College of Engineering Dean Kenneth R. Lutchen has appointed Gretchen Fougere as assistant dean for Outreach and Diversity, and she joined the staff in January. This newly created position consolidates all outreach efforts and serves as the focal point for planning, developing and implementing outreach and diversity programs throughout the College, while advancing its strategic vision of educating Societal Engineers™ equipped to solve complex problems in healthcare, energy, security, communication, and other high-impact domains.
“I am pleased to announce the hiring of Dr. Gretchen Fougere as the new Assistant Dean for Outreach and Diversity,” said Lutchen. “Gretchen joins us with a wealth of engineering and outreach experience.”
As an engineer, Fougere has managed teams and developed products in aerospace, energy storage, nanotechnology and other high technology industries. A graduate of the doctoral program in Materials Science and Engineering at Northwestern University, she has served as a design and structural engineer at Pratt & Whitney Aircraft Engines, a research assistant at Argonne National Laboratory, and engineering researcher and manager at Motorola and Duracell (Gillette).
As an educator, Fougere has taught science and engineering in elementary and middle school classes as well as in afterschool programs for girls and underrepresented minorities, and delivered science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) outreach programs at public schools and other forums. Most recently, she served as a senior leader of the Engineering is Elementary curriculum project at the Museum of Science, managing partnerships with participating educational organizations and providing training and resources to elementary school educators.
As assistant dean of Outreach and Diversity, Fougere will develop innovative approaches to kindergarten through 12th grade STEM outreach, and tailor these programs to create opportunities for the College’s undergraduate students to fulfill their role as Societal Engineers™. In addition, she will pursue strategies to diversify the graduate student population.
“This opportunity is particularly meaningful to me because the College of Engineering strives to cultivate students who make a difference in the world with their engineering degrees,” said Fougere. “I plan to partner with faculty and students to create programs that demonstrate to the broader community the vital role that engineers play in society. If we can inspire more students to become excited about careers in STEM-related fields, we will help fill the pipeline for BU, other engineering schools, and society at large.”
Fougere started her educational outreach efforts as a way to give back to those who had encouraged her to pursue STEM education and help underserved populations—from the guidance counselor who introduced her to the Engineering Explorers group in high school to the professors who planted the seed of pursuing a Ph.D.
“I helped found an outreach program in graduate school, and I never stopped finding ways to encourage students who might learn in different ways or who have skills that are not tapped into during their regular school activities,” said Fougere. “To me, enhancing diversity means reaching more capable students who have not been exposed to science, technology, engineering and mathematics . . . yet.”