Nicola Sochacka, Ph.D.

EETI Associate Director for Research Initiation and Enablement

Research Interests: Complex systems, Qualitative research methods, Empathy in engineering

Dr. Nicola Sochacka is a research scientist and EETI’s Associate Director for Research Initiation and Enablement. Her research program is underpinned by a deep appreciation for diverse perspectives. She works closely with faculty and students to design qualitative studies that embody a focus on in-process research ethics and bridging the research to practice gap. Her current interests include scaling her and her colleagues’ pedagogical developments on fostering empathy in engineering to other instructional settings; increasing the capacity of technical engineering faculty to conduct engineering education research; and piloting a novel methodology called SenseMaker® to investigate and improve the experience of studying engineering at UGA.



Select Publications

Walther, J., Brewer, M. A., Sochacka, N. W., & Miller, S. E. (2020). Empathy and engineering formation. Journal of Engineering Education, 109(1), 11-33. doi:10.1002/jee.20301

Sochacka, N. W., Walther, J., Morelock, J. R., Hunsu, N. J., & Carnell, P. H. (2019, December), Cultivating a culture of scholarly teaching and learning: An ecological approach to institutional change in engineering education. Paper presented at 2019 AAEE Annual Conference, Brisbane, Queensland.

Youngblood, K. M., Sochacka, N. W., Walther, J., & Miller, S. E. (2019, December), How mental models impact students’ engagement with empathic communication exercises. Paper presented at 2019 AAEE Annual Conference, Brisbane, Queensland.

Morelock, J. R., & Walther, J., & Sochacka, N. W. (2019, June), Academic Change from Theory to Practice: Examples from an Engineering Faculty Development Institution. Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida.

Sochacka, N. W., Walther, J., & Pawley, A. L. (2018). Ethical Validation: Reframing Research Ethics in Engineering Education Research to Improve Research Quality. Journal of Engineering Education, 107(3), 362-379. doi: doi:10.1002/jee.20222

Walther, J., Miller, S. E., & Sochacka, N. W. (2017). A model of empathy in engineering as a core skill, practice orientation, and professional way of being. Journal of Engineering Education, 106(1), 123-148.

Sochacka, N. W., Guyotte, K. W., & Walther, J. (2016). Learning together: A collaborative autoethnographic exploration of STEAM (STEM + the arts) education. Journal of Engineering Education, 105(1), 15-42. doi: 10.1002/jee.20112

Brewer, M. A., Sochacka, N. W., Walther, J. (2015). Into the pipeline: A freshman student’s experiences of stories ‘told’ about engineering. Proceedings of the 2015 American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) Annual Conference and Exposition, Seattle, WA.

Guyotte, K., Sochacka, N. W., Costantino, T., Kellam, N. N., & Walther, J. (2015). Collaborative creativity in steam: Narratives of art education students’ experiences in transdisciplinary spaces. International Journal of Education & the Arts, 16(15).

Guyotte, K., Sochacka, N. W., Costantino, T., Walther, J., & Kellam, N. N. (2014). Steam as social practice: Cultivating creativity in transdisciplinary spaces. Art Education, 67(6), 12-19.

Sochacka, N. W., Walther, J. Wilson and M. Brewer (2014). Stories ‘Told’ about Engineering in the Media: Implications for attracting diverse groups to the profession. Frontiers in Engineering Education Conference, Madrid, Spain, IEEE Catalog Number: CFP14FIE-ART, ISBN: 978-1-4799-3921-3.

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