Kimberly Sierra-Cajas

Director, Undergraduate Research & Inquiry Collaborative

Kimberly Sierra-Cajas serves as the Director of Undergraduate Research and Inquiry and the Interim Director of the STEM Learning Center. Kimberly’s experience participating in STEM pathway programs to attain degrees in Industrial Engineering and Operations Research at UC Berkeley and Management Engineering at Claremont McKenna College as an underrepresented, first-gen college student and Pell Grant recipient fuels her commitment to eliminating barriers for marginalized populations. Previously, she served as the College of Science Director of Undergraduate Research, the Education Director for the NSF Engineering Research Center CIAN, the Coordinator for the NSF Science and Technology Center MDITR, the Executive Director for the House of Neighborly Service in South Tucson, and a Process Consultant for Andersen Consulting. 

Kimberly was the founding director of the Arizona’s Science, Engineering, and Math Scholars Program (ASEMS) from 2011-2020, which launched with just 12 students in its first cohort to retain marginalized students in STEM and engage them in undergraduate research. ASEMS was nationally recognized by Excelencia in Education as the 2020 Example of Excelencia in the baccalaureate category. The program has grown to serving over 400 students per year supported through external and internal funding. Kimberly serves as the co-PI on two NSF S-STEM grants, including the Pima-UAZ STEM Bridge program, a partnership with Pima Community College (PCC), and co-PI on the Bridge to STEAM USDA grant, a partnership with Diné College. Kimberly is co-leading the Inclusive Mentoring Program for STEM Faculty through the NSF S-STEM award and is spearheading the CURE Training Institute to increase access to undergraduate research and increase retention. She was recognized for her outstanding commitment to increasing diversity in STEM through the 2010 Peter W. Likins Inclusive Excellence Award and the 2017, 2011, and 2010 UA Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) Award.