Jonathan E. Gaines, PhD
Jonathan E. Gaines
First-year Experiential Education & Learning Instructor II
Mechanical Engineering Department
Office location: ENC1200
4202 E. Fowler Avenue ENB 118
University of South Florida
Tampa, FL 33620-5350
Phone: (813) 974-5578
First-year design: Foundations Lab
Outreach program: Bulls-EYE Mentoring



Dr. Jonathan Gaines is an Instructor II in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of South Florida and the current Director of First Year Experiential Education and Learning. His expertise is in the areas of data acquisition, mechatronics, and engineering education research with emphasis on engineering identity and service-learning. In addition, he has developed multiple outreach initiatives in the Tampa Bay area that leverage the engineering design process to promote STEM education. Most notably, he is the creator and director of Bulls-Engineering Youth Experience Mentoring (Bulls-EYE Mentoring) at the University of South Florida which hires undergraduate students to mentor local youth during summers. Bulls-EYE Mentoring is NSF funded and in 2018 hired over 40 undergraduate students and invited over 75 middle school kids to campus.

He has also led initiatives to transform experiential learning at the University of South Florida. With formal training in service-learning, he wrote the curriculum for and coordinates USF's creative thinking based first year engineering design course around problem based learning. He also has revitalized his department's lab based courses around experiential learning and National Instruments hardware and software. In addition, he has developed student centered curriculum with training in course gamification, cultural competency, and leadership development. He also promotes the incorporation of makerspaces in formal and informal educational settings as a founding committee member for the USF Design for X Lab. This lab provides undergraduate students with access to 3D printer and laser cutter technology to promote student projects.
  • B.S. Applied Physics, Morehouse College, Atlanta, GA (Dual Degree)
  • B.S. Mechanical Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA (Dual Degree)
  • Ph.D. Mechanical Engineering, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
  • Engineering identity development of K-12 and undergraduate students
  • Engineering design for first-year engineering programs
  • Service-learning, community partnerships, and outreach
  • Mechanical Engineering Lab 2 (Fall 2018)
  • Foundations of Engineering Lab (Fall 2018)
  • Mechanics of Solids (Summer 2018)
  • Machine Design (Fall 2017)
  • Mechanical Engineering Lab 1 (Fall 2016)
  • USF Faculty Diversity Award, University of South Florida, 2018
  • College of Engineering Academy of Distinguished Engineering Educators, 2018
  • Faculty in Residence, University of South Florida, 2018
  • NSF Broadening Participation in Engineering grant recipient, 2017
  • Service-learning Academy Fellow, Cohort 2, University of South Florida, 2017
  • Apple Polishing Award, USF Embassadors, University of South Florida, 2016
  • Professional Development Leave recipient, University of South Florida, 2016