The Fellows


Please join us in congratulating the 2021 Engineering Unleashed Fellows!


The 2021 Engineering Unleashed Fellows are a cohort of twenty-seven faculty members from twenty-two institutions of higher education across the U.S., following a peer-selection process where they were recognized for their contribution to entrepreneurial engineering education.

These faculty members participated in the Engineering Unleashed Faculty Development (EUFD) National Workshop program, creating resources that will help them and intercollegiate colleagues advance the community's mission to integrate entrepreneurial mindset into practices that benefit their students, their institutions, and greater society.

To amplify the work of these Fellows and advance the shared mission, awards are provided to the awardee’s home institutions through the Kern Family Foundation. Each Fellow is an ambassador for entrepreneurial mindset and will work on a project through their institution with a grant award of $10,000. In total, the colleges received $270,000 in support to recognize the excellent efforts in engineering education by their faculty.

Meet the 2021 Engineering Unleashed Fellows

View all 2021 Fellows cards.

Andrea Kwaczala

Andrea Kwaczala, Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Western New England University

Dr. Kwaczala is an undergraduate educator at Western New England University. She teaches biomechanics, prosthetic and orthotic design and biomedical engineering capstone. Her research focuses on assistive technology devices to measure and evaluate human body motion and improve movement in people with limited mobility.
Anne-Marie Lerner

Anne-Marie Lerner, Associate Professor, University of Wisconsin - Platteville

As a sole mechanical engineering program representative at UW-Rock County 2008 - 2013, Anne-Marie built community support for and student interest in mechanical engineering in the Janesville area. Her interests include inclusive in- and out-of-class supports, effective teaching pedagogy, and educational outreach.
Brian Ritchie

Brian Ritchie, Assistant Professor of Practice, The Ohio State University

Brian teaches an experimental projects 2-semester capstone course sequence in addition to some standard aerospace engineering courses and technical electives. He has over 15 years of experience teaching outside of academia. He didn't set out to teach, but naturally gravitated to it over the years!
Carmen Cioc

Carmen Cioc, Associate Professor, The University of Toledo

Carmen is passionate about innovative engineering pedagogies, including PAL and PBL, and intertwining them with entrepreneurially minded learning. She is also passionate about renewable energy, pursuing a second Master of Science in Physics Professional in Photovoltaics at UT. In 2011 she was awarded a SunShot Fellowship with the Solar Program at The Department of Energy in Washington, D.C. She loves math, physics, engineering, and above all, sharing her professional experience with her students.
Clark Hochgraf

Clark Hochgraf, Dr., Rochester Institute of Technology

Dr. Hochgraf earned his PhD in electrical engineering and worked in industry for 11 years, building megawatt power converters, fuel cell vehicles, and off-grid inverters. He researches artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms used in autonomous systems for material handling, agriculture, and self-driving vehicles. Clark enjoys building understanding and consensus across seemingly disparate groups and ways of thinking. And he enjoys building technological systems and sharing his enjoyment with others by developing and delivering educational experiences.
Firas Hassan

Firas Hassan, Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Ohio Northern University

Firas teaches and does research in hardware realization of real-time embedded digital signal and image processing applications. Teaching has been his passion all his life, and he really enjoys trying new teaching techniques that focus on curiosity, connection and creating value.
Hao Jiang

Hao Jiang, Assistant Professor, Lawrence Technological University

Dr. Jiang has invented and patented a portfolio of technologies on structural color image display devices based on nano-optical metasurfaces. His research works have enabled high-throughput patterning of nanostructures for commercial applications, including optical security features and collectible Nano-Arts.
Helen Chavez

Helen Chavez, Dr., Arizona State University

Maria Elena (Helen) Chavez Echeagaray is collaborating as Lecturer in the Academic and Student Affairs office at the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at Arizona State University. Her research area of interest is focused on affective computing, mainly on the development of self-adaptive environments that consider the diverse aspects, cognitive and affective, of learning traits and needs.
Jacqueline Gartner

Jacqueline Gartner, Assistant Professor, Campbell University

Jacqueline was the first chemical engineering hire for the School of Engineering at Campbell, intrigued by their vision of building a new school and engineering program combining classes and labs with hands-on, project-based curriculum. Dr. Gartner helped commercialize miniaturized hands-on units for classroom use. She has numerous publications, including the International Journal of Engineering Education.
Jessica P.M. Fick

Jessica P.M. Fick, Associate Professor and Senior Design Coordinator, University of Wisconsin - Platteville

Jessica is an alumna of the UW-Platteville Mechanical Engineering program. After graduation, she went on to work at the Army Research Laboratory in Adelphi, MD before returning to graduate school at Johns Hopkins University. Jessica returned to UW-Platteville in 2011.
Jessica Vold

Jessica Vold, Assistant Professor, North Dakota State University

Jessica is the Engineering Entrepreneurship & Innovation Faculty member at North Dakota State University. Dr. Vold serves the entire College of Engineering by teaching entrepreneurship to scientists and engineers.
Jonathan Leinonen

Jonathan Leinonen, Mentor in Residence, Michigan Technological University

Jonathan currently teaches business management and entrepreneurship courses at Michigan Technological University. His nearly 30 years of diverse work experiences provides a rich resource bank to draw examples and stories that he shares with students in the classroom. As a life-long learner, he continues to innovate his courses based on the entrepreneurial mindset and working to instill curiosity, connections and creating value with students as they prepare for their careers.

Do you know how many students are challenged by health-related concerns and the complexities of applying for financial aid? 

When Jonathan's students expressed an interest in learning more about conducting research in business, he participated in the EML Through Student Research workshop. focusing on the needs of under-resourced college students. Find out what his students were able to do with this project by applying the EML model!

Justin Starr

Justin Starr, Assistant Professor, Community College of Allegheny County

Justin is committed to educating the next generation of technical workers and to ensuring that the college's programs remain relevant to the region and its employers. He strives to help every one of his graduates get the best job they possibly can. His work has been supported by a Program Transformation Grant, two National Science Foundation Advanced Technological Education Grants, the Department of Transportation's Mobility21 program on the future of transportation, and the Appalachian Regional Commission Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization program.
Kelly Griendling

Kelly Griendling, Lecturer, Georgia Institute of Technology

Dr. Griendling is passionate about engineering education, including STEM outreach. She is the K-12 Outreach lead for the Georgia Space Grant Consortium where she designs and leads numerous STEM outreach activities. She founded the Science, Technology, and Engineering Pipeline (STEP) program and was the outreach coordinator for Georgia Tech’s first DARPA-funded MENTOR program and was the lead for curriculum development for the second MENTOR program.

Kosta Popovic, Assistant Professor, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

Kosta Popovic is passionate about the role fundamental STEM courses play in engineering education and enjoys teaching Introductory Physics courses and labs. Dr. Popovic also teaches Advanced Physics Labs, Nuclear Physics and Medical Imaging courses, and is excited to further expand his pedagogical work to teaching innovation and entrepreneurship in Physics through the Engineering Unleashed Fellowship in AY 2021/2022. His most fun recent projects include analysis of medical images through Machine Learning and building a LEGO Watt Balance.
Matthew Young

Matthew Young, Assistant Professor, Arkansas Tech University

Matthew enjoys working on really hard problems and helping students learn how to approach such problems. He participated in a startup while pursuing his Ph.D. and found what he loved most was learning and teaching. He is interested in ways he can augment his courses for more impact; entrepreneurially minded learning allows him to do that! His interests are in the area of robotics, engineering education, and alternative energy.
Megan Morin

Megan Morin, KEEN Program Coordinator, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Starting her career as a middle school teacher has provided Megan with the foundational knowledge about best pedagogical practices and, even more importantly, sparked her interest in engineering education. The experiences since then have led her to work in faculty development. As the KEEN Program Coordinator, her goal is to support faculty in integrating EM one step at a time and, more importantly, support faculty in using better teaching practices to improve learning for their students.

How can you make integrating entrepreneurially minded learning (EML) into your curriculum meaningful and exciting for faculty? 

Megan found that EML is often associated with large-scale, project-based activities - this can be overwhelming and discouraging, and take too much time. Instead, Megan pursued a project to create a set of small-scale, adaptable EML activities, micro-moments that took 2-30 minutes tops. Learn why this will help both students and faculty become more comfortable and confident with EML implementation!

Looking for quick activities to bring the 3Cs of the entrepreneurial mindset into your courses? 

In "Micromoment Activities: Entrepreneurially Minded Learning (EML) Activities that Use Only a Few Minutes of Class Time," from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, get the results of this live brainstorm on activities to help develop your students' entrepreneurial mindset. 

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.
Patrick Gurian

Patrick Gurian, Professor, Department of Civil, Arch. and Env. Engineering, Drexel University

Patrick currently serves as Director of First Year Experience for the College of Engineering. Through his scholarship in quantitative policy analysis and risk management, he seeks to understand challenges that couple engineering with human behavior. Patrick finds engineering education to be among the most exciting and impactful of these challenges. He looks to his KEEN collaborators for ideas and strategies that can help us prepare the next generation of engineers to not just be technologists but leaders in developing responsible solutions to societal challenges.
Russell Kirk Pirlo

Russell (Kirk) Pirlo, Assistant Professor Assistant Professor, University of Dayton

Russell was a National Research Council Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Bioenergy and Biofabrication Section at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, where he developed biopapers and multi-mode bioprinters. From 2015-2019, he served as the government chief technology officer for BioFabUSA. At the University of Dayton, Russell heads research in the Biomatter Manipulation Technologies group. He is currently engaged in the development of novel biomaterials and biofabrication processes with an emphasis on affordable, scalable, biochip arrays for research and pharmaceutical testing.
Sabia Abidi

Sabia Abidi, Lecturer, Rice University

Sabia is committed to mentorship and STEM outreach through her active involvement in IEEE WIE, Big Brother/Big Sister program, mentoring freshman in engineering design and serving in judge and mentor roles for Rice related and local Future City competitions. Her technical background in stem cell differentiation, microfluidics, parasitological and microbiological techniques brings valuable knowledge and experience to undergraduate bioengineering education.

What happens when you introduce a non-traditional approach to engineering study? 

Sabia had noticed in a Systems Physiology course that her students had been struggling with the cable properties of a neuron. After participating in The Problem Solving Studio, she was inspired by the 3Cs: Curiosity, Connections, and Creating Value. She designed an exercise where students have to assess where students had to assess whether a certain polymer was appropriate for a nerve substitute. 

Find out what her students thought--and how exercises like this can be incorporated into existing classes! 

Sarah Brownell

Sarah Brownell, Senior Lecturer and Director of the Grand Challenges Scholars Program, Rochester Institute of Technology

Sarah works with many Multidisciplinary Senior Design student teams each year, developing and leading projects with community engaged, design for global development, sustainability or student initiated components. She hopes to engage her students as global citizens who can offer their creativity, skills and training in partnership for the benefit of ecosystems and humanity, especially in working in solidarity with marginalized communities. Before coming to RIT, she co-founded the non-profit organization Sustainable Organic Integrated Livelihoods (SOIL) which introduced urine diversion composting toilets in Haitian slums and lived in Haiti for four years working with SOIL and other non-profits.
Shraddha Joshi

Shraddha Joshi, Assistant Professor, James Madison University

Shraddha is involved in teaching Human-Centered Design classes to sophomores and Engineering Design class to juniors. She earned her Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Clemson University with her research focused on understanding the role of requirements in engineering design by novices. Dr. Joshi worked as a Post-Doctoral Fellow with Professor Jonathan Cagan at Carnegie Mellon University, investigating the avenues of internet of things and connected products.

How can you get your students to reflect on what got them to engineering, and on where they want to go? 

Shraddha is passionate about teaching and exploring various topics in engineering design. After taking the Story Makers workshop, she learned how to use story-driven learning to impact students. Find out how her students got past feeling uncomfortable and embraced the opportunity to think of themselves differently, more creatively, and have fun doing it! 

Sirena Hargrove-Leak

Sirena Hargrove-Leak, Associate Professor of Engineering, Elon University

Dr. Hargrove-Leak currently serves as the Director of the Bachelor of Science Engineering Program at Elon University. Her current engineering education interests include entrepreneurial mindsets, user-centered design, project-based learning, and broadening participation in STEM − particularly for populations historically underrepresented in STEM fields. As a teacher-scholar, Dr. Hargrove-Leak is passionate about applying what she learns in her research in the classroom, mentoring undergraduates in research projects driven by their personal and professional interests, and doing service in the local community to get young people excited about STEM.
Tim Shenk

Tim Shenk, Assistant Professor, Campbell University

Dr. Shenk received his Ph.D. degree in Chemical and Biological Engineering from South Dakota School of Mines and Technology (SDSMT) in November of 2016. His doctoral dissertation was “Experimental and Computational Characterization and Development of an Amine Cured Epoxy System for Multifunctional Multilayer Nanocomposites.”
Timothy Reissman

Timothy Reissman, Assistant Professor, University of Dayton

Timothy specializes in dynamics, systems, and controls. He teaches courses from the sophomore through graduate levels in the areas of Mechatronics, Autonomous Systems, Dynamic Systems and Controls, and Experimentation. Many of Timothy's courses involve hands-on learning that cross the traditional boundaries of our fields, with an aim to expand the creativity of students.
Xiaoguang Ma

Xiaoguang Ma, Assistant Professor, University of Wisconsin - Platteville

Dr. Ma has extensive experience in developing, implementing, and inventing industry communication network protocols and devices. Before joining the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, Dr. Ma worked as the Communication Architect at ABB Inc., where he focused on the implementation of industrial communication protocols. He set up the first industry redundant communication network and collaborated with many network-device manufactures and academy partners to study the interoperability and performance of the latest industry network products. Parallel Redundancy Protocol over Wide Area Networks, his 2018 patent, helps extend the parallel redundancy protocol (PRP) to wide area networks.