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Dean Ross sitting in a leather chair.

Leading the charge into new territory

With our 2023 spring commencement ceremonies only a few weeks behind us, we are still enjoying the positive energy surrounding this life-changing event for our students. We pride ourselves on preparing highly prepared graduates who are ready to tackle industry’s toughest challenges. To look for answers beyond their immediate sightline. To seek out collaborative opportunities. And to create positive change in the world. As the commonwealth’s largest and most comprehensive engineering program, Virginia Tech Engineering must also lead the charge into new territory.

With that mission in mind, we have initiated several projects that expand the depth of our work. This spring, we launched an ambitious plan to transform our graduate engineering education system, unifying and improving numerous processes around the college through our new PROTÉGÉ center. The college’s new Dean’s Fellows Program will provide support for this project and others by growing our leadership capacity through mentoring and professional development. Meanwhile, we continue to identify and allocate resources to cross-cutting research investment areas that maximize collaboration and impact.

Outside our Blacksburg campus, the college has broadened its reach, specifically through our work in Northern Virginia. In February, I was named a special advisor to President Tim Sands, and as such, I will help guide Virginia Tech’s presence in the greater Washington, D.C., metro area. As we expand our physical footprint in the region, my role will help align the timing and priority of our projects there, infusing our expanding horizons with purpose and clarity.

Our work even extends beyond the world as we know it! In this spring’s issue of the Virginia Tech Engineer, we explore research on wound healing that packs an “experiment in a suitcase” aboard the International Space Station. Other stories in this issue, though anchored in more earthen pursuits, similarly demonstrate what’s possible with shared vision and aligned resources. Student teams from across engineering disciplines have come together in our first Interdisciplinary Capstone course, and numerous faculty members have contributed their expertise to the complex world of additive manufacturing.

Our commencement ceremonies come twice a year, but we can keep the forward momentum going all year long. Your ongoing support helps us set bold goals that support the college and enable our faculty, staff, and students to reach their full potential. Thank you for making it an exciting time to be part of Virginia Tech Engineering.

Julia M. Ross Signature

Julie M. Ross
Paul and Dorothea Torgersen Dean of Engineering

If you want to have an impact on our students and faculty like those featured in this magazine, go here to support the College of Engineering. For more information, call (540) 231-3628.