Brian OConnell

Professional Title
Doctoral Student
About Me (Bio)
Brian O’Connell is a mechanical engineering PhD student at Tufts University and a research assistant at Tufts’ Center for Engineering Education and Outreach on the “Integrating Engineering and Literacy” project. His research interests focus on interdisciplinary collaboration, educational technology development and analysis, K-12 STEM education, and development of assessment tools for open ended K-12 engineering education activities. He is the creator of the PaperBots® Robotics Kit and other products that utilize available classroom materials to make engineering education activites more affordable and accessible and has founded a company around those products. Prior to coming to Tufts, Brian worked as a mechanical engineer for a government contractor designing periscopes and optronic masts for submarines. After graduation, he intends to pursue a faculty position with a research university in order to combine his desire to teach as well as advance his fields of interest through research.
Tufts University

This project is developing and testing curriculum materials and a professional development model designed to explore the potential for introducing engineering concepts in grades 3 - 5 through design challenges based on stories in popular children's literature. The research team hypothesizes that professional development for elementary teachers using an interdisciplinary method for combining literature with engineering design challenges will increase the implementation of engineering in 3-5 classrooms and have positive impacts on students.