Faculty Profile

Denise R. Simmons, PhD, PE, LEED-AP
Principal Faculty
Myers-Lawson School of Construction
Assistant Professor
Myers-Lawson School of Construction
Assistant Professor
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Affiliate Faculty
College of Architecture & Urban Studies
310A Bishop-Favrao Hall, MC 0188
1345 Perry Street

Research Supporting the Development of a Diverse, Prepared Workforce

Overarching Goals:

  1. To produce a clear understanding of the qualities graduates (particularly STEM graduates) should possess in the future [discipline specific]
  2. To produce evidence-­based changes in curricular and co-­curricular activities and in formal and informal settings to instill those qualities in the coming generation of professionals


My Interests:

I am interested in seeing more and diverse students complete engineering and construction degrees. My career vision is to become a global leader in research that builds capacity and broadens the participation of students completing engineering degrees and entering the technological workforce by shaping practices and policies in retention, informal learning, pedagogy, professional competency, workforce development and life-­long learning. My recent research aligned with this theme is in investigating students' gain in academic and professional outcomes from participating in co-­curricular activities. I am also interested in how students transfer knowledge from classroom settings to application (to real project and/or problem) and in investigating student development of leadership skills. The context for my interests are broad: K-12 afterschool & summer activities, technical colleges, 2 and 4-year institutions, industry settings, and informal settings such as musuems and zoos.


My Bio:

I am an assistant professor in the Myers-­Lawson School of Construction and an affiliate faculty in the Engineering Education Department at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University with my tenure line in civil engineering. I hold a B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. in civil engineering and a graduate certificate in engineering education – all from Clemson University. Until 2012, I was the director of the Savannah River Environmental Sciences Field Station. I have nearly fourteen years of engineering and project management experience working with public utility companies, a project management consulting company, and a software company. I received a NSF CAREER Award for my proposal entitled "Investigating Co-Curricular Participation of Students Underrepresented in Engineering." The work for this proposal begins July 2014.

I am a registered professional engineer, project management professional and LEED accredited professional.