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Faculty and staff in the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering are committed to fostering an inclusive environment. We strive to recruit and retain a high quality, diverse community of students, faculty, and staff.


The Department will collaborate with the College of Engineering and the University in developing and implementing activities and policies designed to recruit and assist underrepresented faculty, staff, and students in their personal development and academic/professional achievements.

Overarching Goals:

Increase the population within the Department of historically underrepresented groups in civil and environmental engineering by:

Promoting educational/professional opportunities and enrichment activities to disseminate best practices in diversity and inclusion of students, faculty, and staff through organized activities and collaborative efforts.

Creating programs that provide access and establish connections departmentally and across campus for students, faculty, and staff, in traditionally underrepresented groups.

Exposing individuals from historically excluded groups to research opportunities.

Mentoring students, faculty, and staff, from traditionally underrepresented groups/at-risk individuals, to provide guidance needed to help ensure their environment for work, research and/or study is welcoming and positive, to identify university resources when needed for retention, and to serve as transformative role models for those who may not yet understand their real potential in a university environment.

Enrich the departmental environment through exposure to new perspectives on cultures, beliefs, practices, tolerance, acceptance, and a welcoming climate.

Provide leadership in any capacity that tangibly promotes an environment where diversity is welcomed, fostered, and celebrated.



Zach Boykin from Camden, SC
joins VCEMP with
Dr. Freddy Paige (Fall 2019)

Quote: “Participating in the New Horizons program has enabled me to become a better writer. With some of the other scholars within the program, we have established a weekly writing group. My writing group serves as my support group. They guide me in setting achievable goals within my writing and holding myself accountable each week.”


Emily Jannace of Long Island, NY
joins TISE with
Dr. Kevin Heaslip (Fall 2019)

Quote: “New Horizons has been a beneficial part of my graduate career. It has offered multiple personal and professional experiences, as well as, mentorship. New Horizons has helped me determine fellowships, programs, and jobs to apply to. The Lunch and Learn programs have helped answer questions and discuss topics on many graduate students’ minds.”


Kaleigh Yost from Princeton, NJ
joins GEOT with
Dr.Russell Green (Spring 2019)

Quote: “Participating in the New Horizon program has allowed me to make connections with students in other disciplines and has helped me develop the skills necessary to be successful as a graduate student and future academic. Participation in the program-sponsored reading groups increased my research productivity and provided an opportunity to practice presenting technical information to a diverse audience. The feedback and mentorship from more senior graduate students involved in this program has been invaluable, and it has been reassuring to know that the New Horizons faculty and staff are invested our success and happiness both inside and outside the classroom.”


Wendell Grinton of Harmony, NC
joins VCEMP with
Dr. Freddy Paige (Fall 2018)

Quote: “Being a member of NHGS has helped me to improve my reading methods, writing skills, expand my network, increase my professional development, and grow as a leader. For example, NHGS now has critical reading and writing groups every semester to help graduate students improve their reading and writing skills. Also, I’ve been able to increase my network and professional development by getting heavily involved within the program. When I first arrived at VT, I was assigned a great peer mentor, who then inspired me to become a mentor myself to help graduate students smoothly transition into graduate life in Blacksburg. I would strongly suggest that anyone who is thinking about coming to VT look into becoming a member of NHGS.”


Kathryn Lopez from Miami, FL
joins EWR with
Dr. Marc Edwards (Fall 2018)

Quote: “I am grateful for the opportunity to be a part of the New Horizon program. Through workshops and seminars, this program has enhanced my professional development as well as expanded my professional network. Above all, the sense of community is what separates this program from others. Volunteering with the New Horizon Graduate Scholar Peer Mentoring program has been a fulfilling way to give back to the program. I would recommend the New Horizon program to any incoming students who may struggle to see themselves otherwise represented in graduate school. I have forged friendships and met great mentors through this amazing support system.



Please feel free to contact any committee members about departmental diversity initiatives. 

Gerardo Flintsch – Chair,