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Rachel McCord

Rachel Ellestad


Department of Engineering Fundamentals

Contact Information

  • 260J Zeanah Engineering Complex
  • Phone: 865-974-9810
  • E-mail:
  • Department Website
  • Personal Website

  • Biography

    Senior Lecturer and Research Assistant Professor

    Rachel McCord Ellestad is a UT alumnus with a degree in mechanical engineering, so she has a lot of love for Knoxville and the university. She was even a student in Engineering Fundamentals (EF) as an undergrad and taught EF as a graduate student. Her experiences in those classes were what made her want to pursue education as a career to be able to contribute back to the program that was so influential to her career.

    Ellestad loves helping students right when they enter UT to build the skills necessary to be successful in their degree. She enjoys working with students as the figure out what engineering is and find their passion for a specific discipline. In her mind, EF is important because “it gives you the opportunity to learn how to be a life-long learner, which is so critical to being an engineer.”

    Below, we asked Ellestad a few specifics:

    Q: How do students succeed in class and make you proud?
    A:  “Don’t get discouraged by grades! They are just numbers. One grade will not define you. Instead, let your desire to be an engineer define you. If you focus on learning the principles we are trying to teach you, the grades will be there. Promise!”

    Q: Do you have any favorite students?
    A: “Aww…now that’s not fair! I guess my favorite students are the ones that come to my office to chat or say hi in the hallways between classes. Anytime I get a chance to learn someone’s name and a bit about them, they become a favorite. Also, I have candy in my office if you stop by!”

    Q: What’s your biggest pet peeve of students?
    A: “Getting emails requesting extra credit the day before grades are due at the end of the semester. **sigh*** what’s done is done!”

    Q: How do you spend your free time?
    A: “I do a lot with my friends at church, Fellowship Church. I also have two dogs, Mabel and Amos. I like taking them to the dog park and the fun dog-friendly activities in Knoxville.”

    Problem solving and metacognition in undergraduate engineering education

    Professional development opportunities for graduate students

    Self-Regulated learning in engineering

    Academic motivation

    PhD, Engineering Education, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA,  2014

    MBA, Operations Management, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN,  2008

    MS, Mechanical Engineering, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN,  2008

    BS, Mechanical Engineering, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN,  2006

    Member, American Society for Engineering Education,

    Member, Society of Women Engineers

    Faculty Advisor: Society of Women Engineers

    Faculty Advisor: FIRST Alumni Group


Rachel McCord

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