Catherine Sikora recognized as 20 Most Influential Academics in Smart Manufacturing
Catherine "C.J." Sikora was recently awarded as one of the 20 most influential academics in smart manufacturing by the Society of Manufacturing Engineers. CJ is the Department Chair of Manufacturing Engineering Technology at Richard J. Daley College - Chicago City Colleges. CJ also manages the machine shop for the Physics Department at Loyola.
Among her top career achievements, Sikora counts making students aware of good jobs in manufacturing that they did not know existed. She is doing the same, and more, with another top achievement: helping to lead development of a $50-million manufacturing engineering technology building at her school. “Our vision was to not only offer the usual training but to go many steps further, offering training to students who may have never ever heard of some of the equipment we put in the building,” she said.
For example, students have access to several high-end microscopes, including a scanning electron microscope. “That will enable our students to look for production problems and learn the associated analysis to solve those problems,” she said. That’s not all Sikora has achieved. This fall, a completely revamped curriculum that she helped write will be implemented.
She advises potential academics to work in a factory along with getting a degree. “You’ll have a great career on either path. But if you learn to make things first, you’ll be a better teacher,” she said. “And you’ll have lots of stories to tell.”