ECE professor Lalita Udpa received the 2015 Award for the Advancement of Women in Non-Destructive Testing (NDT). The award recognizes individuals or organizations who encourage women to enter and thrive in the field of NDT, either through creation and/or implementation of programs that provide educational or career advancement opportunities in NDT that may not otherwise be available to women or through leading by example of how women can not only have a career in NDT but also contribute greatly to NDT, ASNT, and creating a safer world. The award was presented to Prof. Udpa at the 2015 Annual American Society for Nondestructive Testing (ASNT) Conference held in Salt Lake City, Utah, October 26-29, 2015.
Lalita Udpa received her Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering in 1986 from Colorado State University. She was the first woman to receive a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Colorado State University. Her thesis was on Eddy Current Imaging in Non-Destructive Evaluation (NDE). She joined Iowa State University in 1990 as an Assistant Professor and rose to the rank of Full Professor in 1999. She joined the Electrical Engineering department at Michigan State University as a tenured full Professor in 2002. She is actively involved in various aspects of research in NDE including computational methods for solving the forward problem, signal processing, neural networks and model based methods for solving inverse problems and in development of new sensor technologies for NDE.
For her work on NDE inverse problems, Professor Udpa was elevated to the Fellow of Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. She is also a Fellow of the American Society of Nondestructive Testing and a Fellow of Indian Society of Nondestructive Testing. Professor Udpa has organized 5 major international conferences in NDE as a chair or co-chair and 3 pre-conference workshops on NDE modeling, NDE Signal Processing and Eddy Current NDE. She is an Associate editor of Materials Evaluation and on the Editorial Board of Research Journal for NDE. She has also served on the ASNT University Committee since 2010. Dr. Udpa is also a regular contributor to Handbooks and Encyclopedias on Electromagnetic NDE.
In the last 25 years, she has graduated a total of 40 MS and 25 Ph.D. students out of which 10 M.S. and 5 Ph.D students are women. She also works routinely with numerous high school and undergraduate and graduate students with particular aim to encourage more women in science and engineering.