KEEN Rising Stars

Instilling entrepreneurial mindset

Apply now for the KEEN Rising Star! Nomination period closes on March 15.

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Congratulations to Dr. Sidaard Gunasekaran, Dr. Rachel Kajfez, and Dr. Stephany Coffman-Wolph, our 2023 KEEN Rising Stars!


Learn more about these engineering educators making a substantial difference in entrepreneurial engineering education.

 

 

The 2023 Rising Stars


500_SidG.pngDr. Sidaard Gunasekaran (Sid G), Associate Professor, University of Dayton

“Sid is an innovative teacher, an ingenious researcher, and a caring mentor to the full range of students, from local K-12 students through undergraduate and graduate researchers and even fellow faculty members. I am very impressed by the way he applies such great creativity to all of his efforts, and the high level of enthusiasm his students have about fluid dynamics and aerodynamics shows he is able to seize their minds and their hearts through the application of an entrepreneurial mindset.” - Eric F. Spina, President

Read Sid's story.





500_Rachel_Kajfez_3.pngDr. Rachel Kajfez, Associate Professor, The Ohio State University

“Dr. Kajfez’s recognition as a KEEN Rising Star is a true testament of her dedication to engineering education. Her work and collaboration with others in the OSU Department of Engineering Education ensure that the next generation of engineers approach problems with an entrepreneurial mindset.” - Adam Carberry, Chair of Engineering Education


Read Rachel's story.





500_StephanyCoffman-Wolph.pngDr. Stephany Coffman-Wolph, Assistant Professor, Ohio Northern University

"Dr. Coffman-Wolph embodies Ohio Northern University’s commitment to student success. With passion, creativity, and an entrepreneurial approach to teaching, she connects abstract concepts with real-world applications, and helps our students see the possibilities in themselves. Above all, her students know they are valued, respected and supported. I can’t wait to see what’s next for our KEEN Rising Star.” - Dave Kielmeyer, Executive Director


Read Stephany's story.


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About the KEEN Rising Star Award


A KEEN Rising Star is a faculty member with less than 10 years of experience who has gone above and beyond to equip undergraduate engineers with an entrepreneurial mindset (EM) to create personal, economic, and societal value for others.

Perhaps this is you, a colleague, or a peer at another KEEN Partner institution!


How to Apply - Applications open!


  • Answer one question: In 250 words or less, explain why you believe you are a Rising Star.
  • To be eligible, the faculty member must (1) be from a KEEN partner school, and (2) have less than 10 years of experience as a faculty member.

Apply now.

Nomination period closes on March 15, 2024.


How it Works


Phase 1: Campus KEEN Rising Star

  • All applications from a campus are reviewed by that campus's KEEN Leaders.
  • KEEN Leaders may select one (1) applicant to be their Campus KEEN Rising Star.
  • A Campus KEEN Rising Star receives an award and a certificate recognizing their efforts to equip undergraduate engineers to create personal, economic, and societal value through the entrepreneurial mindset.

Meet previous Campus KEEN Rising Stars!


Phase 2: National KEEN Rising Star

  • KEEN Leaders can nominate their Campus KEEN Rising Star for the National KEEN Rising Star Award.
  • The KEEN Awards Committee reviews the Campus KEEN Rising Star applications using an evaluation rubric.
  • Three National KEEN Rising Stars will be chosen from all nominations across KEEN partner campuses. One of these three will also be considered the top awardee. 


Awards


The top awardee of the National KEEN Rising Star Award receives:

  • A letter of recognition from the KEEN Awards Committee.
  • A KEEN-branded guitar - because KEEN Rising Stars are rockstars!
  • An interview published on Engineering Unleashed.
  • A $25,000 grant to the awardee's institution from the Kern Family Foundation to advance KEEN’s mission.
  • Sponsored airfare and registration (including hotel accommodations) to the KEEN National Conference for a recognition ceremony.

The two additional awardees of the National KEEN Rising Star Award receive:

  • A letter of recognition from the KEEN Awards Committee.
  • An interview published on Engineering Unleashed.
  • A $10,000 grant to their institutions from the Kern Family Foundation to advance KEEN’s mission.
  • Sponsored airfare and registration (including hotel accommodations) to the KEEN National Conference for a recognition ceremony.

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The 2022 Rising Stars


Dr. Kaitlin Mallouk, Dr. Erin Henslee, and Dr. Jennifer O'Neil were our 2022 KEEN Rising Stars. Learn how they are making a substantial difference in entrepreneurial engineering education.


500_KaitlinMallouk.pngDr. Kaitlin Mallouk, Assistant Professor, Rowan University


Kaitlin continuously innovates her pedagogy to improve student experiences, and explores best practices for developing future engineers.


Read Kaitlin's story.





500_ErinHenslee.pngDr. Erin Henslee, Assistant Professor, Wake Forest University


Erin builds connections to people first, then ideas, through creating impact for others and instilling continuous learning and curiosity.


Read Erin's story.





500_JenONeil.pngDr. Jennifer O'Neil, Assistant Professor, Rochester Institute of Technology


Jen helps students build upon their curiosity and realize their love of learning by integrating EML into the learning experiences she creates.


Read Jen's story.



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The 2021 KEEN Rising Stars


Heath LeBlanc, Reva Johnson, and Andrew Sloboda were our 2021 KEEN Rising Stars. Learn how they are making a substantial difference in entrepreneurial engineering education.


500_HeathLeBlanc.pngHeath LeBlanc, Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Ohio Northern University


The entrepreneurial mindset and value creation have become the heart of who Heath is.


Read Heath's story.





500_RevaJohnson.pngReva Johnson, Associate Professor, Valparaiso University


Reva creates value through storytelling with humanity at the center, and seeks to find the answer to, "Why might my students care about this concept?"


Read Reva's story.





500_AndrewSloboda.pngAndrew Sloboda, Assistant Professor, Bucknell University


Andrew thinks of his students as clients, guiding them to manage issues like ambiguous data, competing goals, and diverse stakeholders.


Read Andrew's story.




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The 2020 KEEN Rising Stars


Cristi Bell-Huff, Blake Hylton, and Cheryl Bodnar were our 2020 KEEN Rising Stars. Read their stories to see how they're making a substantial difference in entrepreneurial engineering education.


500_CristiBellHuff.pngCristi Bell-Huff, Lecturer and Director of Faculty and Student Training, Georgia Institute of Technology


Cristi has helped countless engineering students acquire entrepreneurially minded skills which they can use for the rest of their lives.


Read Cristi's story.





500_CherylBodnar.pngCheryl Bodnar, Associate Professor, Rowan University


Cheryl helps faculty create unique experiential and entrepreneurial learning opportunities throughout the clinic-based engineering curriculum.


Read Cheryl's story.





500_BlakeHylton.pngBlake Hylton, Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering; Coordinator, First Year Engineering Experience, Ohio Northern University


Blake helps students look beyond easy answers, persist through false starts and failures, and make connections across multiple disciplines.


Read Blake's story.


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The 2019 Rising Stars


Amy Trowbridge, Sarah Wodin-Schwartz, and Justin Henriques were our 2019 KEEN Rising Stars. Learn about their work with the entrepreneurial mindset and how they are helping students understand that the world is much greater than their campus.


500_AmyTrowbridge.pngAmy Trowbridge, Senior Lecturer and Director, Grand Challenge Scholars Program, Arizona State University


Amy provides her students with the tools to make a sustainable, built environment that meets our societal needs.


Read Amy's story.





500_SarahWodinSchwartz.pngSarah Wodin-Schwartz, Assistant Teaching Professor, Worcester Polytechnic Institute


Sarah puts people, purpose, and social impact of engineering at the center of her classes, helping graduates create real value.


Read Sarah's story.





500_JustinHenriques.pngJustin Henriques, Associate Professor, James Madison University


Justin is a role model for faculty and a mentor for students, helping them hone their entrepreneurial mindset.


Read Justin's story.




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