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A non-profit publication of the Office of the University Relations of Virginia Tech,
including The Conductor, a special section of the Spectrum printed 4 times a year

Watford achieves national recognition

By Liz Crumbley

Spectrum Volume 19 Issue 29 - April 24, 1997

Bevlee Watford, an associate professor of industrial and systems engineering and director of Minority Engineering Programs (MEP) at Virginia Tech, received the Charles A. Tunstall Outstanding MEP Award during the 23rd annual National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) Convention in Boston in March.

The society presented the award to Watford in recognition of her significant contributions to the success of African-American students at the university. As MEP director, Watford, a Virginia Tech engineering alumnus, has developed numerous programs aimed at improving the environment for minority students in the Tech College of Engineering.

Since Watford became Tech's first MEP director in 1992, the number of black engineering freshmen has increased more than 60 percent. Retention rates for minority members also have improved, particularly at the critical freshman-to-sophomore level, where the retention rate increased from 51 percent in 1992 to 83 percent in 1994.

In 1996, Watford received the university's Affirmative Action Award in recognition of her work on behalf of minority and women students.

The NSBE established the Tunstall Award in memory of the former MEP director at the University of California at Berkeley.