What attracted you to Northeastern?

The great momentum. There is a lot of energy here from the students, faculty, and administration. This is a great opportunity to make an impact. I also love that we’ve been adding new faculty, and I look forward to hiring outstanding faculty who are going to be the next generation of teachers, researchers, and key players in the world.

What new programs or initiatives would you like to introduce? 

Northeastern is focused on global learning. I’d like to expand on what we offer, but it’s very challenging for engineering students to study or work abroad because of the intense curriculum. 

At Carnegie Mellon, we introduced short trips—10 days to three weeks—to developing countries. The students teach basic engineering principles to children, work on construction projects, install water pumps, help design pollution-control systems. These trips change lives.

I’d like to try something like that here. Many big opportunities in engineering will be in developing countries, so we should open the eyes of our students to these opportunities now.   

As far as new degree programs go, there are great opportunities here in the health sciences. We don’t have a biomedical engineering department, but we do have a graduate biomedical engineering program. I’m very interested in expanding in that area to advance our undergraduate program and research potential. 

What inspired you to enter the field?

I always wanted to make an impact in the world, and I was fortunate to have my father—an engineer and a mentor to me—telling me that being an engineer was a good way to do that. He also taught me about the excitement of being an engineer, creating new things for the very first time.  

Not many women had the chance that I had; it has made me very serious about our obligation to mentor women in engineering—and Northeastern is an excellent place for that. 

Cornell University 
Member: National Academy of Engineering, elected 2011
Previous Institution: Carnegie Mellon
Scholarship focus: fluid dynamics; micro-fluidics; chaotic mixing; electrohydrodynamics; particle manipulation; self-assembly