(Author: Yassmin Shaltout)

engineering unleashed announcement imageAssistant Professors Dr. Lauren Lowman and Dr. Erin Henslee were selected to be part of a 29-person cohort and were nominated by their peers from higher education institutions across the country for their innovative educational contributions to engineering. Their fellowships will include funding for the advancement of specific projects within Wake Forest’s Department of Engineering in order to further their contributions to engineering pedagogy and entrepreneurial engineering mindsets. 

For Dr. Henslee, engineering’s foundation coincides well with an entrepreneurial mindset as KEEN’s 3Cs of EM: Curiosity, Connections, and Creating Value are “already such a fundamental part of engineering problem solving and engineering design.” She has been inspired by a workshop on entrepreneurial mindset enhancing research and hopes to incorporate these new skills into creative ways to lead her student research group. Dr. Henslee’s fellowship will center collaboration with the Center for Advancement of Teaching, WakerSpace, and colleagues on a character development project in order to investigate how course activities “enhance student self-efficacy and character development” with a hope that this project will result in a wider study of self-efficacy across Wake Forest. 

Dr. Lowman identifies that students approach engineering with “confidence and creativity” combined with “a strong foundation in problem-solving and an ability to learn from failure” when an entrepreneurial lens is applied. Inspired by a workshop on engaging students in co-constructive and collaborative modes of learning, her fellowship will focus on carefully developing curricular activities for a numerical methods course that provide this structure. Recognizing that personal connection and representation matter, Dr. Lowman will also highlight underrepresented individuals in STEM within these curricular activities; for example, one activity centers NASA’s Katherine Johnson and the problem she solved to calculate the trajectory of John Glenn’s capsule.

These projects are the manner in which Dr. Lowman and Dr. Henslee will continue to apply the teacher-scholar model to engineering curriculum. In addition to being granted funding for these initiatives, Dr. Lowman and Dr. Henslee also networked with faculty from other universities, attended workshops, and learned key principles in course design during the Engineering Unleashed Faculty Development Program. A full article highlighting their experiences can be found here: Wake Forest University College News