The Virginia Tech Board of Visitors on Monday selected new undergraduate and graduate student representatives who will serve as liaisons between the student body and the board starting July 1.

The two student representatives are appointed to one-year terms. They will serve as ex-officio members on the Commission of Student Affairs and sit on a committee of the governing board. These non-voting members are required to maintain contact with university faculty, administrators, and Virginia Tech students.


Undergraduate Student Representative

Gabe Cohen of Atlanta, Georgia, is a junior majoring in mechanical engineering in the College of Engineering. Cohen is active in the Student-Managed Endowment for Education Development (SEED), serving as an analyst and assisting with the management of a student run financial portfolio of over $5 million. He is a charter member of the Student Communication Advisory Board (SCAB) and served as treasurer of the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity.

Cohen has pursued a wide variety of experiential learning opportunities, including internships with Boeing, Turner Broadcasting, and the American Israel Business Connector.

“I cannot imagine a better way to serve my community than to represent the interests of over 20,000 undergraduate students,” said Cohen. “I look forward to bringing a strong voice and wide scope of perspectives to the board.”

Cohen plans to pursue a career in management consulting where he will apply the problem solving skills learned in engineering to a wide scope of challenges facing today's businesses.


Graduate Student Representative

Tara Reel of Virginia Beach, Virginia, is a master’s degree student in both the urban and regional planning (MURP) and public administration (MPA) in the School of Public and International Affairs (SPIA). A native of West Virginia, Reel received an undergraduate degree in Political Science from Davis and Elkins College.

Before attending Virginia Tech, she worked in local government for the City of Virginia Beach, serving as the assistant to the legislative liaison for intergovernmental relations working with government at the local, state and federal levels.

Among her many activities on campus, Reel serves as vice president of the Graduate Student Assembly. She is president and founder of the Virginia Tech student chapter of WTS International, an organization dedicated to building the future of transportation through the global advancement of women.

She is also a graduate student field reporter for the award winning “Save Our Towns,” a monthly video series offered by Virginia Tech's Outreach and International Affairs to guide and inspire leaders throughout Appalachia. Since 2014, Reel has also served as a research assistant at the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI).

“Virginia Tech is positioning itself as a global leader in creating destination areas based on its work in research and development,” she said. “My goal is to work with the student body to find ways to balance their research, educational goals, and health so we can thrive within our community.”

Reel hopes to return to public service following her completion of the dual degree program at Virginia Tech. She wants to develop innovative transportation networks to support connected and automated vehicles to enhance public safety.

The Virginia Tech Board of Visitors is the governing body of the university. It is composed of 14 members, 13 of which are appointed by the governor and the 14th member is the president of the Board of Agriculture and Consumer Services who serves ex-officio. The term of office for each member is four years.

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