Professors Lacerda and Hedden Honored for Teaching
Dr. Carla Lacerda was honored at the spring Faculty Honors Convocation, receiving a 2016 New Faculty Award sponsored by the Texas Tech Alumni Association, and she recently received the senior class award for Outstanding Professor from the AIChE chapter. Dr. Lacerda started her tenure-track faculty position in January 2013 as Assistant Professor. Dr. Lacerda is an outstanding teacher and mentor. She has taught the junior-level and graduate-level Reaction Engineering courses, as well as a Biochemical Engineering elective, and she cares about her students and their learning. In her time at Texas Tech, Dr. Lacerda has mentored two high school students, eight undergraduate researchers, and four M.S. and two Ph.D. students. In all cases, Dr. Lacerda works one-on-one with the young researchers in her bioengineering laboratory aimed at studying heart valve disease, teaching them the experimental techniques and protocols for their work and encouraging the development of the critical thinking skills required to perform independent research.
In addition to teaching and research, Dr. Lacerda is also committed to activities aimed at increasing diversity in STEM fields. To this end, she organized an Introduction to Biomedical Engineering course for the Shake Hands with Your Future program, which targets 9-12 graders in an effort to show high school students how engineering can be used to advance medical knowledge and pharmaceutical and device technologies. More recently, Dr. Lacerda started working with Lubbock High School science teachers to introduce and recruit low-income and minority students to STEM careers. Dr. Lacerda also serves as lead faculty advisor for the AIChE student chapter. In this extremely important and influential role, she helped student leaders align the chapter with the ideals of professionalism and integrity, and the result has been a much more dynamic chapter that does a good job of both serving its members and representing the department and the University.
Dr. Ronald Hedden was also honored at the spring Faculty Honors Convocation, receiving the 2016 Spencer A. Wells Creativity in Teaching Award sponsored by the Texas Tech Parent’s Association. Dr. Hedden joined our faculty in 2009, and he has built a record of excellence in undergraduate and graduate teaching, mentoring, and advising. In the past six years, Dr. Hedden has taught five courses in the department: three core undergraduate courses, Thermodynamics I, Reaction Engineering, and Unit Operations Laboratory, and two electives in the area of polymers. Dr. Hedden's classroom pedagogy is both rigorous and creative, focusing students on preparation for exams, retention of technical material, and good citizenship, with lectures often including illustrative anecdotes that enhance students' long-term retention of technical material. In terms of mentoring young researchers at Texas Tech, Dr. Hedden has advised thirteen undergraduate researchers, as well as one M.S., five Ph.D., and three postdoctoral researchers, all supported by eight extramurally funded grants totaling nearly $ 2 M. Dr. Hedden is also committed to the University education mission through service activities, serving as faculty advisor for the Society of Plastics Engineers student chapter for five years and now helping Dr. Lacerda co-advise the AIChE student chapter.
Kudos to both Drs. Lacerda and Hedden for their outstanding teaching and mentorship!