The Founding Director of PAVE

Associate Dean John R. Veillette created Vanderbilt University's first comprehensive pre-college summer program known as PAVE (Preparatory Academics for a Vanderbilt Education) in 1990, and the first transfer and pre-graduate summer programs in 1993.

Professor John Veillette presented his proposal for PAVE to Chancellor Joe B. Wyatt and the program received approval from Vanderbilt University's Board of Trust to implement PAVE in the summer of 1991. Professor John Veillette served as PAVE's founding director from 1990 - 2017.

Each summer, Professor Veillette directed a team of 48 professionals and a diverse group of 275 students.* In addition to the PAVE program, Professor Veillette created and directed an extended PAVE program for students who continued their studies at Vanderbilt following the pre-college PAVE summer program. He also established academic reinforcement sessions via the PAVE Center, and numerous other support programs for the PAVE alumni during their undergraduate studies. Professor Veillette also, created and directed special programs for international PAVE alumni and for first-generation college students who were PAVE alumni at Vanderbilt University.

Professor Veillette is an ex-officio member of the PAVE Executive Committee, PEC. PEC is an external group of PAVE alumni who consist of a wide cross section of professions. The alumni provide direct feedback to the senior management regarding the evolution of the program.

Professor Veillette is recognized as an expert in STEM education (K12 - graduate level), international educational sponsorship initiatives pertaining to training, development, human resources and human capital initiatives; recruitment programs; enrollment management; first-generation college student initiatives; bridge programs; social, mobile, digital, and online platforms for learning, training, database injection via MySQL for user driven input/data, and marketing; data analysis to drive results; evaluating and optimizing transfer credits**; designing, delivering, coordinating, managing, training, revising, evaluating curriculum and course(s) content; and evaluating the success of academic and training programs, including retention. Professor Veillette also has extensive experience in marketing and advertising strategies, product development, customer service management, task prioritization and goal optimization, planning and budgeting, project management, team development; change management; collaborating with other departments and divisions in order to streamline processes, reduce costs, and increase efficiency while optimizing objectives; and, mentoring, coaching, and advising undergraduate senior teams working on industry based projects in a cross-section of engineering and business applications. He has received many teaching awards, including Vanderbilt University's Diversity and Affirmative Action Award, the Best Research Paper Award, the VUSE Service Award, and the Faculty Advisor of the Year Award. Recognized by many organizations for his executive level leadership, he co-chairs the ExxonMobil SIP committee, and works closely with numerous international ministries of education and research. Dr. Veillette also collaborates with many international corporate sponsors throughout the world. Dr. Veillette has worked on special programs with the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development office, the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development office, the Tennessee Department of Transportation office, and the Tennessee National Guard's State Partnership office.

Dr. Veillette has extensive experience in solving complex problems related to manufacturing and testing. He is well known for his innovative design and fabrication of experimental testing systems which have resulted in a number of patents. He uses the results of his experiments to validate his numerical, mathematical and/or computer model results of structural and mechanical systems. Additionally, Dr. Veillette also has a broad background using testing equipment and fabrication specification adherence with repeatability and consistency objectives.

The Pre-College PAVE Program

PAVE was a five-week Vanderbilt summer program designed for rising high school seniors and first-year college students who planned to enter a college engineering, pre-medical/healthcare, humanities, science, or technology based undergraduate program. In addition to strengthening a student’s background while having fun, PAVE helped students decide if an engineering, medical/healthcare, science, or humanities degree was really the ideal undergraduate path for them. Additionally, PAVE was a valuable experience if a student was undecided as to a college major.

PAVE provided each participant the opportunity to improve his/her problem solving/critical thinking, technical and reflective writing, computer knowledge, and laboratory skills, as well as the ability to explore the humanities, work on application-oriented team projects and explore emerging technologies, attend a number of special-topic guest lectures/experiences, and change his/her academic selections throughout the program. Additionally, participants who were involved in the musical arts, volunteering, and athletics during the school year could continue these and other passions during the PAVE program. If, after a student’s undergraduate degree, (s)he was considering obtaining a business, humanities, engineering, science, journalism, law, or medical/healthcare degree, (s)he would benefit from having the experiences that PAVE provided.

PAVE Program of Study

The PAVE curriculum was very well integrated for a true, well-rounded college experience. Daily faculty lectures were supplemented with small group discussions and individual instruction from faculty and counselors. Students completed three formal laboratory exercises from a selection of fields developed from surveying the participants' interests. Students also had the option to attend a number of participant-driven, special-topic guest lectures/experiences, work on application-oriented team projects expanding on the course work and labs, and enroll in humanities short courses.

A typical daily schedule included:

  • three hours of lecture or lab work
  • one-and-a-half hours of course work applications/recitations
  • one to two hours of homework

The Vanderbilt PAVE faculty and scholars taught:

  • participant-selected areas of interest, including, but not limited to, engineering, the humanities, the sciences, technology, and post-undergraduate disciplines (e.g., medicine/healthcare)
  • college majors and minors/career exploration, including a technical degree as a gateway to a degree in business, journalism, law, or medicine/healthcare
  • a wide range of academic options where the participants had the opportunity to change their selections throughout the program
  • problem solving and critical thinking skills, techniques, and exercises
  • laboratory experimentation and reporting
  • technical and reflective writing
  • integrated computer applications/skills
  • participant-driven special topics and emerging technologies lectures/experiences
  • application-oriented team projects
  • modeling and simulation of real world systems
  • college success skills, including time/study management

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* Approximately 80% of the participating students came from across the USA. International students came from Brazil, Canada, China, Cyprus, France, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Italy, KSA, Kuwait, Malaysia, Mexico, Oman, Papua New Guinea, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Tanzania, Thailand, Turkey, UAE, UK and Venezuela.

** Assisted community colleges in modifying their course content or adding course(s) in order to optimize their students' transfer credits.

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