Penn State alumna Melissa Hockstad to present R.E. Tressler Lecture

October 19, 2020

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The 2020 Richard E. Tressler Lecture in Materials will be held at 3 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 22, via Zoom. Melissa Hockstad, president and CEO of the American Cleaning Institute (ACI), will deliver the lecture “Materials for Success: Bringing Together the Elements for a Successful Career” and receive the 2020 R.E. Tressler Award.

Hockstad’s lecture will focus on her career pathway, lessons she has learned and the most important skills students need to ensure career success. She will discuss how a background in materials can provide myriad career possibilities. Whether students’ aspire to conduct groundbreaking research in academia, lead a critical government program, launch a startup or be in the chief executive suite for a major corporation, the skills students learn in the Materials Science and Engineering Department at Penn State will play a critical role in their career trajectory, Hockstad said.

ACI is the leading association representing the $60 billion U.S. cleaning product supply chain. In her role, Hockstad is responsible for the overall leadership of ACI, including advocacy, science and research, communications, sustainability and business growth.

Prior to joining ACI, Hockstad served as vice president, petrochemicals at American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM). In this capacity, she was responsible for managing AFPM’s petrochemical activities including leadership of various petrochemical committees, organization of the International Petrochemical Conference and providing support for addressing legislative, regulatory and communications issues impacting the petrochemicals membership.

She previously held positions at the Plastics Industry Association, where she was the vice president of Science, Technology and Regulatory Affairs, and the Society of Chemical Manufacturers and Affiliates, where she served as performance improvement director. Hockstad was also at Basell Polyolefins (now LyondellBasell), where she was a senior engineer.

Hockstad received a bachelor's degree in engineering science from the University of Virginia and a master's degree in materials science and engineering from Penn State.

The R.E. Tressler Award honors the work and contributions of Richard E. Tressler, who was an international leader in the development of high temperature materials and served as head of Penn State's Department of Materials Science and Engineering from 1991 to 2001.

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Last Updated October 19, 2020