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Monica Cardella

Director, INSPIRE Research Institute for Pre-College Engineering
Mailing Addresses
WANG 4543
Office: WANG 4543
Phone: (765) 496-1206
Fax: (765) 494-5819


Monica Cardella is the Director of the INSPIRE Research Institute for Pre-College Engineering and an Associate Professor of Engineering Education. Her STEM journey began with her love for patterns as a child and her love for the Exploratorium. She also worked on math proofs during informal "kitchen conversations" with her dad.

As an undergraduate she majored in mathematics and minored in English. She then spent time teaching physical education to preschoolers, substitute teaching math and science at a middle school, tutoring high students and adults in English as a Second Language, and tutoring technical college students in math and ESL as part of the AmeriCorps program.

She is married to Philip who is President of the Board of Imagination Station and has two daughters that keep her very involved in Girl Scouts.


Cupertino, California, USA


Ph.D., Industrial Engineering, University of Washington
M.S., Industrial Engineering, University of Washington
B.S., Mathematics, University of Puget Sound

Research Interests

How do people learn engineering-related concepts and skills in informal/out-of-school environments?

What are the roles that parents and other caregivers play in supporting engineering learning?

How can parents and out-of-school time learning experiences support diverse participation in engineering?

What does design look like, and how does it differ, across the lifespan (preschool through professional practice)?

How do people learn to take a human-centered approach to design?

Selected Publications

Cardella, Monica E., Heidi A. Diefes-Dux and Farshid Marbouti “Written Feedback on Design: A Comparison of Students and Educators” International Journal of Engineering Education Vol 32 No. 3B, 2016, 1481–1491.

Purzer, Şenay, Johannes Strobel and Monica E. Cardella (Eds.) Engineering in Pre-College Settings: Research, Policy and Practices, Purdue University Press, 2014.

Atman, Cynthia J., Robin S. Adams, Monica E. Cardella, Jennifer Turns, Susan Mosborg, and Jason Saleem, “Engineering Design Processes: A Comparison of Students and Expert Practitioners”, the Journal of Engineering Education, Vol. 96, No. 4, 2007, p. 359-379.

Cardella, Monica E. “Which Mathematics Should We Teach Engineering Students? An Empirically-Grounded Case for Mathematical Thinking” Teaching Mathematics and its Applications, Vol 27, No. 3, 2008, p. 150-159.

Awards, Honors, Achievements, & Memberships

  • ELATE Fellow in the Executive Leadership in Academic Technology and Engineering program, 2015
  • Purdue University Teaching Academy, 2014
  • Purdue University’s College of Engineering Staff Awards of Excellence “Team Award” for First-Year Engineering Course Development, 2013
  • National Science Foundation CAREER Award, 2011
  • Purdue University’s College of Engineering Faculty Awards of Excellence “Team Award” for INSPIRE, 2011
  • Best Paper, Journal of Engineering Education, 2007
  • New Faculty Fellow, American Society for Engineering Education, 2007
  • PEER Fellow, the NAE's Center for the Advancement of Scholarship in Engineering Education, 2006-2007
  • Apprentice Faculty Grant Award, American Society for Engineering Education, 2006.
  • American Society for Engineering Education, Member
  • American Educational Research Association, Member
  • The Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, Member
  • The Institute for Industrial Engineers, Member


  • Interim Editor, Journal of Pre-College Engineering Education Research (JPEER), 2016-2017
  • Chair of the ASEE Educational Research and Methods Division, 2015-2017
  • Program Chair, Informal Learning Environments Research SIG, AERA, 2015-2017
  • Program Chair (ERM), Frontiers in Education Conference, 2013-2014
  • Secretary/Treasurer, ASEE K-12 & Pre-College Engineering Education Division, 2012-2014
  • Member-at-Large, Executive Board, ASEE K-12 & Pre-College Engineering Education Division, 2011-2012
  • Co-Chair of the P-12 Engineering and Design Education Research Summit, 2010
  • NAE/CASEE Postdoctoral Engineering Education Researcher, 2006-2007

Fun Facts

I love learning about cultures, especially through food. This also prompted me to study French & Spanish in high school, continue learning Spanish in college, and Italian in graduate school. It also led to my decision to join the Hui O' Hawaii (Hawaii Club) in college and learn hula well enough to participate in the club's annual lu'au.