MALVERN, Pa. — Kathryn Jablokow, professor of engineering design and mechanical engineering at Penn State Great Valley, was recently elected to the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Board of Governors for the 2023-26 term.
The board comprises 12 people, with governors elected from ASME’s more than 85,000 members to serve three-year terms overseeing all the society’s activities. Jablokow, who also has appointments at Penn State University Park in the department of mechanical engineering and the School of Engineering Design and Innovation, has been a member of ASME for over three decades.
When a colleague suggested she consider applying for a board position, Jablokow was intrigued by the idea of having a more strategic view of and position within ASME, particularly given the society’s focus on the intersection of engineering and timely issues like diversity, equity and inclusion; ethics; artificial intelligence; and climate change. Serving on the Board of Governors will also allow Jablokow to bring the field’s latest insights into the rest of her professional practice.
“As I’m teaching, doing research or engaging with the public, I have a new perspective on how what I’m doing fits into the broader discipline and what’s happening in other sectors, including industry,” Jablokow said. “It’s keeping me up to speed at a higher level on what’s happening in engineering beyond our local region, what’s happening nationally, what’s happening internationally. It’s also informing me about the major issues and trends that are concerning to and that concern engineers.”
ASME encompasses a wide variety of engineering domains, and that interdisciplinary aspect is how Jablokow first got involved with the society — as a graduate student, her research in robotics bridged electrical and mechanical engineering.
In her more than 30 years with ASME, Jablokow has also been elected an ASME fellow, served as the chair of the Technology and Society Division, won the ASME Ruth and Joel Spira Outstanding Design Educator Award and attended and presented at multiple conferences.
“I want people to think about and believe that they can have an impact at the highest level,” Jablokow said. “You have the technical side of what you do and that’s important, but there’s also the leadership side, which may involve different skills and aspects of your life. The world needs more engineers stepping up to be leaders, so look for those leadership opportunities and grab them, pick them up, run with them, no matter who you are.”
Jablokow earned her bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees, all in electrical engineering, from Ohio State University, and joined the Penn State faculty in 1990. Her current research focuses on design cognition, engineering innovation and high-performance design teams. She played a key role in developing the Multidisciplinary Engineering Design option of Penn State’s Bachelor of Engineering degree, and was one of three Penn State engineering faculty who developed a Massive Open Online Course on creativity, innovation and change that has attracted over 300,000 learners since 2013.