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Engineering professor edits book celebrating women in engineering

By Drew Daws and Marisa Connally

Published: Dec 3, 2019 8:13:00 AM

Alice Smith Alice Smith

An Auburn Engineering professor is the editor of a new book celebrating women who have contributed to the field of industrial and systems engineering. 

Alice Smith, the Joe W. Forehand/Accenture Distinguished Professor of industrial and systems engineering and joint appointment professor of computer science and software engineering, sought out women engineers from across the globe to contribute to the book, “Women in Industrial and Systems Engineering” published by Springer

The 599-page book presents a diversity of innovative and impactful research in the field of industrial and systems engineering led by women investigators. After a foreword by Margaret L. Brandeau, an eminent female scholar at Stanford University, the book is divided into sections that address real-world-applicable topics, including analytics, education, health, logistics and production. With 25 chapters and over 60 authors and collaborators from around the globe, the book covers the span of women’s impact on this field of engineering. 

Women in Industrial and Systems Engineering

Also included is a biography on the historic luminary of industrial engineering, Lillian Moeller Gilbreth. Each chapter presents an opportunity to learn about the impact of the field of industrial and systems engineering and women’s important role. Themes range from big data analysis, to improving cancer treatment, to sustainability in product design, to teamwork in engineering education – all important challenges facing the world today. 

“A lot of times when you think about research in engineering, you think about men,” Smith said. “There are women-led research teams from all over the world who contributed to this.” 

She worked on the book, which is the latest volume in a series, “Women in Engineering and Science,” for two years. 

Smith said she hopes this book will inspire young women to pursue a career in the male-dominated field of engineering and perhaps even consider a career in academia. 

“I hope students will look at all the exciting and vibrant research being done by these incredible women,” Smith said. “I hope it will encourage both undergraduate and graduate students to consider joining academia rather than going to work for a company.” 

Smith said that one thing that sets this book a part is that, at the end of each chapter, there are pictures and brief biographies of the women who contributed. 

“We wanted the pictures to personalize the authors, not make them remote or anything like that,” she said. “These are real people — people like you in some ways.” 

Although this is Smith’s first published book, she plans to contribute to the series again in the coming years in hopes of inspiring the next generation of women engineers to fulfill the potential of their abilities and achieve their dreams. 

“I would say to [these women] that you’re just as good as any man. You can do it. Be bold,” she said.  

Media Contact: Chris Anthony,, 334.844.3447

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