PhD, mechanical engineering, University of Maryland-College Park, 2007
Areas of expertise and bio
Expertise: Mechanics of solid materials and manufacturing innovation, focusing on additive manufacturing and 3D printing applications
“Analytical and goal-oriented” are the dominant character traits Leila Ladani says best describe her.
She recalls exhibiting those proclivities at an early age when she was drawn to math and science in her first years of school — and in later years when she chose to pursue an engineering career.
From such personal characteristics sprung a “passion for learning and love for education,” Ladani says, that have led to success in her career as a scientist, researcher and leader in her profession.
More recently, that zeal guided Ladani’s decision to accept an offer to become the director of The Polytechnic School, one of the seven schools in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at Arizona State University. The Polytechnic School is home to seven academic programs, more than 5,500 students and 200 faculty and staff members.
In her analysis, ASU is taking academics and research in the directions they need to go to help the world overcome its numerous and varied challenges.
“I chose ASU because of its culture, which promotes innovation and access to education for all,” Professor Ladani says. “This is a place where change and progress is expected and encouraged.”
Especially enticing to Ladani is the progress being made toward fulfilling ASU President Michael Crow’s vision for the university.
“ASU is a world-class research institution that is also providing a high-quality education and research opportunities to a wide spectrum of students from many different backgrounds,” she says. “I find that inspiring.”
Ladani sees another encouraging sign in the university’s break from traditionally strict separation of academic disciplines and research endeavors. That multidisciplinary approach to both education and research is in ascendance at The Polytechnic School, she says.
“There are engineers working with psychologists to come up with ways for soldiers to achieve higher performance on the battlefield,” she says. “That is only one example of research collaborations that have the potential to be transformative for society in the near future.”