The World Comes to Maryland Engineering

Dean Graham smiles while wearing glasses, a pinstripe gray suit jacket, a white collared shirt, and a red tie with white polka dots

Dr. Samuel Graham, Jr., Dean of the A. James Clark School of Engineering, University of Maryland, College Park

Fellow Educators,

Greetings from College Park, Maryland — home of a student-run hyperloop team that’s among the country’s 12 best; a new National Science Foundation-funded initiative to bring atomic-level precision to the devices and technologies that underpin much of modern life; and a leader in bringing more diversity into our field.

For those of you I haven’t met, I’m Samuel Graham, Jr., the new dean of Maryland Engineering.

I’m a first-generation college student who grew up in a military family. Like many of you, my curiosity was seemingly endless. Military hardware like planes, tanks and helicopters: I wanted to know how they worked, how they broke down - and if I could build them better. Then I started working on model rockets and airplanes, and it became clear that I was meant to engineer. This all happened during the time of the space shuttle, so working on rockets was exciting and relevant.

Exciting and relevant. That’s Maryland Engineering.

If you don’t know about Maryland Engineering, dive in:

  • IonQ, the first publicly traded pure-play hardware and software company in the quantum computing space, started with work done here.

  • Medcura Inc., a company that makes Rapid-Seal, which stops bleeding in seconds, started with work done here.

  • Ion Storage Systems, a company developing safer and more powerful solid-state batteries, started with work done here.

We’ve got cutting-edge facilities, including our 60,000-square-foot IDEA Factory set to open this fall. It’ll be home to quantum technology, robotics and rotorcraft centers, and a student-run start-up incubator. We’re also home to the country’s only fire protection engineering program.

All this drew me to Maryland. And not only me.

In August 2021, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken spoke about the need to strengthen and rebuild the United States’ infrastructure after touring our Advanced Fabrication Lab, a cutting-edge 3D printing facility that’s run by students. He could have chosen any engineering facility to deliver this message to the American public. He chose UMD.

Maryland is a national engineering research powerhouse with top-tier talent — students, faculty, staff, alumni and supporters — and we believe the time of the engineer has come. There isn’t a grand challenge that engineering won’t help solve. Our fire protection engineers are leading the study of firebrands, for example. Don’t know about firebrands and their impact on protecting people and property from wildfires? Dive into our work.

We believe engineering is a public service and Terp engineers to practice it as such.

From fighting climate change to confronting bias in engineering design, that’s what Terp engineers do. When the world looks for solutions to global challenges, it goes to Maryland.

Samuel Graham, Jr.
Dean, A. James Clark School of Engineering
University of Maryland

About Samuel Graham, Jr.

On June 3, 2021, The University of Maryland named Samuel Graham, Jr. dean of the A. James Clark School of Engineering, effective October 1. Graham previously served as Eugene C. Gwaltney, Jr. Chair of the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology. He holds a joint appointment with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

Prior to Georgia Tech, Graham was a Senior Member of Technical Staff at Sandia National Laboratory in Livermore, California. He has served as a member of the Defense Science Study Group, a member of the Air Force Scientific Advisory Board and was the recipient of a National Science Foundation CAREER Award. Presently, he serves on the Advisory Board of the Engineering Science Research Foundation of Sandia National Laboratories and the Emerging Technologies Technical Advisory Committee of the U.S. Department of Commerce. He is a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and a Senior Member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

Published September 20, 2021