Emily Van Houweling has been named associate director for Women and Gender in International Development in Virginia Tech’s Office of International Research, Education, and Development.

In the newly created position, Van Houweling will assist the program director, Maria Elisa Christie, in ensuring that the office’s $100 million portfolio of international projects addresses gender issues and benefits the most disadvantaged groups, which are disproportionately women.

Van Houweling will analyze data from the various projects, including looking at the constraints faced by women in agricultural programs at universities in developing countries around the world and issuing recommendations that can help address these concerns.

She will also help plan and conduct gender workshops that look at the intersection of gender, health, and nutrition.

“I think it’s significant that for the first time in 30 years, Virginia Tech has increased its financial support of gender in development with the hiring of Van Houweling,” said Christie.

Van Houweling’s special expertise is on water and gender issues. As a Peace Corps volunteer in the West African country of Mali, she organized a community sanitation group focused on well improvements, latrine construction, and hygiene education. She also spent two months as part of a Stanford/Virginia Tech team that set up an impact evaluation of a rural water project in Mozambique. She later continued this work under a Fulbright grant, extending the analysis to explore the project’s social and gender-related impacts.

Van Houweling holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Occidental College in Los Angeles and master’s and Ph.D. degrees from Virginia Tech.

Dedicated to its motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech takes a hands-on, engaging approach to education, preparing scholars to be leaders in their fields and communities. As the commonwealth’s most comprehensive university and its leading research institution, Virginia Tech offers 240 undergraduate and graduate degree programs to more than 31,000 students and manages a research portfolio of $513 million. The university fulfills its land-grant mission of transforming knowledge to practice through technological leadership and by fueling economic growth and job creation locally, regionally, and across Virginia.