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Tati Russo-Tait

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Assistant Professor

Dr. Russo-Tait leads the ACCESS lab. The ACCESS lab aims to re-frame "access" in postsecondary education by engaging in research that focuses on Advancing Critical Consciousness, Equity, and Social Justice in STEM.

Access to resources such as books, equipment, courses, tutoring, funding, etc., have traditionally been framed as the solution for inequities in science education. While access to these and other resources may be necessary for some students to persist, it is not sufficient because it does not address the exclusionary culture and environments often reported in postsecondary science education research. These systemic barriers keep students from minoritized backgrounds (e.g., Students of Color, first generation to college or low income students) from gaining access to equitable opportunities to learn science and to develop positive science identities and goals.

A holistic framing of access to college science involves supporting the development of critically conscious educators who design humanizing and equitable learning environments, and administrators and policy makers who work to develop justice-oriented culture, policies, and institutions.

The ACCESS lab engages in interdisciplinary and collaborative research projects employing various methodological approaches to examine equity and justice issues in biology and other fields in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education. Research projects currently involve two strands. The first examines the intersectional experiences and perspectives of students from minoritized backgrounds in biology and STEM learning environments. The second explores the role of biology and STEM educators' beliefs and practices in promoting equity, and how to best support them in developing a critical consciousness and engaging in justice-oriented approaches to teaching and learning. 

Before pursuing her Ph.D. in STEM Education at University of Texas at Austin, Dr. Russo-Tait was a program director at the Center for Science and Math Education and instructional faculty in the College of Science and Engineering at San Francisco State University. She taught undergraduate courses in biology and health equity, co-developed biology and social justice curricula, and led professional development workshops on student-centered teaching practices and equity issues in STEM. Her lived experiences as a biology student, and her subsequent work with underrepresented and minoritized students in STEM motivated her to pursue scholarship in the field so that she could contribute to the larger body of knowledge and national conversation on using asset-based and justice-oriented approaches to best support STEM students and prepare STEM educators. 


Ph.D. in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math Education, 2022

University of Texas at Austin

M.S. in Cell and Molecular Biology, 2011

San Francisco State Univeristy

B.A. in Biology with a concetration in Cell and Molecular Biology, 2008

University of Hawai'i at Hilo

King, G.P., Russo-Tait., T. & Andrews, T. (2023). Evading Race: STEM faculty struggle to acknowledge racialized classroom events. CBE: Life Sciences Education.

Russo-Tait, T. (2022). Science faculty conceptions of equity and their association to teaching practices. Online ahead of publication

Russo-Tait, T. (2022). Color-blind or racially conscious? Science faculty’s sense making of racial/ethnic underrepresentation in STEM. Journal of Research in Science Teaching 59(10), 1822-1852.

Nguyen, U., Russo-Tait, T., Riegle-Crumb, C., & Doerr, K.T (2022). Changing the gendered status quo in engineering? The encouraging and discouraging experiences of young women with engineering aspirations. Science Education 106(6), 1442-1468.

Riegle-Crumb, C., Russo-Tait, T., Doerr, K.T., & Nguyen, U (2022). Critical consciousness of gender inequality in STEM: Considering the viewpoints of racially diverse high school girls with engineering aspirations. Sociological Perspectives.

Doerr, K., Riegle-Crumb, C., Russo-Tait, T., Takasaki, K., Sassler, S., Levitte, Y. (2020). Making merit work at the entrance to the engineering workforce: Examining women’s experiences and variations by race/ethnicity. Sex Roles, 1-18.

Harrison, C.D. […] T. Russo-Tait […] Domingo, C.R., & Tanner, K.D. (2019). Investigatinginstructor talk in novel contexts: Widespread use, unexpected categories, and emergent sampling strategies. CBE: Life Sciences Education 18(3): ar30-mr3.

Riegle-Crumb, C., Peng, M., & Russo-Tait, T. (2019). Committed to STEM? Examining factors that predict occupational commitment among Asian and White female students completing STEM U.S. postsecondary programs. Sex Roles, 1-15.

Owens, M.T., Trujillo, G., Seidel, S.B., Harrison, C.D. […] T. Russo-Tait […] Domingo, C.R., & Tanner, K.D. (2018). Collectively improving our teaching: Attempting biology department-wide professional development in scientific teaching. CBE: Life Sciences Education 17(1): ar2.

Owens, M.T., Seidel, S.B., Wong, M.[…] Russo-Tait, T […] Domingo, C.D., Schinske, & J.N., Tanner, K.D. (2017). Classroom sound can be used to classify teaching practices in college science courses. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 114(12), 3085-3090.

Mogul R., Vaishampayan P., Bashir, M., […] T. Russo-Tait, Weigel, B., & Wilhelm, M.B. (2017). Microbial community and biochemical dynamics of biological soil crusts across a gradient of surface coverage in the central Mojave Desert. Frontiers in Microbiology 8 (1974), 1-19.

Momčilović, O., Liu, Q., Swistowski, A., Russo-Tait, T., Zhao, Y., Rao, M.S., Zeng, X. (2014). Genome wide profiling of dopaminergic neurons derived from human embryonic and induced pluripotent stem cells. Stem Cells and Development 23, 406–20.

Price, D. K., S. Souder, and T. Russo-Tait (2013). Sexual selection, epistasis, and species boundaries in sympatric Hawaiian picture-winged drosophila. Journal of Insect Behavior 27, 27–40.

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Assistant to the Department Head: Dr. Cordula Schulz, 706-542-3515

Main office phone: 706-542-3310

Fax: 706-542-4271

Head of the Department: Dr. Dennis Kyle