Assistant Professor Heather Shipley is very passionate about undergraduate education. Through her rigorous teaching, mentoring, advising, and research she offers some of the most balanced and beneficial courses in civil and environmental engineering.
To ensure all of her students are successful, Shipley tailors her courses to incorporate homework, group exercises, quizzes, exams and projects. These course objectives parallel program standards and expectations, which enable students to apply the fundamentals of engineering needed for their degrees.
Shipley believes students need to be motivated beyond what they see in the classroom. They need to have first hand knowledge of how her courses are used outside of academia.
“Engineering is the application of science; therefore, it is important that students get hands-on experiences with what they are learning in the classroom. I am very enthusiastic about taking my students on field trips,” Shipley says. “Field trips allow students to compare what they have learned and how that can be implemented in real life.”
Her dedication to the success of her students goes beyond helping those who take her class. In order to become a practicing engineer, students must first pass two tests—the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam and the Professional Engineering (PE) exam. To prepare students for the FE exam, Shipley volunteers 3 hours every single semester to instruct a review session.
Shipley also doesn’t believe research should be the sole domain of graduate students. To her, research is complementary to teaching; because of this, she always involves undergraduates in her research projects. These undergraduates have presented posters of their work, attended conferences and been published in academic journals.
Aside from her work in research and teaching, Shipley is also the faculty adviser for Engineers Without Borders and an adviser for students in her department.
Story and photo by Tim Luukkonen