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Lloyd Fellowship Continues to Attract Talented and Well-qualified Female Grad Students to MIE Department

Hannah Johlas

Hannah Johlas

On March 25, our generous alumnus and donor Kenneth Lloyd visited his alma mater with his family and was hosted by Professor Sundar Krishnamurty, the head of the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering (MIE) Department. In 2012 Mr. Lloyd established the Kenneth A. Lloyd Fellowship, awarded annually to a qualified incoming doctoral student in the MIE department who shows exceptional potential for success in his or her field, with a preference given to female applicants. Mr. Lloyd of Duxbury, Massachusetts, graduated from the College of Engineering in 1973, having majored in mechanical engineering.

Lloyd is currently the Corporate Vice President for Manufacturing and a director of Electro Switch Corporation in Weymouth, Massachusetts, a company that engages in the design and manufacture of rotary and miniature switches, solenoids, and encoders for the power industry in the United States, Canada, and internationally. A longtime supporter of the College of Engineering, Mr. Lloyd has a history of generosity to UMass Amherst, having made previous gifts to create the Kenneth A. Lloyd Scholarship Endowment and the Kenneth A. Lloyd Engineering Scholarship Endowment, and he also contributed to the MIE Exploratorium. Lloyd received the Distinguished Alumni Award from the MIE department.

So far, the three highly accomplished recipients of the Lloyd Fellowship have been: Rachel Koh, who will be a faculty member at Lafayette College; Alexana Cranmer, soon to be a faculty member at Bentley College; and Hannah Johlas, who recently received a coveted fellowship from the National Science Foundation (NSF).

As Professor Krishnamurty wrote to Lloyd after his family visited the campus in late March, “While we discussed the great accomplishments of Rachel and Zana, I forgot to mention that Hannah has just been awarded the prestigious NSF Graduate Fellowship for her doctoral studies. Please join me in congratulating her – and we all owe you a big debt of gratitude, as the department could not have recruited them without your fellowship, and they would not be where they are today without that first-year fellowship.”

The Lloyd Fellowship annually awards more than $25,000 per year to a qualified incoming doctoral student in the MIE Department. To that end in 2012, Mr. Lloyd committed to a $137,500 pledge, payable over a period of five years, to support the MIE fellowship aimed at attracting exceptional female graduate students.

“The Lloyd Fellowship has been indispensable in helping us recruit the most talented female engineering graduate students,” said Krishnamurty, “because it demonstrates an institutional commitment to attracting more female graduate students in the department and supporting their work when they get here.”    

One reason Mr. Lloyd started his fellowship was to infuse engineering professions with an influx of accomplished women. “I have long been an advocate of women in professional engineering and elsewhere,” explained Mr. Lloyd in 2012. “As part of a predominantly male engineering industry, therefore, I have always encouraged upward mobility in women engineers and elevated them throughout their professional careers.”

“Women are still greatly underrepresented in engineering,” explained Professor Donald Fisher, then head of the MIE department in 2012 when the fellowship was established.  “Only by increasing the number of women going to graduate school can we hope to change the face of graduate education and attract larger numbers of individuals, men and women, into engineering.”

Each year the fellowship recipient is selected by the head of the MIE department in consultation with a faculty committee via a competitive process. The selected student must be a U.S. citizen and will be required to work on a specific research project under the advisement of a current faculty member. The scope and nature of the project will be determined at the departmental faculty level.

Cranmer is a fine example of the powerful impact of the Lloyd Fellowship. As she wrote to Mr. Lloyd, “Thank you for your generous provision for the fellowship which the department has awarded to me. It is an enormous help in funding my education and granting me the opportunity to pursue research topics of my choice.” (April 2017)