Auburn University faculty member awarded Fulbright to teach and conduct research in Turkey

AUBURN – Alice E. Smith, faculty member in Auburn University’s Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, has been awarded a Fulbright grant to teach and conduct research at Bilkent University in Ankara, Turkey, next spring.

Smith, whose research and teaching involves modeling and optimizing complex systems, will instruct a series of courses on adaptive optimization and advanced modeling to Turkish graduate students in technical disciplines, including engineering. She also plans to focus her research on gender issues related to engineering academia, for which she has been awarded several National Science Foundation grants.

“Turkey is extremely progressive when it comes to women in engineering academia, and there is more to learn about the country’s success story,” Smith said. “Their best practices should be shared with other countries, including the United States.”

Smith will present technical seminars at a number of Turkish universities and will feature topics which engage students and faculty in discussions about women in engineering. She has previously hosted six visiting scholars from Turkey, where industrial engineering is one of the fastest growing technical fields of study.

“Engineering, among all professions, is the most acutely male dominated,” Smith said. “With the world facing a myriad of challenging technical problems, it is imperative to train more engineers, especially those who are creative and collaborative. Women offer the best source for increasing the number of skilled engineers worldwide.”

Smith was selected by the 12-member William J. Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board, part of the United States Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to increase mutual understanding among United States citizens and those of other countries.

Bilkent is a private university with 13,000 students and is known for its industrial engineering program. Bilkent is recognized by a number of international organizations as the top university in Turkey.

(Contributed by Sally Credille.)

Sally Credille, College of Engineering, (334) 844-3447 (, or
Mike Clardy, Office of Communications and Marketing, (334) 844-9999 (