About Us

The RIME Collaborative is led by Dr. Rachel Louis Kajfez, an Associate Professor in the Department of Engineering Education (EED) at The Ohio State University (OSU). We are currently composed of graduate and undergraduate researchers spread across a variety of departments and research projects. Below are short bios for our members along with their contact information. If you have questions about our work and would like to connect, please email us!

CURRENT MEMBERS

Dr. Rachel Louis Kajfez, Principle InvestigatorImage of Dr. Rachel Kajfez

Dr. Rachel Louis Kajfez is an Associate Professor and the Associate Chair for Graduate Studies and Research Infrastrucure in the Department of Engineering Education at The Ohio State University. She is also the Assistant Vice President for Talent and Team Development in the Office of Knowledge Enterprise which is part of the Enterprise for Research, Innovation and Knowledge. She earned her B.S. and M.S. degrees in Civil Engineering from Ohio State and earned her Ph.D. in Engineering Education from Virginia Tech. Her research interests focus on the intersection between motivation and identity, first-year engineering programs, mixed methods research, and innovative approaches to teaching. Her ultimate career goal is to enable academic success for all (students to faculty) through strategic, innovative, and learner-centered action. If you are considering working with Dr. Kajfez, be sure to read this.

 

Image of Meg West

Meg West, PhD Candidate

Meg West (west.753@osu.edu) is a PhD candidate in the Department of Engineering Education. She earned her B.S. and M.S. in civil engineering from the Ohio State University. She is currently a full-time Engineering Education Consultant serving the Kern Family Foundation in their Engineering Unleashed Faculty Development initiative. Her research interests include K-12 engineering education implementation specifically the engineering teaching education K-12 teachers receive.

 

Image of Amanda Singer NaultAmanda Singer Nault, PhD Candidate

Amanda Singer (singer.334@osu.edu) is a PhD Candidate in the Engineering Education PhD program currently serving as a graduate teaching associate for the first-year engineering program. Prior to attending OSU, she earned her B.S. and M.S. in Environmental Engineering from Michigan Technological University. Her research interests include support systems for first-year engineering students, the regional campus student experience, and mixed methods research.

 

Image of Sherri Youssef Sherri Youssef, PhD Candidate

Sherri Youssef (youssef.28@osu.edu) is a graduate student in the Engineering Education PhD program. She completed her M.S. in Mechanical Engineering and B.S. in Materials Science and Engineering here at Ohio State. She worked as a Graduate Teaching Associate and Graduate Research Associate in the EED while completing her Masters. Her research interests include student motivation in the second and and third year of undergraduate engineering education and the impact of the engineering discipline on student motivation.

 

Image of Carter HuberCarter Huber, Graduate Student

Carter Huber (huber.557@osu.edu) is a graduate student in the Engineering Education PhD program. In addition, he is pursuing an MS in Mechanical Engineering and a Graduate Interdisciplinary Specialization in Disability Studies. He completed his BS in Mechanical Engineering and his MEd in Counseling and Human Resource Development at South Dakota State University (SDSU). Prior to beginning at Ohio State, Carter served as a Professional Academic Advisor at SDSU. Currently, Carter works as a Graduate Teaching Associate for the first-year engineering program. His research interests include engineering students placed on academic probation, engineering educational development, and disability studies in engineering education.

 

Image of Shuyu WangShuyu Wang, Graduate Student

Shuyu Wang (wang.17317@ous.edu) is a graduate student in the Engineering Education PhD program. She completed her BS and MS in Mechatronics Engineering Technology with a second concentration in Industrial Engineering Technology at Purdue University Northwest. Before beginning at Ohio State, she served as a Consultant and Instructor for an ESL Program at Study B.A.E. Scholars in China. Currently, she is a Graduate Research Associate for the Research on Identity and Motivation in Engineering (RIME) Collaborative. Her research interests include mixed methods research, engineering students’ motivation, and the integration of transdisciplinary concepts and engineering.

 

Former Members and Graduate Alumni:

 

Image of Dr. Tyler MilburnDr. Tyler Milburn

Tyler Milburn (milburn.30@osu.edu) currently serves as an instructor for the Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Virginia Tech. Dr. Milburn completed his PhD in Engineering Education at Ohio State in the Summer of 2023.  During his time at OSU he served as a Graduate Teaching Associate for the first-year engineering program and as a Graduate Research Associate on the KEEN grant. He has both his B.S. and M.S. from Ohio State in Electrical Engineering. His research interests include first-generation college students, selection of engineering majors, and engineering student retention.

 

Image of Dr. Meagan ItaDr. Meagan Ita

Dr. Meagan Ita (ita.4@osu.edu) is currently a research scientist at Arvinas working to develop disease modifying therapies for neurodegenerative diseases. She was previously a Postdoctoral Scholar in the Department of Engineering Education, working with the partnership between KEEN and The Ohio State University. She earned her B.S. and M.S. in Biomedical Engineering from OSU and her Ph.D. in Bioengineering at the University of Pennsylvania. Meagan conducted research on the biomechanics and physiology of chronic pain for her doctorate degree and has experience teaching first-year engineering and mid-level biomechanics courses. Meagan’s long-term career vision is innovate community-driven engineering solutions at the intersection of healthcare and STEM that will promote sustainable lifestyles and extend healthspan.

 

Image of Dr. Cassie Wallwey

Dr. Cassie Wallwey

Cassie Wallwey (cwallwey@vt.edu) currently serves as a Collegiate Assistant Professor in the Department of Engineering Education at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, VA. Dr. Wallwey completed her PhD in Engineering Education at Ohio State in Spring 2022. Prior to Ohio State, Cassie earned her B.S. and M.S. in Biomedical Engineering from Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio.  Her primary research interests and focus areas include feedback in engineering classrooms, engineering’s weed out culture, engineering student motivation, and faculty teaching development.

 

Image of Dr. Abigail ClarkDr. Abigail Clark

Abigail Clark (a-clark.5@onu.edu) is currently an Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Ohio Northern University. Dr. Clark earned her PhD in Engineering Education from OSU in 2021, her B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Ohio Northern University, and her M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from OSU.  Prior to coming to OSU, she spent several years working as a researcher at Battelle in Columbus, Ohio. Her research interests include engineering education in informal settings, P12 engineering education, and women’s experiences within the engineering field.

 

Image of Dr. Renee DesingDr. Renee Desing

Renee Desing (desing.3@osu.edu) is currently an Assistant Teaching professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Washington. Previously, Dr. Desing served as a Postdoctoral Scholar of engineering education at Ohio State and Oregon State University. Dr. Desing earned her PhD in Engineering Education from OSU in 2020, her B.S. in Industrial Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology, and her M.S. in Industrial Engineering and Operations Research from the Pennsylvania State University. Prior to OSU, Dr. Desing worked as a Managing Consultant for IBM Public Sector Advanced Analytics in Washington, DC. Her research interests focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion in engineering, particularly supporting professional women in engineering.

 

Image of Dr. Bailey BraatenDr. Bailey Braaten

Bailey Braaten (braaten.7@osu.edu) is currently a Lecturer in the Department of Engineering Education at OSU. Previously, Dr. Braaten was a Postdoctoral Scholar in the EED as a member of RIME. She earned her Ph.D. in STEM Education from OSU’s College of Education and Human Ecology, M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Cincinnati, and B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Ohio Northern University. Bailey has a background in teaching high school mathematics, in addition to her experience in mechanical engineering. Her research interests focus on student identity in relation to STEM subjects, particularly mathematics, and how this informs students’ participation in engineering majors and careers. Through her work, she aims to increase participation of and support for underrepresented students in engineering.

Image of Renee PelanRenee Pelan

Renee Rigrish Pelan (pelan.5@osu.edu) is currently the Program Manager, Diversity Inclusion and Outreach, in OSU’s College of Engineering. While a member of RIME, she worked on the AISL grant as a Graduate Research Associate under Dr. Rachel Louis Kajfez. She holds an M.S. degree in Industrial & Human Factors Engineering and a B.S. in Industrial & Systems Engineering from Wright State University. Her research interests include diversity in engineering, teaching methods, and informal learning environments.

 

Affiliate Members and Friends of RIME: 

Dr. Michelle Soledad – Collegiate Assistant Professor in the Department of Engineering Education at Virginia Tech (soledadmm@vt.edu)

Dr. Alison Polasik – Associate Professor of Materials Science & Engineering at Campbell University (polasik@campbell.edu)

Undergraduate Alumni: Anne McAlister, Teresa Porter, Karina Sobieraj, Jane Petrie, Ana Doty, Amber Dyche, Valencia Nguyen, Nicholas Cheong