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Junior Faculty Research Projects

Our newest faculty members work on amazing research projects! We talked to Drs. David Delaine, Emily Dringenberg, and Rachel Kajfez to find out more about their current work. For more information about current research in the department, check out the 'Research' tab on the main ribbon. 

Dr. David Delaine

Dr. David Delaine presenting at ASEE 2017

IUSE Project

Dr. David Delaine is conducting research entitled ‘Improving Undergraduate STEM Education (IUSE): Community-Engaged Student Learning for the Development of Empathy in Engineering’, which aims to investigate how community engaged student learning (CESL) can foster the development of empathy in engineers and develop research-informed instructional tools to enhance the learning outcomes around empathy as a professional skill in engineering that can be transferred to a broad range of CESL contexts.

RIEF Project

Dr. Delaine is also working as a Co-PI on research to understand and characterize the dynamics which disadvantage BME undergraduate students at The Ohio State University within their pursuit of employment opportunities. The research entitled ‘Research Initiation: Analyzing inequities in undergraduate workforce opportunities between biomedical and other engineering disciplines’ is a collaborative project with faculty in the Department of Biomedical Engineering and was recently awarded $200k of funding from the NSF

Learn more about the grant here. 

Fisher Study

Dr. Delaine serves as the PI research funded by the Fisher Leadership Grant entitled ‘Leadership Development through Wellness-Integrated Informal Mentorship.’ This research aims to understand how formal support can lead to the development of mentor/protégé relationships within in settings that provide for physical wellness. This research is performed in collaboration with Dr. Joshua Joseph, an Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. The pilot of this study recently concluded and the exciting results are being prepared for publication and future study.

Dr. Emily Dringenberg

Dr. Emily Dringenberg presenting at the 2017 KEEN Conference

This past summer, Dr. Dringenberg partnered with a local high school teacher and will be launching a study of Mindset Beliefs with the teacher’s science students this school year. Dr. Dringenberg is also working to develop additional proposals to further her research agenda of exploring beliefs in engineering education. Dr. Dringenberg’s research lab currently consists of 2 Graduate Research Associates (GRAs) and 3 Undergradute Research Associates (URAs)

RIEF Project

Dr. Dringenberg is in her second year of her RIEF project, which aims to characterize students’ beliefs about the nature of intelligence. When completed, this project will provide insight into students’ perspectives on engineering education culture and how it impacts the formation of their beliefs about intelligence, which are tied to resilience and a commitment to life-long learning.

Learn more about the project here.

RFE Project

Dr. Dringenberg is starting her first year of her RFE project this month, with the help of GRA Giselle Guanes, which aims to research what undergraduate engineering students believe about the different forms of reasoning in decision-making, and how these beliefs are influenced by the formal decision-making instruction students receive in their capstone design. The overall goal of the project’s propagation plan is to shift how engineering curricula influence the development of students’ beliefs about decision-making.

Learn more about the project here.

Dr. Rachel Kajfez

Dr. Rachel Kajfez and Liz Riter (Co-leaders of the Toy Adaptation Program) pose with their interns at the Toys for Tots event

The RIME Collaborative

Dr. Rachel Kajfez is the leader of the RIME Collaborative, a group that focuses on research about identity and motivation in engineering. The collaborative is made up of graduate and undergraduate researchers specializing in engineering education and is currently working on several projects, many of which are collaborations with other universities and institutions. Their current projects include SPRITE (Student Perspectives on Research Identity and Transformation of Epistemologies), Understanding Engineering Pathways and Their Impact on Community and Identity, Entrepreneurial Minded Learning’s Impact on Motivation and Identity, Toy Adaptation, and Major Selection. Visit the RIME Collaborative’s website ( to learn more about each of these projects, the team, and to follow RIME’s activity.

Fostering Food Production and Security was one of the many events held by the STEAM Factory

New AISL Project Highlight

In collaboration with the STEAM Factory, Dr. Kajfez serves as the Co-PI for the recently funded “Convergent Learning from Divergent Perspectives: Interdisciplinary Collaborations in Informal Science Communication” grant. This $1.2M grant from the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Advancing Informal STEM Learning (AISL) program  brings together the Center of Science and Industry (COSI), OHI/O Informal Learning in Tech Program, and the STEAM Factory. The STEAM Factory was founded in December 2012 at Ohio State and is made up of faculty, postdocs, and staff, with the core of their activity being Collaboration and Dissemination. Their goals are to provide opportunities for collaboration that enhance and drive innovation within all research disciplines, provide linkages and interdisciplinary interactions between Ohio State departments and colleges, and to increase the public awareness, understanding, and impact of Ohio State research. Visit their site ( for more information about the STEAM Factory programs and research.

View the project summary here.

Learn more about the grant here.