STEM Shoutout: Dr. Jamie Gomez

Dr. Jamie Gomez leads research on innovative teaching techniques for engineering at UNM

Dr. Jamie Gomez, a senior lecturer in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, is a core faculty member on two grants from the National Science Foundation. She is leading efforts in supporting diverse students in the classroom and implementing research-based teaching strategies to develop engineering professional identity.

Gomez conducts her research in three primary areas. First, she organizes collaborative sessions, called parleys, to grow student expert thinking. Team members compare alternatives in their individual research efforts by way of decision matrices to achieve a single group outcome. Second, she facilitates a simulated design challenge for sophomore students to engage in an authentic engineering practice and share design perspectives. Third, she uses design-based research methods to improve how students function on diverse teams. Using an asset mapping tool, each team member evaluates his or her own individual skills and then participates with fellow members to record group skills. This enhances team performance and supports the way students value each other. Gomez also utilizes the collaborative-style classrooms on campus to ensure a student centered approach to learning instead of the traditional stand-and-deliver lecture.

“When students enter the classroom, we should view them for their strengths, not from what they’re lacking. It is the assets they bring that we can build on,” Gomez said.

Gomez said she hopes that this research on team-based activities like parlays and enhancing how students function on diverse teams will help future engineers increase their productivity and become more empathetic towards the communities for whom they design chemical processes and products. She anticipates that this change in pedagogy will allow students to be more aware of sociotechnical issues in engineering design work and set their intentions towards adding value and making a positive contribution to the world.