Sandra Huffman

Mechanical Engineer


Sandy is a second year PhD student studying engineering education in the Department of Mechanical Engineering. She is researching how students can build mental bridges between technical material learned in class and ‘real-world’ engineering projects.

Right now, when students learn information in a technical class, they rely on classroom-specific context clues which lock — or encapsulate — their knowledge in the context of the class. When they go to use the information later in life, they find themselves unable to access what they learned. Sandy is working to change this through research focused on task design: creating student exercises that promote “unencapsulated learning.”

Prior to beginning her current research, Sandy completed a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship in the Netherlands where she taught at two secondary schools during the 2021-2022 school year. Apart from this gap, Sandy has been at MIT since 2016. In that time, she taught for Edgerton Center Outreach for several years and taught and led curriculum redesign for Women’s Technology Program (WTP) in Mechanical Engineering, where she will continue to teach this summer.

She holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree from the department of mechanical engineering. Outside of schoolwork, Sandy plays Sabar with RAMBAX, a Senegalese drum ensemble on campus, and is on the MIT club gymnastics team. She also likes to play her violin, go on runs, visit museums, travel, and is a food (and boba!) enthusiast. Sandy is excited to get to know the other fellows and is thankful to be able to share in this amazing experience.