Community Catalysts

Cohort 8

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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.

Follow the current cohort below, connect with them in card or forum discussions, and feel free to reach out with your questions and feedback!

Meet Cohort 8

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.
Ahmet Can Sabuncu

Ahmet Can Sabuncu, Assistant Teaching Professor, Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Dr. Sabuncu is eager to discover next generation workforce skills and to educate next generation of engineers who will carry industry 4.0 forward considering the needs of the global world. His professional interests span from engineering education research, history of science and engineering, thermo-fluids engineering, and microfluidic technology.
Andrea Kwaczala

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

Dr. Kwaczala is passionate about making classroom activities that are inclusive and hopes to bring more awareness to assistive technology so we can create products that matter for people living with disabilities. Andi believes that by creating products that can better society, we can also improve our engineering self-efficacy and confidence and help young engineers persist in engineering!

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."
A. L. Ranen McLanahan

Aric 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.
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.
Deborah Grzybowski

Deborah Grzybowski, Assistant Dean & Clinical Professor, The Ohio State University

Deb's engineering education research includes optimizing the learning experience for all students, faculty, and K-8 students through inclusive teaching practices including entrepreneurial minded learning in addition to investigating the impact of integrating racial and social justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion learning objectives into core engineering courses.
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.
Erick Vasquez

Erick Vasquez, Associate Professor, University of Dayton

Erick was born in El Salvador and received his BEng in Chemical Engineering at UCA. He obtained his MS from Clemson University and his Ph.D. from Mississippi State University, both in Chemical Engineering. His engineering educational research interests are focused on assessing methods to improve teamwork, open-ended laboratory experiments, collaborative and active learning, and Transport Phenomena computational modeling.
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.
Nathalie Lavoine

Nathalie Lavoine, Assistant Professor, North Carolina State University at Raleigh

Dr. Nathalie Lavoine is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Forest Biomaterials, College of Natural Resources, at NC State University. She received her Ph.D. degree in Materials Science in 2013 from the Laboratory of Pulp and Paper Science and Graphic Arts, in Grenoble in France. Her research focuses on the sustainable design and development of high-performance tailored materials from renewable resources as an alternative to petroleum-based products.
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.
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.
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.