Elsa Q. Villa

CAHSI Backbone Manager, Capacity Building

Elsa Villa, Ph.D., is a member of the CAHSI INCLUDES Backbone Team and research assistant professor at The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) sharing her appointment between the UTEP Office of Research and Sponsored Projects and the UTEP College of Education where she is director of the Center for Education Research and Policy Studies.  With teacher certification in the State of Texas for secondary mathematics and science, Villa has taught at numerous levels: grades 7 through 12, community college, and university in the disciplines of mathematics, science, education, engineering, and computer science. Villa has led and co-led numerous STEM grants from corporate foundations and state and federal agencies. She recently led an NSF-funded grant investigating identity and agency of undergraduate Latina engineering and computer science students. Currently, Villa leads an interdisciplinary project funded by the U.S. Department of Education to increase success of STEM majors in pre-calculus. With publications in various refereed journals and edited books, her research interests include communities of practice, gender, STEM teacher education, transformative learning, and identity.


  • STEM education
  • Computer Science education
  • Inquiry-based learning
  • Sociocultural theory of learning
  • Situated learning
  • Communities of practice
  • STEM identity