Kathy Chen joined The STEM Education Center at WPI after 15+ years as a professor in Materials Engineering at California Polytechnic (Cal Poly) State University, San Luis Obispo where she served as Department Chair and lead many K-12 and community STEM outreach activities. In her current role to support PreK-12 STEM educators and to transform STEM education, she works to broaden the participation of students in STEM (especially those from underrepresented and excluded groups) by advancing equity in education through holistic and innovative approaches. She also currently leads the Central MA STEM Network. Her current research interests revolve around how to support STEM educators in the many aspects and stages of an educator’s career (e.g., formation of identity as a teacher, developing inclusive and culturally responsive pedagogy and curriculum in STEM, and engaging STEM education ecosystems with local communities). She is currently on NSF S-STEM and Noyce grants.
Kathy earned bachelors degrees in Chemistry and in Materials Science & Engineering from Michigan State University, and a Ph.D. in Materials Science from MIT. She was also a post-doc at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico.