In just four short years, Natasha Smith has become an integral part of Virginia Tech's College of Engineering.

Her efforts as the director of enrollment management for the Department of Engineering Education have resulted in the improvement and overall efficiency of the department, and have made a positive impact on the thousands of students who join the college each year.

One of Smith’s biggest accomplishments involves the design and implementation of an automated process that determines if required coursework has been completed for students wishing to declare a major in the College of Engineering.

The process was something Smith identified a need for soon after arriving at Virginia Tech. In addition to the large number of students who declare an engineering major each year, there were also some aspects of the dated system the department was using that made it difficult to use.

The process used to take weeks to complete. Now, the new, more effective system allows students to complete the process in one day, eliminates the need for paper applications, and significantly reduces costs and human error.               

The department has successfully processed more than 4,500 change of major applications since its launch in 2012. 

Smith continues to explore ways to streamline the process with hopes of reducing the application processing time down to a half-day. 

“Our department is very fortunate to have an employee of such a high caliber and dedication; her efforts have not only resulted in the savings of many man-hours of tedious work but has also had a positive effect on thousands of students per year who anxiously wait for their major change status once they complete our first year program,” said Jenny Lo, chair of the Department of Engineering Education’s Faculty Honorifics Committee.

Smith's colleagues say they admire her ability to creatively solve problems while enhancing the department’s efficiency on a day to day basis.

She's been recognized as a nominee for the 2014 state-wide Governor's Award program in the innovation category for increasing productivity and cost savings through creativity and bright ideas implemented at Virginia Tech. Smith and her colleague Marlena McGlothlin-Lester were nominated for a 2013 Governor's Award as well.

Dedicated to its motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech takes a hands-on, engaging approach to education, preparing scholars to be leaders in their fields and communities. As the commonwealth’s most comprehensive university and its leading research institution, Virginia Tech offers 240 undergraduate and graduate degree programs to more than 31,000 students and manages a research portfolio of $513 million. The university fulfills its land-grant mission of transforming knowledge to practice through technological leadership and by fueling economic growth and job creation locally, regionally, and across Virginia.

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