Mining Feature: Biomechanical engineer Jennica Bellanca, M.S., Wins Young Engineer Award

Thursday, March 25, 2021

In a split-screen image grabbed from the virtual award ceremony, Jennica Bellanca speaks after receiving the John T. Boyd Award.

A cropped screen grab from the virtual award ceremony shows Jennica Bellanca offering remarks in response to receiving the honor.

NIOSH biomechanical engineer Jennica Bellanca, M.S., was recently presented with the John T. Boyd Memorial Young Engineer Award by the Pittsburgh section of the Society for Mining and Metallurgy Exploration (SME). SME presented the award virtually during a regular business meeting.

The award recognizes “engineering professionalism among young people working in the coal industry,” and the honor is significant in that it automatically makes Ms. Bellanca eligible for consideration as the Pittsburgh nominee for the nationally significant J.W. Woomer Award.

As a researcher, Ms. Bellanca has worked on underground mobile proximity detection systems, hazard recognition, collision avoidance, and most recently, virtual reality and simulation for mine safety and health training. She is the lead for a virtual reality development project and head of the NIOSH Mining Program’s Virtual Immersion and Simulation Laboratory. Customized tools developed by Ms. Bellanca and her team have become examples for the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) of ways to apply the technology to train emergency personnel in mine rescue and self-escape.

Her most current research focuses on haul truck health and safety.

Page last reviewed: March 25, 2021
Page last updated: March 25, 2021