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Faculty and Staff Stories

Name: Banks Blair
Title: Associate Director
Department: University Studies
Institution you transferred from: Catawba College
Institution you transferred to: University of Mary Hardin-Baylor
What was the biggest challenge you encountered as a transfer college student and how did you overcome it? Not knowing anyone, where to find resources, and what I should be doing to advance my education. I overcame this challenge by working with my faculty advisors, Dr. Dan Atha, who helped guide me through the major selection process, helped keep me out of trouble, and helped me become the advisor I am today.
What is one piece of advice you would give transfer college students? As soon as you can, find out who your advisor will be and get in touch with them to set up an appointment. From there, meet with them twice per semester (at least).

Name: Chenaye` Blankenship
Title: Project Coordinator
Department: Student Success Initiatives
Institution you transferred from: New River Community College
Institution you transferred to: Virginia Tech
What was the biggest challenge you encountered as a transfer college student and how did you overcome it? As a non-traditional transfer student, I felt out of place. I had to learn all of the college “lingo,” resources, and procedures, that I felt I should already know. After I realized that everyone was there to help and not judge, I put my pride aside and asked questions.
What is one piece of advice you would give transfer college students? Reach out if you have questions or just need someone to chat with. The transfer initiatives staff and your academic advisor are your greatest resources. Everyone is working toward your success!

Name: Aaron Brock
Title: Graduate Researcher
Department: Biochemistry
Institution you transferred from: Piedmont Virginia Community College
Institution you transferred to: Virginia Tech
What was the biggest challenge you encountered as a transfer college student and how did you overcome it? It was challenging to acclimate to a new setting that had developed social and academic niches. Relearning everything you know about a university while trying to succeed in your specialized courses and navigate a professional network is hard for anyone. I dealt with this issue by finding guidance as soon as I could; for me, that was the Multicultural Academic Opportunities Program! They not only helped me find my way at this university but gave me great professional opportunities that I am grateful for to this day.
What is one piece of advice you would give transfer college students? Don't be afraid to ask for help when you need it. Every university is full of people wanting the best for you, especially Virginia Tech!

Name: Claudia Brodkin
Title:
Department: Chemistry
Institution you transferred from: Northampton Community College
Institution you transferred to: King's college
What was the biggest challenge you encountered as a transfer college student and how did you overcome it? I was much older than my cohorts. Friended those in my major.
What is one piece of advice you would give transfer college students? Get involved in clubs/ things that matter to you.

Name: Letisha Brown
Title: Assistant Professor
Department: Sociology
Institution you transferred from: University of Pittsburgh
Institution you transferred to: University of Northern Colorado
What was the biggest challenge you encountered as a transfer college student and how did you overcome it? The biggest change was moving to a new city across the country pretty much on my own. That was hard, but once I made it, I knew that I had made the right decision.
What is one piece of advice you would give transfer college students? Reach out to your faculty, they are here to support you. If you don't find support in your department, still seek it on campus, you will find!

Name: Shania Clinedinst
Title: Executive Assistant
Department: Graduate School
Institution you transferred from: New River Community College
Institution you transferred to: Old Dominion University
What was the biggest challenge you encountered as a transfer college student and how did you overcome it? Finding a support group was a big challenge. Joining discussion boards and sharing your story helps. Little did I know I was not alone! Many others in my cohort had followed my same path.
What is one piece of advice you would give transfer college students? Ask questions and learn about all your resources!

Name: Kristy Collins
Title: Director Education Outreach
Department: Fralin Life Sciences Institute
Institution you transferred from: Seminole Community College (now Seminole State)
Institution you transferred to: University of Florida
What was the biggest challenge you encountered as a transfer college student and how did you overcome it? Finding my group of people once I transferred was key. At the community college I had my friends and a history. When I transferred everyone around me already had friendships or were plugged in. I had to actively go out and find friends and meet people.
What is one piece of advice you would give transfer college students? Take pride in where you came from and where you are going. Not everyone's path is the same.

Name: Colleen Correll
Title: Instructor
Department: English
Institution you transferred from: Virginia Western Community College
Institution you transferred to: Virginia Tech
What was the biggest challenge you encountered as a transfer college student and how did you overcome it? My biggest challenge as a transfer student was getting to know everyone within my major. I was not only a transfer student but also a nontraditional student; therefore, I was entering classes with students almost half my age and teachers I could have gone to high school with. Putting myself out there and trying to make friends with students only a few years older than my own daughter was not easy, especially when I had more in common with the teachers, but I promise you, the experience was more than rewarding!
What is one piece of advice you would give transfer college students? No matter your individual circumstances, you have to put yourself out there. I was the shy introvert, half the age of the others in my class, but I still managed to scrape up enough courage to put myself out there and make some friends. You have to; you only get out of this experience, what you are willing to put into it!

Name: Amanda Covey
Title: Graduate Coordinator
Department: Biomedical Engineering and Mechanics
Institution you transferred from: Northern Virginia Community College
Institution you transferred to: Virginia Tech
What was the biggest challenge you encountered as a transfer college student and how did you overcome it? I had several challenges as a transfer student. Since I was a first generation student, I had little to no resources to help me make the best decisions with courses I was taking at the community college with the intent to transfer to VT later. Once I got to VT I was shocked to find out that that some of my classes did not transfer and I also didn't realize that your GPA also does not come with you. I felt very lost my first year at VT since I didn't get the orientation experience to know where to go for help. Looking back now, I wish I had visited my advisor more and asked for help from my instructors instead of being afraid of coming off as stupid for not knowing what many of my classmates had a head start on.
What is one piece of advice you would give transfer college students? Don't be afraid to ask for help from multiple sources! Faculty and advisors want to see you succeed and shouldn't be seen as unapproachable people! Also, no question is stupid!

Name: Jessica Davis
Title: Assistant Director for Leadership Civic Engagement
Department: VT Engage - The Center for Leadership and Civic Engagement
Institution you transferred from: Ball State University
Institution you transferred to: Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne
What was the biggest challenge you encountered as a transfer college student and how did you overcome it? My biggest challenge when I transferred was making friends and feeling like I belonged. This was also one reason why I left Ball State. So I had to have that internal conversation with myself that I needed to put myself out there and do at least one thing. And when I did, it was a domino effect. I made friends who are still my closest friends today and I found my community. By the time I graduated I was awarded the Student Leader of the Year award and serving at the international level for my community service organization. My time at IPFW taught me how to utilize my strengths as a leader and gave me the confidence that college was somewhere I belonged.
What is one piece of advice you would give transfer college students? Be sure to rely on the Transfer Student Initiatives Staff, advisors, and student affairs staffs. Their jobs are all to help equipping you and develop skills for you to be successful in college. And be sure to get involved even if you are nervous! Try and explore new things.

Name: Matthew M Dull
Title: Associate Professor CPAP
Department: School of Public and International Affairs
Institution you transferred from: University of Chicago
Institution you transferred to: University of Notre Dame
What was the biggest challenge you encountered as a transfer college student and how did you overcome it? Meeting people, making new friends
What is one piece of advice you would give transfer college students? Hang in there. It gets easier.

Name: Michael Flora
Title: Windows App System Admin.
Department: Information Technology - Enterprise Systems - Database and Application Administration
Institution you transferred from: Virginia Western Community College
Institution you transferred to: Virginia Tech
What was the biggest challenge you encountered as a transfer college student and how did you overcome it? The biggest challenge I encountered was coming in as a Junior and trying to make friends with groups that had been together for a couple years beforehand. I found that it helped getting to know other students that had also transferred. The College of Engineering gave us mentors that had previously been transfer students. Through this group, I was able to get to know the campus and get to know other students much quicker.
What is one piece of advice you would give transfer college students? Don't give up with trying to get to know new people. It can be intimidating coming into groups that were already very familiar to one another. It takes time, but just find those in your college that may be in a similar experience as you and get to know them!

Name: Corinne Guimont
Title: Digital Scholarship Coordinator
Department: Library
Institution you transferred from: Central Michigan University
Institution you transferred to: Michigan State University
What was the biggest challenge you encountered as a transfer college student and how did you overcome it? While all my coursework transferred over, it wasn't clear what requirements those courses covered. I worked closely with my advisor to identify what requirements I had fulfilled with transfer credits and what requirements I had remaining.
What is one piece of advice you would give transfer college students? Look for opportunities to get involved on your new campus. As a transfer student, you may feel that a lot the welcoming events are geared towards first year students, but they're really open to everyone and its a great opportunity to meet people. So taking part in those events and talking to your advisors can really help identify things like student organizations, jobs and internships, and more for you.

Name: Matt Hebdon
Title: Assistant Professor
Department: Civil & Environmental Engineering
Institution you transferred from: College of Eastern Utah
Institution you transferred to: Utah State University
What was the biggest challenge you encountered as a transfer college student and how did you overcome it? My biggest challenge was getting to know people and creating a whole new group of friends to study with and to hang out with. I really had to put myself out there.
What is one piece of advice you would give transfer college students? Get involved in everything you can that aligns with your interests and career goals - clubs, intramurals, extracurriculars, etc. It'll help make the transition less difficult because you'll be able to find others with similar interests more quickly.

Name: Jen Heinold
Title: Assistant Director
Department: Career and Professional Development
Institution you transferred from: Oakton Community College
Institution you transferred to: Eastern Illinois University
What was the biggest challenge you encountered as a transfer college student and how did you overcome it? Staying on track for graduation and understanding financial aid
What is one piece of advice you would give transfer college students? 
Please reach out for help or questions

Name: Kimberley Homer
Title: Learning Technologist Analyst
Department: Technology-enhanced Learning and Online Systems
Institution you transferred from: Prince George's Community College
Institution you transferred to: Virginia Tech
What was the biggest challenge you encountered as a transfer college student and how did you overcome it? Finding a place to live. I used the off campus housing office to find a roommate, but would have preferred an efficiency or accessory dwelling unit.
What is one piece of advice you would give transfer college students? Join a club of like-minded people if you can, because everyone else will know people from their freshman year on campus. Also, please know we townies welcome you!

Name: Dr. Buddy Howell
Title: Advanced Instructor
Department: School of Communication
Institution you transferred from: North Harris County Community College
Institution you transferred to: Baylor University
What was the biggest challenge you encountered as a transfer college student and how did you overcome it? Fear of failure and forming new friendships. After I realized I was smart enough to succeed in college (initially, I had great doubts), I became a resident assistant. I learned to balance my academic responsibilities, residence life responsibilities, and social life. I became part of a community by helping to build a community on my residence hall!
What is one piece of advice you would give transfer college students? Balance: Mind & Heart. Education is larger than the textbook and the classroom, so invest in the development of your "emotional IQ", in nurturing your relationships with others, as well as your "intellectual IQ", as you prepare yourself not just to get a good job, but also to live a good life of service to others.

Name: Matthew Kovach
Title: Collegiate Asst Professor
Department: Economics
Institution you transferred from: Saddleback College
Institution you transferred to: UC Santa Barbara
What was the biggest challenge you encountered as a transfer college student and how did you overcome it? Apart from imposter syndrome, the major challenges I faced revolved around adjusting to the culture and navigating the social aspects of a four-year university. Finding study groups when I did not know anyone was often difficult. Also, I had no real idea what professors expected of me.
What is one piece of advice you would give transfer college students? You belong.

Name: Anna LoMascolo
Title: Co-Director Programming
Department: Women's Center
Institution you transferred from: New River Community College
Institution you transferred to: Virginia Tech
What was the biggest challenge you encountered as a transfer college student and how did you overcome it? I remember arriving to Virginia Tech and feeling like I was somehow already socially behind, like everyone knew each other already and I didn't know anyone. It was a pretty intimidating first week or two. But you know what? I said 'hello' to the person sitting next to me in my first class. Then went on to talk to the person sitting in front of me in my next class. And so on. I realized that a new year brings new classes and new people into all of our lives. And we were all looking for ways to make this large university feel smaller and more like home. Tackling the big challenges always starts with one step, and sometimes that's as simple as saying, "Hi, I'm Anna."
What is one piece of advice you would give transfer college students? Jump in and embrace everything your new school has that interests you. For me it was a major that I loved and extracurricular opportunities that advanced my understanding of my field. It was also intermural water polo (YES, that was totally a thing) and trying my hand at acting during a summer session. You deserve to make the most of this very special time in your life.

Name: Ron Poff
Title: Asst. Professor of Practice
Department: Pamplin College of Business - Management Department
Institution you transferred from: Virginia Western Community College/ Radford University
Institution you transferred to: Radford University/ University of Phoenix
What was the biggest challenge you encountered as a transfer college student and how did you overcome it? Transferring from a community college to a residential college was overwhelming at first as I did not feel a sense of belonging. Once I started getting involved in clubs and organizations on campus - then I felt more aligned with others.
What is one piece of advice you would give transfer college students? Explore and discover organizations so that you have the opportunity to engage so as to build a network with other like minded students. This will help you to grow as a person while also getting integrated into the community as well.

Name: Scot Ransbottom
Title: Director ECE Major Design Experience
Department: Electrical & Computer Engineering
Institution you transferred from: Marshall University
Institution you transferred to: Ohio University
What was the biggest challenge you encountered as a transfer college student and how did you overcome it? Nontransferable credits. I overcame this by scheduling a meeting with my new university program adviser and ensuring that I identified and prioritized the courses necessary for my degree. It took me an extra year, but ultimately it was worth it.
What is one piece of advice you would give transfer college students? The sooner you know from which school you plan to graduate, the better. Look forward and actively reach out the advisers there to ensure your efforts at both schools are helping you meet your objective of learning, growing, and graduating. The three goals are related, but not all the same.

Name: Anne Staples
Title: Associate Professor
Department: Department of Biomedical Engineering and Mechanics
Institution you transferred from: Ocean Country Community College
Institution you transferred to: Cornell University
What was the biggest challenge you encountered as a transfer college student and how did you overcome it? Feeling lost on Cornell's campus, which was huge compared to my community college, both physically and in terms of the number of students, resources, clubs, activities, and available choices.
What is one piece of advice you would give transfer college students? Get to know your professors! They can show you the ropes and explain the academic culture and expectations in their classes and at Tech in general. Spending some time building those relationships will help you to feel at home. Don't be shy about emailing your professors with questions about their classes, or stopping by their office hours to ask about any aspect of their courses.