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To our graduates: we love to hear from you at all stages of your journey. If you’re planning a visit to campus, let us know, or share an update about your current success. You can also keep in touch via Instagram, ThreadsFacebook, and Twitter.

Our Distinguished Alumni Board is active in representing the department, raising funds, and mentoring students. 

We invite you to explore ways to get involved.

A group of people stands on a stairway.
Current members of the Distinguished Alumni Board.

Share Your Expertise

We invite you to attend English Career Connections, our career and leadership weekend in the spring. This event connects alumni with students through a series of resume reviews, mock interviews, and workshops on professionalism. We want you to share your knowledge and experience with our students.

If your organization would be interested in participating in career fairs, please email Ingrid Johnson.

We encourage students to engage in hands-on learning that supports course content. Many students are interested in participating in an internship in a business or community organization and you may be able to help them locate such an opportunity. You may also know of research or service learning projects that would support classwork. Please contact Katherine Hall if you can help in this way.

We welcome alumni to speak with students and faculty about their work. To encourage students to take action in the world around them, we host presentations to inform them on a range of topics, from globalization to community impact, and to showcase a variety of industries. If you wish to volunteer to speak to a class or provide a lecture, please contact the department chair, Kelly Pender.

Share Your Wealth

Our students benefit from the support of alumni and friends who invest in expanding opportunities. Gifts are made in two categories — annual and major — and include endowed scholarships, a program excellence endowed fund, and an endowed lecture. 

Annual gifts of any size demonstrate your recognition of the value of your degree and your desire to see the program thrive. Please designate your annual gifts to the Department of English.

Distinguished Alumni Board

The department’s Distinguished Alumni Board represents a diverse group of alumni. Formed in 2003, the board plays an active role in representing the department, raising funds, enhancing visibility, developing connections, and mentoring students. Among their projects is the annual English Career Connections weekend. Board members visit campus to work one-on-one with students reviewing their resumes and conducting mock interviews. The members also established the Distinguished Alumni Board Scholarship to support current students.

Board members have successful careers in fields ranging from law to teaching, financial services, nonprofit management, development, creative writing, editing, technical writing, and media services.

Distinguished Alumni Board Members

Larry Bechtel, MA ’85, Sculptor, Blacksburg, Virginia

Jennifer Butlin, BA ’92, Executive Director, Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, Reston, Virginia Nursing Administration

Hannah Carlson, BA ’08, Area Director, ExploreLearning, Charlottesville, Virginia

Kathleen Cooperstein, BA ’09, Trial Attorney, U.S. Department of Justice, Washington, DC

Shayla Corprew, BA ’07, Governance, Risk, Compliance and Policy Technical Communicator, Moseley, VA

Clay Delk, BA ’02, MA ’03, Principal Content Designer, Lattice, Raleigh, North Carolina

Lisa Derx, BA ’87, Vice President, Government Relations, Best Buddies, Dayton, Maryland

Gina Desiderio Edmison, MA ’04, Director of Marketing and Communications, Healthy Teen Network, Ellicott City, Maryland

Maggie DiGuardo, BA ’04, Molecular Genetics, Fellow Physician, Rochester, Minnesota

Orlando Dos Reis ’10, Editor at Scholastic

Michael Germana, MA ’00, English Professor, West Virginia University, Morgantown, West Virginia

Tim Larson, BA ’90, Senior Networking Engineer, Northrop Grumman, Ashburn, Virginia

Stephen Laycock ’91, Senior Director for Engagement, CyManII, FBI Exec. Director (ret.)

Marie Paretti, MA ’90, Associate Professor of Engineering Education, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia

Josh Reid ’00, Associate Professor of Early Modern Studies in English, East Tennessee State University, Kingsport, TN

Chrystal Starling, MS ’03, Educator, Urban Dove, Stamford, Connecticut

Josh Thompson, MA ’13, Ph.D. student, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia

Peter Velz, BA ’11, Senior Protocol Officer for the U.S. Department of State

Mimi Walters, MA ’85, Basketball Coach, The Bryn Mawr School, Baltimore, Maryland

L. Lamar Wilson, MFA ’10, Assistant Professor, Florida State University, Marianna, Florida

Paula Yost, BA ’02, Attorney, Concord, NC