Janet Y. Tsai began as an instructor of mechanical engineering and mechanical engineering design in the College of Engineering and Applied Science at the University of Colorado Boulder in January 2019.
Tsai’s research focuses on ways to encourage more students, especially women and those from nontraditional demographic groups to pursue interests in the world of engineering. Tsai assists in recruitment and retention efforts locally, nationally and internationally. She hopes to broaden the image of engineering, science and technology to include all forms of communication and problem defining. A second vein of Tsai’s research seeks to identify the social and cultural impacts of technological choices made by engineers in the process of designing and creating new devices and systems. Her work considers the intentional and unintentional consequences of durable structures, products, architectures and standards in engineering education to pinpoint areas for meaningful change.
Tsai teaches a range of courses including Component Design and Manufacturing Processes and Systems. These courses combine practical experiences, labs and projects with theoretical concepts in the interest of preparing students for the wild and wooly world of engineering practice. As a former manufacturing and design engineer for iRobot Corporation, Tsai brings Roomba stories to her courses to illustrate the ups and downs of new product development, overseas collaborations, and high-volume consumer product manufacturing and distribution.
In her spare time, Tsai enjoys reading fiction, cheering on the Denver Nuggets and speculating on the future of the NBA, and attempting to re-create authentic Taiwanese flavors in her Colorado kitchen. Originally from Fort Collins, Colorado, Tsai loves the mountains, hiking, biking and snowboarding.