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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 college STEM 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 college science education research. These systemic barriers keep students from minoritized backgrounds (e.g., Students of Color, first generation to college, and 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. 

Dr. Russo-Tait is also part of the core faculty at the Scientists Engaged in Education Research (SEER) Center, and Affiliate Faculty at the Owens Institute for Behavioral Research, The Institute for Women's Studies, and The Interdisciplinary Qualitative Studies Program at UGA.


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

Morton, T., Agee, W.,[…] Russo-Tait, T […] & Williams, M. (in press). Re-envisioning the culture of undergraduate biology education to foster Black student success: A clarion call. CBE- Life Sciences Education.

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. (2023). Science faculty conceptions of equity and their association to teaching practices. Science Education 107(2),427-458.

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). Investigating instructor 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.

Of Note:

2023-2025 UGA Lilly Teaching Fellow

2023-2024 Mixture-Modeling for Discipline-Based Education Researchers Fellow

2023-2024 Evolving the Culture of Biology Scholar

2021 Association American Colleges and Universities K. Patricia Cross Future Leaders Awardee


Other Affiliations:

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