WoW Blog (Woman of the Week) Blog

WoW Blog (Woman of the Week)

Each week this blog will feature a prominent woman who made significant contributions to engineering or science. If you have any women you'd like us to feature please let us know and we'll do our best to include them.

Do you know of a great woman in engineering that should be recognized? Let us know! Submit a few paragraphs about that person and we'll add her to the blog. Please provide a citation for the material that you submit so that we can verify it. Please note - it has to be original material. We cannot publish copywritten material or bulk text taken from books or other sites (including Wikipedia).

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Nancy DeLoye Fitzroy - First Woman to Lead ASME

Posted March 09, 2009 4:09 PM by april05

Nancy DeLoye Fitzroy, 1949 alumnus of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) in Troy, New York, has been a trailblazing mechanical engineer throughout her career, and was educated and worked for most of it in New York's Capital Region.

Photo at right courtesy -->


Ms. Fitzroy is an internationally-recognized expert in the field of mechanical engineering, specializing in heat transfer and fluid flow. She gained her expertise at General Electric Company, working there from 1950 until her retirement in 1987.

Fitzroy was "breaking the glass ceiling" long before Hillary Clinton's recent run for president, serving in a number of technical and management positions for GE. In doing so, she became a role model for women entering the field of engineering, and has actively promoted the profession to women over the course of her long and distinguished career.

< -- Photo at left courtesy Wikipedia.

Her thirty-seven year GE-career started with design of heat transfer surfaces for nuclear reactor cores, where she was one of the few engineers on the planet – male or female – to be doing such work. She progressed onto work for GE's Corporate Research and Development division, where she consulted on technical problems related to heat transfer - for gas turbine, nuclear reactor core, space satellite, and other GE technologies. Ms. Fitzroy worked on the first generation of satellites placed into orbit for General Electric.

Prior to her retirement from GE, Nancy Fitzroy served as manager for two divisions: "Energy and Environmental Programs", and "Turbine Marketing and Projects Operation - Gas Turbine".


Over the course of her career, Ms. Fitzroy has been very active in a number professional societies, and in 1986, became the first woman in the U.S. to head a major national engineering society, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME).

On the local level, she has been an active member of the ASME Hudson-Mohawk section, a section with a long history of active GE Schenectady-area contributors. She has attended at least one section-sponsored event per year, and has been an asset to the section leadership, always offering encouragement and support.


On October 1st, 2008, it was announced by that Nancy Fitzroy was awarded the ASME Honorary Membership, recognizing "her tireless efforts and lasting influence as an advocate of the mechanical engineering profession". She was also recognized for:

  • Career-long mentoring of women and other under-represented groups.
  • Dedicated service to the ASME Foundation.
  • Technical excellence in the fields of Fluid Flow and Heat Transfer.

The ASME Honorary Membership award was first given in 1880, the founding year of the society. It recognizes a lifetime of service to engineering or related fields. The award was presented to Ms. Fitzroy in 2008 at the ASME International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition, held in Boston, Massachusetts.

<-- At left, a picture taken while Ms. Fitzroy served as the first woman ASME national president, 1986 – 1987. Photo courtesy

In addition to her recent recognition, Ms. Fitzroy also holds ASME Fellow status, as well as multiple honorary doctorates. She has written more than one-hundred technical papers and articles, and holds three patents.

For more details on Nancy Fitzroy's many years of service to ASME, please visit "Nancy Fitzroy to Receive ASME Honorary Membership" on's global-level web site.

- Larry Kelley

Author's note: I'm both a CR4 blogger and volunteer for the ASME Hudson-Mohawk section.



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