Women in Technology: Dr. Jamison Kovach

Associate Professor, Technology Project Management (TPM) and Director, Lean Six Sigma Professional Training Program

Careers in STEM are immensely rewarding; yet women are still underrepresented. Consequently, we are often expected to prove ourselves over and over again. Although unfair and often exhausting, it is the reality. My advice is to be prepared to work hard.

Dr. Jamison V. Kovach performs research and teaches courses in quality management within the University of Houston College of Technology project management master's program. Primarily, her focus is on applied research in industry to solve problems that help organizations achieve strategic objectives. Dr. Kovach also serves as the director of the Lean Six Sigma Professional Training program. In this role, she oversees the development and execution of diverse training that supports professional development and enables organizations to improve their competitiveness.

She has earned many professional recognitions for research, teaching, and service including an Outstanding Educator Award, Southwest Decision Sciences Institute, 2016; Teaching Case Competition Second Place Award for the case entitled "Star of Hope Mission: Survival in the Midst of Hurricanes" presented on behalf of the Project Management Institute, 2016; best paper awards, presented on behalf of the International Academy for Quality at the American Society for Quality (ASQ™) World Conference on Quality and Improvement, the European Academy of Management and Business Economics (AEDEM), and the European Research on Management and Business Economics Journal (IEDEE); and, University of Houston teaching and research excellence awards. Dr. Kovach was named among the "40 New Voices of Quality" by ASQ's premier monthly publication, Quality Progress, November, 2011 and was awarded the ASQ Feigenbaum Medal in 2010.

Q: What sparked your interest in this research area and inspired your academic career?
A: The professor for whom I worked during my undergraduate studies taught a course in quality improvement methods. Students from that class were selected for summer internships with well-known companies in the field. After completing my internship, I was hired by the company, which was very focused on quality. So, when I decided to go back to school to pursue my Ph.D. I was very interested in studying industrial engineering with a focus on quality engineering and management.

Q: How will your work change the future?
A: Given the applied nature of my research, my work helps organizations in the greater Houston metropolitan area and beyond to find answers to some of their most pressing issues while also providing students with meaningful learning opportunities. This helps organizations grow, become more successful, and prepares students to be valuable contributors to the organizations that hire them.

Q: What role models/professionals have been of special significance or have been mentors in your personal and career endeavors?
A: A professor for whom I worked as an undergraduate student inspired my academic career. But like him, I also wanted to obtain some industrial work experience. While working in industry I was assigned to a mentor who was invaluable to my successful transition from student to professional life. My mentor at UH has helped me in countless ways as well as I've transitioned from the role of a graduate student to that of a faculty member. She continues to provide me with excellent advice and support as I take on ever new and evolving roles as a tenured faculty member.