Jessica Townsend

she / her / hers

Professor of Engineering


Jessica Townsend portrait


  • Ph.D., Aeronautics and Astronautics, MIT
  • M.S., Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering, University of California, Davis
  • B.S., Mechanical Engineering, University of Massachusetts, Amherst


  • Curriculum Innovation
  • Engineering Education
  • Thermal Fluids
  • Propulsion

Dr. Jessica Townsend is a Professor of Engineering at Olin College, where she also served as Associate Dean for Curriculum and Academic Programs, Associate Dean for External Engagement, Associate Provost, and Interim Academic Vice President for External Engagement.

Dr. Townsend works as a consultant in the development of new engineering programs in the US and globally with a focus on student engagement, impact-centered education, and alignment of mission, vision, values and curricular outcomes. In her leadership roles at Olin, she oversaw institutional-level strategy for Olin’s external educational change mission and contributed to the development of innovative pedagogies, courses, and curricula at Olin College. Dr. Townsend is an academic leader with experience in undergraduate education, faculty development, strategic management, leading change, accreditation, and building strong and effective teams.

Her technical area of interest is experimental thermal-fluids and she worked for many years on the development and characterization of nanofluids (colloidal suspensions of nanoparticles) for thermal management applications. Dr. Townsend has industry experience in both air-breathing propulsion, as a gas turbine performance engineer at Hamilton Sundstrand Power Systems, and in rocket propulsion, as a visiting engineer at Blue Origin, a commercial spaceflight company based in Seattle, WA.