James Madison University
PHOTO: Olga Pierrakos

Olga Pierrakos, Ph. D.

Associate Professor

  • Office: HHS 3227
  • Phone: 540-568-8917
  • Email: pierraox@jmu.edu
  • Mailing Address:
    MSC 4113
    801 Carrier Drive
    Harrisonburg, Virginia 22807

Dr. Olga Pierrakos is involved with cardiovascular fluid mechanics research, engineering education research, as well as curriculum and course development for the Department of Engineering at JMU.  


  • Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in 2006
  • M.S. in Engineering Mechanics from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in 2002
  • B.S. in Engineering Science and Mechanics from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in 2000 (Minor in Mathematics)


Dr. Pierrakos has been at JMU since January 2008 and has been actively involved with curriculum development and research.  She was recently awarded an NSF CAREER grant focused on understanding and integrating complex problem solving in the classroom. Prior to coming to JMU, Dr. Pierrakos was a National Academy of Engineering CASEE* Postdoctoral Engineering Education Research Fellow at Virginia Tech.  Dr. Pierrakos’s Ph.D. work pertained to vortex dynamics and turbulence characteristics in left ventricular flows and past prosthetic heart valves. At Virginia Tech, Dr. Pierrakos served as faculty advisor to over thirty mechanical engineering seniors involved in mechanical and biomedical engineering design projects and taught several mechanical engineering fluid mechanics, design, and technical communication courses. Dr. Pierrakos has also been actively involved with promoting engineering in K-12 settings.

Research Interests

  • Engineering education research: research on recruitment and retention, outcomes-based assessment, epistemologies of engineering learning and interdisciplinary education, design education methodologies, K-12 engineering education.
  • Cardiovascular fluid mechanics:  left-ventricular flows, heart failure, vascular implants, computational modeling of cardiovascular flows.

*Center for the Advancement of Scholarship on Engineering Education

CV (pdf)