Cristina Sáenz is the Invention Education Manager at Lemelson-MIT (LMIT). As a Latina, she has a deep commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion and is passionate about developing solutions to remedy the historic inequalities within the invention ecosystem. This passion informed her recent dissertation, The Narratives of Latina Students who Participated in Invention Education, which focused on examining the life experiences of young Latina inventors who participated on an LMIT high school InvenTeam. This groundbreaking research revealed the cultural capital and funds of knowledge students from historically marginalized groups contributed to invention and problem solving as they simultaneously developed their identities as inventors. Cristina has the opportunity to manage Invention Education administrators to build the all-important invention education pathways at the LMIT Program.
Prior to joining the team at LMIT, Cristina was an elementary school teacher in both Boston, MA and Orlando, FL. During her time as a teacher, she focused on implementing transdisciplinary project-based learning. Her experience in the classroom illuminated the inequities in educational opportunities for women and people of color, specifically within STEM fields and innovation. After 5 years in the classroom, Cristina entered the University of Central Florida’s College of Community Innovation and Education to pursue her doctorate. Her research has been published in peer reviewed, scholarly journals and presented at national conferences. Outside of work, Cristina enjoys soccer, running, and spending time with her daughter.
Bachelors of Arts, Political Science, Rollins College
Master of Arts in Teaching, Northeastern University
Doctorate of Philosophy in Education, University of Central Florida
If you could invent anything, what would it be?
Cristina would like to invent an instrument to identify real time stress and anxiety in early learners to combat attrition in STEM subjects as they progress through their educational experiences.