Virginia Tech®home

2022 Administrative and Professional Faculty Award Nominees

Fifty-nine employees with a collective 679 years of service were nominated for the 2022 Administrative and Professional Faculty Award. These employees were recognized during a ceremony on July 13, where Bryan Garey, vice president for human resources, announced the winners.

View the 2022 Administrative and Professional Faculty Award winners here.

Congratulations to all of the 2022 Administrative and Professional Faculty Award nominees:

Team Nominations:

Annie Lawrence and Amy Hill

Team: Annie Lawrence, business and operations manager, Department of Mining and Minerals Engineering (MME); and Amy Hill, business manager, Department of Materials Science and Engineering (MSE)

Kray Luxbacher, head of the MME department, and Sean Corcoran, interim MSE department head, wrote in a letter of nomination: “They are highly valued members in both of our departments, but we want to especially recognize the impressive work they have accomplished well beyond their regular job duties this past year. Our departments moved into the newly renovated Holden Hall in March. Due to their careful planning and execution, they moved the bulk of the two departments in only one week, and they continued to manage their administrative and business tasks along the way. Together, they worked to ensure that individual department, faculty, and student needs were met, while creating a combined effort that allowed for a most efficient move.”


Rachel Parson and Stephanie Blevins Wycoff

Team: Rachel Parson, co-chair, Emerging Pests and Pest Management Program Team, Virginia Cooperative Extension; and Stephanie Blevins Wycoff, extension associate, pesticide safety education

Dana Beegle, publications manager, Virginia Tech Pesticide Programs, wrote in a letter of nomination: “What stands out most about all of Rachel and Stephanie’s work is its level of professionalism, relevance, and impact. They continuously provide programs, resources, and support at the highest level because of the wealth of knowledge and experience they share in pesticide safety education. Their programs are intensely relevant because of their ongoing dialogue with extension agents and applicators in the field. They underscore Virginia Tech’s commitment to service through programs that affect farmers and commercial pesticide applicators across a broad range of industries, as well as Virginia Tech faculty, staff, and extension professionals statewide.”


Diversity Education and Engagement Team

Team: Alicia Cohen, director of diversity education; Michelle Carter, director of diversity engagement; Sandy Martin, administrative assistant; and Victoria Ferguson, director of the Solitude Fraction site

In a letter of nomination, Stacy Wilkerson, chief of staff for the Office for Inclusion and Diversity, wrote: “The work of the diversity education and engagement (DEE) team has made Virginia Tech a leader in the field of diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice. The DEE team, led by Michele Deramo, is a dynamic group of talented and dedicated individuals committed within the field of justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion. The team strives for excellence at every level. Their deep commitment to this work is invaluable to the growth and development of Virginia Tech as a leader in the work of racial truth-telling and racial consciousness. I am incredibly proud to serve alongside this group of extraordinary individuals.”


Donor Growth Group

Team: Ann Bolton, director of annual giving; Grant Duncan, assistant athletic director, marketing and promotions; Ciji Good, director of special events; Shaun Grahe, senior director of young alumni programs and reunion programs; Brianna Kauhane, senior director of donor relations and prospect development; Evan Massengill, associate director, annual giving, VTAF, and assistant athletic director for fundraising strategy; Annie McCallum, director of advancement communications; and Stephen Milleson, director of integrated and digital marketing

In a letter of nomination, Rhonda Arsenault, senior associate vice president and COO, Advancement Division, wrote: “The Donor Growth Group deserves recognition for the consistent focus and hard work they have done since May 2020 to build and execute thoughtful, integrated plans for growing engagement and giving to achieve 22 percent undergraduate alumni participation by the end of FY22. Over time, this group has worked hard to move beyond any early awkwardness and friction and has become a team that shares ideas, works through disagreements and keeps goals top-of-mind in all work they and their respective teams touch. As a result of this team’s thoughtful, strategic, consistent work since spring 2020, Virginia Tech achieved 20 percent undergraduate alumni participation in FY21 and is now over 19 percent undergraduate participation as of mid-March (on pace to reach the 22 percent goal by end of this fiscal year).”


Event Services and Production Services teams

Team: Joshua Hall, production specialist; Clayton Kennedy, production services manager; Kendall Keyser, reservations manager; West Livingston, assistant director of production and event services; Amanda McDermott, production services coordinator; Spencer Stidd, assistant director of event services

Marjorielee Christianson, associate director, Office of Special Events, wrote in a letter of nomination: “For the Class of 2021, conferring their degrees also involved overcoming the strife of ‘unprecedented times’ that turned the world upside down. The ceremony was the first large in-person gathering since before the COVID-19 pandemic began, and Virginia Tech was challenged with keeping students and families safe while also maintaining the pomp and circumstance that graduates deserved. Student Engagement and Campus Life was pivotal to overcoming that challenge. The skill and effort of Event Services and Production Services, combined with the talent and grit of the special event and facilities teams, led to 16 wonderful graduation ceremonies for over 6,000 Hokies and 20,000 family members.”


Individual Nominations:

Amanda Covey, biomedical engineering graduate coordinator, Virginia Tech - Wake Forest University School of Biomedical Engineering and Sciences, joined Virginia Tech in 2019.

Jennifer Wayne, professor and head of the Department of Biomedical Engineering and Mechanics, wrote in a letter of nomination: “Amanda is a leader, innovative, and creative. She is an outstanding advisor to students and a fundamental lynchpin in our graduate program. Amanda has mastered institutional policies and procedures that guide graduate students to successful completion of their degrees and inform faculty of the needed steps. She facilitated this by taking the initiative to create documents, tools, websites, and tutorials. Amanda also plays a major role in student recruiting. Our success in a 50 percent increase in applications in fall 2021 is due in no small part to Amanda’s outreach and recruiting efforts.”


Eric Day, insect identification manager, Department of Etymology, joined Virginia Tech in 1986. He transitioned to the rank of A/P faculty in 2014.

Scott M. Salom, professor, Department of Entomology, wrote in a letter of nomination: “Eric embarked on a multi-year effort when the spotted lanternfly (SLF) was first found in Winchester, Virginia, in January 2018. Eric immersed himself in a wide range of activities centered on studying the pest and training extension personnel on everything we know about it. Virginia farmers and management professionals are as informed and prepared about this threatening problem as possible thanks to the energies and efforts by Eric, who recognized from the outset how difficult a problem this was going to be.”


Ellen Douglas, associate controller, Department of Insurance and Risk Management, has worked at Virginia Tech since 1987.

Ken Miller, vice president for finance, wrote in a letter of endorsement:” Ellen is a trusted, credible, and respected partner who builds strong working relationships with colleagues at Virginia Tech, at other universities, and with her state government counterparts. When university property is damaged from natural disasters such as fires and floods, Ellen jumps into action, working with stakeholders to comprehensively document and submit insurance claims for damage. Ellen offers an exceptional level of customer service and finds creative solutions to the most challenging problems. When the COVID-19 pandemic began, Ellen played an integral role in prioritizing the needs of our students who were abroad.”


Sarah Dreier, talent development specialist in Human Resources, joined Virginia Tech in 2019.

Susan Hughes, senior advisor to the vice president of Human Resources, wrote in a letter of nomination: “Sarah has been incredibly instrumental in developing and delivering new professional development programs and has also played a key role in the implementation and operationalizing of the new learning management system (LMS). In each and every interaction and observation, Sarah has been professional, positive, and productive. Another impressive program Sarah has been instrumental in developing and delivering is the training program ‘Leading in the Future Workplace.’ The program was initially introduced prior to the return to in-person classes in Fall 2021 and remains essential training as we evolve across campus to the new world of work.”


Paul Ely, associate director, capital construction renovations, joined Virginia Tech in 2018.

Brian M. Kleiner, Bogle Professor and director of the Myers-Lawson School of Construction, wrote in a letter of endorsement: “Paul Ely has uniquely and consistently created opportunities to integrate across academic, research, and service functions. Facilities at Virginia Tech has embraced the value proposition that they can augment the student experience and positively impact the industry by facilitating relationships and projects among faculty and contractors. Paul is the nexus for such collaboration. His work uniquely creates opportunities and synergies across academic, research, and internal functional domains. With the support from Paul, in-depth research has been completed on job sites.”


Kirk Felton, director of operations at the Fralin Life Sciences Institute (FLSI), joined Virginia Tech in 2013.

X.J. Meng, University Distinguished Professor and interim executive director of the FLSI, wrote in a letter of nomination: “Kirk provides outstanding operational support to Virginia Tech’s environmental and life sciences community through changes in leadership and business models. In the past four years, the institute went through some drastic changes: a merger (with the Biocomplexity Institute), a change of business model from a thematic institute to an investment institute, and several leadership changes. Through all these changes, Kirk has been the rock that stabilizes FLSI and an indispensable resource for the university. He is an exceptional A/P faculty member, and Virginia Tech is so lucky to have such a dedicated, loyal, and service-minded employee.”


Vianne Greek, web manager, Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine (VTCSOM), joined Virginia Tech in 2015.

Josh Meyer, director of communications for VTCSOM, wrote in a letter of nomination: “Vianne has taken a leading role in developing and championing accessibility at the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine and broadly at Virginia Tech. She is vigilant in ensuring that the school’s communications are accessible to everyone, no matter what disability or challenge they may have. Some examples of work she has done in the past year related to accessibility are: obtaining CPACC and WAS certifications to become CPWA (certified professional in web accessibility), creating monthly newsletters complete with ALT text and aria-labels to ensure those using screen readers get an equitable experience, and adding captions and transcripts to every video on the website.”


Stephanie Hart, director of the Advising Center in the College of Natural Resources and Environment (CNRE), joined Virginia Tech in 2013.

Dana McGuire assistant director of academic advising in the CNRE, wrote in a letter of nomination: “Stephanie is a compassionate, creative, and inspirational leader who serves in her role with humility. Her ability to lead through change came to the fore when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. She was unflappable and positive during the spring of 2020, and she doubled down on her insistence that her employees pay attention to and take care of their personal wellness. Amid this period of growth and disruption, Stephanie was able to leverage resources, her creative ideas for space utilization and advising improvement, and our center’s reputation for high quality, proactive advising to advocate for an additional advisor position. Stephanie is the type of leader we all need right now.”


Rodney Irvin, director of employee relations for Human Resources, joined Virginia Tech in 2011.

Sandee Cheynet, assistant vice president of talent for Human Resources, wrote in a letter of nomination: “Rodney’s leadership and guidance helped the university navigate through many complex employee relations issues associated with COVID-19 throughout the last year. With federal and state guidelines that were ever changing, Rodney provided valuable feedback regarding the implementation of policies and appropriate communications to employees and managers. Rodney has the ability to bring a wealth of knowledge and advice to supervisors and employees, which often results in a positive resolution of a problem. For years, he has serviced an institution of our size and magnitude with an unparalleled work ethic and resolve for making people feel heard and valued.”


Dawn Jefferies, director of visual strategy, University Relations, has worked at Virginia Tech since 2018.

Tracy Vosburgh, senior associate vice president, University Relations, wrote in a letter of nomination: “The extraordinary and imperative work Dawn did to support the heavy communications need during the pandemic directly impacted the ongoing functioning of the university, enhanced the work of others, and preserved Virginia Tech’s reputation. Dawn hosted well over 50 live conversations and town halls with experts and leadership on Zoom. She was a critical member of the team that made our virtual commencement and subsequent hybrid ceremonies possible. Virginia Tech’s reputation remained strong over the last few years, and Dawn’s contribution is an essential ingredient to our ability to uphold the leadership and the university brand in very dynamic times.”


Michelle Kovac, program manager of the Calhoun Honors Discovery Program (CHDP), has worked at Virginia Tech since 2015.

Katie Walkup, collegiate assistant professor of communication and sociotechnical systems, wrote in a letter of nomination: Since 2018, Katie has been instrumental in managing the CHDP, from recruiting and retaining students to maintaining relationships with industry partners, to serving on faculty hiring committees. She collaborates with the CHDP’s 110 students, 27 faculty and affiliated faculty, and 75-plus industry and nonprofit partners. The CHDP draws students from 15 different academic programs. Navigating diploma requirements, constructing four-year plans, and recruiting students present formidable challenges. She tackles these challenges daily.”


Kacy Lawrence, director of assessment and strategic data initiatives for the Graduate School, joined Virginia Tech in 2015.

Tremayne O. Waller, director of Graduate Student Programs for the College of Engineering, wrote in a letter of recommendation: “In addition to performing her job at an exemplary level, Kacy demonstrates an extraordinary leadership and commitment to the university community as well as to the general public. She moves efficiently to provide key information, recommendations, or direction when applying for grants or issues that may arise at Virginia Tech. She is a wonderful ambassador and leader to strengthen decision making and planning for the graduate school and the larger university.”


Laura Lehmann, environmental/agricultural research manager, Department of Biological Systems Engineering, has worked at Virginia Tech since 2004.

Theresa Wynn Thompson, associate professor in the Department of Biological Systems Engineering, wrote in a letter of nomination: “While Laura is clearly brilliant and hardworking, she is also dedicated to her job, her colleagues, and the students. She willingly provides technical support to her fellow lab managers within the department and to faculty across the university who need equipment assistance. She routinely stays late to help troubleshoot a problem with a graduate student and comes in on weekends to ensure that equipment is ready for a field research trip. I can think of no one else who so quietly and effectively has contributed so much to the success of environmental teaching and research programs at Virginia Tech.”


Robert Marcum, business and facilities manage for the Department of Computer Science, has worked for Virginia Tech since 2012.

Joan Monahan Watson, director of administrative operations, Department of Computer Science, wrote in a letter of endorsement: “Since April 2021, in particular, Robert has engaged in heroic – if not completely herculean – activities involving fiscal, facility, grant, and HR/payroll activities despite the limitations presented by COVID and amid a great deal of change to the Computer Science Department. Robert's fiscal responsibilities include the oversight of complex budgetary concerns for our expansive and expanding department with personnel and resources stretching from Blacksburg to Falls Church, Arlington, and now to Alexandria with the development of the Innovation Campus. Robert remains approachable, patient, and good-humored regardless of the many pressures he faces.”


Jordan Metzgar, curator, Massey Herbarium, joined Virginia Tech in 2017. In 2019 he was transitioned to the position of A/P faculty.

Robert Cohen, head of the Department of Biological Sciences, wrote in a letter of nomination: “Over the past five years, Dr. Metzgar has formed strong partnerships with schools, libraries, and numerous other local groups and engaging a large number of people of all ages with his infectious passion and knowledge of plants. He is an engaging and poised speaker, so that these efforts have brought substantial positive attention to the herbarium and the important role it plays in our state.”


Christa Miller, associate director for Services for Students with Disabilities, joined Virginia Tech in 2015.

Ashley Shew, associate professor, Department of Science, Technology, and Society, wrote in a letter of nomination: “Christa is absolutely the most knowledgeable person on this campus about disability services, technology, and the wider world of disability in higher education. She makes our campus better for the networks she participates in, the trainings she gives, and just the sheer practical knowledge she has around disability technologies and services. I know she’s expanded my own thinking about digital accessibility and inclusive design in so many ways – and her impact on our instructional faculty and students is really immeasurable in the ripple out of approaches and skills she’s shared on this campus.”


Robbie Morrison, associate extension agent, 4-H Youth Development, Campbell County Cooperative Extension, has worked for Virginia Tech since 2011.

Chantel Wilson, assistant professor 4-H STEAM extension specialist, wrote in a letter of nomination: “Robbie has consistently shown a true dedication to 4-H, routinely goes above and beyond, works nights and weekends to serve the youth of her county, and has engaged in several high-profile projects to bring accolades to both the Virginia Cooperative Extension and Virginia Tech. Robbie has taken a strong leadership approach with her teens and has embarked on a strong set of initiatives. Robbie’s work performance has not only helped me as a junior faculty member to implement grants as part of my tenure and promotion needs, she has also been an unwavering force in supporting her colleagues, lending assistance when needed, and truly serving as a positive mentor for 4-H youth in Campbell County and beyond.


Karen Munden, Family and Consumer Sciences extension agent, Virginia Beach Cooperative Extension, joined Virginia Tech in 2001.

Doris Baskfield-Heath, program associate, planning and reporting, in the Henrico County office of Virginia Cooperative Extension, wrote in a letter of nomination: “Karen has strived to increase the visibility of the Virginia Cooperative Extension and Virginia Tech at the local, state, and national levels as she served in numerous leadership roles such as state president for several state and national organizations. Over the years, Karen has developed many partnerships. She has become highly sought after to bring financial and consumer-based educational programs throughout the Hampton Roads area. Even though we experienced a pandemic, she did not stop providing educational programs and moved all her in-person programs to a virtual platform.”


Lauren Oliver, associate director of Living-Learning Programs, joined Virginia Tech in 2019.

Austin Council, instructor in the Department of Agricultural, Leadership, and Community Education, wrote in a letter of nomination: “Lauren served as an adjunct instructor for a course I was teaching, housed in one of Virginia Tech’s living-learning programs. She agreed to help me teach the class simply because she possesses an unwavering curiosity to learn and deep desire to create meaningful relationships. She helped me facilitate student learning, build curriculum, and re-structure key aspects of the course which by far enhanced the overall experience. I see Lauren all around campus doing the hard work of relationship-building, empathetic listening, and engaging with the issues that students face. Her fingerprints are all over Virginia Tech, and I have only witnessed a small portion.”


Alexandra Poetter, associate director for program execution for the Program Management Office at the Virginia Tech National Security Institute (NSI), has worked for Virginia Tech since 2012.

Eric G. Paterson, executive director of the NSI, wrote in a letter of nomination: “She has a profound understanding of research administration, and she nimbly operates between the Principal Investigators, Office of Sponsored Programs, Office of Export Control and Secure Research Compliance, Human Resources, and all of the NSI external constituencies, while providing leadership to her growing team. On a daily basis, she demonstrates dedication and creative problem-solving, and brings positive attention to the university.”


Swathi Prabhu, assistant director, mental health and bystander initiatives for Hokie Wellness, joined Virginia Tech in 2018.

Ashleigh Bingham, director of the LGBTQ+ Resource Center, wrote in a letter of nomination: “Swathi is an incredible colleague and I have learned a great deal from watching as she carefully, respectfully, and intentionally works with faculty, staff, and students to hold space, acknowledge differences, and work toward a more prosperous future. Swathi’s dedication and commitment to student wellness has been felt throughout Virginia Tech through her influences on the University Mental Health Advisory Group, LGBTQ+ Health Task Force, Women’s Center Racial Equity Strategic Planning Advisory Committee, and the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine’s new wellness-focused living-learning program. Buildings may change a campus’ skyline, but people like Swathi alter a university’s soul.”


John Provo, director, Center for Economic and Community Engagement, joined Virginia Tech in 2004.  

Guru Ghosh, vice president for outreach and international affairs, wrote in a letter of recommendation: “John has led the economic development initiatives at Virginia Tech for more than a decade and transformed the office into a university-level Center for Economic and Community Engagement (CECE). John provides significant leadership for the CECE and has been successful in securing extramural grants and being a national thought leader in the area of economic development. Under John's leadership, the center has increased opportunities for faculty and graduate students as well as developed a stronger presence and identity for external clients, partners, and stakeholders. John continues to foster collaborations on behalf of Virginia Tech between higher education institutions, communities, and businesses/industries throughout the commonwealth.”


Robert Ritchey,coordinator of emergency services and case manager for Cook Counseling Center, joined Virginia Tech in 2009.

Caroline Green, Threat Assessment Team coordinator for the Police Department, wrote in a letter of nomination: “An incredible advocate for all of our students, Rob works with every person to evaluate their needs and connect them to appropriate resources. Often times, the students’ meeting with Rob have been mandated; however, Rob’s kind and helpful demeanor allows students to build trust very quickly, and some students request to follow up with him. Another part of Rob’s role is speaking with students’ parents. Rob exudes extreme empathy and can calmly help parents support their student. 2021 was a difficult year for many reasons, especially for those already struggling with their mental health; however, I wholeheartedly believe Rob not only brought his best to the community, but he brought out the best in our community.”


Amy Rizzo, senior research veterinarian in the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine, joined Virginia Tech in 2016.

Jennifer A. Zambriski, assistant professor in the Department of Population Health, wrote in a letter of nomination: “Dr. Rizzo has consistently demonstrated excellence as she works to advocate for both researchers and research animals. In addition to consistently serving the Virginia Tech community, she often goes above and beyond the call of duty. Over the last year there have been three occasions when I found myself facing dire emergencies impacting my research animals. On all three occasions, Dr. Rizzo was off duty and still showed up to help me and offer solutions. She has a true gift for finding common ground and compromise, is genuinely motivated to act with ethics and honor, and always strives to do the right thing.”


Christine Smith, services co-director, Women’s Center at Virginia Tech, joined Virginia Tech in 2001.

Ellen W. Plummer, associate vice provost for academic administration, wrote in a letter of support: “I’ve served as Christine’s supervisor for close to 20 years and it has been a gift to support her commitment to the university. In addition to her work with faculty, students, and staff within the university community, Christine is a sought-after colleague and expert on responding to and preventing gender-based violence on campuses throughout the commonwealth. Recently, as the university has met the challenges of responding to the pandemic, Christine has been integral to imagining and implementing support needed for child and elder care. In addition, she has collaborated with Hokie Wellness and others to provide mental health support to students, faculty, and staff.”


Natasha Smith, director of enrollment management, College of Engineering, joined Virginia Tech in 2008.

Keith Thompson, associate dean for academic affairs in the College of Engineering, wrote in a letter of nomination: “Tasha is tireless in promoting enhanced work practice across numerous areas, always with an eye for how student experience and success can be positively impacted. Her impact to student success is incalculable. The result of her analysis and foresight resulted in creation of a new course in precalculus as well as other measures to help students. She has also proposed changes in the college’s admission practice for transfer students that will enable that group to progress into critical major classes faster. These actions have prompted attention to student needs that will ultimately help keep more students on track to graduate in a timely manner.”


Catherine Strickland, applied research contracts manager, Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI), joined Virginia Tech in 2012.

Elizabeth White, program and business manager, VTTI, wrote in a letter of nomination: “Catherine’s unwavering dedication to the execution of sponsored research agreements has been an integral part of VTTI’s success. She has always gone above and beyond in every aspect of her job. For example, Catherine worked diligently and tirelessly to negotiate the Ford Alliance contract for the entire university. This contract is an important strategic contract for Virginia Tech, as it results in multiple sponsored research programs across the university each year. Catherine’s dedication to negotiating the Ford Alliance helps not only the university but also VTTI because it supports our research to create a safer transportation system nationally and worldwide.”


Ellie Sturgis, director of Cook Counseling Center, joined Virginia Tech in 1998.  

Chris Wise, assistant vice president for student affairs, wrote in a letter of nomination: “Over the past three years as director of Cook Counseling, Ellie has demonstrated innovation, collaboration, and support of new models of care that meet students where they are and provide support in a variety of ways. She has embraced ‘upstream’ approaches to supporting students’ mental health while continuing to promote excellence in the center’s one-on-one counseling and treatment opportunities. Ellie’s adaptable leadership was on full display at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, when she transitioned the center’s services online, offering teletherapy for counseling and psychiatry appointments to provide students with uninterrupted, seamless support and care. As a result of her superb leadership, Cook Counseling was rated the #1 counseling center in the country by the Princeton Review.


Keri Swaby,director for undergraduate research, joined Virginia Tech in 2017.

Jill Sible, associate vice provost for undergraduate education, wrote in a letter of nomination: “While the pandemic dramatically limited in-person undergraduate research opportunities in 2020 and 2021, Keri’s unwavering commitment to supporting students and her creative approach to problem solving resulted in an overall increase in the engagement of the Office of Undergraduate Research with students and faculty. This year, Keri is strategically combining remote-learning opportunities that increase student access to and engagement with research while restoring invaluable in-person experiences. While Keri prefers to work in the background on behalf of students and faculty, she has emerged as a dedicated and effective leader among A/P faculty. She also contributes regularly to publications and conference presentations on undergraduate research.”


Joalenn Tabor, health systems science and interprofessional practice domain director, Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine (VTCSOM), joined Virginia Tech in 2017.

David W. Musick, senior dean, VTCSM Office of Faculty Affairs, wrote in a letter of nomination: “Joalenn has done a masterful job of bringing a high degree of organization and content delivery to our rather complex curriculum. Faculty, students, and, administrative staff provide regular feedback, and Joalenn routinely receives the highest praise for her efforts. Medical students praise her for her professionalism and availability to enhance their learning. In her faculty affairs role, she has provided strong contributions to an ongoing process of revamping our protocols to integrate with the university’s standards and expectations more fully. Her creative approach to solving problems is superb, and she has brought positive attention to the university by her unwavering devotion to our students and faculty.”


Craig Tollin, lab coordinator, Academy of Integrated Science, joined Virginia Tech in 2013.

Gary Long, associate professor of chemistry, wrote in a letter of nomination: “Dr. Tollin has been a driving force in the Integrated Science Curriculum since joining the College of Science as a lecturer/A/P faculty member. He developed the experiments and curriculum for four labs. He has exceptional talents in organizing the labs, procuring items for the lab, working with other departments to use lab equipment, and managing the safety of the student in the lab and the safe usage and disposal of lab material. He has made a significant contribution to student learning. In my four decades of teaching undergraduate chemistry labs at Virginia Tech, I have never had such a capable person working with me and my students as Dr. Tollin.”


Mallory Tuttle, associate director for Hampton Roads Centers, joined Virginia Tech in 2019.

Lynda King, administrative and program coordinator, Virginia Tech Newport News Center, wrote in a letter of endorsement: “Mallory has demonstrated consistent dedication in her work to make sure every project that she is affiliated with is successful, meaningful, and has positive outcomes for the people who are supporting them and learning from them. One small idea that started in 2019 has now flourished into a state-wide event (Women Impact Virginia Summit) that brings women from all walks of life together to share their stories and help inspire others. This work has not only touched the public but has also had a positive impact on the broader Outreach and International Affairs team, bringing colleagues from across Virginia together in new ways.”


Holly Williams, assistant director of administrative operations for the Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology, joined Virginia Tech in 2005.

Benjamin Knapp, executive director Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology (ICAT), wrote in a letter of nomination, “Holly Williams is one of the most outstanding co-workers I have ever worked with. She has developed a reputation of stepping in anytime anyone at Virginia Tech needs help – thus enhancing the work of others on a daily basis. When COVID-19 struck, ICAT wanted to support students who found themselves without work during the summer of 2020. Holly worked to come up with a new creative approach that became known as the ICAT rapid grants. She has been the lead in coordinating all aspects of the ACCelerate Festival, which is bringing positive national attention to ICAT, Virginia Tech, the ACC, and the Smithsonian.”


Melissa Williams, operations manager, Department of Mechanical Engineering, joined Virginia Tech in 2004.

Lei Zuo, Robert E. Hord Jr. Endowed Professor of Mechanical Engineering, wrote in a letter of nomination, “In her role she has done a wonderful job supporting six department heads in the department from payroll, startups, equipment, pre-award, post-award, graduate and undergraduate education, and more. She manages the staff so efficiently through timely communication with them in daily breakfasts and very kind inspiration for their career development. I learned that under her encouragement six staff in the department received their degrees while supporting the department full time. Whenever any faculty need help, Melissa is always an excellent resource to help out. Melissa’s leadership goes well beyond supporting the faculty and leading the staff. She is also a role model to inspire our students.”