Principal Investigator

Joyce Main
Associate Professor of Engineering Education
Joyce Main is Associate Professor of Engineering Education at Purdue University. Her research examines the academic and employment pathways of science and engineering students with a focus on access, diversity, and education policy. She was awarded a National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development Program (CAREER) grant to examine the longitudinal career paths of engineering PhDs. Dr. Main received a BA in Integrative Biology from the University of California, Berkeley and an EdM in Administration, Planning, and Social Policy from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She earned a PhD in Learning, Teaching, and Social Policy from Cornell University focusing on higher education policy, social inequality, and organizational behavior.

Graduate Students

Tram Dang is a PhD student of Engineering Education at Purdue University as well as a tenured professor of physics and engineering at Santa Monica College (SMC), a two-year transfer-focused HSI in California. She received her Master’s in Materials Science and Engineering as well as her Bachelor’s in Physics-Biophysics from UCSD. Her research interests include understanding the key factors surrounding equity and student persistence, particularly at the community college level.
Beata Johnson is a PhD student in the School of Engineering Education, and a recipient of the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship and Purdue Doctoral Fellowship. She received her BS in Chemical Engineering from Purdue University. Her research interests include extracurricular and experiential learning in engineering education and career outcomes, with a focus on diversity.
Christina Pantoja is a PhD student and a Frederick N. Andrews Fellow in the School of Engineering Education. She received her MS in Education from Indiana University and her BS in Chemical Engineering from Purdue University. Her research interests include career choices, pathways and retention in engineering, with specific interest in the career trajectories of women and URM students.

Lab Alumni

Catherine Berdanier, PhD
Assistant Professor
Penn State University
Vertically Integrated Programs, Purdue University
Matilde Sánchez-Peña, PhD
Assistant Professor
School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, University at Buffalo
Nikitha Sambamurthy, PhD
Engineering Content Lead
Xinrui (Rose) Xu, PhD
Assistant Professor
Huazhong University of Science and Technology

Undergraduate Research Assistants and Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship Program (SURF) Participants

Aaron Afriat
Graduate Research Assistant


Li Tan, PhD
Visiting Assistant Professor
Purdue University
ETH Zurich