Rogers: Teaching and mentoring are in the cards
A. Sue Weisler
Students in Reginald Rogers’ chemical process analysis class never know when the ‘mystery box’ will come out.
Rogers asks students to pick a card or a dice from inside the mystery box, and based upon that selection, students have a chance of being selected to explain a complex problem to the class. To some students, the unpredictability of the selection process and presenting are equally nerve-wracking. But that’s part of the deal of being a student in in one of Rogers’ classes—he takes the discipline of engineering and wraps it around a philosophy of being patient with unpredictability—because it’s a sure bet that’s what they will encounter as they enter the workplace.
Rogers, assistant professor of chemical engineering in the Kate Gleason College of Engineering, is this year’s recipient of the 2016 Richard and Virginia Eisenhart Provost’s Award for Excellence in Teaching. given to faculty with three or fewer years at RIT. To Rogers, educating the next generation of chemical engineers is about helping them face challenges through teaching and mentoring.
“I try to set up situations in the classroom where students can be challenged, not only by course information, but about how to adapt to changing situations,” he said. “To be a seasoned engineer takes patience. I want them to be common-sense engineers. I know what’s out there.”
That could sound ominous, and while students sometimes want solutions packaged neatly, Rogers knows that for engineers, this is not always the case.
“I’m not here to give them the answer, but to teach them how to approach finding answers,” said Rogers, who came to RIT in 2010 through the university’s Future Faculty Career Exploration Program. He was a postdoctoral fellow until hired as a tenure track faculty in 2012. “If my students fall or fail, I want them to be able to pick themselves up.”
For all his “tough love,” Rogers admits to being just as likely to pick his students up. His mentoring approach gets results. He involves his undergraduates in his research lab because this is where they apply what they learn in class. He works with MOCHA—Men of Color, Honor and Ambition and is adviser to RIT’s chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers and several campus fraternities. This work outside the classroom is his way of giving back so his students never get lost in the shuffle.
April 24, 2019
Running in Circles: Engineering students build Human Hamster Wheel
The big wheel will turn, but the hamsters will be humans instead. Students in RIT’s Engineering House built a Human Hamster Wheel, and instead of running in circles, as the cliché goes, their 7-foot wheel will produce electricity. Open to children and adults, the wheel will be one of many interactive exhibits featured at this year’s Imagine RIT: Creativity and Innovation Festival on April 27.
April 23, 2019
Packaging solutions improve product shelf life and sustainability
Images of plastic bags and bottles clogging beaches and oceans have some calling for a ban on all such products. But packaging experts say it’s not that easy to eliminate a highly effective material. Instead, researchers at RIT are looking to strike a balance: Find a way to produce plastics that retain their best qualities and yet are more environmentally friendly.
April 18, 2019
Student Spotlight: Participating in the ASCE Concrete Canoe competition
Meet Brady Smith, a fourth-year civil engineering technology student and captain of this year’s Concrete Canoe team.
April 17, 2019
RIT hosts 2019 Upstate NY Regional Student Conference on April 19 and 20 at Polisseni Center
Concrete canoes float—really. And bridges are more complicated to construct than putting up a few steel beams. Student-engineers who build both the unusual—yet attractive—canoes and complex bridge spans will display their designs at the 2019 Upstate New York Regional Student Conference taking place April 19-20 at RIT.