Rachel Koh, who recently completed her B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Vermont, is the first recipient of the Kenneth A. Lloyd Fellowship, awarded to this highly-qualified incoming doctoral student in the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering (MIE) Department. Mr. Lloyd graduated from the College of Engineering in 1973, having majored in mechanical engineering, and is currently the vice president and general manager of Electro Switch Corporation in Weymouth, Massachusetts.
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.
The main emphasis of the Lloyd Fellowship is to support women graduate students. “I have long been an advocate of women in professional engineering and elsewhere,” explains Mr. Lloyd. “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.”
Koh is a worthy recipient. At Vermont, Koh concentrated on biomedical engineering and worked for about 18 months at the Dunlop Lab studying phenomena such as bacterial persistence and biofuel-producing bacteria. At UMass Amherst, however, she will switch her research specialization to her first love, wind energy.
“I am very excited about the department’s involvement in wind energy.” she says. “In fact, alternative energy is what drew me to engineering many years ago.”
MIE Professors Robert Hyers and Matthew Lackner will be supervising her research as she moves through the doctoral program.
While studying at Vermont, Koh received the Outstanding Senior Award in Mechanical Engineering, was a Presidential Scholarship awardee, made the Dean’s List, was a member of the Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honors Society, and was a SMART Grant awardee. In addition, she was the lead author of an article for the journal BMC Systems Biology entitled “Modeling Suggests That Gene Circuit Architecture Controls Phenotypic Variability in a Bacterial Persistence Network.”
Besides her many other accomplishments at Vermont, Koh was involved in service to the community, including serving as a mentor in the Upward Bound Program and a facilitator on the Next Step Social Justice Program.
The fellowship recipient was selected by the Head of the MIE department, Don Fisher, in consultation with a faculty committee via a competitive process. “Women are still greatly underrepresented in engineering,” says Professor Fisher. “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.” (October 2012)