Ershela Sims, PhD
Executive Director

Dr. Sims is the Executive Director of the Women in Engineering ProActive Network (WEPAN). Prior to joining WEPAN she was the Interim President and Senior Vice President for Virtual and Outreach Programs at the SC Governor’s School for Science and Mathematics (SCGSSM). She was the first black person and first female to lead SCGSSM. She began her career at GSSM as Vice President for the Accelerate Virtual Engineering Program in 2017. Prior to GSSM, Dr. Sims was the Dean of Engineering and Technology at the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics (NCSSM) which housed the Engineering and Computer Science programs, as well as the Peter T. Haughton Fabrication and Innovation Lab. During her tenure at NCSSM, Dr. Sims developed and taught courses in Statics, Biomedical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Engineering Research, and Biomedical Instrumentation.

Ershela has also been involved in outreach activities through national organizations as well as NCSSM. She was the Director for Step Up to STEM, a 2-week residential STEM program for rising ninth grade students. In addition, she was the lead developer of the Biomedical Engineering (Health and Life Science) strand for on an NCSSM curriculum development project for the NC Dept. of Public Instruction.

Dr. Sims completed a postdoctoral fellowship in Biomechanics in the Department of Surgery at Duke University, where she worked on an NIH funded longitudinal study investigating gait mechanics associated with osteoarthritis of the knee. Following her postdoctoral fellowship, she taught anatomy courses in the medical school at Duke University for two years. Prior to working in academia, she worked as a software design engineer and later a technical architect at Nortel Networks for five years developing telecommunications software. Following her work in industry, she worked as the Assistant Director of the Duke-UNC Brain Imaging and Analysis Center for two years, where she performed functional MRI research and managed a number of ongoing research projects.

Ershela is a member of several professional associations including the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE), and Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES). Dr. Sims is a recipient of the NSBE Dr. Janice A. Lumpkin Educator of the Year Golden Torch Award and co-recipient of the National Science Teachers Association Vernier Technology Award. She also serves on multiple boards including the Clemson General Engineering Advisory Board, the Florence-Darlington Technical College Board of Trustees, and NSBE Healthcare Innovation Special Interest Group.

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