Staff Retreat Leader – Dr. JM Gatson

Dr. Jacqueline M. Gatson – Cooper Gatson & Associates

Dr. Jacqueline M. Gatson is the Associate Director of the Minority Engineering Program (MEP). She is charged with developing strategy for the recruitment, retention and graduation of underrepresented undergraduate and graduate students. Dr. Gatson is also responsible for cultivating and enhancing Purdue’s leadership in diversity among national organizations and industry partners focused on student success in STEM. Dr. Gatson has over a decade of experience in higher education, specializing in university and industry engagement, STEM programs and strategic partnerships. Her doctoral research, “Industry-university engagement in multicultural engineering programs: an exploratory study,” contributes to the literature on MEPs and provides an in-depth view of the practices, benefits, and challenges of MEP and Industry Partnerships.

Since joining the Purdue MEP staff in 2019 as the Graduate and Organizational
Diversity Strategist, and subsequently as Interim Associate Director, she has been an integral leader in core operational areas including: student engagement and outreach, industry engagement, program management, curriculum design and instruction. In response to COVID-19, Dr. Gatson created the framework for and lead the execution of MEP’s 2020 Virtual Engineering Summer Programs (ABC, MITE, SEW and PREFACE), a first in the program’s history.

Dr. Gatson is known for her leadership and creativity in conceptualizing and managing nationwide signature programming and initiatives. Prior to joining Purdue, she served in numerous roles at Kansas State University including: Assistant Director for Career and Employment Services – College of Engineering and STEM Careers; First Generation Scholars Program Coordinator – College of Engineering; and Special Coordinator for Strategic Partnerships – College of Education, Educational Leadership Department. Dr. Gatson is also the Owner and Principal Consultant for Cooper Gatson and Associates, LLC.

Dr. Gatson is recognized as a STEM diversity and inclusion thought leader and advocate. Throughout her career, she has served on several national boards, committees and research projects including: Panelist (2019) – American Council of Engineering Companies – Indiana, Region D Chair (2010 – 2013) and National Conference Co-Chair (2012 and 2013) – National Association of Multicultural Engineering Program Advocates (NAMEPA), Facilitator (2012) – Oxford Round Table Symposium, Oxford University, England. In 2010, Dr. Gatson was selected for the
James R. Coffman Leadership Institute at Kansas State University and the National Management Leadership Institute by the National Association of Colleges and Employers at Rutgers University. In addition, she has served as a Targeted Research Assistant for the Foundation for California Community Colleges in partnership with the National Science Foundation. In 2020, she was named New Employee of the Year by Purdue University’s College of Engineering.

Dr. Gatson is the Founder and Principal Consultant for Cooper Gatson & Associates, LLC. CGA is a consultant firm that specializes in university, industry and community engagement as well as diversity and cross-cultural training and curriculum. She received her B.A. from Grambling State University and holds both a M.S. from Kansas State University and an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership.

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