Dr. Deborah Mielewski

Deborah Mielewski in labDr. Deborah Mielewski, technical leader of the Plastics Research Group at Ford Motor Co.’s Research and Innovation Center in Dearborn, Mich. Mielewski has been with Ford for more than 25 years, having worked in automotive paints, polymer processing and materials development.

Mielewski initiated the biomaterials program in 2001, and her all-women team was the first to demonstrate soy-based foam that met all the requirements for automotive seating.  Today, every Ford vehicle and more than 75 percent of the headrests in North American autos feature bio-based foam. Her group continues to pioneer the development of sustainable plastic materials that meet stringent automotive requirements. She is passionate about the work she does to improve Ford’s environmental footprint.

The author of more than 30 refereed journal publications and 10 U.S. patents, Mielewski received her bachelor’s, master’s and Ph.D. degrees in chemical engineering from the University of Michigan.


Wednesday, October 2, 2013

7:00 pm
Research & Innovation: Discussion/Q&A
Gillmor Atrium

Join the Chemistry Club, TriBeta and Heidelberg University Medical Pre-Professionals for an icecream social and tours of the science facilities, followed by a discussion with Dr. Mielewski and a collegue about research, innovation and how to break into the industry. 

Thursday, October 3, 2013

9:30 am
Small Group Discussion: The importance of mentors
Herbster Chapel

Three female engineers from Ford Motor Company Research will discuss careers in corporate America. Listen to their advice on what to look for in a company with regard to furthering educational opportunities, workplace culture and flexibility, balancing careers with personal and family life, and some of the challenges specific to women in the workplace.

11:00 am
Session 1: Marketing Green Technology
Gundlach Theatre, Founders Hall

panel with representatives from Reineke Ford
How do you market the benefits of being “green”? Hear from engineers at Ford who create green products and representatives from Reineke Ford in Tiffin about how they sell the products.

2:00 pm
Session 2: Going Green: Corporate Social Responsibility

Gundlach Theatre, Founders Hall

Dr. Mielewski will present work in the research and development of bio-based materials for automotive applications. Topics include how to replace petroleum based plastics with ones that are derived from soy or corn and environmental benefits these materials provide. Hear how Ford Research thus far and case studies of successful bio-based materials that have been implemented in Ford vehicles. See samples of these and other interesting and unexpected materials that may appear on Ford vehicles in the future.

5:00 pm
How to Network
Seiberling Gymnasium

A hands-on approach to networking at a social event. Learn how to carry on a conversation at a reception, and pick up valuable tips on etiquette and professionalism. A featured event of the Heidelberg Leadership Experience and sponsored by the Office of Student Engagement.

5:45 pm
Seiberling Gymnasium
Cash Bar

6:30 pm
Dinner & Keynote Address: “Greening the Blue Oval: My Sustainability Journey at Ford”

Seiberling Gymnasium

The keynote will cover Ford as a corporation and its development of a sustainability strategy that encompasses powertrain, material choices and processing that all lower our environmental footprint. Dr. Mielewski will discuss the history of biomaterials, how the work of her group supports the corporate vision, including soy-based foam. Ford is successful because of its partnerships with farmers, suppliers, universities and other non-competitive industries. Through collaboration, Ford has been able to make an impact not only on the automotive sector, but in other industries, as well. Sustainability work is “the right thing to do”; reducing carbon dioxide emissions and dependence on petroleum, and in some cases, reducing weight (for improved fuel economy), will contribute to a better world.

Event Coverage