April 24, 2012
The American Society for Engineering Education has honored Maria Oden (BSE '89, MSE '91, PhD '94) , Professor in the Practice of Engineering Education at Rice University, with its prestigious 2012 Fred Merryfield Design Award.
After her third graduation from Tulane, Dr. Oden worked in orthopedic biomechanics and computational modeling as a senior research associate at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. She joined the Department of Bioengineering at Rice as a lecturer and laboratory coordinator in 2004, and guides the technical design efforts of undergraduates participating in Beyond Traditional Borders and Global Health Technologies. She has developed and taught a two-semester Bioengineering Capstone Design course sequence, mentoring more than160 students in 43 design teams.
In 2008, Oden became the inaugural director of the Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen, where she has inspired hundreds of students to work in teams of four or five to complete design challenge projects. More than 15 teams have won regional and national awards at design competitions, several of their devices are being tested in the U.S. and abroad, and 15 students have graduated with patent applications on their resume.
“Maria has an incredible flair for inspiring and guiding students to solve design challenges that are ‘real world’. The teams often end up morphing the challenge and coming up with workable prototypes, some of which result in filing of intellectual property disclosures and even the occasional student-led start-up that solves the original real-world problem,” said Edwin “Ned” Thomas, the William and Stephanie Sick Dean of Engineering at Rice University.
The Fred Merryfield Design Award is presented annually in recognition of “creativity and demonstrated excellence in the teaching of engineering design.” It comes with a $2,500 honorarium, a $500 stipend for travel to the ASEE annual conference and a commemorative plaque. Oden’s department will also be given an award of $500.
On June 13, Oden will receive her award at the 2012 ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition in San Antonio.
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