Patricia Mae Shamamy, Ph.D., P.E., F.SWE

SWE Fellow, professor, advocate for STEM education

Longtime SWE member and Fellow Patricia Mae (Bunn) Shamamy, Ph.D., P.E., 84, died March 23, 2023. Dr. Shamamy taught at Lawrence Technological University for nearly 40 years, retiring at 78 as the first woman to receive the rank of full professor in the college of engineering. Active in the SWE Detroit Section, she served in many capacities, including president. On the Society level, she held positions ranging from the national executive committee (predecessor to the board of directors), to vice president, to chair of the women in academia committee.

Dr. Shamamy was born in East Hartford, Connecticut, and graduated from the University of Saint Joseph with a B.S. in chemistry. She is regarded as one of the first, if not the first, woman to earn a master’s degree in metallurgical engineering from the University of Illinois and later earned a Ph.D. in management of engineering and technology from the University of Southern California. Dr. Shamamy also earned her P.E. license and launched her own consulting company, SMP Engineering.

Prior to working in academia, Dr. Shamamy was a physical chemist in the lab at Pratt & Whitney.

She led many efforts to establish awards in the academic sphere, including SWE’s Distinguished Engineering Educator and the Best New Student Section awards. On the local level, she established the Madame Curie Award for high school juniors, applying her skills in metallurgy to design the brass medal given for this honor. During her tenure as president of the SWE Detroit Section, Dr. Shamamy expanded the section’s certificate of merit program to include more than 200 area high schools. She was also instrumental in chartering the SWE collegiate section at her university, known as one of the most engaged student groups on campus and which she supported as faculty advisor.

Dr. Shamamy’s endeavors to support young women in STEM education and to elevate the role of the STEM educator were recognized by SWE and other organizations. The SWE Detroit Section honored her for “significant contributions in engineering education.” She was named a SWE Fellow in 1991, received the SWE Distinguished Service Award in 2001, and was named an Eminent Engineer by Tau Beta Pi. Her alma mater, the University of Saint Joseph, presented her with its Distinguished Alumni Award.

She was also a member of the American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical, and Petroleum Engineers; the American Society for Engineering Education; the Engineering Society of Detroit; and the Society of Automotive Engineers.

In more recent years, though retired, Dr. Shamamy remained an advocate for STEM education. In keeping with the devotion she exhibited while raising her family and working, she was actively engaged in encouraging her grandchildren’s educational pursuits.

Dr. Shamamy is survived by her three children, seven grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews. Services were held May 3 in the Stone Chapel of St. Hugo of the Hills Catholic Church. Memorial donations may be made to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network or the SWE Detroit Section.

— Anne Perusek, SWE Director of Editorial and Publications
Sources: SWE archives; U.S. Woman Engineer, September/October 1991; SWE Magazine, June 2001;