College Ambassador Program enters second decade

College Ambassadors Karen Park, second from right, and Brittany Neal welcome students to the college during a fall reception.

By Lois Caliri

Throughout the years, student ambassadors in the college have served as tour guides for prospective students and their parents, shared their knowledge and experience at college open houses, and hosted alumni receptions and events. More than 160 students have participated in the College Ambassador Program since it started in October 2001.

Now, the program’s focus has been redesigned to incorporate those same skills while also promoting leadership and professional development, sharpening communication skills, and enhancing teamwork among the ambassadors. The ambassador’s responsibilities extend well beyond assisting with college activities.

“I envision the legacy of the ambassador program as the creation of lifelong advocates for the college who spread the college message globally,” said Susan Sumner, associate dean and director of academic programs.

Kevin Lacy, a junior in human nutrition, foods and exercise from Chesapeake, Va., wanted to get involved in the inner workings of the college. He provided input on the college’s 2012-18 strategic plan, bringing a student voice to the administration.

Participating in a close-knit, nurturing organization also enables ambassadors to feel more connected to the students and the college.

“Students are often unclear about what the college has to offer, and I like knowing that I may have helped a student make a decision about what he or she wants to do in the future,” said Molly Johnson, a senior in human nutrition, foods and exercise from Ashland, Va.

Karen Park, a senior in animal and poultry sciences from Fairfax, Va., said she enjoys promoting the college and everything it has to offer.

“I love being part of this amazing Hokie family,” she said. “I will be representing the college for the rest of my life.”