Community Catalysts


Engineering Unleashed Community Catalysts are faculty invested in driving forward the Engineering Unleashed mission, online and off.

Community Catalysts (ComCats for short) serve six-month terms. ComCats perform a variety of contributions for the Engineering Unleashed community, such as:

  • Provide informal peer review feedback to card authors.
  • Connect faculty who are working on similar topics.
  • Offer mentoring and coaching on the entrepreneurial mindset.
  • Collaborate on website enhancements.

Applications to become a Community Catalyst are currently closed.

Meet Cohort 9

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.
Devina Jaiswal

Devina Jaiswal, Assistant Professor, Western New England University

Devina has a keen interest in best practices in education system, and has created several problems based, active learning EM modules for lecture based courses to enhance student learning. Her research interests lie in fabrication of micro-electronic devices that can be used to understand biological patterns and apply them to the field of tissue engineering.
Mark Budnik

Mark Budnik, Teaching Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, Carnegie Mellon University

Mark's research lies at the intersection of robust engineering design and engineering pedagogy. He has served as the general/program chair for three different international conferences including those with the IEEE and the American Society for Engineering Education. Prior to joining the academic ranks in 2006, he was an Engineering Director at Hitachi Semiconductor where he led a multidisciplinary team of engineering and support staff. He is the author of more than nearly a hundred book chapters, journal articles, and conference proceedings and the recipient of thirteen teaching awards and six best paper/presentation awards. Dr. Budnik is a Senior Member of the IEEE and a Fellow of the International Symposium of Quality Electronic Design.
Matthew Franchetti

Matthew Franchetti, Associate Dean of UG Studies and Professor, The University of Toledo

Dr. Franchetti is a Professor and the Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies for the College of Engineering at The University of Toledo. He is also the Director of the Environmentally Conscious Design and Manufacturing Laboratory and Principal Investigator of the Business Waste Reduction Assistance Program, a joint effort with the Lucas County Solid Waste Management District. Additionally, Dr. Franchetti is working as the Principal Investigator with the Health Science Campus at The University of Toledo to improve the business processes for renal implant patients by applying six-sigma concepts.
Melanie Amadoro

Melanie Amadoro, Lecturer, Rowan University

Melanie's career includes serving as the Technical Director of a Motion Analysis Laboratory at St. Christopher's Hospital for Children and as a Naval Engineer working both engineering and field issues on U.S. Navy ships.
Patricia Cyr

Patricia Cyr, Senior Lecturer, Rochester Institute of Technology

Patricia started teaching adjunct for RIT in 1989 while working as a Quality professional at Kodak and then Harris Corporation. After 35 years of working in industry and 28 years of teaching at night, she took a full time lecturer position. She decided to make this career change because of her passion for inspiring the next generation of engineers. Plus, she's on a mission to take away the stigma of learning statistics as a frightening activity!
Patrick Herak

Patrick Herak, Senior Lecturer, The Ohio State University

Dr. Herak is senior lecturer at The Ohio State University. His research has focused on instruction and assessment professional skills (primarily problem solving and teamwork). He is also examining how to help English Language Learners (ELLs) in the class room. Patrick has helped developed curriculum and assessments for a number of courses focusing on the engineering design process, math for engineers, and the role of engineering in castles & cathedrals in England and Wales.
Pierre Larochelle

Pierre Larochelle, Professor & Department Head, South Dakota School of Mines and Technology

Pierre is the founding director of the RObotics and Computational Kinematics INnovation (ROCKIN) Laboratory, has over 100 publications, holds three US patents, and serves as a consultant on robotics, automation, machine design, creativity & innovation, and computer-aided design. He serves on ABET’s Engineering Accreditation Commission (EAC) and as an ABET Accreditation Visit Team Chair.
Sarah Zappe

Sarah Zappe, Director of Assessment and Instructional Support, Leonhard Center, Pennsylvania State University

Sarah started working in the Leonhard Center as a graduate student in 2000, then returned full-time in 2007. She earned her Ph.D. in educational psychology specializing in applied testing and measurement. Her primary interests have been associated with the professional skill set, specifically entrepreneurship, creativity, and innovation. She is very involved with the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) and is currently the Chair of the Educational Research and Methods Division. She also partners often with VentureWell on various tasks and was recently awarded a research retreat from them to study failure in student entrepreneurship teams.
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.
Tim Shenk

Tim Shenk, Assistant Professor, Campbell University

Tim has consulted and conducted research exploring the separation and conversions of sugars and proteins from bio-waste stream, in addition to developing a means to enhance revenue from the waste stream. His research interests include the study of surface morphology and interfacial phenomena of polymer nanocomposites, polymer rheology, colloidal systems, gels and processing high solids loading solutions.