Kristen Wendell

Kristen Wendell

(617) 627-5888
212 College Avenue, Room 169
Research/Areas of Interest:

learning sciences, engineering education, design practices, design discourse, project-based learning


  • Ph.D., Tufts University, United States, 2011
  • M.S., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, United States, 2005
  • B.S.E., Princeton University, Princeton, United States, 2003


Kristen Wendell's research in engineering education focuses on characterizing and supporting inclusive, sophisticated disciplinary practices during engineering learning experiences in undergraduate courses, K-8 classrooms, and teacher education contexts. As a learning scientist, she is especially interested in identifying and understanding learners' practices that are consistent with the work of disciplinary communities (e.g., practicing scientists and engineers) while also enabling equitable knowledge construction by the learners. Major projects emphasize community-based engineering curricula and professional development, engineering discourse studies, design notebooking, undergraduate learning assistants, and responsive teaching for engineering. The Wendell Lab is an interdisciplinary group of engineers and STEM educators conducting education research in three main areas: productive disciplinary engagement in engineering, learning to teach engineering, and tools for overcoming barriers to learning and teaching engineering. We carefully document what it looks like when children, college students, and K-8 teachers experience intellectual engagement with the engineering discipline. We also study how educators learn to support that kind of experience for all students. This work sheds light on barriers that prevent both teachers and learners – especially those from historically marginalized groups – from meaningful participation in engineering. Other work is aimed at developing tools to overcome those barriers. These tools include engineering notebooking software, portable maker spaces, community-based design problems, participatory engineering curricula, and responsive teaching approaches. The lab is located at the Tufts Center for Engineering Education and Outreach (CEEO).