|The White House
awarded David Pagni as among ten individual recipients of
the 2005 Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics
and Engineering Mentoring.
November 23, 2005 :: No. 81
David Pagni, professor of mathematics
at Cal State Fullerton and a longtime advocate
for mathematics education, has been honored with the 2005
Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics
and Engineering Mentoring.
The Presidential Award recognizes individuals and organizations that have demonstrated
an exemplary commitment to mentoring students and increasing the participation
of minorities, women and disabled students in science, mathematics and engineering.
The annual honor, administered by the National Science Foundation, includes
a $10,000 grant for continued mentoring work and a Presidential commemorative
“The significance of this award can’t be overstated,” said
CSUF President Milton A. Gordon. “Because mentoring and collaborating with
those in our region are part of our mission, it’s especially gratifying
that one of our outstanding professors has been honored for his efforts in this
arena. This award could not have been received by anyone more deserving.”
This year, 10 individuals and one institution were honored during a Nov. 16
awards ceremony at the White House. Pagni was joined by faculty members from
UC Berkeley, Stanford University, State University of New York, University
of New Orleans, Boise State University, University of Missouri and Fort Valley
State University. UC Irvine was honored as the institutional recipient.
“Cal State Fullerton has provided the support over the years that has enabled
me to develop mentoring programs that have impacted so many lives,” said
Pagni, who joined the campus in 1969 and has received more than $22 million in
grants for programs that help educators and students.
“Articulating and strengthening the partnership between CSUF and local
school districts has been my focus over the years; my colleagues and administrators
have provided professional support and resources to enable these programs to
succeed,” Pagni added. “I was excited to receive this award and honored
to bring such prestigious recognition to Cal State Fullerton.”
“Dr. Pagni is a difference-maker. He has truly elevated the mathematics
education of scores of students through his work with high school teachers and
his mentoring activities. It is great to see him get the recognition he so clearly
deserves,” said Steve Murray, dean of the College of Natural Sciences and
Among the programs Pagni has created is Project MISS, or Mathematics Intensive
Summer Session, which he started in 1990 to encourage young women to pursue
careers in science and math by providing an intensive four-week skills-building
summer course. Since its inception, 98 percent of Project MISS participants
have completed high school and entered college — 20 percent majoring
in science, technology, engineering or math.
Pagni also has directed the Mathematics Diagnostic Testing Program — part
of a Collaborative Academic Preparation Initiative funded by the California
State University Chancellor’s Office — in which the university
works with local high schools to help more students pass the entrance level
math exam. He co-directs the Orange County Mathematics Project, a program to
enhance the algebra skills of teachers teaching fifth through ninth grades
in three area school districts.
In the mid-1990s, Pagni became a “math wizard” during a special
program announcing a National Science Foundation grant of more than $6 million
to make a systemic change in the way math is taught in elementary schools in
the Santa Ana Unified School District. Before an audience of educators, public
and university officials, Pagni delighted youngsters as he told them they could
all be math wizards themselves with the help of a program that became known
as SUMS (Students Using Math Successfully).
In 2002, this math wizard did it again — earning another $6 million-plus
grant to enhance teacher training and help students to excel in learning math.
The program, Teachers Assisting Students to Excel in Learning Mathematics,
partnered the university with four Orange County school districts to reach
more than 16,000 high school and middle school students and their teachers
to improve academic performance in math. The educator’s achievement was
recognized in the Congressional Record.
Pagni also has directed GEARUP-Anaheim (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness
for Undergraduate Programs), a program established to increase participants’ academic
performance and preparation for college through tutoring and workshops. GEARUP
followed an entire class of students from their years at Sycamore Jr. High
through Anaheim High School and graduation earlier this year.
“David Pagni never walks, he runs,” said David Fromson, associate
dean of the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, about the efforts of
the mathematics veteran who began his career teaching at the middle and high
school level. “His one concern, his driving concern, is mathematics education
for young people in Orange County.”
In addition to his educational endeavors, Pagni created a scholarship to support
and mentor students from Santa Ana high schools who have enrolled at Cal State
Fullerton as math majors. The scholarship, established in 1995 with a $4,000
gift, has been augmented by donations from other educators and businesses.
Scholarship recipients are mentored, and if they successfully complete their
coursework, continue to receive the scholarship annually through completion
of their degrees. Each year, Pagni and the mayor of Santa Ana present the scholarship
to two recipients.
Pagni’s research and methods are reflected in his books, including the “Santa
Ana/Fullerton Elementary Mathematics Project (SAFEMAP) Books 1-3” and
more than 125 articles in professional journals. He has participated in numerous
projects ranging from serving on a test developer panel for the Educational
Testing Service and National Science Foundation proposal review panel to participating
in the Student and Teacher Educational Partnership at UCI.
In addition to the latest award, Pagni has been honored with the California
State University and Cal State Fullerton Outstanding Professor and CSU Wang
|| David Pagni, professor of mathematics,
at 657-278-2671 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Pamela McLaren of Public Affairs
at 657-278-4852 or email@example.com
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