An ISE Trailblazer from an MSU Family of Trailblazers

February 16, 2007

Dr. Jessica Oswalt Matson is the 2007 Distinguished Fellow of Industrial and Systems Engineering. Jessica has had a very honorable career since receiving her Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering from Mississippi State in 1975. She is a trailblazer from an MSU family of trailblazers.

Jessica’s father, Professor Jesse Oswalt, blazed an exciting new trail in 1962 when he co-founded the industrial engineering department at MSU. This would be the foundation from which his family and many others would receive degrees from MSU. The Oswalt family, with their tradition of excellence, is held in high esteem by the faculty of the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering.

Before Jessica graduated from MSU in 1975, she was named the best female industrial engineering student in the nation by the Institute of Industrial Engineers. Later, after a couple of years with AT&T, she blazed a new trail to the Georgia Institute of Technology. At Georgia Tech, she was one of the first two women to earn an industrial engineering PhD.

After completing her PhD in 1982, Dr. Matson joined the MSU faculty. In 1987, she moved to the industrial engineering department at the University of Alabama. For several years, she was the only woman in a faculty position in the engineering college at Alabama. In 1998, Jessica blazed a new trail to the Tennessee Technological University where she became the first woman engineering department chair at Tennessee Tech.

Jessica has an impressive record of research and scholarly publications. She is a recipient of the Outstanding Teaching Award from the Southeastern Section of the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE). Dr. Matson has been active nationally in the Institute of Industrial Engineers, serving on the Board of Trustees as Senior Vice-President at Large for Academia in 2004-06. She has also held national leadership roles in the Industrial Engineering Division of ASEE. She is a program evaluator for the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET and a Professional Engineer.

Dr. Jessica Oswalt Matson blazed another new trail on 15 February 2007 when she became the first woman to become a Distinguished Fellow of Industrial and Systems Engineering at MSU.