Faculty and Staff for 2016-2017

Hank Yochum

Chair of the Engineering, Computer Science and Physics Department

Director of the Margaret Jones Wyllie ’45 Engineering Program

P | 434-381-6357
E | hyochum@sbc.edu

Engineering, Computer Science and Physics Department
Sweet Briar College
Sweet Briar, VA 24595

The engineering program is part of the engineering, computer science and physics department. Information about the other programs in the department can be found on the following websites:


Bethany Brinkman

Bethany BrinkmanAssistant Professor of Engineering

P | 434-381-6104
E | bbrinkman@sbc.edu
O | Guion Science Center | First Floor, 127A

B.S., Civil Engineering | Virginia Tech
M.S., Civil Engineering | University of Minnesota
Ph.D., Civil Engineering | University of Minnesota

While completing her Ph.D. at the University of Minnesota, Professor Brinkman researched temporal and spatial variations in natural organic matter and how these variations impact water treatment. She also spent some time as a consulting engineer working on the implementation of ultrafiltration membranes for water utilities. Her current research interests include feed-forward control systems, pilot scale treatment, engineered wetlands, organic matter dynamics and historic brick structures. Brinkman enjoys teaching Introduction to Engineering and environmental engineering electives.


Chris Ferguson

Engineering Technician/Machinist

P | 434-381-6968
E | cferguson@sbc.edu
O | Guion Science Center | First Floor, 127C

A journeyman machinist for more than 20 years, Chris Ferguson provides support and expertise to students and faculty using the machine shop and other laboratory equipment. He owns his own machine shop, has extensive experience in machine and facility maintenance, and is knowledgeable in precision machining, CAD and machine tolerances. He brings a strong understanding of industry and a passion for transferring his knowledge and skills to students.

Ferguson has been married for more than 20 years and has two grown children. Outside of work, he enjoys fishing and boating and is passionate about cars. He has rebuilt a number of cars through the years. Regardless of what he’s working on, he loves seeing the transformation that results from taking raw materials and making them into something useable.


Rebecca Girten ’09

Rebecca GirtenProject Coordinator

P | 434-381-6447
E | rgirten@sbc.edu
O | Guion Science Center | Lower Level, 023

B.S., Mathematics-Physics | Sweet Briar College

Rebecca Girten coordinates the operational and administrative functions of the program. She has broad professional experience in both operations and marketing, including three years of crisis communications with ACLU’s Delaware affiliate.

A former teacher, Rebecca is also heavily involved in K-12 education, and is particularly interested in the intersection between STEM/design/arts-infused curricula and non-traditional instructional approaches. She is a founding board member of Delaware Design-Lab High School, which was recently recognized by Laurene Powell Jobs’ XQ Institute as one of 10 schools in the country that is “rethinking high school.”


Kaelyn Leake ’09

Kaelyn LeakeAssistant Professor of Engineering

P | 434-381-6560
E | kleake@sbc.edu
O | Guion Science Center | First Floor, 127A

B.S., Engineering Science; Physics; Minor in Mathematics | Sweet Briar College
Ph.D., Electrical Engineering | University of California, Santa Cruz

Professor Leake’s expertise is in photonics, material science, and microdynamics and microfluidics. She has extensive experience with simulations, experimentation and data analysis in those fields.

She has recently taught Introduction to Engineering Design, Statics & Strength of Materials, Materials Science, Matlab Programming, Introduction to Engineering Analysis, and Dynamics.


Timothy C. Scott

Timothy ScottProfessor of Practice

P | 434-381-6557
E | tscott@sbc.edu
O | Guion Science Center | Lower Level, 031

B.S., Mechanical Engineering | University of Michigan
M.S., Mechanical Engineering | University of Michigan
Automotive Engineering Certificate | Chrysler Institute of Engineering
Ph.D., Mechanical Engineering | University of Michigan

Professor Scott’s interests include applied thermal/fluids, teaching and laboratory development. He spent 35 years as undergraduate laboratory director in UVa’s mechanical engineering department. His career includes many years working and consulting in the industry with several dozen companies. He currently serves as a consultant for the Advanced Powertrain Thermal and Vehicle Scientific Labs at Chrysler, in addition to teaching at Sweet Briar.


Hank Yochum

Hank YochumProfessor of Engineering and Physics
Director of the Margaret Jones Wyllie ’45 Engineering Program

P | 434-381-6357
E | hyochum@sbc.edu
O | Guion Science Center | Lower Level, 04

B.S., Physics | College of Charleston
Ph.D., Physics | Wake Forest University

Prior to joining SBC, Professor Yochum was an engineer/member of technical staff at Lucent Technologies/OFS Specialty Photonics. Yochum has research interests in experimental condensed matter physics and nanotechnology. He is particularly interested in the design and characterization of nanostructured optical devices and defects in optical materials. He recently co-authored a textbook, Instrumental Analysis, for Oxford University Press.

Yochum is also active in middle school science teacher education. He has received funding from NSF, the Jeffress Foundation and the State Council on Higher Education of Virginia. Yochum’s hobbies include snowboarding and playing with his son. His teaching duties include the Technology and Society engineering design course, Circuits, Systems Modeling and Controls, Mechatronics, and Capstone Design.