Professor Spotlight: Dr. Lorna Cintron-Gonzalez
February 6, 2017
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Puerto Rican native Dr. Lorna Cintron-Gonzalez joined the FMU faculty as the coordinator of the industrial engineering program and assistant professor of industrial engineering. While her sights are mainly set on graduating the first class of FMU’s industrial engineering majors in May 2017, Cintron-Gonzalez has been working on making big changes and improvements to FMU both in and out of the classroom.
Cintron-Gonzalez is essentially the woman behind the scenes of FMU’s young, flourishing industrial engineering program. Cintron-Gonzalez was already juggling the hectic schedule of an ergonomics-specialized industrial engineer and mother of two when she took on the added responsibility of helping to jumpstart FMU’s industrial engineering program a few years ago.
In fact, Cintron-Gonzalez said she was the first and only professor of industrial engineering during her first year at FMU. Since then, she said that she has worked to help the industrial engineering program grow and flourish, and she believes it has.
Cintron-Gonzalez said she is extremely passionate about the industrial engineering field, especially in academic settings, which is why she came to FMU. She said she believes that with a strong interest in math and science anyone can become an engineer. “One doesn’t have to be the best at those subjects to become an engineer.” Cintron-Gonzalez said. “You just have to enjoy it.”
This passion for learning and showcasing engineering as an important academic field are what coerced Cintron-Gonzalez into stepping away from some side projects and industry work, such as maintaining a healthy, efficient and safe working place in areas such as local hospitals, factories and large and small companies.
In these types of projects, Cintron-Gonzalez works with businesses to help make sure that working conditions and spaces are the safest and most comfortable and efficient workplaces they can be, and she is able to bring her industry experience into the classroom.
For Cintron-Gonzalez, one of the best aspects of working in the industry and teaching is the interaction and the difference she gets to make in the lives of others.
“I wanted to teach basically because of my liking for human interaction,” Cintron-Gonzalez said. “I am looking not to be a book-reciting type of professor. Our field is so diverse that we need more teachers who actually care and can provide the education that not only the industry needs but what the students should have in our time.”
Right now, Cintron-Gonzalez is focusing on helping the FMU industrial engineering program grow before she gets back into her own research and industry work. She regularly visits elementary schools and high schools as a way to recruit future engineering students and to help get the word out that FMU has this new industrial engineering program.
This program, she said, is one of only two industrial engineering programs in South Carolina. She said she wants to continue to improve the program with an active foreign exchange program with German technology and engineering universities. FMU will be expecting its first German exchange industrial engineering students in the fall 2017 semester.
Even before that, though, Cintron-Gonzalez confirmed a 2017 late spring course in which industrial engineering students and professors will attend classes at FMU and will also travel to conduct courses at the European Academy in Germany. She eventually hopes to incorporate different types of engineering degrees at FMU depending on the needs of the industry.
Even though Cintron-Gonzalez loves seeing her students grow and succeed, she said she is anxious to return to her research when she feels that the FMU industrial engineering program is at its peak. Until then, however, she will continue to devote her time to her students, the industrial engineering program, her daughters and to her favorite hobby: tennis.