From the series Faculty Awards for Excellence 2018-19

Presidential Award for Faculty Excellence: Community Engagement

Brandy Foster

Brandy Foster

Brandy Foster, a senior lecturer in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering and executive director of The ONEIL Center, received the 2018-19 Presidential Award for Faculty Excellence: Community Engagement.

In a TedxDayton talk, Foster described herself as a professional generalist, which is inspired by the many roles she’s had at Wright State since 2003. She earned her B.A. and M.A. in English from the College of Liberal Arts, then worked as a staff member and eventually joined the Wright State faculty in 2012. As a student, she had a career-altering experience as a technical writer and editor for a mechanical engineering research group, which led her to pursue a career helping researchers in STEM fields communicate their work.

Foster’s impact on her community is most profoundly evidenced by her work in The ONEIL Center at Wright State. It is inspired by Foster’s unusual career trajectory and provides a transdisciplinary experiential learning workspace that simultaneously functions as a classroom, incubator, small business, social impact organization and research lab. The center provides a new model for community engagement that adapts to the needs of the different communities and students it engages. Foster prioritizes collaboration at the center, from students collaborating across disciplines to create new capabilities, to the center building collaborations with organizations of any size to strengthen regional workforce development, support community initiatives, and enhance proposals from the defense and research communities.

The ONEIL Center partners with a diverse group of community organizations, including The Entrepreneurs Center, Small Business Development Center, Launch Dayton, Elevate Dayton, The Modern African Diaspora Experience, Trep House, the Alzheimer’s Association, Mutt’s Sauce and N-Ovations Technology Group. These partnerships provide Wright State students with opportunities to gain real-world experience and the skills needed for the future’s workforce.

Foster’s dedication to her community and the people in it has improved the lives of many and given students the opportunity to succeed. Her peers appreciate her ability to bring people together while connecting the classroom to real-world contexts and job opportunities.

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