Holly Matusovich, associate professor in the department of engineering education, has received the Graduate School’s 2018 Faculty Outstanding Mentor Award for the College of Engineering.

Sponsored by the Graduate School, the annual award recognizes excellence in mentoring graduate students. Students nominate recipients, and one professor from each college receives an award.

Matusovich returned to academia after 12 years of professional experience. Her research focuses on understanding and influencing student and faculty motivation and student identity development in the context of engineering education and professional careers. Matusovich has received $5 million in sponsored research projects, including several collaborative projects with colleagues, and has published numerous journal articles and book chapters. She has advised 12 doctoral students and served on 21 graduate student committees at Virginia Tech.

“She [Holly] works to develop a deep understanding of each of her mentees and set academic standards accordingly,” John Morelock, Ph.D. candidate in engineering education, said. "She consistently works with students to help them set and reach new achievements and models exemplary technical and ethical practices in her field.”

Morelock’s words were echoed by all of the students who nominated her. Several former students said her guidance was invaluable after they graduated and began their professional lives. Several current and former students noted that Matusovich helped them overcome obstacles and work through difficult life experiences to achieve their goals and that it would not have been possible without her care and support.

Matusovich developed an inclusive research group. Meetings are so popular that former students join by video-conference. She has encouraged her students to write for publication and presentation and has helped them hone grant-writing skills.

 Matusovich earned her bachelor’s degree from Cornell University, her master’s degree from the University of Connecticut, and her doctorate from Purdue University.