Sonya T. Smith, Ph.D.

Sonya T. Smith

Principal Investigator

Dr. Sonya T. Smith joined the Howard University faculty in 1995 and is the first tenured female faculty member in the Department of Mechanical Engineering. Dr. Smith obtained her Ph.D. in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering from The University of Virginia (UVA) in 1995 and was also the first African-American woman to do so. In 2010 she became the first woman promoted to the highest academic rank of Professor (full) in this department and the following year 2011 became the first women appointed as Mechanical Engineering Department Chair at Howard University. Dr. Smith has established an interdisciplinary theoretical and computational fluid dynamics research program. She has received support for her research from NSF, NIH, NASA, DOD and industry. In 2010 she was named an ORISE Fellow at the National Institute on Deafness and other Communication Disorders. Her memberships in professional societies include the American Institute on Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), the American Society of Engineering Education (ASEE), the Society of Women Engineers (SWE), and the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), and Sigma Xi (The Scientific Research Society), where she is the current President of the Howard University chapter.

Dr. Smith is the Principal Investigator for the Howard University ADVANCE-IT award. This award, funded by the National Science Foundation will enable Howard University to develop an innovative and strategic model for institutional transformation that increases the number of female faculty and academic leaders in the STEM disciplines. Dr. Smith is also the faculty advisor of the Howard University Student for the Society of Women Engineers (SWE).

Her personal goal is to be a mentor and resource to all students but especially those underrepresented in engineering.