Associate dean of research, Dorota Grejner-Brzezinska has been with the university for over 20 years. Credit: Courtesy of Ohio State

An Ohio State engineering professor has become the first woman from the university to be inducted to the National Academy of Engineering.

Dorota Grejner-Brzezinska, professor and associate dean of research for the College of Engineering, was named to the academy for her research and application of GPS and navigation technology.

“I feel very humbled that somebody out there recognized this body of work down here at Ohio State, and it actually happens I’m the first woman so it’s even better,” Grejner-Brzezinska said.

Grejner-Brzezinska decided to leave Poland and study science at Ohio State on a Fulbright scholarship more than 20 years ago. She later served as president of the Institute of Navigation, and the department chair for the College of Engineering before being nominated for the award earlier this month.

While the NAE’s annual ceremony honors both international and national scholars from around the world, Grejner-Brzezinska is only the 13th member from Ohio State to be elected.

Her work specializes in geomatics engineering — the science of global infrastructure — and has been used in conjunction with NASA, as well as the Department of Defense, to help map and track the earth with advanced sensors.

Although GPS technology wasn’t as refined a few decades ago as it is now, Ohio State was the first university to build a mobile mapping system, Grejner-Brzezinska said.

“The work I’ve done was always focused on the duality of application,” she said. “It could be used for the military but at the same time had a civilian application.”

Considered one of the highest honors someone can receive in the field of engineering, Grejner-Brzezinska said she wants to transform her award to inspire diversity in the field.

Grejner-Brzezinska said “it’s a great day” for women elected to the academy because there’s probably no more than 10 or 12 percent of women members who are honored in the organization.

Because of this gender gap in numerous scientific fields, David B. Williams, dean of the College of Engineering, said the college is also redoubling its efforts on inclusion and diversity.

“More than half our units have 20 percent or fewer women faculty,“ Williams said in a state of the college address. “We must continue to redouble our efforts so that our faculty reflects our student body, building of course up to the almost 50 percent women at Ohio State as a whole.”

As associate dean of research, Grejner-Brzezinska said she’s also on a mission to grow and improve the visibility and quality of the College of Engineering  experience.

“As far as the faculty in the College of Engineering go,” Grejner-Brzezinska said, “I’m hoping I will have more opportunities to promote the phenomenal researchers we have, so they can start serving in national committees, and start contributing to the next big challenges.”