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Adele Wright, PHD

During Women's History Month, Columbus State is profiling women professors in the STEMM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math and Medical) fields. Here, Mechanical Engineering Professor Adele Wright, Ph.D., tells her story in her own words.

I decided to become an engineer in high school and have stuck with that plan ever since. My dad is an electrical engineer – I find that most women who are engineers have a relative who is one too – and I always enjoyed math and science courses over English and history type courses.

I got my B.S. in Mechanical Engineering at Carnegie Mellon. While there, I discovered the field of Bioengineering, as I had several opportunities to do undergraduate research in that field. After college, I worked for W.L. Gore and Associates (the Gore-Tex people), in Flagstaff, Ariz., as an R&D engineer working on vascular grafts (replacement blood vessels).

This was a great job, but I found it wasn't for me ... somehow it wasn't mentally stimulating enough.

So I decided to go back to school in order to become a professor. I chose Georgia Tech, as it had good graduate programs for both myself and my soon-to-be husband - who is an industrial engineer (we met at Carnegie Mellon). It took 5 ½ years for me to complete my master's degree and my Ph.D., doing research on cancer metastasis.

During that time, I came to the realization that I really wanted to teach at a primarily undergraduate institution. That way I could focus on teaching – whereas at a university, the research is the primary goal of the faculty members. Looking towards the future, I also couldn't see how to balance research, teaching, and motherhood, so I thought I would keep it down to just two jobs!

We moved to Columbus after I finished grad school at the 'turn of the century', as my husband had secured a job with Limited Brands. When I came to Columbus State looking to teach, it seemed kismet, as a full-time position in the Mechanical Engineering Technology program had just opened up. I have been in that position ever since. It was a perfect match.

I now have two boys, ages 7 and 10. I play the oboe in the Westerville Community Band. I also enjoy endurance events - I have run the Columbus half marathon seven times and the full marathon once and have also started participating in triathlons.

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