Jordan recognized for excellence as engineering educator
Future engineers have been inspired by Palm Beach State College’s physics and astronomy professor Lilian Jordan since she began teaching full time on the Palm Beach Gardens campus in 1997. Her contribution to engineering education, mentorship and leadership was recognized Feb. 20 by The Engineers’ Council, which presented her with its Distinguished Engineering Educator Award at the 2015 National Engineers Week Honors and Awards Banquet at the Palm Beach County Convention Center.
Held in partnership with the Business Development Board of Palm Beach County, the annual banquet honored professionals in many capacities who were nominated by their peers. Jordan was nominated by her colleague, Oleg Andric, associate professor and department chair of Palm Beach State’s Electrical Power Technology program.
“I am fully aware of the high quality of Professor Jordan’s work and the satisfaction and joy that she gives to her students,” says Andric. He cited examples ranging from her dynamic classroom teaching to advising the College’s Engineering Club—a student chapter of the Florida Engineering Society—to her extensive involvement in local STEM education projects.
“It’s a tremendous honor,” says Jordan, who has a special passion for teaching tomorrow’s engineers. “Engineering is an unbelievably important occupation, and the students in our classes today are going to become professionals who will contribute to the advancement of our nation as a global competitor and even the advancement of our planet. It’s important that we as educators make sure that we give our students every opportunity to gain as much exposure inside and outside of the classroom to the engineering field and make it enjoyable for them. Make it something that they want to stick with.”
Jordan gets students to stick with it by constantly seeking out ways to engage them. In addition to Engineering Club activities that include building projects and attending FES lectures and events, her students serve as judges or volunteers for K-12 competitions like Florida MATHCOUNTS® and the engineering challenge “Drop It, Build It, Float It, Launch It, Thrill It,” sponsored by the South Florida Science Center and FES. Jordan was awarded Palm Beach State’s Gimelstob Students’ Choice Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2011, the same year six of her students travelled to NASA’s Johnson Space Center to conduct scientific experiments as part of its Reduced Gravity Education Flight Program for undergraduate students. Jordan received her master’s degree in physics from Florida Atlantic University and continued in advanced coursework there.
Perhaps the final say for all such awards, should come from the students themselves. Robert Kemp, a Palm Beach State student and president of the Engineering Club who has plans to get his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering, thinks Jordan is unparalleled in her commitment to students. “I’ve never had a teacher who goes to such an extent to involve students with hands-on activities and actual relevant experiences,” says Kemp. “She’s opened doors for students in ways that I’ve never seen a teacher do before. It’s clear in all aspects of what she does how much she cares about the students.”