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Jennifer Karlin, South Dakota School of Mines and Technology

The official biography below was current at the time of the award. Awardees may choose to provide their latest biographical information on their profile page.

Dr. Jennifer Karlin is an Associate Professor of Industrial Engineering and the Faculty Development Coordinator at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology. She holds a Ph.D. in industrial and operations engineering from the University of Michigan. Her mentoring is available to all members of her campus and professional communities-with a particular interest in the success of those underrepresented in terms of gender and rural upbringing.

Dr. Karlin's mentoring philosophy has as its organizing principle a layered mentoring environment whereby elements of a timed and structured approach are combined with the benefits of an informal and flexible approach where qualitative elements are built into the structured model to allow for focusing on the uniqueness of each individual served. Dr. Karlin's tactics under this formal/informal combination include understanding a mentee's connection to the real world; encouraging guided self-discovery and learning; developing tools for academic and personal growth; providing her mentees with time, concern, and care; and creating an atmosphere of mutual respect between mentor and mentee.

Over the past decade, Dr. Karlin initiated the Girls in Real Learning Succeed program that has provided engineering activities and programming to over 1,000 middle school girls. During the same time frame, she and colleagues secured funding to establish two important programs: the Women in Science and Engineering program, and the Mentors and Mentees program that both support over 200 young women engineering students at South Dakota School of Mines and Technology each year (she has personally mentored over 30 graduate students who in turn mentor engineering students at the institution). Now in its tenth year, the Women in Science and Engineering program is an active and vital component of campus life, earning the recognition by industry partners of the value of the program as a cornerstone for increasing campus diversity. The program has a growing list of company supporters including Boeing, Michelin, Daktronics, Bobcat and Goodrich Cargo Systems.

Under Dr. Karlin's guidance, women and other students from groups underrepresented in science and engineering have flourished in the school's Department of Industrial Engineering. The percentage of women enrolled in the department's program has risen steadily over the past 10 years, and the department now boasts one of the highest percentages of women majors (45 percent) in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines in the country. During her more than 10 years with the university, she has supervised 33 students through graduate work, including seven women, one Native American student, and 10 active duty military/veterans.

She is the recipient of a National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development award in 2006-a research project to explore the nature of colleges of engineering as learning organizations and their correlation to increased intellectual development of engineering students. Dr. Karlin was selected by the National Academy of Engineering to attend its inaugural symposium of the Frontiers of Engineering Education. She maintains active membership in the American Society of Engineering Educators, and has served as Chair of its Apprentice Faculty Grant program.