Three new faculty members join SEDTAPP


UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – The School of Engineering Design, Technology, and Professional Programs (SEDTAPP) is proud to welcome John Gershenson, Jessica Menold and Christopher McComb as its newest faculty members.

Gershenson, a mechanical engineering professor at Michigan Technological University (MTU), has been hired as the new director of the Humanitarian Engineering and Social Entrepreneurship program.

He is also the CEO of the BenShima group, a bicycle industry research and design consulting firm, and the CEO and co-founder of Baisikeli Ugunduzi, a company dedicated to improving the lives of people who depend on bicycles in sub-Saharan Africa.

Before his position at MTU, Gershenson served as an assistant professor at the University of Alabama and at Utah State University.

While at MTU, Gershenson served as a Fulbright Scholar and visiting professor at Moi University in Kenya from September 2013 – May 2014 and as a visiting associate professor at the University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez in Puerto Rico from July 2006 – June 2007.

Gershenson’s research interests include product and process architecture and lean and sustainable design and manufacturing. His newest work focuses on 3D printing applications for rural medical facilities in the developing world.

He is the recipient of a National Science Foundation (NSF)/Lucent Industrial Ecology Fellowship, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Leadership Development Award, the Society of Automotive Engineers Ralph R. Teetor Educational Award, an NSF Japan Institute Fellowship and a USAID Development Innovation Ventures Award. He has been awarded numerous education program and design research grants from companies and organizations including NSF, Caterpillar Corporation, General Motors, NASA, Ford Motor Company, Hewlett-Packard Corporation, Terex Corporation and Venturewell.

Gershenson received his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from the University of Idaho, his master’s in mechanical engineering from the Ohio State University, and a bachelor’s degree in physics from Cornell University.

Menold, a visiting scholar with the Technology, Innovation and Management Group at RWTH Aachen, has been hired as an assistant professor of engineering design and mechanical engineering. 

She is a founder of Amparo, a company that creates re-moldable prosthetics sockets for amputees in rural South Africa and Brazil; a founder of Curiospace, a startup that designs and distributes problem-solving kits to at-risk children; and founder of Empathink, a social impact organization bringing women together to solve problems.

Prior to her work at RWTH, Menold served as a research assistant with Penn State’s Engineering Design and Optimization Group and the Human Development Design for Impact Lab, a mentor with Lion Launchpad and as an intern with The Boeing Company.

Menold’s research interests include exploring prototyping and its role throughout the product development process, prototyping in industrial and professional settings and the effect of 3D printing and the make movement on prototyping and prototype creativity.

She is a recipient of the ASME Teaching Fellowship, the Stage 1 Venturewell E-Team Grant 2016, Stage 2 Venturewell E-Team Grant 2016 and the Penn State Summer Founders Grant 2016. Menold was also a winner of the ASME Innovation Showcase 2016 for her work with Amparo.

Menold received her Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from Penn State.

McComb, a postdoctoral research associate at Carnegie Mellon University, has been hired as an assistant professor of engineering design and mechanical engineering.

In addition to his postdoctoral role, McComb also served as an instructor in the Integrated Innovation Institute, teaching courses in product design and conceptualization, with an emphasis on emerging technologies and societal challenges.

Prior to this, McComb was a graduate researcher under Jonathan Cagan, George Tallman and Florence Barrett Ladd Professor of Mechanical Engineering, and Kenneth Kotovsky, professor of psychology.

His primary research focuses on team-based design and engineering methodologies. Other interest areas include social choice theory, numerical optimization, design for the developing world and STEM education.

McComb is a recipient of an NSF Research Fellowship and Tau Beta Pi King Fellowship and is a member of Pi Tau Sigma, Chi Epsilon, ASME and the Design Society.

He received both his Ph.D. and master’s in mechanical engineering from Carnegie Mellon University.

McComb and Gershenson will begin on Aug. 15, while Menold will start in January 2018.


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The School of Engineering Design, Technology, and Professional Programs (SEDTAPP) delivers effective engineering education through active, collaborative, project-based, and professionally oriented classroom experiences. SEDTAPP offers a variety of programs that partner faculty, students, and industry in the study of real-life engineering problems. Our programs teach students to solve real-life problems with innovative solutions. 

School of Engineering Design, Technology, and Professional Programs

213 Hammond Building

The Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA 16802

Phone: 814-865-2952