Zonta Club of Cleveland welcomes AE fellowship awardee to speak at November meeting

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 won the Best Poster Award. Her BS, MS, and Ph.D. are in mechanical engineering, from the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department at Case Western Reserve University.