Iris Rivero has made her way around North America throughout her education and career. In her latest move, Rivero trekked from Lubbock, Texas, to Ames, where she joined the Iowa State faculty as an associate professor in the Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering (IMSE).
When Rivero, a native of Puerto Rico, began her education as an undergraduate at Penn State University, she thought mechanical engineering was the field for her, as she had always been intrigued by the ways in which cars and planes were fabricated and operated.
She eventually decided the industrial and manufacturing engineering program was a better fit – it offered her more flexibility in a variety of fields, as well as the option to explore the business side and the manufacturing aspects of any industry.
Rivero earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Penn State while conducting research that focused on production planning.
She then took on a different research concentration during her doctoral studies at PSU, working on materials and manufacturing engineering. Incorporating her fascination for aerospace engineering, Rivero explored the use of non-destructive testing techniques to evaluate the fatigue life of ball bearings used in jet engines.
While earning her PhD, Rivero completed three summer internships with Honeywell Engines & Systems in Phoenix, where she performed tool wear analyses, worked on materials selection for jet engines, and evaluated the performance of manufacturing operations for aerospace gears.
Rivero then moved to Texas Tech University, where she has worked for the past 10 years as an associate professor. During her time there, she participated in a summer faculty program at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, developing bulk manufacturing processes for the fabrication of nanocomposites to be used for extended-stay habitat structures on the moon.
Her research has since shifted to investigating biomedical materials, integrating her passion for sports with her professional interests. She is currently exploring the fabrication of wound dressing materials to inhibit and eliminate the formation of bacteria. Rivero has also developed a scalable approach for fabricating artificial cartilage. She plans to continue both areas of study at Iowa State.
“The biomedical field intrigues me, and I expect to continue collaborating with researchers in the medical field as well as the engineering field. I am excited that at Iowa State I will have the opportunity to begin exploring my research interests with faculty from the veterinary program,” says Rivero. “With all of the great campus faculty and facilities, I think it will fit well with what I am doing.”
This fall, Rivero will teach a research and professional development seminar for graduate students, and then she will lead a new biomedical manufacturing course that will be added to the IMSE curriculum for the spring semester.
Rivero says she is eager the move to Ames with her husband, who will also begin working for the university as an associate professor in the English department in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.