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Vertically Integrated Projects @ Virginia Tech


About VIP@VT

Consistent with the Hume Center’s mission to perform workforce development for the Department of Defense and Intelligence Community, the Vertically Integrated Projects at Virginia Tech (VIP@VT) program is sponsored by the Office of Naval Research to establish an undergraduate experiential learning structure that supports the cultivation of a pipeline of students for the civilian Navy workforce, broader Department of Defense, and the intelligence community.

The team-based experiential learning model used in the VIP@VT program is adapted from a broader VIP consortium, which consists of 31 universities globally; however, the starting emphasis for Virginia Tech’s program, which has a history of hands-on/minds-on education, is for restricted research topics that support national security and cybersecurity.

One of the key advantages of the VIP program is that students can jump into hands-on research during their freshman/sophomore years and gain 2-3 years of experience in an area, with multiple Engineering departments also willing to structure senior design classes to work in tandem with VIP. To facilitate recruitment, the VIP@VT program created an Introduction to Restricted Research class to introduce students to DoD and IC missions. The current VIP portfolio has four different projects, with sponsorship from ONR; Naval Surface Warfare Center in Crane, IN; the Defense Intelligence Agency; and Raytheon IIS.

The VIP Projects include a Quantum Team, a HACK RFML Team, a IC CAE Team, a Raytheon Fellowship Team, and an Antenna Range Team.

The VIP Consortium is a nonprofit alliance of higher education institutions with Vertically Integrated Projects (VIP) programs. In VIP programs, teams of undergraduate students – from various academic years and disciplines – work with faculty and their graduate students on ambitious, long-term projects. Undergraduates are directly involved in the research and innovation process, applying their own knowledge and insights to unsolved problems. 

To see what universities are a part of the VIP Consortium, click here.

ENGE 2984: Intro to Engineering Research

A special studies seminar that will give prospective engineering students an introduction to engineering research methods and on-campus experiential learning opportunities. The class will be taught as an evening seminar and introduce mission areas common to the DoD and Intelligence Community, highlight multi-disciplinary design problems through case studies and guest speakers, incorporate student visits to labs around campus, and connect students with VT professors performing undergraduate research on campus. As an added incentive to keep discussion lively and interactive, food will be provided during most sessions.

Summary Details
  • What: ENGE 2984, Intro to [Restricted] Engineering Research
  • When: Spring 2020, Mondays 5:30-7:30pm
  • Who: You! + 74-99 of your future friends
  • Instructor: Alan J. Michaels, PhD
  • In the [restricted] section, students will be introduced to research topics and examples that are restricted by ITAR/DFAR regulations. As such, all students must be U.S. citizens and will take the Restricted Research Training during session 2 of the class. An unrestricted section is planned in future semesters.

Recent progress since the last report (annual report in June 2019) has focused primarily on completing the approval process for the Introduction to Restricted Research course; our goal is to offer this class (all course materials are now drafted) to second semester freshman / first-semester sophomores through the College of Engineering. The VIP@VT team is meeting with an Associate Provost and the College of Engineering representatives on 31 July 2019 to also look at rolling out a broader version of the VIP@VT program – their interests are primarily in the non-ITAR experiential learning objectives, which were recently identified by the Provost as being one of his larger focus/investment areas, so I anticipate that the VIP@VT team will benefit from the broader endorsement and acceptance of our proposed curriculum if adopted.

Other prograss in this second year of the grant has focused on beginning to build the stakeholder’s board of civilian Navy personnel that will help review and provide guidance to the ongoing review of VIP@VT teams and projects. I recently attended the Naval Engineering Education Consortium (NEEC) annual conference at NUWC Newport as part of these discussions and have secured verbal commitments for participation from representatives at NSWC Dahlgren, NSWC Crane, and NRL; followup discussions with other NEEC participants are ongoing. One of the early strategic questions for this advisory board will be whether including contractor involvement (Northrop Undersea Systems and Raytheon IIS have volunteered) is worth the dilution to achieve larger resources / long-term sustainability.

Both working towards formal endorsement of the VIP@VT developed Introduction to Restricted Research course and beginning to formulate our advisory board are key elements towards long-term success of the VIP@VT program.

VIP Personnel