Ragan Recognized with Latino Excellence Mentorship Award

Regina Ragan receives the Latino Excellence Mentorship Award for her efforts to increase inclusion in the school of engineering.

April 14, 2021 - The Samueli School’s Regina Ragan, professor of materials science and engineering, was one of two UC Irvine faculty to receive the Outstanding Faculty Mentorship Award at the 2021 Latino Excellence and Achievement Awards (LEAD) virtual gala in April.

Ragan, the Stacey Nicholas Endowed Chair for Diversity in Engineering Education, has created programs linking underrepresented undergraduates with graduate students, faculty and industry professionals. She has mentored female and underrepresented faculty across disciplines in engineering, helping to increase the numbers of early career faculty receiving national grant funding. During her tenure as the school’s faculty equity adviser, she worked with department search committees to more than double the number of women faculty and triple the number of underrepresented faculty in engineering.

The Latino Excellence and Achievement Awards honor key leaders, graduate students, staff and faculty who support and champion student success and research excellence in the Latinx/Hispanic community at UCI and in Orange County.

“This is a rare award related to my heritage,” said Ragan, “and as a Xicana faculty member in engineering, I appreciate that UCI is recognizing that.” 

Ragan’s research involves self-assembly of molecular scale components into nanodevices, which focuses on addressing critical societal needs, including developing rapid diagnostics for accurate antibiotic treatment in the span of a doctor visit.

Now in its fourth year, LEAD aims to raise awareness of challenges in the graduate community, increase visibility of success and inspire the Latinx community to advance in graduate and postdoctoral programs. Nina Butkovich, a chemical and biomolecular engineering doctoral student, was also honored at the event, for her research excellence and academic achievement. The virtual event featured speeches by UCI Chancellor Howard Gillman and UCI Foundation Board of Trustees member Gaddi Vasquez.

– Lori Brandt