Keynote and Workshops

Dr. Nicki Washington | Duke University

Dr. Nicki Washington

Dr. Nicki Washington is a professor of the practice of computer science at Duke University, the director of the NSF-funded Alliance for Identity-Inclusive Computing Education (AiiCE), and the author of Unapologetically Dope: Lessons for Black Women and Girls on Surviving and Thriving in the Tech Field. Her career in higher education began at Howard University as the first Black female faculty member in the Department of Computer Science. Her professional experience also includes Winthrop University, The Aerospace Corporation, and IBM. She is a graduate of Johnson C. Smith University (B.S., ‘00) and North Carolina State University (M.S., ’02; Ph.D., ’05), becoming the first Black woman to earn a Ph.D. in computer science at the university and 2019 Computer Science Hall of Fame Inductee. Her research interests include cultural competence and identity in computing. She is a native of Durham, NC.

Talk Title: What Have You (Not) Done?

Abdullah Konak Distinguished Professor of Information Sciences and Technology Penn State University,
Sadan Kulturel-KonakProfessor of Management Information SystemsPenn State University, BerksFlemming Creativity, Entrepreneurship and Economic Development (CEED)

Workshop 1 | Design Thinking for Teams

Innovation often means suggesting new products, services, solutions, and ideas that improve the status quo. Recently, we need innovation more than ever because of the complexity and scale of the economic, social, and environmental problems that we face in our modern society. Although creativity is one of the most basic human traits, it sometimes seems challenging to innovate. Innovation teams, especially in larger, established organizations, frequently fail to come up with innovative solutions. Research shows that a structured approach to innovation can improve the productivity and creativity of innovation teams. This workshop introduces several techniques that can help student innovation teams in finding (i) facts, (ii) new ideas, and (iii) creative solutions. These techniques are grounded in Design Thinking and combined with other creative problem-solving approaches that are usually taught in introductory-level entrepreneurship and engineering design classes. The application of these techniques in remote-learning settings will be demonstrated in an interactive workshop, and the participants of this workshop will practice ways to lead their innovation teams through a product development process.

Acknowledgment: National Science Foundation, Venture Well

Register in advance for this worshop:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Sarah Zappe Research Professor and Director of Assessment and Instructional Support.Leonhard Center for Enhancement of Engineering EducationPenn State
Stephanie CutlerAassociate Research Professor and Assessment and Instructional Support Specialist.Leonhard Center for Enhancement of Engineering EducationPenn State

Workshop 2 | A little note goes a long way: Communicating with students to develop community within your classroom

Since the spring of 2020, we have all spent more time at home than we ever thought we would. Throughout 2020 and 2021, many of our students and faculty have been working remotely with increased social isolation and distance from campus. As we continue to be challenged by the constraints of the COVID-19 pandemic, the importance of creating a community within our classrooms has become more and more important. This workshop focuses on how engineering instructors can create community in their course, regardless of their instructional approach (remote asynchronous or synchronous, face-to-face, or a hybrid format). During this workshop, participants learn about strategies to better promote empathy (within the classroom and among your students) and create a greater sense of community in classrooms. Specific topics to be covered will be 1) what is empathy and how to teach to promote empathy, 2) strategies to promote a sense of community in your classroom, regardless of the format, and 3) encouraging peers to have empathy for one another. The workshop will be held in a remote yet interactive format and will be led by faculty development experts from the Leonhard Center for the Enhancement of Engineering Education at Penn State. We look forward to talking with you on how small changes in your instructional approach can help students feel more at ease with the challenges of the times.

Targeted Audience: Any engineering instructor who teaches as well as post-docs or graduate students who hope to teach in the future

Anurag PurwarAssistant ProfessorDirector, Computer-Aided Design and Innovation Labanurag.purwar@stonybrook.eduStony Brook University

Workshop 3 | Scalable and Authentic Robotics and Design Innovation Education from Freshman to Graduate Level

For too long, a large majority of Engineering departments have sought to introduce Engineering concepts to Freshman students by creating watered-down, lecture-driven “Introduction to Engineering or XYZ” classes. However, in recent years, Engineering educators have mandated an introduction of design concepts, innovation, entrepreneurship, and projects early in a student's education, promote teamwork, and introduce modern engineering tools. The National Academy of Engineer's “The Engineer of 2020" report concludes that the passive, lecture-based instruction should be replaced or supplemented by active, integrated, project-based learning with significant design components. It is not uncommon to see various academic institutions introducing design and innovations early in the curriculum and emphasizing preparing and educating engineers who can excel in a creativity- and innovation-based economy.

The goal of this workshop is to introduce Engineering educators to a project-based Design Innovation and Robotics class offered at Stony Brook University, which was created with a Teaching Innovation grant from the State University of New York (SUNY). The class emphasizes learning STEM concepts in the context of robot design and is enabled by a set of videos made freely available on, text-book free course material, and open robot design project site. The class also uses a novel, modular, and low-cost robotics kit and a state-of-the-art software for design and prototyping of robot motions. The software is built upon the NSF-funded research in Mechanisms and Robotics. This workshop will demonstrate and provide a hand-on exposure to these novel tools and methodologies for providing authentic engineering design and robotics education to college students all the way from freshman level to graduate students.

Attendees will be expected to have access to an internet-connected computer with a modern browser, such as Chrome or Firefox for completing hands-on exercises.