Isabel Mendiola 

For the past 20 years, Ms. Mendiola has been working as an educator in elementary, middle, and high schools in Monterrey Mexico, and Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Ms. Mendiola has taught Robotics, STEM, Biology, Physics, and Chemistry. She was a pioneer of STEM/STEAM programming in Monterrey. She teaches in both English and Spanish to learners of diverse skill levels.

Ms. Mendiola's home city is one of the largest centers of manufacturing and commerce in Mexico with a large demand for skilled workers including technicians and engineers.  There are also many universities and hospitals that create a demand for laboratory specialists, nurses, scientists, and doctors. Her skills as an educator and technologist have helped students prepare for jobs in the city.

As a child, she was deeply curious about robots, how vehicles move, and how electronic devices were made. She acted upon this curiosity by drawing sketches of bikes, furniture, and structures. Her parents encouraged this curiosity by bringing home vacuums and radios for her to dismantle. Her early passion was showing how things were designed and then building them.

As an adult, she found that she had a gift for sharing her interests in technology and robotics with elementary and middle school students. She has worked for several schools in Monterrey. Eventually, she started working for a school that wanted to include small engineering projects in the elementary curriculum. She also integrated computer skills into the coursework and saw the students respond positively. She also found that her teaching had to evolve. She began by designing teaching strategies that complimented students' learning styles. She created interactive presentations for each subject, building lesson plans around specific experiments and projects that included engineering. As a culminating experience, she introduced her students to science fairs and competitions in Monterrey where they met other motivated learners like themselves. But more importantly, the students met scientists and engineers who critiqued, validated, and extended their projects.

In 2014, she discovered the possibilities of Arduino® microcontrollers.  Ms. Mendiola began incorporating the platform into her teaching.  Because so many of her colleagues were interested in what she and her students were doing with Arduinos she started in 2016 to write and implement an integrated junior high school curriculum focused on C ++ coding and Arduino microcontrollers. She rewrote her assessments to be project and problem-based. For her school, she expanded the use of Arduino into after-school programs and training for teachers.  One of her proudest moments was implementing the junior high school science and technology fair.

For her last teaching position in Monterrey, she planned, implemented, and executed the preparation of students to compete in regional and national science contests such as JASON Project, Youth Leader Explorers, and Comisión Nacional de Ciencias y Tecnología (CONACYT).

While in Mexico, Ms. Mediola earned B.A's. in nutrition and child psychology, a federal certificate in educational pedagogy completed coursework towards an engineering degree, and completed her Masters in STEM Education.

Upon moving to the United States, Ms. Mendiola published her inaugural book, The ARDUINO Classroom and began helping students and teachers through workshops and professional development. Now used in 49 states and over 40 countries, The ARDUINO® Classroom is the benchmark for using Arduinos to facilitate learning.  To date, Ms Mendiola has authored six curricula on using Arduinos in the classrooms, a book on using ESP32 microcontrollers and is now working on curricula for MicroPython and the FRIST XRP robotics platform.

Continuing on the journey, Ms. Mendiola has worked as a science and robotics teacher for Carmen Schools for Science and Technology and a STEM Lab educator at South Milwaukee Middle School. 


Awards and Accomplishments:

  • Won first place in the 2012 Build-a-bot contest at Tec de Monterrey.
  • Won two first places at the 2016 JASON Project science competition at Prepa Tec High School for a Tesla Coil project and simulation of photosynthesis.
  • Won two second places at the 2017 Youth Leader Explorer science competition at Prepa Tec High School with a pollution control device and booth display.
  • Won a second place at the 2018 Youth Leader Explorer science competition at Prepa Tec High School for a kinetic energy project
  • Won Comisión Nacional de Ciencias y Tecnología (CONACYT) 2018 national science competition for an Arduino based greenhouse model
  • Assembling a team for Instituto Motolinia to compete in 2019 at First Robotics Competition in Monterrey.
  • Coordinating the Motolinia Institute STEM Fair 2013 - 2019
  • Established the first FTC team at Carmen Schools of Science and Technology NW Campus (2023)
  • Winning NASA TechRise through Future Engineers at Carmen Schools of Science and Technology NW Campus (2023)
  • Mentoring and placing 10 students in the Badger State Science and Engineering Fair 2021
  • Mentoring and placing 6 students in the Badger State Science and Engineering Fair 2022
  • Producing Maker Faire Milwaukee from 2020 - 2024
  • Grant awards from Northwestern Mutual Foundation, PPG Foundation, Kohler Foundation, Vela Education Fund, Generac Foundation, We Energies Foundation.