University News

Dr. Mike Rust Elected to Prestigious KEEN Leadership Council

Published: April 29, 2024 | Categories: Faculty, Engineering, All News
Dr. Michael Rust

Western New England University's College of Engineering continues to cement its reputation as a leader in innovative education with the recent announcement that one of its own has been elected to the prestigious KEEN Leadership Council (KLC). Dr. Mike Rust, Director of Experiential & Entrepreneurial Learning and Professor of Biomedical Engineering, will bring his expertise and vision to this esteemed group, further solidifying WNE's commitment to fostering an entrepreneurial mindset among its engineering students.

Since 2011, the College of Engineering at WNE has proudly partnered with KEEN/Engineering Unleashed, a transformative program funded by the Kern Family Foundation. This initiative, comprised of approximately 60 engineering schools nationwide, is reshaping the landscape of higher education by nurturing engineers with an entrepreneurial mindset. The mission of this endeavor is to empower graduates to generate personal, economic, and societal value through a lifetime of impactful work.

The KEEN Leadership Council, established by KEEN in 2021, serves as a catalyst for partner institutions to collaboratively shape the future of the network and advance the principles of entrepreneurial engineering. Comprising a select group of dynamic individuals chosen from within the network, the Council engages in robust discussions and strategic planning to propel KEEN's mission forward.

"It is quite an honor to be elected to the KEEN Leadership Council, particularly since the voting was completed by my peers," says Rust. "KEEN has been such an important part of my life the past 10+ years (a transformative experience, really). Being called to serve on the Council means I will have even more opportunities to help shape the Network's future, as we attempt to transform engineering education via the entrepreneurial mindset. This is a special group, and we have an opportunity to make a lasting impact."

In 2024, the KLC undertook an election process to replenish its ranks, selecting six new members to join its esteemed cohort. Rust's election to the Council underscores his exceptional contributions to engineering education and his dedication to fostering entrepreneurial spirit among students. As a KLC member, Rust will leverage his expertise to guide initiatives aimed at cultivating an entrepreneurial mindset in undergraduate engineering students across the network.

Rust is a Senior Member of the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and a member of the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE). He has served in many positions for the Biomedical Engineering Division of ASEE, including Program Chair in 2019 and Division Chair in 2020. His research interests involve the development of point-of-care medical technologies, including bioinstrumentation for use in low-resource settings.

Rust's work has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the American Society for Quality, and the Jenzabar Foundation. He has published numerous papers in technical journals and for professional conferences and is a co-inventor on four US patents. He has also been involved with multiple startup ventures, including FloDesign Sonics, New England Breath Technologies, and OPAD.

Membership in the KEEN Leadership Council is a voluntary role, requiring a blend of in-person and virtual meetings throughout the year to address pivotal topics shaping the network's future. Each member serves a two-year term, with the opportunity for re-election for up to three terms, totaling a maximum of six years of service.

The election process, conducted through electronic balloting by leaders at KEEN partner schools in March, culminated in the announcement of the results in early April. Rust's appointment to the KEEN Leadership Council not only reflects his personal achievement but also highlights Western New England University's ongoing dedication to fostering innovation, entrepreneurship, and excellence in engineering education.