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Marie Paretti, Ph.D.

Dr. Marie Paretti
357 Goodwin Hall (MC 0218)
635 Prices Fork Rd
Blacksburg, VA 24061


Ph.D. English, University of Wisconsin, Madison, 1997
M.A. English, Virginia Tech, 1990
B.S. Chemical Engineering, Virginia Tech, 1986

Research Interests

  • Engineering identity
  • Diversity and inclusion  in engineering
  • Communication and teamwork in engineering
  • Design education and project-based learning

Research Statement

My research grows from my passion for empowering students to develop as professionals.  My work focuses on engineering identity understood broadly, including research on professional engineering practice, communication and teamwork, design education, and diversity and inclusion. Across these domains, my research and the research of my graduate students helps current and future faculty create inclusive learning environments that prepare students to succeed in their professional lives.

In exploring engineering identity, my graduate students and I consider what it means to be an engineer at school and at work, and the ways in which individuals from underrepresented groups experience engineering. Within engineering curricula, I am particularly interested in design-based and project-based learning environments where students develop professional skills, build adaptive expertise, and develop the capacity for self-directed learning. To that end, I have studied effective practices in project-based courses, transitions from school to work, and studies of communication and collaboration practices at school and at work. Across all of these domains, my work consistently considers the experiences of underrepresented students (including factors such as gender, race, and class) to help both engineering programs and engineering workplaces better serve all individuals. 


Marie C. Paretti is a Professor of Engineering Education at Virginia Tech, where she directs the Virginia Tech Engineering Communications Center (VTECC). She received a B.S. in chemical engineering and an M.A. in English from Virginia Tech, and a Ph.D. in English from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her research focuses on communication and collaboration, design education, and identity (including race, gender, class, etc.) in engineering. She was awarded a CAREER grant from the National Science Foundation to study expert teaching in capstone design courses, and is co-PI on numerous NSF grants exploring communication, teamwork, design, and identity in engineering. Drawing on theories of situated learning and identity development, her work includes studies on the teaching and learning of communication, effective teaching practices in design education, the effects of differing pedagogies on personal and professional identities, the dynamics of cross-disciplinary collaboration in both academic and industry design environments, and gender and identity in engineering. When not at work, she can be found pulling weeds in her garden or bicycling the back roads of Craig County, VA.

Teaching/Courses Taught

  • EngE 1215: Foundations of Engineering
  • EngE 5014: Foundations of Engineering Education
  • EngE 5984: Disciplinary Literacy: Theorizing and Writing in Engineering Education

Awards & Honors

  • 2015 Nunnally Award for Outstanding Faculty in Engineering Education

  • 2014 Finalist, Sporn Award for Excellence in Teaching Undergraduate Engineering Subjects

  • 2008 National Science Foundation CAREER Award

  • 2008 Sporn Award for Excellence in Teaching Undergraduate Engineering Subjects

  • 2008 Outstanding New Assistant Professor in the College of Engineering

  • 2003 XCaliber Certificate of Excellence for English 3764: Technical Writing Online. Virginia Tech Center for Innovation in Learning, 2003. With Jim Dubinsky and Mark Armstrong.

Selected Publications

  • Pembridge, J. J. & Paretti, M.C. (2019, forthcoming). Characterizing Capstone Design Teaching: A Functional Taxonomy. Journal of Engineering Education 108(2): 197-219.

  • Paretti, M. C., Gustafsson, M., Eriksson, A. (2019). Faculty and Student Perceptions of the Impacts of Communication-In-The-Disciplines (CID) on Students’ Development as Engineers. Accepted to IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication. pp. 1-16

  • Hixson, C.* & Paretti, M.C. (2018) Unpacking Why Engineering Faculty Members’ Believe Entrepreneurship is Valuable for Engineering Education. Advances in Engineering Education 7(1): 1-11.

  • Venters, C., Groen, C., McNair, L. D., & Paretti, M. C. (2018). “Using Writing Assignments to Improve Learning in Statics: A Mixed Methods Study.” International Journal of Engineering Education 34(1):1-13.

  • Tendhar, C., Paretti, M. C., & Jones, B. D. (2017). “The Effects Of Gender, Engineering Identification, And Engineering Program Expectancy On Engineering Career Intentions: Applying Hierarchical Linear Modeling (HLM) In Engineering Education Research.” American Journal of Engineering Education 8(2): 157-170.

  • Lutz, Benjamin D.* & Paretti, M. C. (2017). “Exploring Student Perceptions of Capstone Design Outcomes.” International Journal of Engineering Education 33(5).

  • 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. Published online 31 August 2017. .

  • Matusovich, H. M., Carrico, C. A., Paretti, M. C., and Boynton, M. A.* (2017). Engineering as a Career Choice in Rural Appalachia: Sparking and Sustaining Interest. International Journal of Engineering Education, 33(1): 463-475.

  • Paretti, M. C., McNair, L. D., & Leydens, J. (2014). Engineering communication. In A. Johri & B. Olds (Eds.), Cambridge Handbook of Engineering Education Research (pp. 601-632). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge UP.