We are delighted to introduce Dr. Darin Gray, a distinguished leader in K-12 STEM education, as the inaugural DoD STEM Ambassador hosted by NCWIT. Ambassadors are carefully chosen by the Department of Defense STEM Education Consortium (DSEC), and the program recognizes outstanding educators who are committed to working with students who have been historically underrepresented in STEM (and/or are military connected) while promoting STEM learning nationwide. Each school year, the DoD STEM Ambassadors work together to create and curate remote learning and digital materials to be shared with educators, like lesson plans, learning activities, and creative engagement approaches. In this role, Darin plans to focus on making artificial intelligence (AI) accessible and culturally responsive.
It is a pleasure to unite a long-time NCWIT K-12 Alliance member at an NCWIT Higher Ed Alliance member institution with NCWIT Investment Partner organization, DoD STEM. We look forward to continuing to work collaboratively toward the mission of improving access and inclusion in STEM and computing education. Learn more about the 2023-2024 Ambassadors and Dr. Darin Gray below.
Dr. Darin Gray, DoD STEM Ambassador
Darin is an alumnus of USC. He’s earned:
- a Bachelor’s degree in Biomedical and Electrical Engineering from USC Viterbi School of Engineering
- a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences
- a Master’s degree in teaching with an emphasis in mathematics from USC Rossier School of Education
- a Master’s degree in Cybersecurity from Cal State San Marcos
- a Doctorate in Education Technology from Boise State University
He also holds teaching credentials in math and science.
After graduating from USC, Darin worked for the Hughes Aircraft Company’s Advanced Circuit Technology Lab, where he designed analog to digital converters for the Radar Systems Group. After leaving Hughes, Darin spent 25 years working for the Los Angeles Unified School District’s (LAUSD) Division of Adult and Career Education as a mathematics instructor and as a coordinator for an alternative high school. He has also been at USC Viterbi for over 25 years (20 of which while simultaneously working for LAUSD) and prior to being the Director, he was the STEM Coordinator responsible for program support, curricula development and teacher professional development.
In addition, Darin is a retired Master sergeant in the California State Guard, where he assisted with IT and cybersecurity for state systems and provided training for service members.
At the K-12 STEM Center
As director, Darin:
- oversees logistics and operations
- supervises STEM outreach to K-12 students
- forges new partnerships with STEM organizations, both within and outside of the University
- oversees data driven program analyses
He also teaches an introduction to engineering course and a cybersecurity seminar at USC.
Additional Awards + Honors
Darin recently received:
- the 2023 USC Amy King Dundon-Berchtold University Club of USC Award for Outstanding Service in the area of DEI
- the 2023 California Medal of Merit from the California Military Department
- the 2022 Engineers’ Council STEM Educator Award
He has also been honored with:
- the 2020 James E. Ballinger Engineer of the Year award
- a USC Alumni Volunteer Award, the Congressional Certificate for Recognition for outstanding and invaluable service to the community
- the California Assembly Certificate of Recognition for Outstanding Leadership
- the California State Senate Certificate of Recognition for excellence in teaching, the California Council for Adult Education Award for Excellence in teaching
- the California Medal of Merit
- the California Commendation Medal
- the California State Military Reserve Enlisted Excellence Medal
- the California Assembly Certificate of Recognition for Outstanding Leadership.
He has also presented at several conferences and symposiums, including:
- the National Association for College Admission Counseling’s Guiding the Way to Inclusion Conference
- American Society of Engineering Education Conference
- the California STEM Symposium, the State of STEM Conference
- the American Association for Adult and Continuing Education and the Magnet Schools of America Conference
Please join us in celebrating DoD STEM Ambassador Dr. Darin Gray’s selection for the 2023-2024 school year, and look for updates on his goals for AI in NCWIT newsletters and on social media in the coming months.