As a dedicated educator, it’s no surprise that Marca Lam
(BS '91, MS '94 Mechanical Engineering) was honored by the Society
of Women Engineers (SWE) with the Outstanding Faculty Advisor
Award. A senior lecturer of mechanical engineering in the Rochester
Institute of Technology’s Kate Gleason College of
Engineering, as well as the faculty advisor of the RIT-SWE student
section, she was quite surprised to learn that she won the
prestigious international award.
Lam increased student attendance from 20 to 50 (actually 70,
since nonorganization members also participated). She also
introduced the idea of keeping club records online and helped
students develop a system for organizing RIT-SWE finances and
fundraising. But most importantly, she’s an incredible
She fully supports her students and encourages them to support
each other, and her office door is always open. Lam attends to the
smallest details—such as helping young students develop their
“elevator speeches” for career fairs—which has
most certainly made a dierence for countless young women in
the highly competitive field of engineering.
“SWE is about more than just the technical stu
because there are so many flavors of engineering involved,”
she explains. “It’s more about learning how to be a
more confident person who can advocate for herself.”
Aside from her remarkable abilities as a faculty advisor, Lam is
also an expert in materials science and engineering design tools.
She teaches courses in system dynamics, engineering vibrations and
optimal design. She earned her PhD from Virginia Polytechnic
Institute in 1997.