The Founding Director of PAVE

Associate Dean John R. Veillette created PAVE in 1990.

Professor John Veillette presented PAVE to Chancellor Joseph Wyatt and received approval from Vanderbilt University’s Board of Trust to start PAVE in the summer of 1991.

Each summer, he directed a team of 48 professionals and a diverse group of 275 participants*. In addition to the PAVE program, Dr. John Veillette created and directed the extended PAVE program for students continuing their studies at Vanderbilt following the pre-college PAVE summer program, academic reinforcement sessions via the PAVE Center, and numerous other support programs for the PAVE alumni during their undergraduate studies. Additionally, Professor Veillette, 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 from a wide cross section of professions who provide direct feedback to the senior management on the evolution of the program.

Dean Veillette also created and directed the transfer and pre-graduate school PAVE programs from 1993 – 2006 for international students.

Professor Veillette is recognized as an expert in STEM education, international educational sponsorship initiatives, recruitment programs, first-generation college student initiatives, and retention programs. He has received many teaching awards, Vanderbilt University’s diversity and affirmative action award, best research paper award, the VUSE service award, the faculty advisor of the year award, 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.

Professor John Veillette was the founding director of PAVE from 1990 – 2015.

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 were planning 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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* Around 80% of the participants came from across the USA. The 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.

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