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Patsy Brackin Recognized as Distinguished ASME Fellow

Wednesday, November 09, 2016
RHIT SPARK Competition 2016 13325

Leading By Design: Patsy Brackin, who teaches undergraduate courses in design and creativity, is director of Rose-Hulman's new engineering design program and professor of mechanical engineering.

Veteran Rose-Hulman educator Patsy Brackin has been named a distinguished Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), one of the mechanical engineering profession's highest honors.

This designation, gained by only two percent of ASME's 130,000 members, recognizes Brackin for her leadership in engineering education, excellence in faculty mentoring, and contributions through the accreditation process that have improved engineering education.

Brackin, a member of the Rose-Hulman faculty since 1995, is director of Rose-Hulman's new engineering design program and professor of mechanical engineering. She primarily teaches undergraduate courses in design and creativity and the senior-year capstone sequence. She has supervised two senior design projects that have led to a patent, and two projects that are under investigative review for commercial application.

Her interest in design, sustainability and curriculum development inspired Brackin to play a key role in the development of Rose-Hulman's Home for Environmentally Responsible Engineering (HERE) program, an interdisciplinary freshman-year, hands-on approach to learning about sustainability and the importance of social, environmental, and financial concerns in all science and engineering challenges. She has encouraged several students toward sustainable engineering design careers. Brackin also was involved in Rose-Hulman's Operation Catapult summer program for 20 years, 11 of those as director, introducing high school students to the thrill of science and engineering.

"I have always found teaching to be such an awesome responsibility. And, I have loved being around students," says Brackin.

"Dr. Brackin has been an important influence on the capstone design sequence in the Department of Mechanical Engineering for many years, and has spent her career at Rose-Hulman trying to improve things for our students," says department chair Lori Olson, also an ASME Fellow. "She has also worked diligently in service to her profession in the accreditation realm, developing a national reputation for her work in that area. It is difficult to find anyone familiar with accreditation who does not know Patsy, and all speak highly of her contributions. I am thrilled to see her honored with the rank of Fellow of the ASME."

Brackin's passion for working with students was developed while teaching evenings after spending the day as a design engineer for the Chicago Bridge & Iron Company in Memphis. She left engineering practice to earn a doctorate in design methodology from Georgia Institute of Technology. During academic sabbatical leaves, she has worked as a project engineer at Eli Lilly and Company.

"Good educators are always learning and expanding their horizons," says Brackin, whose daughter, Elizabeth, is a 2006 Rose-Hulman chemical engineering alumna. That's what we're doing with the new engineering design program."

Brackin received ASME's Dedicated Service Award in 2015 for her academic and service work, was nominated as an outstanding STEM educator by Central Indiana's Women in Hi Tech organization, was named an Educational Fellow by the Kern Family Foundation, and has received four conference Best Paper awards from the American Society of Engineering Education.

The ASME Fellow distinction is bestowed upon organization members with at least 10 years of professional membership and 10 years of active practice who have been responsible for significant engineering achievements. Brackin was nominated by Richard Warder, retired dean of the University of Memphis' College of Engineering. Her nomination was supported by ASME Vice President Mo Hosni, professor of mechanical and nuclear engineering at Kansas State University; ASME Board of Governors member Bill Wepfer, head of mechanical engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology; and Ken Ball, dean of engineering at George Mason University and former head of mechanical engineering department at Virginia Tech.