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Students, faculty remember Cathy Pieronek

first_imgLast Thursday, Catherine “Cathy” Pieronek, an associate dean in the College of Engineering and the director of the women’s engineering program, passed away suddenly at the age of 52.According to College of Engineering Dean Peter Kilpatrick, Pieronek proved to be a champion of the women engineers on Notre Dame’s campus, but also on a national level. Students have recalled her dedication to the engineers and also to the school as a campus leader who sought to continually improve the University and, specifically, the College of Engineering.In an email, Kilpatrick described one of Pieronek’s large contributions to the women’s engineering program that dealt with residence halls. When Pieronek joined the engineering faculty in 2002, female enrollment in the college was lower than it was now, and each women’s residence hall only had “one to two” engineers living in it.“This meant that women who wanted to study with their classmates and other engineers would have to go to another residence hall (often a male residence hall) and when the parietals require women students leaving male dorms at midnight (despite whether the homework or studying was all finished), this placed a hardship on the women engineering students,” he said.“So Cathy, in concert with others in the College, got [the Office of Residence Life] to start clustering women engineers in fewer dorms so women could develop natural study partners in their own residence hall. This strategy, and many others, has led to a dramatic increase in both the retention and the numbers and percentages of women in engineering here at Notre Dame. We are now well over 30 percent, a remarkable increase in the last 10-plus years. Cathy played by far the dominant role in this transformation.”Kilpatrick and others recalled her tendency to be extremely direct with students in her role as an advisor.“I have so many memories of Cathy, but perhaps my favorite memory was when I shared with her recently how grateful a parent was for the direct and forceful advice that Cathy gave his son on the occasion of struggling academically and disciplinarily and the way the young man had been able to turn things around with Cathy’s support and encouragement,” he said. “Cathy gave me a simple ‘aw, shucks’ response and immediately deflected the accolade.“This was classic Cathy. She did what she did for our students because she was deeply committed and cared about them as persons. In this regard, Cathy taught us how to be fully human and fully Christian.”Senior Cecilia Ruiz said she met Pieronek when she was a first-year engineering student and member of the First Year Engineering Council.“What I remember the most is her passion to education and her devotion to her students,” Ruiz said in an email. “She touched many lives with her advice and picked up many of us who struggled through some of our semesters.“Always understanding, but firm, she encouraged me to continue in my endeavors and challenged all whose lives she touched to be the best version of themselves. I can’t think of a better role model to follow as an aspiring female aerospace engineer, and I am grateful for her presence in my life.”Senior Maggie Miller said her relationship with Pieronek began during her freshman year. She said Pieronek took an interest in her summer job with Notre Dame’s Introduction to Engineering Program and talked to her frequently throughout the summer.“Most of the conversations we would have were about how we could make the College better, how we could improve the perception of engineers on campus,” Miller said in an email. “This was especially pertinent to me as I have been heavily involved with various performing arts groups during my time at Notre Dame, and Cathy always took a surprising interest in this and in other students that were leaving their mark on campus in areas other than engineering. She wanted us to feel like we were students and to get away from seeing ourselves as nerds who could only sit in their rooms and study.“She fought relentlessly for the students in the College, and even though she was often very hard on struggling students they were always better for it. Tough love was definitely her approach, but it was in fact a deep love that she showed the students.”Miller said Pieronek was especially important for the women of the College, which she witnessed firsthand as a student representative on the College of Engineering Council.“I remember in one meeting looking around and realizing that Cathy and myself were the only women in the room of 20 or so other people, and Cathy always played a large role in running those meetings,” Miller said. “She became someone I very much wanted to emulate in her confidence and in her caring.”Senior Ryan Griffin said Pieronek cared about all her students in the College of Engineering, which led to a tough but rewarding mentoring style.“She expected you to own up to your mistakes and act like an adult,” Griffin said in an email. “But if you were capable of doing that, Cathy would match you every step of the way working with you, teachers, the department, advisors, you name it, in order to help you succeed. She was also an incredible mentor to the students who got close to her.“Those of us who were lucky enough to call her a mentor will forever treasure the advice she gave us and carry her words with us in our careers.”Tags: Cathy Pieronek, College of Engineering, SWE, Women’s engineeringlast_img read more

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COVID-19: Central Java students demand ‘creativity’ amid boredom of remote studying

first_imgAmelia Adiputri Diansari, a student at SMA 1 state high school in Sragen, said the apparent lack of digital literacy among teachers had become a major issue as the entire classroom moved into the virtual space as a result of physical-distancing measures.“Many teachers, especially the senior ones, are tech-illiterate. Since the study-from-home policy was issued, these teachers have had difficulty adjusting [to digital platforms],” Amelia said on Wednesday.Amelia, who serves as the head of Central Java Children’s Forum, was among the students from over 35 cities and regencies across the province who were invited to share their remote-learning experiences with Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo on Wednesday.The 150-minute online forum, which was held virtually via video conference, aimed to address issues that students have experienced since they started studying from home. Ganjar encouraged teachers to be more creative in designing learning modules to spark students’ interest.“The point is that [students] need . They need to see their teachers’ faces. Teachers may even assign students projects that they like, such as vlogs,” Ganjar said.According to a recent online survey conducted by the Central Java Children’s Forum in collaboration with the Central Java Child Protection and Empowerment and Population Control Agency, the majority of students are “bored” by the current learning method, Amelia said.“The survey found that 80 percent of students were bored,” she said.She went on to say that, in an unusual display of role-reversal, students have often initiated video conferences themselves to maintain interactivity in the classroom.Read also: Studying from home: Seven online learning platforms for studentsIn a bid to improve the remote-learning experience amid the COVID-19 pandemic, public television broadcaster TVRI regularly airs a full-day education program called Belajar dari Rumah (Study from Home) in cooperation with the Education and Culture Ministry.The programs, for all levels of education from pre-kindergarten to high school, focus on developing student literacy, numeracy and character and life skills.Education and Culture Minister Nadiem Makarim said the program was the ministry’s effort to help students who faced hindrances in remote internet learning.”This program can help students who have limited internet access for economic or geographic reasons,” Nadiem said. (rfa)Topics : Under normal circumstances, teachers usually have the authority to decide how to deliver their lessons on various subjects to their students in the classroom.But the current COVID-19 pandemic has overhauled the old study process as teachers now find themselves under constant pressure to become tech-savvy with the current study-from-home policy. The scheme requires knowledge about the ins and outs of digital communication platforms – largely uncharted territory, especially for older members of the faculty who have been accustomed to markers and whiteboards.In Semarang, Central Java, some students have taken it upon themselves to spice up their remote learning experience, claiming that their teachers have failed to fully adjust to the all-digital reality amid the ongoing public health crisis.last_img read more

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