Melissa "Missy" Hughes of Blacksburg, Va., a Virginia Tech student majoring in mechanical engineering, is the first undergraduate from the university to intern with Rolls-Royce in the United Kingdom under the auspices of the new partnership between the company and the state of Virginia.

Hughes will work at the Advanced Manufacturing Research Center in Sheffield, United Kingdom, during the summer as part of Virginia Tech's partnership with Rolls-Royce. She will be responsible for identifying how improvements can be made in the flow of information at the center, and subsequently recommend new strategies.

The partnership was announced in 2007 when Rolls-Royce first decided to build a new jet engineering manufacturing plant in Prince George County in Virginia. As part of Rolls-Royce's decision to locate its facility in Virginia, Virginia Tech and the University of Virginia became part of an innovative partnership that includes the Virginia Community College System to collaborate with the company on a variety of fronts in both engineering and business.

Hughes, who also is pursuing a minor in music, is a graduate of Franklin County High School of Rocky Mount, Va., and attended the Roanoke Valley Governor's School. She previously interned with General Electric, and she was a mechanical engineering research laboratory assistant.

While at Virginia Tech, she has received a host of honors:  the Nathnael Gebreyes Service Scholarship, the Bernard Silverman Scholarship, Tom and Tonya Carter Alumni Scholarship, Edward H. Cahill Memorial Scholarship, Robert C. Byrd Scholarship, Pamplin Leadership Scholarship, the National Association for Retired Federal Employees Scholarship, and the Franklin County/Smith Mountain Lake Alumni Association Scholarship.

Hughes serves as a mentor for first year women engineering students, and has traveled on two mission trips to Haiti. With the Wesley Foundation, she is active with Habitat for Humanity, Relay for Life, the Big Event, and the Montgomery County Christmas Store.

In the fall she will be a section leader with the Marching Virginians.