John P. Coulter, Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Mechanics and Senior Associate Dean for Research at PC Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Science at Lehigh University, has been elected a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME).
The distinction, one of the most prestigious in the field, recognizes the outstanding achievements of long-time members of the professional society. Of the approximately 80,000 ASME members worldwide, less than 3,500 have received this honor.
At Lehigh, Coulter directs operations and strategy for all engineering research and associated facilities within Rossin College (comprising more than 140 faculty members, more than 600 graduate students, and research funding in excess of $25 million). dollars per year). At the academic level, he holds a leadership role among Lehigh’s three interdisciplinary research institutes and has been deeply involved in strategic planning. He was also acting dean of Collège Rossin twice.
Coulter joined the Lehigh faculty in 1990 as an assistant professor and has taught and conducted research in areas including materials processing and manufacturing science, nanoscale manufacturing, additive manufacturing, energy, cell development and tissue engineering, as well as intelligent materials and structures.
Advanced materials and manufacturing
A highly productive researcher with more than 200 publications over a career spanning three decades, Coulter “has made substantial contributions to the processing, characterization and design of advanced materials,” says Vahid Motevalli, director of the ‘School of Science, Engineering and Technology at Penn Harrisburg State. “In particular, his contributions have been in the development of innovative processing methods for polymer-based composites, resulting in unique performance improvements.”
As an early career researcher bridging the fields of adaptive structures and smart manufacturing, Coulter received the National Science Foundation National Young Investigator (NYI) Award (precursor to the Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) award) and the NSF Presidential Faculty Fellow Award (precursor to the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, or PECASE).
As an IP, its funding from federal, state, and industry grants and contracts to support its interdisciplinary research and teaching activities exceeds $10 million.
He is also the principal faculty researcher representing Lehigh for the NSF Innovation-Corps (I-Corps) Northeast Hub, a multi-university program aimed at fostering entrepreneurial startups and expanding opportunities for underrepresented groups.
Prior to entering academia, Coulter gained several years of industrial experience as a senior R&D engineer at Lord Corporation, a multinational company specializing in vibration and acoustics control materials and devices.
He holds two US patents and three international patents pending.
Pedagogical leadership and innovation
“Dr. Coulter today continues to make significant contributions in the fields of polymers
research on processing and additive manufacturing,” says Arindam Banerjee, professor and chair of the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Mechanics at Lehigh. “His career has been completely integrated with a strong focus on education at all levels.”
That goal extends beyond the Lehigh campus, where Coulter has mentored 25 Ph.D.s and more than 100 master’s-level students. He is currently serving his second three-year term (2020-2023) on the Board of Directors of the Engineering Research Council (ERC) of the American Society of Engineering Education (ASEE) and was recently named Chair.
During his early years at Lehigh, Coulter focused on creating and developing the core undergraduate and graduate manufacturing curriculum based on lectures and labs in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Mechanics. He continues to develop and teach manufacturing-related courses at the graduate and advanced undergraduate levels.
Coulter has demonstrated a commitment to expanding participation in STEM fields and “developing the workforce of the future” by integrating K-12 and college-level education, Banerjee says. Coulter has spearheaded innovative efforts to include more than 100 local elementary school students (primarily from low-resource and/or underrepresented backgrounds) each year in manufacturing classes at Lehigh.
A service commitment
Coulter’s contributions to ASME include service on technical committees and efforts to expand ASME’s Materials Division, where he served as Chairman of the Materials Processing and Manufacturing Committee from 1997 to 2003. He has organized numerous symposia and edited ASME proceedings and journals. Most recently, he gave three research presentations on improving process parameters in injection molding at the International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exhibition (2021 IMECE).
He has been recognized by ASME with numerous awards, including the International Division of Manufacturing Engineering Award for Industry-University Educational Partnerships in the New Millennium and Honorable Mention in the University Program Innovation Award international.
He has held other leadership positions with the International Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE) and is Lehigh’s current representative to the Federal Demonstration Partnership (FDP) organization.
Coulter holds a doctorate in mechanical engineering and bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mechanical and aerospace engineering from the University of Delaware.
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