Maija Benitz, Ph.D.

Maija Benitz
Maija Benitz, Ph.D.Associate Professor of Engineering

Contact Information

401-254-5427mbenitz@rwu.eduSE 107

Areas of Expertise

Wind Energy, Ocean Engineering, Computational Fluid Dynamics, Engineering Education


B.A. Physics from Colorado College; M.S. and Ph.D. Mechanical Engineering from University of Massachusetts Amherst

Maija Benitz joined the SECCM faculty in the Fall of 2017, after teaching physics and mathematics at the Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA. Prior to working as a professor, Dr. Benitz held dual appointments as a graduate research assistant in the Multiphase Flow Simulation Lab and the Wind Energy Center at UMass, where her dissertation focused on simulating offshore floating wind turbines using computational fluid dynamics. She also spent time as a visiting researcher at the National Wind Technology Center, a branch of the National Renewable Energy Lab in Boulder, CO.

Dr. Benitz continues to use computational fluid dynamics in her current research, for example by modeling oyster seed growth in bottle upwellers. She is also actively involved in studying ways to improve the recruitment and retention of women in STEM. Her research also explores the implementation and effectiveness of innovative engineering pedagogies, including community engagement projects. Each spring, students in Wind Turbine Design collaborate with RWU education majors to teach local fourth graders about wind energy through the semester-long KidWind Project.

At Roger Williams, she teaches across the engineering curriculum, including classes such as ENGR110 Engineering Graphics and Design, ENGR330 Thermodynamics, ENGR355 Wind Turbine Design, and ENGR448 Ocean Hydrodynamics. She serves as a faculty advisor to the Multicultural STEM Alliance student group. Dr. Benitz was a Hassenfeld Faculty Fellow and a Diversity & Inclusion Faculty Fellow. She has received multiple teaching awards at RWU, including the 2021 RWU Faculty Senate Excellence in Teaching Award.

Media Links

Media links to coverage of the KidWind Community Engagement Project, where engineering majors partner with education majors to design and deliver five lessons about wind energy and engineering design to local fourth graders across four elementary schools in Bristol and Warren:

RWU Students Teach Fourth Graders About Wind Energy and the Engineering Design Process

RWU program helps to build next generation of wind engineers

RWU students assist fourth graders in annual KidWind day

Engineering Outreach with Vernier Technology

RWU Hosts 250 Fourth-Graders for Lesson on Wind Energy

How to Build a Wind Turbine: Introducing Fourth Graders to Engineering in KidWind Project

Coverage of an engineering senior design project that redesigned a kid's playground to be more inclusive and won a national award for their work: 

Roger Life: Senior Design Team Wins Diversity and Inclusion Contest

Coverage of examples of how faculty pivoted to deliver instruction during the pandemic: 

Students Create New Award to Honor Outstanding Faculty Efforts This Fall

How to Meet a Lab’s Hands-On Learning Goals? Engineering Professors are ’Working Hard to Make It Work’

KidWind Project Pivots During Pandemic, Renewed for Third Year

‘A Lot of Silver Linings’ for Engineering Majors Taking Senior Design Projects Online