Based on data from the American Society of Engineering Education in 2020, out of 300 higher education engineering programs in the United States, only 80 program deans are female, and only three of those women are Asian.
One of these three women is located right here in Fort Wayne at Indiana Tech. After an extensive nationwide search, Dr. Ying Shang was selected as the new Dean of the College of Engineering and School of Computer Sciences at Indiana Tech in early 2021. Since then, she's been helping the school and the region advance their efforts to prepare the next generation of workers for tech-savvy careers in the realm of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and manufacturing).
Input Fort Wayne sat down with Dr. Shang to learn more about her background and how she's shaping workforce development in Northeast Indiana.
Dr. Ying Shang stands in front of the Zollner Engineering Center at Indiana Tech, which is under construction to double its size.
IFW: Tell us more about your background in technology and engineering. What are some of your proudest accomplishments, and what led you to Indiana Tech?
My background is in control systems with applications in manufacturing systems, automation, and robotics. My proudest career accomplishment is graduating from the University of Notre Dame with my Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering.
I was so impressed by the innovative vision, strategic direction, "can-do" culture, and, most importantly, the people at Indiana Tech when I came for an interview. With many new initiatives happening in the College of Engineering and School of Computer Sciences, including the expansion and renovation of Zollner Engineering Center, it is my tremendous honor to be part of the significant transformation at Indiana Tech.
Indiana Tech invested $21.5 million into the ongoing expansion and renovation of the Zollner Engineering Center to house engineering, computer sciences, cybersecurity, life sciences, and technology.
IFW: How has the transition to Fort Wayne been so far?
I am originally from China, but I spent five years at South Bend, Indiana, for my Ph.D. at the University of Notre Dame. The transition to Fort Wayne has been great so far. People here are friendly, welcoming, and supportive.
IFW: What advice would you give other women or People of Color considering entering the field of tech?
The entire nation is making intentional efforts to improve its diversity, equity, and inclusion, yet the progress is still slower than we expected.
I am fully aware of how it feels to be an underrepresented minority in the field of tech. As women or People of Color engineering in the field of tech, we will feel conscious or unconscious bias during our career. I hope that wouldn’t discourage anyone to stay current in their field because we need more women and underrepresented minorities to improve the landscape of the workforce in the nation.
I would say to any woman and/or Person of Color entering the field of tech, “Follow your heart and passion; work hard; believe in yourself, and the rest will follow."
Dr. Ying Dr. Ying Shang stands in front of the Zollner Engineering Center at Indiana Tech, which is under construction to double its size.
IFW: How can Northeast Indiana participate in the rapid technological growth the workforce is experiencing?
Northeast Indiana, with manufacturing being the top employment sector in the region, will face tremendous challenges ahead of us due to the rapid development of new technology, such as automation, the internet of things, cybersecurity, cloud computing, artificial intelligence, and alternative energy.
The manufacturing industry will look significantly different, and there will be a tremendous need to re-skill and upskill the current workforce and train the future workforce to be ready to face the industry revolution 4.0. I believe Northeast Indiana will have the capacity to face the challenges by collaborating between industry, higher education, private sectors, and government agencies to gear up for future workforce training and readiness.
Indiana Tech is growing to support more students in engineering, computer sciences, cybersecurity, life sciences, and technology.
IFW: Tell us about your time at the College of Engineering and School of Computer Sciences so far. Any exciting plans for the future?
Since I joined Indiana Tech, I have been focusing on building more domestic and international partnerships to foster enrollment growth, improving the quality of academic programs by securing ABET accreditation for all degrees, increasing the financial stability of the college through government grants and philanthropy, and enhancing community partnerships with local industry, community colleges, and local schools.
Indiana Tech invested $21.5 million into the ongoing expansion and renovation of the Zollner Engineering Center to house engineering, computer sciences, cybersecurity, life sciences, and technology. This cutting-edge expansion will double the current size of the facility and provide better learning spaces and labs to serve future students.
Indiana Tech will utilize the space to educate students with the newest modern trends in tech, such as artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, data analytics, automation, 3D printing, etc. to enhance workforce development post-pandemic.
Manufacturing is the top employment sector in Northeast Indiana.
IFW: Indiana Tech participated in the Northeast Indiana Technology Coalition TechFest on Nov. 17 at the McMillen Community Center. What other ways is Indiana Tech engaging the youth of Northeast Indiana?
The College of Engineering and School of Computer Sciences at Indiana Tech currently offers high school and middle STEM summer camps, as well as Cyberpatriot camps for K-12 students. We are looking forward to exploring more partnerships with local school systems. With venues and events like that, Indiana Tech wishes to be considered as one of the valued options for young students as they look toward their future education.
This story is funded by Indiana Tech.