Terry Zapata has been creating a welcoming environment in Virginia Tech's  Department of Philosophy for more than 17 years.

From her workspace at the front desk of the office in Major Williams Hall, Zapata plays an integral role in managing the office and coordinating activities. As the department’s executive secretary, her primary responsibilities include providing administrative and clerical support to the department head and the entire department.

She has a role in virtually every facet of the department, from planning welcome back activities for students and employees at the beginning of the academic year to organizing the department’s commencement ceremony at the conclusion of the year.

“Terry’s creative and dedicated service to the department, to the university, and the ideals of excellence is inspiring,” said Lydia Patton, director of graduate studies and associate professor in the Department of Philosophy.

She’s also the coordinator of the department’s graduate program and administers travel funding for graduate students and faculty to attend conferences across the nation where they present their research. She also works with faculty to organize both academic and cultural events such as national and international conferences, lectures, and workshops.

Zapata has been a member of the International Association of Administrative Professionals since 1999 and received her national certification as a Certified Administrative Professional in 2009.

Zapata was one of nine Virginia Tech employees nominated in 2015 to represent the university in the statewide Governor’s Award program. She was nominated in the community service and volunteerism category. The winners were announced last month.

Outside of the office, Zapata gives her time to the New River Valley Rocketry Club. In September, the club hosted a visit with Homer Hickam, a Virginia Tech alumnus, former NASA engineer and author of the book "Rocket Boys." Hickam's visit, designed to "inspire young minds to reach for the stars,” was part of a launch event hosted by the club at Kentland Farms.

Zapata recently earned a level one rocketry certification and has completed building a super powered LOC Precision Rocket that was  49 inches tall, 5.5 inches in diameter. She named the rocket, “Silly boys...Rockets are for girls.” 

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.

Related Links

  • Past Governor's Award nominees and recipients