Four Bagley faculty members selected for national symposium

November 1, 2012

STARKVILLE, Miss—Four Bagley College of Engineering faculty members are among a small group of educators selected for a national engineering symposium.

Islam El-adaway, Bryan Jones, Lesley Strawderman and Rani Sullivan attended the National Academy of Engineering’s fourth Frontiers of Engineering Education symposium held last month in Irvine, Calif.

The two and a half day event is designed to help early career faculty develop innovative approaches to education and implement those ideas in the classroom. This year’s symposium focused on advances in the context, curriculum and delivery of engineering education.

“We are thrilled to have young faculty who are dedicated to advancing the education we provide our students,” said Dean Sarah Rajala. “Being selected for this symposium not only highlights their standing in the field, but it ensures that the Bagley College will continue to be on the forefront of engineering education.”

Randy Atkins, a spokesperson from the National Academy of Engineering, said that participants are nominated by fellow engineers or deans and selected from a highly competitive pool of applicants.

Islam El-adaway is an assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering. He joined the faculty in 2008 after earning a doctoral degree from Iowa State University. He holds master’s and bachelor’s degrees in construction engineering from the American University in Cairo, Egypt. During his time at MSU he has earned both research and teaching awards from the university.

He is active in many outreach activities, using problem-based learning and learning-through-service to teach sustainable infrastructure systems and research ethics. El-adaway is also working to establish joint activities between Mississippi State and his alma mater in Cairo.

“The fact that four BCoE faculty were chosen for this symposium speaks very highly of the commitment of the college towards innovative engineering education,” El-adaway said. “I am humbled to be considered among the emerging generation of innovative engineering faculty and feel more determined to have a positive impact towards my institution, profession and society at large.”

Bryan Jones joined the electrical and computer engineering faculty in 2005. He holds a doctoral degree in electrical and computer engineering from Clemson University. He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in the same field Rice University. He is co-owner of three patents and was promoted to associate professor in 2011.

As a faculty member, Jones has twice earned the StatePride faculty award from the university. In addition serving as adviser to several senior design teams, he has been the faculty adviser to the university’s IEEE Southeastern Conference Student Hardware competition team for five years.

“I am excited to be given this opportunity to exchange ideas and find encouragement from others who love teaching, and to discover better ways to motivate and instruct our students,” Jones said.

Lesley Strawderman is an assistant professor in industrial and systems engineering and co-director of Mississippi State’s human systems engineering laboratory. She earned master’s and doctoral degrees in industrial engineering from Pennsylvania State University and a bachelor’s degree in the same field from Kansas State University. She is a member of the BCoE’s Academy of Distinguished Teachers.

Earlier this year, Strawderman became the undergraduate coordinator for the department of industrial and systems engineering. She also serves as adviser to the Institute of Industrial Engineers and the Freshman Engineering Student Council. She is the division chair of the Industrial Engineering Division of the American Society for Engineering Education, and is program chair-elect for the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Education Technical Group.

Strawderman said that the lessons learned at the symposium will help her further influence change within her department and the college. And she looks forward to using the knowledge and motivation gained at the conference to expand her involvement in the college’s programs.

Rani Warsi Sullivan is an associate professor in aerospace engineering. Prior to joining the faculty she spent 13 years as a researcher at the university’s Raspet Flight Research Laboratory. She graduated from Mississippi State with a bachelor’s in aerospace engineering, master’s in engineering mechanics and a doctoral degree in general engineering. She is a member of the BCoE’s Academy of Distinguished Teachers and a 2012 recipient of the Hearin Faculty Excellence Award.

In 2010 she earned a NASA Summer Faculty Fellowship at the Glenn Research Center in Ohio. She is active in outreach activities within the college including the Summer Bridge Program for minority freshmen. She also works with high school students to introduce the principles of engineering and encourage them to pursue careers in the field.

“I am committed to integrating education and research, with the aim of reaching students to inspire them with a passion for lifelong learning,” Sullivan said. “I look forward to enriching my educational and research programs by adapting new methods and technology learned at the symposium.”

Frontiers of Engineering Education is sponsored by John McDonnell and the McDonnell Family Foundation. The National Academy of Engineering was founded in 1964 and consists of more than 2,000 peer-elected members and associates. It is a private, independent, nonprofit institution that provides engineering leadership in service to the nation. For more information, visit