Over the next few weeks we’ll be introducing you to this year’s Alumni Award winners. The UMBC Alumni Association proudly honors distinguished alumni and faculty for their accomplishments and dedication to UMBC. Today we’re talking with Dr. Anne Spence, Department of Mechanical Engineering, about her career working as a professor at UMBC.
Q: Why did you choose to teach at UMBC?
I chose to teach at UMBC because of its diverse student body, the strength of the undergraduate engineering programs, and the freedom to pursue my interests in engineering education.
Q: Please tell us a little about the trajectory of your career and what you are working on now.
I have had the privilege of engaging in many activities related to engineering education. Our current work to prepare teachers to teach engineering in elementary, middle, and high school will open the doors of engineering to a new generation of students. We are also developing new mentoring programs that will ensure that all students entering mechanical engineering will benefit from the types of activities formerly reserved for members of our scholar programs.
Q: What do you most enjoy about working with UMBC students?
I love the fact that UMBC students come from a variety of backgrounds. They bring a diversity of experiences that make the student body stronger. It is also great to see students who have participated in Project Lead the Way and FIRST LEGO League coming to UMBC to pursue their dreams.
Q: What is your favorite memory of your time at UMBC?
My favorite memories are of the freshman engineering design competitions. I love watching students flex their engineering muscles through the design of robots, submarines, catapults, solar rice cookers, and hot air balloons while competing and cooperating with their colleagues.
Q: What inspired you to pursue a career in engineering and education?
When I was an undergraduate, I was the only female student in my class and never had a female instructor except in the arts, humanities and social sciences. A few women started with me as freshmen but did not continue in the major. I thought that if they had seen someone at the front of the room that looked more like them, they might have persisted. I felt like maybe I could be that role model for both female and male students alike. I am so happy that I made that choice!