Skip navigation links

Nov. 21, 2023

Getting to Know: Technology Engineering Program Director Janet Brelin-Fornari

Program utilizes hands-on, real-world projects to integrate modern technologies with an engineering mindset

Janet Brelin-Fornari joined MSU’s College of Engineering in June 2023 as its new director of Technology Engineering, an undergraduate program proposed for the 2024-25 academic year.

Professional headshot of  Janet Brelin-Fornari
Professional headshot of Janet Brelin-Fornari

Brelin-Fornari knows how to develop programs at the university level. She spent 20 years at Kettering University in Flint (formerly General Motors Institute) serving as director of the Center for Integrated Learning Experiences and Crash Safety Center. She was also a professor of mechanical engineering with extensive research in pediatric crash safety. She was instrumental in working with the U.S. Department of Transportation in establishing a new federal motor vehicle safety standard for side impact testing of child seats.

Early in her career she worked for General Motors as an expert witness in collision reconstruction and product liability lawsuits. She was awarded a GM Fellowship to pursue her Ph.D. in mechanical engineering and biomechanics.

Brelin-Fornari holds a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from the University of Arizona and a master’s degree from the University of Michigan. She also earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Nebraska.

Why did you want to come to MSU?

What MSU is planning to do with a new bachelor’s degree in Technology Engineering is really exciting. There is so much that can be done in this program field. This is an opportunity for MSU to be at the cutting edge of undergraduate engineering education and help support the State of Michigan’s workforce needs.

What details can you share about this proposed Technology Engineering program?

The Technology Engineering (TechE) Program is an innovative program which prepares students for modern engineering challenges in the multidisciplinary, interconnected world. All students complete core courses which develop engineering and technology foundational skills including, but not limited to, embedded electronic systems, computer aided design, product prototyping, data science, project management, and computer programming in Python and C++. Students choose a concentration, such as mechatronics or embedded cybersecurity, to further advance their engineering and technology interests with courses such as automation, robotics, network security, and computer hardware/software development. Overall, the program courses utilize hands-on, real-world projects to integrate modern technologies with the engineering mindset.

How many courses would be offered in this program?

The program will be 128 credits. Of that, there are 19 courses that would be specifically taught by Technology Engineering. Those courses would be spread out through the sophomore, junior and senior years.

What are you hearing from companies about the need for this Technology Engineering program?

Companies say they could utilize the graduates and interns from the TechE program immediately. They like the combination of cutting-edge technology and engineering skillsets that students will acquire. To name a few, engineered systems in mobility, manufacturing, and agriculture sectors.