Purdue Engineering selects four Dean’s Teaching Fellows

A new faculty member must be prepared to juggle research, teaching, and service responsibilities. But how exactly do graduate students make the leap from trainee to leader in a classroom or lab?

The Purdue Engineering Dean’s Teaching Fellows program was established in 2020 to ensure that all College of Engineering graduate students have the opportunity to practice, establish and implement their own approaches to teaching undergraduates – before these graduate students go on the academic job search. The initiative is a partnership between the College of Engineering, Office of Graduate Education, Office of Undergraduate Education and Schools of Engineering in order to enrich the mentoring and teaching experiences of outstanding Engineering Ph.D. students who plan to pursue academic careers.

In addition to shadowing an exemplary faculty mentor and serving as a lead instructor of their own course, a novel part of the Dean’s Teaching Fellows program is the emphasis on technology. Each Dean’s Teaching fellow is awarded a $750 technology stipend in order to purchase a piece of equipment and employ in the classroom or lab. Dean’s Teaching Fellows are immersed in an engineering education course and training to master new pedagogies and instructional technology that have rapidly evolved in the pandemic era.

Applications were received and reviewed in fall 2021, leading to the selection of four Purdue Engineering graduate students as 2022 Dean’s Teaching Fellows:

Photo of Laura Cruz

Laura Cruz, Electrical and Computer Engineering
Dean's Teaching Fellowship Faculty Mentor:  Prof. Mahsa Ghasemi

" Being a Dean's teaching fellow allows me to explore teaching strategies while in the company of a mentor with experience in teaching. I am looking forward to learning, analyzing, and enjoying this unique and prestigious opportunity.


Photo of Danielle Winter Lay

Danielle Winter Lay, Agricultural and Biological Engineering
Dean's Teaching Fellowship Faculty Mentor: Prof. Sara McMillan

"I discovered my passion for mentoring and teaching undergraduate students during my time at Purdue. I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to continue growing as an educator with the support of the Dean's Teaching Fellowship.


Photo of Rajeev Sahay

Rajeev Sahay, Electrical and Computer Engineering
Dean's Teaching Fellowship Faculty Mentor: Prof. Qiang Qiu

"I am very excited to be a part of undergraduate teaching at Purdue. My passion for learning and teaching has been inspired by my interactions with excellent professors. Now, as a graduate student preparing for a career in academia, this fellowship provides an excellent opportunity for me to teach and influence undergraduate students through instruction and mentoring.


Danielle Wagner

Danielle Wagner, EPICS
Dean's Teaching Fellowship Faculty Mentor: Prof. William Oakes

"I am honored that the college is granting me this opportunity to absorb knowledge from Professor Oakes and looking forward to developing undergraduate critical thinkers as they grow interdisciplinary engineering skills.


The four graduate students selected this year have shown a strong commitment to mentoring, service and outreach. They are interested in a range of academic careers, from faculty positions at teaching-focused and primarily undergraduate institutions to Research (R1) institutions.

Graduate students interested in the Dean’s Teaching Fellowship should contact Stephen McBride (mcbrid44@purdue.edu). Further information about the 2023 Dean’s Teaching Fellowship application will be announced during the fall 2022 semester.

Writer: Jackie McDermott, jem@purdue.edu