How Virginia Tech is turning its Honors program into an Honors College (VT News)

It’s not every day I get to interview a Pokemon world champion, yet that’s what I found happening during the reporting of a story about how Virginia Tech is taking its Honors program to the next level.

Wolfe Glick, a junior double-majoring in economics and computational modeling and data analytics, is the 2016 Pokemon World Championships Masters Division Champion, and he’s shaped his educational experience to reflect the skills and network he’s acquired through gaming. He’s just one of the talented students attending Virginia Tech’s Honors program.

The shift to an Honors College will enable Tech to attract more talented students like Glick.

Find out more in my story for VT News.

Hacking Hokies (Virginia Tech Magazine)

I’m fascinated by how people with the right skills can build something both innovative and functional in a single weekend.

Virginia Tech is expanding that hackathon concept to address global challenges in data science and cybersecurity.

Read my story in the fall issue of Virginia Tech Magazine about how the university is putting hackers and coders to work in service of improving the world.

Hokies fight for Flint (Virginia Tech Magazine)

The cover story for the spring 2016 issue of Virginia Tech Magazine, which I co-write with Jesse Tuel, focuses on Virginia Tech’s Flint water study group.

I feel privileged that I got the chance to meet and learn from people doing powerful things in the name of service to others. These faculty and students are changing the world in a very real way for the residents of Flint.

Read the story at Virginia Tech Magazine.

Hokie profile: UN Deputy High Commissioner for Refugees (Virginia Tech Magazine)

As hundreds of thousands of refugees and vulnerable migrants fled their homes in war-torn regions last year, a Hokie landed in the heart of the crisis.

Kelly Tallman Clements (French, international studies ’88, M.U.A. ’90) was named the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees’ deputy high commissioner, making her the the No. 2 official in an international agency charged with protecting and assisting those who have been forcibly displaced.

Read more in my alumni profile of Clements (and her husband Andrew, also doing crucial work) in the Winter 2014-15 issue of Virginia Tech Magazine.

The networking power of the Hokie Nation, who’s buried on campus & more (Virginia Tech Magazine)

The fall 2015 issue of Virginia Tech Magazine has now been published and is available online.

My contributions include:

– The cover leader, which looks at Virginia Tech programs that link students and alumni, providing jobs for the former and access to talent for the latter.

– A story on who is buried at Virginia Tech, with a focus on the local leaders at the Preston Cemetery and the community that grew from the slaves buried at Kentland Farm.

– A profile of CNBC anchor Brian Sullivan, one of cable TV’s most prominent business analysts.

Read the entire issue at the Fall 2015 minisite.

The fight against cancer, campus changes & more (Virginia Tech Magazine summer 2015)

Because cancer takes many forms, each unique to itself, Virginia Tech faculty, students, and alumni who fight the disease find themselves in a wide variety of roles.

In its summer 2015 edition, Virginia Tech Magazine showcases the university’s efforts to fight cancer. Whether through caregiving, research, or fundraising, Hokies infuse their work with the spirit of Ut Prosim (That I May Serve) to battle cancer at all levels.

Read my story on Hokies fighting cancer here.

Navigating the Virginia Tech campus soon will be simpler, following construction projects at the north end of the Drillfield, at the Southgate Drive and U.S. Route 460 intersection, and in the northern section of campus near Prices Fork Road and West Campus Drive. Our maps will help bring you up to date and get you where you want to go.

Read my story on the physical changes coming to the Blacksburg campus here

The full issue is available online here.

VT Mag’s spring 2015 issue looks at historic restaurants, metallurgy, more (Virginia Tech Magazine)

The spring 2015 issue of Virginia Tech Magazine has been posted online and mailed to alumni, friends and supporters of the university.

My cover story looks back to the historic restaurants that have become part of Virginia Tech lore, and on the science why we remember these nostalgic strongholds so fondly.

I also toured VT-FIRE, the university’s foundry, and provided a behind-the-scenes look at how decades-old class rings are melted down into Hokie Gold and incorporated into new rings for the alumni of tomorrow.

I considered Virginia Tech’s growing research funding, now at more than half a billion dollars, and where President Timothy D. Sands sees it going in the future.

Finally, I profiled Brent Burger, a business-minded alumni who learned a powerful lesson at Virginia Tech.

The online version of the spring 2015 issue can be found at the Virginia Tech Magazine website.

Big data, a new science festival & the world’s most instrumented building (Virginia Tech Magazine)

The Spring 2015 issue of Virginia Tech is online and has been mailed to more than 200,000 alumni, friends and supporters.

My contributions include a collaboration with Madeleine Gordon that provides an overview of Virginia Tech’s big data initiatives, including how researchers are predicting world events using open-source information; a look at the 241 accelerometers within Goodwin Hall, Tech’s new engineering building, and how they might be used in the future; and a review of Virginia Tech’s involvement in the inaugural Virginia Science Festival.

You can read the entire issue at the Virginia Tech Magazine website.

Fall 2014 issue of Virginia Tech Magazine now available

Virginia Tech Magazine has released its Fall 2014 issue, which includes several of my stories.

My cover story examines the university’s efforts to build Virginia’s agricultural industry and help find new ways to feed and provide water for the world’s growing population.

I also look at what Virginia Tech faculty are doing to fight pests that have decimated populations of American chestnut, Eastern hemlock and Carolina hemlock.

In this issue’s How Tech Ticks, I consider the technology, engineering and construction that’s gone into making the Duck Pond one of the most natural-feeling places on campus.

Find all this and more in the new issue of Virginia Tech Magazine, either in your mailbox or online at

New work for Virginia Tech Magazine, Summer 2014

This month saw the release of the Summer 2014 issue of Virginia Tech Magazine, which you can read here. I work for Virginia Tech on a part-time basis, and it’s therefore my steadiest client, so to speak.

My stories in this issue include:
A feature about the first graduating class at Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine.
A look at the pioneering students who helped integrate Virginia Tech in the 1960s and ’70s.
The graphics-driven How Tech Ticks about research on the links between food and emotion.
The university’s pursuit of state and federal historic status for Lane Hall.
An alumni short about a forensic entomologist whose work assists in criminal and civil cases.
An assist on the “Firsts” cover story, including bits about Virginia Tech’s first Olympians and the first time Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” was played as entrance music for the football team.