Ann Bisantz
Dr. Ann Bisantz
Professor and Chair, University at Buffalo
Buffalo, NY

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  • Describe what you do in your current work situation.
    I am an engineering professor in Industrial and Systems engineering, with a focus on Human Factors Engineering. Being a professor means I get to DO some engineering (as a consultant for companies, occasionally); TEACH engineering to both undergraduate and graduate students both in formal classes, and through one-on-one advisement; do RESEARCH on engineering topics (in my field, ways to design better computer systems so that people get the information they need, and understand the information correctly, so that they avoid errors and get their work done efficiently); and work on university issues such as curriculum and university policies. Every day is different, and most days I get to work with very smart, interesting people, and learn something new. I spend alot of my time writing - either to describe the research work I want to do, or to describe what we have learned in reports and papers for other people to read.
  • Why did you choose engineering?
    I was a good math & science student, and have an aunt who is an Industrial Engineering in the same specialty. So I started there, and found I liked it!
  • Where did you go to school and what degree(s) do you have?
    I have a BS and MS in Industrial Engineering from UB. I have a PhD in Industrial and Systems Engineering, with a minor in Cognitive Science, from the Georgia Institute of Technology.
  • What kinds of activities have typically been part of your work?
    My engineering work focuses on improving the computer systems that people use in their work. Some examples of the type of systems I work on are information displays of battlefield information for people in the military, or screens that shown patient information such as their name, age, sypmtoms, and treatment plan, for patients in an emergency department. People in my field find better methods to make sure that the workers (such as navy personnel, or physicians) can get the information they need quickly, and in a clear way, so that they can get their work done.
  • What do you like best about being an engineer?
    I like influencing the design of things that people will use and being a strong advocate for the USER of complex systems that other engineers design. Human factors engineers get to apply their methods in all kinds of different situations - so I always get to learn about something new. I've gotten to learn about ships, hospitals, 911 response centers, emergency operations centers, transportation & shipping systems, architecture, computers which help disabled individuals speak, to name a few!
  • Which of your career accomplishments are you proudest of?
    I was proud to complete a book, when it was finally finished! I am very proud to see our students graduate and move on to their own careers.
  • What challenges have you met and conquered in your pursuit of an engineering career?
    Getting a PhD is a challenge. But a good one.
  • Please tell us a little about your family.
    I met my husband as an undergraduate; we married when we were part-way through our PhD program. He is an electrical engineering professor at UB. We have a daughter who is in middle school.
  • What (or who) had/has the greatest influence on your life choices?
    I have had great advice and support from my parents & extended family, my husband, and my professors & colleagues. They have all been valuable, in many different ways.
  • What advice would you give to a young woman considering a career in engineering?
    Look around at the many engineering fields that are open to you. Even if you start out thinking you want to do one kind of engineering, it is often very easy to switch to another engineering major in college - take the time to talk to students and professors, and find a good fit for you. Remember - it is really important to LIKE what you are doing, even as a student.
  • Any other stories or comments you would like to share with EngineerGirl visitors?
    Remember - it is really important to LIKE what you are doing, even as a student.
  • Describe something about your life outside of work: your hobbies, or perhaps a favorite book.
    In addition to being with my family, I like to cook, I enjoy gardening in the summer, and I have made a number of quilts. I also am a novice runner, and enjoy trying to run faster 5K races!
Biography

Ann Bisantz earned a PhD at the Georgia Institute of Technology in industrial and systems engineering in human-machine systems with a minor in cognitive science. Her MS and BS are from UB, both in industrial engineering. Her research involves cognitive engineering for complex systems such as health care and command and control, and includes projects addressing communicating uncertainty to decision makers using visual and multi-modal displays, methods in cognitive engineering, and modeling dynamic decision-making.

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Education
PhD, 1997, Industrial and Systems Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology MS, 1991, Industrial Engineering, University at Buffalo, SUNY BS, 1989, Industrial Engineering, Unversity at Buffalo, SUNY
Volunteer Opportunities
  • I am willing to host a field trip to my place of employment.
Latest Questions
  • Charlotte, Auckland

    Added Thursday, January 22, 2015 at 1:50 AM

    I'm currently an engineering student in New Zealand (studying Engineering Science- made up mainly of math, programming, optimisation and finance papers, and a number of electives from other fields). After being an intern in heavy engineering (Steel Mill) over the past few months this summer, I definitely feel that a career in heavy engineering is just not for me. What other areas would my engineering degree help me to break into? (e.g. a lot of people go into things like investment banking ...
    Answers 1
    Ann Bisantz, University at Buffalo
    Answered Thursday, January 22, 2015 at 1:50 AM

    Dear Charlotte,

    I am not completely familiar with the engineering science major in New Zealand but it appears you are taking some of the same courses that students in Industrial and Systems engineering take. our students work in many different courses - ...

    Read More
  • Ally , Abbotsford

    Added Wednesday, December 3, 2014 at 11:33 PM

    I love math and science but I am still wondering if engineering is the right choice for me, because I did a wood working class in middle school, and drafting portion had to be the part that I least enjoyed. If drafting and designing is a big chunk of engineering, this may not be what I should go into.. If you can let me know if there is an aspect of engineering that doesn't involve drawing/drafting/coming up with creative and innovative designs for miraculous bridges and roads, that would be ...
    Answers 1
    Ann Bisantz, University at Buffalo
    Answered Wednesday, December 3, 2014 at 11:33 PM

    Dear Ally,

    You ask a great question about what engineers really do, in school and on the job. The fact is that most engineers do not spend their time drawing and drafting - but that all engineers spend time coming up with innovative ideas to solve all ...

    Read More
  • An'Tenesha, Auburn University Student asked Ann Bisantz, University at Buffalo

    Added Thursday, August 22, 2013 at 7:55 PM

    My name is An'Tenesha and I'm a Freshman at Auburn University majoring in Chemical Engineering. I'm thinking about changing to industrial because of the stories I have heard about this major when dealing with cosmetics. I want to not only create cosmetic products but have my own cosmetic line. I was wondering if I should switch to industrial or stick with chemical? 
    Related to Chemical, Industrial
    Answers 0
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