Materials Science and Engineering Welcomes Connor Bilchak, Lecturer
The Department of Materials Science and Engineering is pleased to welcome Dr. Connor Bilchak as a full-time lecturer starting in January 2021. Connor earned his B.S. in engineering from Manhattan College, a diverse liberals college, and received his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from Columbia University in 2019. Connor is currently a postdoctoral researcher with Prof. Zahra Fakhraai at the University of Pennsylvania.
While a successful researcher, Connor’s long-standing aspiration is to make an impact in the world by teaching engineering. And he’s been having an impact as an instructor already, beginning teaching at Manhattan College while working on his dissertation at Columbia. Since arriving at Penn, Connor has been involved with MSE 330: Soft Materials as a teaching assistant and with MSE 540: Phase Transformations as a co-instructor.
Now as a full-time lecturer, Connor will take full responsibility for MSE 540. But Connor’s biggest impact will be associated with the new undergraduate curriculum, particularly the design and teaching of three half-credit laboratory courses. The current curriculum has only a one-credit of laboratory course that is usually taken in the sophomore spring semester. The new laboratory courses pair the hands-on exercises with the core lecture courses. We anticipate better learning outcomes by having concurrent lab- and lecture-based learning and by building analytical and communications skills over three semesters.
During his first semester as a full-time lecturer, Connor is most excited about re-vamping the undergraduate lab circuit and integrating it throughout the curriculum. He’s looking forward to working with faculty, staff and students to design an exciting new program that will (hopefully) be launched in person for the Fall 2021 semester.
Welcome, Dr. Bilchak!