important to introduce research early to engineering students,? explains Mizdail. ?It gives students an opportunity to participate in engineering work early in their academic careers and helps prepare them for their professional careers.?

Mizdail brought a wealth of real-world experience into her classes. Prior to working at Penn State Berks, she held various engineering positions in Fortune 100 companies, mainly in the automotive field, for thirty years. She attended the Chrysler Institute program, a two-year executive training program for students pursuing their master?s degrees in engineering from the University of Michigan. She then worked for Ford Motor Co., Mack Trucks, Inc., and Dana Corporation, holding positions of increasing responsibility.

In addition, Mizdail co-chaired the Industrial Advisory Council for Engineering at the college for five years and chaired the Engineers Week activities on campus. She is active on the local SAE Lehigh Valley Section Governing Board, and a member of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers and American Society for Engineering Education.

Just before she retired, Mizdail was notified that she will receive the 2014 Excellence in Engineering Education (Triple ?E? Award) from SAE International to be presented at their 2015 SAE World Congress in Detroit, Michigan. The award was established to acknowledge outstanding contributions made to activities related to the SAE Education Board.

When asked what she plans to do during her retirement, Mizdail stated that she will continue teaching engineering first-year seminars at Penn State Berks in the fall semester. In addition, she will serve on the Adamstown Area Library Board and the Cocalico School District to encourage students, especially females, to pursue careers in STEM fields.

?My career in engineering has been anything but boring,? states Mizdail. ?I?ve cruised the Autobahn in Germany, driven on the ?wrong? side of the road in England, learned to drive an 18-wheeler on Mack?s test track, been serenaded by a student on his guitar (after he completed a project for Martin Guitar), and taught so many bright and intelligent young men and women.?