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On May 14, at the historic Academy of Medicine in Atlanta, the president of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE), C.D. Mote, Jr., presented Paul Benkeser, Joseph Le Doux, and Wendy Newstetter, from the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering (BME) at the Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University, with the 2019 Bernard M. Gordon Prize medal for innovation in engineering and technology education.


They were recognized for "for fusing problem-driven engineering education with learning-science principles to create a pioneering program that develops leaders in biomedical engineering." The $500,000 annual award recognizes new methods and concepts in education aimed at developing engineering leaders.


The Bernard M. Gordon Prize is the highest and most prestigious education award bestowed by the National Academy of Engineering.


"I am honored to recognize these educators who have created a remarkably innovative biomedical engineering program to create future leaders in the field," said NAE President C. D. Mote, Jr.


“When the BME department was formed, a new way of educating future engineers was envisioned and we were very quickly recognized as an innovator in engineering education as evidenced by receiving a teaching excellence award by the Board of Regents,” said Susan Margulies, chair of the BME department. “Today, our BME faculty are receiving NAE’s highest award for their innovative approach.”


Prior to accepting her award, Wendy Newstetter, commented “in the beginning, the BME department needed to create a new breed of engineers that can look at various lenses and perspectives to deliver novel solutions. Students need multiple opportunities to solve problems. Early in their curriculum, we realized that biomedical engineering students needed to be integrative thinkers by being thrown into several real world, problem-solving environments.”


Before to the formal award ceremony, Susan Margulies moderated a five person panel discussing the past, present and future perspectives of problem driven learning methods to train engineers. The panelists included: Angela Gill Nelms, COO of Florence Healthcare (BME alumna 2007), Arun Kumar, M.D. (BME alumnus 2014), Paul Benkeser, Joeseph Le Doux, and Wendy Newstetter. The panel covered the history and challenges faced during the creation of the problem driven learning method.


“Innovation in engineering and technology education is pivotal in the overall scheme of things,” said Alex Van Adzin, a representative from the Gordon Foundation. “We at the Gordon Foundation are fully committed to the objectives of the prize. Bernie Gordon has asked me to give his congratulations and best wishes to the 2019 Gordon Prize winners.”


Link to the 2019 Bernard M. Gordon Prize ceremony photos.

Link to the NAE press release announcing the 2019 Gordon Prize winners for 2019.