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Robin Ott

Professor of Practice
  • Interdisciplinary Programs Administrator
Robin Ott
341 Goodwin Hall (MC 0218)
635 Prices Fork Rd
Blacksburg, VA 24061


B.S. Mechanical Engineering, Virginia Tech, 1995
Graduate Certificate Engineering Education, Virginia Tech, 2020
M.S. Engineering Education, Purdue University (expected December 2023)

Teaching/Courses Taught

Virginia Tech
Mechanical Engineering Senior Design Capstone (ME4015 & ME4016) 2015-2023

Research Interests

  • Senior Design - Capstone Capstone to Work Transition


In 1995, Robin received her bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering at Virginia Tech. Since then, she gained twenty years of industry experience. In her early career, she worked as a design engineer for a Naval Sea Systems Command contractor where she designed a Countermeasure Washdown System for the MHC-51 Coastal Minehunter ships. She also spent time as an Application Engineer at Parametric Technology Corporation, the creators of 3D CAD software PRO-Engineer. In 1999, she joined Kollmorgen, a Danaher Motion company based in Radford, where she held multiple roles of increasing responsibility during her nine-year tenure. While at Kollmorgen, Robin worked with Shingijutsu Global Consulting experts from Japan and earned black belts in the DBS kaizen areas of Standard Work and 5S, as well as traveling globally to qualify suppliers in Asia and Europe.

Most recently, Robin worked as Senior Director of Project Management for a small bio-tech company called Intrexon, located in the VT Corporate Research Center, where she had the opportunity to introduce manufacturing principles into a highly specialized DNA production facility. Robin joined her alma mater’s faculty in 2015, coordinating and teaching the Capstone Senior Design program in Mechanical Engineering where she significantly increased the participation of industry sponsors with the student projects. Robin has done research in the area in the student transition from capstone to work. She has a graduate certificate in Engineering Education, and is pursuing a masters in Engineering Education at Purdue University.

Selected Publications

Peer Reviewed Journals
Ford, J., Paretti, M., Kotys-Schwartz, D., Howe, S., & Ott, R. (2021). New Engineers’ Transfer of Communication Activities From School to Work. IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication, 64(2), 105–120.

Deters, J. R., Paretti, M. C., & Ott, R. (2020). Engineering Graduates Perceived Preparedness for the First Three-Months of Work in Industry. 2020 IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference (FIE).

Shi, W., De Koninck, L. H., Hart, B. J., Kowalski, N. G., Fugaro, A. P., van der Sloot, T. W., Ott, R. S., Kennedy, B. S., & Boreyko, J. B. (2020). Harps under Heavy Fog Conditions: Superior to Meshes but Prone to Tangling. ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, 12(42), 48124–48132.

Ford, J., Paretti, M. C., Kotys-Schwartz, D., Howe, S., Gewirtz, C., Deters, J., ... & Giardine, F. (2019). Transitioning from capstone design courses to workplaces: A study of new engineers’ first three months. The International journal of engineering education, 35(6), 1993-2013.

Peer Reviewed Conference Papers and Presentations
Gewirtz, C., Giardine, F., Ott, R., & Kary, A. (n.d.). Women’s Unique Challenges in the Transitions to Engineering Work. 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access Proceedings.

Howe, S., Ott, R., Paretti, M., Hernandez, C., Deters, J., Gewirtz, C., Giardine, F., & Kary, A. (n.d.). Women's Experiences in the Transition from Capstone Design Courses to Engineering Workplaces. 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition Proceedings.

Paretti, M. C., Kotys-Schwartz, D., Ford, J., Howe, S., Ott, R. (2019, May). Process Matter(s): Leveraging the Design Process to Build Self-Directed Learning. Paper presented at the 2019 Clive L. Dym Mudd Design Workshop.

Gewirtz, C., Taylor, A.R., Ott, R.S. (2018). Exploring Communities of Practice and Achievement of Learning Outcomes in Humanitarian Engineering Senior Design Projects. 2018 Capstone Design Conference. Paper and poster session.

Rudolph J. Joenk Award for the Best Paper in IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication

2021 Project Based Learning Award
Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning award for Project-Based Learning in 2021