I have always been interested in helping individuals get a better understanding of content that they are learning. This has led to a desire to understand more about how people learn and how teaching methods can be modified or improved in order to better facilitate this process. I believe that students value my responsiveness and effort to make their learning experience as fun and effective as possible. In turn, I believe that my colleagues admire my desire to be creative and try different forms of active learning in the classroom with the goal to allow for a more personalized learning experience on the part of the students.

Preparing students

The department that I am a part of is really supportive and innovative in its approach to meeting demands of employers. One example of this is our recent addition of a three year “Product Innovation Sequence” that seeks to impart innovation and entrepreneurship skills to our chemical engineering students as part of their core curriculum. In addition, to the product design component of the course we have also introduced topics related to project management, leadership, teamwork, and communication which are all essential in the eyes of employers but not often specifically focused upon within core engineering classes.

Encouraging persistence

Recently, I have had a few of my student advisees approach me and mention that they were unsure whether engineering was the right career path for them. When they do this, I try to get an understanding of the bigger picture and what they are hoping to get out of a career. If it seems that they are still unsure about whether to stay or switch to a different major, I try to connect them with senior year engineering students that might be able to provide a student-based perspective for why they have decided to persevere in engineering. I think that providing students with additional support mechanisms can help make a difference in their experience and encourage them to persist through to the end of their program.

When mentoring students, I try to help guide development of skills that will be beneficial to them for every potential career path they might pursue (industry, government, academia, etc.). This means that I don’t just focus on technical capabilities but also the development of “soft skills” such as teamwork, communication, and leadership allowing them to develop into “complete engineers”.


Furthering engineering education research


I believe that I am fortunate in working in the area of engineering education research, since the research and teaching go hand in hand. As I learn more about what methods work best for reaching engineering students and helping them grasp difficult content areas, I can directly apply this within the classroom, which makes a better learning environment for everyone concerned. I feel that my strength in this area is a willingness to test learning pedagogies that are still under development. In particular, my research focus on the use of game based learning within the classroom has served me well in helping to engage students in the classroom setting and now I am using my research based skills to determine how this form of pedagogy can be used to improve student learning outcomes. 

Benefits of ASEE

I think that ASEE is a great resource for engineering educators. The ASEE website has many publications and links to material that can be useful when you are just getting started in the field and the Journal of Engineering Education is a great source of information for the latest studies and their detailed assessment and analysis. The best benefit of being in ASEE is the annual conference – it has provided me with wonderful opportunities to grow my network within engineering education and learn more about the variety of projects that faculty members across the nation and the globe are currently engaged in. Over the course of the four-day conference, you can learn about new techniques and studies in engineering education, build your own skills through participation in workshops, and develop new relationships that may lead to future collaborations.


About Cheryl Bodnar


Outside of work I enjoy spending time with my family. During the summer, we will often go out for a game of mini-golf, whereas in the winter you can find us skating on the weekends. We also spend quite a bit of time playing board games and perhaps that is why I have developed such an interest in understanding the use of games within my research and classroom practices.

I have always been interested in helping individuals get a better understanding of content that they are learning. This has led to a desire to understand more about how people learn and how teaching methods can be modified or improved in order to better facilitate this process. I believe that students value my responsiveness and effort to make their learning experience as fun and effective as possible. In turn, I believe that my colleagues admire my desire to be creative and try different forms of active learning in the classroom with the goal to allow for a more personalized learning experience on the part of the students.

Preparing students

The department that I am a part of is really supportive and innovative in its approach to meeting demands of employers. One example of this is our recent addition of a three year “Product Innovation Sequence” that seeks to impart innovation and entrepreneurship skills to our chemical engineering students as part of their core curriculum. In addition, to the product design component of the course we have also introduced topics related to project management, leadership, teamwork, and communication which are all essential in the eyes of employers but not often specifically focused upon within core engineering classes.

Encouraging persistence

Recently, I have had a few of my student advisees approach me and mention that they were unsure whether engineering was the right career path for them. When they do this, I try to get an understanding of the bigger picture and what they are hoping to get out of a career. If it seems that they are still unsure about whether to stay or switch to a different major, I try to connect them with senior year engineering students that might be able to provide a student-based perspective for why they have decided to persevere in engineering. I think that providing students with additional support mechanisms can help make a difference in their experience and encourage them to persist through to the end of their program.

When mentoring students, I try to help guide development of skills that will be beneficial to them for every potential career path they might pursue (industry, government, academia, etc.). This means that I don’t just focus on technical capabilities but also the development of “soft skills” such as teamwork, communication, and leadership allowing them to develop into “complete engineers”.


Furthering engineering education research


I believe that I am fortunate in working in the area of engineering education research, since the research and teaching go hand in hand. As I learn more about what methods work best for reaching engineering students and helping them grasp difficult content areas, I can directly apply this within the classroom, which makes a better learning environment for everyone concerned. I feel that my strength in this area is a willingness to test learning pedagogies that are still under development. In particular, my research focus on the use of game based learning within the classroom has served me well in helping to engage students in the classroom setting and now I am using my research based skills to determine how this form of pedagogy can be used to improve student learning outcomes. 

Benefits of ASEE

I think that ASEE is a great resource for engineering educators. The ASEE website has many publications and links to material that can be useful when you are just getting started in the field and the Journal of Engineering Education is a great source of information for the latest studies and their detailed assessment and analysis. The best benefit of being in ASEE is the annual conference – it has provided me with wonderful opportunities to grow my network within engineering education and learn more about the variety of projects that faculty members across the nation and the globe are currently engaged in. Over the course of the four-day conference, you can learn about new techniques and studies in engineering education, build your own skills through participation in workshops, and develop new relationships that may lead to future collaborations.


About Cheryl Bodnar


Outside of work I enjoy spending time with my family. During the summer, we will often go out for a game of mini-golf, whereas in the winter you can find us skating on the weekends. We also spend quite a bit of time playing board games and perhaps that is why I have developed such an interest in understanding the use of games within my research and classroom practices.