Berent awarded ASME Graduate Teaching Fellowship
MechSE PhD candidate Zachary Berent was recently awarded an ASME Graduate Teaching Fellowship, a program through the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, “encourages outstanding doctoral candidates in mechanical engineering education.”
Berent currently researches bone cell differentiation with MechSE Professor Amy Wagoner Johnson. Berent specifically observes different cell stages in terms of growth and cell specialization, which is important for tissue regeneration and cell therapy.
In addition, he is a lab TA for both TAM 335 (Introductory Fluid Mechanics) and ME 482 (Experimental Tissue Mechanics). Berent worked with Professor Amy Wagnor Johnson to improve the lab section of ME 482 by making the labs more hands-on, creating more thought-provoking questions, and updating analysis methods with software commonly used in biomaterials research. In 2017, he received the MechSE Summer Teaching Fellowship and taught TAM 335 under the guidance of Dr. Richard Keane, lecturer in MechSE. He has also completed several certificate programs through the Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning and has trained aspiring TAs at CITL’s annual Graduate Academy.
“Zack goes far above and beyond what any professor could expect from his or her TA and he has demonstrated leadership and innovation in improving the courses in which he is involved,” said Wagoner Johnson.
Berent also serves on two committees: the College of Engineering Diversity Committee and the Graduate College Executive Committee. His goal in these committees is “to improve student wellness, performance, and persistence through clearer visibility and lines of communication.”
Once he completes his PhD, he aims to continue his work in teaching and administration and pursue a teaching faculty role, with the intention of helping students discover their passion and utilize their engineering expertise for societal impact.
“This fellowship will provide me experience in running an advanced, 400-level course, so that upon completion of my PhD, I am prepared for a variety of roles in teaching and administration,” said Berent.