Bevlee A. Watford, associate dean for academic affairs and director of the Center for the Enhancement of Engineering Diversity (CEED), has received the university’s 2016 Presidential Principles of Community Award.
The award was established in 2013 by the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, now the Office of the Vice Provost for Inclusion and Diversity, to recognize faculty and staff members who exemplify and promote a welcoming and inclusive environment in accord with the university’s Principles of Community. One staff member and one faculty member are selected annually by the Commission on Equal Opportunity and Diversity and each receives a $2,000 cash prize.
A member of the Virginia Tech community since 1992, Watford has contributed significantly to the university’s diversity programs through CEED.
Under Watford’s leadership and guidance, CEED has implemented both summer and academic year pre-college outreach programs designed to educate, excite and encourage students to seek careers in STEM.
Watford’s contributions to the department include establishing a peer mentoring program, the STEP Summer Bridge Program, and the inVenTs Residential Community for CEED students to become more engaged with one another. As a direct result of the CEED program and Watford’s efforts, graduation and retention rates of under-represented groups has increased.
“Dr. Watford's extraordinary efforts though CEED have increased the numbers of underrepresented students who apply to our college, enroll in it, and graduate from our programs,” wrote Richard Benson, dean of engineering, in a letter of nomination. “She has improved the awareness of engineering as an exciting and rewarding career path not only within underrepresented groups but for a far wider spectrum of students.”
She has secured more the $6.5 million in funding and support from a variety of sources, including the National Science foundation, the State Council of Higher Education in Virginia, General Electric Foundation, Intel, Sloan Foundation, HHMI, and Microsoft.
She received her bachelor’s degree, master’s degree and Ph.D. from Virginia Tech.