Academic Opportunities and Support
Engineering Learning Initiatives (ELI) pushes the boundaries of excellence in teaching and learning, propelling the academic and professional development of new waves of engineers who are well-equipped to work and thrive in diverse teams to innovate solutions to humanity’s grand challenges.
ELI enhances the learning environment in the college of Engineering by promoting evidence-supported practices in teaching and learning. ELI programs empower students by facilitating student-centered, inclusive, collaborative, and experiential learning opportunities within supportive and accessible communities. We provide impactful experiences for graduate and undergraduate students which aim to improve learning outcomes, self-efficacy, and belonging as engineering students. We strive to both inspire and support students’ persistence and development as peer educators, researchers, leaders, collaborators, and lifelong learners.
Now featuring the ELI Edublog:
Interested in seeing more details about our ELI activities? Welcome to the ELI Edublog! Read articles about the experiences of our TA Development Consultants and AEW Facilitators and learn more about ELI-supported undergraduate research. Articles highlight the great work of our peer educators in the art and science of teaching and learning – all modes – in the College of Engineering. Leave questions or comments on the blogs, or contact us at eng-learning @cornell.edu.
Engineering Learning Initiatives staff includes:
Lisa Schneider-Bentley, Director
As Director of Engineering Learning Initiatives since 2002, Lisa Schneider-Bentley works with faculty, staff, and students to develop, administer, and evaluate programs for active and collaborative learning, undergraduate research, teaching assistant preparation, and peer tutoring. Schneider-Bentley received her PhD in Sociology from Cornell (1997), taught Sociology as an assistant professor at Hobart and William Smith Colleges (1997-1999), and was Senior Director of Research and Evaluation at PowerUP (1999-2002), a national nonprofit expanding technology access and youth development resources in underserved communities across the U.S. Her research interests include race, class, and gender inequality in educational access; climate, inclusion, and quality of student learning in engineering education; and the effects of active, collaborative, and applied pedagogical approaches on student learning outcomes, attitudes, and persistence.
Celia Evans, Associate Director
Celia Evans joined the Engineering Learning Initiatives team in 2020 after almost 20 years teaching and researching in the natural sciences as professor of Ecology at Paul Smith’s College. Evans completed a Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Dartmouth College, and fulfilled a one-year postdoc in Science Education at the University of New Hampshire. Having consistently used and studied engaged learning pedagogy, Evans is convinced that student-centered, active-learning pedagogy works to facilitate all levels of cognition for all sorts of learners in all disciplines. Her areas of expertise include engaged learning strategies, creating and assessing learning objectives, international collaborations in STEM, strategic planning, collaborative partnership building, and ecology. Evans is excited to be part of the ELI team, and aims to collaboratively facilitate the continual improvement of learning outcomes in the College!
Ryan Sauvé, Assistant Director
Ryan Sauve joined the Engineering Learning Initiatives team from the Engineering College’s School of Biomedical Engineering. Ryan was the Undergraduate Coordinator in BME for six years, and was central to the development of the undergraduate program from the beginnings of the BME major. Among his many contributions in this role, Ryan led the redesign and teaching of BME 2080/1 Experiential Learning Seminar for BME students. Before coming to Cornell, Ryan was the Project Manager for the Scholar Enrichment Program (SEP), in the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics at the University of Houston. SEP is a peer-facilitated collaborative workshops program very similar to ELI’s Academic Excellence Workshops program. Ryan is excited to be joining the ELI team to build upon these experiences in efforts to build a community of learners within the College. Ryan holds a Master of Arts in Teaching from Northeastern University, and a BS in Sociology, with a Minor in Elementary Education, also from Northeastern.
Laura Schoenle, Associate Director for Undergraduate Research
Laura Schoenle joined the Engineering Learning Initiatives team in 2023 as the Associate Director for Undergraduate Research. Laura works to expand undergraduate research resources and support for Engineering College students and faculty. Her work will enhance ELI’s support for on-campus undergraduate research, while also expanding opportunities for students to engage in research across Cornell’s other NY campuses, at Weill Cornell and Cornell Tech. Laura comes to ELI after five years in Cornell’s Office of Undergraduate Biology as the Associate Director for Research and Honors. After earning her BS from Cornell ‘06 and her M.Ed. from the University of Arizona, Laura taught high school science for a few years, before beginning her graduate studies at Virginia Tech and earning her PhD in Biological Sciences. Laura’s research has focused on the interactions between physiological stress, immune function, and disease in wildlife, and her current academic interests center on culture and mentorship in the research environment. Laura is also an outdoors enthusiast and a Lead Facilitator for the Cornell Team and Leadership Center.
Wenjing Luo, Teaching and Learning Specialist
Wenjing Luo joined the Engineering Learning Initiatives team in July 2023 as the Teaching and Learning Specialist. Her work will help develop, implement, assess and research ELI’s expanding programs and initiatives related to teaching assistant development in the College of Engineering. Before coming to Cornell, Wenjing was a learning experience designer in an NIH-funded project where she developed a learner-centered mobile health app for adolescents with type 1 diabetes. Wenjing’s research focused primarily on exploring, designing and developing innovative learning solutions for learners in both K-12 and higher education contexts, including interdisciplinary approaches to STEM learning in elementary and middle schools and instructional design in university settings. Before starting her Ph.D., She was an English as a Second Language teacher in an urban high school in Orlando, FL. Wenjing holds a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Florida (2019) and a M.Ed. in English Language Learners from Vanderbilt University (2014).
Liz Walton, Program Administrator
Liz Walton joined the Engineering Learning Initiatives team in 2022. They have 7 years of experience working as an administrator in multiple fields, most recently as Development and Communications Manager, with Finance oversight, on a campaign for New York State Senate. Liz earned their Bachelors of Art, from University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and has a background in gallery management, and gallery finance, production, and design.