Debbie Chachra, PhD

I’m a Professor of Engineering at Olin College of Engineering, just outside Boston, Massachusetts. You can also find me on Twitter or Instagram.

This website is currently in transition; for more specific information (or for a bio or headshot), please contact me directly.

I am working to make engineering education more effective, responsive and inclusive. Besides my teaching at Olin College and my own research on the engineering student experience, I speak and write widely, and also work closely with faculty around the world to help them redesign learning experiences, primarily as part of Olin’s Collaboratory.
Issues related to gender, particularly in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), have been an ongoing theme of my professional life, reflected in my teaching and research projects as well as consulting, workshops and talks, and writing, including this piece on gender and the maker movement and this editorial on gender biases for Nature.
My engineering background is in materials science, with an emphasis on biological materials. Some of my research interests include how bone changes in response to aging, its environment and disease; collagen and collagenous tissues; and plastic made by bees.
I write about the intersection of technology and culture, from the shapes of medieval pies to appreciating the sociotechnical systems that underpin modern society. My newsletter, Metafoundry, was described in WIRED magazine as a ‘must-follow feed’ and as ‘being plugged Oculus-style into her brain while she meditates on science and culture’.