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Interim Dean O’Brien Judges STEM Educator Award

Dr. Steve O’Brien, Interim Dean for TCNJ’s School of Engineering, was invited to serve as a judge for the STEM Educator award at the 2020 Ada Lovelace Awards. These awards exist to examine and challenge inequities in the technology industry by celebrating women in the Gulf South who thrive despite discrimination in the industry. Dean O’Brien was “honored” to present the STEM Educator Award to Sarah E. Garner, a board-certified Pathologists’ Assistant (PA) and founder and Director of the Pathologists’ Assistant Program at Tulane University School of Medicine, the only PA program in the southern United States.

In presenting the award, Dean O’Brien reflected upon Garner’s innovation, grit in the face of high barriers, and impact, saying: “She accomplished a lot of firsts…[despite] substantial barriers. She was very innovative in a field with very few women. She was professor of the year, and as she was entering her career, there were no clinical sites in the south, so she started one for herself. And she’s also started an e-book on anatomy, which will be very low cost, and therefore very accessible to many other young women starting in their field.”

You can watch a replay of the awards and Dean O’Brien’s presentation on Facebook, where the ceremony broadcasted live.

Dr. Steve O’Brien holds Bachelor degrees in mathematics and physics from Western Washington University, and Masters and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering from Cornell University.  Dr. O’Brien has 18 years of engineering experience in industry, as well as 14 years at TCNJ in the Integrative STEM Education department, which prepares elementary and secondary teachers.  Dr. O’Brien was also the Director of TCNJ’s Center for Excellence in STEM Education for 10 years, impacting thousands of K-12 teachers and tens of thousands of K-12 students.  Dr. O’Brien’s area of engineering expertise is the design and application of semiconductor lasers.  Prior to his focus on education, Dr. O’Brien co-founded T-Networks, a company specializing in high speed optical transmitters.  Dr. O’Brien has accumulated 60 refereed publications and 17 patents.


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