Inspiring teacher Beena Ajmera teaches Soil Mechanics and previously taught Slope Stability and Retaining Walls and Geotechnical Earthquake Engineering at NDSU.
Beena Ajmera sees something special when she looks out over her classes – her students.
“Our students at NDSU are eager to learn, excited to be challenged and unafraid to ask questions,” said Ajmera, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering. “I enjoy how comfortable they are to push me to become a better instructor and to find new ways to reach them and help them grow. I want my students to grow as individuals, and to find their strengths and passions.”
That high goal is clear in each of her courses. Ajmera is currently teaching Soil Mechanics and previously taught Slope Stability and Retaining Walls and Geotechnical Earthquake Engineering at NDSU.
In addition, Ajmera and Sarah Crary, assistant professor in the School of Education, host a summer experience called Research Experiences for Teachers that is funded by the National Science Foundation. In the program, local STEM middle and high school teachers conduct hands-on research at NDSU as they are create curriculum modules for the upcoming academic year.
Ajmera continually looks for ways to involve students in professional civil engineering organizations, research opportunities and activities that complement their education.
“Growing up, I often heard that teaching is the noblest profession,” Ajmera said. “Since then, I have learned that teachers do more than educate – one individual can significantly impact and transform the lives of many. As an educator, I have the opportunity to do this every single day.”
Ajmera adheres to a dynamic teaching style, using a mixture of Socratic questioning, content scaffolding techniques, in-class concept applications and spacing and varying content to mimic a flipped-classroom mode.
“The only things that I can do for our students is to listen to them and try to inspire and encourage them,” she said. “Whenever possible, I try to provide them with additional challenges, give a new perspective and to point them to resources.
“At the end of the day, my goal is to be an advocate for them.”
Ajmera Joined the NDSU faculty in 2018. She earned bachelor’s degrees in applied mathematics and civil engineering and her master’s degree in civil engineering from California State University, Fullerton. She earned her doctorate in civil engineering at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg.