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School of Engineering

Kristen Bethke Wendell

Assistant Professor
Mechanical Engineering
McDonnell Family Professor in Engineering Education

Kristen Bethke Wendell

Kristen Bethke Wendell

Assistant Professor
Mechanical Engineering
McDonnell Family Professor in Engineering Education

Phone 617-627-5888
Robinson Hall, Room 169
200 Boston Avenue, Medford, MA
Research: 
engineering education, design practices, learning sciences
Biography: 

Kristen Wendell earned her Ph.D. in science education from Tufts University and her M.S. in aeronautics and astronautics from MIT. She received her B.S. in mechanical and aerospace engineering from Princeton University. Wendell joined Tufts from her role as faculty at University of Massachusetts Boston's Center of Science and Mathematics in Context, where she was awarded two NSF grants: one, a CAREER Award, on the use of community-based engineering to prepare novice urban elementary school teachers in science and engineering; and the other on supporting urban students' engineering discourse. In 2016, she was awarded the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) by the U.S. government.

Education: 
Ph.D., Science Education, Tufts University, 2011
M.S., Aeronautics and Astronautics, MIT, 2005
B.S.E., Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Princeton University, 2003
Professional Experience: 
2016-present:

Assistant Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Tufts School of Engineering

2016-present:

Adjunct Assistant Professor, Department of Education, Tufts University School of Arts and Sciences

2011-2015:

University of Massachusetts-Boston

  • Assistant Professor, College of Education and Human Development
  • Assistant Professor, Center of Science and Mathematics in Context
2006-2011:

Research Assistant, Center for Engineering Education and Outreach

2005:

Science and Technology Policy Fellow, National Academy of Engineering

2005-2006:

Research Assistant, Man Vehicle Lab, MIT

Research Interests: 

Kristen Wendell's research area is engineering education. Her research group studies learning and teaching dynamics in a range of engineering learning environments. Wendell seeks to understand the barriers that various learners (from children to undergraduates to elementary teachers) face in gaining broader access to – and more sophisticated engagement in – the engineering discipline. Her work also explores tools to support engineering leaders, including multimedia engineering notebooks, portable design workshops, and responsive teaching approaches.

Selected Honors and Awards: 
2016: U.S. Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE)
2013: CAREER Award, National Science Foundation
2010: Doctoral Consortium Fellow, International Conference of the Learning Sciences (ICLS)
2006: Service Leadership Award, MIT
2003: Graduate Research Fellowship, National Science Foundation
2003: Hayes-Palmer Prize in Engineering, Princeton University
Selected Professional Activities: 
Board Member, Engineering Research Interest Group, National Association of Research in Science Teaching (NARST)
Faculty Fellow, Center for Engineering Education and Outreach
Faculty Fellow, Tisch College of Civic Life
Steering Committee, Engineer Girl program, National Academy of Engineering
Advisor, WIPRO Science Education Fellowship
Teaching/Courses Taught: 
ME-0171: Engineering Education Design
ME-0043: Mechanical Engineering Senior Design Project