Meisha Shofner named RBI interim executive director

MSE Associate Professor Meisha Shofner has been named Interim Executive Director of the Renewable Bioproducts Institute. Georgia Tech’s Executive Vice President for Research Steve Cross made the  official announcement March 15.

She will serve as interim until a permanent director is named in summer 2019. Current Executive Director Norman Marsolan announced his retirement in late 2017, and Dr. Cross also announced earlier this year he would be stepping down from his current position and resuming his duties as Professor at Georgia Tech.

“With the process of naming my successor under way and Norman’s timeline of retirement, we all felt Meisha would bring stability and continuity as these transitions begin,” Dr. Cross said. “Meisha is a highly talented and well respected member of the Georgia Tech community and we are very excited to have her in this role. I am pleased that she has agreed to serve in this role and appreciate her willingness to take on this important leadership position at this time.

Marsolan echoed Cross’ sentiments, and said Shofner had his full endorsement.

"I have worked with Meisha since 2010 and have been impressed with her knowledge and leadership skills, so much so that I appointed her associate director in 2015. Meisha being chosen for this role will prove to be rewarding both for our partners in industry and government and our staff and affiliated faculty and RBI Fellows. She understands RBI and our mission. She knows our partners and has a fresh outlook to advance the Institute."

Dr. Shofner completed her post-doctoral training at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.  She received her B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from The University of Texas at Austin and her Ph.D. in Materials Science from Rice University. Prior to beginning graduate school, she was employed as a design engineer by FMC in the Subsea Engineering Division, working at two plant locations (Houston, Texas and the Republic of Singapore).  Following post-doctoral research training at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Meisha joined the faculty at Georgia Tech in 2005.

At Georgia Tech, her research group is concerned with structure-property relationships in polymer nanocomposite materials and with producing structural hierarchy in these materials for structural and functional applications. 

"Dr. Shofner has the skills and vision to build on the established strengths of RBI in pulp and paper, and broaden its mission through strategic industry-university partnerships in areas that address societal challenges including critical usage of materials, natural resources, food security, and energy," said Dr. Naresh Thadhani, Professor and Chair of GT's School of Materials Science and Engineering. 

Shofner was recently selected for the 2017-18 cohort of the Emerging Leaders Program and received the Hesburgh Award Teaching Fellows Program in 2014.

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