Matilde Sanchez-Pena

Visiting Assistant Professor
Mailing Addresses


Dr. Matilde Sanchez-Pena is a Visiting Assistant Professor in the School of Engineering Education at Purdue University. Before engaging in Engineering Education research, she contributed to a wide range of research areas including genetic disorders, manufacturing optimization, cancer biomarker detection, and the evaluation of social programs. After completing graduate degrees in Industrial Engineering and Statistics, her interest in teaching and learning led her to the Ph.D. in Engineering Education at Purdue University from which she graduated in 2018. Her dissertation study explored differences across gender of faculty retention and promotion at research-intensive institutions. Through her research and teaching, Dr. Sanchez-Pena aims to promote a more equitable engineering field, in which students of all backgrounds can acquire the knowledge and skills to achieve their goals. Dr. Sanchez-Pena is passionate about teaching engineering students and in particular First-Year Engineering students, from which she draws a lot of inspiration because of their energy and creativity. She takes as her mission to foster their creativity and support their development so that they can find their unique engineering path. When not working, she enjoys taking hikes or walks with her partner who is a Physics education researcher, most likely the conversations will end up with a new cool thing to try with their students.


Monterrey, Mexico


Ph.D. Engineering Education, Purdue University
M.Sc. Statistics, The Ohio State University
M.Sc. Industrial Engineering, University of Puerto Rico Mayaguez
B.E. Manufacturing Engineering, Autonomous University of Nuevo Leon

Research Interests

Through her research, Dr. Sanchez-Pena aims to promote a more equitable engineering field, in which students of all backgrounds can acquire the knowledge and skills to achieve their goals. Therefore, her research focuses on two different but complementary areas: (1) Institutional level research, aiming to progress engineering as a more diverse field through rigorous research on the advancement of women and other minorities at all levels of engineering, and (2) Knowledge level research, aiming to identify the evolving knowledge and skills the engineering practice requires, and find how to teach this knowledge effectively. In this area, she is primarily focused on the data analysis skills of engineers

Selected Publications

Ortega-Alvarez, J.D., Vieira, C., Sanchez-Pena, M., Streveler, R.A. (2018). The challenges of assessing transformative learning: Lessons learned from an instructional design workshop for Colombian engineering faculty. International Journal of Engineering Education, 34:5, 1604-1614 (In print).

Kim, J., Cox, M.F., Sanchez-Pena, M.L., Main, J.B., McGee, E. (2017). Development of a national survey focusing on the relationships between race, class, and gender on the persistence of women engineering faculty. ASEE 124nd Annual Conference & Exposition. Columbus, OH.

Sanchez-Pena, M., Sambamurthy, N., McGee, E., Cox, M.F., Main, J.B. (2016). The factors affecting the persistence of Latina faculty: A literature review using the intersectionality of race, class, and gender. 2016 Frontiers in Engineering Education Conference. Eerie, PA.

Sanchez-Pena, M., Isaza, C.E., Perez-Morales, J., Rodriguez-Padilla, C., Castro, J.M., Cabrera-Rios, M. (2013). Identification of potential biomarkers from microarray experiments using multiple criteria optimization. Cancer Medicine, 2(2), 253-265. doi:10.1002/cam4.69 (

Cedeno-Mattei, Y., Sanchez-Pena, M., Lara-Rodriguez, Y., Perales-Perez, O., Cabrera-Rios, M. (2012). A case study on statistical characterization and optimization of coercivity in cobalt ferrite nanoparticles. Proc. IMechE Part B: J. Engineering Manufacture, 226(1), 178-182. (

Awards, Honors, Achievements, & Memberships

  • Estus H. and Vashti L. Magoon Award for Excellence in Teaching. College of Engineering, Purdue University (2018)
  • Graduate Mentor of the Summer – Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) Purdue University (2015)
  • CONACYT (Mexican Council of Science and Technology) Scholarship for Graduate Studies (2011-2013)
  • Research Award in Exact Sciences, Autonomous University of Nuevo Leon (UANL), (2008)

Advice for the First-Year Engineer

You are perfect the way you are, if you haven't realized it, work on it, because you are. You are capable of learning and creating, so, with the correct amount of effort you will see results. Never let anybody tell you that you don't belong in engineering, show them you do. You have everything it takes to make it through this year and the other three (or whatever it takes). Focus on yourself, the only competition you have is your yesterday self. Make sure you outperform it every day. Reflect often on your learning. On where you were and where you are now, and where you want to head. The sooner you lose the fear of failure, the better you will bounce back from missteps, and the quicker you will move. You are endorsed to find your pathway. So, dream big. These years will go fast, so make sure they are enjoyable. And of course, never forget where you came from.

Fun Facts

Once, I won a marketing prize out of tens of thousands of participants in a contest I didn't sign for. I married in three different countries (with the same person).