Kern Entrepreneurial Engineering Network

Engineering Unleashed transforms engineering education.

Powered by the Kern Entrepreneurial Engineering Network (KEEN), Engineering Unleashed engages a community of more than 3,000 engineering faculty and staff from across the U.S. on an ambitious mission: To graduate engineers with an entrepreneurial mindset so they can create personal, economic and societal value through a lifetime of meaningful work.

KEEN Partner Institution

As a Partner Institution of KEEN, USD’s Shiley-Marcos School of Engineering is developing a highly valued entrepreneurial mindset through the Etrack umbrella that infuses the ideas of curiosity, connections and creating value  — KEEN’s three C's of an entrepreneurial mindset.

archway Curiosity

Understand the broader world. Look to the future. Explore perspectives.

A persistent curiosity about the world and a tendency to question accepted solutions to problems.

chess pieces Connections

Think outside the box. Place old ideas in new contexts. Gain insights.

Habitually connect information and scientific first principles and understanding from many sources to gain insight and manage risk.

hands holding globe Creating Value

Seek opportunities. Understand stakeholders. Have a positive impact.

Attentive toward opportunities to create value for others, along with a disposition to take initiative outside of existing organizations, including starting new ones, with the ability to persist through, and learn from, failure.

Working Within an Entrepreneurial Framework

An entrepreneurial framework blends KEEN’s three C's of an entrepreneurial mindset with an established engineering skill set and delivers exceptional educational outcomes. The criticality of developing technical skills demands that engineering students be equipped with the tools and knowledge that are essential to solve the challenges our society faces — not only today but in the future. Through an entrepreneurial framework, our faculty map out experiences to help budding engineers identify opportunities and understand the impact of their solutions.


Award-Winning Faculty

KEEN promotes collaboration and networks among institutions and individuals who share this entrepreneurial vision. The network also provides ample tools and resources to allow our faculty to attend KEEN events, apply for grant opportunities and ultimately embed entrepreneurial-minded learning in curriculum and student activities. USD’s engineering faculty are active KEEN collaborators and have been formally acknowledged for their tremendous support and excellence. Below we proudly feature our KEEN faculty award recipients.
Melissa Gibbons, PhD Melissa Gibbons, PhD Engineering Unleashed Fellow 2020 Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering Melissa Gibbons, PhD was awarded a $10,000 grant to create and distribute resources that will help integrate entrepreneurial mindset in the Shiley-Marcos School of Engineering thermodynamics courses at USD. Engineering Unleashed Fellows are recognized for their contribution to engineering education, and specifically entrepreneurial engineering. 
Venkat Shastri, PhD Venkat Shastri, PhD Campus KEEN Rising Star 2020 KEEN Partners have the opportunity to nominate faculty members who have gone above and beyond to instill an entrepreneurial mindset in engineering students as a key to a thriving campus. Assistant Dean of Graduate Programs and De Sanctis Professor of Engineering and Entrepreneurship Venkat Shastri, PhD was awarded the Campus KEEN Rising Star in 2020.

KEEN Innovative Teaching Faculty Members

Many of our engineering and computer science faculty have become KEEN Innovative Teaching (KIT) faculty members, where they become part of a unique cohort of faculty who are committed to improving engineering education. Our KIT faculty members volunteer to work with a group of peers to develop, implement, assess and disseminate entrepreneurially-minded modules in their courses.