Who We Are


Mary Besterfield-Sacre, PhD, Director,

Dr. Sacre is an Associate Professor and Fulton C. Noss Faculty Fellow in Department of Industrial Engineering and a Center Associate for the Learning Research and Development Center. Her principal research is in engineering education assessment, which has been funded by the NSF, Department of Education, Sloan Foundation, Engineering Information Foundation, and the NCIIA. Dr. Sacre's current research focuses on three distinct but highly correlated areas - innovative product design, entrepreneurship, and how engineers model. She has served as an associate editor for the JEE and is currently associate editor for the AEE Journal . She recently was awarded the 2012 ASEE Sharon Keillor Award for Women in Engineering Education .

Renee Clark, PhD, Director of Assessment,

Dr. Renee Clark has 23 years of experience as an engineer and analyst.  She currently serves as the Director of Assessment for the University of Pittsburgh's Swanson School of Engineering and its Engineering Education Research Center (EERC), where her research focuses on assessment and evaluation of engineering education research projects and initiatives.  She has most recently worked for Walgreens as a Senior Data Analyst and General Motors/Delphi Automotive as a Senior Applications Programmer and Manufacturing Quality Engineer.  She received her PhD in Industrial Engineering from the University of Pittsburgh and her MS in Mechanical Engineering from Case Western while working for Delphi Automotive.  She completed her postdoctoral studies in engineering education at the University of Pittsburgh.  Dr. Clark has published articles in the Journal of Engineering Education , the Journal of Engineering Entrepreneurship , and Risk Analysis .

Irene Mena, PhD, ,

Dr. Mena completed her graduate work at Purdue University: an M.S. in Industrial Engineering and a Ph.D. in Engineering Education. She completed her postdoctoral studies at the Pennsylvania State University’s Leonhard Center for the Enhancement of Engineering Education. She is at the University of Pittsburgh as part of the Engineering Education Research Center (EERC) and the Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science department.  Her research interests include graduate student professional development – specifically, how graduate students are prepared for their future careers – and first-year engineering.  She has been teaching undergraduate engineering courses since 2012.


Melissa Bilec , Assistant Professor Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering; Co-Director, Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation ; Director, Construction Management Program


John F. Patzer , Associate Professor, Department of Bioengineering; Associate Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering; Associate Professor, Department of Surgery


Sam Donovan , Research Associate Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, Science Education