Dana Cruikshank has been named communications director for the Office of International Research, Education, and Development, part of Outreach and International Affairs at Virginia Tech.
Cruikshank came to Virginia Tech from the National Science Foundation in 2010, first handling communications for the College of Architecture and Urban Studies and then joining Outreach and International Affairs in 2012.
In Outreach and International Affairs, Cruikshank worked on the university's $60 million grant funded by the U.S. Army to promote science-and-technology education in public schools. Most recently, he headed the marketing communications team for Continuing and Professional Education, where he helped create branding strategies for advanced technical training and development programs.
At the National Science Foundation, Cruikshank wrote pieces on climate change, nanotechnology, cybersecurity, and other subjects, as well as generated news coverage on those topics from CNN, the journal Nature, and other outlets. He was the top communications officer for the National Science Foundation's high-profile Office of Polar Programs. His work was recognized by the National Association of Government Communicators.
During Hurricane Katrina, he worked for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, helping the agency carry out crisis communications and connect with residents during the aftermath of the disaster. He started his communications career in Washington, D.C., with stints at Vanguard Communications as well as the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and in Bethesda, Maryland, as a website manager and producer for the Discovery Channel's Discoveryespanol.com.
Cruikshank completed a master’s of public health degree at Virginia Tech in 2016. A native of Ithaca, New York, he received a bachelor’s degree in international studies from American University and a master’s degree in organizational communication from Bowie State University.
At the Office of International Research, Education, and Development, which oversees a multimillion-dollar research portfolio as well as a gender program ensuring the representation of women on research projects, Cruikshank is expected to set and carry out communications strategy.
"We are living in an age when the value and importance of international connections are being openly questioned in developed countries like the United States," Cruikshank said. "The consensus rules around foreign policy and development that guided such work for the past 25 years are rapidly changing as a result. There is an imperative need, therefore, to communicate the value of international work and the benefits such work bring to the university and country."
Cruikshank begins the job Feb. 27. He replaces Miriam Rich, who accepted a position as communications and marketing manager for Vitech Corporation at Virginia Tech's Corporate Research Center.