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Seminar - Prof Christine Ortiz

February 28 @ 10:30 am - 11:30 am

Promise and Peril: Socially-Directed Science & Technology


We live in an exciting era of transformation in science and technology with ever increasing global connectedness which has both the potential for tackling the enduring problems of humanity, but also is rife with ethical and social perils. Education in science and technology, rooted in equity, inclusion, sustainability, and social inquiry is more important than ever to our societal, economic and cultural survival, let alone progress. Simultaneously, university systems across the globe face both challenges and opportunities as we aim to engage a more diverse community of learners, leverage new pedagogies and technologies, and cultivate a productive relationship between academic and industrial spheres. Professor Ortiz will discuss trends and opportunities to bridge disciplinary boundaries and professional practices, to foster deep learning, personal transformation and civic responsibility through socially-directed scientific and technological inquiry. Building on her experience as a scientist, engineer, researcher, educator, administrative leader, and social entrepreneur she will share her insights visiting institutions across the world and for envisioning and fostering change in higher education.


Christine Ortiz is a scientist, engineer, professor, scholar, former dean, philanthropist, and social entrepreneur. Ortiz is the (tenured and chaired) Morris Cohen Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Ortiz is a distinguished scientist and engineer with over 180 scholarly publications, has supervised the research projects of more than 100 students from 10 different academic disciplines, and received 30 national and international honors, including the Presidential Early Career Award in Science and Engineering which was awarded to her at the White House by President George W. Bush. Ortiz served as the Dean for Graduate Education at MIT between 2010 and 2016, supporting approximately 7,000 graduate students from 100+ countries. With over 25 years of experience in higher education, Dr. Ortiz has led cross-institutional initiatives in diversity, equity, and inclusion, global education, technology-enabled learning, interdisciplinary curriculum, learning assessment, and postsecondary financial models. Dr. Ortiz was the founder and principal investigator of the MIT University Center of Exemplary Mentoring sponsored by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Ortiz has served on or chaired over 50 task forces, working groups, and committees in higher education. Ortiz served as a regional accreditation commissioner for the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education, New England Association of Schools and Colleges. Ortiz currently serves on the National Advisory Board of the National Science Foundation Inclusive Graduate Education Network, the Board of Directors of The National GEM Consortium (National Consortium for Graduate Degrees for Minorities in Science and Engineering), the Board of Trustees of the Essex County Community Foundation, the Scientific Advisory Board of the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces (Potsdam, Germany), the National Advisory Board for the National Science Foundation Alliances for Graduate Education and the Professoriate, and the National Working Group for the Future of Liberal Arts Education. Ortiz is the founder and inaugural philanthropic benefactor of a nonprofit higher education institution, Station1 (, that is based on an inclusive, integrated, interdisciplinary approach to socially-directed science and technology education, research, and entrepreneurship. Since its founding, she has led fundraising efforts and garnered support from 70+ individuals, foundations, and corporate sponsors. Ortiz has been active in shaping the national and international dialogue on higher education and has spoken at or will speak at the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine, The United Nations, the League of European Research Universities (a network of 23 leading European research universities), Semesp (a national organization for Brazilian Higher Education), and the American Association for Colleges and Universities.