From breaking the glass ceiling in industry, academia, and research to an array of accomplishments, these women are making news.

Jennifer Rumsey, credit: Business Wire

Cummins Appoints First Woman CEO

Cummins Inc. announced the appointment of Jennifer Rumsey to president and CEO, effective Aug. 1. Rumsey succeeds Tom Linebarger, who ended his term as CEO.

Rumsey is the seventh CEO and first woman to lead the company since its founding in 1919.

“Jen is a once in a generation talent and the right leader for Cummins at this important time in our history,” said Linebarger. “She has been my partner in developing the Destination Zero strategy, which sets forth how the decarbonization of our industry will be a significant growth opportunity for Cummins. Her background as an engineer and technology expertise provides her a deep understanding of the major technical changes taking place and how to capitalize on them.”

Since taking on the role of COO in March 2021, Rumsey has overseen Cummins’ global operations. In February 2022, she was elected to the Cummins Board of Directors and will maintain her seat on the board.

Rumsey began her Cummins career working in research and technology, primarily focused on advancing technology to reduce criteria pollutants from diesel engines. Since then, she has held numerous positions of increasing responsibility and impact, including bringing new platforms and technologies to the market, driving improvements in product quality, and developing the capability of global teams.

She has also been deeply engaged with some of the company’s most important original equipment manufacturer partners. The leadership roles Rumsey has held include president of components, where she oversaw a global portfolio of business units that delivered profitable growth while ensuring power solutions met performance and emissions goals, and chief technical officer, where she led strategic investments in key technologies and applications to transition to lower carbon emissions products, laying the foundation years ago for the company’s New Power Business and Destination Zero strategy. Prior to Cummins, Rumsey worked for a fuel cell technology company.

Rumsey is a member of the Society of Women Engineers, SAE International, the Purdue Engineering Advisory Council, and the Women in Trucking Association. She holds a B.S. in mechanical engineering from Purdue University and an M.S. in mechanical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Arati Prabhakar, credit: DARPA

Historic Nomination to Office of Science and Technology Policy

President Biden in June nominated Arati Prabhakar, Ph.D., to serve as director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), and once confirmed to this position, also as assistant to the president for science and technology. In this capacity, Dr. Prabhakar will serve as the president’s chief advisor for science and technology, a co-chair of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, and a member of the president’s Cabinet. The U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation approved Dr. Prabhakar’s nomination on July 27. Her nomination will next be considered by the full Senate.

“Dr. Prabhakar is a brilliant and highly respected engineer and applied physicist and will lead the Office of Science and Technology Policy to leverage science, technology, and innovation to expand our possibilities, solve our toughest challenges, and make the impossible possible,” said Biden.

In 1993, Dr. Prabhakar was unanimously confirmed by the Senate to lead the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and was the first woman to hold that role. She later served as director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the birthplace of breakthrough technologies like stealth aircraft and the internet.

If confirmed to lead OSTP, Dr. Prabhakar would become the third Asian American, Native Hawaiian, or Pacific Islander to serve in Biden’s Cabinet, joining Vice President Kamala Harris, J.D., and U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai, J.D. Dr. Prabhakar’s nomination is historic, as the first woman or immigrant nominated to serve as Senate-confirmed director of OSTP.

An engineer and applied physicist, she has led two federal R&D agencies and worked with startups, large companies, universities, government labs, and nonprofits across a wide variety of sectors to create powerful new solutions for critical challenges.

As director of DARPA, from 2012 to 2017, she oversaw teams that prototyped a system for detecting nuclear and radiological materials before a terrorist can build a bomb, that developed tools to find human trafficking networks in the deep and dark web, and that enabled complex military systems to work together even when they were not originally designed to do so. She also established a new office to spur novel biotechnologies. Under her leadership, DARPA kick-started the development of a rapid-response mRNA vaccine platform, making possible the fastest safe and effective vaccine development in world history in response to COVID-19.

The first woman to lead NIST, Dr. Prabhakar helped take from early seed stage to national scale the Manufacturing Extension Partnership to boost the competitiveness of small and midsize manufacturers, and the Advanced Technology Program to stimulate early-stage advanced technology development.

Between her federal leadership roles, Dr. Prabhakar spent 15 years in Silicon Valley, helping bring R&D to deployment as a company executive and as a venture capitalist. In 2019, she founded Actuate, a nonprofit organization bringing new actors to the table to develop solutions to the challenges of climate, health, trustworthy data and information technology, and opening access to opportunity for every person.

Dr. Prabhakar’s family immigrated from India to the United States when she was 3 years old — first to Chicago and then settling when she was age 10 in Lubbock, Texas, where she went on to get her electrical engineering degree from Texas Tech University. She was the first woman to earn a Ph.D. in applied physics from the California Institute of Technology, where she also earned an M.S. in electrical engineering.

She is a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and a member of the National Academy of Engineering, and was a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University.

Kristen Donnell, credit: Sam O’Keefe, Missouri S&T

Missouri S&T Names Woodard Professor

Missouri University of Science and Technology has named Kristen Donnell, Ph.D., an expert in microwave nondestructive testing of materials and high-frequency sensing, the Woodard Associate Professor for Excellence. Dr.
Donnell is an associate professor of electrical and computer engineering at Missouri S&T.

Dr. Donnell joined the Missouri S&T faculty in 2011 as an assistant teaching professor. She is also an S&T alumna, having earned her master’s degree and doctorate in electrical engineering in Rolla. Prior to joining the S&T faculty, she worked as a postdoctoral researcher, graduate research assistant, and student instructor at the university and was employed by Raytheon as an electrical engineer.

“I am honored to receive this award and to serve as a representative of the Woodard Associate Professorship,” Dr. Donnell said. “This support will open the door to new avenues and directions of research that are of personal interest to me. Opportunities and outcomes growing from these new efforts will find a home within my classroom and provide important professional experience for my student research team as we continue to contribute to our field.”

Dr. Donnell’s research focuses on applied electromagnetics for high-frequency sensing applications. She says that she and her team have successfully applied technologies to infrastructure and aerospace-based structural health monitoring, and she is eager to expand into the area of biosensing. She said the Woodard award will provide the opportunity to focus on this new area.

A senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Dr. Donnell was elected to Eta Kappa Nu, IEEE’s honor society. She is a member of the American Society for Engineering Education and the American Society for Nondestructive Testing and also holds an amateur radio license.

The Woodard Associate Professor for Excellence is endowed through a $1 million gift from Joan Woodard, Ph.D., and James Woodard, Ph.D., and supports midcareer faculty by providing research funding and other resources at a key stage in the academic track.

Dr. Joan Woodard is a graduate and trustee of Missouri S&T and a member of the Kummer Institute Foundation Board of Directors. She is the retired executive vice president and deputy laboratories director of Sandia National Laboratories and has served on numerous advisory boards, commissions, and study panels devoted to scientific discovery and national security, including the U.S. Secretary of State’s International Security Advisory Board, the Air Force Scientific Advisory Board, and the Defense Science Board.