Cheryl Bailey Gittens, former assistant professor and director of the Health Careers Opportunity Program at Northern Virginia Community College (Annandale Campus), has been named director of the Ronald E. McNair Post-baccalaureate Achievement Program at Virginia Tech. Gittens began her new post August 28.

In her new position, Gittens will provide leadership for the McNair Scholars Program, a federally funded program that is designed to encourage low-income, first-generation college students and students from groups currently under-represented in higher education to pursue doctoral study. The program offers seminars and activities that focus on graduate education, guided academic and career support, faculty mentorship, a summer research experience, and effective preparation for graduate school.

At Northern Virginia Community College (NVCC) since 1996, Gittens directed a federally funded program that offered academic support and assistance to first-generation, low-income, and under-represented minority students who were financially and academically unprepared for health professions programs. She also served as financial aid director at the Annandale Campus of NVCC.

Gittens will report to Karen Eley Sanders, assistant provost and director of academic support services.

“Cheryl’s successful experience in directing a federally funded program for under-served students and her background in counseling and student activities make her an ideal candidate to work with the McNair Scholars Program,” Sanders said. “I am pleased to welcome her to the academic support and enrichment team at Virginia Tech.”

Gittens received a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in social work from Rutgers University, and is a doctoral candidate in higher education administration at The George Washington University.

Founded in 1872 as a land-grant college, Virginia Tech is the most comprehensive university in the Commonwealth of Virginia and is among the top research universities in the nation. Today, Virginia Tech’s eight colleges are dedicated to quality, innovation, and results through teaching, research, and outreach activities. At its 2,600-acre main campus located in Blacksburg and other campus centers in Northern Virginia, Southwest Virginia, Hampton Roads, Richmond, and Roanoke, Virginia Tech enrolls more than 28,000 undergraduate and graduate students from all 50 states and more than 100 countries in 180 academic degree programs.