Associate Professor, Mechanical Engineering
Interim Associate Dean, Col. of Engineering & Business
Phone: 814-871-7722
Office: Z 125
vernaza001@gannon.edu

  • Biography
  • Courses Taught
  • Educational History
  • Honor Societies
  • Professional Experience
  • Professional Societies
  • Publications
  • Scholarship/Research
  • Service

Biography

Dr. Karinna Vernaza is an Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Gannon University and works as a consultant at GE Transportation on different Off-Highway Vehicles projects as part of the GE/Gannon Master Program.  Dr. Vernaza was born in Panama City, Panama.  She attended the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy and earned a Bachelor of Science in Marine Engineering Systems.  After graduating, she was employed as a Ship Manager in Braswell Shipyards in Panama.  Dr Vernaza was awarded a Project Latin America 2000 Graduate Fellowship by the Kellogg Institute, the Coca-Cola Company and the University of Notre Dame to perform graduate studies.  She earned a Master’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering in 2001 and a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering in 2003 from the University of Notre Dame.  The title of her dissertation was “Thermal Measurements during High Speed Machining.” 

In 2003, Dr. Vernaza joined Gannon University as an Assistant Professor in Mechanical Engineering; in 2009, she was awarded tenure and advancement in rank to Associate Professor.  Her primary teaching responsibilities are in the solid mechanics and materials areas.  She conducts research in the area of alternative fuels (biodiesel), high strain deformation of materials and engineering education.  Dr. Vernaza is the author of over 15 peer-reviewed publications.  She is currently a Co-PI in three National Science Foundation grants:  two S-STEM for $600,000 and one ADVANCE-PAID for $385,919.  Additionally, her projects have been funded by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, the Erie-Patterson Corporation, and the Gannon Center of Excellence in BioEnergy.

Dr. Vernaza is active in the community, is an Erie Ambassador, and serves on the Board of Directors for the Non Profit Partnership.  She volunteers on the Society of Women Engineers National Outreach Committee, serves as a mentor for young women in partnership with the North West Pennsylvania Girls Scout Council, and serves as a reviewer for the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program and the American Society of Engineering Education Conference.  Additionally, she organizes several yearly outreach actvities at Gannon University where students from local schools participate in various engineering hands-on activities.

Dr. Vernaza's loves to travel; she has visited over 20 countries. She loves the outdoors and, since moving to Erie, she has become a cycling enthusiat.  She is a ND,  tennis and soccer fan.

Courses Taught

Undergraduate

  • Materials Science (ME315)
  • Strength of Materials (ME214)
  • Strength of Materials Laboratory (ME215)
  • Statics (ME201)
  • Dynamics (ME204)
  • Machine Elements (ME335)
  • Engineering and Biological Wonders of Panama (ENG201)
  • Introduction to Engineering (ENG100)
  • Professional and Personal Enrichment Seminar (SEECS301/302/401/402)

 Graduate

  • Advanced Strength of Materials (GME530)
  • Principles of Metal Cutting (GME557)
  • Vibrations (ME461/GME561)
  • Robotics (GME650)
  • Biomaterials (BME410 / GME599)

Educational History

  • HERS Bryn Mawr Summer Institute, Bryn Mawr College in Bryn Mawr, PA. June 17-July 1, 2012. 
  • Ph.D., Mechanical Engineering, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN, 2003

               Dissertation: "Temperature Measurements During High Speed Machining"

  • M.S., Mechanical Engineering, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN, 2001
  • B.S., Marine Engineering Systems, United States Merchant Marine Academy, Kings Point, NY, 1996

Honor Societies

Selected Honors and Awards

  • Excellence in Undergraduate Advising Award, College of Engineering and Business, Gannon University, Erie, PA, April 2012
  • American Society for Engineering Education North Central Section 2012 Outstanding Teaching Award, 2012 Spring Conference, Ohio Northern University, March 2012
  • Best Paper Award - 2nd Place. “Better Learning through Collaboration and Assessment: Development of an Interdisciplinary Study Abroad Experience.” American Society of Engineering Education North Central Section, Pittsburgh, PA, 2010
  • 2008 Minority Achiever’s Award, Minority Opinion Magazine, Pittsburgh, PA, 2008
  • President’s Award for Excellence in Technology, Gannon University, 2006
  • YMCA Minority Achievers Award, Erie, PA, 2006

 

Professional Experience

  • Associate Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Gannon University, Erie, PA (August 2009 – present)
  • Assistant Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Gannon University, Erie, PA (August 2003 – August 2009)
  • Contractor, Off-Highway Vehicles (OHV), Transportation, General Electric, Erie, PA (October 2006 - present)
  • Visiting Assistant Professor, Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN (January 2003 – August 2003)
  • Ship Manager, Braswell Shipyards International (ABISA), Panama City, Panama (July 1996 – July 1997)
     

Professional Societies

  • American Society of Mechanical Engineers (2000 - present)
  • Society of Women Engineers (2003 - present)

                - Faculty Advisor for G075 Student Chapter (2004 – present)

  • American Society of Engineering Education (2006 - present)
  • National Society of Hispanic Engineers (2007- present)

Publications

Journal Publications

  • Kazban, R., Vernaza-Peña, K.M., & Mason, J.J. (2008). Measurements of Forces and Temperature Fields in High-Speed Machining of 6061-T6 Aluminum Alloy. Experimental Mechanics, 48 (3), 307-317.
  • Vernaza-Peña, K.M., Mason, J.J., & Li, M. (2002). Experimental study of the temperature field generated during orthogonal machining of an aluminum alloy. Experimental Mechanics, 42 (2), 221-229.

 

Conference Proceedings

Peer-reviewed

  • Vernaza, K.M. & Aggarwal M. (2012). Outreach Activities for Middle School Students:  Project for Mechanical Engineering Undergraduate Students. Proceedings of the American Society of Engineering Education Annual Conference. San Antonio, Texas.
  • Aggarwal, M. & Vernaza, K.M. (2012). Highly relevant and productive collaborations between Industries and Universities. Proceedings of the American Society of Engineering Education Annual Conference. San Antonio, Texas.
  • Vernaza, K.M., Vitolo, T., Brinkman, B. & Steinbrink, S. (2012). Seeking Relevancy, Building Excellence:  Service Learning in the SEECS Program. Proceedings of the American Society of Engineering Education Annual Conference. San Antonio, Texas
  • Vernaza, K.M., Vitolo, T., Brinkman, B. & Steinbrink, S. (2011). Scholars of Excellence in Engineering and Computer Science Program Phase I: Development and Implementation. Proceedings of the American Society of Engineering Education Annual Conference. Vancouver, B.C., Canada.
  • Aggarwal, M. & Vernaza, K.M. (2011). Rank and Tenure Requirements at Teaching-Based University. Proceedings of the American Society of Engineering Education Annual Conference. Vancouver, B.C., Canada.
  • Vernaza, K.M. & Konieczko, E.M. (2010). Better Learning Through Collaboration and Assessment: Development of An Interdisciplinary Study Abroad Experience. Proceedings of the American Society of Engineering Education North Central Section Conference. Pittsburgh, PA.
  • Vernaza, K.M. (2008). Promoting Active Learning and Creativity in the Strength of Materials Course. American Society of Engineering Education Zone I Conference. West Point, NY.
  • Vernaza, K.M. (2007). Using Personal Response System Technology and Concept Check Modules to Improve Students’ Learning Experience in Materials Science: A Case Study.  37th Annual ASEE/IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference, Milwaukee, WI.
  • Vernaza, K.M., Vitolo, T., Steinbrink, S., & Brinkman, B.J. (2007). Assessment of High School Students’ Exposure to Engineering via a Summer Camp. International Conference on Engineering Education, Coimbra, Portugal.
  • Vernaza, K.M., & Aggarwal, M. (2007).  Advantages of Using Personal Response System Technology to Evaluate ABET and Mechanical Engineering Program Outcomes.  American Society of Engineering Education Annual Conference and Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii.
  • Kazban, R., Vernaza-Peña, K.M., & Mason, J.J. (2006). Effect of Tool Parameters on Temperature Fields in High-speed Machining.  SEM Annual Conference on Experimental and Applied Mechanics, Society of Experimental Mechanics, Saint Louis, MO.
  • Vernaza-Peña, K.M., Mason, J.J., & Li, M. (2003). Experimental Study of the Temperature Fields during the Orthogonal Machining of 1018 Steel at Low Rake Angles.  Plasticity 2003: Tenth International Symposium, Quebec City, Canada.
  • Vernaza-Peña, K.M., Mason, J.J., Ovaert, T.C., & Li, M. (2003). Experimental Investigation of the Temperature Fields Generated During Orthogonal Machining. NSF Workshop on Research Needs in Thermal Aspects of Material Removal Processes, Stillwater, OK.
  • Vernaza-Peña, K.M., Mason, J.J., Ovaert, T.C., & Li, M. (2003). Temperature Generation in Cutting of Aluminum at Low and Negative Rake Angles. SEM Annual Conference on Experimental and Applied Mechanics, Society of Experimental Mechanics, Inc., Charlotte, North Carolina.
  • Vernaza-Peña, K.M., Mason, J.J., & Li, M. (2002). Experimental Temperature Fields in Aluminum During Orthogonal Cutting Under Different Rake Angles. 10th JSME Materials and Processing Conference, Honolulu, Hawaii.
  • Vernaza-Peña, K.M., Mason, J.J., & Li, M. (2002). Temperature Fields in Aluminum During Orthogonal Cutting Under Different Rake Angles. 2002 SEM Annual Conference and Exposition on Experimental and Applied Mechanics, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
  • Vernaza-Peña, K.M. (2002). Experimental Study of the Temperature Field Generated During Orthogonal Machining of 6061-T6 Aluminum Alloy. Student Paper Competition, 2002 SEM Annual Conference and Exposition on Experimental and Applied Mechanics, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
  • Vernaza-Peña, K.M., Mason, J.J., & Li, M. (2000). Experimental Study of the Temperature Field Generated during Orthogonal Machining of Aluminum. 37th Annual Technical Meeting Society of Engineering Science. The University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC.

Not Peer-reviewed

  • Aggarwal, M., Panza, M., & Vernaza, K.M. (2006).  Engineering Graduate Scholarship Program with Paid Tuition, Stipend, and Industrial Work Experience.  2006 Hispanics in Engineering National Conference.  San Juan, Puerto Rico.

 

Presentations/Posters: Reviewd Abstracts without Proceedings

  • Vernaza, K.M. (2012). Thinking about Graduate School?  Society of Women Engineers National Conference, Houston, Texas, November 8-10, 2012.
  • Homan MM and Vernaza K.M. (2012). Biodiesel Project Offers Multiple Research and Educational Opportunities to Community. Association for Environmental Studies and Sciences 2012 Conference, Santa Clara, CA.
  • Vernaza, K.M. (2011).  A Reviewer’s Perspective: How to Write a Successful Fellowship or Scholarship Application by incorporating your Diverse Experiences.  Society of Women Engineers National Conference, Chicago, Illinois. October 13-15, 2011.
  • Vernaza, K.M. (2010).  Succeeding in an Academic Environment.  Society of Women Engineers National Conference, Orlando, Florida. November 4-6, 2010.
  • Vernaza, K.M. (2010).  Is Graduate School an Option for You?  Society of Women Engineers National Conference, Orlando, Florida. November 4-6, 2010.
  • Vernaza-Peña, K.M. (2000). Experimental study of the temperature field during orthogonal machining of aluminum. 14th Annual AME Graduate Student Research Conference, Notre Dame, IN.
  • Vernaza-Peña, K.M. (1999). Investigation of Strain Rate Effects in an Aluminum Alloy using the Torsional Split Hopkinson Bar. 13th Annual AME Graduate Student Research Conference, Notre Dame, IN.
  • Vernaza-Peña, K.M. (1998). Experimental Investigation of the Thermomechanics of High Speed Machining of Aluminum. 12th Annual AME Graduate Student Research Conference, Notre Dame, IN.

 

Invited Lecture

  • Vernaza, K.M. (2010).  The Panama Canal: A Successful Transition.  Global Series Forum, Jefferson Educational Society, Erie, PA. November 17, 2010.
  • Vernaza, K.M. (2002). Temperature Fields in Aluminum and Steel during Orthogonal Machining under Different Rake Angles. National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD.

 

Invited Panelist
 

  • Vernaza, K.M., Choudhary, D., Fabris, L., and Peters, D.  Navigating the Academic Career Pathway Panel.  Society of Women Engineers National Conference, Chicago, Illinois. October 14-16, 2011.

Scholarship/Research

Selected External Grants

  • Karinna M. Vernaza, Barry Brinkman, Scott Steinbrink, and Theresa Vitolo. Scholars of Excellence in Engineering and Computer Science ($600,000). National Science Foundation, Division of Undergraduate Education – S-STEM: Scholarship in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (July 2012 - June 2017)  
  • Melanie L. Hatch, Elisa Konieczko, Karinna M. Vernaza, Theresa M. Vitolo, Weslene T. Tallmadge. TRANSFORM:   Teaching Research Advancement Network to Secure Female Faculty For Organizational Retention and Management ($385,919).  National Science Foundation, Division of Human Resources, ADVANCE-PAID, Award No. 1107015 (September 2011 - August 2016)
  • Michelle Homan and Karinna M. Vernaza. Energy Efficiency and Conservation Workshop for High School Science Teachers ($7,497).  Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection: 2010 Environmental Grants Program, EE110023 (July 2011 – June 2012)
  • Michelle Homan and Karinna M. Vernaza. Fuel for Schools: Biodiesel Workshop for High School Science Teachers ($13,066).  Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection: 2008 Environmental Grants Program, EE080067 (January 2009 – June 2010)
  • Scott Steinbrink, Barry Brinkman, Karinna M. Vernaza, and Theresa Vitolo.  Scholars of Excellence in Engineering and Computer Science ($600,000). National Science Foundation, Division of Undergraduate Education – S-STEM: Scholarship in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (July 2008 - June 2013)
  • Karinna M. Vernaza and Michelle Homan. Pilot Project to Evaluate Reaction Parameters for Efficient Biodiesel Production ($10,000).  Erie-Patterson Corporation (December 2007 – December 2008)

Service

University

  • Member, Strategic Planning Committee, 2011-present
  • Member, Finance and Budget Advisory Committee, 2012 - present
  • Member, Study Abroad Committee, 2011-present
  • Member, Middle States Self-Report Committee for Standards 4 and 5, 2011 - present
  • Past member, University Rank and Tenure Committee (2009 – 2012). Chair, 2011- 2012.
  • Past member, Provost Search Committee (2011-2012)
  • Past member, College of Engineering and Business Academic Affairs Committee (2008-2011)
  • Past member, University Athletic Committee (2005-2008)
  • Past member, Dean of College of Science, Engineering and Health Science Search Committee (2006- 2007)
  • Past member, School of Engineering and Health Sciences (SEHS) College Safety Committee (2004 - 2007). Chair, 2005-2006.

Profession

  • Member, Outreach National Committee, Society of Women Engineers, 2008-present
  • Reviewer for American Society of Engineering Education Conference, 2007 – present
  • Faculty Advisor, Society of Women Engineers Student Chapter (G075), 2004-present

Community

  • The Nonprofit Partnership, Board member, 2009-present; Board Chair, 2013 - present
  • Erie Ambassador, 2006 - present