UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Sez Atamturktur has been named the Harry and Arlene Schell Professor and Head of the Department of Architectural Engineering at Penn State, effective July 1.
Currently, Atamturktur is a provost’s distinguished professor and professor of environmental engineering and earth sciences, mechanical engineering, industrial engineering and civil engineering at Clemson University. At Clemson, Atamturktur spearheaded three institution-level National Science Foundation (NSF) grants including the NSF ADVANCE-funded Tigers ADVANCE program, the NSF NRT-funded Resilient Infrastructure and Environmental Systems (RIES) graduate education program and the NSF RED-funded CULTIVATE program. These institutional initiatives led to university-wide transdisciplinary research activities, curricular innovation and close engagement with industry and national laboratories at Clemson.
In addition, at Clemson, Atamturktur served as the associate vice president for research and is the founding director of its Office of Research Development. In this role, Atamturktur oversaw the university’s limited submission selection process, established university-wide initiatives for junior faculty development, spearheaded strategic large-impact research development efforts and established linkages between the division of research, and foundation and corporate relations offices.
“Professor Atamturktur comes to Penn State having had a tremendous impact as a leading researcher during her tenure on Clemson’s faculty, as well as through her visionary leadership as associate vice president,” Justin Schwartz, Harold and Inge Marcus Dean of Engineering, said. “I am confident that under her leadership the department will reach new heights of international impact.”
Atamturktur believes the field of architectural engineering is poised for major research breakthroughs that will have significant societal impact.
“Safe, healthy and productive living and working spaces is a basic human need. Architectural engineering as a field is dedicated to the betterment of human condition by advancing research and education in design, construction and maintenance of the buildings we live in,” she said.
Atamturktur’s research, focused on uncertainty quantification in scientific computing, has been documented in more than 100 peer-reviewed publications in some of the finest engineering science journals and proceedings. Her research has been funded by federal agencies including the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Energy, the Department of the Interior, Department of Transportation, the Department of Education, as well as industry organizations and corporations.
“Professor Atamturktur is an experienced academic leader, as well as an intellectual thought-leader in architectural engineering,” Schwartz said. “We are excited to have found such an outstanding new department head for Penn State’s Department of Architectural Engineering, a leading department in the United States.”
Atamturktur envisions Penn State Architectural Engineering as the leading smart building research and instruction hub of the world.
“Architectural engineers are concerned with everything that affects the efficiency and performance of the buildings we live in ̶ structural materials, building envelope, heating and cooling systems, natural and artificial lighting, acoustics, indoor air quality, fire protection,” she said. “Given recent advancements in sensing systems, computing power and predictive capabilities, it is easy to see that smart buildings are poised to dramatically improve our lives. Penn State AE is ideally positioned to lead the nation and the world as we transition our infrastructure to smart buildings and connected communities.”
During her time at Clemson, Atamturktur has been honored with the McQueen Quattlebaum Faculty Achievement Award, Outstanding Woman Faculty Award from Clemson University President’s Commission on Women, the Murray Stokely Award for Excellence in Teaching in the College of Engineering and Science and two Outstanding Teacher Awards from the Clemson’s Chapter of Chi Epsilon Honors Society. She has also been nominated for and has received numerous best paper awards.
In addition to her administrative and academic roles, Atamturktur is currently a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the American Concrete Institute, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, the Masonry Society, the American Society of Civil Engineers and the Society of Experimental Mechanics.
She will replace M. Kevin Parfitt, who has been serving as interim department head since 2016. Parfitt, professor of architectural engineering, will remain as a department faculty member.
Prior to her current roles, Atamturktur served as a distinguished professor of intelligent infrastructure and in associate and assistant professor roles in Clemson’s Glenn Department of Civil Engineering. Before joining Clemson, she was a technical staff member and researcher in the Applied Physics Division of the Los Alamos National Laboratory and a doctoral student and researcher at Penn State.
Atamturktur earned her doctorate in civil engineering from Penn State, her master of science in architectural engineering from Penn State, and her bachelor of science in architecture and civil engineering from Orta Dogu Teknik Universitesi in Ankara, Turkey.