Dr. Nicole Pitterson

Nicole Pitterson

Nicole Pitterson, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
369 Goodwin Hall
Blacksburg, VA 24061





Ph.D. in Engineering Education, Purdue University, 2015
M.Sc. in Manufacturing Engineering, Western Illinois University, 2009
B.Sc. In Electrical and Electronic Engineering, University of Technology, Jamaica, 2007

Research Interests

  • Difficult concepts in engineering 
  • Increasing students' conceptual understanding of circuits 
  • Promoting collaboration through active learning 
  • Using intentional instructional design to promote critical thinking and deep learning 
  • Teaching evaluation

Based the theory of conceptual change and the use of instructional strategies aimed at eliciting conceptual understanding, I am most interested in how we can design engineering learning environments and experiences to engage students in deep learning. My main research focus is to optimize student learning by focusing on how to teach and assess students' mastery of core and difficult engineering concepts. Primarily using multiple representation of concepts I aim to connect real world application with theoretical principles in the classroom.


Nicole P. Pitterson is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Engineering Education at Virginia Tech. She holds a B.Sc in Electrical and Electronic Engineering from the University of Technology, Jamaica, a M.Sc. in Manufacturing Engineering from Western Illinois University, and a Ph.D. in Engineering Education from Purdue University. Upon completion of her doctoral degree, Dr. Pitterson worked as a postdoctoral research scholar at Oregon State University. Her research interests include difficult concepts in engineering, increasing students’ conceptual understanding of circuit concepts, and promoting collaboration through using active learning strategies. Dr. Pitterson is dedicated to bridging the gap between theoretical concepts with practical applications. She also aims to guide students to develop critical understanding of core engineering concepts that goes beyond rote memorization so that they can adapt to the changing demands of a global workforce.

Selected Awards & Honors

  • Purdue Engineering Education Outstanding Student Service Award, 2015
  • Purdue Black Graduate Student Association Service Contribution Award, 2015

Selected Publications

  • Ha, O., Brown, S. A., Pitterson, N., (2017) An exploratory factor analysis of Statics ConceptInventory data from practicing civil engineers, International Journal of Engineering Education (IJEE)
  • Villanueva, K.A., Brown, S.A., Pitterson, N., Hurwitz, D., Sitomer, A., (2017) Teaching evaluationpractices in engineering programs: Current approaches and usefulness, International Journal ofEngineering Education (IJEE)