Virginia Tech doctoral student Jacob Grohs is one of 10 students who received the 2015 K. Patricia Cross Future Leaders Award from the American Association of Colleges and Universities. 

According to the association, the award “recognizes graduate students who show exemplary promise as future leaders of higher education; who demonstrate a commitment to developing academic and civic responsibility in themselves and in others; and whose work reflects a strong emphasis on teaching and learning. 

The association’s national award is named for K. Patricia Cross, a professor of higher education, emerita, at the University of California, Berkeley.

“This is quite an honor,” said Vice President and Dean for Graduate Education Karen P. DePauw, who attended the AAC&U annual meeting in Washington D.C. Jan. 21-24. “I don’t think we’ve ever had a Cross award winner at the Graduate School.”

Grohs, who is known to friends and colleagues by his nickname, Jake, is an instructor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering and Mechanics and is currently a doctoral candidate in educational psychology. He earned a Master of Arts degree in educational psychology in 2012 and a Master of Science degree in engineering mechanics in 2009, both from Virginia Tech. 

He also earned his bachelor's degree at Virginia Tech.

He has served as an associate director and assistant director for VT Engage from 2009 to 2014, has received several leadership awards from Virginia Tech and has been featured at Graduate Teaching Assistant workshops. 

Grohs also was a Graduate School Global Perspectives Program fellow in 2014.

Grohs’ research interests are systems thinking and problem-solving competencies and critical general education competencies.

Shelli Fowler, senior director of networked pedagogies and professional development in Technology-enhanced Learning and Online Strategies, and associate professor of English in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, serves on Jake’s dissertation committee and nominated him for the award. Fowler also directs the university’s Graduate Education Development Institute.  

"It was an honor to nominate Jake for a K. Patricia Cross Future Leaders Award,” said Fowler. “He is the kind of graduate student who is already making a difference for students through his teaching and for higher education through his research.  Jake has participated in GEDI, Preparing the Future Professoriate, and is a Global Perspectives Fellow. He has taken full advantage of the Transformative Graduate Education program, and I believe I learn as much from Jake as he does from me." 

Grohs and the other Cross Scholars were honored at the AAC&U annual meeting and presented a session, “Faculty of the Future: Voices from the Next Generation.”

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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