People

Em Buten (she/her/ella)

Ph.D. Student, Engineering Education Research

Based on my experiences as an undergraduate at the University of Dayton where I received a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering my research focuses on individuals’ transition from students to professional engineers and how activities outside of the classroom impact students. Particularly, I’m interested in studying co-op/internship programs, experiential learning, professional skill development, and diverse student experiences in experiential learning settings. If the weather’s nice I enjoy being outside hiking or rock climbing, but if it’s winter I’m probably cooking or reading.

Taxonomy words: experiential learning, cooperative education, internships, professional skills, underrepresented students

If I had a time machine I would only feel safe going to back to Ireland or Scotland. So I would go to the viking villages that settled in Ireland and train to be a viking warrior. 


Megan Ennis (she/her)

Graduate Research Assistant, Aerospace Engineering

After completing a B.S. in aerospace engineering at the University of Michigan, I spent a year at University of Cambridge for a master’s in gender studies. I returned to Michigan and am now enjoying my time as a graduate student instructor for spacecraft dynamics. Beyond being involved in our lab’s macroethics work, my research interest is to apply feminist theories to engineering education. Outside of school, I read science fiction and fantasy novels and love to bake. 

Lastly, if I could travel in a time machine I would use it like Tim does in the romantic comedy ‘About Time.’ I would go back to correct embarrassing moments, relive happy memories, and in the end hopefully learn to enjoy each day as it is.


Aaron Johnson (he/him/his)

Assistant Professor, Aerospace Engineering
Core Faculty Member, Engineering Education Research Program

I believe in a strong connection between engineering education research and practice, and my research leverages my experience teaching engineering science courses to bridge the gap between theoretical, well-defined coursework and ill-defined, sociotechnical engineering practice. I received a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering from U-M, and a Ph.D. in Aeronautics and Astronautics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Prior to re-joining U-M, I was an instructor in Aerospace Engineering Sciences at the University of Colorado Boulder. Outside of work I enjoy reading, collecting LEGO NASA sets, biking, camping, and playing disc golf. I hope that you also make time for fun activities in your life, especially if you’re a student!

If I had a time machine I feel like the obvious answer is to visit Cape Canaveral on July 16, 1969 to witness the Apollo 11 launch. (And that would be incredibly awesome!) But, I think my first stop would probably be the early 1900s to see what the places where I’ve lived (suburban Pittsburgh; Cambridge, Massachusetts; and Ann Arbor) looked like at the time. I think the built world and urban development are really fascinating, but there aren’t any pictures of, like, the normal neighborhoods where I’ve lived before development. So, while a bit more mundane, I think that would be really interesting to see.


Boomer Perry

Undergraduate Research Assistant, Aerospace Engineering

The privilege of pursuing a degree of higher education has provided me with so many opportunities I never knew were possible. For some reason school has always “worked” for me, which makes me wonder why that is and how to make quality education accessible to all students. I was very close to becoming a special education teacher, and performing engineering education research helps to keep my passion for education alive. Currently, I am researching how undergraduate engineering courses can better emulate the knowledge and skills needed for industry.

Outside of school I help coach Special Olympics sports teams, and love to read and lift weights.

If I had a time machine, I would go back to Comerica Park in 2006 and witness Magglio Ordonez hit the walk-off three-run homerun to send the Detroit Tigers to the World Series.


Betsy Strehl (she/her/hers)

Ph.D. Student, Engineering Education Research

My research focuses on understanding the experience of undergraduate engineering students from low-income or rural backgrounds and embedding macroethics into undergraduate engineering curricula. I earned a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering from U-M, with a minor in Applied Mathematics, but spent the last few years teaching at a high school in Gallup, New Mexico. Outside of work, I enjoy reading, watching terrible reality TV, and volunteering at local after-school programs. 

If I had a time machine, I would go back in time to visit the Library of Alexandria before it was destroyed. I probably would not be able to read anything, but I’d love to see what it looked like! Maybe I could bring a camera with me to take a few photos to be transcribed afterward.