Ann Kaiser is a former engineer with 15 years experience in secondary education. A graduate of Columbia University’s School of Engineering and Applied Science (B.S. Metallurgy and Materials Science) and the School of International and Public Affairs (Masters in International Affairs), she is a lifelong advocate of engineering as an agent for creative global problem-solving and innovation. As a member of the prestigious International Fellows program at Columbia, Ann focused on work involving world resources and technology transfer. As an engineer, her field of expertise was product and market development in the metals industry. As an educator, Ann’s main interest is in attracting creative, innovative young people to technical fields by exposing them to the possibilities and promises of engineering.
Following a career change from engineering product development to secondary school teaching, Ann became interested in active learning techniques, particularly project-based learning. Her concern about the lack of encouragement for creativity and innovative thinking in traditional science courses led her to replace verification labs with engineering design based projects. Increased student interest led her to develop a separate Engineering Design curriculum 5 years ago. That course has seen quadrupled enrollment and has increased the number of students who go on to pursue engineering majors in college. It has also led to an increased commitment to providing some engineering experience to students in all science classes by replacing existing lab activities with design projects.
Ann was named a Fulbright Distinguished Teacher in 2013. She spent six months in Singapore working to implement Engineering Design projects as Performance Tasks in secondary physics classes. Ann is a member of the Network of Science Teachers (a selective MIT collaboration with science teachers on an international level), NSTA, RISTA, ASEE, ITEEA, AAPT, and ASCD. Ann has presented at numerous regional, national and international conferences. She has authored several technical papers detailing her research in Singapore and the effectiveness of the Engineering Design process in learning science concepts. Ann is currently in the process of writing a book designed to demystify and modularize the use of Engineering Design in secondary science courses.
Director - Curriculum Development
Bryan Colahan graduated from the University of Rhode Island and pursued a career in the financial sector. Motivated by a lifelong interest in science, he completed his Masters in Teaching, with a focus on Physics Education, at Northeastern University and is certified in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Bryan is in his seventh year of teaching AP, Honors, and Conceptual Physics. He is always looking for innovative and impactful pedagogies and strategies and has pursued a number of professional development opportunities, including robotics, STEAM, and AP Institute offerings.
Bryan’s educational philosophy is that students learn best when they are actively engaged in physics. His classroom approach encourages applying concepts and algorithms to design experiments, analyze data, and solve problems. Bryan views his role as one of creating experiences in which his students construct their own understanding of physics and how the universe works. A number of his application-oriented projects focus on the use of the Engineering Design process, and he has a particular interest in adaptive and assistive technology challenges. Bryan has even developed physics challenges centered on robotics and the development of coding algorithms for motion. He is comfortable using a mixture of low-and high-tech in class, choosing whichever is pedagogically appropriate. Bryan is a proponent of Modeling Instruction, experiential learning, and white-board collaboration. He has developed both the content and grading rubrics for performance-based assessments, including mid-term and final exam components.
Bryan is an active participant in MIT’s STEP program, a professional learning community for educators who have attended their summer workshops. He is also a member of the RI Science Teachers Association and the American Association of Physics Teachers.
Gabriel Rodriguez is an educator with certifications in Biology, Chemistry, and General Science for grades 7-12. A graduate of the Rhode Island College Teacher Education Program (B.A. Biology, Chemistry minor) he has seven years of experience in secondary education teaching Chemistry and was also an adjunct chemistry lab instructor at a local 4 year college. Gabriel’s undergraduate experience as a research assistant in drug discovery and molecular toxicology labs led him to believe that students learn science best when they are allowed to become scientists. As a result, his own classrooms have become very active places where students develop lab procedures and analyze data in support of their claims. He moves well beyond the textbook to include real-world engineering and applications centered on key chemistry concepts.
In the process of earning his M.Ed., in the Advanced Studies of Teaching and Learning from Rhode Island College, Gabriel questioned the efficacy of using traditional lab reports as a principal means of assessing and supporting student learning in a science course. His research culminated in the construction of pedagogies for improving science learning by regularly having his students interact with a greater variety of the methods of communication used by scientists. His assessments reflect the same approach, focusing on skills as well as content. Gabriel has extensive experience designing curriculum using project-based and active learning in chemistry classrooms. He has developed a wide range of lessons and activities to support the inclusion of solid state chemistry, materials engineering, and the designed world into high school chemistry curriculum. Gabriel is bilingual and provides invaluable assistance in our work with students whose first language is Spanish.
Gabriel has served on the board of directors of the Rhode Island Science Teachers Association as well as presented in at the RISTA annual conference and the Buck Institute for Education’s PBL regional conference. He is currently on the board of directors for the Rhode Island Writing Project. Gabriel considers his most prestigious position as being a husband and the father of two enormously loved young children.
Abby Sutton graduated from the University of Rhode Island with a degree in Psychology and Elementary Education with a Middle School Endorsement in General Science. Abby is in her 14th year of teaching middle school science and has taught Life Science, Physical Science, and Earth & Space Science courses for grades 6-8 during this time. She currently teaches an 8th grade STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math) course that focuses on Biomimicry. Abby has also served as the Middle School Science Curriculum Coordinator in her district for 9 years.
Abby believes that teaching Science is more than just about teaching content; it is about preparing students for the future. Abby purposefully designs lessons that focus on the 21st Century Learning and Innovation Skills – Communication, Collaboration, Critical Thinking, and Creativity. Abby encourages students to think and work as scientists and engineers by using the Engineering Design Process to solve problems. She believes that learning about the designed world is an important part of 21st century STEM education.
Abby has extensive experience in facilitating curriculum development and professional development for teachers and has presented at local, state and national conferences. She has extensive knowledge of middle school standards and learning objectives, including the NGSS. She also has extensive experience in rubric-based assessment. A true lifelong learner, Abby frequently participates in professional development opportunities herself to further her knowledge of curriculum, instruction and assessment. Abby is also a member of the National Science Teachers Association.
At ProjectEngin, we have worked hard to develop an extensive network of resources and expertise in many areas of Engineering and Education. We don’t pretend to be experts in all areas, but we know people who are and we will work with appropriate personnel as needed for your project. We initially handle all the contacts and coordination internally, but can work to put you in touch with right expert if your needs are more intensive or specific.
Our expert resources include: