Virginia Tech's Watford Wins National Minorities In Engineering Award
April 16, 2003
Bevlee Watford, associate dean for academic affairs and director of the Center for the Enhancement of Engineering Diversity in the Virginia Tech College of Engineering, has been chosen by the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) to receive the 2003 Minorities in Engineering Award.
The award, which is sponsored by DuPont and includes a $1,500 honorarium, recognizes outstanding achievements in increasing diversity in engineering programs. The award will be presented to Watford during ASEE's Annual Conference and Exposition to be held in June in Nashville, Tennessee.
Appointed as director of diversity programs for the Virginia Tech engineering college in 1992, Watford has developed numerous mentoring and training programs for students from the middle-school years through graduate studies. Her work has led to significant improvements in the engineering college's recruitment and retention rates for underrepresented students.
In 1997 she accepted the position of associate dean -- on condition that she could continue her work with diversity programs. Since that time, the Virginia Tech Student Engineers' Council, with Watford's assistance, has extended the mentoring programs that proved successful for underrepresented students to include all engineering undergraduates.
Watford also has secured well over $1.5 million in funding and support for undergraduate programs from a variety of sources including the General Electric Foundation, Intel, The Sloan Foundation, Corning Foundation, Honeywell International, Ingersoll Rand, and Microsoft.
Watford's leadership in improving educational opportunities for engineering students at Virginia Tech has been recognized with numerous honors. In 1996 she received Virginia Tech's Affirmative Action Award for improving the campus environment for minority and women students and she was featured in an article in Woman Engineer about how universities and companies offer support to women in engineering.
Two national honors were accorded Watford in 1997. She received the Charles A. Tunstall Outstanding MEP Award from the National Society for Black Engineers for her significant contributions to the success of African-American students at Virginia Tech, and she was selected as one of the 50 Top Minority Women in Science & Engineering by the National Technical Association.
In 2002, she received both the Virginia Tech Women's Center Advancing Women Award and the national Black Engineer of the Year Award/College Level Educator, presented by the Council of Engineering Deans of Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Lockheed Martin Corp., and USBE and Information Technology magazine.
In March of this year, Watford was elected president-elect of the Women in Engineering Programs & Advocates Network (WEPAN), a national non-profit educational organization founded in 1990 to enhance the success of women in the engineering profession.
Watford received her B.S. in mining engineering and her M.S. and Ph.D. in industrial and systems engineering, all from Virginia Tech. She was on the faculty of Clemson University before returning to her alma mater in 1992.