AnnMarie is an assistant professor of Engineering at the University of St. Thomas where her teaching focuses on design (classes include "Machine Design and Synthesis," "Engineering Graphics and Design," "Product Design: Toys," "Dynamics with Circus Lab," and "Design for an Aging Population.") Previously, she was a faculty member at Art Center College of Design. She is the director of the UST Design laboratory and leads a team of students looking at both the playful side of engineering (squishy circuits for students, the science of circus, toy design) and ways to use engineering design to help others (projects in technology design for older adults).
The role of design and engineering in the lives of kids, and particularly in the P-12 classroom, is a topic AnnMarie is passionate about. In partnership with collaborator Dr. Jan Hansen, she is co-founder/director of the University of St. Thomas Center for Pre-Collegiate Engineering Education (CPCEE).
AnnMarie has also worked on underwater robotics (at MIT, Caltech, and the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute), specializing in biologically inspired propulsion. She has consulted on projects ranging from the design/creation of a "musical earthquake-playing robot" to the initial research for a book on earthquakes in Los Angeles. At Caltech, she founded the Caltech Robotics Outreach Group (CROG) and the Caltech/JPL/LEGO Middle School Robotics Conference.
She has an SB in Ocean Engineering from MIT, and MS and PhD degrees in Mechanical Engineering from Caltech. In her spare time she studies aerial arts, works toward a certificate in Sustainable Design from MCAD, and hopes to one day return to painting.
annmarie.p.thomas at gmail dot com