WoW Spring Biannual Event

Event Information

Title: The Future ME: The Intersection of AI, ML and Mechanical Engineering
Panelists: Amanda Bock, Ahmad Haider, Kevin Ligonde, Mayur Singh, and Fan Zhang
Moderator: Shay Natarajan
Date: Friday, April 19, 2024
Time: 4:30 – 6:30 p.m.
Location: GTMI 114
Sponsor: Woodward

Join the Women of Woodruff (WoW) for the Spring Biannual Event taking place Friday, April 19, from 4:30 - 6:30 p.m. in GTMI 114.

At the event, a panel of Woodruff School alumni, faculty, and graduate students will talk about the intersection of artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and mechanical engineering. Panelists include:

  • Amanda Bock, Senior Propulsion Analytics Engineer, Delta
  • Ahmad Haider, Senior Director of Data and Advanced Analytics, Vertex Pharmaceuticals
  • Kevin Ligonde, Graduate Research Assistant, SMART Lab, Georgia Tech
  • Mayur Singh, Graduate Research Assistant, MiNDS Lab, Georgia Tech
  • Fan Zhang, Assistant Professor, George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering, Nuclear and Radiological Engineering and Medical Physics (NREMP) program, Georgia Tech

Shay Natarajan, partner of strategy at Mobility Impact Partners, will serve as moderator. Following the panel discussion, WoW will award fellowships aimed at attracting, supporting, and retaining women students. The event is sponsored by Woodward and free food will be served.


Amanda Bock

Amanda Bock is the senior propulsion analytics engineer at Delta. She has a B.S. and M.S. in mechanical engineering from the Woodruff School where she was the recipient of numerous prestigious scholarships. As the analytics engineer for the CF6, CFM56, and GTF engine fleets, she is responsible for the development and oversight of automation and reporting tools for engine condition monitoring and early detection of component degradation. She has developed over 30 web applications and alert algorithms which have successfully identified opportunities for proactive preventive engine maintenance resulting in reduced engine down time, improved engine performance, and cost savings.

Ahmad Haider

Ahmad Haider is a senior director of data and advanced analytics at Vertex Pharmaceuticals. He earned his M.S. and Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from the Woodruff School, and was named to the Georgia Tech Alumni 2022 class of 40 under 40. He is a people-first leader and a technology strategist with deep expertise in the fields of data, machine learning, and artificial intelligence. He believes in the power of data and storytelling to change the world and has used them to build strong teams and innovative solutions to solve the most pressing problems in the healthcare, pharmaceutical, and software industries. Coming from a diverse background himself, he believes in expanding the footprint of diversity, equity, and inclusion at home and in the workplace. His goal is to influence meaningful changes in society through better use of data and analytics.

Kevin Ligonde

Kevin Ligonde is a fourth year Ph.D. student in Harris Saunders, Jr. Chair and Professor Nazanin Bassiri Gharb’s SMART Lab at Georgia Tech. He earned his B.S. and M.S. in mechanical engineering from Tufts University in 2016 and 2018 respectively, working on the fabrication, modeling, and characterization of microelectromechanical systems. He then worked for two years as a technical staff member at Draper Laboratory in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he mainly conducted mechanical and thermal failure testing, supported by finite element modeling.

At Georgia Tech, he was awarded the AGEP-Graduate Research Supplement, the GEM Associate Fellowship, and the President’s Fellowship. His graduate research focuses on the characterization of ferroelectric materials, primarily through piezoresponse force microscopy (PFM) and the application of machine learning (ML) techniques. More specifically, his thesis aims at developing methods which facilitate the identification and separation of several physical processes which influence a PFM measurement, with minimal human intervention. Ultimately, these ML-based methods will offer a more accurate evaluation of ferroelectrics’ functional properties for nanoscale applications.

Mayur Singh

Mayur Singh is a graduate research assistant in Professor Satish Kumar’s MiNDS Lab. His work focuses on the computational modeling of thermal transport in electronic materials and the estimation of thermal properties from first principles atomistic methods. However, the cost of first principles approach is usually computationally immense, so another main component of Singh’s research is developing machine learning models based on first principles data to drive large scale and computationally cheaper atomistic simulations to model thermal transport. These models are called Machine Learning Interatomic Potentials (MLIP), named for other interatomic potentials used in atomistics research. An additional benefit of implementing the MLIPs is that they are more accurate than some of the currently used models in atomistic simulation, many are approximations or fitted empirical models which do not consider quantum mechanical effects, the machine learning models are trained on first principles which do consider quantum mechanical effects, so there are more accurate descriptions of physical behavior.

Fan Zhang

Fan Zhang is an assistant professor in the Woodruff School. Zhang’s research primarily focuses on the cybersecurity of nuclear facilities, online monitoring and fault detection using data analytics methods, instrumentation and control, and nuclear systems modeling and simulation. Zhang received her Ph.D. in nuclear engineering and M.S. in statistics from University of Tennessee, Knoxville in 2019. She is the recipient of the 2021 Ted Quinn Early Career Award from the American Nuclear Society. She is actively involved with multiple international collaborations on improving nuclear cybersecurity through the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the Department of Energy (DOE) Office of International Nuclear Security (INS).


Shay Natarajan

After receiving her B.S. and M.S. in mechanical engineering at Georgia Tech, Shweta (Shay) Natarajan has had a wide-ranging career. Natarajan began her career at Apple, where she was responsible for the operational strategy for iPhone displays and accessories. Thereafter, she worked as a management consultant at McKinsey & Company for several years, advising leading global companies on their operational, financial, and growth strategy. After McKinsey, Natarajan joined Caterpillar’s corporate strategy team as the head of enterprise special projects, where she led a portfolio of strategically critical projects to drive long term growth. After Caterpillar, Natarajan joined Mobility Impact Partners (MIP), which is a growth-stage private equity firm focused on the automotive space. At MIP, Natarajan is the partner of strategy, and is responsible for identifying the firm’s investment thesis.

Outside of work, Natarajan is part of the Advisory Board, a member of the Women of Woodruff, and co-chair of the Young Alumni Council, all at the Woodruff School at Georgia Tech. She also sits on the board of EV.Pro, a fleet electrification company.