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Graduate Ambassadors

The Center for the Enhancement of Engineering Diversity (CEED) Graduate Ambassadors program is a prestigious group of highly motivated, dedicated, and spirited graduate students who assist with recruiting efforts for underrepresented students. They represent a variety of academic fields and serve as official student representatives for the CEED Office.  Our CEED Ambassadors support potential graduate students to Virginia Tech by providing information and participating in recruitment activities that include:serving on a student panel to answer questions from prospective students (A Step to the Doctorate Institute); assisting the College of Engineering with Yield Events; hosting individuals and groups by talking about campus life and the resources available to College of Engineering graduate students; promoting and supporting the Torgersen Awards.

Headshot of Zach Boykin

"I became a CEED graduate ambassador so I could share my experience with other prospective students."

Hometown: Camden, South Carolina

Undergraduate Degree: Clemson University, Civil Engineering

Hobbies: Working out, Reading, and playing video games

Graduating Spring 2023

Headshot of Katrina Colucci-Chang

"I wanted to become a Graduate Ambassador for CEED to tell my story and to help others transition to Virginia Tech or to the United States."

Hometown: Puerto Rico and Virginia

Undergraduate Degree: George Mason University, Bioengineering and minor in Dance

Hobbies: Dancing, Trying new restaurants, travel, reading

Spring 2022

Headshot of Oreoluwa Alabi

"I became a CEED graduate ambassador so I could help prospective students excel during their studies by sharing tricks as well as experiences I have acquired to survive graduate school."

Hometown: Lagos, Nigeria

Undergraduate Degree: Virginia Tech, Mechanical Engineering

Hobbies: Soccer, Reading

Graduating Spring 2025

Headshot of Juan Shiraishi

"To support my career mission of improving access and inclusion in higher ed by sharing institutional know-how with prospective students"

Hometown: Denver, CO

Undergraduate Degree: Lehigh University, Materials Science and Engineering

Hobbies: DJ'ing, weightlifting, yoga, boxing, cooking, baking, and traveling

Graduating Spring 2023

Headshot of Yunus Naseri

"To play my role in turning VT's campus to a more welcoming environment to students from different backgrounds"

Hometown: Herat, Afghanistan

Undergraduate Degree: Herat University, Civil Engineering

Hobbies: Reading history, photography

Graduating Spring 2025

Headshot of Taiwo Oyedare

"I wanted to be a CEED Graduate Ambassador to assist the college of Engineering in their mission of diversifying the graduate student community while also promoting a safe space for all."

Hometown: Lagos, Nigeria

Undergraduate Degree: Ekiti State University, Nigeria, B.Eng. Electrical & Electronics Engineering

Hobbies: Listening to audible, playing lawn tennis and lifting weights

Graduating Spring 2023

Headshot of Ricardo Pool

"To offer support and share with prospective students my current experience and decisions that allowed me to carry out a graduate program out of my country."

Hometown: Cancun, Mexico

Undergraduate Degree: National Autonomous University of Mexico, Chemical Engineering

Hobbies: Watercolors, calisthenics, videogames

Graduating Spring 2022

Headshot of Julia Brisbane

"It is my hope as an ambassador that I will be able to interact with underrepresented students along their graduate school journey and share my authentic experiences of being a student at Virginia Tech."

Hometown: Charleston, SC

Undergraduate Degree: Clemson University, Bioengineering

Hobbies: Reading, baking, cooking, watching TikTok, and hanging out with my cat named Milkshake

Graduating Spring 2024

Headshot of Appiah-Kubi

"I thought being a CEED ambassador was a great way to share my journey and experience with other students, particularly international students, who may be struggling/confused about the graduate school application process."

Hometown: Kumasi, Ghana

Undergraduate Degree: Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana, BSc. Electrical/Electronic Engineering

Hobbies: Painting, sewing, reading novels

Graduating Spring 2022

Headshot of Ndidi Eyegheleme

"To live the VT motto: 'that I may serve', and offer support to underrespresented students interseted in pusuing graduate studies in STEM."

Hometown: Azagba, Delta, Nigeria

Undergraduate Degree: University of Ilorin, Nigeria, B.Eng. Mechanical Engineering

Hobbies: Reading fiction, Listening to good music and watching movies.

Graduating Spring 2024

Headshot of Wendell Grinton

"I became a CEED Graduate Ambassador to help students who may look like me to have an opportunity to pursue their goals, dreams, and aspirations."

Hometown: Harmony, NC

Undergraduate Degree: North Carolina A&T State University, Civil Engineering

Hobbies: Workout (Planet Fitness), Pick-Up Basketball, Intramural Sports, Drawing, Traveling, Binge Watching Shows

Graduating Spring 2023

Headshot of Christopher Garza

"I wanted to become a CEED Ambassador to provide my expertise and support underrepresented students achieve their academic and professional goals."

Hometown: Freeport, TX

Undergraduate Degree: University of Houston-Clear Lake, Chemistry

Hobbies: Reading, traveling, fishing, hiking, exercise (weight lifting and running), cooking (BBQ), and spending time with daughter.

Graduating Spring 2024

Headshot of Adam Lowery

"Making the transistion offers more challenges then I think most people are aware of; I wanted to be able to lend my insight to those in need"

Hometown: Daytona Beach, FL

Undergraduate Degree: Lincoln University (PA), Physics; Cornell University, Mechanical Engineering

Hobbies: Film, Creative Writing, Taking naps in odd places

Graduating Spring 2022

Headshot of Levern Currie

"I became a CEED Graduate Ambassador to help students navigate grad school by using the knowledge and experiences I 've gained to provide them with the advice, tools and resources needed to be successful."

Hometown: Woodbridge, VA

Undergraduate Degree: George Mason University, B.S. Psychology

Hobbies: BJJ/MMA, Playing music, painting/drawing, exercise, traveling, trying new foods, watching good shows, cooking

Graduating Spring 2024

Headshot of Nayara De Oliveira Faria

"To give back to the community and to support my mission diversity/inclusion of underrepresented populations."

Hometown: Betim, Brazil

Undergraduate Degree: Pontifical Catholic University of Minas Gerais, Industrial Engineering

Hobbies: Dancing, Traveling

Graduating Spring 2023

Headshot of Cora Carman-Esparza

"I have had a wonderful experience at Virginia Tech, not because everything has been perfect, but because I have found good mentors and communities. I want to share these experiences with prospective students so they can be assured that VT actually makes an effort towards making students feel included."

Hometown: Rio Rancho, New Mexico

Undergraduate Degree: New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, Chemical Engineering

Hobbies: Rock climbing, hiking, playing with my dog Chewie, board games with friends, tennis/pickleball, learning Spanish

Graduating Spring 2023

Headshot of Bright Katey

"To present myself as what is possible with the necessary effort, commitment and focus, irrespective of where one's background."

Hometown: Sege-Ada, West, Ghana

Undergraduate Degree: University of Mines and Technology, Ghana, BSc. Mechanical Engineering

Hobbies: Soccer, Watching Documentries

Graduating Spring 2025

Headshot of Ramon Benitez

"I became a graduate ambassador for CEED to connect with incoming students and share my experiences as a grad student."

Hometown: El Paso, Texas

Undergraduate Degree: University of Texas at El Paso, B.S. Metallurgical & Materials Engineering

Hobbies: Hiking, crochet, gardening, reading, eating, and talking.

Graduating Fall 2022