Melanie Ford

Melanie Ford
Director, Youth Education Outreach and Engineering K-12 Outreach Center
Assistant Teaching Professor, Computer Science and Software Engineering
Office Phone
Office Location
211 Burke
PENN STATE BEHREND
242 BURKE CENTER
ERIE PA 16563
Biography

Melanie Ford is an assistant teaching professor in Computer Science and Software Engineering at Penn State Behrend. She has been a faculty member in the department since 2000 and also serves as the Director of Youth Education Outreach and the Engineering K-12 Outreach Centers. Her passion for outreach focuses on career exploration for kids of all ages particularly in the STEM to STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) fields.

Melanie won the 2010 Penn State Women in the Sciences and Engineering (WISE) Institute Faculty Recognition Award for her work in helping women and girls excel in engineering and the sciences. In an interview following the award Melanie was quoted as saying: “Our goal for K-12 outreach is to interest all students in the different careers of engineering. Research shows that many kids, including girls and minorities, do not pursue engineering as a career because they do not know what engineers do, or how they can help people. We want to keep students engaged in learning, as well as pique their interest in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields.” Melanie has been an active supporter of Women in Engineering, Math Options, and other engineering outreach programs for many years.

Melanie was the recipient of the Penn State Behrend Council of Fellows Excellence in Outreach Award in 2011, the School of Engineering Excellence in Outreach in 2009 and the 2013 Math Options Vision and Passion Award.

She received the B.A. in Computer Science and Mathematics from the State University of New York at Potsdam in 1987 and her M. Ed. in Educational Leadership from Penn State University in 2015. She has over thirteen years of industry experience at Day-Timers Inc., Chronologic Corporation and Caldor Inc. prior to her hire at Penn State Behrend.


Courses Taught

  • Programming for Engineers with MATLAB
  • Programming for Engineers with C++

Research 

Professional Membership

  • American Society of Engineering Education (ASEE)
  • Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)
  • Society of Women Engineers (SWE)

Reviewer

  • American Society of Engineering Education (ASEE) – K-12 Division
  • Engineering Problem Solving with C++ by Etter & Ingber (book reviewer)

Honors and Awards

  • 2013 Math Option's Vision and Passion Award
  • 2010-2011 Penn State Erie, The Behrend College Council of Fellows Excellence in Outreach Award
  • 2010 Penn State Women in the Sciences and Engineering (WISE) Institute Faculty Recognition Award
  • 2008-2009 Penn State Erie, The Behrend College School of Engineering Excellence in Outreach Award

Service to the University

  • Behrend College Faculty Council and Organization
    • Secretary, 8/2011-5/2012.
    • Part-Time Representative, 2003-2010.

Service to student organizations

  • Co-Adviser, Society of Women Engineers (SWE)

 

Research Interests

Engineering K-12 Outreach, STEM/STEAM activities, hands-on activities integrated into curriculum, introductory programming

Publications

Introduce Engineering to 6th Graders Via “Speed Dating, Proceedings, American Society of Engineering Educators Conference & Exposition - June, 2011
Collaborators: Vibhuti Dave; Kathryn Holliday-Darr

Undergraduate Involvement in Developing K-12 Hands-On, Proceedings, American Society for Engineering Education National Conference - 2010
Collaborators: Array Array, Primary Author; Kathryn Holliday-Darr, Co-Author

Re-enJEANeering STEM Education: Math Options Summer Camp, Journal of Technology Studies - 2010
Collaborators: Vibhuti Dave; Dawn Blasko; Kathryn Holliday-Darr; Jennifer Trich Kremer; Robert Edwards; Lucy Lenhardt; Barbara Hido

Alternative Energy – Hands on STEM Activities, Proceedings, Synergy in STEM: Bringing Mathematics, Physics, and Engineering Together - October 30, 2009
Collaborators: Robert Edwards; Kathryn Holliday-Darr

Engineering MythBusters Brings Engineering Principles to Kids, Proceedings, American Society of Engineering Educators Conference & Exposition - 2008

Mentoring Female Students at the High School Level Increases Enrollment in the Field of Engineering, Gender, Power & Desire Conference - April, 2008
Collaborator: Kathleen Muhonen

Education

MED, Educational Leadership, Penn State University

BA, Computer Science & Mathematics, State University of New York