Ann Saterbak


Professor of the Practice in the Department of Biomedical Engineering

Ann Saterbak is director of the Duke Engineering First-Year Experience and a professor of the practice in the Department of Biomedical Engineering. She is a nationally recognized engineering educator with a focus on creating undergraduate programs that broaden students problem solving skills through real-world problems, inquiry-based learning, and hands-on experiences. In fall 2017, she launched a new hands-on design course for first-year Pratt students.

Before coming to Duke, she was the associate dean for engineering education and full teaching professor in bioengineering in the George R. Brown School of Engineering at Rice University. At Rice, she launched a successful first-year engineering design course in which students solved community-based, client-driven problems and built physical prototypes. Her outstanding teaching at Rice was recognized by four university-wide teaching awards. She is the lead author of the textbook Bioengineering Fundamentals.

For her contribution to education within biomedical engineering, she was elected a fellow in the Biomedical Engineering Society and the American Society of Engineering Education. Saterbak has been a frequent presenter of educational materials at annual ASEE and BMES conferences. In building the undergraduate bioengineering laboratory at Rice, she applied four years of industry experience working at the Shell Development Company.

Appointments and Affiliations

  • Professor of the Practice in the Department of Biomedical Engineering
  • Director of the Duke Engineering First Year Experience
  • Affiliate, Duke Global Health Institute

Contact Information

  • Office Location: 101 Science Dr, Department of Bme, Hudson Hall Annex 266, Durham, NC 27708-9976
  • Office Phone: +1 919 660 5899
  • Email Address:


  • Ph.D. University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, 1995

Research Interests

Innovations in undergraduate engineering education, particularly new pedagogical methods that broaden students’ problem solving skills and design thinking.

Awards, Honors, and Distinctions

  • AIMBE Professional Impact Award. American Institute for Medical & Biological Engineering. 2022
  • Lois and John L. Imhoff Distinguished Teaching Award. Pratt School of Engineering. 2019
  • Fellow. American Institute of Medicine and Biology. 2015
  • Nicolas Salgo Distinguished Teacher Award. Rice University. 2015
  • Fellow. American Society of Engineering Education (ASEE). 2014
  • George R. Brown Award for Superior Teaching. Rice University. 2013
  • Theo C. Pilkington Outstanding Educator Award. ASEE BED National Award. 2013
  • Fellow. Biomedical Engineering Society. 2012
  • George R. Brown Prize for Excellence in Teaching. Rice University. 2011
  • Robert G. Quinn Award for Excellence in Laboratory Instruction. ASEE National Award. 2007

Courses Taught

  • HOUSECS 59: House Course
  • EGR 95FS: First Year seminar in Focus
  • EGR 102L: Design to Deliver
  • EGR 101L: Engineering Design and Communication
  • BME 494: Projects in Biomedical Engineering (GE)
  • BME 493: Projects in Biomedical Engineering (GE)
  • BME 260L: Modeling Cellular and Molecular Systems

In the News

Representative Publications

  • Beier, ME; Kim, MH; Saterbak, A; Leautaud, V; Bishnoi, S; Gilberto, JM, The effect of authentic project-based learning on attitudes and career aspirations in STEM, Journal of Research in Science Teaching, vol 56 no. 1 (2019), pp. 3-23 [10.1002/tea.21465] [abs].
  • Petney, M; Ng'anjo, SG; Phiri, JC; Wettergreen, M; Saterbak, A, Transformation of design instruction in a low-resource setting, ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings, vol 2018-June (2018) [abs].
  • Corneal, L; Morrow, D; Volz, T; Saterbak, A; Conrad, S; Pfeiffer, TJ; Lamb, K; Kitch, WA, Panel: Embedding technical writing with experiential learning components into engineering curricula, ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings, vol 2018-June (2018) [abs].
  • Pearson, YE; Phillips, CML; Beier, ME; Gilberto, J; Mattingly, SP; Saterbak, A; Sheng, Y; Shethia, AK; Sun, R, Evaluating the quality of project summaries for S-STEM proposals, ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings, vol 2018-June (2018) [abs].
  • Bradford, B; Beier, ME; Saterbak, A; McSpedon, M; Wolf, M; Kincaid, K, Examining first-year chemistry outcomes of underprepared STEM students who completed a STEM summer academic bridge program, ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings, vol 2018-June (2018) [abs].