12|2012 Professional Certificate in Sustainable Design from Minneapolis College of Art and Design, Minneapolis, MN
8|2006 Ph.D., Mechanical Engineering from California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA
6|2002 M.S., Mechanical Engineering from California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA
6|2001 S.B., Ocean Engineering with a minor in Music from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, MA
I joined the faculty of the University of St. Thomas in the fall of 2006, where I am an Associate Professor in the School of Engineering, the Schulze School of Entrepreneurship, and the Opus College of Business. I am the founder and director of the Playful Learning Lab, through which I lead a team of students looking at the playful side of engineering, developing Squishy Circuits, the science of circus, and toy design curricula, as well as exploring ways to encourage children, of all ages, to embrace playful learning.
Alongside my colleagues, I founded and direct the University of St. Thomas Center for Engineering Education (CEE), where we develop and teach engineering courses for P-12 educators and conduct research on engineering at the pre-collegiate level. Additionally, I teach Engineering Graphics, Machine Design, Dynamics (with Circus Lab), Toy Design, Product Design for an Aging Population, and Brain Machine Interfaces (seminar).
I served as the Founding Executive Director of the Maker Education Initiative, where I established the national Maker Corps program and laid the groundwork for this nonprofit. Its mission is to “create more opportunities for young people to make, and, by making, build confidence, foster creativity, and spark interest in science, technology, engineering, math, the arts—and learning as a whole."
In the past, I worked on underwater robotics (at MIT, Caltech, and the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute), specializing in biologically inspired propulsion. In this effort, I consulted on projects ranging from the design/creation of a "musical earthquake-playing robot" to the initial research for a book on earthquakes in Los Angeles. At Caltech, I founded the Caltech Robotics Outreach Group (CROG) and the Caltech/JPL/LEGO Middle School Robotics Conference.
I live in St. Paul, Minnesota, with my husband and two daughters.
Other points of possible interest include ASEE North Midwest Section Outstanding Educator of the Year (2010), ID Magazine Annual Design Review "Design Distinction" (2009), amateur aerialist, National Academy of Engineering CASEE New Faculty Fellow (2008), P.E.O. National Scholar Award (2005-2006), juggler, National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship (2001-2004), painter, Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineerings Undergraduate Honor Paper Prize (2001), reader, Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers Undergraduate Scholarship (2001).