Please join us for a dynamic, high-energy, and often-humorous interview with Jian Cao, PhD and Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Northwestern University and host Barbara Trautlein, Chief Catalyst at Change Catalysts. Dr. Cao busts myths about manufacturing, describing the field as an “integration platform” and likening it to a “candy store, because there is so much variety, you can surely find something you will enjoy.” This free-ranging conversation spans her journey to become an engineer to her role in mentoring young women and men from across the globe as a professor, replete with actionable advice for obtaining the feedback and support one needs to build self-confidence and an empowering network. Moreover, she shares specific governmental grant resources women can obtain for funding manufacturing related-start- ups and lessons learned from her position as Board member of mHUB, Chicago’s first innovation center focused on physical product development and manufacturing.
Professor Jian Cao’s (MIT’95, MIT’92, SJTU’89) major research areas include innovative manufacturing processes and systems. Current research on the cyberphysical systems of flexible dieless forming, laser processes for ablation and additive, and composites forming has direct impacts on energy-efficient manufacturing, surface engineering and rapid prototyping. She has published over 300 technical articles, including over 170 journal articles, 14 book chapters, and 15 patents. She has given over 130 invited talks. Prof. Cao has established many first records as a woman researcher in
• 1st woman who received the Charles Russ Richards Memorial Award from ASME and Pi Tau Sigma to recognize the outstanding achievement in mechanical engineering by graduating 20 years or more.
• 1st woman who received the Taylor Research Medal from SME (Society of Manufacturing Engineers), the highest honor for manufacturing researchers, since it was established in 1957.
• 1st woman who is the corresponding author of the Blackall Machine Tool and Gage Award of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers since 1955.
• 1st US woman Fellow elected to the International Academy of Production Engineers (CIRP) since it was founded in 1951.
Prof. Cao is the Editor-in- Chief of the Journal of Materials Processing Technology. She served as President of the SME North America Manufacturing Research Institute, and Chair of ASME Manufacturing Engineering Division. She is a Board member of mHUB, Chicago's first innovation center focused on physical product development and manufacturing.