NMSU faculty members selected to participate in National Academy of Engineering Symposium

Writer: Emilee Cantrell

Two New Mexico State University faculty members in the College of Engineering were selected to participate in the National Academy of Engineering’s fifth Frontiers of Engineering Education symposium in Irvine, Calif. in late Oct.

Assistant Professors of Engineering Technology Rolfe Josef Sassenfeld and Luke Nogales were selected from a competitive pool of applicants. Sassenfeld and Nogales will join 73 of the nation’s most innovative, young engineering educators at the symposium. Faculty members selected are developing and implementing innovative education approaches in a variety of engineering disciplines.

The selected faculty members will come together to share ideas, learn from research and best practices in education, and leave with a charter to bring improvement in their home institution.

Both Sassenfeld and Nogales said it was an honor to be chosen by the National Academy of Engineering to attend the symposium.

Sassenfeld will be presenting an innovative idea for engineering education during the symposium which involves teaching mobile app development to non-computer science engineering freshman. Students will use a development tool created by Google and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology called AppInventor. Using AppInventor, freshmen engineers will be able to work on interdisciplinary teams that produce actual working and marketable mobile applications in a short time. Students will also learn about working in engineering teams, meeting deadlines, project planning and technical refinement.

“I hope to enhance the freshmen learning experience in NMSU’s College of Engineering by returning with a refined, inventive and exciting educational program,” Sassenfeld said.

Nogales is going to bring an idea built around the notion that engineers like to build, but aren’t sure what to do next and how to sell what they have built. He wants to develop a class that blends a senior engineering capstone class with a methodology called the Lean LaunchPad, developed by Silicon Valley entrepreneur and educator Steve Blank. The Lean LaunchPad will give students the knowledge they need to move their idea into the market. While at the symposium, Nogales said he would like to get his peer’s perspectives on how he could start blending the Lean Launchpad with capstone classes.

“I’m going to be looking around for innovative ideas with regard to engineering education that we can bring to New Mexico State,” Nogales said.

Sassenfeld joined NMSU faculty in fall 2012. He earned his Ph.D. at the University of Texas at El Paso in computer engineering. Before joining NMSU he was a research assistant professor at UTEP and has held various positions at UTEP since 1991.  He has also held several positions in industry involved with computer technology. At UTEP he was co-PI on an NSF grant to develop the Bridge to Doctorate program. He has almost $2.5 million in research projects.

Nogales joined NMSU faculty in fall 2012.  In addition to teaching, he provides innovation and product development consulting services to a wide variety of companies in the region. He received his master’s degree from Northwestern University in product design and development and received his bachelor’s degree from NMSU in mechanical engineering technology. He was a senior product development researcher with Procter and Gamble before coming to NMSU. He also interned at General Motors and Sandia National Laboratories.

The NAE is a nonprofit institution that serves the nation through engineering leadership. The NAE is a member of the National Academies and has more than 2,000 peer-elected members who are among the world’s most accomplished engineers.

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