Ghina Absi named 2023 Engineering Unleashed Fellow

Ghina Absi, assistant professor of the practice of civil and environmental engineering, has been named a 2023 Engineering Unleashed Fellow for her leadership in undergraduate engineering education.

Ghina Absi

Last summer, Absi participated in an Engineering Unleashed Faculty Development workshop on entrepreneurship and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). She worked to develop new hands-on educational strategies for statics, a sophomore level core engineering class typically taught in a lecture-based format.

Students studied how engineering infrastructure has disproportionately affected underrepresented minoritized communities under the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956. Funded by a donation from the Finfrock company, students then designed and manufactured a prototype steel bridge that would connect communities severed by the highways built in the 60s and 70s. They learned core skills like welding and assembling of steel components, and developed decision-making and conflict resolution abilities.

“I am very excited to further develop this project using this fellowship to make it more accessible to other schools and applications,” said Absi, who will receive a $10,000 grant that will be matched by the Vanderbilt University School of Engineering.

“This project would not have been possible without the support of the civil engineering department chair, Professor Caglar Oskay, the Finfrock fund, and the CEE structures’ lab manager, Rich Teising.”

The work resulted in a published Engineering Unleashed card with detailed steps to replicate it: