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

Both will serve one-year terms.

Undergraduate student representative

Storey is a junior majoring in environmental science in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. He has been working toward uplifting the student body during his time at Virginia Tech.

“I have been active in doing my part on and off campus, whether it be gaining more experience and knowledge about ongoing issues or trying to engage with and meet with other student leaders. I am always trying to learn and grow. I know I can’t possibly represent everyone, but I certainly try,” he said.

Storey has held many leadership positions: He is the chair of the Student Life Council, the student advisory board to the vice president of Student Affairs, as well as the construction chair for the Class of 2024 Leadership Team, where he helped organize, design, and build elements of the 2023 Ring Dance.   

In 2022, he was a member of the Sexual Violence Culture and Climate Work Group's Cultural Transformation subcommittee, where he worked to implement change around the discussion of sexual violence. President Tim Sands established the work group in November 2021 to advance the university’s commitment to end sexual violence and enhance preventative programming.

“One lesson that I have learned is the power of community as well as communication within that community. Building a space where students can feel comfortable, open, and honest is huge. That is how we are going to make real, positive change,” Storey said. 

Storey has been working to better the community of Blacksburg as well as a part-time wildland firefighter for the Mountain Valley fire crew.

Graduate and professional student representative

Tirrell is a graduate student working toward her Ph.D. in translational biology, medicine, and health. Tirrell has worked in Student Affairs throughout her time at Virginia Tech. She has previous experience working as a senior residential advisor and is currently a Graduate Residential Fellow in the Honors Residential Commons, where she works with and mentors other student leaders. These leadership experiences have given her insight into how to best support the students. 

“As a leader, all I can do is my best to make sure as many students are getting access to the resources they need and that I am sharing that information with the right people in order to meet as many needs as I can. Overcoming small challenges is a big success in a role such as this one,” said Tirrell. 

Tirrell has also been very active in the graduate program itself. She works as a graduate school tour guide and ambassador. She is also a member of the Graduate Honor Committee Student Panel.

Tirrell said she applied to serve on the Board of Visitors to remain as active in the graduate program as possible. 

“I hope to look at a few different aspects of graduate life. I think a big issue right now is the financial well-being of graduate students. Another issue I want to tackle is making sure students get the full Virginia Tech experience. I want to focus on getting them the resources, connections, and opportunities they need as well as connecting other campuses in Roanoke as well as the D.C. area to be a part of the Virginia Tech community,” said Tirrell. 

About the board

The Board of Visitors is the governing authority of Virginia Tech and consists of public- and private-sector leaders, many of whom are alumni. Each year, the board selects one undergraduate student and one graduate/professional student to serve as representatives. Some of the board's responsibilities include the appointment of the president of the university; the establishment of fees, tuition, and other charges paid by students; and the approval of university policies including those related to student life. 

The undergraduate and graduate student representatives serve as ex-officio members of 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.

Written by Caroline Reed, a junior and an intern for Virginia Tech Communications and Marketing

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