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Gannon Dean Karinna Vernaza to Participate on American Society of Mechanical Engineers Panel

Published: 01/12/2021

Karinna Vernaza, Ph.D., dean of the College of Engineering and Business

Karinna Vernaza, Ph.D., dean of the College of Engineering and Business

Gannon University’s Karinna Vernaza, Ph.D., dean of the College of Engineering and Business, will share her expertise as a panelist in a discussion titled, “What Will 2030 Look Like? How Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Shape the Future VISION 2030,” at 10 a.m. on Thursday, Jan. 14.

The discussion is organized by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and will be hosted during its Increasing Women in Engineering Conference. 

Panelists will discuss what ASME’s VISION 2030 should look like for the field of mechanical engineering. Panelists will also provide recommendations to aid the National Science Foundation INCLUDES awardees who are working on broadening efforts within engineering, academia, industry and nonprofit communities to increase the number of women in mechanical engineering.

The discussion will allow for major rethinking and restructuring of mechanical engineering education in order for mechanical engineering graduates to be competitive in a new global, knowledge-based marketplace. 

Vernaza will bring nearly 20 years of career and leadership experience to the discussion. 

During her career, Vernaza has focused her research on systemic strategies for the retention and advancement of S.T.E.M. faculty and students, and academic interventions to improve student success. She is currently the Principal Investigator of a $1-million-dollar National Science Foundation S-STEM award (2017-21), and she has secured more than $2.5 million in grants during her tenure at Gannon, including an NSF ADVANCE award.

Vernaza has authored more than 40 peer-reviewed publications centering on high-strain deformation of materials and engineering education. Her primary teaching responsibilities have been in the areas of solid mechanics, materials and first-year experience in engineering.

Beyond her service to Gannon, Vernaza is active in the Erie community. She serves as a reviewer for the American Society for Engineering Education Conference, as well as the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program. She is a board member for the ASCEND: Advancing STEM Careers by Empowering Network Development, Erie Technology Incubator, Experience Children Museum, and Erie High Schools Occupational Advisory Board. Vernaza also serves as an Erie Ambassador and  volunteers with the Society of Women Engineers.

“Understanding strategies to broadening participation of women in the mechanical engineering fields is increasingly important as we move into the future,” Vernaza said. “Ensuring that practices in the largest engineering field are equitable and inclusive will support productivity, creativity, engagement and retention, and decision-making.”

The ASME Conference will be held Wednesday, Jan. 13 and Thursday, Jan. 14. Registration is free and open to the public.

Learn more at 

Learn more about Karinna Vernaza, Ph.D. at