Meet the Team


Yanfen Li, Ph.D.

Yanfen LiYanfen Li is an Assistant Professor at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. She received her Ph.D. in Bioengineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign where her research was focused on the utilization of biomaterials to understand and influence cellular function and epigenetics. Her current research is in engineering education with a focus on curriculum development, formation of engineering identity in undergraduate students, and retention and recruitment of female and minority engineering students.

Nicole D. Jackson, Ph.D.

Nicole D. Jackson is currently a Postdoctoral Appointee at Sandia National Laboratories in the Energy Water Systems Integration department. She received her B.S. and Ph.D.  in Civil Engineering as well as an M.S. degree in Materials Science and Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and  a M.S. in Engineering Mechanics from Virginia Tech. Her current research focuses on characterizing extreme weather event impacts to the food-energy-water nexus through the use of data science and complex systems analysis.

Rebecca Reck, Ph.D.

Photo of Rebecca ReckRebecca Reck is a Teaching Associate Professor of Bioengineering at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.  From 2016-2020, she was an Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Kettering University.  She received her Ph.D. in Systems and Entrepreneurial Engineering from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in 2016.  Previously she worked as a systems engineer in the Systems and Software group in the Flight Control Systems Department at Rockwell Collins (now Collins Aerospace).  She has completed a Master of Science degree in Electrical Engineering at Iowa State University and a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology.   Her areas of research include experiential learning, undergraduate instructional laboratories, and inclusive pedagogy.  She is an active volunteer in the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE), the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), and the Society of Women Engineers (SWE).


Rohit Bhargava, Ph.D.

Photo of Rohit BhargavaRohit Bhargava is Founder Professor of Engineering and serves as the Director of the Cancer Center at Illinois of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Rohit graduated with a dual-degree B.Tech. (1996) from the Indian Institute of Technology, New Delhi and received a doctoral degree from Case Western Reserve University (2000). After a stint at the National Institutes of Health, he has been at Illinois as Assistant (2005-2011), Associate (2011-2012), and Full (2012-) Professor. Rohit is widely recognized for his research on chemical imaging and advances in theory, instrumentation, and applications in cancer pathology. His innovative teaching and mentoring has also been consistently recognized by the success of his students. He directs the NIH T32-supported Tissue Microenvironment training program and founded the cancer scholars program too. In addition to his research and educational activities, Rohit has also served to connect the research community in new and exciting ways to address basic science and engineering questions that surround cancer. He proposed and has served to develop the Cancer Center at Illinois – a basic science center at the convergence of high quality technology and engineering and oncology.

Shweta Dabetwar, Ph.D.

Shweta Dabetwar, Ph.D.Shweta Dabetwar is currently working as a postdoctoral research associate at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell in the lab of Structural Dynamics & Acoustic Systems Laboratory with Dr. Alessandro Sabato. Currently, she is working on automated damage detection in infrastructures and buildings using infrared images and deep learning techniques. She has completed her doctorate at Texas Tech University in the department of mechanical engineering with Dr. Ekwaro-Osire. Her focus was damage dteetcon in composite materials using artificial intelligence. Her research interests include structural health monitoring, machine learning, composite materials, artificial intelligence, photogrammetry, infrared imaging, computer vision, and prognostics. She is a part of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME).

If you are interested in mentoring a small group of participants with their statement drafts and reviews throughout the program, please contact us.

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