Two new student representatives will join Virginia Tech’s Board of Visitors this summer.

This week, Rachel Iwicki, undergraduate student representative, and Zo Amani, who will represent graduate students, were named the 2018-2019 student representatives to the Board of Visitors, the university’s governing body. Their terms begin July 1.

The students serve a one-year term as non-voting board members. They represent all students at the university’s highest level of governance, and they are ex-officio members on the Commission of Student Affairs.

Undergraduate Student Representative

As a first-year student, Rachel Iwicki seemed destined for campus leadership. She was named the freshman chair for the Student Engineers’ Council, and that gave her confidence to discuss her classmates’ ideas and concerns with engineering administrators, including the college’s dean. Now as a junior, Iwicki is president of the council.

Iwicki, who is from Springfield, Virginia, is majoring in both mechanical engineering and Russian, which is housed in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences. She also is a resident advisor and an undergraduate recruiter for the College of Engineering Dean’s Team.

Iwicki said representing Virginia Tech’s undergraduates for the Board of Visitors was a natural progression from her role with the Student Engineers’ Council. Also, studying abroad in Russia, Moldova, and Estonia while speaking Russian sharpened her communication skills.

“Sometimes the people who could offer the most valuable input are afraid to offer it or do not know how,” Iwicki wrote in a personal statement for her board application. “I enjoy sitting down with my peers to hone and sharpen their opinions, then help voice their experiences so that we can work together to make a change.”

Through her work with the board, Iwicki said she wants to push for the expansion of mental health resources on campus and advocate for an inclusive environment at the university.

Graduate Student Representative

Lorenzo “Zo” Amani has two bachelor’s degrees from Virginia Tech, and after leaving for a few years to earn a master’s degree, Amani is back at his alma mater.

He is on track to graduate in 2020 with a Ph.D. in public administration and public affairs, within the College of Architecture and Urban Studies. He also is gearing up to be the voice of graduate students for the Board of Visitors.

Amani said he hopes to address several topics related to graduate students during his tenure, including recruitment, health and wellness, and funding for travel and scholarships.

“Our graduate students’ academic, social, and financial needs should be adequately addressed if Virginia Tech desires to grow and positively impact the world through research,” he wrote in a personal statement for his board application.

Along with his doctoral work, Amani is a graduate assistant in Virginia Tech’s Office of Budget and Financial Planning. He also enjoys guiding and mentoring Virginia Tech students. Amani is a graduate residential fellow in West Ambler Johnston Hall, and he mentors student athletes.

As an undergraduate, Amani earned bachelor of science degrees in sociology and in apparel, housing, and resource management through the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences. Amani said his extensive campus network will help him to be an effective voice for graduate students.

“I understand the importance of building sound relationships,” he said.

The board is comprised of 14 members, 13 of whom are appointed by the governor and serve a four-year term. The 14th member, who serves ex-officio, is the president of the Board of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

Written by Jenny Kincaid Boone

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