Biomedical engineering assistant professor Jeannine Coburn was awarded the 2021 Trustee Award for Outstanding Academic Advising. Each year, the WPI Board of Trustees honors a WPI faculty member who is an exceptional Academic Advisor. Professor Coburn has received praise from multiple students who say her dedication to students impacts student success at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. This faculty member puts our mission into practice by engaging students in innovative and creative approaches to project-based learning and research opportunities. This is what Professor Coburn’s students say about her: “As a first-generation college graduate, she is acutely aware of the importance of mentorship, sponsorship, and advocacy for students’ academic development. She is honest in responding to students' questions and concerns and is committed to working with students to ensure that they make the best decision for themselves.” Referring to Major Qualifying Project advising, students noted: “Additionally, Professor Coburn gives a lot of creative liberty to teams to encourage student growth and exploration. She couples this with hands-on support for her project teams, working in the lab with students if they need assistance on certain processes or equipment, and making herself available to teams if they need help outside of weekly meetings.” Students also highlighted Professor Coburn’s commitment to advising students applying to graduate programs and fostering their networking opportunities with faculty in the biomedical engineering field.
Biomedical Engineering Department Head and Professor Kristen Billiar was awarded the 2021 Chairman's Exemplary Faculty Prize. The Chairman’s Exemplary Faculty Prize recognizes WPI faculty members who excel in all relevant areas of faculty performance, including teaching, research and scholarship, and advising. Recipients of the Chairman’s Prize are true exemplars of the Institute’s highest aspirations and most important qualities. Professor Kristen Billiar exemplifies these values at the highest level and distinguishes himself by his continuous and unwavering commitment to the institution, its students and broader WPI community. Notable accomplishments of Professor Billiar include leading a world-class research program in tissue mechanics and mechanobiology, being an exemplar of WPI’s innovative pedagogy, his students have won awards, published and presented their work, and received patents for work they have completed under his guidance, and leading the training of diversity advocates for faculty searches, establishing WPI’s Diversity Allies team, and serving as Inclusion Partner for the Engineering School. Professor Billiar’s demonstration of leadership and commitment to the university sets a powerful example for the rest of our community to follow. Because of him, WPI is better today than yesterday and will be better tomorrow than it is today.