UMass Women in Science: Shannon Roberts

UMass Women in Science: Shannon Roberts

My name is Shannon Roberts. I’m an assistant professor
in industrial engineering. My research area is human
factors engineering. The focus is transportation. A lot of my work has
to do with driving. And in particular, we look
at how drivers interact with their car and how they
interact with other items that may be in their car. One of the cool projects
that I’m doing now, or that we’re just
wrapping up, is looking at how people drive the
car when they’re sitting next to their friend or when
they’re driving by themselves. It’s really
interesting research, because it shows
that there’s more to research than just collecting
data and analyzing it. You can really have an
impact with what you decided to focus your research on. Within my major, there are tons
of engineering organizations that people can
get involved with. So for example
there’s SWE, which is the society of women engineers. So it started, with me at least,
being a very small minority in this engineering community. And now that I’ve gotten
older, the number of women has just increased dramatically,
which is so encouraging. In particular, now
as a faculty member, there are seven industrial
engineering professors. And five of us are women,
which is extraordinary. So if that’s your
thing, if you’re really into math and science,
don’t shy away from that. You just have to
find your niche. It may take some time. But eventually you
will get there. And you will find this community
where you’re comfortable in, and where you can
just be yourself.

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