A group of Virginia Tech student leaders and faculty members traveled to Tecnologico de Monterrey (Monterrey Tech) in Mexico to present at the 2008 International Leadership Conference held from Oct. 22 through 26.

The exchange of students and faculty members between Virginia Tech and Monterrey Tech began in 2004. An inter-institutional agreement of cooperation was established between the two institutions. The purpose of the agreement was and continues to be the promotion and expansion of an international understanding and the development of international friendships among students and staff. Those friendships are facilitated through educational, professional, and intercultural activities and projects. Annually, members from each of the two institutions take turns visiting each others campuses sharing intercultural experiences.

This year, two groups of students from Virginia Tech including, four resident advisors and nine student leaders presented two sessions under the theme “Leadership Hokie Style” at the 2008 International Leadership Conference. The two student groups talked about their personal leadership involvement and also provided attendees with an overview of how Virginia Tech actively builds a community of student leaders.

Many of the students heading to Mexico for the conference applied for the opportunity to attend and were selected due to their leadership participation in various programs and activities throughout campus. The students attending this year’s conference included

  • Thomas Hogdahl II of Stafford, Va., a senior majoring in civil engineering in the College of Engineering;
  • Michael Creaven of Alexandria, Va., a junior majoring in aerospace engineering in the College of Engineering;
  • Ingrid Ngai of Hong Kong, a sophomore majoring in industrial systems engineering in the College of Engineering;
  • Alison Wood of Richmond, Va., a senior majoring in Spanish and interdisciplinary studies in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences;
  • Lauren Creasy of Lynchburg, Va., a sophomore majoring in hospitality and tourism management in the Pamplin College of Business;
  • Nicole Decraene of Atlanta, Ga., a sophomore majoring in industrial systems engineering in the College of Engineering;
  • Chris Valdes of Yorktown, Va., a junior majoring in history in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences and psychology in the College of Science;
  • Natalie Boyarinova of Seaford, Va., a senior majoring in psychology in the College of Science;
  • Marcela Uribe of Mexico City, Mexico, a graduate student majoring in curriculum and instruction in the School of Education;
  • Malissa Bradshaw of Carrsville, Va., a senior majoring in marketing in the Pamplin College of Business;
  • Allison Parker of Alexandria, Va., a sophomore majoring in hospitality and tourism management and marketing in the Pamplin College of Business;
  • Casey Windmuller of Glen Allen Va., a senior majoring in communication in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences; and
  • Josh Burnheimer of Ashburn, Va., a senior majoring in financial planning in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

In addition to the student presenters from Virginia Tech, Guy A. Sims, assistant vice president for student affairs, also presented a workshop titled “Talent and Innovation.” The workshop focused on how Virginia Tech students utilize their talents to bring innovative skills and techniques to leadership. Sims also facilitated a meeting with the counseling department from Monterrey Tech and discussed how the two institutions welcome students to their respective campuses.

Accompanying the student leaders to Monterrey Tech were three Virginia Tech faculty and staff members: Julie Walters-Steele, director of university unions; Kim Timpany, associate director of leadership development; and Katie Greenleaf, complex director for the Graduate Life Center at Donaldson Brown, Monteith Hall, and Thomas Hall.

The 2008 International Leadership Conference is hosted annually by Monterrey Tech and offers students from Mexico and all over the world an opportunity to come together for the purpose of sharing leadership experiences, linking diverse cultures, and building international friendships.

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