Tuesday 12pm, 10 March 2015

Maria oden web

A Short History of the Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen

Maria Oden

Professor in the Practice of Engineering Education Director, Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen - Rice University


In this presentation, Dr. Maria Oden will present the short 5 year history of the Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen at Rice University where students are exposed to unique hands-on design experiences and opportunities to test and carry ideas to their intended point of application. An overview of the facility itself and how it fosters, design, prototyping and technology evaluation will be provided. This presentation will also provide a review of the goals and longer term impact of the program.

The OEDK has truly shifted the culture of engineering design at Rice, bringing together students with various perspectives to collaborate on multidisciplinary teams. Undergraduates using the OEDK represent the eight different engineering disciplines, as well as architecture, natural sciences, social sciences and humanities. Since its inception in 2009, use of OEDK has increased from about 250 to over 950 undergraduate students annually. Examples of real-world design challenges and their solutions, from the energy industry to medical technologies, will be presented. Specific examples and demonstrations from projects in the past several years will be used to illustrate major points in the presentation. Data demonstrating the growth and impact of this new education paradigm will also be shared. Questions and discussion will be encouraged!


Maria Oden has more than 15 years of combined academic, research, clinical experience in biomedical engineering with an emphasis in orthopaedic bioemechanics and computational modeling.

Since joining the Department of Bioengineering as a lecturer and laboratory coordinator in 2004, Oden has collaborated with Rice faculty members to develop capstone engineering design programs for undergraduate students in both the bioengineering and Beyond Traditional Borders (BTB) programs. In 2012, the BTB program was chosen as a model program by Science magazine and awarded the Science Prize for Inquiry-Based Instruction; and in 2013, the hands-on engineering education program was awarded the Lemelson-MIT Award for Global Innovation for bringing life-saving health solutions to the developing world.

As director of Rice’s Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen, an appointment received in 2008, Oden orchestrates engineering education initiatives in the school of engineering that provide students from multiple departments.