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NMSU professor selected for summer fellowship program

An eight-week trip to Seattle is in store for Linda Riley this summer. But instead of spending her time sightseeing, she will work side-by-side with Boeing professionals to improve her teaching and their work processes.

Riley, an industrial engineering assistant professor in New Mexico State University's College of Engineering, will participate in Boeing's A.D. Welliver Faculty Summer Fellowship Program. In its fifth year, the program is designed to influence engineering education content to better prepare future graduates to practice engineering in an industrial environment.

Riley is one of 11 faculty participants chosen nationwide. She will work with NMSU alumna Peggy Morse, Boeing's director of sales operations, to tailor a program to meet both their needs.

"We're looking forward to gaining insight from her strong business background to help improve our processes, while also giving her a chance to see what we really do here," Morse said. "We'll let her take that knowledge back and factor it into what she teaches her students."

"I am really honored to be selected for Boeing's fellowship program," Riley said. "It will be such a great opportunity for me to work in an industrial setting where I can apply both my engineering and business skills and then bring back what I've learned at Boeing to the classroom here at NMSU.

"I really believe that as educators in engineering, we should work to close the gap that exists between what students learn in the classroom and what is practiced in industry. This Boeing fellowship provides a mechanism to do just that," she said.

Riley already works with Boeing as a professor in their distance learning program, which allows their professionals to earn master's degrees in industrial or mechanical engineering. "She knows our staff," said Morse. "They have an awful lot of respect for her."

The fellowship program will run June 14 through Aug. 6. It is named for A.D. "Bert" Welliver, who was known for promoting close working relationships between industry and academia.

Riley earned a doctorate in business with a concentration in logistics in 1993 and a master of science degree in industrial engineering in 1997, both from NMSU. She has been a university research center director; and editor and reviewer for various publications and conferences; and is active in several professional engineering organizations.

Rachel Kendall