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Tina Gibson

Tina Gibson portrait
Photo by Kristen Polk

The words “science fair” often evoke memories of late runs to the grocery store for supplies to complete last-minute experiments and display boards.

Tina Gibson knows that better than most. As the K-12 outreach coordinator in ֱ’s Bagley College of Engineering, she coordinates and promotes science fair programs, outreach and educational resources. She also serves as president of Mississippi’s board for science fairs. This passion was ignited early in her teaching career, and she now conducts extensive K-12 outreach across 15 counties to promote STEM education in Mississippi.

“Science research and science fairs have always been my passion,” the Kentucky native explained. “It’s come from the volcano projects of yesteryear. The projects we are seeing now often have been built on year after year. It’s truly impressive.”

With a background in global health, education and epidemiology and a Doctor of Education from Spalding University, Gibson’s current role in the BCOE Outreach Office helps address the shortage of engineers nationally, engaging young students in engineering through interactive programs and offering professional development for educators. Her office’s mission is to spark interest in engineering among youth, promote exploration in the field and foster diversity in STEM.

Even when students don’t win during competition, Gibson said they gain invaluable networking and learning opportunities.

“I’ve seen a lot of students go from being shy and not being able to get up and present to having the confidence to do just that,” she said. “When they graduate, they don’t always go into STEM-related careers, but the impact that this has made on their lives and how it’s helped them to grow and understand what’s going on in the world is irreplaceable.”

Gibson also develops enrichment boxes stocked with lab equipment for teachers to borrow, helping bring the thrill of discovery into classrooms. She said area teachers can request the boxes, and she can provide training on using the equipment. Her goal is to expand access to educational resources statewide.

With her passion and decades of experience, it’s no wonder Gibson is helping a new generation of students uncover their potential through the power of scientific inquiry.