Building DREAMs: Smart structures expert joins Engineering Design | Penn State University
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — As a child, Mariantonieta Gutierrez Soto was surrounded by successful role models — her grandmother built homes, her mother served as the director of a learning institute and her father, an electrical engineer, designed hydroelectric power plants. Inspired by their ambition, determination and achievements, Gutierrez Soto turned her interest in “remarkable civilizations worldwide and their signature structures that they are known for” into her passion, studying and researching smart building design and construction.
“I realized that civil engineering has the power to transform cities,” she said. “Civil engineering impacts day-to-day life — it brings water to your house, allows you to reach a destination, provides shelter. I focused on structural engineering since it has the mix of beautiful mathematical calculations with computer modeling to explore innovative designs and bring them to reality by understanding the requirements to ensure safety and serviceability.”
On July 1, Gutierrez Soto joined Penn State’s Engineering Design program, an interdisciplinary education and research program housed within the School of Engineering Design, Technology, and Professional Programs (SEDTAPP), as an assistant professor.
“Engineering design is an interdisciplinary,” said Scarlett Miller, director of engineering design and associate professor of engineering design and industrial engineering. “Innovation occurs at the cusp of engineering design, as it serves as the connection point between engineering fields. Having Mariant’s expertise in civil engineering as part of our DESIGN program will not only provide students with a multidimensional design educational experience, it also will enhance our innovative and collaborative research capabilities as a program.”
Gutierrez Soto will teach and conduct research in civil engineering design areas, with an emphasis on structural design, biomimicry, natural disasters, game theory, control and machine learning. Her main research thrust will focus on the design of resilient, engineered, appropriate and multidimensional (DREAM) smart structures and communities.