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Holly Matusovich, Ph.D.

Associate Dean for Graduate & Professional Studies
  • Professor
Holly Matusovich
355 Goodwin Hall (MC 0218)
635 Prices Fork Rd
Blacksburg, VA 24061


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

Teaching/Courses Taught

Foundations of Engineering I: ENGE1215 (Formerly ENGE 1024: Engineering Exploration)
Exploration of Engineering Design: ENGE1114 (Now ENGE 1216: Foundations of Engineering II)
Assessment Techniques in Engineering Education (ENGE5404)
Practicum in the Engineering Classroom (ENGE5504)
Engineering Education Research Methods (ENGE5604)
Gender, Ethnicity, and Identity in Engineering (ENGE6984)

Research Interests

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

Research Statement

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, and faculty teaching practices specifically associated with intersections of motivation, metacognition, and learning strategies. Her strengths include qualitative and mixed methods educational research study design and implementation.


Dr. Holly Matusovich is a Professor in the Department of Engineering Education. She is also the Associate Dean for Graduate and Professional Studies. 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 11 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 being nearly $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, and Outstanding Teacher Award, and a Faculty Fellow Award.

Awards & Honors

  • Inducted into the Academy of Faculty Leadership in 2020
  • College of Engineering Graduate 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

  • Artiles, M. S., & Matusovich, H. M. (2020). Examining Doctoral Degree Attrition Rates: Using Expectancy-Value Theory to Compare Student Values and Faculty Supports. International Journal of Engineering Education, 36(3), 1071–1081.

  • Kajfez, R. L., & Matusovich, H. M. (2020). The Role of Identity in Understanding Graduate Teaching Assistants: A Mixed Methods Analysis. International Journal of Engineering Education, 36(3), 1049–1061.

  • Knight, D. B., Grohs, J. R., Bradburn, I. S., Kinoshita, T. J., Vaziri, S., Matusovich, H. M., & Carrico, C.*(2020). Illuminating inequality in access: Variation in enrollment in undergraduate engineering programs across Virginia’s high schools. Journal of Engineering Education, 109(4), 665–684. | Abstract 

  • Matusovich, H., Gillen, A., Carrico, C., Knight, D., & Grohs, J. (2020). Outcome Expectations and Environmental Factors Associated with Engineering College-Going: A Case Study. Journal of Pre-College Engineering Education Research (J-PEER), 10(1). | Abstract

  • McCord, R. & Matusovich, H. M. (2019). Naturalistic observations of metacognition in engineering (NOME): Using observational methods to study metacognitive engagement in engineering. Journal of Engineering Education. 108(4), 481-502. DOI: 10.1002/jee.20291

  • Matusovich, H. M., Carrico, C.*, Harris, A., Sheppard, S., Brunhaver, S. R., Streveler, R. A., & Lester, M. (2019). Internships and engineering: Beliefs and behaviors of academics. Education+Training, 61(6), 650-665. doi: 10.1108/ET-02-2017-0017

  • Gillen, A., Carrico, C, Grohs, J., & Matusovich, H. M. (2018), Using an applied research-practice cycle: iterative improvement of culturally relevant engineering outreach. Journal of Formative Design in Learning, 2(2), 121-128.

  • 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., & Paretti, M. C. (2017). A qualitative analysis of career choice pathways of college-oriented rural central appalachian high school students. Journal of Career Development. doi: 10.1177/0894845317725603

  • 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.

  • Matusovich, H. M., Carrico, C., Paretti, M. C., & Boynton, M. (2017). Engineering as a career choice in Rural Appalachia: Sparking and sustaining interest. Special issue in International Journal of Engineering Education. 33(1):463-475.

  • Lee, W. L. & Matusovich, H.M. (2016). A qualitative examination of institutional practices for supporting undergraduate engineering students: Developing a Model of Co-curricular Support. Journal of Engineering Education. 105(3), 406-430. (Honorable Mention for Wickenden Award)

  • Kajfez, R. L., Matusovich, H. M., & Lee, W. C. (2016). A holistic framework for understanding graduate student motivation and identity. International Journal of Engineering Education. 32(3), 1208-1221.

  • Hixson, C. A., Hunter, D. A., Lee, W. L., McCord, R. E., Paretti, M. C., Matusovich, H. M., & (2016). The impact of writing groups on graduate student development and progress. Special Issue of WLN: A Journal of Writing Center Scholarship. 40(5-6), 12-25

  • Montfort, D., Herman, G., Brown, S., Matusovich, H. M., Streveler, R. A., & Adesope, A. (2015). Patterns of student conceptual understanding across engineering content areas. International Journal of Engineering Education. 31(5), 6.

  • Winters, K. E. & Matusovich, H. M. (2015). 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. and Matusovich, H. M. (forthcoming). 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.

  • Lee, W. C., Matusovich, H. M., & Brown, P. R. (2014). Measuring underrepresented student perceptions of inclusion within engineering departments and universities. International Journal of Engineering Education 30(1):150-165.

  • Matusovich, H. M., Paretti, M. C., McNair, E. D., and Hixson, C. (2014). Faculty motivation: A gateway to transforming engineering education. Journal of Engineering Education 103(2):183-361.

  • Winters, K.E., Matusovich, H.M., and Brunhaver, S. (2014). Engineering Graduates Making Career Choices: Family Matters. Manuscript Submitted to the Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering (20)4: 293-316.

  • Lee, W. C., Kajfez, R. L., & Matusovich, H. M. (2013). Motivating engineering students: Evaluating an engineering student support center with the MUSIC model of academic motivation. Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering, 19(3):245-271.

  • Matusovich, H. M., Oakes, W. C., & Zoltowski, C. B. (2013). Why women choose service learning: Seeking and finding engineering-related experiences. International Journal of Engineering Education, 29(2).

  • Robinson, A., Amelink, C., & Matusovich, H. (2013). The role of slate enabled technology in collaboration. Computers in Education Journal, April –June(21-27).

  • Yang, D., Streveler, R.A., Miller, R. L., Slotta, J.D., Matusovich, H. M., and Magana, A. J. (2012). Using computer-based online training modules to promote conceptual change: Helping students understand difficult concepts in thermal and transport science, International Journal of Engineering Education. 28(3):686-700.

  • Matusovich, H. M., R. A. Streveler, and R. L. Miller. (2010). Why do students choose engineering? A qualitative, longitudinal investigation of students' motivational values. Journal of Engineering Education, 99(4):289-303.

Recent Grants

RFE: Collaborative Research: Design and Development: The Skillful Learning Institute, NSF, VT Amount: $39,807 of $99,999 total, Co-Investigators: Patrick Cunningham, PI, Rose Hulman Institute of Technology, Rachel McCord, PI, University of Tennessee- Knoxville, Dates: 1/1/20-12/31/20 | Abstract

PFE: Collaborative Research: Research Initiation: Diversifying Paths through Engineering with Extra-/Co-Curricular Participation, NSF, VT Amount: $59,898 of $151,110 total, Co-Investigator: Aimee Cloutier, PI, Rose Hulman Institute of Technology, Dates: 8/1/19-7/31/21 | Abstract

 iTEST: Community Engaged Engineering Interventions with Appalachian Youth, NSF, Amount: $1,077,034, Jake Grohs (PI) and Gary Kirk (Co-PI), Dates: 6/1/17-5/31/20 | Abstract

BPE: Dissertation Institute, Sponsor: NSF, Total Amount: $1,289,554, Level of Responsibility: Co-Investigators: S. Adams (PI), University of Texas- Dallas.   Dates: 1/1/16-12/31/21 | Abstract