Katharine Flores, professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science in the McKelvey School of Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis, has been named interim chair of the Department of Energy, Environmental & Chemical Engineering, effective Nov. 1, 2020. She succeeds Pratim Biswas, who is leaving the university in 2021.

Flores, who also is director of the university’s Institute of Materials Science & Engineering (IMSE), is a materials scientist who specializes in metallic glasses and other complex structural alloys and novel manufacturing techniques, including additive manufacturing. She leads research projects ranging from investigations of the structural origins of deformation in metallic glasses to developing efficient strategies for the design of new alloys with desirable properties. She is particularly interested in developing new manufacturing techniques suited to the unique processing capabilities of these alloys to introduce them into mainstream and high-performance applications. Her work has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the Air Force Office for Scientific Research and the Defense Threat Reduction Agency.

Flores also is associate chair for materials science in the Department of Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science and an Institute for School Partnership Faculty Fellow. Previously, she served as speaker of the school’s faculty assembly.

Among her numerous honors and awards, Flores received the Department of Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science Chair’s Award for Outstanding Teaching in 2015 and the NSF CAREER Award and the Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award, both in 2005.

“I am grateful to Kathy for agreeing to take on this critical role,” said Aaron Bobick, dean of McKelvey Engineering and the James M. McKelvey Professor. “Through her leadership of IMSE, Kathy is already deeply connected to EECE. Her serving as interim chair will not only ensure the continued smooth running of the department but also help nurture even greater collaborations across the school in the materials domain.” 

A Washington University in St. Louis alumna, Flores joined the Engineering faculty in 2012 from The Ohio State University, where she was director of education and outreach for the Center for Emergent Materials, the NSF Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC) at OSU. She earned a master’s and a doctorate in materials science and engineering from Stanford University, where she also conducted postdoctoral research and was the director of the Sports Materials Laboratory.  

In addition, Bobick named a search committee for a new Energy, Environmental & Chemical Engineering chair. Lori Setton, the Lucy & Stanley Lopata Distinguished Professor and chair of Biomedical Engineering, chairs the search committee. Other search committee members include:

  • Janie Brennan
  • Rajan Chakrabarty
  • Marcus Foston
  • Young-Shin Jun
  • Kim Parker
  • Jian Wang
  • Fuzhong Zhang

All of the above are full-time faculty members in the Department of Energy, Environmental & Chemical Engineering.

  • David Fike, professor of Earth & Planetary Sciences and director of Environmental Studies, both in the College of Arts & Sciences, and interim director of the International Center for Energy, Environment and Sustainability;
  • Keith Carns, EECE advisory board chair and principal associate of EnerNOC Inc.

The McKelvey School of Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis promotes independent inquiry and education with an emphasis on scientific excellence, innovation and collaboration without boundaries. McKelvey Engineering has top-ranked research and graduate programs across departments, particularly in biomedical engineering, environmental engineering and computing, and has one of the most selective undergraduate programs in the country. With 165 full-time faculty, 1,420 undergraduate students, 1,614 graduate students and 21,000 living alumni, we are working to solve some of society’s greatest challenges; to prepare students to become leaders and innovate throughout their careers; and to be a catalyst of economic development for the St. Louis region and beyond.

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