About Dr. Jawa

Dr. Mariappan Jawaharlal (Dr. Jawa) is a Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the California State Polytechnic University, Pomona.  Dr. Jawa is recognized as an outstanding educator for his innovative and engaging teaching pedagogy.  He has received numerous honors including Northrop Grumman Award for Excellence in teaching and Innovative Educator Award. Dr. Jawa is well known for his hands-on, guided discovery approach for learning. More recently Dr. Jawa has been involved in CSU course redesign initiative focused on redesigning bottleneck and high enrollment courses with technology.

Dr. Jawa is the founder and director of Robotics Education through Active Learning (REAL), a unique K-12 outreach robotics program, which now reaches thousands of students each year. This is the largest event of its kind in the nation and it culminates in an annual robot rally. The REAL initiative has inspired thousands of young students to pursue STEM education. He also helped develop the Femineer program to inspire, engage and empower girls in middle and high school. The Femineer program was recognized by White House in 2015 for increasing educational outcomes and opportunities for female Hispanic K-12 students. Dr. Jawa developed a 3-year curriculum including creative robotics, wearable technology and Raspberry Pi Robotics for Femineers.

Dr. Jawa is a pioneer in developing engaging, online lessons. He founded in APlusStudent.com, an online supplemental K-12 education company long before online education became mainstream in 1998, and developed over 800 interactive, learning modules. APlusStudent became official content partner for Microsoft server. APlusStudent content was acquired by ProQuest.

Dr. Jawa’s interests are in the fields of product design, engineering entrepreneurship and biomimicry. His product design experience is diverse, and he has been instrumental in bringing many new products to the market from mere concepts. As a PI or collaborator, he has received funding exceeding $1.5 million from various agencies. Dr. Jawa is a Fellow of Biomimicry Institute.

He has over 20 years of industrial, academic and entrepreneurial experience.  Before joining Cal Poly Pomona, He also served as a faculty at Rowan University, NJ and Kettering University, MI.  At Rowan, Dr. Jawa was one of the early faculty members recruited to develop a brand new engineering program with a donation of $100 million from Industrialist Henry Rowan.

Dr. Jawa is passionate about education and focuses on K-16 and STEM education. He writes columns for Huffington Post on issues related to K-12 and higher education.  Dr. Jawa is a marathon runner and a scuba diver. He recently ran across the Grand Canyon from Rim to Rim to Rim. Dr. Jawa has developed engaging, online learning modules in a variety of engineering subjects and can be accessed from OutstandingProfessor.com website


Entrepreneurial Experience

Advisor, several startup companies and small businesses in Southern California including STEM Center USA, which was featured on Shark Tank, Season 7 Episode 6.

Founded and developed APlusStudent, an online supplemental education company from a mere concept to a leading K-12 content provider. Raised over $600,000 in seed fund. APlusStudent offered hundreds of engaging, multimedia lessons and educational activities in K-12 math. APlusStudent was used by thousands of students, teachers and parents. APlusStudent was an official content partner for Microsoft Class Server. APlusStudent content was acquired by ProQuest in 2003.


Service and Professional Activities

  • Founding Advisor, Cal Poly Pomona Chess Club
  • Founding Advisor, Engineers Without Borders, Cal Poly Pomona Student Chapter
  • Co-Advisor, Robotics Club, Cal Poly Pomona, 2008-2010
  • Chairman ASME Safety Award Committee, 2005-2006
  • ASME Design Education Committee Member, 2005-2006
  • Member, Organizing Committee 2006 ASEE – PSW Conference
  • Events Captain, Science Olympiad, 2004 & 2005
  • Volunteer, Habitat for Humanity, Lee County, AL
  • Undergraduate Student Advising (GMI and Cal Poly)
  • ASME faculty adviser (GMI and Rowan),
  • Adviser, Odyssey of the Mind Team (GMI)
  • Adviser, Autonomous vehicle design team (GMI)
  • Reviewer for journals (ASME, Mechanisms & Machine Theory)