Image of Cecilia, Fernandez, female in white shirt with blue jacket and a dark background.

Cecilia Henríquez Fernández is a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Rice Office of STEM Engagement (R-STEM). Her research focuses on broadening science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) participation by examining the lived experiences of marginalized student populations to develop pedagogical practices that are inclusive and sustain the cultural practices of students from non-dominant communities. Dr. Fernández uses mixed methods to investigate how the intersection of community cultural practices, classroom practices, and STEM disciplinary practices can support girls of color in their pursuit and persistence in STEM careers. 

Dr. Fernández has worked extensively within the education community to address issues of access and persistence for underrepresented students in STEM fields. As an undergraduate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Dr. Fernández developed, initiated, and launched an outreach program through the MIT Office of Engineering Outreach Programs to provide free mentoring and STEM enrichment opportunities to low-income middle-school Boston Public School students. The program lasted 10 years after her departure. Dr. Fernández obtained her California Teachers Credential and taught high school mathematics at Kaiser High School in Fontana, CA. Dr. Fernández’s most recent community work has been with the non-profit Latinas in STEM, an organization focused on supporting Latinas to pursue, persist, and thrive in STEM careers. She has experience developing and implementing culturally responsive STEM curriculum in formal and informal educational settings.

She holds a BS degree in Mathematics from MIT and an MA and PhD in Education from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).

Research Areas

STEM Education, Race and Gender in STEM, Cultural Studies of Education, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Educational Research Methods


Ph.D. Education, UCLA

M.A. Education, UCLA

B.S. Mathematics, MIT