Professional Development; Agency in Communities of Practice; Transformational Change; Collaboration and Inclusion in Teams, Inclusive Pedagogy.
Full Bio (~300 words)
Last update: June 28, 2022
Dr. Rivera-Jiménez is an Assistant Professor Engineering Education Department and affiliated faculty to the Chemical Engineering Department at the Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering, University of Florida (UF). She is the director of the Engineering Communities & Participatory Change (ECoPAC) Research Group. Her research interests include broadening participation (i.e., community colleges, historically underrepresented minorities), organizational change using culturally relevant theories of change, strategic agency in communities of practice, and collaborative and inclusive environments in teams. Outside the classroom, she serves as a creator and facilitator of professional development workshops for students, faculty, and industry on social justice, diversity, equity, and inclusion in engineering.
She is the co-founder of the group #LatinXinChE, a group organized to support LatinX trainees and chemical engineering professionals. She serves as the Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access (IDEA) Committee chair at EED and representative of the college of engineering committee. She is also a faculty mentor of the Women Advancement and Mentoring Committee in the Chemical Engineering department and the academic advisor for the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) Student Chapter. At the American Society for Engineering Education, she is a board member of The Equity, Culture and Social Justice Division and the Commission for Diversity Equity and Inclusion and representative for the Commission for Diversity Equity and Inclusion (CDEI). At AIChE, she is a board member for the Chemical Education Division and an elected member of the Societal Impact Operating Council (SIOC). In 2019 and 2020, she was recognized with the Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering Undergraduate Advisor/Mentor of the Year Award and the Women’s History Month Recognition given by the UF Engineering Student Advisory Council. Finally, she received the inaugural 2021 IDEAL Star Award (unsolicited) presented by AIChE due to my efforts in developing professional development programming at the national level toward Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Anti-Racism for industry and academia.
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.