Dr. Holly Matusovich

Holly Matusovich, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
353 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

Research Interests:

  • Student motivation for learning
  • Faculty motivation for teaching
  • Career choice and career pathways
  • Engineering identity development
  • Recruitment and retention of underrepresented students in engineering

My research and teaching interests focus on understanding and influencing motivation in the context of engineering education and professional practice. My research examines: 1) student motivation for engagement in learning, 2) persistence in earning an engineering degree and pursuing engineering careers, and 3) faculty motivation for adopting research-based teaching practices. My teaching brings research-based best practices for increasing student motivation to the undergraduate classroom and prepares graduate students to use these same practices in their future classroom settings.


Holly M. Matusovich is an Assistant Professor and Assistant Department Head for Graduate Programs in the Department of Engineering Education at Virginia Tech. 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. Dr. Matusovich came to academia after nearly 12 years in engineering practice. She currently teaches in the first year engineering program and also in the engineering education graduate program. Her research focuses on student and faculty motivation and student identity development in the context of engineering classrooms and careers. Dr. Matusovich is a PI or Co-PI on 9 NSF-funded research studies including a CAREER grant focusing on the intersections of motivation, learning strategies, and conceptual understanding. Dr. Matusovich has authored a book chapter, 13 journal manuscripts and more than 50 conference papers. Dr. Matusovich has won several Virginia Tech awards including College of Engineering Dean's Awards for Outstanding New Faculty, Exemplary Teaching and Faculty Fellow.

Awards & Honors:

  • 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:

Winters, K. E. & Matusovich, H. M. (2015). Career goals and actions of early career engineering graduates. International Journal of Engineering Education. 31(5), 1226-1238.

Brown, P. R., McCord, R. M., Matusovich, H. M., & Kajfez, R. L. (2014). The use of motivation theory in engineering education research: A systematic review of literature. European Journal of Engineering Education. 40(2), 186-205.

Jones, B. D., Osborn, J. W., Paretti, M. C., & Matusovich, H. M. (2014). Relationships among students' perceptions of a first-year engineering design course and their engineering identification, motivational beliefs, course effort, and academic outcomes. International Journal of Engineering Education. 30(6A), 1340-1356.

Winters, K. E., Matusovich, H. M., & Brunhaver, S. R. (2014). Recent engineering graduates making career choices: Family matters. Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering. 20(4), 293-316.

Matusovich, H. M., Paretti, M. C., McNair, L. D., & Hixson, C. (2014). Faculty motivation: A gateway to transforming engineering education. Journal of Engineering Education. 103(2), 302-330.