Minority in Engineering Program director, IE alumna Womack honored at ASEE Conference

Virginia Booth Womack, a Purdue alumna and MEP director, received the DuPont Minorities in Engineering Award at the American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference on June 29.

Virginia Booth Womack received the DuPont Minorities in Engineering Award at the American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference.

Womack, director of the Minority in Engineering Program and a Purdue alumna, was presented with the award during a luncheon June 29 in Minneapolis.

Virginia Booth Womack

Virginia Booth Womack, Minority Engineering Program director (Credit: Teresa Walker)

The award, established in 1979, recognizes the importance of student diversity by ethnicity and gender in science, engineering and technology. It is conferred for outstanding achievements by an engineering or engineering technology educator in increasing student diversity within engineering and engineering technology programs and given to educators who, as part of their educational activity, assume or are charged with the responsibility for motivating underrepresented students to enter and continue in engineering or engineering technology curricula at the college or university level.

The award is endowed by DuPont and consists of a $1,500 honorarium, a certificate and a grant of $500 for travel expenses to the ASEE Annual Conference.

Since joining Purdue, Womack has developed and implemented a diverse range of programs for students ranging in level from third grade to PhD. The initiatives increased the interest, recruitment, enrollment and graduation of underrepresented domestic students.

Womack’s efforts for URM students in STEM have been recognized with a variety of prestigious distinctions. She received the Women History Maker Award at the 2018 Collaborative Network for Engineering and Computing Diversity Conference for her work as national president of the National Association of Multicultural Engineering Program Advocates (NAMEPA). In 2014-2015, she was honored with the MEP Director of the Year Award, which is given to a director who has demonstrated national thought leadership and has developed program models widely recognized as benchmarks suitable for national replication. In 2016, the Purdue MEP staff was recognized with the 2016 Black Graduate Student Association Engagement Award, given annually to an organization or individual who has made significant contributions to campus engagement, diversity and community outreach.

Womack also is a gifted leader in the classroom and received the Best Teacher of the Year Award in 2017 from one of the College’s learning communities. She was named as one of Indiana Business Journal’s “Women of Influence” in 2020.

Womack (BSIE ’91, BA Psychology ’92) was the first female national chair of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) in 1978. She also is a member of the founding chapter of NSBE at Purdue. From 2015-2019, she was president and executive director of NAMEPA.