Nine Virginia Cooperative Extension employees recently came to Virginia Tech's Blacksburg campus where they participated in a week-long inclusion and diversity program. 

All 9 are now qualified to take what they have learned back to their respective communities to teach others how to create and maintain environments in which all community members feel valued and respected.

Participants included:

  • Jennifer Bowen, Prince Edward County
  • Tara Brent, Northumberland County
  • Katherine Carter, Botetourt County
  • Corey Childs, Warren County
  • Sam Nagurny, Fairfax County
  • Daniel Nortman, York County
  • Molly Parker, Bath County
  • Drexel Pierce, Greensville County
  • Christina Ruszczyk-Murray, Northampton County

During the week-long program, participants attended several Diversity Development Institute workshops, including Fundamentals of Diversity, Fostering Inclusive Environments, and Communicating Respectfully in a Diverse World. At the end of the week, they received their Diversity Ally Certificate.

The Diversity Ally Certificate is one of the many certificate programs offered through University Organizational and Professional Development in Virginia Tech's Department of Human Resources. A total of 73 faculty and staff members have earned the certificate, which is open to all Virginia Tech employees who want to develop their skills in diversity and inclusion content and practice.

"This program was a great opportunity for Virginia Tech employees from across the state to gain a greater sense of awareness and knowledge about critical diversity and inclusion issues," said Joe Hunnings, director planning and reporting, professional development, and civil rights compliance for Virginia Cooperative Extension.

“Their participation in this program further demonstrates Virginia Cooperative Extension’s commitment to fostering a diverse and inclusive environment in their individual programs, and across the university," said Michele Deramo, director of diversity education and initiatives.

Dedicated to its motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech takes a hands-on, engaging approach to education, preparing scholars to be leaders in their fields and communities. As the commonwealth’s most comprehensive university and its leading research institution, Virginia Tech offers 240 undergraduate and graduate degree programs to more than 31,000 students and manages a research portfolio of $513 million. The university fulfills its land-grant mission of transforming knowledge to practice through technological leadership and by fueling economic growth and job creation locally, regionally, and across Virginia.

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