The 2012 National Association of Multicultural Engineering Program Advocates (NAMEPA) Presidents Award recipient is Bevlee Watford, Virginia Tech's College of Engineering associate dean for Academic Affairs and the director of the Center for the Enhancement of Engineering Diversity.

Watford exemplifies the program's mission, with "her volunteerism and service to the organization, " said Crystal S. Smith, president of NAMEPA.

The award is presented to Watford due to her support for the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) educational program. This award "honors members for their service and sustained commitment to civic participation. Dr. Watford is a member who inspires others to make service a central part of their lives," Smith added.

"We are very grateful and humbled by Dr. Watford's humanitarian efforts and life-long dedication to STEM," Smith said.

The awards ceremony will take place on Jan. 27, 2012, at the program's meeting in Scottsdale, Ariz.

"At a time when everyone from the president of the United States, to the governor of Virginia, to the president of Virginia Tech are calling for a greater emphasis on STEM education, it is wonderful that one of the nation's most successful STEM educators works for the Virginia Tech College of Engineering. This is a well-deserved award," said Richard C. Benson, dean of the college.

Since 1992, Watford has directed the Center for the Enhancement of Engineering Diversity at Virginia Tech. For nearly 20 years, she has worked to enrich the engineering profession through increased diversity.

In addition, Watford has accumulated a long history of service by leading and facilitating national workshops and presentations. She also served as a program rotational director with the National Science Foundation's Division of Undergraduate Education.  

She has held leadership roles with NAMEPA and the American Society of Engineering Education. Her positions have allowed her to further efforts to increase the recruitment and retention of women students in engineering as well as the re-entry of women into the engineering profession.

NAMEPA is a national network of educators and representatives from industry, government, and nonprofit organizations who share a common commitment to improving the recruitment and retention of African Americans, Hispanics, and American Indians earning degrees in engineering.