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2024 Susan Smyth Outstanding Young Manufacturing Engineers

These 20 Susan Smyth Outstanding Young Manufacturing Engineers, age 35 or younger, are being recognized for their exceptional contributions and accomplishments in the manufacturing industry. Each year, the award is named in honor of a specific individual who has made lifelong contributions to manufacturing and SME. The 2024 award namesake is longtime SME member Susan Smyth. Smyth is the retired chief scientist for global manufacturing at General Motors and director of GM R&D Manufacturing Systems Research Labs, served as SME president in 2020 and was made an SME Fellow in 2014.

Lei Chen, PhD 
Assistant Professor
University of Massachusetts – Lowell
Lowell, MA

Lei Chen is an assistant professor at the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering at University of Massachusetts Lowell. Before joining UMass Lowell in 2021, he was a research investigator affiliated with the Department of Mechanical Engineering and the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Michigan. Chen received his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Zhejiang University and master’s and doctorate degrees from the University of Michigan. His research focuses on manufacturing process development and analysis as well as biomedical manufacturing, aiming to improve healthcare services and expand biomedical research capabilities through advanced manufacturing technologies. He has been broadly collaborating with the neuroscience community to enable the automatic fabrication and minimal-damaging implantation of the next generation brain-machine interfaces. Chen’s work has led to over 30 peer-reviewed publications and has been funded by NIH, NSF, and industry. SME Member Since 2021

Xiangfan Chen, PhD
Assistant Professor
Arizona State University
Tempe, AZ

Xiangfan Chen is currently an assistant professor at the School of Manufacturing Systems and Networks in Arizona State University. He earned his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Shanghai Jiao Tong University, a doctorate in mechanical engineering from Northwestern University in 2018, respectively. Chen’s research focuses on novel optical and mechanical metamaterials, as well as the development of new additive manufacturing technologies for functional devices, with applications spanning optics, soft robotics, regenerative medicine, as well as wearable electronics. His research has been published in journals including the Advanced Materials, Research, and Nano Letter, which has been recognized by a broad of research communities in photonics and manufacturing. His research has been funded by NSF and Mayo Clinic. In 2024, Chen received the SME Outstanding Young Manufacturing Engineer Award.

Corson Cramer, PhD
R&D Staff Scientist
Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Manufacturing Science Division
Oak Ridge, TN

Dr. Cramer has been performing research and development in processing, characterization, testing and scale-up of ceramics and ceramic matrix composites (CMCs) for next generation of ultra-high temperature, harsh environment ceramic, composite and hybrid materials for use in aerospace, heat exchange, aero-engine, defense, nuclear and advanced energy applications. He is a staff scientist at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and leads DOE and DOD projects. He received his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering with emphasis on Materials Science from Colorado State University in 2017. He has published literature in processing, ceramics, thermoelectrics, additive manufacturing, and materials characterization. His research interests are in traditional and additive manufacturing (AM) of ceramics, coatings and integration, advanced ceramic matrix composites, and novel processing techniques. He has several patents and several patent disclosures filed while working at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. He is a member of ACERS and SME. SME Member Since 2018

Juan Du, PhD
Assistant Professor
Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
Guangzhou, China

Dr. Juan Du is currently an Assistant Professor with the Smart Manufacturing Thrust, Systems Hub, The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (Guangzhou), China. She is also affiliated with the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Hong Kong SAR, China. Her current research interests include data analytics and machine learning for modeling, monitoring, control, diagnosis and optimization in smart manufacturing systems. Her research has been published on leading flagship journals such as IISE Transactions, IEEE Transactions, ASME Transactions, Technometrics, and Journal of Quality Technology. Among these works, 7 papers have won the best paper awards or finalists from prestigious organizations such as the IISE Data Analytics and Information Systems (DAIS) Section, INFORMS Quality, Statistics and Reliability (QSR) Section, and INFORMS Data Mining Section. She is a senior member of IISE, a member of INFORMS, ASME and IEEE. 

Wenchao (Mark) Du, PhD
Materials Engineer
Argonne National Laboratory
Lemont, IL

Dr. Wenchao (Mark) Du is a Materials Engineer at Argonne National Laboratory. He received his doctoral degree in 2021 from Texas A&M University, master's degree in 2015 from Tianjin University, and bachelor's degree in 2012 from Hunan University, all in Industrial Engineering.
His expertise is additive manufacturing of advanced ceramic materials, focusing on material development, process optimization, and post-processing. He has more than thirty journal and conference publications and various technical and poster presentations. Recently his research has focused on advanced manufacturing technologies and applications in the area of solar energy.

Azadeh Haghighi
Assistant Professor
University of Illinois-Chicago
Chicago, IL

Azadeh Haghighi is an Assistant Professor at the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department, University of Illinois Chicago. Her research focuses on innovative artificial intelligence and data analytics solutions for smart and agile additive, hybrid, and robotic manufacturing applications. She has pioneered novel physics-informed artificial intelligence methodologies for in-situ monitoring and quality assurance in additive and hybrid manufacturing that address the challenges associated with limited generalizability, explainability, scalability, and data efficiency, as well as innovative computational tools for the emerging multi-robot collaborative additive manufacturing applications in defense and construction fields. She serves as the Associate Editor for the Robotics and Computer-Integrated Manufacturing Journal. Her research has been supported, among others, by the U.S. Department of Commerce, NIST, and the Illinois Manufacturing Excellence Center. She is a recipient of the UIC Chancellor’s Translational Research Initiative Award, IMEC Future of Illinois Manufacturing Faculty Award, and the Society of Manufacturing Engineers’ Outstanding Paper Award. SME Member Since 2016

Amberlee Haselhuhn, PhD
Senior Director of Technology – Materials Engineering
Detroit, MI

Dr. Amberlee Haselhuhn is the Senior Director of Technology – Materials Engineering at LIFT, the Detroit-based Department of Defense-supported national manufacturing innovation institute.
Dr. Haselhuhn leads work focused on driving national manufacturing strategy and material innovations in alignment with Department of Defense priorities. This includes developing digital solutions, such as coupling integrated computational materials engineering (ICME) toolsets, to enable a zero-prototype future. Previously, Dr. Haselhuhn was a Senior Researcher at General Motors Global R&D Center where she developed solutions to eliminate manufacturing constraints associated with welding and joining of new materials and dissimilar material combinations for body in white structures. Dr. Haselhuhn holds 10 U.S. patents and has published more than 30 peer-reviewed technical journal articles. She has bachelor’s degrees in both Materials Science and Biomedical Engineering and a Ph.D. in Materials Science & Engineering from Michigan Technological University. SME Member Since 2020

Chen Kan, PhD
Assistant Professor
University of Texas-Arlington
Arlington, TX

Chen Kan is currently an assistant professor in the Department of Industrial, Manufacturing, and Systems Engineering at The University of Texas at Arlington. He earned his doctorate degree in Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering from The Pennsylvania State University in 2018. Chen’s research is dedicated to the integration of advanced sensing and machine learning for knowledge discovery and performance improvement of manufacturing systems and processes. His research areas include sensor-based manufacturing process mining and quality control, data analytics for the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), and additive manufacturing of metamaterials. Chen has published more than 30 journal articles, and his research has been funded by federal agencies (including the NSF, DOE, and USDA) and industry. SME Member Since 2023

Matthew Korey, PhD
Associate R&D Staff
Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Oak Ridge, TN

Matthew Korey specializes in the development and industrialization of novel, sustainable manufacturing technologies for plastics and their composites.  His work focuses on mechanical, chemical, biological, and thermochemical methods of composite recycling and the use of advanced re-processing techniques and repurposing to recycle industrial composites waste.  Dr. Korey also has an R&D portfolio looking at the development and implementation of sustainably derived plastics made from renewable, waste-derived, and greenhouse gas-based plastics. He is currently an Associate R&D Scientist at the Manufacturing Demonstration Facility at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.  Dr. Korey is also co-chair of the Circular Economy Working Group at the Institute of Advanced Composites Manufacturing and Innovation (IACMI) and Founding Chair of TMS PRIDE. SME Member Since 2020

Beiwen Li, PhD
Associate Professor
Iowa State University
Ames, IA

Dr. Beiwen Li is a William and Virginia Binger Professor and Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Iowa State University (ISU). He received his Ph.D. degree in Mechanical Engineering from Purdue University in 2017. His research focuses on 3D optical sensing and photomechanics testing, with an emphasis on manufacturing and remanufacturing. Several of his research works have been highlighted on the cover page of prestigious journals including Optics Express, Applied Optics, and Geotechnique Letters. He is the recipient of 2020 SPIE Rising Researcher Award, 2021 Emerging Leaders in Measurement Science and Technology Award, ISU William and Virginia Binger Professorship of Mechanical Engineering, 2023 ISU College of Engineering Early Achievement in Research Award, and 2024 SME Outstanding Young Manufacturing Engineer Award. SME Member Since 2023

Shunyu Liu, PhD
Assistant Professor
Clemson University
Clemson, SC

Dr. Shunyu Liu is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Automotive Engineering at Clemson University, commencing January 1, 2021. She also holds a joint appointment in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at Clemson. She received her Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Purdue University in December 2020 and her M.S. and B.E. in Materials Science and Engineering from North China Electric Power University in 2015 and 2012. She was the recipient of the NSF CAREER Award in 2023. Her research areas include metal additive manufacturing, hybrid additive manufacturing, and advanced materials development. Her experimental research focuses on synthesis of advanced alloys and metal-based materials and multi-material fabrication using additive manufacturing processes. Her computational research includes physics-based and data-driven modeling of composition-process-structure-property relationships. Lying at the intersection of advanced manufacturing, materials science, solid mechanics, and applied mathematics, her research aims to advance additive manufacturing capabilities to enable material innovations. SME Member Since 2021

Monique McClain, PhD
Assistant Professor
Purdue University
West Lafayette, IN

Dr. Monique McClain is an assistant professor in Mechanical Engineering with a background in propulsion, energetic materials, and additive manufacturing. Her main research focus is to advance the manufacturing science necessary to develop state-ofthe-art additively manufactured energetic aterials (AMEMs). This includes understanding the effect of multi-material interfaces on performance and using in-situ monitoring to understand defect formation. She received her Ph.D. from the School of Aeronautics & Astronautics from Purdue University in 2020 and has previously held positions at NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, NAWCWD China Lake, and Oak Ridge National Laboratories. SME Member Since 2022

Ebot Ndip-Agbor, PhD
Technical Fellow
Digital Products Engineering
General Motors
Austin, TX

Ebot Ndip-Agbor earned his doctorate at Northwestern University with a thesis on building computational tools for cyberphysical systems. Ebot joined Autodesk Inc. in 2018 where he made key contributions to their explicit dynamics finite element solver and level set optimization algorithm for Autodesk Fusion Generative Design. After his tenure at Autodesk, Ebot joined Apple Inc. in 2020 where he worked on the Apple Cloud Services team doing capacity management and workload autotuning for cloud infrastructure/services. More recently, Ebot joined General Motors in 2024 as a Technical Fellow in the Digital Products Engineering organization.

Masoud Pour, PhD
Senior Researcher
General Motors
Warren, MI

Dr. Masoud M. Pour is a Senior Researcher at GM Global R&D in the Materials & Manufacturing Systems Research Lab. He completed his PhD in Mechanical Engineering at Research Center for Advanced Manufacturing (RCAM) at Southern Methodist University in 2016. While there, his research focused on development of dissimilar laser welding/brazing methods with the purpose of weight reduction in BIW. He was a recipient of ASME North Texas Section graduate student of the year 2019-20 Award. After graduation, Masoud joined Precitec as laser welding researcher which furthered his interest in e-mobility. His current research interests include battery cell manufacturing as well as joining in cell, module, and pack levels for electric vehicles. SME Member Since 2022

Ali Rizvi, PhD
Packaging R&D Engineer
Intel Corp.
Phoenix, AZ

Rizvi is a packaging research and development engineer at Intel, working on a mix of breakthrough technologies, processes, and platforms that enable the next generation of processors. Before Intel, He was an NSERC Alexander Graham Bell Fellow at the University of Toronto where he invented, patented, and licensed advanced manufacturing technologies for the packaging industry. The impact of his work includes 3 commercial products, 3 patents, 40 peer-reviewed journal and conference papers, 1 book chapter, $4.9 million in research funding raised from the public and private sectors, and many awards including the prestigious Queen Elizabeth II Graduate Student Award, World Petroleum Council Award, and the Society of Plastics Engineers PerkinElmer Award. He has mentored 19 young manufacturing engineers, organized national and international conferences, and has served as an invited panelist on advances in the manufacturing discipline. He holds a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering.

Alex Roschli
R&D Staff – Robotics and Intelligent Systems Group
Oak Ridge National Laboratory Manufacturing Demonstration Facility
Oak Ridge, TN

Alex Roschli is a researcher with the Robotics and Intelligent Systems Group at Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Manufacturing Demonstration Facility. He obtained bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering from the University of Tennessee. Alex has been conducting research with
large format polymer additive manufacturing since 2013 and has also worked with large format metal and concrete. Some of his projects include the world’s first 3D printed car, the former Guinness World Record holder for largest 3D printed object, and other 3D printed vehicles such as a Willy’s Jeep, a utility vehicle, an excavator, a submarine, and a mold for a catamaran. Alex authored a book Motion and Path Planning for Additive Manufacturing. He is an AMUG DINO Award winner and a ASME Thomas A. Edison Patent Award winner. His current research focus is software development for toolpath generation in large format additive manufacturing.

Wenmeng Tian, PhD
Associate Professor
Mississippi State University
Starkville, MS

Wenmeng Tian is an associate professor at the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, Mississippi State University. She received her PhD degree in Industrial and Systems Engineering from Virginia Tech in 2017. Her passion in manufacturing research lies in harnessing the power of big data to promote quality and reliability for advanced manufacturing. She is specifically focused on accelerating the scale-up and broader adoption of new manufacturing technologies, such as additive manufacturing. Tian has also been dedicated to the training of future manufacturing engineers,
recognized by several awards her students have received from the Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers (IISE). Tian’s honors and awards include NSF CAREER Award in 2021, IISE Manufacturing and Design (M&D) Division Outstanding Young Investigator Award in 2023, and the SME Outstanding Young Manufacturing Engineer Award in 2024. SME Member Since 2023

Chao Wang, PhD
Assistant Professor
University of Iowa
Iowa City, IA

Chao Wang is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering at the University of Iowa. He received his B.S. from the Hefei University of Technology in 2012, and M.S. from the University of Science and Technology of China in 2015, both in Mechanical Engineering, and his M.S. in Statistics and Ph.D. in Industrial and Systems Engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2018 and 2019, respectively. His research interests include statistical modeling, analysis, monitoring and control for complex systems. His research is supported by various federal funding agencies such as NSF, DoD, DoE, and DoT. He is a recipient of Outstanding Young Manufacturing Engineer Award from SME, Best Paper Award from IISE Transactions, and several Best Paper Awards/Finalist at INFORMS Annual Conferences. He is an Associate Editor of the Journal of Intelligent Manufacturing, and a member of INFORMS, IISE, and SME. SME Member Since 2021


Pai Zheng, PhD
Assistant Professor
Hong Kong Polytechnic University
Hong Kong, China

Dr. Pai Zheng (SM’IEEE/CMES, M’SME/ASME, CIRP Research Affiliate) is currently an Assistant Professor, Wong Tit-Shing Endowed Young Scholar in Smart Robotics, and Lab-in-Charge of Digitalized Service Laboratory in the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. He received the Dual Bachelor’s Degrees in Mechanical Engineering (Major) and Computer Science and Engineering (Minor) from Huazhong University of Science and Technology, China in 2010, Master’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering from Beihang University, China in 2013, and Ph.D. degree in Mechanical Engineering at The University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand in 2017. His research interest includes human-robot collaboration, smart product-service systems, and industrial AI. He serves as the Associate Editor of Journal of Intelligent Manufacturing and Journal of Cleaner Production, Editorial Board Member of Journal of Manufacturing Systems, Advanced Engineering Informatics and Journal of Engineering Design, and Guest Editor/Reviewer for several high impact international journals in the manufacturing and industrial engineering field. SME Member Since 2022


Ningmu Nathan Zou, PhD
Associate Professor
Nanjing University
Nanjing, China

Dr. Ningmu Nathan Zou is an Associate Professor at the School of Integrated Circuits at Nanjing University, China. He worked at AMD Inc as a staff engineer for 6 years before joining NJU. He received his doctoral degree from Cornell University in 2017. He has conducted systematic research on the development and application of artificial intelligence algorithms in advanced integrated circuit manufacturing. He has proposed a series of machine learning models and big data analysis methods for optimizing photo-lithography processes, near-field optical proximity correction, improving device yield and performance, and chip defect diagnosis and classification. These research efforts have expanded the application of artificial intelligence technology in the field of chip manufacturing and have led to the establishment of a world-leading enterprise-level intelligent chip manufacturing perception and big data system.