Jennifer Helms Culhane has been appointed the new director of first-year academic initiatives in the Office of First-Year Experiences at Virginia Tech.

The position includes a variety of responsibilities, including working with the Pathways to Success Initiative, the Common Book Project, and peer leadership initiatives.

Aside from the administrative and organizational role, Culhane will be both conceptually involved and socially aware of the needs of first-year students on Virginia Tech’s campus.  

“I am excited to be a part of the Office of First-Year Experiences at a time of transition from the successful Quality Enhancement Plan where collaboration and creativity across the disciplines will continue to guide growth,” Culhane said. “I am looking forward to working with faculty to enhance the first-year experience of students at Virginia Tech; creating an environment for student learning where high impact practices are the cornerstone to achieve problem solving, inquiry and integration of learning skills.”

“I am delighted to have Jennifer join the team of faculty and staff who are dedicated to working with first-year students,” said Mary Ann Lewis, assistant provost for first-year experiences. “She brings knowledge, experience, and skill sets that will be assets to all of our discipline-based programs for first-year students. With her leadership, I am sure we will have a successful future.”

Culhane earned her Ph.D. from Virginia Tech. Following graduation, she was an assessment specialist in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and then worked as a project coordinator in the Department of Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise.

Prior to Virginia Tech, Culhane earned a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree from the University of Georgia.

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.

Written by Leslie McCrea, a senior majoring in multimedia journalism in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences.