A member of the philosophy faculty since 1991, Garavaso earned a bachelor of arts and a master of arts in philosophy from the University of Padova in Italy. She holds a doctorate in philosophy from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln.
Garavaso works to integrate multi-cultural and gender perspectives into the philosophy curriculum. As she points out, most analytic philosophers have not included issues of race, class, gender, or social discrimination in their curricula. With the help of a Minority Partner, Garavaso tackled this difficulty by surveying students concerning the public image of philosophy at Morris. It was concluded that philosophy is usually regarded by students as abstract, even abstruse, and impractical. Responding to these perceptions, she added a service learning component to an introductory course in feminist philosophy.
"Pieranna possessed the ability to challenge and engage students. Her students were active learners. I have used her example daily during my two years as a Peace Corps volunteer and as a teacher in inner-city schools," states Jana Hilleren Garcia '94.
Kevin Klement '95, assistant professor of philosophy at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, states: "I cannot think of a single instructor whom I try more to emulate. Because students generally come to college with no training in logic and many struggle with its most simple and basic concepts, logic instructors find themselves having to find a way to reach students whose standpoint is almost entirely alien. Pieranna is able to reach these students in almost every case due to her endless patience and sympathy."
(From the 2003 news story)