The Charger Blog

Professor’s Commitment to Education Recognized by Leading Engineering Organization

Stephanie Gillespie, Ph.D., is passionate about creating meaningful learning opportunities for her students and for fellow educators. Her dedication has now been recognized by the American Society for Engineering Education.

October 28, 2020

By Renee Chmiel, Office of Marketing and Communications

Image of Stephanie Gillespie, Ph.D.
Stephanie Gillespie, Ph.D.

Stephanie Gillespie, Ph.D., had the opportunity last summer to attend a faculty development workshop designed to foster creativity and help faculty members integrate the makerspace and develop an entrepreneurial mindset into their courses. She has since expanded on the work she did as part of the workshop, and it has now been recognized by the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE).

Her “card,” a webpage on the platform that faculty and staff from across the country use to share materials they have created for student or faculty development to cultivate an entrepreneurial mindset in engineering majors, was one of dozens that were entered into the ASEE Best Card Competition. Dr. Gillespie’s card captured first place in the competition.

Image of Stephanie Gillepsie in the classroom.
Stephanie Gillespie, Ph.D.’s work has been recognized by the American Society for Engineering Education.

“I was both excited and honored,” said Dr. Gillespie, a lecturer and associate dean in the University’s Tagliatela College of Engineering. “By placing first, I hope this card will provide other instructors across the country with easy-to-use resources that will inspire curricular innovation.”

The ASEE Best Card Competition accompanied the 2020 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition. The cards were assessed on criteria such as clarity of content, interest, and quality of uploaded resources.

Image of engineering students load test project.
First-year engineering students learn to use a laser cutter and perform a load test.

Dr. Gillespie’s card, “Prototyping via Makerspace Training in First-Year Engineering,” is part of her efforts to reimagine the University’s “Introduction to Engineering” course. The card shares resources such as her lesson plans, course slides, and tips for teaching three different lessons using the University’s makerspace.

Over the past year, the final project for the course has been modified to an open-ended design challenge that, she hopes, better simulates the field of engineering as a whole. She is ensuring that students learn how to use the technology available in the makerspace, such as 3D printers and laser cutters, and have opportunities to apply these skills to what they are learning in the classroom.

“By the end of the semester, students have the skills they need to make a prototype integrating the various technologies into a single product,” she said. “I was able to share many of the specific course resources I had created that highlight how open-ended class activities promote curiosity, making connections and creating opportunities for our engineering students.”

Image of Goli Nossoni.
Goli Nossoni, Ph.D., is among the faculty members being trained to use and teach in the makerspace as a part of the Engineering Unleashed Fellowship grant.

Earlier this fall, Dr. Gillespie received a $10,000 grant as an Engineering Unleashed Fellow, enabling her to expand her initial project. The funding facilitates the purchase of supplies and the training of five University faculty members who teach the introductory engineering course.

“The recognition of this project – with regard to awards and funding – is going to benefit all of our first-year engineering students,” she said.