Assistant Professor Moira Gunn of the University of San Francisco’s School of Business and
Professional Studies is the winner of the National Science Board’s Public
Service Award for 2011.
The creator of the public radio programs Tech Nation and BioTech Nation, Gunn’s expertise in science, engineering, education,
and broadcast media has helped many laymen understand technology by
interweaving scientific concepts into mainstream interviews and commentaries.
“She receives the award for her far-reaching contributions
to increasing the public understanding of science and engineering,” according
to the National Science Board.
The NSB, an independent federal agency that supports
research and education across all fields of science and engineering, awards the
Public Service Award to one individual and one group (company, corporation,
organization) each year. The award honors those who have made substantial
contributions to the public understanding of science and engineering in the
United States. Contributions may be in a wide variety of areas, including mass
media, education and/or training programs, entertainment, and more.
Gunn, a USF alumna in computer science, went on to become
the first woman to graduate with a doctorate in mechanical engineering from
Purdue University. She worked on global modeling and robotics engineering at
NASA and developed a patent in human nutrition measurement for the U.S.
Department of Agriculture. Gunn began teaching at USF in 1979 and is the
managing director of biotechnology programs in the School of Business and
read the official press release, I couldn't believe it,” Gunn said, referring
to the moment she learned of the award. “And a black tie dinner at the U.S.
State Department? Are you kidding me?”
Expected in attendance at the May 10 awards dinner in
Washington D.C., are Congresswoman
Jackie Speier (D-San Francisco/San Mateo) and Kingsley Smith, program director,
NPR Worldwide and NPR Sirius Satellite Radio channels.
the award for Tech Nation is particularly meaningful since the program was conceived
of and “built out of whole cloth” right here at USF and went against the
recommendations of a number of people, Gunn said.
The program, originally dubbed People and
Technology, first aired on USF’s radio
station, KUSF, before making the jump to NPR syndication.” It came to me while
I was standing in the parking lot next to the University Center during a
conversation with a colleague,” Gunn said. “The rest… is history.”