Two new faculty members join engineering communication program

Kamisha Escoto and Mary Glavan will join ACTIVATE on Aug. 15 and Jan. 1, respectively.

Two photos: Left is headshot of Kamisha Escoto, right is headshot of Mary Glavan

Two new faculty members will join ACTIVATE, the Engineering Communication Program at Rice, dedicated to helping engineering students, postdocs and faculty members communicate the impact of their work.

Kamisha Escoto and Mary Glavan will join the program on Aug. 15 and Jan. 1, respectively.

“Our goal is to build students’ confidence and strengthen their ability to communicate effectively, which will enable them to achieve their goals,” said Tracy Volz, professor in the practice and director of the Engineering Communications Program.

Since 2012, Escoto has worked for the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, currently as a program director for its Center for Community-Engaged Translational Research in the Department of Health Disparities Research.

“Much of my role at MD Anderson,” Escoto said, “has focused on scientific writing to advance cancer disparities/community-engaged research and help secure funds for growth and sustainability. I will use this experience to help students effectively communicate science in both research and engineering practice settings.”

Escoto earned her M.S. and Ph.D. in industrial engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2002 and 2006, respectively. For two years starting in 2009, she served as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Minnesota in an NIH-funded program on eating and weight disorders.

“Kamisha will be teaching Ph.D. students how to write papers for publication and present their research at conferences,” Volz said, “as well as supporting the expansion of the Future Faculty Fellows Program led by Renata Ramos.”

Since 2019, Glavan has served as a visiting assistant professor of English in the Writing Program at Tulane University. Earlier, she served for four years as a consultant in Carnegie Mellon University’s writing center, working almost exclusively with multilingual graduate writers, primarily in STEM fields.

“This experience,” she said, “cultivated my ability to teach writing across disciplines and to work one-on-one with writers on projects that are highly significant to them, including job application materials, dissertations and academic articles.”

Glavan earned her M.A. and Ph.D. in rhetoric from Carnegie-Mellon in 2010 and 2017, respectively. She will work closely with Anne-Marie Womack, assistant teaching professor in the Engineering Communications Program.

 “Mary will help expand the communication course offerings for professional master’s students so that students are prepared to articulate their value and qualifications in job interviews and to communicate clearly and persuasively once they’re on the job,” Volz said.

ACTIVATE prepares Rice engineers to explain their research in papers, presentations, posters and interviews. The ACTIVATE team offers courses, workshops, one-on-one coaching, and other activities to help individuals more clearly communicate the significance of their work.