Piket-May named CU’s Timmerhaus Teaching Ambassador

CU Boulder engineering professor will promote education across Colorado
By Staff

Melinda Piket-May
Casey Cass/University of Colorado
Melinda Piket-May

A University of Colorado Boulder engineering professor has been named CU’s latest Timmerhaus Teaching Ambassador, charged with promoting education – in classrooms and beyond – for students at all scholastic levels across the state.

Melinda Piket-May, Ph.D., an associate professor of electrical, computer and energy engineering, teaches undergraduate engineering design focused on teamwork and real-world experiences with clients. She has long been involved in K-12 STEM education. Her undergraduate and graduate research and teaching programs include engineering education, assistive technology design, computational electromagnetics and signal integrity.

During the two-year appointment, CU’s Timmerhaus Teaching Ambassador serves as an advocate for K-12 and higher education, for scholarly approaches to teaching and learning, and for establishing environments that promote access and success from all sectors of the diverse population in Colorado and beyond. The ambassador leads presentations and workshops about education and learning for audiences including state lawmakers, the CU Board of Regents, educators, the media and the general public.

The Timmerhaus Teaching Ambassador award honors the memory of professor Klaus Timmerhaus, a member of the faculty of chemical and biological engineering at CU Boulder from 1953 until his retirement in 1995. Timmerhaus received many honors, including being named to the National Academy of Engineering and being selected to the first group of President’s Teaching Scholars at CU.  An active and enthusiastic advocate of teaching, Timmerhaus provided a bequest to support designated faculty members in promoting discussion of education throughout Colorado.

Faculty from across the four-campus CU system are eligible for the ambassadorship, which includes a $25,000 award per year for up to two years.

“I am honored to be recognized for my teaching and research and humbled by the work of Klaus Timmerhaus throughout his life,” Piket-May said. “If I could create a perfect job for myself that drew on all my previous experiences, used my aggregate knowledge and sparked a passion in me, the work required for the Timmerhaus Ambassadorship Award is that job.”

Piket-May said she’ll travel across the state to encourage and help people – children, young adults, their families, their teachers and administrators, legislators – understand the importance of education in the classroom and education from experience outside the classroom.

Piket-May joined the department of Electrical, Computer and Energy Engineering in 1993. She has served as interim associate vice chancellor of research, and is active in faculty governance. Among her past leadership roles are president of the Pac-12 Academic Leadership Coalition, chair of the CU system Faculty Council, chair of the Boulder Faculty Assembly and vice chair of the Colorado Faculty Advisory Committee (CFAC). She also has been director of the Academic Management Institute for the state of Colorado universities and colleges.

“Young adults will be entering a world very different from the one I grew up in. There are turbulent times and challenges ahead with respect to post-secondary education,” Piket-May said. “My hope is that promoting the importance of post-secondary education and the importance of education as a lifelong learning process will provide people with a robust ability to address the challenges that they will encounter throughout their lives.”

Piket-May follows past Timmerhaus Ambassadors Margarita Bianco, Ed.D., of CU Denver, and Noah Finkelstein, Ph.D., of CU Boulder.

To inquire about a Timmerhaus Ambassador presentation or workshop, offered at no cost, please contact Melinda Piket-May at