When she came to UMass in 2017, Tracie was especially excited to connect students with research opportunities. She said, “it was participation in undergraduate research that ignited my science passion and allowed me to envision a future as a scientist.” In her memory, the Dr. Tracie Moniece Gibson Scholar program was established in 2019 to provide support for a student to participate in the Lee SIP undergraduate research program. Tracie worked tirelessly to bridge the gap between experience and ability to support the success of all of our students. The Dr. Tracie Moniece Gibson Scholar designation is awarded to a student who is pursuing a major in science and identifies as an underrepresented minority and/or first-generation student.
About Tracie Gibson
As director of the CNS Office of Student Success and Diversity, Tracie brought her warm and welcoming spirit to everything she approached. She was instrumental in establishing now-flourishing programs to support success for our students, and her mission was to ensure that every student felt that they belonged and could realize their dreams at the university. Her passion for empowering new scientists was matched only by her natural energy and inclusive spirit. Tracie never accepted “no” for an answer when advocating for our students; she simply found another way to raise us all up.
Trained as a biologist, Tracie began her educational career at the University of Michigan, going on to receive a bachelor’s degree from Cornell College and Master’s and Ph.D. degrees in cell biology from Purdue University. She was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Wisconsin and the Salk Institute before joining the faculty at the University of Texas - Permian Basin and later at the University of Missouri - Columbia. Tracie won multiple awards and honors for outstanding teaching, mentoring, and classroom innovation. She was a member of the American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB) and served on the ASCB Minority Affairs and Education Committees. Tracie valued the power of mentorship in guiding her own career success and was dedicated to creating similar opportunities to help students as they built their own careers.
Tracie excelled at assembling and inspiring cross-campus partnerships and building leadership teams to promote inclusive excellence at UMass. She initiated and directed several academic programs for students including BioPioneers, a living and learning community for first generation life science students, the Lee Science Impact Program (Lee SIP), a summer and academic-year research experience, and both the Forsythe-Grange and the Transfer Student Alliance peer mentoring programs. She served as director of the UMass NSF-funded LSAMP program and was a member of the UMass HHMI Inclusive Excellence program leadership team. In each of her endeavors, Tracie had high expectations for herself, her colleagues and her students, and she ensured that we reached those lofty heights by providing a clear path to success. She was fiercely proud of her students.
Tracie died in October 2019. Her passion, commitment, creativity, genial presence and leadership are deeply missed by those with the good fortune to have known her. Tracie’s spirit will live on in the work she began at CNS, which we continue, inspired by her example and in dedication to her memory. Stories, tributes, and photographs honoring Tracie can be viewed on this page.
Gifts to the Dr. Tracie Moniece Gibson Scholar program can be made at this secure page, or by contacting the CNS Office of Advancement at (413) 545-0974.