About Speaker AnnMarie Thomas…
AnnMarie is an Associate Professor in the School of Engineering and the Opus College of Business at the University of St. Thomas. She is the founder and director of the Playful Learning Lab, which explores ways to encourage children, of all ages, to embrace playful learning. She and her students created Squishy Circuits. She is the author of “Making Makers: Kids, Tools, and the Future of Innovation.”
AnnMarie earned Ph.D. and M.S. degrees in Mechanical Engineering from Caltech, and an S.B. in Ocean Engineering (with a minor in Music) from MIT. Additionally, she completed a professional certificate in Sustainable Design from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design.
AnnMarie co-founded and co-directs the University of St. Thomas Center for Engineering Education (CEE), which offers engineering courses for P-12 educators and conducts research on engineering at the pre-collegiate level. AnnMarie’s teaching covers classes on topics such as Engineering Graphics and Design, Machine Design, Dynamics (with Circus Lab), Toy Design, Product Design for an Aging Population, Technology Prototyping (for Business majors), Environmental Sustainability/Innovation, and Brain Machine Interfaces (seminar).
She served as the Founding Executive Director of the Maker Education Initiative, where her team established the national Maker Corps program and laid the groundwork for this nonprofit.
AnnMarie lives in St. Paul, Minnesota, with her husband and two daughters. She is an amateur aerialist, specializing in static and flying trapeze, as well as juggling and cyr wheel.