Dr. Kris Ropella

Dr. Kris Ropella

Dr. Kris Ropella is Dean of the Opus College of Engineering at Marquette University, and a true enabler of the engineer of the future. In this episode, Dr. Ropella meets up with us at Caffrey’s Pub on Marquette’s campus to discuss how engineering education is evolving to incorporate more creativity, diversity, and leadership while better preparing engineers for the manufacturing industry and beyond. From ballroom dancing to learning through failure to the changing face of engineering, this episode is packed with stories you won’t want to miss.


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3 Quick Things from this Episode

  1. The face of engineering is changing. Tasks traditionally done by engineers continue to become more automated, making the role of an engineer as an ethical, inclusive leader & innovator more important than ever.
  2. Students must be given more opportunities to get comfortable learning from failure by putting theory into practice.
  3. Engineering is all about getting systems to work together and in turn has many parallels with the arts.

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Tweetable Quotes

  • “We don’t need the ‘obedient engineer’ of the past.” –Dr. Kris Ropella

Please Scroll Down for Full Show Notes and Recommended Resources from this Episode

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What We Discuss with Dr. Ropella

  • We kick off the interview with Dr. Ropella’s own engineering journey, her focus in biomedical engineering, and why she feels students are choosing to pursue engineering today.
  • Ropella discusses 3 ways that Marquette is “changing the face of engineering,” including more diversity and incorporating viewpoints from multiple fields, moving beyond the idea of the ‘obedient engineer,’ and how the world views the Marquette College of Engineering’s approach to ethics and leadership.
  • We discuss how Marquette’s curriculum has evolved to better equip engineers as leaders while adopting new methods of learning in the classroom. Engineering schools must evolve as software and automation become more prevalent.
  • Ropella shares stories of standout learning experiences she has witnessed, and how students must become more comfortable with failure.
  • Round 2 kicks off with Dr. Ropella’s own stories about her dancing experience, the parallels between art and engineering, and in turn how Marquette is building creativity into their curriculum.
  • We discuss some of the more creative senior design projects that have come out of Marquette recently, including projects that are impacting women’s fashion in the manufacturing industry.
  • Ropella discusses ways that manufacturers can make ongoing education a priority, and how the industry must continue to change to attract the next generation of leaders.

Recommended Resources

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Dr. Ropella | MU College of Engineering | Marquette University