Maureen Valentine named ‘2013 Engineer of the Year’ by Rochester Engineering Society
Associate Dean and Professor
College of Applied Science
Rochester Insitute of Technology
How have you used your engineering skills for community and professional leadership?
Community: It has been my honor and privilege to serve as chairperson for the
Engineering Symposium in Rochester for the last several years. The symposium provides
professional development hours required for New York licensure. In this role I chair a
committee of approximately 15 volunteers directing and coordinating the efforts to make
certain that the annual symposium provides high quality professional development hours to
nearly 400 registered professionals in the Rochester and surrounding area. Those volunteers
are each outstanding individuals and pour their heart and soul into this event. Professional:
I have the privilege of working with some outstanding women at RIT. Our grant team is
successfully working with RIT’s faculty and administration to transform the environment for
women faculty in the STEM disciplines.
Another group of women faculty in the College of Applied Science and Technology
worked with me to create the Women in Technology (WIT) program. WIT provides social
and professional development opportunities for the female students in RIT’s technology
programs, and has proven to improve the recruitment and retention of our young women. It
is an honor to know that this program has touched the lives of many students through the
In my leadership positions as Department Chair (2000-2007) and Associate Dean, I have
had the opportunity to influence the curriculum, faculty development and student support for
a tremendous team of educators in engineering technology.
What do you consider your greatest engineering achievement?
I am proud of the significant geotechnical work I did early in my career on dam and retaining wall safety, slope stability
in landfills and waste storage units. My greatest engineering achievement may have been
designing and monitoring the installation of a foundation that successfully supports a weapons
handling wharf in soft ground, but my greatest achievement as an educator of engineers is
seeing students graduate and succeed in the workplace. I feel tremendous pride each time
I realize the number of our graduates who play significant roles in engineering projects all
around Rochester and the country. I celebrate with them as they gain experience, earn their
professional license, move into management rolls and become successful professionals.
Describe a key event or individual that had a profound effect on your career.
In my twenty years at RIT, Carol Richardson provided a quiet, steady guiding hand
throughout. Early on she, along with Bob Easton, provided the mentorship needed to succeed
as a tenure-track faculty member. Later she encouraged me to move into administrative rolls,
demonstrating each time how I could have a significant impact on a large group of students
through these duties. I have had the privilege of working for Carol in the dean’s office and
working with her on projects like SWE and the WIT program.
What advice would you give to our scholarship recipients, who will be in attendance at
The study of engineering is an opportunity to learn a life skill – problem solving
– that can be applied to any number of situations throughout your lifetime, well beyond the
technical issues. Learn to use that to further your dreams.
Articulate your vision for engineering in Rochester.
The engineering community in Rochester is strong and vibrant. The opportunities for
partnerships between our corporations and educational institutions are boundless and we need
to continue to seek ways of connecting these two groups, for the benefit of professionals and