Engineering professor named KEEN Rising Star

Alison Polasik, associate professor of engineering at Campbell University, has been named a Kern Entrepreneurship Engineering Network (KEEN) Rising Star.

The award recognizes a junior faculty member who has gone above and beyond to instill an entrepreneurial mindset in students, faculty and staff. Polasik joined the Campbell faculty in fall 2018 after serving as an assistant professor of practice at Ohio State University’s Materials Science & Engineering Department.

KEEN is a network of thousands of engineering faculty working to “unleash undergraduate engineers” so that they can create “personal, economic and societal value through the entrepreneurial mindset.”

“I think that using an entrepreneurial mindset means encouraging students to approach problems with a broader vision, one that includes looking at how their solutions connect to other stakeholders and issues,” Polasik said. “It also asks students to look for innovative solutions that create additional value.”

At Campbell, Polasik teaches courses in materials science, statics and mechanical behavior and thermodynamics. She also spearheaded the initial development of the Energy Lab in the Engineering Annex. In 2018, Polasik became an Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology Inc. (ABET) program evaluator for materials engineering programs and joined the The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society (TMS) Accreditation Committee. 

In the classroom, Polasik says she incorporates projects and discussions that require students to research and evaluate societal and economic factors. She also has a number of short assignments in which students look at an engineering solution or product and discuss factors other than just technical performance that make it successful or not.

“We are so proud of Dr. Polasik’s leadership of our KEEN efforts and very pleased that Campbell is one of just a few KEEN partner institutions in the nation,” School of Engineering Dean Jenna Carpenter said. “KEEN’s focus on engineering education that emphasizes curiosity, connections and creating value aligns well with our focus on a hands-on, project-based approach. Dr. Polasik’s work in her materials science and thermodynamics classes are a great illustration of these efforts.”