The Joy of STEM: Engineering Is at the Heart of It

Presenter: Pramod Khargonekar
Building on the recent Successful K–12 STEM Education and Monitoring Progress Toward Successful K–12 STEM Education reports, Dr. Khargonekar’s plenary focuses on  concrete examples of successful NSF-funded engineering programs in formal and informal K–12 contexts. This session provides translatable best practices for adoption and demonstrates how engineering principles can be used to enliven the classroom and extracurricular experiences while meeting core STEM competency goals. Finally, options for leveraging existing NSF-funded programs at the university level to enhance K–12 outcomes are discussed.

Pramod Khargonekar, Assistant Director, National Science Foundation
Dr. Pramod Khargonekar was appointed by the NSF to serve as assistant director for the Directorate of Engineering (ENG) in March 2013. In this position, Khargonekar leads the ENG Directorate with an annual budget of more than $800 million. The ENG Directorate invests in frontier engineering research and education, cultivates an innovation ecosystem, and develops the next-generation of engineers. Khargonekar has held faculty positions at the University of Florida, University of Minnesota, and University of Michigan. He was chairman of the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from 1997 to 2001 and also held the position of Claude E. Shannon Professor of Engineering Science at the University of Michigan. From 2001 to 2009, he was dean of the College of Engineering and is currently Eckis Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Florida. He also served briefly as deputy director of technology at ARPA-E, U. S. Department of Energy in 2012–13. Khargonekar’s current research and teaching interests include systems and control theory, machine learning, and applications to smart electric grid and neural engineering. He has authored more than 130 refereed journal publications and 150 conference publications. He has been recognized as a Web of Science Highly Cited Researcher. He is a recipient of the NSF Presidential Young Investigator Award, the American Automatic Control Council’s Donald Eckman Award, the Japan Society for Promotion of Science fellowships, the IEEE W. R. G. Baker Prize Award, the IEEE CSS George Axelby Best Paper Award, the Hugo Schuck ACC Best Paper Award, and the Distinguished Alumnus and Distinguished Service Awards from the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay. He is a Fellow of IEEE. At the University of Michigan, he received the Arthur F. Thurnau Professorship.