Faculty News

Tatiana Melguizo, respected professor and a leader in the fields of education and economics, passed away at the age of 55

Professor Melguizo’s legacy extended over two decades at USC, and her work has made an indelible impact at USC Rossier.

By USC Rossier Published on

Tatiana Melguizo, a highly accomplished professor and a leader in the fields of education and economics, passed away on January 10, 2024 at the age of 55.

Melguizo was an acclaimed economist who studied education. She served for much of her career as a faculty member at the Rossier School of Education at USC, where she was a dedicated teacher and advisor.

Born in Bogotá, Columbia in 1968, Melguizo’s parents instilled in her the importance of treating every person with kindness and respect. Melguizo’s commitments to protecting human rights and justice were reflected in her scholarship and the way she treated and supported her students.

Melguizo’s life was characterized by a steadfast commitment to service through her research and teaching. She blended her passions for economics and education to develop research and practices that improve the educational trajectories for students of all backgrounds. In recent years, her scholarship focused on the unique challenges faced by community colleges, and she sought to use her research to better serve students from diverse backgrounds. Throughout her career, she leveraged the distinct strengths and cultures of her students and empowered them to create careers that would have a positive impact on the field of education and society at large.

Melguizo’s legacy extends over two decades at USC, and her work has made an indelible impact at USC Rossier, where she served as a professor, past PhD program chair and a core member of the Pullias Center for Higher Education research center.

Melguizo received her BS and MA in Economics from Los Andes University in Bogotá in 1992 and 1993. After graduating from The London School of Economics in 1995 with an MSc in Economics, she moved to California to earn her PhD in Economics of Education from Stanford University in 2003. Melguizo then moved to southern California in 2003, where she joined the faculty at USC Rossier School of Education. There, she launched a two-decade career researching and teaching the economics of higher education. Her research utilized quantitative methods of analysis to study the impact of higher education programs on racially minoritized and low-income students.

The impact of Melguizo’s work is vast. Her research has been published in top journals, including Educational Researcher, Education Evaluation and Policy Analysis, Teachers College Record, The Journal of Higher Education, The Review of Higher Education, Research in Higher Education, Journal of Research in Educational Effectiveness, AERA Open, Higher Education and World Development. Melguizo was a prolific researcher and she received grants from the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), National Science Foundation (NSF), Spencer Foundation, American Educational Research Association (AERA), Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, College Futures Foundation, as well as Leonetti O’Connell Foundation, Jack Kent Cooke, Nellie Mae and Lumina foundations and from the Association for Institutional Research, National Postsecondary Education Cooperative (AIR/NPEC). It is a testament to her excellence as a scholar that so many funding agencies have invested in her work.

Melguizo was also the mother of three children—Mateo, Amalia, and Juliette—and partner to Pierre-Oliver Weill. Tatiana is also survived by her brother, Jorge, and her sister, Lina. She will be missed by her family, colleagues, students and the many people she touched with her warmth and compassion.

Melguizo brought her bright and energetic presence to every project she undertook. As a faculty colleague and as chair of the Rossier PhD program, she contributed with generosity and courage to the refinement of USC Rossier’s mission of educational equity. As we remember, mourn and say goodbye to our friend and colleague, we reflect on Melguizo’s lifelong mission to charting a better and more equitable future for students and educational institutions. The outpouring of support from her colleagues, advisees, family and friends is evidence of the countless lives she positively influenced through her joy, kindness and intellect.

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