Dr. Tamara Reid Bush was selected as the Inspirational Woman of the Year! Three individuals are honored by the MSU GenCen each year—one per category: in Professional Achievement, Community Engagement, and Culture of Empowerment. The selection of Dr. Bush in the category of Professional Achievement was based on her contributions to MSU, in the form of research, leadership, integrity, and inclusive actions that influence the culture of the Academy. She was nominated by Mechanical Engineering Chair, James Klausner with additional support of faculty members Dr. Rebecca Anthony and Dr. Sara Roccabianca both Assistant Professors in Mechanical Engineering, and Dr. Laura Bix, Professor and Associate Director of the School of Packaging.
Dr. Bush has developed a national research reputation in the field of biomechanics, evidenced in multiple ways, including: her election to the Executive Board of the American Society of Biomechanics, selection as the Conference Organizer for the World Congress on Biomechanics in the area of Rehabilitation and Injury, and most recently, her Appointment as an American Society of Engineers Fellow.
But it was not just her technical capabilities that set her apart, nominating sponsors commented on her leadership, and approach to creating an inclusive culture and climate in a field where women are a distinct minority. Nominators noted Dr. Bush to be exceptional because at the same time she was developing an impressive, national reputation in a novel line of inquiry (in-vivo mechanics associated with wheelchair users, hand function, and soft tissues), she was also striving to create a more inclusive culture where all researchers thrive. Drs. Anthony and Roccabianca stated “Mechanical Engineering is not a field that is traditionally filled with women contributors, but our department has an excellent climate for women. In large part, this is due to the presence of Professor Bush. She advocates for women faculty and women students alike, and is one of the two tenured female professors in the department.”
In her nomination letter, Dr. Laura Bix noted the success of one of the unique programs Dr. Bush organizes. “Recognizing a barrier to recruiting girls into ME, she and a student leader, initiated 'Shoppin’ with the Ladies' in 2015. The idea began when the Engineers recognized that lack of familiarity with 'shop tools' was a likely barrier in the enrollment of otherwise exceptional female candidates. They observed that when the tools were introduced in mixed company, frequently the female students had less opportunity to work with the equipment. The program affords women and girls the opportunity to work with: mills, lathes, drill presses and band saws. In the time since the program’s creation (2015), the event has had a wait list each and every time that it has been offered.”
To learn more about Dr. Bush’s research, visit her web page: https://www.egr.msu.edu/reidtama/projects