Recently, Daley Chair and longtime Professor, CJ Sikora, was named one of the most influential people in academics by SME.
Among her top career achievements, Sikora counts making students aware of good jobs in manufacturing that they did not know existed. She is doing the same, and more, with another top achievement: helping to lead development of a $50-million manufacturing engineering technology building at her school. “Our vision was to not only offer the usual training but to go many steps further, offering training to students who may have never ever heard of some of the equipment we put in the building,” she said.
Today, students have access to several high-end microscopes, including a scanning electron microscope. “That will enable our students to look for production problems and learn the associated analysis to solve those problems,” she said. That’s not all Sikora has achieved. This fall, a completely revamped curriculum that she helped write will be implemented.
She advises potential academics to work in a factory along with getting a degree. “You’ll have a great career on either path. But if you learn to make things first, you’ll be a better teacher,” she said. “And you’ll have lots of stories to tell.”
To hear more of her story on WGN AM radio with reporter Steve Alexander, click here.