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Sophie Vandebroek

Sophie Vandebroek

Why the U.S. Must Promote Engineering Why the U.S. Must Promote Engineering

I became an engineer because I wanted to go to the moon. I watched Neil Armstrong take those first steps, and I thought, "that's what I want to do." I wonder what inspires today's young people the way the moon landing did me and no doubt countless others of my generation. I fear we aren't capturing children's imaginations the way we must. The number of jobs in the U.S. economy that require engineering and science degrees is growing, at five times the rate of other occupations, while the number of people-both U.S. citizens and immigrants-prepared to fill these jobs, is shrinking. In addition, women make up only 20% of engineering students in this country. We should care deeply that the technology profession is so disproportionate by gender and that we're not making kids-both boys and girls-sufficiently excited about science, technology and math. We must start to address the issue now - it's an opportunity we can't afford to squander.



Sophie Vandebroek has been Xerox’s Chief Technology Officer and the President of the Xerox Innovation Group since January 2006. She is responsible for overseeing Xerox’s research centers in Europe, Asia, Canada and US as well as the Palo Alto Research Center (PARC Inc.).

Previously, Dr. Vandebroek was Chief Engineer of Xerox Corporation and Vice President of the Xerox Engineering Center, technical advisor to Xerox’s chief operating officer and Director of the Xerox Research Centre of Canada.

Dr. Vandebroek is a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical & Electronics Engineers, a Fulbright Fellow and a Fellow of the Belgian-American Educational Foundation. She holds 12 US patents. Dr. Vandebroek has received awards from Xerox, IBM, HP, Monsanto, the Belgium National Science Foundation, Semiconductor Research Corporation, IEEE, and Cornell University.

Dr. Vandebroek is a member of the Board of Directors of Analogic Corporation, of Nypro Corporation, and is a member of The US National Academies Committee on Science, Technology & Law. She is a trustee of Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) and also serves on the advisory council of the deans of Engineering at Cornell University and at MIT.

Vandebroek was born in Leuven, Belgium where she earned a master’s degree in electro-mechanical engineering from Katholieke Universiteit, Leuven, Belgium. She received her Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Cornell University, Ithaca, NY. She and her husband, live in Lincoln, MA and enjoy time with their six children.