TDAI affiliate Dorota Grejner-Brzezinska, associate dean for research in Ohio State’s College of Engineering, has become the first woman from the university to be named to the National Academy of Engineering.
Grejner-Brzezinska, also a professor in the Department of Civil, Environmental and Geodetic Engineering, was one of 86 new members to receive the honor this year.
The Academy cited Grejner-Brzezinska’s contributions to “geodetic science and satellite navigation, including integration with artificial intelligence.”
“Dorota is both an extraordinary scholar and a consummate research leader,” said David B. Williams, dean of the Ohio State College of Engineering. “We are honored to have her in the College of Engineering and thoroughly delighted that her international research leadership has been recognized by the Academy.”
“I hope this will be empowering to women, to say to themselves that they can do it because they are smart and there is really no limit to their talent and imagination.”
She is the 13th faculty member from Ohio State to be elected to the NAE. Election to the academy is one of the highest professional distinctions an engineer can receive, and honors those who have made outstanding contributions to “engineering research, practice or education,” and to “the pioneering of new and developing fields of technology, making major advancements in traditional fields of engineering or developing/implementing innovative approaches to engineering education.”
Grejner-Brzezinska’s early research helped build more reliable GPS navigation, adding to the body of work that would eventually allow for navigation systems to be built into today’s smartphones. In recent years, she and her research teams have built navigation systems that rely on artificial intelligence and image-based navigation rather than satellite systems alone, allowing for autonomous vehicle navigation and navigation and positioning in confined environments, where GPS signals are not available.
Grejner-Brzezinska came to Ohio State more than 20 years ago as a Fulbright Scholar from Poland intent on studying geodetic science, which, among other things, focuses on the size and shape of the Earth and the estimation of spatial coordinates—two keys to creating reliable global positioning systems. She went on to earn a Ph.D. and become a faculty member at the College of Engineering. She served as chair of the Department of Civil, Environmental and Geodetic Engineering for four years prior to becoming the associate dean for research in 2017. She also served as President of the Institute of Navigation (ION). She is an ION Fellow and a Fellow of the Royal Institute of Navigation.
She said she hopes her award inspires young female engineers.
“I have been there—not thinking that I can make it,” she said. “But what I can tell you is that some of my best students have always been women. And it means a lot to me to show the younger women that we can do it.
“And I hope this will be empowering to women, to say to themselves that they can do it because they are smart and there is really no limit to their talent and imagination. I would say to them: ‘You are all doing the right thing. Just trust your abilities and trust your work.’”
Grejner-Brzezinska and her class will be formally inducted at a ceremony during the academy’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 6.