Two join Look College, EASA

Two staff members have joined the Dwight Look College of Engineering in its Engineering Academic and Student Affairs (EASA) office.

Dr. Kristi Shryock has been hired as the senior director of retention, to work with EASA half-time untilDr. Kristi Shryock June. Shyrock also serves as assistant department head for undergraduate programs and outreach and as an instructional associate professor in the Department of Aerospace Engineering at Texas A&M University. She brings experience related to positively affecting retention within aerospace engineering, including the use of peer mentoring, hands-on projects at the freshman-level, and innovative pedagogy to enhance the educational experience of undergraduate students. 

With bachelor's and master's degrees in aerospace engineering from Texas A&M, she received her Ph.D. in interdisciplinary engineering with a research focus on engineering education, also from Texas A&M. She continues to research methods for improving the undergraduate engineering experience through evaluating preparation in mathematics and physics, incorporating experiential education in the classroom, and introducing multidisciplinary design. 

She has served on numerous National Science Foundation research projects working to improve retention at the freshman and sophomore years for the college of engineering. She is the recipient of the Benjamin Dasher Best Paper Award for her 2011 Frontiers in Education Conference paper related to the preparation students receive for sophomore-level engineering courses.

Dr. Sonia Garcia has been hired as the senior director of access and inclusion in EASA. She has been a practitioner in higher education for more than 17 years and has a background in science, Dr. Sonia Garciatechnology, engineering and math education. Garcia is currently spending half of her time in EASA as she transitions from the College of Geosciences at Texas A&M University where she is the director of undergraduate recruitment and retention. Garcia will join EASA full-time in mid-March.

While working in the Mays Business School and the College of Geosciences, Garcia increased the number of underrepresented recruits and overallenrollment. To increase the retention of first year students, she founded the Peer Mentor Program and the Undergraduate Recruitment Team. While in the College of Geosciences, she received various grants from oil and gas industries as well as former students to create the Geosciences Exploration Summer Program, Investigate Geosciences, and G-Camp for Freshmen, a bridge program, along with a number of pre-college programs. Garcia has received several awards including; the 2005 Outstanding Staff for Mays Business School, the 2008 President’s Award for Academic Advising, the 2011 Latino American the Who’s Who for her Achievement on the Advancing the Culture of Latino American Business Community, and the 2012 Dean’s Distinguished Achievement Award at the College of Geosciences.

Garcia holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Massachusetts at Boston in political science, a master’s degree from the University of Rhode Island in college student personnel, and a doctoral degree from Michigan State University in Higher Education and Administration with cognates in Sociology and Labor Industrial Relations.