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Feature: Open Door, Open Heart

UP CLOSE: Youngmoo Kim wants to equip an iPhone with  sound-studio tools.

Jeanine Plummer focuses on the environment — and her students. — from the September 2009 issue of ASEE’s Prism magazine by Robin Tatu.

What makes Jeanine Plummer a valued instructor? Consider this: When graduate student Jennifer Griffin signed on to work with Plummer, she questioned how well they would communicate, given their very different academic backgrounds. Plummer is associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute; Griffin had experience in biochemistry and virologic techniques. But Plummer’s ease, both in mastering the molecular elements of Griffin’s project and in clarifying the engineering and regulatory aspects, quickly laid those fears to rest. “Her ability to communicate complex concepts is what makes her such a fantastic teacher,” says Griffin.

Plummer’s skills have not gone unnoticed: A teacher for just 10 years, she has been recognized with WPI awards for outstanding advising (2005) and outstanding teaching (2006). In 2008, she was named Massachusetts Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation. This year, as director of WPI’s new undergraduate environmental engineering program (EVE), which she initiated in 2007, she was installed as the first Schwaber Professor of Environmental Engineering, a position supported by a $2 million endowment.

Read the  entire article in Prism online

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