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Sarah Rodriguez, Ph.D.

Associate Professor
Sarah Rodriguez
354 Goodwin Hall (MC 0218)
635 Prices Fork Rd
Blacksburg, VA 24061

Courses Taught

ENGE 5224 Discipliary Literacry: Theorizing and Writing in Engineering Education


PhD, Higher Education Leadership - Mexican American Studies Portfolio,
University of Texas at Austin, 2015

MS, Educational Leadership & Policy Studies - College Student Personnel, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, 2010

BA, English & Spanish - Higher Education Honors Thesis, Texas A&M University – Commerce, 2008

Certificate, Intensive Spanish Language, Culture & Civilization, Universidad de Granada, Andalucía, Spain, Centro de Lenguas Modernas, 2007

Research Interests

  • Equity, access, and retention for engineering and computing
  • STEM identity & Intersectionality
  • Latina/o/x students
  • Community colleges

Research Statement

Dr. Rodriguez’s research expertise includes using identity and critical frameworks to study the formal and informal experiences of historically marginalized student populations within engineering and computing. Her work focuses on equity, access, and retention issues, principally related to STEM identity development, intersectionality, and larger systems of oppression. Her strengths include a research-to-practice approach with practitioners, particularly for enhancing outcomes for Latina/o/x students and community colleges.


Sarah L. Rodriguez is an Associate Professor of Engineering Education and an affiliate faculty member with the Higher Education Program at Virginia Tech. In her research, she concentrates on identifying and asking urgent questions about systemic inequities such as racism, sexism, and classism that marginalized communities experience as they transition to and through their engineering and computing higher education experiences.

Dr. Rodriguez has established a national reputation as a talented grant-maker, research team leader, and collaborator. She has collaborated on 10 large-scale interdisciplinary research projects sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Kapor Center, and the Center for the Study of Community Colleges, totaling approximately $20M collectively.

She has published 40 peer-reviewed articles in outlets such as Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering, Engineering Studies, Journal of Hispanics in Higher Education, Journal of Diversity in Higher Education, and Community College Review as well as authored a host of book chapters and research/policy briefs. Dr. Rodriguez has delivered a multitude of peer-reviewed papers/presentations at national and state conferences, such as the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE), Frontiers in Education (FIE), the Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE), the American Educational Research Association (AERA), and the Council for the Study of Community Colleges (CSCC).

Over the years, Dr. Rodriguez has served as an implementation coach with The Charles A. Dana Center’s Mathematics Pathways supporting college implementation of multiple mathematics pathways, acceleration to complete college level math courses quickly, and intentional use of strategies as well as an affiliate faculty member to Project MALES, a multi-faceted research and mentoring initiative, and the Center for Community College Student Engagement, a service and research initiative focused on student engagement and success. She is also a proud Gates Millennium Scholars Program alum.

In recent years, she was selected as an Early Career Awardee and Faculty Fellow with the American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education (AAHHE) and a NASPA Emerging Faculty Leader. She also received the Barbara Townsend Early Career Scholar Award by the Council for the Study of Community Colleges (CSCC) and gave the distinguished ASHE-CAHEP Barbara Townsend Lecture.

She received her Ph.D. in Higher Education Leadership from The University of Texas at Austin and holds a master's degree with a focus in College Student Personnel from The University of Tennessee, Knoxville. She also holds a bachelor's degree in English and Spanish from Texas A&M University-Commerce and was a transfer student from Trinity Valley Community College.

Learn more about her current projects.

Professional Affiliations

  • American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE)
  • Association for the Study of Higher Education (AAHHE)
  • Council for the Study of Community Colleges (CSCC)
  • American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education (AAHHE)
  • American Educational Research Association (AERA)
  • Latina/o/x Research Issues SIG Early Career Scholar Award, American Educational Research Association (AERA), 2021
  • Early Career Award, American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education (AAHHE), 2020
  • Barbara K. Townsend Emerging Scholar Award, Council for the Study of Community Colleges (CSCC), 2020
  • Barbara K. Townsend Lecturer, Association for the Study of Higher Education Conference (ASHE), 2019
  • Faculty Fellow, American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education (AAHHE) , 2018
  • Emerging Faculty Leader, National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA), 2017

Gowen, G.H., Knight, K.E., Brooks, T.R., Ellis, C.A., Ogilvie, C.A., Perez, R.J., Rodriguez, S.R., Schweppe, N., Smith, L.L., Smith, R.A. (in press). U.S. Graduate Students’ Prevalence of Post-traumatic Stress Symptoms during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Journal of Trauma Studies in Education.

Perez, R.J., Motshubi, R., & Rodriguez, S.L. (in press). “We are a huge source of labor”: Exploring STEM graduate students’ roles in changing climate. Review of Higher Education.

Borrego, M., Andrews, M.E., Kendall, M., Rodriguez, S.L. (in press). Career Plans of Latinx Mechanical Engineering Undergraduates Studying at Hispanic Serving Institutions. Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering.

Rodriguez, S.L., Ramirez, D., Lehman, K., Sax, L. (in press). Utilizing Community Cultural Wealth to Explore of the Experiences of Latina Undergraduate Students in Computing. Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering.

Rodriguez, S.L., & Garza, N. (2022). The Promise and Future of Latinas in STEM. Hispanic Outlook. Paramus, NJ.

Garza, N. & Rodriguez, S.L. (2022). Nepantla aquí, Nepantla allá: The borderlands of identity from Mexican American women in STEM. Annual Meeting American Society for Engineering Education, Minneapolis, MN.

Rodriguez S.L. & Lee, W.C. (2022). Reimagining STEM Higher Education Research: Issue 2 of 2. Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering.

Lee, W.C. & Rodriguez, S.L. (2022). Reimagining STEM Higher Education Research: Issue 1 of 2. Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering.

Rodriguez, S. L., Perez, R.J., & Adams, J. (2021). How STEM Lab Settings Influence Graduate School Socialization and Climate for Students of Color. Journal of Diversity in Higher Education.

Noble, C., Amey, M., Colon., L., Conroy, J., De Cheke Qualls, A., Deonauth., K., Franke, J., Gardner, A., Goldbberg, B., Hardin, T., Harris., G., Hernadez, S., Holland-Berry, T.L., Keeles., O., Knuth, B.A., Mclinn, C., Ogilvie, C., Perez., R., Rodriguez., S.L., Ruggeri., N., Shiakolas., P.S., Woods, A. (2021). Building a Networked Improvement Community: Lessons in Organizing to Promote Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in STEM. Frontiers in Psychology.

Le, B., Rodriguez, S.L., Espino, M.E. (2021). Family Matters: An Asset-based Approach to How Families Shape STEM Identity for Community College Students. Journal of Applied Research in the Community College.

Rodriguez, S. L., Blaney, J., Vasquez, M., Salinas, Jr., C. (2021). Latino Men and Masculinities: Community College Transfer Experiences in Texas, California, and Florida. Community College Review, 49(3), 262-289. DOI: 10.1177/00915521211002898

Rodriguez, S.L., Espino, M.E., Le, B., Cunningham, K. (2021). The Influence of Policy Implementation in the Midwest: How an SSTEM Program Broadens Participation and Enhances Engineering Identity for Community College Students. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 29(29), 1-28.

Camacho, L., Salinas, C., Vasquez, M., & Rodriguez, S.L. (2021). A Valued Based Leadership Approach to (Re)Defining Latino Manhood and Masculinity. International Journal of Leadership in Education.

Rover, D.T., Mina, M., Herron-Martinez, A.R., Rodriguez, S.L., Espino, M.L. and Le, B.D. (2021, October). Improving the Student Experience to Broaden
Participation in Electrical, Computer and Software Engineering. IEEE
Frontiers in Education Conference (FIE) (pp. 1-7).
*Selected as the 2021 ASEE/IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference Best
Diversity Paper Award winner

Rodriguez, S. L., Lu, C., & Ramirez, D. (2020). Navigating Operating Systems: A Framework for Understanding Identity Development for Undergraduate Latina Students in Computing. In E.M. Gonzalez, F. Fernandez, & M. Wilson (Eds.), An Asset-Based Approach to Advancing Latina Students in STEM: Increasing Resilience, Participation, and Success. Research in STEM Education Series. London, UK: Routledge.

Rodriguez, S.L., Le, B., Espino, M.E. (2020). “It's not about making money, but it kind of is about making money”: How Socio-economic Status Influences Science and Engineering Identity for Community College Students in an S-STEM Program. ASEE PEER.

Ogilvie, C., Brooks., T.R., Ellis, C., Gowen, G., Knight, K., Perez, R.., Rodriguez, S.L., Schweppe, N., Smith., L.L., Smith., R. (2020). NSF RAPID: Graduate Student Experiences of Support and Stress During the COVID-19 Pandemic. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University.

Espino, M., Rodriguez, S. L, & Le, B. (2020). A Systematic Review of Literature: Engineering Identity and Students with Financial Need in Community Colleges. Community College Journal of Research and Practice, 46(5), 352-363. DOI: 10.1080/10668926.2020.1856218

Rodriguez, S. L., Bukoski, B., Cunningham, K., Jones, A. (2020). Critiquing Oppression and Desiring Social Justice: How Undergraduate Latinas in STEM Engage in Acts of Resistance. NASPA Journal of Women and Gender in Higher Education.

Rincon, B. & Rodriguez, S.L. (2020). Latinx Students Charting Their Own STEM Pathways: How Community Cultural Wealth Informs Their STEM Identities. Journal of Hispanic Higher Education.

Rodriguez, S. L., Doran, E. E., Friedensen, R. E., Martinez-Podolsky, E., & Hengesteg, P. S.
(2020). Inclusion & marginalization: How perceptions of design thinking pedagogy influence computer, electrical, and software engineering identity. International Journal of Education in Mathematics, Science and Technology, 8(4), 304-317.

Friedensen, R.E., Rodriguez, S. L., Doran, E. (2020). The Making of ‘Ideal’ Electrical and Computer Engineers: A Departmental Document Analysis. Engineering Studies, 12(2), 104-126, DOI: 10.1080/19378629.2020.1795182.

Hatch-Tocaimaza, Mardock-Uman, N., D. K., Garcia, C. E., Rodriguez, S. L., (2020). Charting the Design of Community College Student Success Courses: Uncovering Their Espoused and Enacted Curricula. American Journal of Education.

Vasquez, M.C., Salinas Jr., C., Rodriguez, S.L., Gonzalez, A. (2020). Landing Spaces and Capital: Latino transfer men resiliency and knowledge building. New Directions for Community Colleges, 87-101.

Rodriguez, S. L., & Blaney, J. M. (2020). “We’re the Unicorns in STEM”: Understanding How Academic and Social Experiences Influence Sense of Belonging for Latina Undergraduate Students. Journal of Diversity in Higher Education.

CSAC: Computer Science As Career Scholars Program National Science Foundation, SSTEM. [Abstract In Process]

Collaborative Research: S-STEM Organizational Partnerships Research Hub: Inter- and intra-institutional partnerships to support low-income engineering students National Science Foundation, SSTEM – Research Hub 

HSI Implementation and Evaluation Project: Artificial Intelligence for All
National Science Foundation, HSI

RAPID: Graduate Student Experiences of Support and Stress During the COVID-19 Pandemic National Science Foundation, RAPID, DGE

A Mixed Methods Study of the Experiences of Undergraduate Latina Students in Computing, The Kapor Center, Women of Color in Computing Collaborative

Reinventing the Instructional and Departmental Enterprise to Advance the Professional Formation of Electrical and Computer Engineers
National Science Foundation, RED

Collaborative Research: ECSEL Scholarship Program (Electrical, Computer, and Software Engineers as Leaders); National Science Foundation, SSTEM

Collaborative Research: AGEP Transformation Alliance: CIRTL AGEP - Improved Academic Climate for STEM Dissertators and Postdocs to Increase Interest in Faculty Careers; National Science Foundation, AGEP

Iowa/Illinois/Nebraska STEM Partnership for Innovation in Research and Education (IINSPIRE); National Science Foundation, LSAMP

Latino Men and Masculinity: Experiences in Community College Transfer in Texas, California, and Florida; Center for the Study of Community Colleges, Grants for Innovative Research on Community Colleges