Always wanting to be a teacher who could bring practical experience to my classes, I began my career in industry. I worked for a television manufacturer and a submarine builder, and spent almost a decade at United Technologies doing research on jet engines, heating and cooling systems, and even some rocket engines.
I am passionate about helping students understand that struggle is not a sign of incapability. In fact, productive struggle is a necessary part of achieving their goals. I have become very interested in thinking about how we teach this kind of mindset to offer even more value to our students. I worked with Lafayette faculty on the Meta Mindset project to help students learn and practice the unavoidably uncomfortable process of taking on the unfamiliar. It helps students realize they bring more capability than they might otherwise think, and prepares them for challenges and opportunities they will undoubtedly face in their own lives and careers.
My research involves fluid mechanics, the study of how liquids and gasses move. Assisted by my research students, I do experiments in a water channel where we can use dyes, lasers, and cameras to record how fluids move around models, and use that data to understand how to make things like airplanes and jet engines more efficient.
I love working with students on my research because at Lafayette, we are partners. As an undergraduate only institution, I need my undergraduate assistants to support me as much as they need to learn from me and my research. I can’t do my research without my students.
Some students have worked with me for several years during their time at Lafayette, and it has been wonderful to watch them develop confidence in themselves and see possibilities for their future, like going to graduate school, that they didn’t imagine before.
My time at Lafayette has also widened my perspective, as it does for our students, and helped me connect with colleagues across campus. One example is a senior capstone project where engineering students worked with music majors and faculty to develop a new kind of analog synthesizer musical instrument. What the students developed was innovative enough to receive a patent. I am passionate about helping students see the value they bring to take on something new and difficult.
I came to Lafayette because our size and mission allow me to connect with my students and walk with them on their journeys of discovery, challenge, and achievement.
I enjoy helping the next generation find connections to their own passions and curiosity through engineering. For that reason, I have worked for many years with the Bethlehem Area Vocational-Technical School’s Academy for Applied Engineering, where high school students get a chance to explore some of the engineering disciplines and see how they can turn their imagination into reality.