Mechanical engineering Professor Ashlie Martini has been awarded the Monya Lane and Robert Bryant Presidential Chair in Excellence in Engineering. She is one of two women to be appointed to endowed chairs in the School of Engineering this year.
Lane and Bryant, retired engineers from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, established the endowment in 2019. Martini will serve as the inaugural chair holder.
“What drew us to UC Merced is the diversity and entrepreneurship of the student body and the transformative impact of this campus,” Lane said. “Having a noted engineering faculty role model who demonstrates the campus’ culture of innovation and inclusivity will serve as a welcoming and encouraging beacon to broaden the pipeline of diverse engineering students and faculty alike.”
Lane, vice chair of the UC Merced Board of Trustees, and her husband, Bryant, endowed the chair to support an outstanding tenured faculty member who has been recognized for significant achievements in all areas of teaching, research, and service, while meaningfully advancing diversity and inclusivity within the engineering departments and disciplines.
“Professor Martini exemplifies the ideals cited in establishing the chair. She has an extensive list of accomplishments and recognitions for her excellence in research, teaching, service, and contributions to diversity,” said Dean Mark Matsumoto. “She is highly deserving of this appointment.”
Martini chairs the Department of Mechanical Engineering and studies tribology, the science of friction, wear, and lubrication in mechanical systems. Martini’s expertise in this field earned her and her students the recent opportunity to contribute to NASA's Mars Rover project. She currently has 14 graduate students and several undergraduates in her lab, and they all play important roles in the research she conducts.
Martini is one of the leaders of the National Science Foundation-funded Center for Mechanical Control of Chemistry; is this year's recipient of the UC Merced Academic Senate award for Distinction in Research for a tenured faculty member; previously won the Academic Senate awards for Excellence in Faculty Mentorship, Distinguished Undergraduate Teaching, and Distinguished Graduate Teaching/Mentorship; is a Fellow of the Society of Tribologists and Lubrication Engineers, the professional society in her field; and is the editor of the journal Tribology Letters.
Additionally, Martini has spearheaded academic efforts aimed at encouraging student success in engineering majors, including serving as the main organizer of the Innovate to Grow program for several years, and, last year, participated in a television series designed to inspire young women to pursue engineering disciplines.
The five-year renewable appointment to the chair will enable Martini and her students to further their work on “green” tribology — sustainable materials and design techniques for more efficient and longer lasting mechanical components. She also continues to work on space related projects that will assist missions to Mars and beyond, including solid lubricants that can be used in extremely low temperatures, as well as on advancement that will facilitate the development of novel mechanical systems for electric vehicles.
“I'm very honored to have been recognized with this chair, and thankful to Monya Lane and Robert Bryant for their support,” Martini said. “The students and I are excited to explore the new opportunities it will afford us.”
Professor Martini exemplifies the ideals cited in establishing the chair. She has an extensive list of accomplishments and recognitions for her excellence in research, teaching, service, and contributions to diversity.