Professional Development; Agency in Communities of Practice; Transformational Change; Collaboration and Inclusion in Teams, Inclusive Pedagogy.
Full Bio (~100 words)
Last update: March 27, 2023
Dr. Rivera-Jiménez is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Engineering Education (EED) and serves as an affiliate faculty to the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Florida. As the director of the Engineering Communities & Participatory Change (ECoPAC) Research Group, her research focuses on examining the role of engineering communities in enacting agency towards participatory and transformational change. Specifically, she is interested in broadening the participation of minoritized communities by investigating the impact of professional development on shaping organizational cultures. Additionally, she conducts mixed-method research to enhance practice and policy supporting transfer students’ workforce development at four-year institutions.
As an education practitioner, Dr. Rivera-Jiménez advocates for evidence-based practices incorporating social responsibility, ethics, social factors, and inclusive environments into the curriculum. She received her B.S. and Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez. She was awarded the NSF RIEF award for her significant contributions to engineering education research after transitioning from a ten-year teaching career. Before her current role, she taught STEM courses at various institutions, including Hispanic-serving institutions (HSIs), community colleges, and R1 public universities.
Beyond her academic responsibilities, Dr. Rivera-Jiménez is a creator and facilitator of professional development workshops on social justice, diversity, equity, and inclusion in engineering for students, faculty, and industry professionals.
Positionality refers to the stance or positioning of the researcher in relation to the social and political context of the study—the community, the organization or the participant group.Coghlan, D., & Brydon-Miller, M. (2014). Positionality. In The SAGE encyclopedia of action research (pp. 628-628). SAGE Publications Ltd.
In 2022, I became an Assistant Professor after 11 years of working as a contingent faculty at diverse institutions such as Hispanic Serving Institution, Community College, and research-intensive. I am a Latina chemical engineer in academia navigating her professional identities as an educator, social researcher, and communicator. It all started from my interest to use evidence-based practices in my engineering classroom to help my students work in collaborative and inclusive environments. I also work in facilitating professional development for students, faculty, and industry in social justice topics in the engineering profession. As a contingent faculty, I had to figure out how to start my social research from a faculty position that is inherently limited by years of traditional roles and peer bias. My research is interdisciplinary by nature, although I consider myself a more political engineer and educator, as those are the areas I have been developing through my career. My research lies at the intersection of societal change, engineering communities, agency, and education of engineers. I am primarily interested in understanding how engineering communities within professional societies influence (or hinders) agency to create transformational changes in the professional formation of engineers. I use a broad range of theoretical frameworks, cross-disciplinary boundaries and apply multiple research methods.