Auto industry innovator headlines Heidelberg lecture series

Aug 27, 2013

PALS logoHeidelberg University will welcome Dr. Deborah Mielewski , technical leader of the Plastics Research Group at Ford Motor Co.’s Research and Innovation Center, as the fall keynote speaker in The Patricia Adams Lecture Series next month.

Mielewski will arrive on campus Oct. 2 to begin a series of formal and informal sessions with students and the campus community.

Mielewski in labShe has been with the Plastic’s Research Group for 25 years, and has worked in several departments, such as automotive paints, polymer processing and materials development. Along with her all-female team, she began the biomaterials program in 2001. The team was the first to exhibit soy-based foam, meeting all the requirements for automotive seating. Now, every Ford vehicle and more than 75 percent of the headrests in North American autos use the bio-based foam. The group is pushing forward to pioneer the development of sustainable plastic materials that meet stiff requirements in the field.

Mielewski received her bachelor’s, master’s and Ph.D. degrees in chemical engineering from the University of Michigan. She is passionate about the work she does to improve Ford’s environmental impact and is recognized as the author of more than 30 refereed journal publications. She also has 10 U.S. patents.

Her keynote address and dinner on Thursday, Oct. 3, are open to the public. The event begins with a reception at 5:45 p.m., followed by dinner and the presentation at 6:30 in Seiberling Gymnasium. Cost is $30 per person. The deadline to RSVP is Sept. 19 and can be made online.

The Patricia Adams Lecture Series, currently in its fourth year, was created by The John and Patricia Adams Foundation to bring to campus exceptional female leaders from a broad spectrum of personal and professional backgrounds.
Through the series, Heidelberg students are exposed to outstanding female executives who have had a significant impact in their careers and communities. Each of the guests has opportunities to interact with students in formal and informal settings, and their visit culminates in a keynote address. While the lecture series emanates from the Heidelberg School of Business, it touches every discipline and has expanded to include prospective students and the broader local community.