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Student Experience + Success

Hispanic college institute

Student Experience + Success

Investment in student experience and success builds strong pathways for underrepresented and underserved students as they join the Hokie Nation. Some initiatives engage pre-college students to encourage matriculation. Others offer critical resources and community to students once they arrive to enhance the experience and foster a diverse and inclusive community.

Our goal is to maximize the number of students impacted, enhance programs that are making a difference, and support the continuum of student recruitment to career readiness.

Photo: High school students work on an air travel cybersecurity problem at Hispanic College Institute, a four-day, three-night pre-college empowerment program where they learn to overcome both real and perceived barriers to college access.


We’ve heard from our corporate partners that they expect new employees to be ready to work within a multinational corporation. Black College Institute is one way that we ensure students are prepared to make contributions for global good.

Menah Pratt-Clarke, Vice President for Strategic Affairs and Vice Provost for Inclusion and Diversity

Black College Institute group shot

The Black College Institute is a 5-day academic summer enrichment program designed to produce an ongoing pipeline of talent into Virginia Tech. While this program is designed to attract underrepresented and/or first-generation students, it welcomes the participation of any student who has a potential interest in Virginia Tech. In 2020, BCI engaged with 450 participants in the junior and senior program, and many of them then went on to apply to and enroll at Virginia Tech.


Center for the Enhancement of Engineering Diversity (CEED)

A College of Engineering Center, CEED is dedicated to enriching the engineering profession through pre-college, undergraduate, and graduate programs to recruit and retain underrepresented populations.

Cultural and Community Centers

The University's six Cultural and Community Centers advocate for a safe, inclusive environment and advise students as they navigate life at Virginia Tech. Through programming and events, they raise cultural awareness and invite the community to learn about and develop an appreciation for cultural differences.

Student Opportunities & Achievement Resources (SOAR)

An initiative of InclusiveVT, SOAR is a holistic support program dedicated to welcoming and retaining underrepresented minority students at Virginia Tech and promoting their success through campus collaborations.

Thinkabit Lab

The Thinkabit Lab experience, designed for K-12 students, offers an engaging environment—part lab, makerspace, and learning classroom—to foster creativity, collaboration and the critical skills necessary for the future technical workforce. The program is recognized nationally and internationally as a model for exposing students to STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) concepts.


BCI is a 5-day residential, immersive academic summer enrichment program that engages pre-college students within the context of African-American cultural experience.

Women’s Preview Weekend (WPW) provides an opportunity for young women who have been offered admission to the College of Engineering to visit the campus and make an informed decision about attending Virginia Tech. During Preview Weekend, students meet current students and faculty and get a first-hand look at Virginia Tech and the College of Engineering.

Virginia Tech's College Access Collaborative is an organizational unit dedicated to college access. It aims to increase academic preparation, access and affordability for first-generation, low-income, underrepresented minorities (Black, Latino, and Native American), women and students from rural and inner-city communities.

The First-Generation College Institute (FGCI) is a free three-day residential program designed to increase college student diversity, promote student empowerment, build community through service, and help students develop a college and/or career plan.

At HCI, Hispanic high school students from across the Commonwealth come together for this four-day, three-night pre-college empowerment program at Virginia Tech where they learn to overcome both real and perceived barriers to college access.

Pathways for Future Engineers is a multi-year Virginia Tech College of Engineering program designed to support first generation students and their families on the pathway from high school to an engineering degree. The program includes pre-college activities (while students are still in high school) as well as additional support as students pursue their undergraduate degree.

The Pre-College Initiative program aims to prepare students in grades 9-12 for college by stimulating interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. The Virginia Tech chapter of NSBE coordinates various events throughout the school year which high school students are invited to be a part of. By engaging the PCI participants in various hands-on activities and various activities that relate technology and engineering concepts—to show a real world application of these various academic focuses.

GEM fellows

Recruiting Initiative for Students in Engineering is a series of events starting with the spring of a student’s sophomore year in high school. Once per semester, the student are brought to Virginia Tech to experience both the technical and social side of college life. The first visit is for the Virginia Tech Spring Game. In the fall of their junior year they participate in VT NSBE’s Pre-College Initiative and return in the spring for the Admissions Open House. In the fall of their senior year, they are eligible to participate in Admission’s Fall Visitation program. They receive fee waived applications and learn of the admissions decision at the end of the Fall Visitation Program.

The Yates Society is a re-envisioning of The Yates Project, which honors Charles Yates, the first African American graduate of Virginia Tech.  It’s comprised of 50 Scholars who participate in all recruitment events offered through the Office of Undergraduate Admissions, helping contribute to a more diverse and inclusive student body at Virginia Tech. In return, these students receive a stipend and the Yates Society provides advocacy, support, and personal development opportunities to the Scholars.

STEP is a multi-week orientation program offered by CEED for first-year students entering the College of Engineering. Selected students are provided a jump start via academics, professional development opportunities, and mentoring during the summer prior to freshman year.

JUMPSTART is a new enrollment/course assistance program administered through the Office of Inclusion and Diversity. The program is designed to support underrepresented minority students who wish to enhance their experience and increase depth in key subjects including math, data sciences, english, and more. 

BMEN is a significant university effort to improve the academic performance, undergraduate experience, and graduation rates of Black male undergraduates. As a part of this holistic, community-driven approach, faculty, staff, and alumni focus on sustained engagement, transformative leadership practices, and sharing of resources.

Mentoring programs are available for each newly enrolled (freshman and transfer) engineering student. The mentors are upper-class engineering students who meet weekly with their freshman or transfer student team, providing them with the opportunity to discuss both academic and social issues. Students may choose from the following mentoring opportunities: AHORA (Academic Hispanic OutReach Alliance), BEST (Black Engineering Support Teams), GUEST (General Undergraduate Engineering Support Teams), and WEST (Women in Engineering Support Teams).

First-Generation Student Support helps to build awareness about first-generation student experiences, help students build community and creates a welcoming, inclusive environment. The Hokies First Peer Mentorning Program and VT Firsts Living-Learning Community are two key initaitives to help students.

Diversity scholars are graduate students who foster dialogue, provide advocacy, and implement change for a more diverse and inclusive experience for all graduate students, faculty, staff, and administrators. This involvement can take place in many forms and can be specific to a particular curriculum or department, or it can be more global.

Through partnerships with various academic colleges and departments at Virginia Tech, other colleges and universities, governmental entities, and various organizations, MAOP provides support for diverse students who demonstrate a clear commitment to the pursuit of academic excellence. 

NHGS are ambitious, diverse Engineering graduate students nominated by their departments to engage in a series of learning events and opportunities that strengthen their academic career and prepare them for their future one. This program is an initiative within CEED.

Virginia Tech is a member of GEM, a network of leading corporations, government laboratories, top universities, and top research institutions that enables qualified students from underrepresented communities to pursue graduate education in applied science and engineering.

The Ujima Living-Learning Community (LLC) places a special emphasis on understanding the unique experiences of African-Americans in society, including their experiences in college. Ujima is open to students of all backgrounds who are interested in understanding, supporting, and learning about African-American culture.

Contact LINK today to discuss how you can impact inclusion and diversity at Virginia Tech. |  (571) 858-3253