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including The Conductor, a special section of the Spectrum printed 4 times a year
Watford honored by National Technical Association

By Liz Crumbley

Spectrum Volume 20 Issue 04 - September 18, 1997

Bevlee A. Watford, associate dean for academic affairs and director of Minority Engineering Programs (MEP) for the Virginia Tech College of Engineering, was honored by the National Technical Association (NTA) in its second annual Top Minority Women in Science and Engineering issue of the NTA Journal.

The Philadelphia-based NTA established the roster of top minority-member women to honor those who have made outstanding contributions to academia, industry, the government, and the non-profit sector.

Watford is among 10 women who were given highlighted coverage in the special issue because of their "exemplary achievements" as judged by the review panel. In all, 47 minority-member women were recognized in the journal.

Watford, a Virginia Tech engineering alumna, 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, enrollment of black engineering freshmen has increased more than 90 percent. Retention rates for minority members also have improved, particularly at the critical freshman-to-sophomore level, where the retention rate has increased more than 50 percent.

The NTA recognized Watford for other career achievements, including tenure on the engineering faculty of Clemson University; selection in 1989 as the Young Engineer of the Year by the South Carolina Board of Professional Engineers; receiving, in 1996, the Virginia Tech Affirmative Action Award and the Certificate of Recognition for Outstanding Service to Students, presented by the university's Black Caucus; and receiving the Charles A. Tunstall Outstanding MEP Award from National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) in 1997.

Watford serves on the boards of directors of the YMCA of Virginia Tech and of the Apple Ridge Foundation, a non-profit organization that provides enrichment experiences for urban youth. She also is faculty advisor for the Virginia Tech Chapter of NSBE.