Schar School’s Justin Gest Earns Faculty Excellence in Research Prize



A man in a dark suit and tie with a short beard smiles at the camera.
Associate Professor of Policy and Government Justin Gest

Schar School of Poli­cy and Government associate professor Justin Gest is one of 12 George Mason University faculty members receiving the 2023 Presidential Awards for Faculty Excellence. The honor recognizes Gest’s research on behalf of the university, students, and the broader community.

Specifically, Gest received the Beck Family Presidential Medal for Excellence in Research for his “extraordinary contributions…to consequential research of high impact. The award is presented annually to a Mason faculty member whose research represents groundbreaking advances in their field,” according to a statement by Mason President Gregory Washington.

“Our faculty continue to make extraordinary contributions in all fields and at all levels,” Washington said in announcing the awards. “The awards are a way to honor faculty for their outstanding work in teaching, research, scholarship, social impact, and diversity and inclusion. The honorees exemplify the caliber of faculty we have here at the largest and most diverse public university in Virginia.”

Gest’s work focuses on immigration and the politics of demographic change. He is the author of six books and a coeditor of the Oxford University Press book series, Oxford Studies in Migra­tion and Citizenship. He is also the director of the Schar School’s Master of Public Policy program.

Gest has written peer-re­viewed articles in a variety of journals and has provided reporting or commentary for ABC, BBC, CBC, CNN, the GuardianLos Angeles Times, NPR, the New York Times, Politico, Reuters, Vox, and the Washington Post

In 2013, Gest, formerly a faculty member at Harvard University, received that school’s Star Family Prize for Student Advising and, in 2014, the Joseph R. Levenson Memorial Teaching Prize. These awards are Harvard University’s highest for student advising and faculty teaching, respectively. 

He has also earned the 2020 George Mason University Teaching Excellence Award, given each year to recognize achievements in course planning and preparation; curriculum development; and innovative teaching, advising, and undergraduate and graduate mentoring. He has served as a consultant to various government agencies and civil society organizations.

This is the seventh year for the Presidential Awards for Faculty Excellence, selected by a review committee that includes prior award winners and university senior leaders. Recipients will be honored at a reception May 11.