Derrick A. Nero is the Assistant Professor of Engineering Education in the University of Nebraska at Omaha College of Education (UNO COE). Derrick has a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering and has worked as an engineer and project manager for Raytheon Services Nevada and Bechtel Nevada. He earned a Master’s degree in Special Education and worked in alternative, general, and STEM education for 11 years at Lewis & Clark Middle School in Omaha Public Schools. During those years, he created and taught a STEM elective course for nine years. He worked collaboratively with UNO COE and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) to develop and implement the use of robotics as an educational platform. Derrick attained his Doctorate in Educational Leadership with a focus on Engineering Education from UNO.
Derrick teaches and develops teacher education courses for undergraduate teacher candidates and engineering education courses for graduate candidates. In addition to being a Nebraska Space Ambassador, he serves as a Nebraska Department of Education STEM Fellow, co-facilitator for the UNL Engineering Readiness Academy and the Nebraska NASA Space Grant Project HALON, co-developer for the Nebraska Robotics Expo, and faculty advisor for various STEM outreach initiatives such as Space Celebration Night, Family Engineering Night, STEM Days, and student groups such as Latin@s in STEM, National Society of Black Engineers, and Noyce Scholars. With support from Nebraska NASA Space Grant, Derrick has served as a faculty advisor for undergraduate research and founded a general education science course at UNO that develops near space experiments using high-altitude balloons. Derrick’s research interests include K-12 Engineering Education, authentic learning experiences, and engaging underrepresented groups.