Sonya Smith earned her doctorate in mechanical and aerospace engineering from the University of Virginia and was the first African American woman to do so. She joined the Howard University faculty in 1995 and has established an interdisciplinary theoretical and computational research laboratory, the Applied Fluids-Thermal Research Laboratory. She has received research support from NSF, NIH, NASA, DOD, and industry, and currently serves as WEPAN president.
Smith is president of Sigma Xi: The Scientific Research Honor Society and serves on the Engineering Research Visioning Alliance’s Standing Council. She is also a fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. Her memberships in other professional societies include the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, the Association for Research in Otolaryngology, the American Society of Engineering Education, the Society of Women Engineers, and the National Society of Black Engineers.
Smith is one of the co-PIs for the Engineering Research Center for Power Optimization for Electro-Thermal Systems and leads its packaging and integration thrust. She is also PI for the Howard University ADVANCE-IT award, committed to solving problems of Advancement and Leadership of Women in STEM. Smith’s personal goal is to be a mentor and resource to all students and young faculty/professionals, but especially to those underrepresented in STEM.