2022 Campus KEEN Rising Stars

Each KEEN Partner has the opportunity to nominate a faculty member as their campus’s KEEN Rising Star. 

Campus KEEN Rising Stars are junior faculty who are driven by an entrepreneurial mindset to create long-lasting value, directly impacting the hearts and minds of students, peers, and communities. Each Campus Rising Star receives a letter of recognition and a trophy from the KEEN Awards Committee. Their nomination is also submitted to the committee for review and consideration for the 2022 National KEEN Rising Star award.

Meet the 2022 Campus KEEN Rising Stars!

Johanna Casale, Assistant Teaching Professor, Drexel University

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What excites Professor Casale about the entrepreneurial mindset is the integration of the impact on the end-user combined with the considerations of sustainability, climate change, and social justice.  

Johanna used her mandatory remote instruction time to brainstorm inventive ways to incorporate at-home hands-on activities integrating the entrepreneurial mindset into the first-year curriculum. Her experiments include chemical extraction (home coffee brewing) and kinematics (using mousetrap-powered cars assembled by students).


Daniel Castaneda, Assistant Professor, James Madison University

Daniel_Castaneda.jpgDr. Castenada is driven by a singular goal: To be a leader who can help transform the engineering academy into a more welcoming field; one that is diverse in its ideas and people.

Daniel's students find success by not only having learned rote calculations, but also in exercising their curiosity to create, iterate, and refine solutions that influence their understanding of how the world works and how they might play a future role in making the world a more just place.


Lin Chase, Associate Professor, Minnesota State University, Mankato

Lin-Chase.jpgDr. Chase is driven by the entrepreneurial mindset, and demonstrates this by connecting student engineers and computer scientists to industry projects in a brand-new project-based learning program.

Lin is an enthusiastic advocate for creating value through learning and service. Her research work brings together music and artificial intelligence, connecting the hearts and minds of those she collaborates and works with, both students and her many communities.

Vedang Chauhan, Assistant Professor, Western New England University

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Dr. Chauhan has a strong vision about how to develop a sustainable entrepreneurial mindset education where students will get opportunities to solve real problems and understand the importance of creating value for their clients.

By balancing theoretical, practical, and entrepreneurial mindset-based learning in his modules, Vedang ensures his students are interested, engaged, and inspired. He is invested in their success, helping them get internships, jobs and research positions by mentoring them and providing letters of recommendation.

Carmen Cioc, Associate Professor, The University of Toledo

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Dr. Cioc sees entrepreneurially minded learning as a way to innovate her teaching methods, better connect with students, and strengthen her research efforts.

Carmen has transformed her classes from traditional lecture-based instruction to hands-on and critical thinking tasks, increasing student retention. She has made entrepreneurially minded learning a central part of her engineering courses. As part of a KEEN grant, Carmen was chosen as the Engineering Technology Champion, where she coaches other Engineering Technology faculty on incorporating entrepreneurially minded learning in the classroom.

Louis DiBerardino, Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Ohio Northern University

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Dr. DiBerardino feels that the entrepreneurial mindset drives his teaching and student learning in every course.

Louis's first project transformed the Dynamic Systems 1 course by creating an incredibly open-ended electromechanical project within the entrepreneurial mindset. This helped strengthen student curiosity. His ASEE paper, “Incorporating the Entrepreneurial Mindset into a System Dynamics Course," was nominated for the best paper award of the Entrepreneurship Division at ASEE.

Jacqueline Gartner, Assistant Professor, Campbell University

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Dr. Gartner continuously wants to make learning experiences more relevant for students, integrating the entrepreneurial mindset into her classes and research.

Jacqueline has been inspired by many real-life experiences to improve student learning, helping students connect the physical world to their own personal experiences. She is an Engineering Unleashed Faculty Fellow with a plan to engage math and science faculty in KEEN as well as expand on the entrepreneurial mindset in the School of Engineering.


Stephanie Gillespie, Associate Dean, University of New Haven

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Dr. Gillespie is driven by her own entrepreneurial mindset, genuinely curious how best to support the student experience for a diverse student body.

Stephanie's entrepreneurial mindset initiatives have widespread, continuous support. She ensures sustainability through training events for faculty and peer-assistant students. Her roles as campus Entrepreneurial Mindset Champion, Engineering Unleashed Community Catalyst, and Engineering Unleashed Fellow help her create value across the broader community. One such resource is easy-to-adapt cards that highlight entrepreneurial mindset integrations. 

Srikanth Gururajan, Associate Professor, Saint Louis University

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Dr. Gururajan goes above and beyond his typical assignments to provide an inclusive and encouraging environment for students.

In his capstone courses, Srikanth incorporates research from his lab by serving as the “client” for student teams, providing students with the opportunity to put the entrepreneurial mindset into practice. Several of his student teams have won awards and prizes in national and international level UAS competitions.

Erin Henslee, Assistant Professor, Wake Forest University

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Dr. Henslee believes an entrepreneurial mindset turns challenges into opportunities, identifies shared values, creates impact for others, and instills continuous learning and curiosity.

Erin's commitment is to people first, then ideas. She is intentional in creating classroom environments where students feel safe to take risks and learn from failure. Her Engineering Unleashed Fellowship resulted in a KEEN card and ASEE paper, coining the phrase “labture” (lab+lecture) which applies hands-on/lab-based learning during every lecture, helping students connect theory and application to instrumentation and controls systems.

  • Meet Erin
  • Card: Making with Purpose
  • Hao Jiang, Assistant Professor, Lawrence Technological University

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    Dr. Jiang's entrepreneurially minded efforts are a strong combination of teaching, mentoring, research, and entrepreneurship.

    Hao shares his strong research and entrepreneurship experiences with his students, always encouraging them to discover opportunities using their creativity, to work hard on solutions using their engineering skills, and to be strong-minded about bearing risks. With the Engineering Unleashed Fellowship, he developed an entrepreneurial mindset-based teaching module about how to protect a medical device invention through patent applications.

    Kyle Jones, Biomedical Engineering Professor, Grand Canyon University

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    Dr. Jones encourages his students to think in ways that create an environment that fosters human flourishing.

    Kyle reinforces the importance of understanding the customer and the world around them that his students' projects and prototypes will serve. His industry experience gives him opportunities to develop student curiosity toward solving engineering and societal problems.


    Krista Kecskemety, Assistant Professor of Practice, The Ohio State University

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    Dr. Kecskemety’s introduction to engineering education scholarship was driven by her curiosity to understand if things happening in her first-year engineering classroom were creating value for the students.

    Krista inserts entrepreneurial mindset lessons and concepts seamlessly throughout her courses to work with existing content. Her 2019 ASEE paper, “Analysis of the Entrepreneurial Mindset Elements in Established First-year Engineering Labs: Analysis Process and Lessons Learned and Changes for the Future”, won 2nd place Best Teaching Paper in ASEE Entrepreneurship and Engineering Innovation Division.

    Dan Maguire, Assistant Professor, Valparaiso University

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    Professor Maguire brings real-world engineering applications into his classroom, helping students see how to create value for their customers and companies.

    Dan's previous extensive career as a professional engineer and his continued work as a professional consultant provide him with an unmatched level of business experience to help students reach their highest potential. He has also introduced creative new methods into his own courses and has distributed those ideas through KEEN to encourage others to adopt and adapt them.

    Kaitlin Mallouk, Assistant Professor, Rowan University

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    Dr. Mallouk is truly an engineer of her pedagogical practice - identifying needs, testing prototypes, seeking feedback, and iterating to a final product.

    With her spirit of innovation, Kaitlin has developed or co-developed more than 11 in-class activities and multi-week projects, most of which she has prototyped and continually modified. She has been integral to the creation of new, exciting, and societally-relevant engineering experiences in the First and Second-Year Engineering Clinics (FEC/SEC), which serve about 700 students per year from all engineering disciplines.

    Kali Morgan, Learning Scientist, Georgia Institute of Technology

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    Kali demonstrates how important it is for instructors to be vulnerable and willing to tell their own story, so they create an environment in which students feel they can also share openly.

    Kali is developing Social and Value-Driven Learning Spaces that focus on connecting students, faculty, and ideas in environments outside the traditional classroom. By incorporating innovative research ideas, principles, and frameworks, she helps maximize student learning and development.


    Jennifer O'Neil, Assistant Professor, Rochester Institute of Technology

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    Jen's philosophy is: “Students should love to learn, and you help them realize their love of learning by inspiring them in the classroom.”

    Not only has Jen’s inventive nature influenced the landscape of engineering education at RIT, but she has leveraged her creativity to create unique and meaningful approaches to learning, using real-world applications to develop new strategies, articulate learning objectives, and drive student curiosity.



    Tanya Onushko, Assistant Chair & Lecturer, Marquette University

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    Dr. Onushko understands that engineers need a value and care oriented mindset to guide their work.

    Tanya builds on student understanding of what it means to be an engineer, and the potential impact they will have in their fields. She challenges students to grow their entrepreneurial mindset alongside foundational biomedical engineering skills and concepts. Her industry sponsored design project at the freshman level is one of the most sustainable and enduring entrepreneurial mindset implementations at Marquette.


    Ahmet Can Sabuncu, Assistant Teaching Professor, Worcester Polytechnic Institute

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    Dr. Sabuncu is passionate about creating an innovative entrepreneurially minded educational culture where students learn how to solve problems that have meaning and value to others.

    In his courses, Can has worked with the Associate Department Head and faculty governance to assess the incremental value of new approaches to core requirements within his department, taking standard mechanical engineering labs and redesigning them to increase student choice and encourage curiosity and collaboration.


    Brent Sebold, Lecturer, Barrett Honors Faculty Director, Engineering Executive Director, Arizona State University

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    Brent's iterative “build, measure, learn” strategy is the backbone of his continuous improvement plan for his ever-evolving list of entrepreneurial mindset programs and course assets.

    Brent’s Venture Devils program was a significant addition to the entrepreneurial ecosystem, allowing all students, faculty, and university affiliates to advance their entrepreneurial mindsets via the development of novel solutions to pressing technical, commercial, and societal challenges. This inclusive approach to entrepreneurial programming allowed for unprecedented growth of student and faculty entrepreneurial engagement.

    Khaled Slhoub, Assistant Professor, Florida Institute of Technology

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    Dr. Slhoub uses the entrepreneurial mindset to develop better and more interactive class material and practice for his students.

    KEEN introduced Khaled to different academic colleagues' thoughts and ideas that have helped him extend his knowledge in his teaching zone. As a member of the KEEN core team at Florida Tech, he works on designing a dynamic, interactive FIT-KEEN website to disseminate the entrepreneurial mindset to the Florida Tech community.


    Erick Vasquez, Associate Professor, University of Dayton

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    Erick methodically combines community-based learning with entrepreneurially minded learning in his collaborations with partners of ETHOS, Engineers in Technical Humanitarian Opportunities of Service-Learning.

    Erick analyzed the effects of self-directed learning through a validated survey (SDLRS) on the entrepreneurial mindset, confirming that students with a high self-directed learning rating are more likely to adapt to and succeed in entrepreneurially minded learning. He is looking to impact U.S. students through collaborative online international learning (COIL) involving entrepreneurially minded learning and multi-cultural aspects.

    Rabih Younes, Assistant Professor of the Practice, Duke University

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    Nearly all Rabih's research and mentorship activities revolve around real impactful projects.

    Rabih has redesigned the courses he teaches through minor and major modifications so that every topic, activity, project, and case study in his classes has the 3C's of the entrepreneurial mindset embedded in it. His engineering education research focuses on practical and transferable skill and techniques that other instructors can easily apply to better help their students; and the teams he mentors work on creating value that addresses real needs.

    Wujie Zhang, Associate Professor, Milwaukee School of Engineering

    Wujie-Zhang.jpgDr. Zhang believes a holistic approach is needed to successfully implement entrepreneurially minded learning, actively promoting the concept to non-engineering faculty members.

    Wujie's unique approach of utilizing undergraduate research has resulted in 15 peer-reviewed journal articles with students as 1st and co-authors and novel entrepreneurially minded learning teaching modules in almost all his courses. He also serves as a life-long learner to students and integrates new knowledge and experiences into education.