Matt Zaluzec, Ph.D., Elected to National Academy of Engineering

Matt Zaluzec, Ph.D.

Matthew Zaluzec, Ph.D., a faculty member in the Department of Materials Science & Engineering (MSE), has been elected to the National Academy of Engineering (NAE). Election to NAE is among the highest professional honors accorded to an engineer. NAE members are elected by current NAE members and honor those who have distinguished themselves in either academia, private industry or government agencies.

Dr. Zaluzec is a materials scientist with nearly three decades of expertise in the automotive industry and currently teaches Material Selection and Failure Analysis at UF. He was elected to the NAE for innovation of lightweight materials and manufacturing technologies to improve automotive fuel economy and safety and reduce the carbon footprint.

“This was an unexpected award, but one I genuinely appreciate,” said Dr. Zaluzec. “My hope is that it inspires students to pursue an engineering degree with a goal to make the world a better, cleaner and safer place for us all.”

After receiving his doctorate in materials science and engineering from the University of Illinois, Champaign/Urbana in 1991, Dr. Zaluzec worked as a metallurgical engineer for Dow Chemical. Following his time at Dow, he began a 27-year career at the Ford Motor Company Research and Innovation Center, retiring as a senior technical specialist responsible for global materials and manufacturing technology at Ford’s Research and Development centers worldwide.

Dr. Zaluzec holds 50 U.S. patents and has presented and published over 100 technical papers in his field. He is also a recipient of two prestigious Henry Ford Technical Achievement awards for his contributions and development of lightweight aluminum vehicles and was awarded the SAE Henry Ford II Distinguished Award for Excellence in Automotive Engineering. 

In 2015, he was co-recipient of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Technical Achievement Award for the development of Multi-Material Lightweight Vehicle Technology.

In addition to teaching at UF, Dr. Zaluzec is a technical consultant for NASA’s Kennedy Space Center and Los Alamos National Laboratory.

“In 2017, I gave a seminar for the department on Sustainable Materials for High Volume Automotive Applications and found that I really liked the teaching experience,” said Dr. Zaluzec. “After retiring from Ford, I called the department and asked if they needed anyone to give an occasional lecture to students. They enticed me to teach a class, and I enjoyed it so much, as did the students, that they’ve asked me to do it every year since.”

“We jumped at the opportunity to bring him on board,” said Michele Manuel, Ph.D., chair of the department. “Dr. Zaluzec brings an incredible amount of real-world industry knowledge and insight with him into the classroom, and the who students are fortunate enough to take his class are better engineers because of it.”

To those students, he is affectionately known as “Dr. Z,” and his impact on them is reflected in their post-graduation exit surveys. Phrases such as “responsible for some of the most positive class experiences I’ve had at UF ” and “knowledgeable, approachable, passionate, and fantastic” are common, and his course is consistently listed by students as particularly valuable to their education.

“He’s a natural as a teacher, and we couldn’t be prouder to have another NAE member as part of our department faculty here at UF,” said Dr. Manuel.

Individuals in the newly elected class will be formally inducted during the NAE’s annual meeting on Oct. 3, 2021.