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Enhancing the Pedagogy of Bio-inspired Design in an Engineering Curriculum

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

August 28, 2016





Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session I

Tagged Topic

NSF Grantees Poster Session

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Paper Authors


Jacquelyn Kay Nagel James Madison University

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Dr. Jacquelyn K. Nagel is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Engineering at James Madison University. She has eight years of diversified engineering design experience, both in academia and industry, and has experienced engineering design in a range of contexts, including product design, bio-inspired design, electrical and control system design, manufacturing system design, and design for the factory floor. In 2012, Dr. Nagel was recognized by the National eWeek Foundation and IEEE-USA as one of the New Faces of Engineering for her pioneering work in bio-inspired design. In 2013, she attended the National Academy of Engineering's (NAE) fifth Frontiers of Engineering Education (FOEE) symposium where she was recognized as an innovative engineering educator. Dr. Nagel earned her Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from Oregon State University and her M.S. and B.S. in manufacturing engineering and electrical engineering, respectively, from the Missouri University of Science and Technology.

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Ramana Pidaparti University of Georgia

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Ramana Pidaparti, is currently a Professor of Mechanical Engineering at VCU. Dr. Pidaparti received his Ph.D. degree in Aeronautics & Astronautics from Purdue University, West Lafayette in 1989. In 2004, he joined the Virginia Commonwealth University as a Professor of Mechanical Engineering. He has taught previously at Purdue University campus in Indianapolis (IUPUI). He has taught several courses in design, mechanics of materials, optimization, and directed many interdisciplinary projects related to design. Dr. Pidaparti's research interests are in the broad areas of multi-disciplinary design, computational mechanics, nanotechnology, and related topics. Dr. Pidaparti has published over 250 technical papers in refereed journals and conference proceedings. Dr. Pidaparti received a Research Initiation Award from the National Science Foundation and the Young Investigator Award from the Whitaker Foundation. He is a member of Tau Beta Pi, Sigma Gamma Tau, and Who's Who societies. He is a member of professional societies including AIAA (Associate Fellow), AAAS (Fellow), ASME (Fellow), RAeS (Fellow), and ASEE (member). Dr. Pidaparti will move to University of Georgia in January 2014 as a professor of mechanical engineering.

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Christopher Stewart Rose James Madison University Orcid 16x16


Cheryl Lea Beverly James Madison University

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Cheryl Beverly is a Professor in the Learning, Technology and Leadership Education department in the College of Education. She has 12 years of K-12 teaching experience working with learners with high incidence disabilities in urban and rural high needs communities. Since entering Higher Education, Dr. Beverly has worked preparing teachers to provide access, opportunity, encouragement, engagement, and critical feedback to ideas, activities, people, spaces, and learning for diverse populations , providing professional development in leadership and inclusive education with international teachers, and developing models of cultural/global competence and study abroad programs. Central to Dr. Beverly's Her work is based on the interdisciplinary collaborations and the many interconnections of knowledge, meaning making, learning and teaching.

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In addition to providing the technical expertise required to solve 21st century problems, the engineers of 2020 will be expected to adapt to a continuously evolving environment while operating outside the limits of their discipline and remaining ethically grounded. Their undergraduate training must therefore be designed to nurture engineers to transcend traditional disciplinary boundaries, and to communicate, transfer knowledge, and collaborate across technical and non-technical boundaries. One approach to this challenge is to incorporate biomimicry or bio-inspired design into the engineering curriculum. Our research aims to create instructional resources that provide exposure to the abundance of design examples that can be found in nature, and scaffold the discovery and knowledge transfer processes so that those natural designs can be used to inspire engineering solutions. This research is expected to produce knowledge that will improve student learning, STEM literacy, cross-disciplinary thinking, and innovation. Bio-inspired design is also expected to enhance the diversity and inclusion of ideas, and to attract women and minority students with diverse backgrounds to pursue STEM fields. Its ultimate benefit, we hope, will be to fuel the design innovations needed to create a more sustainable future for humankind.

Nagel, J. K., & Pidaparti, R., & Rose, C. S., & Beverly, C. L. (2016, June), Enhancing the Pedagogy of Bio-inspired Design in an Engineering Curriculum Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.26716

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