Deborah Besser
Dr. Deborah Besser
Director, Center for Engineering Education, University of St. Thomas
St. Paul, MN
Dr. Besser, who holds a PhD in education and MS and BS in civil engineering, entered the K-12 education realm designing and implementing PK-12 engineering education programs, with an eye to programs focused on equity for all students. Her focus is on quality integration of engineering design, engineering practices and engineering fundamentals in PK-12 classrooms. Engineering education courses taught include Fundamentals of Engineering, Engineering Design, Engineering in the PK-12 Classroom, and Statics, Materials and Structures (for pre-engineering educators). She entered the PK-12 education realm as program director where her responsibilities included design and implementation of PK-12 engineering education programs, including BEST, an out of school program (targeted at under-represented pre-engineering students) and Project Lead the Way educator training. Additional experience includes design, administrative and research responsibilities for STEPS, a summer program for pre-engineering students. Previous experience includes faculty positions in diverse regions including WI, KY, OK and MN, in universities where she has taught a wide variety of courses including engineering education, mechanics of materials lab, structural systems, statics, strength of materials, engineering economy, materials, construction management and graphic design. Administrative experience includes her position as interim Dean of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) in a two-year college system. Prior to teaching, Dr. Besser, a licensed engineer, was a design engineer with HNTB-CA, where she worked on seismic retrofits and new design of high profile transportation structures. The unifying theme of her vocational mission is that she is committed to building bridges for all.
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