Academic Opportunities and Support

Engineering Learning Initiatives (ELI) pushes the boundaries of excellence in teaching and learning, propelling the academic and professional development of new waves of engineers who are well-equipped to work and thrive in diverse teams to innovate solutions to humanity’s grand challenges.

ELI enhances the learning environment in the college of Engineering by promoting evidence-supported practices in teaching and learning. ELI programs empower students by facilitating student-centered, inclusive, collaborative, and experiential learning opportunities within supportive and accessible communities. We provide impactful experiences for graduate and undergraduate students which aim to improve learning outcomes, self-efficacy, and belonging as engineering students. We strive to both inspire and support students’ persistence and development as peer educators, researchers, leaders, collaborators, and lifelong learners.

Engineering Learning Initiatives staff includes:

Lisa Schneider-Bentley ELI Director picture Lisa Schneider-Bentley, Director
As Director of Engineering Learning Initiatives since 2002, Lisa Schneider-Bentley works with faculty, staff, and students to develop, administer, and evaluate programs for active and collaborative learning, undergraduate research, teaching assistant preparation, and peer tutoring. Schneider-Bentley received her PhD in Sociology from Cornell (1997), taught Sociology as an assistant professor at Hobart and William Smith Colleges (1997-1999), and was Senior Director of Research and Evaluation at PowerUP (1999-2002), a national nonprofit expanding technology access and youth development resources in underserved communities across the U.S. Her research interests include race, class, and gender inequality in educational access; climate, inclusion, and quality of student learning in engineering education; and the effects of active, collaborative, and applied pedagogical approaches on student learning outcomes, attitudes, and persistence.

Celia Evans Associate Director pictureCelia Evans, Associate Director
Celia Evans joined the Engineering Learning Initiatives team in 2020 after almost 20 years teaching and researching in the natural sciences as professor of Ecology at Paul Smith’s College. Evans completed a Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Dartmouth College, and fulfilled a one-year postdoc in Science Education at the University of New Hampshire. Having consistently used and studied engaged learning pedagogy, Evans is convinced that student-centered, active-learning pedagogy works to facilitate all levels of cognition for all sorts of learners in all disciplines. Her areas of expertise include engaged learning strategies, creating and assessing learning objectives, international collaborations in STEM, strategic planning, collaborative partnership building, and ecology. Evans is excited to be part of the ELI team, and aims to collaboratively facilitate the continual improvement of learning outcomes in the College!

Ryan Sauvé, Assistant Director
Ryan Sauve joined the Engineering Learning Initiatives team from the Engineering College’s School of Biomedical Engineering. Ryan was the Undergraduate Coordinator in BME for six years, and was central to the development of the undergraduate program from the beginnings of the BME major. Among his many contributions in this role, Ryan led the redesign and teaching of BME 2080/1 Experiential Learning Seminar for BME students. Before coming to Cornell, Ryan was the Project Manager for the Scholar Enrichment Program (SEP), in the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics at the University of Houston. SEP is a peer-facilitated collaborative workshops program very similar to ELI’s Academic Excellence Workshops program. Ryan is excited to be joining the ELI team to build upon these experiences in efforts to build a community of learners within the College. Ryan holds a Master of Arts in Teaching from Northeastern University, and a BS in Sociology, with a Minor in Elementary Education, also from Northeastern.

Kristin Tewksbury Program Administrator pictureKristin Tewksbury, Program Administrator
Kristin Tewksbury came to Cornell after working for ten years in Student Services at Stanford University where she advised students and supported peer advisor programming. She has a Bachelor's degree in Music Therapy, a Master's in Organizational Management, and a background in social work, with a focus in youth services. Tewksbury is excited to be part of the ELI Program and to work with Engineering students.


Now featuring the ELI Edublog:

ELI students in action
ELI: Peer Educators, TA Development, Undergraduate Research, and More!


Interested in seeing more details about our ELI activities? Welcome to the ELI Edublog! Read articles about the experiences of our TA Development Consultants and AEW Facilitators and learn more about ELI-supported undergraduate research. Articles highlight the great work of our peer educators in the art and science of teaching and learning – all modes – in the College of Engineering. Leave questions or comments on the blogs, or contact us at eng-learning