This is a picture of Elizabeth Loboa, dean of the College of EngineeringTruth be told, I did not know much about the University of Missouri prior to its search for a new dean for its College of Engineering in 2015. But when I took a closer look, I saw a university with unbelievable research potential and resources. And I knew it was exactly where I needed to be.

I became the College of Engineering’s 11th dean and the first female to hold the position in October 2015. Its Association of American Universities pedigree, land grant mission and status as a Tier 1 research university held great appeal to me after years spent in labs and classrooms conducting research and sharing my knowledge of engineering.

I have said it often — I believe that our strengths at Mizzou lie within our differences. This is true in a couple of ways. The first is the strength of our various skill sets as academic and research units. One of the reasons I was drawn to the College of Engineering was the unique opportunity the University of Missouri provides in terms of collaborative research. Having engineering, medicine and veterinary medicine schools in one location is something only 10 universities in the country can claim within the confines of a single campus. The proximity of our College of Engineering to the Schools of Veterinary Medicine and Medicine, which are within walking distance, promotes biomedical innovation in ways that cannot be achieved elsewhere. These resources allow our students world-class experiential learning opportunities as they work together with students from other schools and colleges in ways that will be of tremendous benefit as they prepare to not only enter the workforce, but to eventually lead it.

The combination of these resources — as well as those provided by schools such as law, journalism, business, and arts and science — also positions the University of Missouri to be a global leader in translational research. Together, we are able to take research from the lab and quickly turn it into the types of products and services that can dramatically improve our community, our nation, our world. It has allowed our College of Engineering to position itself as a global leader in what we call our Pillars of Pursuit: Educating Engineering Leaders, Big Data Analytics, Biomedical Innovations and Sustainability in FEWSed (Food, Energy, Water, Smart Cities).

The second way we glean strength from our differences deals with our different individual viewpoints and experiences. The more diverse the viewpoints and input, the more likely we are to come up with the kind of creative, cutting-edge ideas to solve seemingly impossible problems and make the world a better place. To solve the kinds of global challenges that lay before us, we must be equipped with the skills to work collaboratively with people from all backgrounds and walks of life and to embrace diverse perspectives.

Mizzou offers these opportunities in abundance. And the enthusiasm we have as a university to work together to solve critical problems, to create tangible improvements both within our campus community and beyond, is unparalleled. Our nation and our world need innovative minds to translate ideas into solutions, to work collaboratively to come up with the next great discovery, to accomplish the difficult tasks. At the University of Missouri, we are helping guide the next generation of brilliant minds who will do just that. And that is why I could not be more excited to be a part of this great university.