School of Engineering professor AnnMarie Thomas poses for a studio portrait with light-painted tracks made by LEDs March 3, 2015. Taken for the School of Engineering newsletter. Thomas often explores play concepts as a way of teaching engineering.

Professor of the Year - AnnMarie Thomas

AnnMarie Thomas, PhD, a professor of engineering in the School of Engineering and associate professor of entrepreneurship in the Opus College of Business Schulze School of Entrepreneurship, is the 2018 Professor of the Year.

As a professor, artist, engineer, entrepreneur, designer and maker, she has created countless opportunities for her students. She is the founder of the Playful Learning Lab through which students have developed a wide range of innovative projects, and worked in collaboration with the Long Now Foundation, Alinea group, Higher Ground Academy, STEM education, Cantus singing group and the band OK Go. She is also the co-founder of the St. Thomas Center for Engineering Education, which supports teachers who integrate STEM into their curriculum through multiple degrees and certificates. Her classroom topics across dual appointments in engineering and entrepreneurship are on topics such as engineering graphics and design, machine design, dynamics, toy design, product design for an aging population, technology prototyping, environmental sustainability and innovation, and brain machine interfaces.

“The depth and breadth of Dr. Thomas’ work with undergraduate and graduate students is incomparable,” said Deb Besser, Ph.D., Thomas’ colleague in the School of Engineering. “Her teaching focuses on creatively engaging learners as AnnMarie continues the journey of understanding how the full variety of people learn and create – essential characteristics of an exemplary engineer and entrepreneur.”