UAH Welcomes Dr. Judith Schneider to the College of Engineering


Dr. Judith Schneider, Professor of Mechanical Engineering in the UAH College of Engineering.

Michael Mercier | UAH

All the excitement of the Apollo moon landing in the 60s gave a little girl growing up in the mid-west big dreams of space travel and being an astronaut.

"Following the various launches was exciting and I dreamed of being an astronaut. I became very interested in obtaining the type of background that would let me be involved with space exploration," said Dr. Judith Schneider, Professor of Mechanical Engineering in The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) College of Engineering.

Born in Omaha, Schneider's family moved around quite a bit in the mid-west during her formative years. The small town schools she attended didn't offer advanced placement or dual enrollment classes.

Today, Schneider's work focuses on advanced manufacturing processes such as friction stir welding and additive manufacturing. Her research thrust is the correlation of the environmental effects, such as temperature and strain rate, on the mechanical performance of structural materials. A great deal of her research centers on characterization of the micro- structural evolution during either the processing or service life of the material.

Before joining the engineering faculty at UAH, Schneider was a faculty member at Mississippi State University (MSU) for 16 years. And, before MSU she worked in private industry. "In industry I worked on the design, fabrication, and testing of liquid rocket engines. I experienced firsthand the challenges in selection of suitable materials and processing," she said.

"As I began my academic career I found many great opportunities for summer faculty fellowships at the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center," Schneider explained. "So while I was at MSU, I spent my summers in Huntsville working on Advanced Materials and Processing for NASA and was fortunate to again be involved with fabrication of liquid rocket engine components."

Schneider said when she saw the advertisement for a UAH faculty position focused on materials for aerospace applications, "I felt the advertisement had been written just for me. This type of position combined all of my interests in one location - the Rocket City. I earned my undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering and worked in the aerospace and bio medical fields prior to pursuing my graduate degrees in materials science and engineering.

"I feel very fortunate to have worked in industry for 16 years prior to pursuing an academic career. Working in industry first provided me a lot of insight into material failures," Schneider said. "It was only after graduate school that I began to understand how to control process parameters to avoid material failure."

Schneider is "very excited" to be in a combined Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department at UAH. "This unique opportunity gives me the chance I didn't have at MSU to teach some of the basic introductory courses. I've been very impressed by the inquisitiveness of the students at UAH. They really have a quest to learn."

While advanced placement and dual enrollment courses and educational offerings in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) fields for girls have literally skyrocketed in recent years, Schneider cautions, "it is not an easy field to get into, but the rewards are well worth it. I can't imagine any other career where I would have had the opportunity to be able to contribute to so many challenging projects. I like technical problem solving and Engineering is definitely the field to be in. I am encouraged as I see more female students enrolled in engineering," she said. "Engineering is hard, but the benefits make it well worth the effort."

Schneider is the recipient of numerous honors and awards including Fellow of the ASM (the American Society of Metals International), TMS (Minerals, Metals, and Materials Society) Distinguished Service Award for Structural Materials Division, Mississippi State University Bagley College of Engineering Hearin Faculty Excellence Award, Mississippi State University Outstanding Researcher College of Engineering, and NSF Engineering Education Scholar. Her recent publications include "Solid State Joining of Nickel Based Alloy," published in The Journal of Materials Processing Technology, and "Optimizing Weld Quality of a Friction Stir Welded Aluminum Alloy," also published in The Journal of Materials Processing Technology.

Schneider obtained a B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering from The University of Nebraska at Lincoln, and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Engineering from the University of California, Davis.


UAH College of Engineering


Popular Stories