The Office for Inclusion and Diversity welcomes six new colleagues
These six new team members in the Office for Inclusion and Diversity will assist in the areas of public relations and communications, Student Opportunities & Achievement Resources (SOAR), diversity education, and programming at Solitude, the oldest building on the Blacksburg campus.
Renée Stewart will serve as associate director of public relations and communications. Stewart is a graduate of Ohio University, where she holds a bachelor's degree in communication studies and a master's degree in organizational communication. While at Ohio University, Stewart made the transition to working in higher education fter beginning a career in communication sales. While at Ohio University, she assisted in the development of a new office for Corporate and Foundation Relations as well as facilitated the university’s inaugural Giving Day.
Stewart will report to Hallema Sharif, director of public relations and communications.
Diversity education welcomes Michelle Carter as director of diversity engagement and Victoria Ferguson as program coordinator for Solitude.
Carter holds a master’s degree from West Virginia University and is currently pursuing her doctoral degree from Virginia Commonwealth University in adult learning.
Most recently, Carter was part of the career services department at Virginia Commonwealth University's College of Engineering. She served as an instructor for a professional development internship and co-op class. Prior to joining VCU, she worked as a nonprofit executive in rural southwestern Virginia.
Carter will report to Michele Deramo, associate vice provost of diversity education and engagement.
Ferguson is an enrolled member of the Monacan Indian Nation of Virginia. She is a graduate of Marshall University and has a background in researching science methodologies to support historical information. Ferguson has spent 25 years seeking first-person documentation and archaeological information to help explain and support theories on the daily living habits of the Eastern Siouan populations up through the early European colonization period. She has written and presented work at Virginia Tech, Washington and Lee University, Sweet Briar College, James Madison University, and at a number of archaeological conferences.
Luisa Burgos Rivero
Student Opportunities & Achievement Resources (SOAR) welcomes three new members - Luisa Burgos Rivero, associate director; Meshay Long, assistant director; and Seth Serlin, assistant director.
Rivero earned her bachelor’s degree from James Madison University and her master’s degree from Virginia Tech. She has served in several roles at Virginia Tech, including working for the Office of Undergraduate Admissions; Student Success Center; Cultural and Community Centers; the Graduate School Office of Recruitment, Diversity, and Inclusion; and the Office for Inclusion and Diversity. She is an advocate and liaison for underserved and marginalized populations. Her research and career interests focus on advocacy, equity, access, summer programs, and retention.
Long holds a bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a master's degree in higher education administration, with a concentration in diversity and social justice, from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.
Long is a member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee and was raised in Cherokee, North Carolina. Her passion for supporting underrepresented students to and through college started while she was a student at UNC. During this time, Long worked to implement a variety of programs to promote college exposure to both middle and high school students. Following graduation, she moved to Michigan for graduate school. Long worked in a first-year experience office overseeing bystander intervention and healthy relationships workshops to help students successfully transition to the university and community. She also worked directly with a school to launch its five-year diversity, equity, and inclusion strategic plan, primarily managing program evaluation and assessment.
Sterlin graduated from Virginia Tech with a degree in chemistry in 2012. He holds a master’s degree from Valdosta State University in Georgia, where he also started his professional career after graduating in 2015. Prior to returning to Virginia Tech, Sterlin served as assistant director of Housing and Residential Life at the University of South Carolina Upstate.
Rivero, Long, and Sterlin will all report to Crasha Townsend, director of SOAR.