Faculty Focus on Professor Sandra Metzler
Faculty Focus introduces you to our talented scholars who continue to attract the best and brightest engineering students and whose insights and research keep us at the leading edge of innovation and discovery.
Assistant Clinical Professor
How has your diverse background in forensic engineering, manufacturing and biomedical engineering helped influence your teaching and research interests?
The many opportunities that I’ve had to apply my engineering and problem solving skills in a range of industries over a broad spectrum of applications has allowed me to become proficient at developing models and performing analysis for all kinds of mechanical systems – and to become more comfortable doing so. This has enabled me to conduct research and analysis in a broader range of content areas and to teach with a broader perspective. It has allowed me to see the connections and draw analogies between a range of individual disciplines within mechanical engineering, and has allowed me to continue learning and developing as an engineer, a researcher, and a teacher.
Why should a prospective student consider mechanical engineering?
Mechanical engineering is a broad and comprehensive engineering discipline where you can utilize your mechanical engineering knowledge and expertise in just about any industry or practice. Equally important, mechanical engineering is a rigorous discipline that allows you to understand many of the physical and scientific principles behind a large number of systems and devices. It prepares you to understand and improve the physical processes and systems of our world and utilize that knowledge to improve the well being of our planet and humanity.
What do you like most about your job?
I love the integration of education, research, science and technology involved with the various aspects of my job. I enjoy working with students in teaching, mentoring and communicating my love of discovery and research. I love integrating my professional experience into my teaching to help young engineering students become practicing engineers.
What advice would you give students, especially young women, who might be considering an engineering career?
Engineering is a wonderful, challenging career – but if you don’t have a lot of experience with engineering or engineers it can sometimes be difficult to know the range of available options and just what engineering involves. I recommend that you take as many internship or co-op positions as possible during your college career. If you’re just at the point of considering an engineering education, find an engineer or a company that does engineering and visit, tour and shadow engineers – even if only for a few hours. I did that when I was a junior in high school and it really opened up my eyes to what interesting things are involved in engineering, and motivated me to become an engineer.
What is an interest you have outside of work?
I love to SCUBA dive! My husband and I just went to Mexico during spring break where we dove not only in the ocean, but in several cenotes. Cenotes are fresh water “blue holes” that were formed by the erosion of limestone and house a series of underground pools. You can SCUBA them (with a certified cave dive master) and follow rope “paths” that have been laid out through the caverns, caves, and rocks.
I am also active in the business that my husband Phil and I founded, Glenn Avenue Soap Company. We handcraft natural soaps and skincare products, including foaming soaps that are gaining popularity with restaurants and businesses. I developed all of our original product formulations and continue to be active in new product development.