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Chinedum Okwudire receives 2024 SME Education Award

Chinedum Okwudire accepts the 2024 SME Education Award at the SME International Awards Gala on June 3, 2024.

Professor Chinedum Okwudire has received the 2024 SME Education Award “for sustained commitment and significant contributions to advancing manufacturing education at the University of Michigan and nationally.”

This award is given annually by SME to “honor the educator most respected for the development of manufacturing-related curricula, fostering sound training methods, or inspiring students to enter the profession of manufacturing.”

Okwudire is a renowned scholar of manufacturing automation. His research has focused on exploiting knowledge at the intersection of machine design, control, and computing to boost the performance of manufacturing automation systems at low cost.

Okwudire has received a number of awards including the CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation, the Young Investigator Award from the International Symposium on Flexible Automation, and the Outstanding Young Manufacturing Engineer Award from SME. In 2022, he was selected by SME as one of the 25 leaders transforming manufacturing. He has co-authored a number of best-paper-award-winning papers in the areas of manufacturing automation, control, and mechatronics, and he is the founder and CTO of Ulendo Technologies Inc., a company focused on advanced automation solutions for the manufacturing industry.

Receiving the 2024 SME Education Award at SME’s International Awards Gala on June 3rd, Okwudire said, “I find it rather ironic that I’m receiving this award. My twenty-year old self must be laughing at me because the first time I took a course on manufacturing in college, I found it boring because it was taught only theoretically with no hands-on activities to make it come to life. So, I vowed not to have anything to do with manufacturing. However, I fell in love with manufacturing during graduate school when I started doing manufacturing as a hands-on activity, many thanks to my PhD advisor, Prof. Yusuf Altintas. I have also been influenced by mentors like Prof. Albert Shih, who nominated me for this award, because he always seeks to imbue his manufacturing courses with hands-on activities. This is why I have always sought to bring the same hands-on emphasis to my manufacturing courses. Afterall, manufacturing literally means ‘something made by hand.’”

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