KEEN Rising Stars

KEEN faculty are rock stars! You'll find them presenting and delivering keynotes at engineering conferences across the United States, developing and retooling curriculum, writing papers and publishing in journals, and researching new methods to track and assess mindset change in students. 

At the heart of all this work is a dedication to make entrepreneurially minded learning commonplace in engineering education so that one day, entrepreneurial engineering is simply engineering.

To help celebrate and recognize faculty achievement, each KEEN Partner can nominate one individual with less than 10 years of experience as a faculty member for the KEEN Rising Star Award each year. The KEEN Award Committee then selects three awardees using an evaluation rubric. 

The award goes to the faculty members' institutions, recognizing these individuals who have gone above and beyond to equip undergraduate engineers to create personal, economic, and societal value through the entrepreneurial mindset.

The next nomination process will kick off at the KEEN National Conference in February 2022.

Meet the 2021 KEEN Rising Stars

Heath LeBlanc

Heath LeBlanc

Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Ohio Northern University

Heath received the top award for the 2021 KEEN Rising Star. The entrepreneurial mindset and value creation have become the heart of who he is.
Reva Johnson

Reva Johnson

Associate Professor

Valparaiso University

Reva is a 2021 KEEN Rising Star. She seeks to find the answer to, "Why might my students care about this concept?" She creates value through storytelling with humanity at the center.
Andrew Sloboda

Andrew Sloboda

Assistant Professor

Bucknell University

Andrew is a 2021 KEEN Rising Star. He thinks of his students as clients, guiding them to manage issues like ambiguous data, competing goals, and diverse stakeholders.

Meet the 2020 KEEN Rising Stars

2020 KEEN Rising Star Cristi Bell-Huff

Cristi Bell-Huff

Lecturer and Director of Faculty and Student Training

Georgia Institute of Technology

Cristi received the top award for the 2020 KEEN Rising Star. She has helped countless engineering students acquire entrepreneurially minded skills which they can use for the rest of their lives.
2020 KEEN Rising Star Cheryl Bodnar

Cheryl Bodnar

Associate Professor

Rowan University

Cheryl is a 2020 KEEN Rising Star. She helps faculty create unique experiential and entrepreneurial learning opportunities throughout the clinic-based engineering curriculum.
2020 KEEN Rising Star Blake Hylton

Blake Hylton

Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering; Coordinator, First Year Engineering Experience

Ohio Northern University

Blake is a 2020 KEEN Rising Star. He helps students look beyond easy answers, persist through false starts and failures, and make connections across multiple disciplines.
2020 Rising Stars

The Story of the 2020 KEEN Rising Stars

Hear what Cristi Bell-Huff, Blake Hylton, and Cheryl Bodnar have to say about their work with the entrepreneurial mindset and helping students understand that the world is much greater than their campus.

Meet the 2019 Rising Stars

Engineering Unleashed Rising Star Amy Trowbridge

Amy Trowbridge

Senior Lecturer and Director, Grand Challenge Scholars Program

Arizona State University

Amy received the top award for the 2019 KEEN Rising Star. She provides her students with the tools to make a sustainable, built environment that meets our societal needs.
Engineering Unleashed Rising Star    Sarah Wodin-Schwartz

Sarah Wodin-Schwartz

Assistant Teaching Professor

Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Sarah is a 2019 KEEN Rising Star. She puts people, purpose, and social impact of engineering at the center of her classes, helping graduates create real value.
Engineering Unleashed Rising Star Justin Henriques

Justin Henriques

Associate Professor

James Madison University

Justin Henriques is a 2019 KEEN Rising Star. He is a role model for faculty and a mentor for students, helping them hone their entrepreneurial mindset.
2019 Rising Stars

The Story of the 2019 KEEN Rising Stars

Hear what Amy Trowbridge, Sarah Wodin-Schwartz, and Justin Henriques have to say about their work with the entrepreneurial mindset and helping students understand that the world is much greater than their campus.