Joined USJ: 2012
Science and Society
Is there anything Rochelle Young hasn’t done? Her first career was as an officer in the United States Air Force, where her proficiency in engineering led to responsibilities in emergent telecommunication and information systems for sophisticated defense applications. That extraordinary background provided the foundation for a faculty career at the Air Force Academy and in leading engineering schools, working with graduate students and Ph.D. candidates in a range of technically intricate and complex engineering specialties.
Young is driven by twin passions. While excelling in engineering, she is also energized by creative problem solving applied to the world’s seemingly intractable programs – utilizing technology and management skills to address the challenges of underserved communities. Her approach brings humanity and science in underserved global locations.
Confidence and Creativity
Young exudes confidence that she seeks to instill in her students. “No fear,” is the approach she hopes they will adopt. “I’d like them to be utterly confident of their ability to do anything.” Since today’s ever-changing world suggests that students cannot predict precisely how their futures will unfold, she explains, they “should not be stifled by any one thing.” She forthrightly offers them “unconditional confidence” and a determination to model her conviction that there are significant opportunities for women with expertise and background in project management – whether in engineering or any number of technical fields. The range of majors represented among her students invigorates classes, and dovetails with her view that “as you get older, you default to the pat approach to fixing things.” Undergraduate students are not so constrained, and Young revels in their no-holds-barred creativity.
Innovation and Implementation
Her interest in engineering – and management - is not driven by the technical aspects of the field, but by “the social aspects that can be affected by engineering.” Doctors Without Borders, she notes, is a model of effectively managing a response to a major societal challenge. An advocate for social entrepreneurship, especially applied to managing complex problems, she is fully confident that students in her USJ classes are particularly well-suited to be in the forefront of such initiatives. “It is more about innovating,” she says, “than implementing.” Her current students, she is convinced, can amass the knowledge, training, and expertise to lead similar efforts tackling other global challenges. What they already possess, by virtue of selecting USJ for their educational foundation, is a commitment to serve, and improve people’s lives.
Ph.D., Old Dominion University
M.S., Colorado Technical University
B.S., University of Georgia