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ECE Seminar: The role of the Maker Space in supporting Undergraduate Engineering Efficacy at UCSC

Speaker Name: 
Tela Favaloro
Speaker Title: 
PhD in Electrical Engineering, Managing Dir. UCSC’s Sustainability Lab
Speaker Organization: 
University of California Santa Cruz
Start Time: 
Monday, May 3, 2021 - 10:40am
End Time: 
Monday, May 3, 2021 - 11:45am
Via Zoom Presentation
Asst. Prof. Shiva Abbaszadeh


The growing emphasis on human-centered design, entrepreneurship, and innovation among many top engineering programs, as well as within the ABET student learning outcomes, reflect the changing landscape of undergraduate engineering education. Indeed, to be competitive, the next generation of engineering professionals must obtain skills and preparation beyond those traditionally taught as part of a technical discipline. Consequently, undergraduate engineering programs are looking towards experiential learning as an effective pedagogy, integrating authentic activities and projects within their curricula.

In this presentation, we will look at experiential learning programming across UCSC with specific focus on ECE, to better understand successes, challenges, and lessons learned. We find that there is a critical gap in the curricular programming inhibiting student agency and disciplinary efficacy, one that may be mitigated by strategic integration of a multidisciplinary maker space/ incubator. To this end, we present five years of UCSC’s Sustainability Lab as a case study for review.


Tela Favaloro is the managing director of UCSC’s S-Lab (Sustainability Lab) and Lecturer for project-based design courses in ECE and the Sustainability Studies Minor. Her background is in the development of electro-thermal characterization techniques and apparatus for the advancement of novel electronic devices in renewable energy, receiving a PhD in Electrical Engineering from UCSC in 2014. Additionally, Tela has more than ten years of experience in developing active- and experiential-learning activities, courses, and curriculum in engineering and sustainable design. She is currently working to mentor and facilitate interdisciplinary sustainable energy/water projects with students and communities across the globe.

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