2016 Plenary Speakers

Marc Edwards

Marc Edwards was part of a team that helped bring Flint’s problems with lead, leaks and legionella to the world’s attention after sampling in Flint homes starting April 2015. One year later, he is coming to the Symposium to talk about his experiences and perspectives.

Edwards is no stranger to using his technical expertise to protect the public welfare. In 2004, he began a crusade to prove that Federal agencies, caused hundreds of Washington, D.C. children to become lead poisoned via exposure to contaminated drinking water—that assertion was vindicated by an award winning 2009 peer reviewed paper and a 2010 Congressional Hearing into “scientifically indefensible” behavior by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

Marc Edwards is the Charles P. Lunsford Professor of Environmental and Water Resources Engineering at Virginia Tech, where he routinely teaches a course on engineering ethics and heroism that was co-developed with Dr. Yanna Lambrinidou.

Arvind Thiruvengadam

In 2012, Arvind Thiruvengadam’s lab at West Virginia University was excited to be testing emission levels on a few diesel cars. They hoped at least three people would read the research. Three years later, their work uncovered the Volkswagen fuel emission scandal, a revelation affecting 11 million vehicles worldwide and rocking the largest automobile manufacturer on the planet.

More than three people have since read their research.

Arvind Thiruvengadam began his professional career as a research assistant at the Center for Alternative Fuels, Engines and Emissions (CAFEE) at West Virginia University in 2012. In 2013, he was appointed to Research Assistant Professor in the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department, where he continues to work.

Joe Palca

Joe Palca is one of the world’s top voices in science and technology journalism, which makes us incredibly fortunate to have him as host of the 2016 ABET Symposium and moderator of our Plenary Discussion – Great Minds, Greater Impact, at lunchtime on Friday.

Since joining NPR as a science correspondent in 1992, Palca has covered a range of topics— everything from robotics and quantum computing to public water supplies, fuel emissions, and air quality. He is the eponymous host of Joe’s Big Idea show.

The veteran reporter and experimental psychologist by training has won many science writing awards, including the National Academies Communications Award and the AAAS Journalism Prize. He is also co-author of the 2011 book “Annoying: The Science of What Bugs Us”.

Francisco Marmolejo

MarmolejoFrancisco Marmolejo is the World Bank’s Tertiary Education Coordinator, overseeing technical support for the Bank’s regional and country-level projects in over 60 countries. This includes serving as Lead of the Global Solutions Group on Tertiary Education, which fuels the exchange of ideas between the Bank’s more than 90 personnel engaged in higher education initiatives across the globe.

A leading voice in global education, he brings unique insight into the increasingly complex international demand for tertiary education and the economic forces driving it. Over the last 30 years, he has been to more than 70 countries working with universities, governments and global organizations on international education projects. Currently, he serves on advisory boards at World Education Services (WES), The Lumina Foundation for Education, and the Centre for Higher Education Internationalization at UNICATT in Milan, among others.

Doug Melton

Doug MeltonDoug Melton, a director for the Entrepreneurial Engineering Program at The Kern Family Foundation, is passionate about developing engineering education that fosters an entrepreneurial mindset in students.

As globalization and the modern economy have created a wake-up call for undergraduate engineering programs around the world, Melton is helping them adapt their programs to meet emerging demands. He works closely with faculty and administrators at the universities that comprise the Kern Entrepreneurial Engineering Network (KEEN), which are dedicated to graduating engineers with an entrepreneurial mindset so they can create personal, economic, and societal value through a lifetime of meaningful work.

His first-hand experience comes from 17 years as a faculty member within the department of Electrical & Computer Engineering at Kettering University, and having served as the program director for Entrepreneurship Across the University.