Virginia Tech®home

Illuminators

Insert your title here

April 2022 Issue


Bill Roth — long known for his iconic “Touchdown, Tech!” — has returned as the play-by-play announcer for Virginia Tech Football, a role he previously held for 27 seasons. Fortunately, he’ll still teach in the School of Communication, where he helped launch the sports media and analytics major. The program’s popularity continues to soar: Last year 400 applicants vied for the program’s coveted spots. Read more

Kimberly Smith, who earned her doctorate in the School of Education, was elected president of the American Association of Blacks in Higher Education. Her strategic focus on first-generation, low-income, and other diverse student populations is rooted in her own experience. Read more

Hundreds of Virginia Tech musicians recently gathered to celebrate the planet during the premiere of “Mosaic for Earth.” A video of this dazzling concert is now available for those who could not attend. Read more

On June 9–12, Virginia Tech will host its first in-person reunion since 2019. Make plans to wing your way to campus! Read more

The Center for Refugee, Migrant, and Displacement Studies is hosting a crowdfunding campaign to provide opportunities for Hokie students to work with refugees. Please consider donating to the campaign by April 24! (Pictured here are the center’s faculty founders, who recently gathered with Dean Laura Belmonte, at far left, as well as students and refugees to commemorate the center’s official launch.) Read more

Betsabeth Oropeza, who learned English only upon emigrating from Venezuela at the age of 13, received the Staff Association’s annual scholarship for her hard work as an international relations major and as a campus leader. Read more

Mary Griffin, a sports media and analytics major whose cancer was discovered — and successfully treated — when she was a sophomore, remains undaunted on the field and in life. Read more

The photography of Leslie Robertson Foncette, a doctoral student in the Department of Sociology, is both art and a means of documenting history, particularly that of cultural festivals such as Carnival. Read more

As captured in this video, faculty and students are using creative technologies such as extended reality and projection mapping to illuminate 150 years of the university’s history. Explore the interactive media exhibit at Solitude during Reunion Weekend. Read more


March 2022 Issue


Some of the world’s leading authors, philosophers, and politicians endorsed our college on Giving Day, helping to break all records. But it was a modern-day George Washington who took us over the top — with your help. Read more

Virginia Tech sports media and analytics majors distinguished themselves on and off the court at the 2022 ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament. “As historic as it was for the basketball team to win its first ACC Championship,” says Hokies legend Bill Roth, “it was unprecedented for us to have 12 students in New York covering the action.” Read more

In April, the Center for Refugee, Migrant, and Displacement Studies will host both a launch celebration and a crowdfunding campaign aimed at supporting students who work with refugees and migrants. Read more

“It wasn’t a golden age,” says Ashley Reed, an English professor who studies 19th-century women writers. “It was a gilded age. It looked pretty on the surface, but if you scratched it, you saw poverty, corruption, discrimination, violence, and imperialism under a thin veneer of wealth and distinction.” Reed offers tips for watching the HBO show “The Gilded Age,” which tackles issues of social class and race in New York City during the late 1880s. Read more

Learn the history of food before tucking into Southern homestyle favorites from the 1872 Fire Grill. The college’s Reunion Weekend 2022 events will delight your mind — and your senses. Read more

Men in Blazers, a soccer culture comedy show, needed a producer with television experience. For Jonathan Williamson (Communication ’03), it was the perfect match. He had studied television production and played soccer at Virginia Tech, and that was just the beginning. Read more

When most experts tackle cybercrime, they focus on the technological realm. Yet researchers must also understand the human angle. What motivates someone to commit digital crime? What factors increase the likelihood of these crimes? Virginia Tech criminologists are on the case. Read more

TikTok, TikTok, TikTok...the time had finally come for the college to expand its social media presence. With content produced by students, our newest account promises a fresh take on college life. (You’ll like it. Picasso!) Read more


February 2022 Issue


The memes have been circulating on the internet for years: “Science can tell you how to clone a Tyrannosaurus rex; the humanities can tell you why this might be a bad idea.” As part of our college’s celebration of 150 years of the humanities at Virginia Tech, Dean Laura Belmonte offers insights into the special role the humanities play in a technology-inflected university. Read more

Inspired by their own memories of Hokie Nation, Virginia Tech graduates are hosting challenges in support of the college’s students on Giving Day, to be held February 23 and 24 from noon to noon. Read more

Giving Day may be the Super Bowl of fundraising for Hokie Nation, yet some people watch the Super Bowl as much for the commercials as for the football. So this week we’re compiling some of the college’s Giving Day shenanigans, from an English professor offering a creative wordplay challenge, to our tuba-carrying dean receiving her marching orders from The Marching Virginians, to a philosopher musing on whether there’s more to life than being really, really, really ridiculously good looking. (Check back often!) Read more

As senior video producer for the U.S. Department of Defense, Juanisha Brooks (Communication ’08) had already traveled far in her career. But that success didn’t matter one night last year when she was driving home from work late. What mattered to the police officer who arrested her on false charges, she explains in this powerful video, “was the color of my skin.” After quoting poet Audre Lorde, “Your silence will not protect you,” Brooks said, “I speak up for those who cannot speak.” Read more

With the support of Hokie Nation, senior Vince Vasudevan has been able to combine his passions for history, physics, and national security — as well as obstacle course racing! — to prepare for a career in government. Read more

At next month’s Civil War Weekend, experts will explore more than the nuances of history. They will also reflect on the legacy of the iconic historian James I. “Bud” Robertson Jr., a renowned teacher, spellbinding lecturer, and gracious friend. Read more

Jell-O? 1897. Ritz Crackers? 1934. Buffalo wings? 1964. For years, The Food Timeline — a significant online collection of information about food and its social context throughout history — has been an invaluable resource for foodies, journalists, and academic researchers alike. Now Virginia Tech is taking over its management. Read more

“The Beyond Boundaries Scholars program does a great job of giving opportunities to so many students who can’t afford college,” said Nathaly Loyola-Rodriguez, a first-generation student majoring in political science. “To come here and study, to have a great education — it’s beautiful.” Read more


January 2022 Issue


After becoming the first student to enroll in the Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College when it opened in 1872, William Addison Caldwell took classes in agriculture, geography, and math. But he also embarked on another set of disciplines crucial to society’s advancement: the humanities. Read more

While pursuing his communication degree at Virginia Tech, Stephen Woltz learned the art of multimedia journalism. But at the same time he was busy mastering another art — wrestling. In November, Woltz, who now wrestles professionally as Adam “Hangman” Page, reached a pinnacle of the wrestling world by winning the All Elite Wrestling World Championship. Read more

“If everybody became a poet the world would be much better,” says internationally acclaimed poet Nikki Giovanni. “We would all read to each other.” Hokie Nation, if not the world, will become enriched on February 8, when poets will read to each other — and the rest of the Virginia Tech community — during the annual Nikki Giovanni Celebration of Poetry, which will be held in person with a virtual option. Read more

Virginia Tech will shine its sesquicentennial spotlight on the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences in February, with events ranging from augmented-reality demonstrations of the university’s history to musical performances to a Nobelist’s take on good economics for hard times. Read more

In this brief video, humanists in the college touch on the role of the humanities in enlarging our understanding of everything from morality to beauty, innovation, and visions of the future. Read more

You’re much more likely to be injured driving to an alligator habitat than you are by an actual alligator, says historian Mark Barrow. The truth is, he adds, Florida’s iconic reptiles avoid humans, which they rightly perceive as threatening to their very survival. Read more

Robyn Stuart, the new director of alumni relations in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, enjoys creating connections between Hokie graduates and current students. Read more

“The liberal in ‘liberal education’ means ‘befitting a free person,’ and free people are in charge of their own lives,” says Kwame Anthony Appiah. “The humanities, I’ll argue, provide important tools for managing the one great ethical task, which is making a successful human life.” The author of the New York Times column “The Ethicist,” Appiah will deliver the keynote address for Humanities Week on February 10, with a livestreamed option. Read more

Todd Ogle, a graduate of both the School of Education and the School of Communication, became frustrated while flipping back and forth between a history book and old maps to try to envision a Civil War battlefield. Then it struck him: He could use augmented reality to superimpose the mental model of what he was reading onto the actual historic site. Read more


December 2021 Issue


Brandon Teague will play for food — that is, he’ll perform “Uptown Funk” and “HandClap” on his trumpet for generous Virginia Tech tailgaters. Hokies for the Hungry, the annual food drive of The Marching Virginians, has been a tradition for more than 25 years, and last month the Spirit of Tech gathered more than 20,000 food items and raised nearly $20,000, the highest totals in the event’s history. Read more

While other children were learning to ride horses, Taylor Covington was discovering something else — passion for helping children with disabilities. From her elementary-school experience with a riding therapy program to her major in human development, Covington — who graduated from Virginia Tech last week — has built a strong foundation for becoming an occupational therapist. Read more

Several December holidays take their decorative and culinary inspirations from light and warmth. Experts in the Department of Religion and Culture offer tantalizing details about these traditions, some with medieval roots and influences spanning several continents. Read more

 

Two Hokies with ties to the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences — an alumna and a graduate student — have been named finalists for the 2021–22 Senior CLASS Award, a national honor that recognizes NCAA Division I student-athletes with notable achievements in community, classroom, character, and competition. Aisha Sheppard (Multimedia Journalism ’20) was named a finalist in women’s basketball, while Justyn Mutts, a graduate student in the School of Education, is a finalist in men’s basketball. Read more

The master’s program in reputation management enables School of Communication students to undertake hands-on projects ranging from outreach for a merchants’ association to analysis of the “Stop Asian Hate” movement. Launched in the fall of 2020, the two-year program will graduate its first class this spring. Read more

Willy and James, the superstar mascots of the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, join us all in wishing you happy Hokie holidays! Read more


November 2021 Issue


Through artful sock puppetry, Laura Belmonte, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, demonstrates how student-designed socks can keep your spirits high, your feet in fine Hokie style, and your university supported. Learn more

Football, basketball, baseball? If it’s a sport, Jake Lyman has likely done play-by-play for it during his time at Virginia Tech. A senior majoring in sports media and analytics, Lyman was recently awarded the inaugural Tech Sideline Endowed Scholarship for Sports Journalism. Read more

After graduating from Virginia Tech with degrees in political science and psychology, Sofiat Abdulrazaaq worked with some of the world’s largest banks, nonprofits, and tech companies. Now, as chief executive officer of Goodfynd, a company that simplifies the booking of food trucks, she’s pursuing her dream of developing helpful services and products with a lasting impact. Read more

As USA Shooting’s press officer, Kate Gest, a 2016 multimedia journalism graduate of Virginia Tech, was among the relative few who were able to experience the Tokyo Olympics in person. Read more

Wornie Reed, who marched alongside Martin Luther King Jr. and attended more than 30 of his speeches, was recently honored with the title professor emeritus. At Virginia Tech and beyond, Reed has made significant contributions to the fields of sociology and Africana studies. Read more

Kevin Roberts, who earned his master’s degree in history from Virginia Tech, will soon become just the seventh president in the 48-year history of the Heritage Foundation. Read more

Virginia Tech political scientist Aaron Brantly, a cybersecurity expert, offers safety tips for online holiday shopping. Read more


October 2021 Issue


This homecoming tradition involves a lucky game ball, spirited Ranger Company cadets running a hundred miles, and Hokies with outstretched hands. Read more

“Humanity is at the core of all we do,” said Laura Belmonte, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, in her inaugural State of the College address. She noted that the college’s disciplines span topics as diverse as data analytics and Dante, presidents and property management, and Bach and bok choy. Read more

Kylene Barker McNeill, a former Miss America and a College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences alumna, donated her crown to Virginia Tech as part of recent Homecoming celebrations. Read more

 

Next spring, 300 musicians will celebrate world wonders in “Mosaic for Earth,” an immersive concert aimed at harnessing the power of music to celebrate nature. The School of Performing Arts is seeking crowdfunding support before November 12 to record the concert using 360-degree video and audio, to be able to showcase worldwide the musical talents of Hokies. Read more

The fork in Kelly Trogdon’s career path appeared during his first semester of college: “I got a C in welding, but the philosophy course went much better,” he says. He now chairs the Department of Philosophy, which he leads with wit and wisdom. Read more

During her time in Blacksburg, Doris Tinsley, who last year earned her sociology degree with a concentration in American Indian studies, started a nonprofit organization to help Native American high school students find scholarships. And that’s just the beginning. Read more

When Laura Belmonte, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, began attending Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations meetings, “you could fit the number of women inside an elevator.” Starting next month, the historian of global relations will lead the significantly changed organization as its president. Read more

Before he appears on television, Brian Sullivan, a 1993 political science graduate, always makes sure he knows a few key issues that align both his guests and his audience. “You cannot speak to just one or the other,” says the anchor and senior national correspondent of CNBC. “Both have to be part of the conversation.” Read more

The college’s October 9 tailgate featured fun and friendship in advance of football and fireworks. Read more


September 2021 Issue


The Hokies are taking on the Fighting Irish on October 9, and such rivalry should always be preceded by revelry. You’ll find all the friendship and fortification you need at the college’s annual tailgate, featuring a buffet, beer, wine, and the HokieBird’s oversized tail feathers shaking to live music! Learn more

Tamara Brown, a 2015 multimedia journalism graduate, is making her mark as the new team reporter and producer for the New England Patriots. Her example is paving the way for other School of Communication women seeking careers in sports. Read more

You know it’s autumn when landscapes turn maroon and orange in honor of Hokie Nation. Join us in celebrating the great outdoors — and see how far Hokies can go together — by registering for this year’s Hokie Hike. Then hike anywhere and anytime between October 16 and November 20! Learn more

This cowboy would make one of Clint Eastwood’s most memorable antiheroes — the Man with No Name — tremble. He’d likely be trembling with laughter, though, because this menacing character is only ten years old and four feet tall. Yet she has the fastest Silly String draw in all the land. Hadley Teaster, who plays the cowboy, is part of the ensemble cast behind Spaghetti Western, a nine-minute film-festival winner that represents a collaboration among Virginia Tech community members and local schoolchildren. Read more

Strangers at first, Midhat Urooj and Hamdah Munir recently spent time together at Virginia Tech to gain new perspectives on their future STEM careers. Through support from the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, they gained insights into how they can help inspire other women to find similar opportunities in their home country of Pakistan. Read more

As part of the university’s sesquicentennial celebration, the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences will sponsor the first-ever Virginia Tech Humanities Week from February 7 to 11, 2022. The organizers invite the college’s alumni to propose engaging, interactive events to highlight the vitality of the humanities — broadly defined — at Virginia Tech. Read more


August 2021 Issue


Political scientist Brandy Faulkner has created a video game aimed at helping activists and organizers learn how to succeed as change-makers in their communities. Read more

In a tribute to Andrew Jackson Oliver and his family, Virginia Tech has named the space in front of the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences building the Vaughn-Oliver Plaza. Read more

Historians and computer scientists are harnessing technologies such as virtual reality and artificial intelligence to enable the public to immerse themselves in broadened perspectives, from those of Black soldiers during the Civil War to those of Army soldiers during World War II. Read more

Monica Kimbrell is drawing on her own rich memories as a College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences student for her new role as the college’s associate dean for undergraduate academic affairs. Read more

Joe Jacko, a 2019 graduate in communication, is applying the principles he learned in his undergraduate research to foster more diversity and inclusivity in the esports industry. Read more

Tonisha Lane, an assistant professor in the School of Education, is joining with a Department of Physics collaborator to study the development of science identity among underrepresented undergraduates. The two have found that directly engaging undergraduates in what they call the “doing of science” allows those students to perceive themselves—and be seen by others—as future scientists. Read more

History graduate Meghan Jester is poised to help students in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences make history of their own. Read more

Clark Ruhland, a 2007 communication graduate, delights in capturing Virginia Tech Athletics memories, one design at a time. Read more


June 2021 Issue


Kwame Alexander swears Nikki Giovanni gave him a “C” in her poetry class; she can’t imagine having done so. That might be their only disagreement in three decades of collaboration and friendship. Read more

In late spring, Reid Campbell ’21 was handing in school assignments to his professor, Robin Reed. Now the young producer is handing Reed, a local television anchor, his nightly rundown. Campbell is just one of many recent School of Communication graduates getting scooped up by television stations throughout Virginia. Read more

Through an endowed scholarship, Tracey Beck ’87 and his family are creating opportunities for underrepresented students in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences. Read more

Part of the Nasty Women cover
Part of the Nasty Women cover

Virginia Tech history students recently published Nasty Women: Transgressive Womanhood in American History, a book that focuses on American women’s protest of societal norms and perceived boundaries through the decades. Read more

A National Endowment for the Humanities grant will support a new food studies minor at Virginia Tech. “Yes, you’ll learn about the global food system on which we all rely for sustenance,” says Anna Zeide, director of the Food Studies Program. “But you’ll also learn how to connect the dots across disciplines, seeing how the humanities, sciences, and social sciences interrelate and support one another.” Read more

Last year, Evan Hughes ’21 was named the second-best collegiate sportscaster in the country. So this year he decided to top that honor. Read more

Faculty members in the inaugural cohort of the college’s Juneteenth Scholars Program have researched topics spanning the Americas from present day to times less recent, all in the name of inclusion and diversity. Read more

Virginia Tech has set the alumni-giving goal at 20 percent for this fiscal year. Our college is now at 19 percent, with just a week to reach our goal. Please consider helping us achieve a game-winning touchdown — and thank you for all your support! (The touchdown in this photo was courtesy of a college alumnus, Greg Stroman ’18, in the homecoming game against UNC in 2017.) Please consider giving