Inclusive Excellence Spotlight: Dr. Michael Todd
Since June is pride month, let's take a minute to spotlight Structural Engineer Dr. Michael Todd, faculty at the UC San Deigo, Jacobs School of Engineering (Faculty Profiles). He is the lead researcher and program director of the Department of Structural Engineering (The LGBTQ+ Community’s Guide to Engineering). Dr. Todd is a pioneer in the field of structural health monitoring. (Bridge Doctors), where he is able to use Senors and other “smart” systems to continually collect data on the structure to monitor damage and structural issues (Faculty Profiles). After earning his PhD in 1996, he holds 4 patents and has produced over 150 reports and papers (Faculty Profiles). He has numerous awards for his work in engineering, including the Fifth International Workshop on Structural Health Monitoring’s Professional of the Year in 2005 (The LGBTQ+ Community’s Guide to Engineering). When asked why he decided to become an engineer, he first talked about how his father was a nuclear engineer but also stated “engineers fundamentally DO or MAKE things to make society better, and this had great appeal” (The LGBTQ+ Community’s Guide to Engineering).
As a member of the LBGTQ+ community, Dr. Todd is a member of UCSD’s OUT List and QuEST, a faculty and administration LGBTQ+ organization and an LGBTQ+ engineering society, respectively (The LGBTQ+ Community’s Guide to Engineering). His advice for LGBTQ+ students who want to go into structural engineering involves two pieces: “I would first and foremost tell them to GO FOR IT!” and “Mentoring (even peer-to-peer mentoring) is the best way to navigate the challenges presented by a difficult curriculum, compounded by the difficult views on many LGBTQ+ issues that still pervade society” (The LGBTQ+ Community’s Guide to Engineering).
For a complete interview with Dr. Michael Todd, visit The LGBTQ+ Community’s Guide to Engineering. Also, view the NOVA special, Bridge Doctors, to learn about structural health monitoring and Dr. Todd’s work.