ME170 Teaching Team

Jeff Wood

Jeff Wood | Head Lecturer & Coach

Jeff is the Capstone Course & Lab Projects Development Director at Stanford University, and instructs ME170 .  Jeff's personal goal is to make a difference in the world through engineering.

He graduated from Stanford with an MSME in 1990 and has 25+ years of experience in mechanical design, product development, and manufacturing.  Before coming back to Stanford, Jeff worked for Apple, SGI, Nektar Therapeutics, Boston Scientific and Amazon.

Jeff returned to Stanford in order to help make a difference in the next generation of students.  He pushes his students to work in theme areas such as clean energy, transportation and health, in order to demonstrate that engineering can help improve the lives of others. 

Shoshanah Cohen

Shoshanah Cohen | Lecturer & Coach

Shoshanah Cohen teaches courses that focus on the design and application of operational strategy in real-world situations. With a focus on experiential learning, students work with and solve problems in partnership with industry or community project sponsors. She has co-authored two books and numerous articles on global supply chain strategy.

Shoshanah Cohen received her BS in Industrial Engineering from Stanford as well as an MA in Technology Strategy from Boston University and an MBA from Harvard Business School. She started her career working in manufacturing and spent more than 20 years in the field of global operations before moving to academia. Shoshanah was formerly a senior partner with PRTM Management Consultants, where she led PRTM’s global Supply Chain Innovation practice. She has written two books and numerous articles focused on supply chain strategy. Most recently, she served as the Director of the Stanford Global Supply Chain Management Forum, an industry-academic partnership housed at the Graduate School of Business. She currently serves a Lecturer in the Management Science and Engineering department, where she teaches project-based experiential learning courses.

Shoshanah is actively engaged in local community organizations focused on public education and services for underserved students. She is a passionate advocate for girls in STEM and coaches a robotics team comprised of girls from 25 high schools. She is also an avid ice hockey player and fan.

Lester Su

Lester Su | Coach

Lester Su is a lecturer in the Mechanical Engineering Department at Stanford. He was an associate research professor at Johns Hopkins in the Whiting School’s Department of Mechanical Engineering and has research interests in experimental fluid mechanics, turbulent mixing and combustion, laser diagnostics, combustion systems, interaction of experiments and simulations, and spray and droplet dynamics.

Lester received a bachelor’s degree in physics from the University of Chicago in 1990 and then three degrees from the University of Michigan: a master’s in aerospace engineering in 1991, a master’s in applied mathematics in 1994 and a doctorate in aerospace engineering in 1995.

Steve Horne

Steve Horne | Coach

Steve Horne is a clean technology entrepreneur education enthusiast who has over 25 years of experience delivering products. He has co-founded 2 companies, AquaSeca and SolFocus.

Bill Van Dalsem

Bill recently completed 40+ years at NASA. Bill's goal is to help the next generation of engineers address the complex challenges facing society, such as climate change, and the resulting critical needs to achieve greener energy and transportation and reduce the impact of wildfires and droughts.


He graduated from Stanford with a Ph.D. and a Master's in Mechanical Engineering. Bill received his Bachelor's in Mechanical Engineering from UCSB, where his capstone project was an operational diffuser augmented wind turbine.


At NASA, Bill began as a research scientist in computational fluid dynamics, eventually providing leadership to organizations that provided aerodynamic support to activities ranging from the Space Shuttle to V/STOL aircraft. Bill led NASA-wide programs which brought high-performance computing to bear on Earth sciences, multi-disciplinary physics to aerospace design, and explored the application of nano and quantum technologies to NASA missions. Bill led NASA Ames' Intelligent Systems Division, which provided critical software to NASA's Earth-like planet detecting Kepler mission, two missions to the Moon, and many innovative small spacecraft missions. Bill spent seven years as a senior systems engineer in the NASA Ames Office of the Chief Engineer. Bill served as the Deputy Director and Chief Strategy Officer of the NASA Ames Aeronautics Directorate, when among his other duties he envisioned a Data & Reasoning Fabric to enable autonomous aircraft to provide critical services in complex environments. In 2020, Bill received NASA's highest recognition, the NASA Distinguished Service Medal.

Lorenzo Dunn

Lorenzo Dunn | Coach

Lorenzo is a senior engineering leader with 30+ years of experience in Product Design. Lorenzo graduated Stanford with a co-term BS+MS Product Design in 1981.  He first worked for Hewlett Packard and then went on to lead teams at Apple, Welch Allyn, and several smaller companies. He’s led development of consumer, medical, and communications products (most of them early in the product life cycle). His career in engineering has taken him from California to Mexico, Colorado, Oregon, and Texas. He returned to the Bay Area to spend ten years with Amazon Lab 126, first on Kindle e-Readers and ultimately leading mechanical design for Astro, Amazon’s first home and small business robot.

Sheri Sheppard

Sheri Sheppard | Faculty PI

Sheri Sheppard teaches both undergraduate and graduate design-related classes, and conducts research on fracture mechanics and applied finite element analysis, and on how people become engineers. From 1999-2008 she served as a Senior Scholar at the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, leading the Foundation’s engineering study. In addition to publishing technical papers, reports, and textbooks, she has led or co-led several large, multi-institutional projects to build new educational research programs and related resources, such as the Center for the Advancement of Engineering Education (CAEE), The National Center for Engineering Pathways to Innovation (Epicenter), and a program on summer research experiences for high school teachers. Her industry experience includes engineering positions at Detroit's "Big Three” — Ford Motor Company, General Motors Corporation, and Chrysler Corporation. She earned her bachelors degree from the University of Wisconsin, and her PhD at the University of Michigan. 

At Stanford she has served a chair of the faculty senate, as associate vice provost for graduate education, and is the longtime faculty founder of and adviser to the graduate student group MEwomen. Her work has been recognized with numerous honors and awards, including the Walter J. Gores Award, Stanford University's highest award for excellence in teaching and the Chester F. Carlson and Ralph Coats Roe Awards of the American Society for Engineering Education in recognition of distinguished accomplishment in engineering education, and for outstanding teaching and notable contributions to the mechanical engineering profession.

Past members of the teaching team

John Howard

John Howard | Coach

John Howard is the Vice President of Engineering at Markforged. He is a senior leader in the consumer and medical industries in both product development and industrialization. He has developed and launched multiple cutting-edge high volume products for Fortune 100, mid-cap and start-up companies. His skills include driving innovation, developing product and technology roadmaps, executing operational scale-ups and high volume automation programs, recruiting and managing multiple development teams, and fostering and managing complex global partnerships.

John has coached ME113 and ME170 for decades. For AY23, instead of being a full project coach John participated as a consultant to teams and contributing at Design Reviews, and is looking to return to coaching in the future.

Drew Nelson

Drew Nelson | Coach

Research involves development of improved methods for predicting the fatigue life of engineering materials, including the effects of manufacturing processes, and investigation of new approaches in the field of experimental mechanics, such as determination of residual stresses using optical methods.

Joseph Towles

Joseph Towles | Coach

Joseph Towles is currently Associate Professor at Swarthmore.  When he was at Stanford, he was a lecturer jointly appointed in the Mechanical Engineering and Bioengineering Departments at Stanford University. Joe’s teaching interests are in the areas of solid mechanics, neuromuscular biomechanics, dynamical systems and control, and engineering design. His scholarship interest is in the area of engineering education. Specifically, Joe's engineering education activities include student-centric course and curricular development; assessment of student learning & engagement; and innovation in approaches to enhance student learning.

Dave Jaffe

Dave Jaffe | Coach

David L. Jaffe received his Bachelors degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Michigan in 1970 and his Masters degree in Biomedical Engineering from Northwestern University in 1973. Dave was a Research Biomedical Engineer at the VA Palo Alto Health Care System's Rehabilitation Research and Development Center. At the VA his interests were designing, developing, testing, and bringing to market microcomputer-based devices for veterans with disabilities including communication, mobility, and information systems. He has worked on several VA assistive technology research projects including an innovative wheelchair interface for individuals with quadriplegia, an electro-mechanical fingerspelling hand that serves as a communication device for people who are deaf/blind, a system that explores virtual reality techniques to train individuals with gait deficits to improve their walking, and a project that employs a computer-based simulation to assess and improve the driving ability of individuals after brain injury. Dave currently teaches ENGR110/210 Perspectives in Assistive Technology which explores the broad spectrum of issues surrounding the design, development, and use of technology that benefits people with disabilities and seniors.