Dr. Jean W. Tom elected to National Academy of Engineering

Wednesday, Feb 13, 2019
by Scott Lyon

Graduate alumna Jean W. Tom *93 has been elected into the National Academy of Engineering, considered one of the highest distinctions for engineers across disciplines.

The honor comes for Dr. Tom's work on a wide range of commercialized drugs, including 12 drugs that are currently on the market. She spent 19 years in research and development at Merck, and currently leads a team of chemical engineers in the synthesis of new small-molecule drug candidates as Head of Development Engineering at Bristol-Meyers Squibb, where she has been since 2006.

“One of the great things about working in pharmaceutical process development is the chance to work on so many different chemistries, because of the uniqueness of each molecule,” Dr. Tom wrote in an email correspondence. “It’s really an honor to do the work I do. The ultimate goal is getting new medicines to patients who need them.”

She also credits her graduate studies as a time when she honed her research and problem-solving skills, which have been instrumental in her career as a chemical engineer and as a leader. As a Princeton graduate student, Dr. Tom was advised by Pablo Debenedetti, Dean for Research and Class of 1950 Professor in Engineering and Applied Science.

The NAE elected a total of 86 new U.S. engineers into the 2019 class, as well as 18 foreign members. The new cohort will be recognized in a ceremony in October at the organization's annual meeting.