By Mike Williams
August 20, 2020
Maria Oden, director of Rice’s Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen (OEDK), co-director of the Rice 360˚ Institute for Global Health and a teaching professor of bioengineering, has been named to the 2020 Class of Fellows by the Biomedical Engineering Society.
This year’s 27 new members “have demonstrated exceptional achievements and have made significant contributions within the biomedical engineering field,” according to the society. All will be honored at the organization’s virtual meeting in October.
Oden earned bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in biomedical engineering from Tulane University and served as both a postdoctoral fellow and instructor at Harvard Medical School, as a senior research associate at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston and as a faculty member at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston prior to joining Rice in 2004.
As the founding director of the OEDK, a 20,000-square-foot design studio used by more than 200 undergraduate student teams each year, Oden collaborates with Rice faculty members to develop and implement engineering design and innovation curriculum programs. She collaborates with faculty and universities worldwide to develop academic design studios and to incorporate engineering design education into their curricula. Her previous honors include the American Society for Engineering Education’s 2012 Fred Merryfield Design Award, the Lemelson Foundation’s 2013 Lemelson-MIT Award for Global Innovation, Science magazine’s 2012 Science Prize for Inquiry-Based Instruction, and Rice’s George R. Brown Award for Superior Teaching in both 2012 and 2016.
As a leader in biomedical engineering and design education, Oden was selected to participate in the National Academy of Engineering’s 2012 Frontiers of Engineering Education Symposium; is deeply involved with Venture Well and the Biomedical Engineering Innovation, Design and Entrepreneurship Alliance; and has served as an AAAS-Lemelson Invention Ambassador with the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and the Lemelson Foundation. She was named a fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering last year.
She is a fellow of Rice’s Center for Teaching Excellence and a founding leader of NEST360°, an international initiative between Rice 360° and partners on three continents that aims to enable African hospitals to provide comprehensive newborn care.