Alka Bhave Joins MSE Board of Visitors

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Image provided by A. Bhave.

Alka Bhave (B.S. '96, M.S. '98), Vice President of Performance Excellence at Peraton, Inc. (formerly Perspecta) has recently joined the UMD Department of Materials Science and Engineering (MSE) Board of Visitors (BOV).

Bhave, who earned both her bachelor's in electrical engineering and master's in telecommunications engineering from UMD, boasts nearly 25 years of experience in program management, systems engineering and integration, and technical contributions. However, she got her first taste of 'materials' in ENES 100, the introduction to engineering design course, as an undergraduate student.

"My team and I were super excited to be the first to get our windmill up and running in the Glenn L. Martin Wind Tunnel, but a few minutes later when the shaft connected to our blades started softening, we quickly learned we'd chosen the wrong materials," said Bhave. "That was a pivotal moment, which taught an important lesson - it doesn't matter how good your idea or design is - if your materials aren't up to par, things fall apart. My team’s windmill had the highest power generation for about 4 seconds… and then quickly took a downturn. A better consideration of materials would have resulted in a different outcome."

Bhave's dad was an electrical engineer and she spent much of her childhood looking up, fascinated by satellites and their many purposes, so majoring in ECE seemed like a natural fit. And yet, when Aaron Bobik, an associate director of development for the A. James Clark School of Engineering, suggested Bhave would be a strong fit for the MSE BOV, she jumped at the chance.

"I always tell my kids, one of whom will be attending UMD in the fall, that materials science provides the raw ingredients of any 'recipe' you're making, so to speak," she said. "Whichever field of engineering you aim to focus on, 'materials' will always provide a strong base."

Passionate about STEM subjects with an obvious enthusiasm for engineering, Bhave hopes to raise awareness about the Clark School in general, and MSE specifically. Given that her home base is in northern Virginia and the fact that she's a mother to three school-age children, Bhave's well-connected to local elementary and high schools in the area.

"I enjoy making connections and I'm excited to help with development initiatives - a materials summer camp, for example, which is in the works - and helping to bolster marketing for the MSE Design Day," said Bhave. "Such activities would provide a strong base for any student, and I'm honored to have been asked to join the team who can help drive such programs."

As a thought leader for transformation, strategy, and improvement initiatives with a track record for delivering innovative applications to numerous government agencies, MSE wholeheartedly welcomes Ms. Bhave aboard!


Published May 18, 2021