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The Center for the Advancement of Women in Engineering


Alexandra Schönning Headshot


Alexandra Schönning, Ph.D.

(University of Central Florida, Mechanical Engineering, Mechanical Systems)

Professor of Mechanical Engineering, University of North Florida

Director of the Center for the Advancement of Women in Engineering (CAWE)

Dr. Schönning is a professor of Mechanical Engineering in the School of Engineering. She joined the University of North Florida in 2003, after earning her doctorate of philosophy from the University of Central Florida in 2001. She serves as the faculty advisor for the UNF chapter of the Society of Women Engineers. She teaches courses in mechanical systems design and analysis including Finite Element Modeling and Analysis, Machine Design, Strength of Materials, CAD, Integrated Design and Manufacture, Dynamics, and a technical elective called Professional Issues in Engineering. She performs research in mechanical systems analysis with a focus in biomechanical applications. Dr. Schönning serves as the Director for the Center for the Advancement of Women in Engineering (CAWE). Because the classes she teachers are severely underrepresented by women, she began studying what may be the underlying cause for low female engagement in Engineering and what can be done to recruit and retain more females to Engineering. This spurred her interest to develop CAWE.


Susan M Perez Headshot


Susan M. Perez, Ph.D.

(University of California, Riverside, Developmental Psychology)

Associate Professor of Psychology, University of North Florida

Associate Director of Research, Center for the Advancement of Women in Engineering (CAWE)

Assistant Director, Center for Applied Research in Child and Adolescent Development (CARCAD)

Susan Perez is a Developmental Psychologist in the Department of Psychology and joined the University of North Florida in 2004, after earning her doctorate of philosophy from the University of California, Riverside in 2004. She regularly offers courses in child and adolescent psychology, lifespan developmental psychology and advanced child psychology and has offered a graduate seminar in cognitive development in the social and cultural context. Her research interests include cognitive development with a specific focus on the development of complex skills like problem solving and planning. She is interested in children's opportunities to develop these skills while interacting with more skilled others, like parents, teachers, and more skilled peers, and in how these skills contribute to school success. Dr. Perez serves as the Associate Director of Research for the Center for the Advancement of Women in Engineering (CAWE). Research in the center will evaluate programs focusing on the early recruitment of girls to engineering. The center will engage in outreach to children in various settings to involve them in engineering activities meant to inspire interest in and accessibility to engineering as a long term educational and career possibility.


Jutima Simsiriwong Headshot


Jutima Simsiriwong, Ph.D.

(Mississippi State University, Aerospace Engineering)

Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering, University of North Florida

Dr. Simsiriwong is an Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering in the School of Engineering. Prior to joining UNF in 2018, she was a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and the Laboratory for Fatigue and Additive Manufacturing Excellence (FAME) at Auburn University. She received her Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering from Mississippi State University in 2014. Her research background is in fatigue, failure analysis, additive manufacturing, and mechanical behavior of materials including metallic and polymer-based materials. She has taught various courses in solid mechanics including Statics, Strength of Materials, and Machine Design.

Dr. Simsiriwong received first-hand experience being a historically underrepresented group in the engineering field, being only female in her B.S. graduating class in aerospace engineering. She has supported many programs to encourage women in science and engineering fields through outreach activities and mentoring K-12 female students, as well as underrepresented incoming freshmen and current undergraduate students.


Jennifer Stagon Headshot


Jennifer Stagon M.S.

(University of Connecticut, Mechanical Engineering)

Professor of Mechanical Engineering, University of North Florida

Mechanical Engineering Advisor

Jennifer Stagon M.S. is an instructor and the advisor of mechanical engineering, having joined UNF in 2014. She received her B.S. in mechanical engineering from Indiana University- Purdue University Indianapolis in 2009 and her M.S. from the University of Connecticut in 2011. Her M.S. thesis was in the area of adaptive control theory with application to aircraft engines. After her M.S., Jennifer joined the System Modeling and Analysis group at Pratt and Whitney, where she worked until relocating to Jacksonville in 2014. At UNF she teaches courses in the areas of mechanics and systems and enjoys applying her background in aerospace engineering and controls to these courses. As an adviser, she takes pride in the ability to give individual attention to her over 300 advisees in Mechanical Engineering. Jennifer also enjoys the climate and beach scenery in Jacksonville, where she lives with her husband (Steve Stagon, Assistant Professor of ME at UNF) and two young sons.


Murat Tiryakioglu Headshot


Murat Tiryakioglu, Ph.D.

(Ph.D., University of Birmingham (UK), Metallurgy and Materials (2002))

(Ph.D., University of Missouri-Rolla, Engineering Management (1993))

(M.Sc., University of Missouri-Rolla, Engineering Management (1991))

(B.Sc., Bogazici University, Mechanical Engineering (1990))

Professor, School of Engineering

Dr. Murat Tiryakioglu grew up in a foundry business in Istanbul, Turkey. He received his B.Sc. degree in Mechanical Engineering with emphasis on Metallurgy and Manufacturing Engineering from Bogazici University in 1990. He received his M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees in Engineering Management from the University of Missouri-Rolla (UMR) in 1991 and 1993, respectively. He received another Ph.D. in 2002, from the University of Birmingham, United Kingdom, on Metallurgy and Materials. Dr. Tiryakioglu is also Certified as a Quality Engineer (CQE) by the American Society for Quality (ASQ). He worked at the Boeing Company, in Wichita, Kansas briefly before moving on to academic life in 1995. He taught at Western Kentucky University (WKU) where he founded the Advanced Manufacturing Institute, and later at Robert Morris University (Pittsburgh, PA) where he served as a University (Distinguished) Professor of manufacturing engineering, where he was recognized for his service-learning activities involving local manufacturers. Dr. Tiryakioglu started his current position as the Director of School of Engineering at the University of North Florida in 2010. Since joining UNF, Dr. Tiryakioglu has collaborated with Community Excellence Alliance to involve engineering students in problem solving and continuous improvement methods and their applications to help solve issues in non-profit organization in Jacksonville.


As the author or co-author of two book chapters and over 100 technical papers and reports, and the editor of ten books, Dr. Tiryakioglu's research interests include process design for high quality castings, optimization and modeling of heat treatment of aluminum alloys, process-structure-property relationships in metals, statistical modeling and quality and reliability improvements methods. He served as a consultant to numerous companies to include Tyco, Sumitomo, Alcoa, GM, Ford and Chrysler.


Dr. Tiryakioglu's contributions to manufacturing, engineering and metallurgy have been recognized internationally. He was awarded the inaugural John Campbell Medal by the Institute of Cast Metals Engineers in UK in 2010. Dr. Tiryakioglu was also selected a Young Leader in Light Metals by TMS (2001), and was awarded the Eugene Merchant Outstanding Young Manufacturing Engineer by SME (2004).