Professor balances research with championing others
KENNESAW, Ga. (May 17, 2022) — After earning a doctorate in biomedical engineering, Kennesaw State University professor Mark Geil sought a career where he could help people and provide leadership within his field.
He found that opportunity in prosthetics and academia – the right combination of research in a critical field and the opportunity to lead.
“I had offers to do research and development in prosthetics, and I was drawn to academia because of the opportunity to still do research and development, but also be involved in the lives of students,” said Geil, who was appointed to the newly created position of associate dean for research and operations in the Wellstar College of Health and Human Services. “Mentorship is so important to me, to invest in the people who will carry the torch in the future.”
Geil’s research focuses on prostheses and gait analysis for children experiencing limb loss, with publications and innovations across a wide range of disciplines. Wellstar College Dean Monica Swahn said Geil’s interdisciplinary ethos made him the right person for the position.
“Mark brings extensive insight and experience as a highly accomplished and collaborative researcher, which is very important and needed as we grow the research portfolio in the College as part of our R2 roadmap,” Swahn said. “He has developed extensive and unique expertise in a very important topic – prosthetics for children. He has focused specifically on children's gait analysis contributing to important changes in treatment options for young children.”
The promotion marks the latest step for Geil since his arrival in 2018 after more than two decades between Georgia Tech and Georgia State University. Since his first day, he served as chair of the Department of Exercise Science and Sport Management. In 2021, the Master of Science in Prosthetics and Orthotics program, which he founded at Georgia Tech, moved to a brand-new space at Chastain Pointe.
Geil said in addition to his role as associate dean, he will undertake teaching and research. He currently has three projects in the works at various stages – a study on flexible-knee prostheses for children, another study on the role of brain cognition in human movement, and a project on helping children overcome a condition called idiopathic toe-walking.
In his own research, Geil said he thrives on collaborating with multiple departments, part and parcel of his experience as an engineer. He said that makes him a good fit for the associate dean role as he seeks to increase Wellstar College’s collaborative research portfolio.
“It has been so exciting for me in this position to be able to see the breadth of the work we're doing in Wellstar,” he said. “I was drawn to my research because it was a way to do engineering, which I naturally felt drawn to and felt like I was good at, with a direct application of improving lives of people. Now I find myself helping facilitate the research of a college that helps people in so many different ways.”
– by Dave Shelles
Photos by David Caselli
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A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its nearly 43,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu.