Ph.D., mechanical engineering, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

What I’m researching:
Sustainability in mechanical engineering. My main research is in discovering new ways to use biomaterials that are renewable and can be harvested in Pennsylvania, such as wood, hemp and flax.

What I’m excited about:
We talk about engineering as objective, but engineering is not objective at all. In my first-year class, we talk about what’s happening in the news and how it relates to engineering. Mechanical and electrical engineers could make a robot that would deliver food and water to people in need. To me this is obvious. We dig a little deeper: it turns out that ‘natural’ disasters have a lot to do with climate change, which has a lot to do with mining and manufacturing emissions. We start seeing that these things are all connected. That is where things get really interesting.

What you can expect from me:
When I was a college student I needed professors to be real people in the world, so I try to be real with students. I tell the truth, as I understand it, also knowing truth to be subjective. For example, one true thing is that as a teacher I am not an all-knowing being. I believe that they have as much to learn from one another as they have to learn from me, so we do a lot of small-group work.



Ph.D., civil engineering, Auburn University

What I’m focused on:
Concrete! As one of the most sustainable and widely used construction materials, any time spent focusing on concrete is time well spent. My primary focus is the behavior of concrete structures—with a particular attention to those aspects relevant to improving the design of buildings and bridges.

What I’m excited about:
Developing a new sensor to peer deeper into a previously under-explored area of concrete material behavior and, of course, teaching a course in structural load testing—AKA Crushing Things 101! While these topics both relate to the study of the deformational behavior of concrete, or other materials, under applied load, they also appeal to my inner childhood desire to knock down towers and crush things.

What you can expect of me:
An open door, an unparalleled enthusiasm for all things concrete, hands-on demonstrations, and innovative ideas in the classroom, laboratory, or on the construction site.