Dr. Mariappan Jawaharlal
Professor of Mechanical Engineering at California State Polytechnic University Pomona
Category of Humanitarian Benefit: Improved Sharing of Knowledge
Short Biography/ Background of the Nominee: Dr. Mariappan Jawaharlal (Dr. Jawa) is a Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. Dr. Jawa is recognized as an outstanding educator for his innovative and engaging teaching pedagogy. He has over 20 years of industrial, academic and entrepreneurial experience. Dr.Jawa practices a hands-on, guided discovery approach to help students learn and provides his students with highly creative project experiences. His innovative teaching approach makes learning complex concepts simple as he relates them to everyday life.
Project Name and Description: Dr. Jawa is the founder and director of the Robotics Education through Active Learning (REAL) Program. The REAL program, founded in 2003, is meant to inspire students and prepare teachers through a culmination of an extensive, six year collaboration among engineering faculty, undergraduates, and K-12 teachers in robotics-based education to engage and inspire learners. The REAL program engineering faculty and undergraduates provide a hands-on guided approach to learning robotics curriculum in the classroom, where students gain a unique understanding in the areas of math, science, and computational languages. These skills are evaluated at the culminating Robot Rally annual event, which is the largest event of its kind in the nation. Through Dr. Jawa’s leadership as director of the REAL program, the participation at the annual Robot Rally has grown from 50 students from two schools in 2007 to over 900 students from 20 local schools in 2017. This event has inspired thousands of young students to pursue STEM education.
Dr. Jawa also helped develop the Femineer program to inspire, engage and empower female middle and high school students. The Femineer program was created and funded by Cal Poly Pomona’s College of Engineering in 2013 to inspire additional females to pursue STEM in their education and career. The program provides K-12 students with project-based learning, female engineering student mentors, and opportunities to visit Cal Poly Pomona, while building a sustainable program and community for current and future STEM leaders. The Femineer program was recognized by the White House in 2015 for increasing educational outcomes and opportunities for female Hispanic K-12 students. Dr. Jawa developed a three year curriculum including creative robotics, wearable technology and Raspberry Pi Robotics for Femineers.
Humanitarian Benefit: Inspiring undergraduates & k-12 students to pursue STEM education through the Femineer’s and R.E.A.L. programs. His work has been a crucial part of getting young students interested in the future pursuit of STEM careers.