The Institute - December 2020 - TI-9

different technical domains in order to
answer them, " she says. " It's what I've done
in my research, and it's what I want to do
at the National Science Foundation. "



When Jablokow first joined Penn State,
she was conducting research in robotics, but she found that her true passion
lay elsewhere.
" I was helping design walking
machines at Ohio State that were big
enough to carry humans as well as
cargo, " she says. " Along the way, I realized I had an even greater interest in
the cognitive side of engineering design,
from the perspective of both machines
and engineering systems. "
She began collaborating with researchJablokow examines a capstone project created by one of her Pennsylvania
ers who were investigating design cogState University engineering students.
nition, which includes the application
of cognitive psychology to help understand how engineers think and behave
while they design and develop products
" I want to break down the walls between community and to society in general. I
and systems. She has been working in these communities of researchers, " she think helping people recognize that fact
that area ever since.
says, " and show them that there are really is an important part of the job. "
" Interacting with engineering-design interesting things they could be explorJablokow is looking to fund more
researchers pulled me into the research ing together. "
research that is interdisciplinary. She
that I've been doing for the last 20 years, "
says she believes it is important for
she says. The research " focuses more FUNDING NEW PROJECTS
researchers to work with people in other
on the person doing the design and how The NSF has two requirements for disciplines.
that person's cognitive processes influ- funding projects: intellectual merit and
" I'd like to see researchers in engience the ideas they generate and the broader impacts. A project needs to be neering design and systems engineering
solutions they develop. "
novel, feasible, rigorous, and relevant to working with educators, psychologists,
In addition to guiding principal inves- meet the intellectual-merit benchmark, biologists, and medical doctors, " she says.
tigators at the NSF, Jablokow is a driving Jablokow says.
As a program manager, she says, she
force in expanding the scope and vision
" Under the scope of broader impacts, hopes to help researchers and projof the agency's engineering design and reviewers [and I] look to see if the prin- ects flourish while expanding her own
systems engineering program.
cipal investigators have identified an knowledge.
" I was drawn to [the position] because important problem and a path to solv " I know that at the National Science
EDSE is in a stage of renewal, redevelop- ing it that will benefit society, " she says. Foundation, I'm going to be exposed to
ment, and a sort of renaissance, " she says. " Broader impacts need to be just as many things that I know nothing about, "
The program attracts investigators thoughtfully considered and planned Jablokow says. " And to me, that's incredfrom three domains, she says: engineer- as intellectual merit.
ibly exciting.
ing design, systems engineering, and
" Engineers design and build better
" I know my dad would be very proud. "
material systems design. But, she says, things to aid society. They are trained - JOANNA GOODRICH
the researchers often don't interact or to be problem-solvers, " she says. " In a
collaborate with one another, mostly due world with so many challenging and This article originally appeared online
as " Meet the U.S. National Science
to a lack of familiarity with what the other complex problems, engineering is an Foundation's Engineering Design and
communities are doing.
incredible way to give back to your Systems Engineering Program Director. "
THE INSTITUTE  |  DEC 2020  |  TI-9

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