NSF Awards Virginia Tech with $5M Grant to Increase the Success of Engineering Transfer Students

Dr. Bevlee Watford, PI (left), Dr. Walter Lee, CoPI (middle), and Dr. David Knight, CoPI (right)

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded a five-year, $5M grant to Dr. Bevlee Watford, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Director of the Center of Enhancement of Engineering Diversity, along with Drs. Walter Lee and David Knight, Assistant Professors in Engineering Education.  The project is titled, The Virginia Tech Network for Engineering Transfer Students (VT-NETS).

The project is geared to increase the success of engineering transfer students following the community college-to-bachelor's degree pathway.  Virginia Tech will work collaboratively on the S-STEM project with Virginia Western Community College and Northern Virginia Community College.  This grant will allow for 336 scholarships to be awarded across all three institutions.  Between the scholarship assistance and frequent early interactions between Virginia Tech and the students, this will increase the potential for more successful engineering transfer students with a timely completion in a bachelor degree program.  

The primary goals of the study is to design, implement and test curricular and co-curricular activities that will support engineering transfer students following the community college-to-bachelor degree pathway.  Drs. Watford, Lee, and Knight will use an embedded case study approach designed to advance understanding around the success, retention, transfer, and graduation for low-income engineering students. This project will help educators create better practices to integrate into their current retention strategies that will increase the success of engineering transfer students nationwide.