The Zonta Club of Cleveland, District 5, invited a past Amelia Earhart Fellow to speak at November meeting and inspire other young women.
Kathryn Daltorio is an assistant professor and co-director of the Bio-Inspired Robotics Laboratory at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. The Zonta Amelia Earhart Fellowship, which she won in 2007, was one of her first fellowships.
At the 21 November program meeting at the International
Women’s Air and Space Museum, Daltorio shared her journey in
pursuing a career in mechanical engineering from childhood into adulthood. She
discussed some of what she is presently working on with an enthusiasm that was
nothing short of catchy. Daltorio was accompanied by four of her graduate
students, all of whom spoke briefly about their studies. All attributed their decision to pursue an
engineering course of study to Daltorio. One of them had even applied for the 2019 Amelia Earhart Fellowship. Along with Daltorio, each
agreed that, as more women pursue engineering as an occupation, more women feel
comfortable doing so. Daltorio observed that there are now even times when
women outnumber men in the lab.
Daltorio has been funded by an Office of Naval Research
Young Investigator Award, National Science Foundation, GRSP, National Defense Science
and Engineering Graduate, American Association of University Women and others. Her
areas of research include the locomotion of earthworms, decision-making in
cockroaches, vertical climbing in geckos and insects and crab-inspired
locomotion. These have contributed to
several novel robotic prototypes including the first robot to climb vertically
with gecko-inspired adhesives, an autonomous lawnmower that won Institute of
Electrical and Electronic Engineering ION autonomous lawnmower competitions,
modular six to twelve degree of freedom worm robots to explore responsive
navigation with soft materials, and robots for testing animal hypotheses in
cross-disciplinary classes. She has
co-authored over 30 peer-reviewed journal and conference papers, including one
Best Paper Award and one Best Poster Award. Her BS, MS, and PhD are in mechanical engineering, from the Mechanical
and Aerospace Engineering Department at Case Western Reserve University.