Our Team

Postdoc Fellows

Gabriella Coloyan Fleming, Ph.D. 


Gabriella earned her B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University in 2012 and her M.S. and Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from UT Austin in 2014 and 2018, respectively. Her dissertation focused on characterizing the thermal properties of nanomaterials. She has previously worked as a Program Manager at the University of Michigan’s Center for Engineering Diversity & Outreach, managing the NextProf suite of workshops and supporting graduate student and faculty diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives. Gabriella is currently a postdoctoral fellow through the NASCENT ERC, where she is jointly advised by Prof. Deji Akinwande. Her research interests include DEI issues in the graduate student and faculty hiring pipelines, and she is dedicated to increasing representation in engineering students and faculty.

Graduate Students

Madison Andrews


Madison is a STEM Education doctoral student and graduate research assistant for the Center for Engineering Education at the University of Texas at Austin. She received her B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Clemson University in 2017 and her M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from The University of Texas at Austin in 2020. Her research interests include issues of gender and racial/ethnic inequities in undergraduate STEM education. Her recent work has focused on undergraduate students’ various attitudes towards engineering, including sense of belonging, self-efficacy and intent to pursue a career within engineering.

Brandon Bakka


Brandon is a Ph.D. candidate in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin. He earned his B.S. in Chemical and Biological Engineering from Colorado School of Mines in 2019. His research for the Center of Engineering Education involves understanding the ways in which LGBTQIA+ identifying engineering students respond to the heteronormative climate in engineering. Brandon is especially interested in understanding the factors that encourage students to persist in engineering and how to use that research to produce meaningful change at the department level. This project also involves promoting student activism and reinforcing connection to LGBTQIA+ identities through a student-led reading group. In addition to his educational research, Brandon conducts research in drug delivery in the UT Biomedical Engineering Department.

Roxana (Roxy) Carbonell


Roxy is a M.S. Ph.D. student in mechanical engineering at the University of Texas at Austin. She received her B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University in 2015. Her research with the Center for Engineering Education is focused on makerspace use as a component of undergraduate STEM Education. She is specifically interested in how makerspace projects can impact undergraduate students’ sense of self-efficacy and engineering identity. In this research she hopes to reveal best practices for the inclusion of equitable, impactful makerspace projects in undergraduate curriculum. This research is informed by an interest in community building and altering inequities within STEM education related to ethnicity, race, and gender. Her work and research in the department of mechanical engineering includes design/topology optimization, prosthetic limb development, and humanitarian engineering efforts.

Ariel Chasen


Ariel is a Ph.D. student in STEM education at the University of Texas at Austin. She earned her B.S. in biology and her M.A.T. in secondary education from Brandeis University. While at Brandeis she researched active site lysine in rhodopsin complexes. Prior to coming to Austin, she worked as a high school biology, anatomy, and engineering teacher in Massachusetts. During this time, she also worked as a research associate and teacher partner with Boston College at the Innovation in Urban Science Education Lab. Ariel’s current research interests include graduate funding pathways, accessibility in lab-based science courses, computational learning in general science classes, and sense of belonging for disabled students in STEM.

Maya is a Ph.D. student in STEM Education and a Graduate Research Assistant in the Center for Engineering Education at the University of Texas at Austin. She received her B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Purdue University in 2014 and her M.S. in Environmental and Water Resources Engineering from UT-Austin in 2021 . Prior to graduate school, she worked as a chemical engineer for an industrial gas company (2014-2017). Her current research interests include career pathways within engineering, issues of gender and other marginalized groups at all levels of engineering education, and environmental engineering education, including K-12 outreach. Her recent work has focused on asset-based frameworks, navigation strategies of engineering transfer students, and early careers of engineering doctoral recipients, with an emphasis on non-academic career preparation and pathways.

Marialice (Licia) Mastronardi


Licia is a Ph.D. student in the STEM Education program and a NASCENT Education and Evaluation Graduate Research Assistant. She received her M.S. degree in Electrical Engineering (Optoelectronics) from Polytechnic of Milan (Italy). Her current research interests include integration of engineering in K-12 curriculum and standards and evaluation of the impact of research experience on engineering undergraduate education.

Undergraduate Students

Vivian Chou is a senior pursuing a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering with a focus in medical devices and biomechanics, graduating in May 2021. Vivian is an activist for LGBTQ+ students at UT Austin through student organizations, research, and community involvement. During Vivian’s undergraduate years at UT Austin, Vivian was a founding officer for Q++, an LGBTQ+ organization for students in technology. Vivian’s research revolves around investigating how LGBTQ+ students fight the hostile culture of engineering and, more broadly, STEM. Vivian is especially interested in collective resistance by LGBTQ+ students through student driven organizations.


Malini Josiam


Malini Josiam earned a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering and a minor in Educational Psychology, in May 2021. During her undergrad at UT, she has explored various NSF-Funded projects within Engineering Education, including exploring motivations for student use of Texas Inventionworks, graduate student experiences as it relates to funding, and STEM classroom observations on instructor strategies to mitigate student resistance to active learning. Her research interests include student motivations towards engineering, noncognitive factors such as sense of belonging, engineering identity, and self-efficacy, and classroom pedagogical methods. She also held a part time role in the Women in Engineering Program (WEP) office as an Evaluation and Program Assistant, where she performed qualitative and quantitative data analysis with student data and strategic evaluation. She is pursuing her doctoral studies in Engineering Education at Virginia Tech.

Anita Patrick


Anita earned her B.S. in Bioengineering from Clemson University in 2012 and her Ph.D. in the STEM Education from UT Austin in 2020. She was a graduate research assistant and postdoctoral research fellow in the Center for Engineering Education at UT Austin. Her research interests include bio/biomedical engineering education, graduate education, identity, career decision-making, student motivation and issues of equity at the intersection of race and gender.She is currently a postdoctoral research associate in the PsychologyDepartment at Spelman College studying the experiences of Black women in STEM and successful STEM education practices at HBCUs.

Sneha A. Tharayil


Sneha earned her Ph.D. in the STEM Education from The University of Texas at Austin in 2021. She holds her Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies from Azusa Pacific University, as well as a Master of Arts in Education-Curriculum and Instruction from Cal Poly Pomona University. Her past experiences teaching middle school science and language arts, her involvement with national STEM teacher professional development initiatives like NASA Spaceward Bound, and her STEM Teacher and Researcher (STAR) internship with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory led her to develop a keen interest in pre-college engineering education. Her dissertation research, supervised by Dr. Maura Borrego, explored the use of project-based service-learning in precollege engineering education and how it contributes to purposeful learning and STEM career interest and aspirations. Some other areas of research interests also include: curriculum development for precollege engineering, in both formal and informal settings; teacher professional development for engineering education; purposeful teaching; and, the use of active learning pedagogies in undergraduate engineering. Starting in Fall 2021, she will be returning to her alma mater to serve as an Assistant Professor of Liberal Studies at Azusa Pacific University in Southern California.

HyungSok “Nathan” Choe, Ph.D., The George Washington University

Kevin A Nguyen, Ph.D., Sonoma State University

Jerry Yang, B.S., Graduate Student, at Stanford University