Professor named Society of Women Engineers Outstanding Faculty Advisor

RIT mechanical engineering faculty Marca Lam recognized for inspiring future engineering leaders




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Marca Lam

Marca Lam, a faculty member at Rochester Institute of Technology, was named the 2015 Outstanding Faculty Advisor by the Society of Women Engineers. Lam was recognized for her role in helping to build the membership in RIT’s student section of the organization and increase participation in student-run professional and social programming, as well as being an engineering role model for the young women in the program. She will be presented the award at the society’s annual conference this October in Nashville, Tenn.

“I’m honored to have my work with SWE recognized especially with this being an international award. Wow,” said Lam, a senior lecturer of mechanical engineering in RIT’s Kate Gleason College of Engineering.

“Dr. Lam has the can-do attitude that really inspires both the student leaders and general membership to want to go above and beyond,” said Nicole Anklam, president of the RIT’s SWE student section and a fifth-year electrical engineering major from El Paso, Texas. “Her composure throughout the year and advice in times of need has always allowed us to keep calm and engineer on. Our section is incredibly lucky to have her as our adviser, and we are so proud that she is achieving the recognition she deserves.”

Michelle Garofalo agreed. “Dr. Lam’s consistent dedication to the section and its members is an invaluable asset. Without her guidance, insight and support, RIT SWE would not be as successful as it is today. She really helped to grow and develop the section with the student members during her time as faculty adviser and I am sure will continue to do so as the section progresses.

“She is a mentor to anyone who knocks on her door and is always there for students,” said Garofalo ’15 (mechanical engineering), who was past section president and is currently an engineer at Lord Corp. “This award could not go to a more deserving or committed individual.

Lam became the student section’s adviser in 2009, and works with its leadership team in planning career-development and community service activities throughout the year, including the group’s signature event, the annual SWE Overnight for high school juniors to explore engineering fields. She helped formalize a campus networking event between current SWE members and alumni and garnered sponsorship for the event through the RIT Engineering Alumni Office. Lam also escorts students to professional conferences each year, for both team building, professional development, networking with peers from other universities and to meet with prospective employers.

“This award is well deserved to honor all the time and talent that Dr. Lam provides to the RIT SWE student section,” said Jodi Carville, president of SWE Rochester professional section, and senior director of RIT’s College Alumni Relations. “Marca is a student-focused adviser who cares and takes the time to develop relationships with the SWE student members, mentoring them to be effective leaders and guiding the success of the RIT section activities. She practices what she preaches, as she is also an incredible leader and partner as vice president of the Rochester SWE Professional Section.”

Lam came to RIT in 2006 after teaching at The Cooper Union in New York City. She is an expert in materials science, engineering design tools, teaching courses in system dynamics, engineering vibrations and optimal design. She also serves on the executive board of RIT’s Women in Engineering program, is an advocate for the engineering college’s Honors Program and is logistics coordinator for RIT’s Baja Race. Outside of RIT, Lam is part of the leadership team for the Women Engineers Pro-Active Network, a national, nonprofit organization dedicated to transforming engineering education and promoting the success of women in engineering fields.

“Part of the initiative to inspire women to explore opportunities in STEM and encourage them to reach their fullest potential in their careers is providing recognition to those who are positively impacting the field,” said Colleen Layman, president of the Society of Women Engineers, the not-for-profit educational and service organization. “These are the role models who lead by example and inspire the current and next generation. We are honored to have them as part of our mission.”

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Marca Lam