STEM Shoutout: Dr. Vanessa Svihla

Vanessa Svihla, an assistant professor in Organization, Information and Learning Sciences and Chemical and Biological Engineering at UNM in January 2018 was awarded a $516,000 National Science Foundation CAREER Award for her work. Her program is called the Framing and Reframing Agency in making and Engineering, or FRAME. She is analyzing design team conversations to understand how students develop a sense of ownership over design projects.

“A common issue in within engineering classrooms is that students have a hard time assessing the value in what they are learning and therefore cannot direct their own learning when faced with real-world, open-ended design problems,” Svihla said.  

Svihla said this situation stems from students’ past experiences of predominantly solving problems that have a single correct answer, which stems in part from faculty who lack the instructional tools needed to support students and take ownership of open-ended design problems.

Follow her progress as she makes more steps toward her NSF-funded goals.