SMU’s Caruth Institute for Engineering Education names Leanne Ketterlin-Geller director of K-12 STEM Initiatives

Leanne Ketterlin-GellerSMU’s Caruth Institute for Engineering Education has named Associate Professor Leanne Ketterlin-Geller as its new director of K-12 STEM Initiatives.

A faculty member in education policy and leadership and director of research in mathematics education in the Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development, Ketterlin-Geller will bring a cross-disciplinary focus to her new role with the Institute, housed in the University’s Lyle School of Engineering.

Ketterlin-Geller is an expert in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education, and her research focuses on mathematics education through instructional leadership principles and practices. Her new position will include working with the Caruth Institute’s Infinity Project, developing partnerships with area schools, working with Lyle engineering programs geared toward middle and high school students, and working with departments and faculty members to match their engineering expertise to K-12 outreach opportunities.

Ketterlin-Geller will work closely with Delores Etter, executive director of the Caruth Institute and TI Distinguished Chair in Engineering Education, as well as other faculty members from both schools to advance the K-12 STEM initiatives of the Institute.

“Professor Ketterlin-Geller’s extensive experience as a leader in STEM and K-12 education will bring much needed expertise in addressing the critical mission of the Caruth Institute,” Etter said. “Her role within the Simmons School of Education and Human Development will strengthen the necessary collaboration between our two schools.”

“The work that Dr. Ketterlin-Geller will direct is essential to our goal to increase the number and diversity of students with both the enthusiasm and knowledge to pursue the engineering careers that are necessary for the U.S. to compete in a global economy,” said Lyle Dean Marc Christensen. “This appointment demonstrates our commitment to the emerging collaborations between the Simmons School of Education and the Lyle School of Engineering. We look forward to what we can achieve together.”

“Through these Caruth Institute initiatives students will see the power of math in daily life – and engineering is where we really see this at work,” said Ketterlin-Geller. “We hope to develop engaging and interesting programs for both teachers and students that will help all students develop both confidence and competence in STEM fields. This collaboration presents an exciting opportunity to work across disciplines to help foster innovation in K-12 STEM education.”

A former high school science teacher, Ketterlin-Geller has served as principal investigator for federal, state, and locally funded research grants emphasizing the development of instructional materials and formative assessment procedures in mathematics. Much of her research is focused on supporting algebra readiness in elementary and middle school mathematics. She works closely with teachers and administrators to understand the application of measurement and assessment principles for making decisions in school settings. She publishes and delivers presentations on mathematics education, measurement and assessment as well as special education.

Ketterlin-Geller and Simmons School Dean David Chard are part of the national research team working on the George W. Bush Institute’s education initiative, Middle School Matters.

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Lyle School initiatives win Navy funding for STEM advocacy

Young students at Visioneering 2010The Office of Naval Research (ONR) has named two programs within SMU’s Caruth Institute for Engineering Education to receive grants of $100,000 each for their initiatives that cultivate student interest and participation in science, technology, engineering and math – collectively known as STEM education.

The winners, based in the Lyle School of Engineering, are Dianna McAtee for her “Designing a STEM Advocacy Education Kit” for The Infinity Project, and Lindsey Groark for her “STEM Advocacy Kit for STEM Web Portals,” which supports the Caruth Institute’s Kids Ahead program.

The two SMU entries were among 12 winners chosen from more than 125 entries in the ONR’s Sponsoring Scholars in Science challenge, which is designed to help expand the pipeline of future scientists and engineers for the naval workforce.

“We are delighted that the Office of Naval Research has recognized two different programs within our institute as being important partners in the drive to create more scientists and engineers,” said Delores Etter, director of the Caruth Institute for Engineering Education. “These awards will allow us to reach more students and educators than ever before.”

The Infinity Project was developed in 1999 by the Lyle School and Texas Instruments in partnership with the U.S. Department of Education, the National Science Foundation and others. The yearlong Infinity Project curriculum is being used by hundreds of middle schools, high schools, and colleges in 38 states and has impacted thousands of students – more than half of which have been women and minorities. The Infinity Project is aimed at closing the gap between the number of engineering graduates currently produced in the United States and the large need for high-quality engineering graduates in the near future.

The STEM Advocacy Education Kit for the Millennial Classroom funded by the ONR award will include professional development materials for practitioners and educators, curriculum and instructional text that can be incorporated into inquiry-based learning and enhanced exercises for individual and group activities. The kit also will include guided lesson plans and material lists for each activity and multimedia resources for those activities.

Activities are designed to spark the imagination of students through projects ranging from the construction of a functioning loud speaker to designing and building a prosthetic leg. Through hands-on experiments and general coursework, Infinity Project students see that the math and science they have been learning is applicable to real-world problems and a wide variety of STEM occupations.

Kids Ahead is a web-based resource for middle school children founded by Caruth Institute director Etter just over two years ago. Kids Ahead is designed to spark the interest and passion of middle school children by providing access to quality web-based content, activities, projects, events and information. Kids Ahead also seeks to provide parents, teachers, club leaders and STEM volunteers the resources they need to make STEM activities a central part of young people’s lives.

Kids Ahead activities are built around subjects like forensics, robotics and wind energy. For example, Kids Ahead activities teach young people how to make and play their own Pacman game, how to analyze and interpret a crime scene in “The Case of the Barefoot Burglar” and learn applications for alternative sources of energy in “PowerUp: The Game.”

Written by Kimberly Cobb

> Visit Kids Ahead online
> Learn more about The Infinity Project
> Visit the Caruth Institute for Engineering Education
> More on the Lyle School of Engineering’s K-12 programs

Students tackle global problems in Lyle School competition

Engineering studentsStudents will team up to solve problems ranging from hunger and poverty to climate change and disaster preparedness through a new annual design competition established by SMU’s Lyle School of Engineering.

The Innovation Competition, funded by Dallas-based Carr LLP, will bring together the thinkers, mentors, facilities and processes necessary for dynamic innovation needed to solve humanity’s problems. It will be hosted by the Caruth Institute for Engineering Education‘s Innovation Gymnasium – which is also home to the Lyle School’s Lockheed Martin Skunk Works® Lab in the Lyle School.

“Good ideas come from everywhere,” says Dr. Nathan Huntoon (’06), director of the Innovation Competition. “Each of us has unique experiences and perspectives on the world. These perspectives, more than technical understanding, can often provide the inspiration for ideas that change the world.

“With this competition we are hoping to solicit the good ideas from all our students, and then partner them with people who can help turn that idea into reality.”

Students from all fields of study at SMU are invited to enter the competition. The organizers have future plans to involve students at other colleges and universities.

The deadline for written proposals is April 5, 2010. The teams with the top 5 written proposals will be asked to make oral presentations on April 30, after which two finalists will be announced.

The top two proposals will receive $2,000 each to build a prototype. Engineering students will join each of the two competing teams and will work throughout the summer to build a prototype in the Innovation Gymnasium.

At the end of the summer, a panel of industry and academic judges will evaluate the final prototypes and award the winning team a $1,000 cash prize.

“The Lyle School challenges its students to explore practical innovation, or what we call applied creativity,” says Dean Geoffrey Orsak. “To teach innovation, we must be innovative ourselves, and strive to provide rich, challenging, and interactive experiences that stretch the boundaries of traditional education.”

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Learn more at the Innovation Competition homepage
Visit SMU’s Lyle School of Engineering online

Dept. of Defense adds $2 million for Lyle School camera research

PANOPTES concept artSMU research into smart, ultra-slim camera technology has won another $2 million in U.S. Department of Defense funding for 2010, which will allow electrical engineering professor Marc Christensen to explore emerging applications for his “high-tech eyes” for both homeland security and battlefield use.

The DoD has previously funded SMU’s Lyle School of Engineering for development, field-testing and technology transfer for a high-performance small camera system with military applications for small aerial drones and helmet cameras. The new allocation will bring DoD spending on the project to more than $5.5 million.

“This new money will allow us to explore its use for non-cooperative iris recognition systems for homeland security and other defense applications,” Christensen said. “And it will allow us to enhance the camera system to make it capable of active illumination so it can travel into dark places – like caves and urban areas.”

Christensen and a team of graduate and undergraduate students are developing a new generation of camera systems that produce sharp, clear images in a system as flat and as thin as a stack of two credit cards. The technology uses computers to link a series of small, overlapping images produced by dozens of tiny, mirrored lenses to achieve the kind of resolution previously restricted to cameras with large, heavy lenses. The system is called PANOPTES (Processing Arrays of Nyquist-limited Observations to Produce a Thin Electro-optic Sensor) after Greek mythological character Argus Panoptes – a giant sentry with a hundred eyes.

SMU was able to negotiate the additional funding, which President Obama recently approved as part of the Defense Appropriation Bill, with the help of U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison. Christensen will work with Delores Etter, a former Deputy Undersecretary of Defense who directs the Lyle School’s Caruth Institute for Engineering Education, to apply the technology to iris recognition systems used for identification purposes.

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More on the PANOPTES project from the SMU Reseach blog

Guildhall, Dedman Law host summit for video game industry

Games-Business-Law Summit logoVideo game industry leaders will share insights on evolving legal and business issues during the 2010 Games::Business::Law Summit, set for Jan. 27-28 in the Hillcrest Room of SMU’s Underwood Law Library.

Hosted by SMU’s Dedman School of Law, The Guildhall at SMU and The Center for American and International Law, Game::Business::Law will bring top game industry leaders, developers, publishers, lawyers, and members of the venture capital and financial industry from around the world to discuss current business trends and legal issues in the games industry.

Jay Cohen, president of development with Jerry Bruckheimer Games, will serve as the keynote speaker. SMU Law Dean John B. Attanasio and Guildhall Executive Director Peter Raad will provide opening remarks.

Conference officials have confirmed Gregory Short, executive chairman of Electronic Entertainment Design and Research, and Delores M. Etter, director of SMU’s Caruth Institute for Engineering Education, as featured speakers. Short’s talk, “Innovations in the Due Diligence Process for Funding and Greenlighting Games,” will be presented at lunch on Jan. 27. Etter will speak on “Innovation Using the Skunk Works Philosophy” at the Founders Dinner that evening, using three studies SMU students have recently conducted for the U.S. Marine Corps and Lockheed Martin.

Other scheduled speakers include:

  • Zack Karlsson, NAMCO BANDAI Games America, Inc.
  • Chris Charla, Foundation 9 Entertainment
  • Bob Loya, Activision Blizzard
  • Joe Minton, Digital Development Management
  • Roxanne Christ, Latham & Watkins, LLP
  • Keith Boesky, Boesky & Company
  • Stephanie O’Malley Deming, XLOC
  • Alex Marquez, Intel Capital
  • Andrew S. Ehmke, Haynes and Boone
  • Jennifer Archie, Latham & Watkins, LLP
  • Jason Kee, Entertainment Software Association
  • Shane McGee, Sonnenschein, Nath & Rosenthal, LLP
  • PJ Putnam, Gearbox Software

Mark Methenitis of The Vernon Law Group will facilitate a round-table discussion on the financial and legal crossroads of digital delivery with guest speakers Robin Bynoe, Charles Russell, LLP; Sean F. Kane, Kane & Associates LLC and Jeffrey A. Levenstam, Ernst & Young.

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Visit the Games::Business::Law Summit homepage

Former BOSE® Corp. president to give Skunk Works® Lecture Oct. 20

Sherwin GreenblattThe Caruth Institute for Engineering Education in SMU’s Lyle School of Engineering welcomes Sherwin Greenblatt, former president of the BOSE® Corporation, as guest speaker for the SMU/Lockheed Martin Skunk Works® Lecture Series at 3:30 p.m. Oct. 20 in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Theater.

An alumnus of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Greenblatt currently heads the MIT Venture Mentoring Service. His interests are in innovation and how to encourage people to be entrepreneurs.

Greenblatt was the first employee at Bose Corporation, according to MIT. As a project engineer, he worked on the early development of Bose® high-fidelity loudspeakers and related electronic systems. Before retiring in 2000, he held the positions of Chief Engineer, Director of Engineering, Executive Vice President and, for 15 years, President. He received his B.S. and M.S. degrees, both in Electrical Engineering, from MIT.

A reception will follow the lecture from 4:45 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. in the Embrey Engineering Building’s Huitt-Zollars Pavilion.

Navy award renamed in honor of SMU engineering professor

The U.S. Navy’s highest award for engineers and scientists has been officially named in honor of Delores M. Etter, TI Distinguished Chair in Engineering Education and director of SMU’s Caruth Institute for Engineering Education. The honor was announced in early June by John S. Thackrah, Acting Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition (RDA).

The Department of the Navy includes more than 35,000 scientists and engineers pursuing research, development, acquisition and sustainment. The Dr. Delores M. Etter Top Scientists and Engineers Award was established to honor those who reached superior technical achievements and to promote continued scientific and engineering excellence. Prior to joining SMU’s School of Engineering, Etter served as Assistant Secretary of the Navy for RDA.

Etter: “Truly proud” to be honored

$2 million TI gift endows new Caruth Institute director

Caruth Institute for Engineering Education Director Delores EtterDelores M. Etter – an engineer, scientist and innovative leader – will become the director of SMU’s Caruth Institute for Engineering Education and the Texas Instruments Distinguished Chair in Engineering Education on June 1. A former deputy under secretary of defense and assistant secretary of the U.S. Navy, Etter’s own career serves as a strong example for drawing young people into math, science and engineering careers they might otherwise have assumed were out of reach.

Etter, the Institute’s first director, is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE), the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), and the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE). The directorship and chair she will assume are made possible by a $2 million gift from the Texas Instruments Foundation.

“This new gift is yet another example of TI’s leadership in finding solutions to challenges in education,” says SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “With this endowment, the TI Foundation has enabled us to appoint a leader who brings with her extensive experience in education, public service and research – a combination that uniquely suits the goal of advancing engineering education.”

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$10.1 million gift will change the face of engineering education

turner-with-students-300.jpgAmerican engineering education is about to get a Texas-sized boost. A $10.1 million gift from the W.W. Caruth Jr. Foundation at Communities Foundation of Texas – the single largest gift ever received by SMU’s School of Engineering – will help the United States compete globally in engineering and technology by preparing students to excel in these fields.

The gift directs $5.1 million to establish and endow the Caruth Institute for Engineering Education at SMU and $5 million toward a new building on the site of the original Caruth Hall, the historic home of SMU’s School of Engineering since 1948.

Conrad High School students in classroom“As we approach our centennial celebration, it is fitting that the Caruth name is once again linked with SMU, because the Caruth family made the original gift of land that helped to assure the University’s location in Dallas,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “Now, nearly a century later, this generous new gift … will enable SMU to make Dallas a national center for innovative engineering education and serve as a critical educational asset for North Texas.”Read more from SMU News.

(Left, top, President Turner and the podium party are joined by students from Dallas’ Emmett J. Conrad High School; bottom, Conrad students attend a presentation in an engineering classroom.)