2014 LITA Forum Keynote Sessions
AnnMarie Thomas, Engineering Professor, University of St. Thomas
AnnMarie is an engineering professor who spends her time trying to encourage the next generation of makers and engineers.
AnnMarie joined the faculty of the University of St. Thomas in the fall of 2006. 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. Dr. Thomas, co-founded, and co-directs, the University of St. Thomas Center for Pre-Collegiate Engineering Education (CPCEE). Through this center, AnnMarie develops and teaches engineering courses for P-12 educators, and conducts research on engineering at the pre-collegiate level.
AnnMarie teaches Engineering Graphics, Machine Design, Dynamics (with Circus Lab), Toy Design, Product Design for an Aging Population, and Brain Machine Interfaces (seminar). She organizes the School of Engineering Design Night (featuring the ENGR320 Machine Design competition), and the Design Discussions seminar series.
AnnMarie served as the Founding Executive Director of the Maker Education Initiative where she worked to establish the national Maker Corps program, and lay the groundwork for this nonprofit which has as its mission creating “create more opportunities for young people to make, and, by making, build confidence, foster creativity, and spark interest in science, technology, engineering, math, the arts—and learning as a whole.”
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.
Check out AnnMarie's fun Ted Talk on Play-Doh based squishy circuits.
Lorcan Dempsey, Vice President, OCLC Research and Chief Strategist
Lorcan Dempsey oversees the research division and participates in planning at OCLC. He is a librarian who has worked for library and educational organizations in Ireland, England and the US.
Lorcan has policy, research and service development experience, mostly in the area of networked information and digital libraries. He writes and speaks extensively, and can be followed on the web at Lorcan Dempsey's weblog and on twitter. Before moving to OCLC Lorcan worked for JISC in the UK, overseeing national information programs and services, and before that was Director of UKOLN a national UK research and policy unit at the University of Bath. Lorcan is Irish, and before moving to the UK he worked in public libraries in Dublin, Ireland.