Mara H. Wasburn Early Engineering Educator Grant

Mara H. Wasburn Award

The Women in Engineering Division (WIED) of the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) will award grants to travel to the 2023 ASEE Annual Conference as part of its Mara H. Wasburn Early Engineering Educator Grant program. Each grant consists of reimbursement of receipted registration, travel, food, and accommodation expenses up to a maximum of $2,000. The 2023 award was supported by Michigan Technological University’s College of Engineering.

Grant recipients are expected to attend the full duration of the conference, including the WIED Business Lunch and Reception, and one WIED-sponsored workshop.

In 2010, the Women in Engineering Division (WIED) of the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) initiated the Apprentice Educator Grant (AEG) program to provide a $2,000 travel grant to the ASEE Annual Conference. In 2011, the award was renamed the Mara H. Wasburn Early Educator Grant (EEEG) in honor of Dr. Wasburn, whose passion for encouraging young female engineering educators was renowned.

Dr. Mara H. Wasburn (22 February 1941 – 27 March 2011) was a professor in the Department of Organizational Leadership and Supervision at Purdue University and her work on mentoring is recognized worldwide. Her mentoring model, Strategic Collaboration, was copyrighted and has been applied to both business and academic environments internationally. She was very active in ASEE, particularly WIED; and in return, we honor her commitment to mentoring and the academic advancement of women in technology and engineering.

The Mara H. Wasburn EEEG is awarded to a woman planning to pursue a career in engineering education, who has a demonstrated commitment to innovation in teaching and/or potential for substantial contributions to the field. Eligible women include:  graduate students, post-docs, lecturers, research associates, and also non-tenure track faculty. Tenure-track women faculty who were not more than three years into their first faculty position are also eligible.

Learn more about past EEEG winners here.

 What are the goals of the program?

  • To recognize and support women at the entry/launch point of their engineering education career who have the potential to contribute to the engineering education community and support the mission of WIED.

 Who is eligible?

  • Women planning to pursue a career in engineering education, who have a demonstrated commitment to innovation in teaching; and/or potential for substantial contributions to the field; and a demonstrated interest in advancing women in engineering. The nominee does not need to be a member of ASEE.
  • Eligible women are graduate students, post-docs, lecturers, and research associates.  Tenure-track and non-tenure track women faculty who are not more than three years into their first faculty position are also eligible.

 How do you apply?

  • Candidates can either be self-nominated or nominated by an advisor, mentor, supervisor, or colleague.
  • Nominees should complete a nomination packet as described below and submit to the WIED Director of Awards, Jessica Perez at: Please use the subject line “EEEG Nomination.” PLEASE ONLY SUBMIT ONE COMPILED FILE WITH ALL MATERIALS. Submission of pdf files is preferred, but Word files will also be accepted.

 What Does the Nomination Packet Include?

  1. Nomination Materials (up to 2 pages)
    1. Nominee information – name/address/phone/e-mail address
    2. Nominator information – name/address/phone/ e-mail address
    3. Nominee Education – degree(s), institution(s), major(s), date(s) and thesis/dissertation title(s), if applicable
    4. Description of activities related to advancing women and girls in engineering (K-workforce)
    5. Awards and honors
    6. Teaching and course development activities
    7. Other instructional innovations or educational research
    8. Research activities/presentations
    9. List of refereed publications
    10. Signatures of nominee and nominator with dates (signatures may be electronic)
  2. Statement of the nominee’s teaching philosophy including how they have applied current engineering education research to their teaching (1 page)
  3. Statement of the nominee’s career goals, and interest related to increasing access, retention and advancement of women in engineering (up to 2 pages)
  4. One letter of recommendation from a teaching mentor (up to 2 pages)
    *Please note that page limits are strictly enforced

 How Are Nominations Evaluated?

  • Nominees are evaluated on:  a) record of achievement, b) current contributions and potential for future contributions to engineering education, and c) demonstrated commitment increasing access, retention and/or advancement of women in engineering.

Suggestions for EEEG Nominations
Successful nominations will:

  • Focus on evidence of commitment to and potential for future contributions to the profession of engineering education in both the nominee’s statements and letters of recommendation.
  • Give details and examples throughout their teaching philosophy, statement of career goals and letters of recommendation, such as:
    • Descriptions of experiences in engineering education that demonstrate the potential for the nominee’s future contributions to the profession. Include specifics that demonstrate interest in advancing women in engineering.
    • Specific teaching strategies, primary objectives, and evidence that teaching development is important (for instance, attending engineering education conferences or trying innovative teaching techniques).
  • Provide a letter of recommendation that focuses on the nominee’s potential contributions to the engineering education profession and to women in engineering. Letters that characterize qualities of the nominee that directly relate to the grant objectives are particularly useful.

 When Is the Deadline?

  • Nomination packets are due April 15, 2023 to the ASEE WIED Director of Awards. All nominations are acknowledged via email. Winners of the Mara H. Wasburn Early Engineering Educator Grant awards are expected to be determined in mid-March prior to the annual conference and each applicant will be notified by email of their status at that time.


  • Contact Jessica Perez, Director of Awards, ASEE WIED


Award History


Sponsored by Michigan Technological University’s College of Engineering

Faculty Awardee

  • Dr. Susan Sajadi (Virginia Tech)


Faculty Awardee

  • Dr. Holly Golecki (University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign)


Faculty Awardees
  • Dr. Nicole Johnson-Glauch (California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo)
  • Dr. Pamela Judge (Roger Williams University
  • Dr. Gabrielle Lam (University of British Columbia)
  • Dr. Jeremy Waisome (University of Florida)
Student Awardees
  • Sarah Lilly
  • Sabina Schill


Faculty Awardees
  • Dr. Rachel Childers (The Ohio State University)
  • Dr. Catherine McGough (Minnesota State University)
  • Dr. Anna Tarakanova (University of Connecticut)
Student Awardees
  • Erica Comber (Carnegie Mellon University)
  • Megan Levis (University of Notre Dame)
  • Amanda Johnston (Purdue University)


Dr. Alison Wood from Olin College of Engineering and Dr. Leanne Gilbertson from University of Pittsburgh

Dr. Alison Wood’s activities aim at advancing women and girls as well as other groups currently underrepresented in engineering.  Within Olin, her service has focused on increased accessibility; improved experience for students facing challenges, including imposter syndrome and other gendered dynamics; and broadening our understanding of what “engineering” means in ways that help women feel more included and invested.

Dr. Leanne Gilbertson has brought her initial career as a Chemistry teacher to create a new environment for Pitt engineering students. Given her background in science education pedagogy, she has actively engaged in the activities and research in the Engineering Education Research Center (EERC) and has successfully incorporated design thinking and active learning into engineering education.

Julie Rorrer from UC Berkeley and Elizabeth Spingola from Virginia Tech

Julie Rorrer is a Ph.D. Candidate in Chemical Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley.  She devotes time to support fellow students, especially women, and has worked to create a more inclusive environment through a department survey on climate around diversity and inclusion, mechanisms for addressing issues with reporting sexual harassment, and improved retention of female students in the department.

Elizabeth Spingola is a Ph.D. Candidate in Engineering Education at Virginia Tech.  She is particularly interested in studying factors within engineering programs of study that may dissuade students with disabilities from pursuing engineering or persisting in engineering, including the impact of motivation to study and remain in engineering as well as individual efficacy as framed by social community.


Dr. Dimitra Michalaka from The Citadel and Mona Eskandari from Stanford University

Dr. Dimitra Michalaka is an Assistant Professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering at The Citadel, Charlseton. She has participated in numerous activities related to advancing women and girls in engineering from K-12 to college-level. She has been a Faculty Advisor, Organizing Chair, Organizing Member & Volunteer for events related to education and advancing women.

Mona Eskandari is a Ph.D student at Stanford University. In addition to her research in understanding the mechanics of chronic lung disease, Ms. Eskandari has been involved with activities related to advancing women & under-represented groups including Advisor to undergraduate students, Project Manager for start-up summer camp, Summer Mentor for graduate students, Girls Scouts Counselor and Communications Chair for a Women’s Leadership Conference.


Kaitlin Engle Mallouk from Rowan University and Dr. Mary Katherine Watson from The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina

Kaitlin Engle Mallouk is an instructor in Department of Mechanical Engineering at Rowan University. She has been in this position since August 2013. Prior to this she was a Biomedical Engineer at Merck & Co, Inc, West Point, PA. She is passionate about teaching and has taught senior-level courses as part of a competitive teaching excellence fellowship at the University of Illinois. She was also the recipient of the prestigious National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Award, which is an extremely competitive award. She has an M.S in Environmental Engineering from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and a B.S in chemical engineering from Cornell University.  Her Ph.D research work at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign has been primarily focused on the capture and recovery of organic gases with electrothermal swing adsorption.  She expects to receive her Ph.D this summer (Summer 2014).

Dr. Mary Katherine Watson is an Assistant Professor in Civil & Environmental Engineering at The Citadel – The Military College of South Carolina. She has been in this position since August 2013. She has a Ph.D in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology, an Master of Science in Environmental Engineering also from Georgia Institute of Technology, a second Master of Science in Biosystems Engineering from Clemson University, and a Bachelor of Science in Biosystems Engineering from Clemson University. Her research and professional interests are in sustainable engineering and environmental engineering.


Jennifer Wang from UC Berkeley and Dr. Elise Barrella from James Madison University

Jennifer Wang is a Ph.D. student at UC Berkeley. She received her bachelor’s degree from UC Berkeley in electrical engineering and computer sciences and anticipates receiving her doctorate later this year from UC Berkeley’s Studies in Engineering, Mathematics and Science Education.  Jennifer received the Graduate Scholar Award at the Sixth International Conference on Design Principles and Practices in 2012. Active in outreach activities to increase awareness about engineering at the pre-college level, Jennifer served as president of the Association of Women in EE and CS as an undergrad.  Currently, Jennifer’s dissertation research seeks to promote accessible engineering projects as a means to improve diversity in engineering.

Dr. Elise Barrella is an Assistant Professor of Engineering at James Madison University. Elise did her undergraduate work at Bucknell University and received her doctorate in civil engineering at Georgia Tech in 2012, focusing on sustainable transportation systems. Effective and innovative teaching has always been a priority for Dr. Barrella, receiving an award for Outstanding Graduate Instructor at Georgia Tech and continuing to explore and implement productive pedagogical techniques in her classroom. Elise has taken on lead roles related to activities that encourage young women to pursue engineering studies, particularly middle school students with programs such as Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day, Georgia Tech’s TEC Camp and Thomas Harrison Middle School STEM Explorations Academy.  Through her affiliation with Georgia Tech ADVANCE, Dr. Barrella looks forward to fostering an environment at JMU that promotes success for women students and faculty.


Rachel Louis and Dr. Katerina Bagiata

Rachel Louis is a graduate student at Virginia Tech and plans to complete her PhD in engineering education in May 2013. Rachel was named a Dean’s Teaching Fellow (DTF) at Virginia Tech and serves as an ambassador of the Department of Engineering Education, promoting the department at local and national events. She is Secretary of ASEE’s student chapter at Virginia Tech, and a Founding member of The Ohio State University’s ASEE student chapter. As a master’s student in civil engineering at Ohio State, she received the Women in Engineering Leadership Award. Rachel has co-authored a number of publications, and looks forward to pursuing a career as a faculty member. She is particularly enthusiastic about teaching in a first-year engineering program.

Dr. Aikaterini (Katerina) Bagiati, is a postdoctoral associate at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Katerina coordinates curriculum development for the SUTD-MIT International Design Centre (IDC) related to content and accreditation issues. The IDC is a joint research project of MIT and the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD). About 200 to 300 IDC faculty researchers and students from both universities work together to address issues facing the world by revolutionizing research on design science, and by designing devices, systems and services. Katerina received her PhD in engineering education from Purdue University in 2011, and a Master of Science in advanced information and communication systems in electrical and computer engineering from Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece. Her dissertation, journal articles and conference proceedings focus on STEM curriculum in early education. Katerina speaks five languages: Greek, English, German, Spanish and Italian.


Stephanie Claussen and Dr. Sara Atwood

Stephanie Claussen is a Ph.D. student at Stanford University and plans to complete her Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering in September 2011 with a Ph.D. minor in education. Stephanie has served as a teaching assistant in two quarters and co-taught a course in Summer 2010 as a teaching fellow. She has also received a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. Stephanie and other P.D. students established a student chapter of ASEE at Stanford. She is currently Vice President of Records for the ASEE Student Chapter. Stephanie is a member of the Stanford Women in Electrical Engineering group and volunteers as a Big Sister to a first-year, female graduate student. She has also worked with the Stanford Optical Society of America student chapter, focusing on outreach by serving as the Outreach Chair.

Dr. Sara Atwood received her Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering at UC Berkeley in May 2010 and is currently an assistant professor at Elizabethtown College. While at Berkeley, she was a graduate teaching assistant and received the Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor Award in 2009. She led workshops for new graduate student instructor training in 2008 and 2009 and was selected as a fellow in the Summer Institute For Preparing Future Faculty. Sara also coordinated an outreach program between undergraduates and the local children’s science museum to teach engineering concepts to the public community and served on the Berkeley ME Department Committee for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. In addition to her research in biomaterials, she has presented several engineering education papers at ASEE Conferences in the areas of student-faculty interaction, team learning styles, and K-12 outreach.


Dr. Kim Bigelow

Dr. Kim Bigelow received her Ph.D. from Ohio State University in 2008 and is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at University of Dayton. She is the Director of the Biomechanical Engineering Laboratory and teaches courses in Engineering Experimentation, Freshmen Design, and Biomechanical Engineering. Her engineering education research interests include: Retention of Women and Minorities, Technical Communications, Use of Reflection to Enhance Student Learning, and Undergraduate Research Experiences. Kim has received grants from Motorola and NSF to develop engineering modules for middle sch