UVA Engineering brings global challenges into our classrooms and laboratories, giving students opportunities to work closely with world-renowned researchers on issues that really matter. This approach means our students are ready to tackle whatever the future holds and to become leaders in their fields. Here are three important things to know about how we approach engineering education:

1. We believe students need hands-on experiences - and lots of them - in order to become true engineering leaders.

From the moment our students walk in the doors of UVA Engineering as first-years, they begin working on experiential projects and problems in the team-based Introduction to Engineering courses. The hands-on projects and team-based challenges continue throughout their studies at UVA Engineering, in classrooms, labs and student organizations.

Our alumni leave us so steeped in their hands-on experiences, they are generous in giving back to help the next generations of students have access to state-of-the-art project laboratories. Some recent additions to the School include:

Ann Warrick Lacy Student Experiential Center - The 20,000-square-foot Lacy Hall was made possible by a generous donation from Linwood A. “Chip” Lacy Jr., who is an alumnus of both the Engineering School and the Darden School of Business, and his wife, Constance “Connie” Lacy. The Ann Warrick Lacy Student Experiential Center, named for Chip Lacy's mother, occupies two floors of the building, and supports and inspires students in hands-on learning. The center has such features as open design areas and large bay doors for project vehicles.

Lacy Learning Lab in Rice Hall - The student project lab in Rice Hall room 120 is the ultimate maker space for students, with work tables, 3-D printers, hand tools and a parts cart.

National Instruments Engineering Discovery Lab - This $1.4 million laboratory is located in the Charles L. Brown Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering and is designed to provide state-of-the-art education and hands-on experiences. The space was made possible with generous donations from National Instruments; National Instruments’ co-founder, president and CEO James Truchard; National Instruments’ Senior Vice President and UVA Engineering alumnus Eric Starkloff; Barbara and Dudley White; and other UVA Engineering alumni. National Instruments also donated electrical equipment with which students can build and test components and devices.

2. We believe the best student ideas, like the best gardens, should be given an environment where they can grow and flourish.

The spirit of ingenuity that led 2005 Computer Science graduate Steve Huffman to found Reddit with his college roommate Alexis Ohanian (McIntire School of Commerce, '05), is thriving at UVA Engineering. Our strong student entrepreneurial ecosystem fosters a community of entrepreneurs and coaches students on how to take the ideas to competitions or to potential investors. The program also works in partnership with the UVA iLab at the Darden School of Business, where students can seek business and legal support for their entrepreneurial projects.

3. We believe true engineering leaders apply judgment, analysis, ethics and communication skills on a daily basis, so we teach our students to do so.

In order to compete in a global economy, our students will need much more than just a solid technical education. UVA Engineering's curriculum includes a strong foundation in communication, ethics, problem-solving, judgment and analysis. All of our students must complete a fourth-year thesis that demonstrates analysis and judgment in research.