Karen Thole nominated to the Board of Governors of ASME

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Karen Thole, distinguished professor and department head of mechanical and nuclear engineering, has been chosen as a governor-nominee of The American Society of Mechanical Engineers Board of Governors (BOG). Her term will begin in July 2018.

“I am honored to have been chosen in this leadership role for ASME to advance the organization’s strategy,” Thole said. “I have devoted most of my professional service to ASME over many years, which has been quite rewarding. I look forward to continuing to make an impact through the role of being a governor.”

BOG members are chosen from 130,000 members to oversee ASME's affairs, holding full control of the activities of the society. In addition to the president, president-elect, and the past president, there are nine elected members on the board.

“I am pleased that Karen was chosen for the ASME BOG. Her efforts in creating a diverse and inclusive ASME as well as her knowledge in our core technologies will help guide our society,” said Sam Zamrik, former BOG member and ASME president.

Thole has provided service leadership to ASME on numerous committees. She has chaired ASME’s International Gas Turbine Institute Board of Directors (now known as the Gas Turbine Segment leadership team) and continues to serve as an adviser.  In this role, she created a student advisory committee and initiated a TurboExpo Women’s dinner that attracts more than 100 women engineers working in the field of gas turbines.  She chaired ASME’s Mechanical Engineering Department Head Executive Committee and participated in the Vision 2030 Committee defining the future mechanical engineering curriculum.  To define one ASME, she was called upon to serve on the re-organization task force. For numerous years, Thole chaired the Committee on Honors, which selected the society’s award recipients. She was named an ASME Fellow in 2004.

Thole has received significant recognition for her research, teaching, mentoring and service to the profession. In 2016, she received the Edwin F. Church Medal from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers for her role in the creation and development of the Engineering Ambassadors Network. In 2015, Thole was named the ASME George Westinghouse Gold Medal recipient for her research in turbine heat transfer. Also in 2015, she was also recognized by ASME’s Distinguished Service award. In 2014, she received the Society of Women Engineers Distinguished Engineering Educator Award, and in 2011, was named a White House Champion of Change. She has also received distinguished alumni awards at the University of Texas and University of Illinois. At Penn State, she has received the Howard B. Palmer Faculty Mentoring Award and the Rosemary Schraer Mentoring Award. 

Prior to joining Penn State, Thole held faculty positions at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Virginia Tech. She received her bachelor's and master's degrees in mechanical engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and her doctorate in mechanical engineering from the University of Texas at Austin.

About ASME: ASME helps the global engineering community develop solutions to real world challenges. Founded in 1880 as the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, ASME is a not-for-profit professional organization that enables collaboration, knowledge sharing and skill development across all engineering disciplines, while promoting the vital role of the engineer in society. ASME codes and standards, publications, conferences, continuing education and professional development programs provide a foundation for advancing technical knowledge and a safer world. For more information visit

Karen Thole will begin service on the ASME Board of Governors in 2018. Credit: Penn StateCreative Commons

Last Updated June 21, 2017