The Rice Board of Trustees recently recognized the staff of the Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen (OEDK) for 10 years of providing transformative undergraduate education, a tenant of the university’s Vision for the Second Century, Second Decade (V2C2).
Honored for their impact at the board’s Feb. 28 meeting were Amy Kavalewitz, executive director; Danny Blacker, engineering design supervisor; Marilee Dizon, department administrator; Fernando Cruz, engineering design technician; Sukaina Ahmed, accounting specialist; Lea Aden Lueck, engineering design coordinator; and Sondra Hernandez, purchasing assistant. The Department of Mechanical Engineering’s Joe Gesenhues, department technician and shop manager, was also recognized for providing invaluable assistance to OEDK teams.
Maria Oden, director of the OEDK and a full teaching professor of bioengineering, commended the staff for making the kitchen a success for the more than 1,200 students who use it annually.
“This group of people is willing to put in their all, go the extra mile, work as a well-oiled team – all for the benefit of Rice, our students and our faculty,” Oden said.
The world’s first design kitchen, the OEDK was established in a building that was literally Rice’s campus kitchen, before separate serveries fed the residential colleges.
The OEDK facility fosters collaboration between Rice students and industry professionals, physicians at the Texas Medical Center and globally, and entrepreneurs and community partners developing solutions to problems with potential societal impact.
“When our students receive their dream jobs at SpaceX, Tesla, GE Healthcare … or are accepted into their dream graduate school and they tell us the main topic of their interview was the projects and experiences at OEDK, we can point to these staff members for making that possible,” Oden said.
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