Barbara O'Donovan Instructor of Engineering and Mathematics & Statistics, Engineering Program Co-Director



B.S. in Mathematics, University of Massachusetts at Amherst
M.S in Mechanical Engineering, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Courses I Teach

  • Math for Social Justice
  • Calculus
  • Statistics
  • Elements of Calculus
  • Introduction to Engineering

Areas of Expertise

Mathematics and Engineering Education, Wind Energy Applications

I care deeply about my students’ learning and I want all students to feel capable and competent using mathematics in their everyday lives. In the classroom, I use a differentiated approach to instruction and strive to elicit higher order thinking skills to encourage students to use critical thinking to develop problem solving strategies. Being comfortable with mathematics in our ever-changing and high-tech world is essential!

Recent News

Bret Findley of the chemistry faculty and George Ashline of mathematics collaborated (remotely) this summer with students on research projects thanks to National Science Foundation “S-STEM” summer funding support. The students were Mitch Andrea ’22,and Dylan Wawruck ’22. Said George, “They worked diligently on developing and refining classroom-ready activities and exercises making connections between chemistry and mathematics. They also assisted with our beta-testing process, through which we are gathering survey feedback from other undergraduates about the activities.” George further shared how Barbara O’Donovan, instructor of engineering and mathematics & statistics, Engineering Program coordinator, has been involved with the project, “and offered valuable input and suggestions for these activities. She has used or plans to use some of them when teaching Calculus I.” A key element behind these opportunities is a $1 million National Science Foundation federal grant awarded to the College three years ago that aims to advance such connections and is able to pay stipends to the students as a summer job for their projects.
(posted February 2022)

Barbara O’Donovan, instructor of engineering and mathematics & statistics, in December again oversaw what has become a tradition for her and her Statics Engineering students in the College MakerSpace on the first floor of the Dion Family Student Center. Class members presented their bridge designs and tested the strength of those designs — an annual highly anticipated, educational and enjoyable event for these engineering students.
(posted February 2022)

Barbara O’Donovan, the College’s engineering degree program leader and adviser, met with the technical coordinator of the College’s MakerSpace, Eric Roy before the fall semester to collaborate on a project for her EG 220 Statics class. She and Eric organized a project that involved sending materials through the mail to students for a bridge-building activity, which the two leaders then completed with stress-testing from the Makerspace that students could participate in online, after students sent in their completed bridge. They hope their example this semester can serve to aid others in looking at techniques to enhance the experience of rapidly pivoting in class exercises and adapting them for the remote learning landscape. Eric will start soon a new position with Burlington’s Generator MakerSpace.
(posted February 2021)

Barbara O’Donovan,  instructor of engineering and mathematics & statistics/engineering Program coordinator, and Eric Roy from the College’s MakerSpace began collaborating on a creative solution for the Introduction to Electronics exercise that had been planned for O’Donovan’s students in EG 100 Introduction to Engineering, after the abrupt pandemic transition took place in early March and many educators were confronted with the need to translate their lessons and plans to the “remote learning” landscape. Many realized that while learning objectives would remain the same, instructors would have to develop new approaches to the delivery of this content. Unsure if students would be returning this semester, they began planning a vision of the assignment that could be shipped out to students with the thought that by leveraging conferencing software, students could still collaborate in cohorts while following the augmented lesson plan. So the two prepared packages in the MakerSpace to send to her remote-learning electronics students.
(posted June 2020)