Vice Provost for Research Pamela Norris Named ASME Honorary Member

Norris, a leading global expert in nanoscale heat transfer, was recognized by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers for her distinguished service and contributions to the field.

Pamela Norris
July 14, 2022

George Washington University Vice Provost for Research Pamela Norris has been named an honorary member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) in recognition of a lifetime of distinguished service and contributions to the engineering profession.

Norris, also a professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, is a leading global expert in nanoscale heat transfer with a focus on thermal management across a range of length scales. She has been an active member of the ASME since 1993.

“I am honored to be recognized by the mechanical engineering community for my research, my advocacy on behalf of diversity in STEM fields and my mentorship of students and faculty,” Norris said. “It is humbling to join a list of honorees that includes Thomas Edison, Andrew Carnegie, Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower and Herbert Hoover, as well as more recent recipients like my postdoc mentor, Chang-Lin Tien, from the University of California, Berkeley.

“While the award recognizes a ‘lifetime of service,’ I am committed to continuing my work on all these fronts.”

Honorary membership is awarded by the ASME Board of Governors to up to five corporate members of the society each year. She was recognized at an ASME conference this week.

In her research, Norris has served as the principal investigator or co-principal investigator on more than 45 sponsored research projects, with research funds totaling over $25 million from the United States Department of Defense, the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health and more.

Her nominators cited her willingness to forge new directions and work in a wide range of interdisciplinary research areas that have enabled broad impact to society. Her nomination letter credits her works on interfacial thermal transport, innovative thermal management technologies across a broad range of length scales, biological warfare detection systems, and sol-gel derived materials in medical and biological applications, among other works, as “extremely significant contributions to the interdisciplinary advancement of the engineering profession and scientific research.”

The nominators also cited her leadership in nanotechnology and heat transfer education, her outspoken commitment to diversity and inclusion efforts and her mentoring successes as equally significant.

Norris came to GW in 2021 from the University of Virginia (UVA), where she previously served as executive dean of engineering and founded two research laboratories—the Nanoscale Energy Transfer Lab and the Aerogel Research Lab. 

In addition to her accomplishments in the lab, Norris is known as a committed mentor to students and fellow faculty members. She has been recognized for her mentoring skills and dedication to increasing the representation and retention of women faculty in the STEM disciplines. She received the Society of Women Engineers Distinguished Engineering Educator Award in 2016 and UVA’s Raven Award in 2018, which recognizes faculty for their excellence in service and contribution to the university.

Norris was elected an ASME fellow in 2005 and has served on numerous ASME technical and conference planning committees throughout her career. She served as chair of the ASME National Nanotechnology Institute’s Committee on Nanotechnology Education from 2003 to 2010. As part of these efforts, she organized and chaired the first national ASME nano-training bootcamps at the leading edge of the field. She has served as associate editor of "ASME Journal of Heat Transfer" and editor of "Heat Transfer-Recent Contents."

Norris earned a B.S. in mechanical engineering and mechanics from Old Dominion University and an M.S. and Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology. She then served as a postdoctoral associate at University of California, Berkeley.

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