Dr. Holly Matusovich

Holly Matusovich, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Assistant Department Head for Undergraduate Programs
355 Goodwin Hall
Blacksburg, Va 24061

Ph.D. Engineering Education, Purdue University, 2008
M.S. Materials Science Engineering, University of Connecticut, 1999
B.S. Chemical Engineering, Cornell University, 1994


Dr. Holly M. Matusovich is an Associate Professor in the Department of Engineering Education.  She is current the Assistant Department Head for Undergraduate Programs and the former Assistant Department Head for Graduate Programs in Virginia Tech’s Department of Engineering Education. Dr. Matusovich is recognized for her research and practice related to graduate student mentoring.  She won the Hokie Supervisor Spotlight Award in 2014, was nominated for a Graduate Advising Award in 2015, and won the 2018 Graduate Student Mentor Award for the College of Engineering.  Dr. Matusovich has graduated 10 doctoral students since starting her research program in Spring 2009.   Dr. Matusovich co-hosts the Dissertation Institute, a one-week workshop each summer funded by NSF, to help underrepresented students develop the skills and writing habits to complete doctorate degrees in engineering.  Across all of her research avenues, Dr. Matusovich has been a PI/Co-PI on 12 funded research projects including the NSF CAREER Award with her share of funding be ingnearly $2.3 million.  She has co-authored 2 book chapters, 21 journal publications and more than 70 conference papers.  She has won several Virginia Tech awards including a Dean’s Award for Outstanding New Faculty, an Outstanding Teacher Award and a Faculty Fellow Award. She holds a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Cornell University, an M.S. in Materials Science from the University of Connecticut and a Ph.D. in Engineering Education from Purdue University. 

Research Interests:

  • Student motivation for learning
  • Faculty motivation for teaching
  • Graduate education and student retention
  • Mentoring graduate students and new faculty

Dr. Matusovich’s research expertise includes using motivation and related frameworks to study student engagement in learning, student retention in engineering undergraduate programs, graduate programs and careers, faculty teaching practices specifically with regard to intersections of motivation and learning strategies. Her strengths include qualitative and mixed methods education research study design and implementation. 

Awards & Honors:

  • College of EngineeringGraduate Mentoring Award, 2018
  • College of Engineering Faculty Fellow, 2015
  • Hokie Spotlight Supervisor Award, 2015
  • College of Engineering Dean's Award for Teaching, 2014
  • Outstanding New Assistant Professor Award, Virginia Tech College of Engineering, 2012
  • Nunnally Outstanding Engineering Education Faculty Member Award, Department of Engineering Education, 2012
  • Frontiers in Education (FIE) Sponsored New Faculty Fellow Award, 2009
  • Purdue University, Bilsland Dissertation Fellowship, 2008
  • Inducted into Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society, December 2008

Selected Publications:

Lee, W. C., & Matusovich, H. M. (2018). Investigating how undergraduate students perceive co-curricular support in engineering. Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering, 24(3).

Carrico, C., & Matusovich, H. M. (2017). Appalachian high school student knowledge of the college process for STEM-H career goals. Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering.  22(3):259-280.

Kajfez, R. L., & Matusovich, H. M. (2017). Competence, autonomy, and relatedness as motivators of graduate teaching assistants.  Journal of Engineering Education. 106(2): 245-272.  [This article was also highlighted in a 2017 edition of ASEE Prism in the JEE “Selects” column. This column uses a research article to demonstrate research to practice connections.]