West Windsor, N.J. – Dr. Meimei Gao, Associate Professor of Computer Science at Mercer County Community College (MCCC), was selected by Chairs of New Jersey Computer Science Departments (with involvement of Chairs from New York) for the 2019 NJ/NY Computer Science Teaching Award.
Each year, universities and community colleges in New Jersey and New York have the opportunity to nominate one individual for outstanding performance in computer science. Four faculty members were selected in 2019, Gao being the only recipient from a community college.
“I am deeply honored to be a recipient of this teaching award,” Gao said. “I love teaching. Receiving this award is a big deal to me. It is further encouragement to do a better job.”
Though she couldn’t attend the award ceremony – Gao was committed to teaching a class when the reception was held – she appreciated that her colleagues, Dr. Farah Bennani, the Dean of Business and STEM, and Dr. Jim Maccariella, the Department Chair of Engineering and Technology, were able to attend the award ceremony on her behalf.
Since Gao joined MCCC in 2012, the number of students in Mercer’s Computer Science program has tripled. In 2014, she supported a delegation of Chinese visitors to the college, helping to introduce them to New Jersey’s community college system. Then, in 2015, Gao served on a panel at the Association for Computer Machinery's Special Interest Group on Computer Science Education Technical Symposium, a premier, international computer science education conference, to share her teaching experiences with other Computer Science educators.
“As a computer science professor, I think great teaching is encouraging critical thinking and inspiring students to become lifelong learners,” Gao said. “It’s more than just drilling core concepts. Teachers are responsible for creating a strong foundation for their students’ futures.”