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CEED: Summer Programs Overview

Updated: Nov 17, 2021



What is CEED?


The Center for the Enhancement of Engineering Diversity (CEED) has been at Virginia


Tech since 1992 and consists of numerous programs targeted to help increase diversity in the College of Engineering. Kim Lester serves as the director of pre-college programs for CEED and works to ensure that all students feel welcome at VT and are well informed about opportunities.

Kim Lester, Director of Pre-College programs at Virginia Tech.
Kim Lester, Director of Pre-College programs at Virginia Tech.



CEED's programs "start with exposure at the middle school level, and then continue to offer opportunities during both the summer and the academic year as they progress through high school and beyond."






Black Engineering Excellence (BEE)


One of the pre-college programs offered by CEED is Black Engineering Excellence. Summer of 2021 was the first year that the program was offered at VT. The BEE program focuses on allowing participants to explore the opportunities that are available to them as underrepresented students.


The first year of the Black Engineering Excellence CEED summer program. Photo / CEED at VT
The first year of the Black Engineering Excellence CEED summer program. Photo / CEED at VT
In order to have participants connect with the African American community at VT, “current African American engineering students were consulted in the planning phase of the program” and “all counselors are current African American students at VT” (Lester).

The program is two weeks long and works to inform participants of the college admissions process through “My Next Steps - College Prep” sessions by Jesika

McDaniels, a masters student in the College of Education. Although the program took place in a virtual setting this year, students were still able to participate in hands-on activities and group projects such as a Cybersecurity Capture the Flag competition. For the competition, students worked in groups to complete challenges related to engineering and computer science related applications. The competition was sponsored by the CIA and the winning team received a trophy. Students were also provided with the opportunity to attend faculty lunch-and-learns to explore engineering.


The BEE Participant Experience


The program helped to change participants’ views on engineering. Many students had been previously unaware of the different support groups that are available to them at VT such as peer mentoring and the Ujima Living Learning Community (LLC). After attending the program, many students were left feeling confident for their future in engineering.


BEE participant with Hokie Bird! Photo / CEED at VT
BEE participant with Hokie Bird! Photo / CEED at VT
A participant in the BEE program, Sydney Richardson, said that “receiving first hand information from other minority students, particularly Black students, was really beneficial for me as I heavily consider applying to VT.”

Since the program was specifically designed for African American students, participants were able to relate to the activities on a personal level and learn how to deal with difficulties they may face as minority students.


Another participant, Joshua Caldwell said that the BEE program “showed me that no matter what field I go into, I’ll have a community that accepts and adapts with me.”

CEED’s main goal when having pre-college programs is to ensure that all students feel welcome and supported.


What is C-Tech^2?


C-Tech^2 is a pre-college summer program that helps girls to explore their interest in the engineering field. The program hopes to give more women the opportunity to take part in STEM.


C’Tech^2 participants working on the balsa wood airplane activity. Photo / CEED at VT
C’Tech^2 participants working on the balsa wood airplane activity. Photo / CEED at VT
When looking at statistics, “the entering class in the College of Engineering is only 21% female. Given these odds, it’s important for young women to have a support group they can turn to” (Lester).

C-Tech^2 makes sure that their participants are aware of the support available at VT.


Some of the activities that the program has to offer include a design project sponsored by General Electric (GE), guest speakers, small group design challenges, and a balsa wood airplane activity. In previous years when the program was in-person, students

were able to visit different places in Blacksburg with their small groups and hiked to the Cascade Falls. Although students this year were unable to be in-person, they participated in fun design challenges and a mini Olympics during their team time. For the GE design project, the participants were split into groups and tasked with designing a prototype and presenting it to guests from GE. Although they were in a virtual setting, the students were able to successfully complete their projects and the top presenters

received an award. The C-Tech^2 program prepares students for the college admissions process and helps participants to gage their interests in engineering through guest speakers. The guest speakers went over topics such as the biomechanics of sport, computer simulations of metallic alloys, and self-care practices. In addition, participants were given an opportunity to attend lunch-and-learns that went over engineering majors with professors.

Picture of 2019 Skippers group within C’Tech^2 at the VT Hokie Stone mine.
Picture of 2019 Skippers group within C’Tech^2 at the VT Hokie Stone mine.


After attending C-Tech^2, “typically, 40 - 50% of the participants matriculate at Virginia Tech. Fifty three percent of the eligible participants will begin their studies at VT this fall. Most of these are in engineering, but we also have students joining Pamplin and the College of Science” (Lester).




C-Tech^2 is helping to increase diversity and strives to help women feel confident and learn more about STEM.


C-Tech^2 Participants


A participant in C-Tech^2, Lily Donaldson, said “I’m so lucky [that] I had the opportunity to participate in the C-Tech^2 program. But there should be more programs like this everywhere for women interested in STEM, especially in high school. With these programs, female students can better understand the expectations and realities of working in STEM fields… Ultimately, we can begin to bridge the obvious gender gap existing in the work force today.”

The goal of C-Tech^2 is to help females to learn more about the STEM field and the type of work it entails career wise.


Previous C’Tech^2 group working on projects. Photo / CEED at VT
Previous C’Tech^2 group working on projects. Photo / CEED at VT
Amalia Johnson, a participant, mentioned that “the environment seems so nice, and the academics seem very well-developed. I know that I’d be very happy attending VT if it’s anything like C-Tech^2!”

The program helps people to develop lifelong friendships and skills that they can carry with them throughout college and their careers. VT provides support for each of their students and through CEED pre-college summer programs, prospective students from all over the world are able to participate and see all that VT has to offer.

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