New Faculty     

    The power of philanthropy is indeed great. Thanks to a groundbreaking grant from the Kern Family Foundation, we’ve been able to hire a dynamic group of new faculty to add new voices and talents to our rich learning environment. Meet our latest crop of mentors and innovators among the faculty.


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  2. Alison Wood

    Assistant Professor of Environmental Engineering

    Alison Wood has an unusual educational background. Starting very young, she went to schools that stressed interdisciplinary and lifelong learning instead of grades. She earned a B.A. in theater from Harvard, and worked in theater and music — she’s even released a couple of albums. Then she earned a second bachelor’s in engineering and ultimately a doctorate in civil engineering from University of Texas at Austin. When she came to Olin, she felt she’d arrived at her professional home.

    “I felt like I’d found my people — people who care not only about the science and technology, but who care about the education as well,” says Wood.

    In her first year, she’s already had an opportunity to weave together the various strands of her background, teaching Olin’s project-based ModSim class and co-creating a unique, interdisciplinary environmental engineering course.

    “I am constantly learning things from my colleagues, and I feel very encouraged and supported by them, so this feels like a place where I will continue to grow professionally throughout my career. The students I get to work with are also incredible — they inspire me to work harder and give me hope for the future of humanity.”

    - Assistant Professor Alison Wood

    Alison Wood photo
  3. Sam Michalka

    Assistant Professor of Computational Neuroscience and Engineering
    Michalka Sam photo

    Since her fields crossed so many disciplinary lines — from neuroscience to computing to engineering — Sam Michalka wanted to teach in a place that “values interdisciplinary work as more than lip service.” She’s found the perfect home at Olin College, where she “embraces Olin’s hands-on approach to education.”

    She’s plunged right in at Olin, teaching Introduction to Sensors, Instrumentation and Measurement (iSim) as well as Quantitative Engineering Analysis (QEA), both heavily interdisciplinary courses. And she’s involved in the development of a new course that mixes neuroscience technology and data science.

    “This is an incredible place to work — it’s really collaborative and the culture here is positive and open — I think I’m learning a lot from other faculty members, I’m learning a lot from students and I’m definitely shifting how I approach teaching since I’ve been here.”

    - Assistant Professor Sam Michalka

  4. Daniela Faas

    Senior Lecturer in Mechanical Engineering,
    Director of Design and Fabrication Operations

    Daniela Faas, who joined Olin in September 2016, recalls that the machine shop experience she had as an undergraduate was not all that well integrated into the curriculum. She is determined to see that doesn’t happen at Olin.

    “That’s my mission at large — figuring out how to weave fabrication and making into the curriculum as a core component of the Olin hands-on engineering education,” says Faas. Toward that end, she has made important contributions to curriculum innovation, rethinking key aspects of fabrication in courses like Quantitative Engineering Analysis (QEA).

    A native of Germany, Faas has taught hands-on mechanical engineering courses at Harvard and MIT. She is particularly proud to be contributing to the diversification of engineering education.

    “I’m excited that we’re changing the shop around so that it’s more welcoming to women and minorities in particular, and getting people to be truly excited about being here versus them being forced to be here.”

    - Senior Lecturer Daniela Faas

    Daniela Faas photo
  5. Tim Sauder

    Associate Professor of Practice in Design
    Tim Sauder photo

    With more than 20 years of industry experience in graphic design, significant teaching experience and a slew of professional awards, Tim Sauder brings a unique skill set to Olin, and a perspective that lines up well with the college’s mission.

    Through "asmallpercent", a design studio he founded, he has worked with such corporate giants as Google and Intel, while also building a portfolio of work with nonprofits and socially conscious enterprises. At Olin, he heads Return Design, a student-driven design studio that focuses on the design needs of nonprofits. Students involved with Return Design not only build high-level design portfolios and learn to work with real clients, they also learn the importance of using their skills to benefit society.

    “I believe we need to explore the ethics behind our designs, utilize a human-centered approach to the design process and embrace our responsibility as designers to effect positive change in our world.”

    - Associate Professor Tim Sauder