Project Leader III

(617) 873-9678

Program/Areas of Interest

Women of color in STEM; Gender, race/ethnicity, and physics; Qualitative methods and analysis; Communities of practice theory; Sociology of education; Social justice and STEM education policy; Science and technology studies; Higher education and early careers

TERC Projects

Biographical Summary

Maria (Mia) Ong, Ph.D., is a Senior Research Scientist and Evaluator at TERC, a STEM education research organization in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She is also the Founder and Director of Project SEED (Science and Engineering Equity and Diversity), a social justice collaborative affiliated with The Civil Rights Project/Proyecto Derechos Civiles at UCLA. For nearly twenty years, she has conducted empirical research focusing on women of color in higher education and careers in STEM and has led evaluation of several STEM diversity/inclusion programs. Dr. Ong’s work has appeared in reports to U.S. Congress and to the U.S. Supreme Court and in journals such as Social Problems and Harvard Educational Review, and she was an invited speaker at the 2016 White House meeting on inclusive education in STEM. Between 1996 and 2000, she directed an undergraduate physics program for minorities and women at U.C. Berkeley; for this work, she was a co-recipient of a U.S. Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring.

Beyond her research, Mia currently serves as a Member of several advisory committees, including the Social Science Advisory Board for the National Center for Women and Information Technology (NCWIT) and the Center for Gender Equity in Science and Technology (CGEST). She is a former member of the NSF Committee on Equal Opportunities in Science and Engineering, the NSF Advisory Committee for the GPRA Performance Assessment, and the NSF Advisory Committee to the Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences. At TERC, Mia is a Member of the Diversity Council, the Diversity Recruitment Sources Task Force and the Institutional Review Board. She holds a Ph.D. in Social and Cultural Studies in Education from U.C. Berkeley.

Download Curriculum Vitae


American Educational Research Association; The Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science; The Association for the Study of Higher Education; The Society for Social Studies of Science; National Center for Women and Information Technology


The 2012 Physics Education Research Conference (PERC) Proceedings Paper Award, 2013; Top-five finalist (with Y.V. Zastavker), Frontiers in Education (FIE) Benjamin J. Dasher Best Paper Award for the paper, “Women in Engineering: Exploring the Effects of Project-Based Learning in a First-Year Undergraduate Engineering Program"; Harvard University Graduate School of Education Postdoctoral Fellowship on Education, 2003-2005; Consortium for a Strong Minority Presence in Liberal Arts Colleges Postdoctoral Fellowship (Wellesley College), 2002-2003; University of California President’s Dissertation-Year Award, 2001-2002; American Educational Research Association Doctoral Fellowship Award, 2000-2001

Selected Publications

Ong, M., Ko, L. T., and Hodari, A. K. (in press). Agency of women of color in STEM: Individual and institutional strategies for persistence and success. In E. H. Branch (Ed.), Pathways, potholes, and the persistence of women in science: Reconsidering the pipeline. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.

Kachchaf, R., Ko, L., Hodari, A., and Ong, M. (2015). Career-life balance for women of color: Experiences in science and engineering academia. Journal of Diversity in Higher Education, 8(3), 175-91

Ong, M., Wright, C., Espinosa, E., & Orfield, G. (2011). Inside the double bind: A synthesis of empirical research on undergraduate and graduate women of color in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Harvard Educational Review, 81(2), 172-208.

Ong, M. (2011). The status of women of color in computer science. In Communications of the ACM, 54(7), 32-34.

Ong, M., Bath, C., & Espinosa, L. (2009). Women of color in computer science: A summary of empirical literature findings from Inside the Double Bind. Powerpoint presentation at The National Center for Women & Information Technology SSAB Meeting, Palo Alto, CA.

Ong, M. (2008). Challenging cultural stereotypes of ‘scientific ability.’ In M. Pollock (Ed.), Everyday Antiracism: Getting Real about Race in School (pp. 114-119). New York: New Press.

More publications by this author.