For Tara Nepper, reaching alumni in the College of Natural Resources and Environment means having a connection to every stage of their lives.

“I like to think of engagement as being a full circle process, from prospective students and current students to alumni and donors,” said Nepper, who is joining the college as director of alumni relations. “Whether it’s students who can talk about their experiences, graduates who can provide internships and jobs or encourage aspiring students, or alumni who can give back to the next generation, everyone has a chance to bring people to the college.”

Nepper, who was previously the assistant director of alumni relations in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, said she is excited to build bridges with an alumni base that is working to solve the critical challenges of today.

“I’m excited about the opportunity to be a part of a college that is having such a worldwide impact,” said Nepper. “Our alums are doing work on issues that affect everyone, and they’re making a big impact on the world.”

In her new position, Nepper will provide leadership for the college’s outreach efforts with alumni, donors, and friends of the college, with an aim of increasing engagement and philanthropic support.

“I think alumni are looking for impactful ways to stay engaged,” said Nepper, who has experience as an events and scheduling coordinator with both Virginia Tech’s Advancement Division and Virginia Western Community College. “There’s a strong interest in making personal connections, in having the chance to ‘get behind the scenes’ a little, and in seeing how their contributions can help our students directly.”

Assistant Dean of Advancement Andrew Ickes said Nepper’s prior experience will be an asset to the role of alumni director.

“Tara is a proven higher education professional who has demonstrated a commitment to excellence throughout her career,” he said. “Through her expertise, we will be able to find new and fun ways to engage with our growing alumni community.”

Paul Winistorfer, dean of the college, said having a role that connects alumni to the work of the college is a critical component to the college’s outreach strategies.

“Alumni engagement is critical to the future of the college in so many ways, and Tara will be key to our engagement activities,” said Winistorfer. “She brings a wealth of experience to the role and I’m excited that we can launch our renewed engagement efforts immediately.”

Nepper is ready to start making connections with alumni of the college.

“I feel like there are a lot of opportunities to showcase what makes this college such a great place to be,” she said, “and I think our alumni could be our biggest advocates for the amazing work that is taking place here.”

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