Spark Award

Mitali Chakrabarti, Ph.D.

Ford Motor Company

For career-long service as a mentor and role model for women in STEM; for championing growth for women engineers; and for fostering an inclusive culture that welcomes men as allies.

Mitali Chakrabarti, Ph.D., is a technical expert and supervisor in global thermal systems in product development at Ford Motor Company in Dearborn, Michigan. She has been with Ford for 27 years and has held a technical management role since 2000. Dr. Chakrabarti’s expertise lies in airflow and thermal sciences, with a specialty in computational fluid dynamics.

In addition to her role as a technical expert, she also supervises a group of engineers. Her technical work is widely recognized, and she has been nominated for Ford’s highest technical honor, the Henry Ford Technology Award. She has also earned several innovation awards and an award for the best paper in her session at the Society of Automotive Engineers International in 2017. She holds six patents and received a SWE Patent Recognition Award in 2022.

As an immigrant woman of color who keenly felt the lack of mentors and role models, Dr. Chakrabarti is motivated to fill those roles for others. Throughout her career, she has mentored more than 100 women engineers, always ready with a word of advice and willing to share her experiences. She has guided many of them toward career growth and promotions through consistent follow-up. She has been a mentor for Ford’s resource group for women for 20 years, enriching the experiences of those around her. Dr. Chakrabarti has served as an informal mentor to young women engineers in her group and department, positively influencing their lives.

A true believer that men must be allies in the journey toward equity for women in STEM, she has mentored men and women to support each other in their drive toward team success. Dr. Chakrabarti is a longtime advocate of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) and won the company’s Global DEI Individual Award in 2022 and its Team Award in 2016 and 2017. She is part of Ford’s Advocates for Belonging and co-hosted an event on equity with the company’s human resources director during Ford’s Global DEI Week.

Dr. Chakrabarti is an enthusiastic STEM outreach advocate and mentor for girls and young women in her community. She has volunteered as a lead for Science Olympiad, MATHCOUNTS, North South Foundation, and many other programs serving students of all ages interested in STEM. She also volunteers for First Step, a housing program for abused youth, and Vista Maria, a residential treatment agency for youth overcoming traumatic experiences.

Dr. Chakrabarti holds a B.Tech with honors in chemical engineering from the Indian Institutes of Technology and a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from Iowa State University. She lives with her husband in Canton, Michigan, and their daughter is currently a graduate student in mechanical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dr. Chakrabarti loves to read and is always looking to learn new things.