UI Engineering Inducts Two Into Distinguished Alumni Academy, One Into Legacy

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The University of Iowa College of Engineering recently inducted two new members into its Distinguished Engineering Alumni Academy and one new member into its Legacy of Iowa Engineering during the college's spring alumni reunion dinner on Saturday, June 9.

Pearl Cheng and Barbara J. Sines, who received their Bachelor of Science degrees in 1981 in biomedical engineering and in 1980 in industrial engineering, respectively, were inducted into the Distinguished Engineering Alumni Academy for contributions toward personal engineering achievement, leadership, and service to the profession and society.

The late Edward L. Ashton, professor of civil engineering in the UI College of Engineering from 1943 until 1957, was inducted into the Legacy of Iowa Engineering, which recognizes faculty, staff, alumni and friends who made exceptional historical contributions toward advancing the college in teaching, research or service.

Cheng is currently a school board trustee with the Cupertino (Calif.) Union School District, where she has served since 2000. After earning her UI degree and a master's degree from Stanford University in 1982, Cheng joined the NASA-Ames Research Center, where she developed life science experiments for various space missions, including the Galileo Probe to Jupiter, the Mars Pathfinder and the Lunar Prospector. She also chaired advisory boards and received a number of group achievement and mentoring awards, and was selected for the NASA Honor Award for Equal Employment Opportunity for her leadership and proactive efforts in advancing equal employment opportunity. She also served as associate director of the Information Sciences Directorate just prior to leaving NASA.

Cheng is active in the community, serving on many boards and advisory councils including the American Red Cross, the Santa Clara County School Boards Association, the Multicultural Leadership Council and United Way. She is also the founder of a group that supports multi-racial families. Cheng has made significant contributions to the UI College of Engineering by mentoring students, speaking to the Society for Women Engineers and the Women in Science and Engineering groups, and delivering the commencement address to the class of 2002. In 2005 she received the Hancher-Finkbine Alumni Medallion in recognition of her leadership, learning and loyalty to the UI.

Sines, as vice president and general manager for Rockwell Automation in Milwaukee, Wis., is responsible for worldwide engineering and marketing activities for control and information platforms, including programmable logic controllers and open and embedded visualization products. In addition to managing a highly technical business, she has served as a mentor to Rockwell Automation employees worldwide, and was one of the driving forces behind the implementation of company-wide programs designed to improve and accelerate performance. She was formerly vice president and general manager of Electronic Operator Interface Business, where she had global profit and loss responsibility including product planning, manufacturing, marketing and engineering for the company's visualization products. She was plant manager at Square D in Cedar Rapids before joining Rockwell Automation in 1995.

Since earning her UI degree, Sines has remained involved with the college as a speaker at the biannual Student Leadership Institute and as a volunteer with Alumni Seeking Iowa Students, for which engineering alumni encourage top students to consider attending Iowa. Sines also presented at the College of Engineering's "Grabbing the Globe" series in the spring of 2007, discussing international business at Rockwell Automation and her views on the importance of being globally aware, adept and adaptable. She is currently a member of the UI Engineering Advisory Board.

Ashton, a native Iowan, provided the UI College of Engineering with innovation, experience and passion -- all of which amounted to a truly lasting contribution. Following an 18-year career of exceptional structural design experience, Ashton returned to his alma mater to provide innovative and effective approaches to teaching. His pragmatic approach and commitment to personal attention benefited all students, especially those he mentored following World War II. Ashton left an indelible impression on his students, the college and the state through ingeniously designed structures and his equally unique approach to teaching. National recognition of his structural designs is as deservedly noted as the generous praise he received from former students and colleagues.