The inaugural class of Academy honorees includes 70 Texas ChE alumni, all of whom have been recognized as Distinguished Engineering Graduates by the Cockrell School of Engineering. Honorees are organized by decade of their earliest graduation year, then alphabetically by last name. (*deceased)
Bella D. Goren (B.S. ’83)
Bella Goren earned her executive and Fortune 500 chief financial officer credentials in the airline industry, one of the most intensely competitive and dynamic global industries. She now serves as a director on the boards of three global companies, including LyondellBasell Industries N.V., one of the world’s largest plastics, chemical and refining companies; Gap Inc., a retail company with a portfolio of brands; and MassMutual Financial Group, a leading mutual life insurance company, with a number of major affiliates, including OppenheimerFunds.
After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering with highest honors from Texas ChE in 1983, Goren joined DuPont, where she conducted nuclear waste disposal research. With the desire to expand her business skills, she went on to receive an MBA from Southern Methodist University, graduating first in her class.
Building on the foundation of her engineering and business backgrounds, Goren joined American Airlines as a financial analyst, beginning her multifaceted, 27-year career with the company. She held roles of progressively greater responsibility in areas that included human resources, revenue management, investor relations, customer services planning, Asia/Pacific operations and customer relationship marketing, before becoming CFO of American Airlines and AMR Corporation.
Goren is fluent in Russian. She resides in Dallas and is active in both professional organizations and philanthropic efforts. She serves on the boards of the Lyle School of Engineering at Southern Methodist University and the National Association of Corporate Directors of North Texas. She is also a member of the International Women’s Forum. Previously, she served on the boards of the Make-A-Wish Foundation and the Business Council for the Arts. In 2013, she received the Dallas Business Journal’s Women in Business Award.
Dr. Amar S. Sawhney (M.S. ’89)
Dr. Christine E. Schmidt (B.S. ’88)
Christine Schmidt received her bachelors degree in chemical engineering from Texas ChE and her Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She conducted postdoctoral research at Massachusetts Institute of Technology as a National Institutes of Health Postdoctoral Fellow, joining The University of Texas at Austin faculty in 1996. She is currently a professor of biomedical engineering at the University of Florida.
Dr. Schmidt’s research focuses on developing new biomaterials and biomaterial composites that can stimulate and guide appropriate healing of tissues. Her research has been licensed and utilized in AxoGen Inc.’s AVANCE™ nerve graft, which has impacted more than 3,000 patients with peripheral nerve injuries. Dr. Schmidt’s research may also indirectly impact patients with spinal cord injuries, and her research group has engineered materials that are developed as films that can be used after surgeries to prevent unwanted postoperative adhesions. In addition, Dr. Schmidt and her team have worked to develop vascularized tissue healing “patches,” which could be used to aid the regrowth and healing of a number of tissue types.
Dr. Schmidt is a fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, the Biomedical Engineering Society and serves on numerous external advisory boards as well as on the editorial boards for several scientific journals.
She has received numerous awards for her research and teaching contributions, including the CAREER Award and the American Competitiveness and Innovation Fellowship from the National Science Foundation. She has also received the Cockrell School’s Outstanding Engineering Teaching Award and the ING Professor of Excellence Award.