I am an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biological Systems Engineering and Science Literacy Specialist through Extension. I’m also the coordinator for the National Center for Agricultural Literacy. I teach undergraduate courses in biomedical engineering and engineering properties. However, my main focus is promoting science and engineering education in both formal and informal settings through my research and extension activities. One of my goals is to make science and engineering engaging and relevant by exposing people of all ages to the joys of exploration and problem solving while connecting science and engineering to their everyday lives.
What drew you to the University?:
There is something about living in Lincoln that makes you not want to leave! I spent several years here while completing my bachelors and master’s degrees at UNL before leaving to do my PhD in Kansas City. When the opportunity presented itself to move back to Lincoln I was thankful to get to move back to the city that had grown to feel like home. The positive, creative, team-oriented environment at UNL was an added bonus.
What aspect of working in an educational setting do you enjoy the most?:
I have the privilege of working with learners across the spectrum – from elementary students to college students to professional educators. I enjoy watching the light bulbs go on when a student finally understands a difficult concept. But what I really love is watching the power of knowledge transform how a person sees themselves – when a teacher realizes that she can teach engineering design to her students or a student realizes they can use information to solve a real world problem.
What are the most challenging and the most rewarding parts of your job?:
Watching students grow and develop is definitely rewarding. College provides a unique opportunity of rapidly increasing knowledge combined with new experiences and leadership opportunities. This combination helps students better understand themselves. I enjoy talking with students and helping them process as they are discovering their passions and abilities.
One of the challenging aspects of my job is balancing my time and effort. I could easily spend all of my time working on outreach programs, or visiting educators across the state, or preparing for classes, or meeting with students, or many other valuable opportunities. It is challenging to say no to opportunities and only choose those that are most meaningful.
What is something that most people don’t know about you?:
I took figure skating lessons starting in kindergarten through my senior year of high school. I never competed, but I did perform in a yearly ice show.
What is your life like outside of work?:
My husband and I bought a house this fall – so that has been taking up a lot of our time! When we’re not so distracted - I love bringing together groups of people to eat dinner, share stories and play games. Anything I can do to build community and develop real authentic relationships. I also play piano for a band at my church and enjoy spending time outside.
Do you have any advice for current or prospective students?:
Get involved! Talk with your professors and staff to take advantage of the community in our department and across campus. Volunteer to help with outreach activities. College is a unique time in life. The variety of opportunities to try new things and meet new people that are available during this time are unique – take advantage of them!