Community Catalysts

Cohort 6

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Community Catalysts (ComCats) are a group of faculty across the nation who help make the Engineering Unleashed community a thriving place. They also work to drive the mission and concepts of the entrepreneurial mindset, online and off 

ComCats provide peer review feedback to card authors, connect faculty who are working on similar topics, and work on special projects including website enhancements.

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Meet Cohort 6

A. L. Ranen McLanahan

A. L. Ranen McLanahan, Assistant Professor, University of Wisconsin - Platteville

Ranen is driven to make Engineering Unleashed the one-stop-shop of innovative, insertable classroom ideas. He created a prototype card database along with drafting a card template to guide faculty when creating their own cards. Ranen started in industry on a floating factory ship. In 2014, he received the Arthur M. Kaplan Award for his teaching, outreach, and innovation. He offers professional training nation-wide.
Aaron Sakulich

Aaron Sakulich, Associate Professor, Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Aaron focuses on developing more durable materials for use in infrastructure, which will lead to a lowered maintenance burden, improved user safety, and a reduced environmental impact. He is also very much involved in an off-campus projects system, running sites in Panama City and Reykjavik.

AnnMarie Thomas, Professor of Engineering and Entrepreneurship, University of St. Thomas

AnnMarie is the founder and director of the St. Thomas Playful Learning Lab. She authored "Making Makers: Kids, Tools, and the Future of Innovation."
Chris Sharp

Chris Sharp, Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering, George Fox University

In his graduate program, Chris was exposed to engineering design and discovered the potential for the creative in engineering. No longer did there have to be a singular correct answer! He also discovered the unfortunate lack of intentional instruction within the broader engineering education system. Chris now pursues his interests in engineering education, specifically in character development, engineer identity, and creativity discovery (usually within a design focus...since design is fun!) He finds it fascinating to see what can be accomplished when varying disciplines come together in a transdisciplinary way.
David Olawale

David Olawale, Assistant Professor, University of Indianapolis

David has diverse experience in research and development, as well as technology commercialization and entrepreneurship. He is taking a leading role in the design and implementation of the DesignSpine sequence and the development of entrepreneurial mindset in engineering students. He combines practical technology commercialization experience from co-founding two technology startup companies and serving as a consultant for others. Dr. Olawale has published over fifty peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters, and conference papers.
Erin Henslee

Erin Henslee, Assistant Professor, Wake Forest University

Erin is interested in developing curriculum that sustainably meets the changing needs of the engineering profession and the engineering student. She has developed core courses across freshman, sophomore and junior curriculum with an emphasis on problem-based, active learning.
Jared Schoepf

Jared Schoepf, Director of Operations of EPICS, Arizona State University

Jared received his PhD in Chemical Engineering at ASU, developing a tiered approach to rapidly detect nanomaterials in the environment and consumer products. Jared has been a lecturer of EPICS for 4 years, mentoring over 200 teams. He has a passion for teaching and mentoring students, aiming to help each student achieve their goals.
Jennifer O'Neil

Jennifer ONeil, Assistant Professor, Rochester Institute of Technology

Jennifer primarily teaches freshman and thermal-fluid courses. She like to take an active approach; building pumpkin launchers to roasting marshmallows, they're always doing something fun connecting theory with application! Her passion for teaching and the short time it takes to become bored have led her to seek a more effective way to teach. She strives for the point in the semester when students reach that ah-ha! moment and can connect information to see the bigger picture.
Margot Vigeant

Margot Vigeant, Professor of Chemical Engineering, Bucknell University

Margot is interested in the ways we can increase student engagement in engineering through active, collaborative, and problem-based learning approaches such as making, games, and entrepreneurship. Her centers on engineering education research and specifically on the ways learning can be enhanced by active approaches like inquiry-based learning. She is the maker evangelist at Bucknell, spearheading its involvement with the White House Maker initiative.
Maysam Nezafati

Maysam Nezafati, Lecturer, Georgia Institute of Technology

Maysam received his PhD in electrical engineering by working on implantable neural recording devices. He did his postdoctoral fellow in Emory University – School of medicine, working on functional MRI and computation neuroscience. Dr. Nezafati joined the department of Biomedical engineering in 2018, as a lecturer. His teaching is focused on problem based learning and problem solving studio undergraduate courses. His current research is focused on neural network analysis in learning mechanisms and also educational research with focus on entrepreneurial mindset and analysis of healthcare disparities.
Micah Lande

Micah Lande, Assistant Professor, South Dakota School of Mines and Technology

Micah is the E.R. Stensaas Chair for Engineering Education and directs the Holistic Engineering Lab & Observatory. He teaches human-centered engineering design, design thinking, and design innovation courses. Dr. Lande researches how technical and non-technical people learn and apply design thinking and making processes to their work. He is interested in the intersection of designerly epistemic identities and vocational pathways.
Mike Rust

Mike Rust, Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Western New England University

Mike looks to address complex challenges facing our world today and in the future. Things like global health and lab-on-a-chip get him REALLY excited! He gets to help train and work alongside the next generation of problem solvers as they embark on their emerging careers.
Nadya Shalamova

Nadya Shalamova, Professor, Director of the User Experience Program, Milwaukee School of Engineering

Nadya is a user experience evangelist and champion for the University Innovation Fellows. As a CREATE Faculty Fellow, she engages students in active, experiential and applied learning.
Seyed Mohammad Seyed Ardakani

Seyed Mohammad Seyed Ardakani, Assistant Professor, Ohio Northern University

Seyed has experience as a Project Engineer in various companies such as Englekirk, where he mainly focused on different Structural Engineering projects. He has performed various technical research including in areas of seismic performance and design of reinforced concrete structures, computational modeling of structures, and engineering education. Dr. Ardakani is a licensed Professional Engineer in California and Nevada.
Stephanie Gillespie

Stephanie Gillespie, Associate Dean, University of New Haven

Stephanie received her Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the Georgia Tech and has experience in K-12 outreach and curriculum development. Originally serving as a Lecturer in the Engineering and Applied Science Education (EASE) team, she focused on leading multiple first-year engineering courses as well as facilitating the integration of the makerspace into courses across the curriculum. She was the recipient of the Engineering Unleashed Fellowship in Fall 2020 and is working to expand makerspace integration in the introduction to engineering classes, as well as enhancing assessment of EM outcomes gained from their makerspace experience.