Ruffin and Pierson honored for STEM outreach

Ruffin and Pierson honored for STEM outreach
Atlanta, GA

Their longstanding commitment to STEM outreach has earned Prof. Stephen Ruffin and program manager Wanda G. Pierson special recognition from the Cooperative Developmental Energy Program (CDEP) of Fort Valley State University.

Accepting the CDEP Service Award was Dr. Stephen Ruffin, seen here with FVSU President Ivelaw Lloyd Griffith, left, and FVSC Associate Vice President Dr. Isaac J. Crumbly

Their longstanding commitment to STEM outreach has earned Prof. Stephen Ruffin and program manager Wanda G. Pierson special recognition from the Cooperative Developmental Energy Program (CDEP) of Fort Valley State University.

Ruffin, the chair of NASA's National Council of Space Grant Directors, and Pierson, the program manager for the GT-based Georgia Space Grant Consortium (GSGC), each were recognized with the CDEP Service Award during the organization's 16th Annual Industry Awards Banquet, Feb. 22.

Through their involvement in the GSGC, Ruffin and Pierson have spearheaded the Institute's efforts to promote STEM education and careers among underrepresented

 Wanda Pierson 
Georgia Space Grant Consortium Program Manager 
Recipient of the CDEP Service Award

groups. Pierson manages a statewide consortium of 17 universities, two non-profit organizations, and two industrial affiliates, all of whom contribute to GSGC's goal of increasing the diversity of students and professionals in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics-related fields.

"For me, the payback has been when students visit [Georgia Tech] campus for tours and to meet our faculty," said Pierson.

"It's great to see them exploring what might be their futures."

In addition to serving the Space Grant Consortium on a state and national level, Ruffin is the founder and director of GT's University Center of Exemplary Mentoring which promotes aggressive recruitment, academic enrichment, fellowship, and development funding for doctoral students. He is also on the board of the NSF-funded FACES program, which seeks to increase the diversity of engineering, science and computing students at Morehouse, Spelman, Emory, and Tech.

"As an HBCU, Fort Valley is already well-aligned with the Space Grant Consortium's goals," said Ruffin.

"We've been supporting their Math Science and Engineering Academy and hosting their students on tours of Georgia Tech. It's a great relationship."

Funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, Fort Valley's CDEP program focuses on increasing the number of minorities and women working in the private and governmental sectors of the energy industry. Its Service Award recognizes individuals who have dedicated five or more years to the success of this goal.

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