The BSE Ambassadors stay busy representing the department at various recruiting events throughout the year at multiple university-wide Open House events which target prospective high school and transfer students. They make a formal presentation each fall at the College of Engineering Information Sessions to the General Engineering students here at Virginia Tech as they try to choose which departments they want to apply to when they officially declare their engineering majors. In addition to serving as student mentors to our incoming BSE sophomores, our Ambassadors also give individual tours to high school students and their families and visit classrooms and student clubs at local high schools in Blacksburg, Christiansburg, Salem, and Roanoke as well as their hometown alma maters. We could not do what we do without them!
2020-21 BSE Ambassadors
Kirin Anand is from Chantilly, Virginia and began his education at Virginia Tech in Fall 2017. He is majoring in BSE while taking the pre-medical pathway and minoring in Biomedical Engineering and Chemistry. As an aspiring physician, he hopes to bridge the gap between engineering and medicine through interdisciplinary coursework, research, and extracurriculars. While conducting research in the Orthopedic Mechanobiology Lab under Dr. Vincent Wang, Kirin worked alongside VTC medical students to perform 31 novel orthopedic surgery repair techniques and subsequently conducted tests and performed data analyzation of biomechanical integrity, summarizing the results in a 34-page report submitted to MiTek (Johnson & Johnson). Apart from research, Kirin has also served as the President of the Undergraduate Biomedical Engineering Society, the Professional & Leadership Chair of Sigma Phi Delta (social-professional engineering fraternity), and the Education Chair of Delta Epsilon Mu (national pre-health professional fraternity). He is also a member of MEDLIFE, where he plans to go to Peru for a medical service trip, part of various physician observerships, and a recipient of the 500 Volunteer Hours Certificate of Achievement. Kirin’s hobbies include playing basketball, going to the gym, being in nature, trying new things, and coaching youth basketball. As an aspiring physician, Kirin’s goals and passions revolve around giving back to those around him. The unique diversity of BSE has allowed him to seamlessly integrate both engineering and medical curriculum, and as a result, he would love to give back to the community that has helped him so much. Kirin is excited to promote the BSE discipline through speaking at schools, working with rising freshman, serving as a mentor to BSE sophomores, and any way that he is able. Ultimately, he is honored to represent the BSE department both currently and throughout the future.
Hana Coogan hails from Roanoke, Virginia and is a BSE Senior focusing on Food Engineering and Biotechnology. After graduation, she desires to work in the food, cosmetics, or biotechnology industries in research and development, packaging engineering, or product commercialization. Hana has interned with Novozymes in research and development and also held a co-op position with the Hershey Company in continuous improvement. Hana serves as President of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) student branch for 2020-2021. She actively participates in undergraduate research to analyze hospital patient dialysis fluid and urine samples via Raman Spectrometry to generate a database of urine/dialysate sample Raman signatures that correlate the patient diseases with the urine’s composition. Hana also finds time to participate on Smart Snacks for Kids competition teams. In addition to her club activities, she enjoys attending Virginia Tech football games and hanging out with friends. As a Virginia Tech freshman, Hana found it challenging to decide on her engineering path and appreciated the guidance provided by the BSE Ambassadors. She is happy to pay it forward and be a friendly face to new students and share information about the major. Hana is glad to pass on her excitement about BSE and share a little Hokie sprit along the way!
Emily Hunter came to Virginia Tech from York, Pennsylvania. She is a BSE Senior focusing on Food Science and has held internships with Martin’s Potato Rolls working in food safety and with Hershey’s in research and development. Emily’s future hope is to use her education to help the food industry take a more sustainable approach to its entire process while helping to improve health benefits of products for consumers. As a Hokie, Emily is heavily involved with the co-ed engineering fraternity, Theta Tau. She has been a brother for two years and has held several positions including rush chair, fundraising chair, and currently serves as treasurer. She has also participated in the Food Science Club and intramurals. Emily also enjoys going to the football and basketball games, hanging out with her friends, and just relaxing whenever she finds a little free time. Emily truly loves Virginia Tech and BSE and being part of the BSE Ambassadors is a way that she could give back to both. Emily says the BSE Ambassadors completely encompass and embrace Virginia Tech’s motto of Ut Prosim. She has been able to interact with new potential students and show them how amazing VT and BSE are. She continually looks for new interactions to show her pride for her school and major!
Rachel Lake’s hometown is Ona, WV, making her a true mountain girl at heart. After seven different college visits, she decided on Virginia Tech and has never looked back. Rachel is a Junior in BSE with a minor in Green Engineering. She has lived on campus for her entire college career, first staying in Lee Hall with the Hypatia program before moving to the Honors Residential Commons LLC her sophomore year. Rachel stays active on and off campus by being involved in many extra curriculars. She served as the Social Committee Chair for the Society of Women Engineers in her sophomore year. In this position, she planned movie nights, spaghetti dinners and other events meant to increase participation in the club. Currently, she is the Editor for Circle K International, a branch of the Kiwanis service organization. She showcases club members’ volunteer work through various social media platforms including the club’s website. Rachel is also a violinist and plays with the Newman Music Ministry every Sunday morning at War Memorial Chapel. In her free time, she enjoys archery, watching old movies with friends, and relaxing in her hammock on the quad. Rachel chose to be involved in the BSE Ambassador program because she loves the major’s variety and wants to help more students discover everything the department has to offer.
Nicholas Nguyen is a BSE Senior from Fairfax, Virginia focused on the Health Professions and Biotechnology paths of coursework within the department with minors in Biomedical Engineering and Music. For the upcoming year, he will continue working with Dr. Caroline Jones in the Department of Biological Sciences modeling cell-pathogen interactions and behaviors through designing microfluidic devices. He is currently planning for his career goal of being a physician by applying to medical schools. Nicholas has worked various positions to gain knowledge about the diverse aspects of the medical field. From working with the Brain Injury Association as a camp counselor, to experiencing several different medical disciplines through numerous observerships, to expanding on his hobby of swimming to be an adaptive aquatics volunteer, Nicholas has a holistic view of medicine. Heavily involved in music, Nicholas is a saxophone player for the Marching Virginians and Pep Band at Virginia Tech. He and his section participate in everything from football games to community service events to intramural sports. Nicholas has also founded the “Music Heals Initiative” where he organizes musical events at local hospitals and care facilities, recruiting fellow musicians to raise awareness of the healing power of music. The BSE program is known to have people that want to pursue a multitude of careers, which stems from its interdisciplinary nature. Nicholas wanted to get involved in the Ambassador program to help prospective students understand all the potential applications this major brings, and how an interdisciplinary major will allow one to not only be pushed into a single passion, but instead have the chance to embrace all of them.
Emily Parsons is part of the BSE class of 2021 from Chesapeake, VA. She calls herself lucky for being able to enjoy both the beach and the mountains in Virginia! Her coursework is aligned with the biotechnology track in the department with a minor in Biomedical Engineering. Her interests include biopharmaceuticals and biotechnology, as she hopes to work the pharmaceutical industry after graduation from Virginia Tech. She complements these interests by working in Dr. Rajagopalan’s research lab in the Chemical Engineering department where she conducts research on the inflammatory response of liver cells. She also has completed an REU in the summer of 2019 under Dr. Tyson in the Systems Biology Department and Dr. Murali in the Computer Science department, and an internship with the pharmaceutical company Merck during the summer of 2020. Outside of her academic endeavors, Emily is an active member of Greek life on campus and a tour guide through Hokie Ambassadors. She also teaches Chemistry 1035 & 1036 studio classes. Emily decided to join the BSE Ambassadors team because she is passionate both about Virginia Tech and also about her department. She wants to share all of the amazing opportunities that she has had with prospective students and those struggling to decide upon an engineering major. Emily hopes to inspire them that they, too, can have worthwhile experiences through the BSE department at Virginia Tech.
Jackie is a BSE Senior from Fairfax, Virginia pursuing the environmental health and watershed engineering tracks. She is passionate about environmental planning for sea level rise. She is also interested in applying engineering principles to meet needs for clean water and sanitation in developing countries. Jackie has always enjoyed playing sports and has continued at Virginia Tech as a member of the club field hockey team. She also loves skiing, hiking, mountain biking, and spending time outside. Jackie’s interest in travel led her to participate in a summer internship in Hangzhou, China with five other BSE students. Jackie really enjoyed working with renewable energy during the internship and gained great memories and friendships with her classmates from this experience. Jackie wanted to represent BSE as an Ambassador because she loves the wide variety of paths and interests to explore within the department. She wants to contribute to making BSE more well known to future students so that others can discover all that BSE has to offer.
Madelyn is a BSE Senior focusing in environmental health with a minor in Green Engineering. Her post-graduation goal is to work for an organization that improves infrastructure, specifically water treatment facilities, in underdeveloped areas. Madelyn’s experience includes interning for a renewable energy company in Hangzhou, China where she reviewed and helped write water supply design proposals. She currently works on an undergraduate research project for Dr. Karen Kline, BSE Senior Research Scientist. The overall goal of the research project is to determine total maximum daily loads for PCBs, a highly toxic compound, for impaired rivers in Virginia. Madelyn grew up in West Chester, Pennsylvania and enjoys traveling and all sorts of outdoor activities. She completed the Hokie Half Marathon in September 2019 and has made sure to take advantage of all the hiking and camping spots in Blacksburg and the surrounding mountains during her time at Virginia Tech. She also enjoys volunteering for the local food bank in West Chester, which includes planting or harvesting vegetables at nearby farms, and sees it as a great way to give back to her hometown. Madelyn decided to get involved in the BSE Ambassador program, seeing it as a great platform to explain to incoming freshmen and prospective students all the benefits that come with obtaining a BSE degree from Virginia Tech. She loves talking to students and families at recruiting events and enjoys getting to know the other Ambassadors at monthly dinners!
Mitch Woodhouse is proudly in his second year as a BSE Ambassador, and has loved every moment of his experiences serving the BSE Department and the university. Participating in recruitment activities offers him a chance to not only live Ut Prosim¸ but also spread his love of the engineering and research experience at Virginia Tech. Beginning with his freshman year, Mitch has been privileged to perform research within the BSE department, investigating the development of climate change predictive systems, as well as his current participation as a Fralin Undergraduate Research Fellow, enabling him to continue developing a novel yeast identification pipeline. In addition, Mitch was able to represent Virginia Tech in the summer of 2019 at Clemson University as a member of the Nature’s Machinery biophysics REU.
Outside the lab, Mitch strives to be otherwise involved with the growth of his fellow students, and is the president of the Archimedes Society, an organization devoted to organizing, assisting, and running freshmen-only design teams. Based on his personal experience of going to the Neutral Buoyancy Lab as a freshman to present an innovative space tool, Archimedes has expanded to run three distinct teams, offering even more students real-world opportunities to utilize their engineering knowledge. When he can fit it in, Mitch is an avid outdoorsman, and feels as much at home in the mountains fishing or hiking as he does in a classroom. As he approaches his senior year, he hopes to balance all the amazing opportunities available in Blacksburg with graduate school applications and hopes to continue his career as a proud graduate student in biophysics or bioengineering.