Dr. Julie Drzymalski has a wealth of expertise in project management,
intelligent systems, engineering supply chain, and network modeling. She
is a member of the Institute of Industrial Engineers, American Society of
Engineering Education, American Society for Quality, and the National
Society of Professional Engineers. She holds a B.S. from Polytechnic
University, an M.Eng. from Widener University, and an M.S. in Engineering
Management and a Ph.D. in Industrial Engineering from Lehigh University.
Q.You’ve worked in the construction industry and are currently the interim chair of the Department of Industrial Engineering
and Engineering Management. How do you think your experience
in industry makes you a better educator and administrator?
A.My industrial experience helps me to bring to life the theory taught in class by providing students with applications of the theory that
I have personally performed or witnessed. This allows for a richer
experience for the students as well as myself, and lends a more personal
flavor to the course. My experience as a manager has equipped me well
to help students hone their interviewing skills and prepare them to face
their first real job. It has also given me the much-needed time management
and personnel experience to be able to balance the teaching and
Q.Statistics show that more young girls are showing an interest in STEM subjects. What
made you want to be a Mathematical Sciences
major at Western New England University?
A.I remember sitting in a Calculus III class with Professor Dave Mazur in Herman Hall and having
that “Aha” moment. In that moment, I realized I loved the
challenge that the mathematics discipline embodied as
well as the clarity and satisfaction in getting to the right
answer. Plus, after interning with MassMutual Financial
Group and speaking with professors, I realized how
valuable a mathematics degree would be, almost
regardless of whichever industry I decided to pursue.
Q.You’re a person who enjoys volunteering. How did your experience and involvement on campus
here help to nurture that interest for giving back?
A.Western New England hosted the NEACURH Regional Conference and I was given the chance
to serve as the community service chair. The opportunity
and support to run such a cross-functional initiative was
an amazing experience. As a team, we raised money for
over 7,000 books for Children’s Study Home of Springfield.
The chance to make an impact on a community, right in our
backyard, was beyond rewarding and cemented service
work as an integral part of my life.
Q.What is the buildOn program and what has been the most rewarding part of your participation in it?
A.buildOn is an international nonprofit organization that runs youth service after school programs in
the U.S. and builds schools in developing countries to
“break the cycle of poverty, illiteracy and low expectations.” In August of 2012, along with 30 colleagues, I
traveled to rural Nicaragua to construct one of the two
primary schools that our Ambassador Trek fully funded.
The most rewarding part of the experience was seeing
an entire community come together in order to provide
the extraordinary gift of education. All men and women
of the village must sign a covenant to pledge labor to
aid in construction as well as send boys and girls to
school in equal numbers. The host family I lived with
had one small girl and it was evident how much the
schoolhouse and covenant would change her life by
securing her a chance at education.
Interim Chair and Associate Professor of Industrial Engineering
and Engineering Management
Grace Kucharski ’ 15
Management and Leadership