Avneet Hira

Assistant Professor


Avneet Hira’s scholarship is motivated by the fundamental question of how engineering and technology can support people in living well in an increasingly engineered world. Her research, which is in engineering education, focuses on affordances of technology, humanistic design, and engineering epistemology. Her work is inspired by Making and tinkering practices, especially those from different local knowledge systems. Prior to Boston College, Avneet worked at the MIT Scheller Teacher Education Program and Education Arcade as a research scientist and at MathWorks as an education program manager.  

She partners with students and educators (middle school to undergraduate), youth and their families, community organizations, artisans, Makers, designers, and technologists in her work. She is passionate about creating technology-rich inclusive spaces for supporting purpose and connection in engineering education. Avneet received her Ph.D. in Engineering Education and MS in Aerospace Engineering from Purdue University, and BE in Aeronautical Engineering from Punjab Engineering College.  

The lab’s current work includes projects focused on: using emerging technologies for sustainability education and intergenerational learning in open-ended project-based settings; interrogating the affordances of mixed reality for embodied experiences in design education settings; understanding the impact of the pandemic on school STEM learning; and developing human-centered engineering and design frameworks to support capacity building in communities.

Selected Publications

Hira, A., & Hynes, M. (2021). How do designers and engineers practice design while Making? A narrative inquiry of designers who Make. Information and Learning Sciences. (forthcoming)

Hira, A. & Anderson, E. (2021). Motivating Online Learning through Project-Based Learning During the 2020 COVID-19 Pandemic. IAFOR Journal of Education, 9(2), 93-110.

Holly, Jr, J., Hira, A., Maxey, K, & Beebe, C. (2021) Who gets to engineer? In T. Fowler (Eds.), Countering the mythology of inclusion and wellness in schooling (forthcoming)

Ozkan, D., & Hira, A. (2021). Critical perspectives on teaching design in first-year engineering. In ASEE 2021 Annual Confrence.  

Rodriguez-Simmonds, H & Hira, A. (2021). A collaborative autoethnographic dialog exploring the soul of engineering education. In ASEE 2021 Annual Confrence.  

Hira, A., Govindasamy, S., & Bhattacharya, S. (2021). Designing a design-driven human-centered engineering program. In Clive L Dym Mudd Design Workshop.  

Hira, A., & Anderson, E. (2021). The heart of the matter: High school educators’ experiences of teaching project-based learning. In International Society of the Learning Sciences 2021 Conference.   

Anderson, E., & Hira, A. (2020). Loss of brick-and-mortar schooling: how elementary educators respond. Information and Learning Sciences, 121(5-6).

Hira, A., & Hynes, M. M. (2018). People, Means, and Activities: A Conceptual Framework for Realizing the Educational Potential of Makerspaces. Education Research International, 1–10.

Hira, A., & Hynes, M. M. (2017). Design-based research to broaden participation in pre-college engineering: research and practice of an interest-based engineering challenges framework. European Journal of Engineering Education, 44(1–2), 103–122.

Hynes, M., Joslyn, C., Hira, A., J. Holly, J., & Jubelt, N. (2016). Exploring Diverse Pre-College Students’ Interests and Understandings of Engineering to Promote Engineering Education for All. International Journal of Engineering Education, 32(5B), 2318–2327.