For the past 17 years, Ms. Isabel Mendiola had been working as a teacher in elementary, Junior High and high school in Monterrey, Mexico. She has taught the subjects of biology, physics, and chemistry and was a pioneer in the implementation of STEM/STEAM programs in the city of Monterrey, to teach her subjects in English and Spanish for students with various skills.
Ms. Mendiola's home city is one of the largest centers of manufacturing 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 the jobs in the city.
As a child, she has held a deep curiosity for 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. She eventually started working for a school that wanted to include small engineering projects in the elementary curriculum. She also integrated computer skills into the course work and saw the students responding positively. She also found that her teaching had to evolve. She began by designing teaching strategies that complimented students learning styles. She designed 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.
During this time, she planned, prepared, designed, and executed different methods to prepare her students for important state and national competencies in Mexico, some of them are the JASON project, Youth Leader Explorers, National Science and Engineering Fair (Fenaci), and National Science and Technology Competition organized by the National Science and Technology Commission (CONACYT).
The importance of preparing their students in engineering areas was her inspiration to introduce the use of UNO microcontrollers to their science subjects and laboratories.
Seven years ago, she understood the importance of the Arduino Uno platform and began incorporating the Uno into her teaching. In her last two years of classroom teaching, she wrote, implemented, and assessed the junior high school technology curriculum focused on Arduino Uno's. For her school, she had the opportunity to write and implement after-school programs and training for teachers as well as the junior high school science and technology fair.
Her experience in the classroom and the pedagogy she used for integrating coding and engineering served as a national example. In her school, the leadership introduced her work as an instructional example leading to K-9 adoption.
Ms. Mediola has B.A's. in nutrition and child psychology, a federal certificate in educational pedagogy, completed coursework towards an engineering degree, and recently completed her Masters in STEM Education.
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 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