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Engineering Professor Named One of Most Innovative

Stella Quiñones, Ph.D
Stella Quiñones, Ph.D
Stella Quiñones, Ph.D., associate professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at The University of Texas at El Paso, has been keeping herself busy. In addition to being named one of the recipients of the 2010 Board of Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Awards, she also was named among 53 of the nation’s most innovative young engineering educators.

Her achievements will be recognized at this year’s second annual Frontiers of Engineering Education (FOEE) symposium.

“I’m hoping that during my time [at the symposium], my colleagues and myself come up with some fresh and exciting new ideas for how we approach education in our field,” Quiñones said.

The two-and-a-half-day symposium, scheduled for Dec. 13–18 in Irvine, Calif., will provide an opportunity for engineers and engineering educators to share ideas, learn from research and best practices in education, and leave with a charter to bring about improvement in their home institutions.

“The FOEE program creates a unique venue for engineering faculty members to share and explore interesting and effective innovations in teaching and learning,” said Charles M. Vest, president of the National Academy of Engineering.

This year’s program will focus on ways to ensure that students learn the engineering fundamentals, become familiar with the expanding knowledge base of new technology, and learn the skills necessary to be an effective engineer or engineering researcher.

“(Quiñones) is continuously improving her instructional methods as well as the overall curriculum in her department,” said Richard Schoephoerster, Ph.D, dean of the college of engineering. “The FOEE Symposium will be a great opportunity for her to network with other like-minded individuals, and to propel her career toward a major transformation of engineering education.”

One of Quiñones’ newest courses is “Applied Quantum Mechanics for Electrical Engineers,” taught for the first time in the spring 2010 semester. The objectives were to improve the learning experience of students taking quantum mechanics, and to boost retention and graduation rates.

Initial results indicated that students adapted well to the course design and benefitted from student-to-student interactions through workshops. In her final assessment, Quiñones determined that there was room for the addition of more advanced course material for the most motivated students.

“Every educator approaches teaching in a different way,” Quiñones said. “We have a wonderful opportunity [at the symposium] to be exchanging these ideas with some of the brightest minds in the country.”

Originally posted on News @ UTEP.