Donna Riley

Donna Riley

EWD Director


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As Director of Engineering Workforce Development (EWD) for the ASPIRE ERC, I lead the EWD team working closely with the Diversity and Culture of Inclusion Team and other Center leadership to establish robust pathways into and through engineering. We envision a workforce development infrastructure with seamless transitions across informal and formal pre-college education, the trades, 2- and 4-year undergraduate education, graduate education, badges, certificates, and ongoing professional education. We seek to instill competencies in systems of systems thinking, transdisciplinary practice, and a complete set of professional and affective skills to develop an engineering workforce ready for the holistic challenges of sustainable public infrastructure and transportation. With a bachelor’s from Princeton in Chemical Engineering, I pursued an interdisciplinary PhD in Engineering and Public Policy from Carnegie Mellon. As a founding faculty member in Smith College’s Picker Engineering Program, the first engineering program at a women’s college and one of few positioned in a liberal arts college, my research career turned to engineering education, focusing on the integration of ethics, communication, social analysis, lifelong learning, and other critical capacities in the formation of engineering professionals. I am the author of two books, Engineering and Social Justice and Engineering Thermodynamics and 21st Century Energy Problems, both published by Morgan and Claypool, and am a Fellow of the American Society for Engineering Education. As Kamyar Haghighi Head and Professor in the School of Engineering Education, I lead and guide the first academic unit of its kind in the world with 24 faculty and over 30 staff members who have established themselves as leaders in the new discipline of engineering education. We educate some 2800 first-year engineers at Purdue every year, offer a range of innovative concentrations and transformative learning experiences for over 100 students in our multidisciplinary engineering bachelor’s programs, and pursue cutting edge research with around 70 students in our graduate program in engineering education.