STEMM Idol Speaker Dr. Michael McCabe

Dr. Michael McCabe, UDRI director, joined students during homeroom periods Feb. 26 to serve as this year’s 13th CJ STEMM Idol Speaker. He is one of four speakers to have earned a Ph.D., the second U.S. patent-holder, and the third presenter from the University of Dayton.

On Tuesday, Dr. McCabe told students learning the foundations of math and science is analogous to riding a bike -- difficult at first, with perhaps a few falls, but once you get the foundations down, it's something you'll know forever. And pursuing STEMM subjects in high school and college, and as a career, will pay off. However, money won't keep you happy. You need to choose a career that excites you, and fulfills a passion.

Dr. McCabe's passion was chemistry -- he was inspired by the fact that groups of atoms can make up so many different kinds of materials, from soft flexble rubber tires to hard wooden furniture, to composite and ceramic jet engine parts, and even nanotech materials (that's "nano" as in 10 to the power 9 or 1/25,000th the width of a single human hair!).

His chemistry degree led him to the world of materials, a significant area of the $90 million of research done annually at the UDRI by more than 250 full-time research scientists. UDRI's work occurs primarily here in Dayton, not far from CJ's campus, but also takes place at WPAFB and places like Utah, Washington, D.C., and Georgia.

Approximately 60 percent of the research work is for military projects, but those projects are chosen so as not to conflict with the Catholic Marianist tradition of the University of Dayton. Areas avoided are weapons of mass destruction, nuclear and chemically toxic work, and stem cell research.

The aerospace industry is a very significant employer of many different teams of STEMM professionals. Dr. McCabe demonstrated how valuable the technology and research produced in those professions can be by sharing the fun "NASA Johnson Style" parody video (below) with students. The video was produced by a senior Ohio State engineering students while interning at the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas.

About Dr. Michael V. McCabe
Currently, Dr. McCabe is the Vice President for Research at UD and Executive Director of the University of Dayton Research Institute (UDRI). He has managed various research organizations in both the university and industrial arenas for more than 25 years. Since his appointment at UD in 2005, Dr. McCabe has helped position the University and its Research Institute as a regional and national leader for research and development.

Dr. McCabe received his Ph.D. in 1975 and his master's degree in 1973, both in Physical Organic Chemistry from the University of Cincinnati. He received his bachelor's degree in Chemistry from Capital University in 1971, and also holds a Master of Business Administration from the University of Cincinnati (1980).