Alumni Happenings

mentoringCALS Mentoring Program

Through the support of a generous donor and commitment from the college, the Alumni Organization has established a mentoring program for undergraduate students in agribusiness-focused majors. Partnering with the advising faculty in the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics, 15 students were matched with 15 alumni and supporters of the college who work in the agribusiness industry.

Events throughout the academic year will focus on career exploration, goal setting, interviewing skills, preparing resumes, identifying and applying strengths, etiquette training, and networking. Students will also complete a job-shadowing experience in their area of interest.
The program’s goals are to better prepare students to enter the workplace and to provide an avenue for internship and employment opportunities. Mentors will have a chance to identify potential talent for industry and share valuable professional experience with the next generation of Hokie alumni. The mentoring initiative  provides new opportunities for collaboration and for building and strengthening relationships between alumni, industry, and the college.

Photo-1Mingle like you mean it

The CALS Alumni Organization hosts professional development programs for students to prepare them for networking and career opportunities after graduation. During a recent seminar held in partnership with the Office of Career and Professional Development, students enhanced their mingling skills to help prepare for networking events and other important interactions with alumni, industry representatives, and potential employers.



photo-3Annual alumni gathering at Virginia Ag Expo

The CALS Alumni Organization’s annual alumni gathering at the Virginia Ag Expo was held at the Keystone Truck and Tractor Museum in Colonial Heights. Alumni heard updates about the campus and the Alumni Organization and spent time enjoying the museum’s displays.



Board elections

Four CALS alumni will bring their diverse majors, student experiences, and industry expertise to the Alumni Organization as they begin three-year terms as elected members to the organization’s board of directors.

Officer elections were also held at the organization’s annual meeting. Dixie Dalton (agricultural economics ’86, M.S. ’89) will serve as president for the next two years. Heidi Hertz (human nutrition, foods, and exercise ’04) joins the executive team as vice president. Tim VanReenen (agricultural economics ’06, M.S. career and technical education ’08) will continue his role on the executive committee as past president.

The CALS Alumni Organization exists to promote fellowship and networking among alumni and students and to advance the teaching, research, and extension missions of the college. More information on the organization, its leadership, and how you can become involved is available at

New board members

Renee Dupell

Renee Dupell
M.S. Life Sciences (Food Science and Technology) ’11
U.S. product stewardship and regulatory analyst, DuPont Teijin Films

Lynn Ann Smith

Lynn Ann Smith
M.S. Life Sciences (Food Science and Technology) ’10
Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise; Food Science and Technology ’08
Environmental health specialist, Virginia Department of Health

Edward Railey

Edward Railey
Agricultural and Applied Economics (’03)
Attorney, The Law Offices of Railey and Railey

Anh Tran

Anh Tran
Biochemistry (’06)
Senior research associate, Novozymes








CALS helped kick off the coach Justin Fuente era of Virginia Tech football with its annual homecoming tailgate prior to the Liberty University game. More than 250 alumni, students, faculty, and friends of the college enjoyed a brunch buffet, games, and interactions with student clubs and departments.



Girl-with-boardNew alumni launch party

The college’s latest alumni were feted during the CALS Alumni Organization’s new alumni launch party in May, where they posted on social media about what it means to be a Virginia Tech alumni. Rebekah Slabach (’16, left) shared her thoughts before heading into the working world as a Virginia Cooperative Extension agent in Halifax County. Dean Alan Grant; Tim VanReenen (’06, ’08), president of the CALS Alumni Organization; and Katie Frazier (’04), president of the Virginia Agribusiness Council welcomed the students to the nation of Hokie alumni.