Brooke Baugher has received a National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship to support her graduate work at Virginia Tech, where she is an M.S. student in The Vecellio Construction Engineering and Management Program.
The NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) seeks to develop a globally engaged workforce necessary to ensure the nation’s leadership in advancing science and engineering research and innovation. There were more than 12,000 applicants and 2,000 of those applicants received the award. The awards were given to “high-potential, early-career scientists and engineers to support their graduate research training in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields.” As part of the award, Brooke will receive tuition and a stipend for three years to complete her graduate studies.
For her application, she submitted a proposal to investigate different methods for teaching international service learning in engineering education. The purpose of her research is to understand how students best learn from these experiences while increasing the value of their projects in the communities in which they are working. In addition to the numerous international projects at Virginia Tech, she plans to draw from international service learning courses around the country for her research.
Brooke’s goal is to create a formal structure for international service learning that increases value to both students and community members that universities can use for their own engineering programs. “These opportunities have really shaped who I am as an individual and as an engineer. I hope to extend these experiences and life lessons to as many engineering students as I can,” she said.
As part of her research, Brooke will co-teach an undergraduate course in the Myers-Lawson School of Construction (MLSoC) for students in the fall titled “Global Design and Construction.” Students will travel to Rwanda, Africa over winter break to build their designs. Funding and administrative support for the course will also be provided by MLSoC.