Top 100 Women of Impact: Kim LaScola Needy

Kim LaScola Needy

Dean, College of Engineering, University of Arkansas

About me: In 2008, I was recruited to be the head of the department of industrial engineering at the University of Arkansas, so my husband and I moved our two young boys to Fayetteville. Our sons have grown up here and went to school at UA. UA has provided me with more career opportunities than imaginable, and my job has taken me to numerous interesting destinations across the globe. In addition to the amazing faculty and staff colleagues I have had the pleasure of working with, I have been fortunate to work with the best and brightest students and the most dedicated alumni. I have also gained many dear friends along the way, and we enjoy running, walking and practicing yoga together.

Lives/Works in: Fayetteville

Lesson Learned the Hard Way: Before accepting a new opportunity, be sure to ask enough questions to understand what is involved. I haven’t always done this in the past, and in some cases have over-committed myself.

Proudest Moment of Impact: I’ve had several firsts in my career at the UA, including being the first woman head of the department of industrial engineering, the first woman dean of the graduate school and international education and the first woman dean of the college of engineering. What I am most proud of, however, is that many young women have seen me in these roles and have told me that they can now imagine themselves in similar roles.

Call to Action: Education is a powerful force opening many opportunities for people and giving them independence. Encourage young people to pursue educational opportunities, work hard, be curious, read, appreciate math and science and develop a commitment to lifelong learning.

What Keeps Me Motivated: My family keeps me motivated, as well as my hope to give the next generation a better life than the previous. The world needs more engineers, computer scientists and data scientists to tackle various grand challenges, and I want to help fill this important void.

A Women’s Foundation of Arkansas Initiative

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