Dr. Cassie Wallwey joins Engineering Education after finishing her her Ph.D. in Engineering Education at The Ohio State University, with support and mentorship from her advisor Dr. Rachel Louis Kajfez (one of our very own 2013 Ph.D. alums!). Wallwey earned her B.S. and M.S. in Biomedical engineering from Wright State University.

While at The Ohio State, Wallwey worked with Kajfez on the RIME Collaborative (Research on Identity and Motivation in Engineering), a research group focused on "studying the intersection between motivation and identity to improve engineering students’ success," which was also a focus of her dissertation.

Get to know a little more about Wallwey with our top five getting to know you Qs:

Why Virginia Tech? What do you love about VT?

I chose Virginia Tech because of the strong and supportive engineering education department. While the campus and surrounding area is beautiful, what stood out to me most was the sense of community I could feel in the engineering education department and the commitment they have to their employee and student success and happiness.

What’s your favorite thing about being a professor/faculty?

My favorite thing about being a professor/faculty is having the opportunity to help students learn and grow both as engineers and as individuals. Being a part of students' learning experiences and working to support their success is the most rewarding part of the job for me.

What does your research entail? What do you hope will come of it?

My research focuses on how instructors and GTAs communicate with students about their learning (feedback) and how those communications inform students' motivation and their engagement in engineering courses. My dissertation research found that while feedback does function to improve learning, students also use feedback to make determinations about their belonging in a space and how much others care if they succeed or learn and make decisions from those determinations. I hope to use these findings to inspire future research on how instructors can better communicate with students to make engineering a more inclusive learning community.

What originally got you interested in your work and/or research?

What put me on the path I am today is my focus and genuine interest in student success, happiness, and well-being. Ever since being an undergraduate teaching assistant in engineering I have aimed to create classroom learning spaces that are student success-focused. I have found a career and research area that allows me to continue this and impact more students with each semester through my own teaching style, research outputs, and leadership positions.

What advice do you have for graduate students looks to join the engineering education field?

My biggest piece of advice for students looking into the engineering education field is to go into the experience with an open mind. Graduate school and conducting research is a wonderful opportunity to expand your worldview, have new experiences, and learn more than a grad school curriculum can plan/outline.