Teaching & Outreach



MAT E 418: Mechanical Behavior of Materials (Fall 2016, Fall 2017, Spring 2019, Spring 2020)

The course covers the mechanical behavior of ceramics, metals, polymers, and composites.  Relationships between materials processing and atomic aspects of elasticity, plasticity, fracture, and fatigue are introduced and analyzed.  Bio-inspired materials mechanics are also discussed with an emphasis on adhesion and fracture.

The bicycle is a great example of the mechanical behavior of materials, where nearly every major class of materials is utilized to make an integrated machine.  The mechanical response of these materials is critical to the overall function of the bicycle, and serves as a motivation for the class.


MAT E 351: Introduction to Polymer Materials (Fall 2017, Fall 2018, Fall 2019)

This course will introduce key concepts in polymeric materials such as synthesis, structure, and polymer properties.  Polymers are vital to many current and emerging technologies from coatings and electronics to biomedical and transportation applications and continued progress in polymer science and engineering will require an interdisciplinary approach with advances in chemistry, physics, and engineering.  This class introduces students to this exciting field by exploring questions such as: How do you synthesize a polymer with desired properties? What does a polymer chain look like in solution and how does this change if other polymer chains are present? Why do polymers flow under a constant applied stress when metals do not change significantly with time?  This class will explore these questions with interactive lectures, in-class team based problem solving, and a term project with a presentation and an engaging, informative, and stylized video for students to explore their favorite polymer.




Throughout my career, I have participated in numerous outreach activities with students, teachers, and the public.  One yearlong activity was supervising two groups of high school students working on research projects for the Massachusetts State Science Fair.  My involvement was strong and we used a combination of experiments at their high school, visits to our university, and interactive blogs to assist with experimental design and analysis.  Both groups were very successful, and one group received 1st place in the 2011 Massachusetts State Science Fair.  I additionally served as a science fair coach for underserved middle school students in the Pittsburgh area where I acted as an adviser to support their projects.

I have also been a mentor for 3M TWIST (Teachers Working in Science and Technology) where I supervised a high school physics teacher on a 6-week long project.  The teacher was energized by the research and she and I developed experiments that could be brought back to her high school classroom.  The teacher also prepared a poster that she presented at a symposium to share her work with other teachers and members of 3M’s community.

I believe in helping students understand scientific career options and sharing science with the public.  To support this I have volunteered in middle school classrooms as a 3M TECH mentor to broaden students’ understanding of STEM careers options.  I have additionally served as a SciTech volunteer in Pittsburgh to inspire a diverse audience of students and the public about science and engineering.




Women in Science and Engineering (WiSE) University Event.

Women in Science and Engineering (WiSE) University Event.

Science Bound Saturday morning activity with our soft robotic gripper systems.

The First robotics team Wave Droids, Team #13206, from Waverly-Shell Rock High School, Waverly, Iowa visited to learn about Soft Robotics. The team is sponsored by the IMSE Department at ISU.