New research project sponsored by NSF

Dr. Shealy was recently awarded a research grant in collaboration with faculty at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte to study systems thinking in engineering students. Systems thinking is the ability to recognize interactions and optimize connections between components in a system. This type of thinking is critical to solve complex problems like climate change, traffic congestion, and to meet the demands of global construction projects. The research uses a novel approach to help students more quickly think in systems with the help of concept maps. The project also takes advantage of Dr. Shealy’s unique neuroimaging lab in Patton Hall to measure how changes occur in students’ brain when concept mapping.


This project is the next step in understanding how to develop systems thinkers.

We began work related to systems thinking through a SEAD Grant from Virginia Tech's Institute for Creativity, Art and Technology and used this SEAD funding to support Mo Hu's master thesis. The results of Master's Thesis are published here in the Journal of Cleaner Production.


You can read more about the project at NSF's website.

Tripp Shealy • Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering • Virginia Tech