CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - A new award given out across the country is bringing attention to universities by making sure their engineering programs are diverse.

The University of Virginia received an award for its diversity within the School of Engineering and Applied Science. The school is one of the first ever to be given a bronze award from the American Society of Engineering Education's Diversity Recognition Program.

Places like the Center for Diversity in Engineering have been created on UVA Grounds to help attract students who may not feel like part of the community from day one, according to UVA School of Engineering and Applied Science Executive Dean Pam Norris.

Nationally, just 21% of engineering students are women, but that number jumps to 33% at UVA.

“It’s also been really rewarding to see the increases in the population and how much easier it is now. Once you become one third of the population, you no longer feel like an outlier,” said Norris.

In 2017, the UVA School of Engineering and Applied Science adopted excellence in diversity as one of its core values. Now, an expansion is also planned for the Center for Diversity and Engineering space, to give more students an opportunity to learn and grow there.