Gisele “Gigi” Ragusa Awarded the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring

Viterbi Staff | October 17, 2019

The award announced yesterday by the White House Office of Science and Technology is “the nation’s highest honors for mentors who work with underrepresented groups to develop fully the nation’s human resources in STEM.”

Gisele Ragusa (Photo Credit: Steve Cohn for USC)

Gisele Ragusa (Photo Credit: Steve Cohn for USC)

Gisele “Gigi” Ragusa was awarded the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring. The award announced yesterday by the White House Office of Science and Technology is “the nation’s highest honors for mentors who work with underrepresented groups to develop fully the nation’s human resources in STEM.” Gigi is one 15 recipients of this award, nationwide.

Gigi joined USC Viterbi in 2008, as a jointly appointed faculty with the Rossier School of Education, and as Professor of Engineering Education Practice at USC Viterbi in 2012. She received all four of her academic degrees from USC (with a B.A. in both business and liberal studies/education (with a minor in biology), and Masters and Ph.D. degrees in Educational Psychology from USC Rossier). She joined the faculty of USC Rossier in 2002. Prior to joining us she was on the faculty of Pacific Oaks College and the California State University, Northridge. In addition to the PAESMEM Award, Professor Ragusa has received the 2010 USC Viterbi School of Engineering Dean’s Special Service Award, the 2016 HENAAC’s Vanguard Award and the ASEE PSW Outstanding Teaching Award.

Professor Ragusa serves as the Director of Education for CREATE; and Associate Director for Education Assessment of a number of research centers. She is also the chairperson of USC’s STEM Consortium, which works across USC schools to improve access to STEM education and careers. She also served served as the Director of Education in the Center for Energy Nanoscience.

Gigi’s research areas are in engineering education, Pre- K-12 STEM education, college access, and educational measurement. She has focused on how poverty, generational status, gender, student-to-student and student-to-faculty mentorship, and STEM literacy affect student achievement and pathways to STEM education and careers. Her most recent areas of research include engineering creativity and innovation.

Gigi has published more than 130 peer-reviewed papers, proceedings, and book chapters. Her work has impacted a number of areas, such as: (1) inspiring STEM interest for elementary, middle, and high school students in under-resourced neighborhoods; (2) mentoring preservice and in-service teachers; (3) demonstrating leadership in fostering a culture of mentoring in STEM education at USC; (4) mentoring community college and university undergraduate students into STEM professions and graduate programs; (5) mentoring graduate student and postdoctoral researcher placement into academic positions; and (6) peer mentoring of community college and university faculty for advancement. During the course of her career, Gigi has mentored 457 pre-service teachers, 73 pre-service STEM teachers, and 392 in-service STEM teachers, as well as 19 doctoral students, 8 postdoctoral researchers, and 320 community college and university faculty members. In addition, her outreach has impacted more than 7,500 Pre-K-12 students, and more than 500 undergraduates.

This is the third PAESMEM award given to faculty members at USC Viterbi. Prior recipients have been Maja Matarić and John Brooks Slaughter.

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