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Jean Zu

Many people around us can be our mentors as many people offer something new and different that we can learn from. It is up to us whether we can learn from them or not.

Jean Zu graduated with B.Sc. in 1984 and M.Sc. in 1986 from Tsinghua University. After two years of working as a lecturer and researcher at Tsinghua University, she came to Canada for Ph.D. study. obtained her Ph.D from the University of Manitoba in 1993. From January 1994, Jean Zu joined the University of Toronto, Department of Mechanical & Industrial Engineering as an Assistant Professor. She was promoted to Associate Professor in 1999 and to Full Professor in 2004. From June 2008 to June 2009, she served as Associate Chair for research. Since July, 2009, she has been serving as Chair of the Department.

Jean Zu’s research has been focused on mechanical vibrations and dynamics. She has successfully collaborated with many different companies on research projects with focus on automotive applications. In recent years, Jean Zu has extended her research to mechatronics areas in biomedical instruments and energy harvesting. She has published close to 300 papers including 128 journal papers and has supervised 60 graduate students. She is Fellow of CAE, ASME, EIC, CSME, AAAS. She served as President of Canadian Society for Mechanical Engineering in 2006-2008, served on NSERC Grant Selection Committee in 2004-2007, and served as the Associate Editor of ASME Journal of Vibration and Acoustics. She currently is the President of Engineering Institute of Canada (EIC).

Tell us a little bit about yourself, what is your current job?

My current job is Professor and Chair of the Department of Mechanical & Industrial Engineering, University of Toronto. My job involves research, teaching, and administration.

What made you want to pursue a career in engineering?

I was interested in and good at math and physics and would like to pursue an area of applied nature. Engineering naturally became the choice.

What’s your favourite part of your job?

Working with young minds full of hope, energy, and anticipation is my favourite part of the job. I am constantly inspired by the students by their dream, enthusiasm, and creativity. Being surrounded by young people makes me feel young.

How do you celebrate National Engineering Month?

I will work with our students to celebrate and promote engineering.

What advice do you have for young women who hope to pursue a career in your field?

Be persistent and patient in the pursuit of your dream. Work one step at the time and enjoy the process of the life journey. As a woman, we should not treat ourselves differently or find any excuses for ourselves. All we can do is to try our best.

How would you describe the relationship with your mentor/mentee? Here you may choose to offer insights such as how you first met, important qualities, and advice for finding a mentor/mentee?

Many people around us can be our mentors as many people offer something new and different that we can learn from. It is up to us whether we can learn from them or not.

Through outreach and professional development activities, research, partnerships, thought leadership and online initiatives, we work with industry and academia to educate on the value of diversity for innovation, to inspire women to thrive and to celebrate the contributions of women in science and engineering.
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