Lauren Ahart

  • Major: University Studies- Pursuing Computer Science
  • Minor: French
  • Country of Origin: United States
  • Languages Spoken: English, Conversational French
  • Favorite Place to Eat on Campus: Origami at Turner Place
  • Organizations: Honors Residential Commons, Teach for Madame, VT Engage
  • Words of Wisdom: I became a Global Ambassador because I love Virginia Tech and the amazing community here, and I am so excited to help all the incoming international students to fall in love with Virginia Tech just as much as I have!  My advice to first year students is to try not to order the same thing twice from the dining hall during your first month here!  It’s so easy to get caught in a routine with food that you get tired of, so make sure to taste as many things as you can!

Abdulla Alblooshi

  • Major: Chemical Engineering
  • Country of Origin: United Arab Emirates
  • Languages Spoken: Arabic, English
  • Favorite Place to Eat on Campus: West End Market
  • Organizations: Arabic Language Club, the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, the Society for Collegiate Leadership & Achievement
  • Words of Wisdom: I want to become a Global Ambassador because I want to give back to the community, and to help international students. Virginia Tech is your new home! We all here is help you with any difficulty you will face adjusting to the culture and country. Do not be afraid to ask for help. 

Annie Carro

  • Majors: International Studies; French; German
  • Country of Origin: Spain
  • Languages Spoken:  English, Spanish, Russian, French, German
  • Favorite Place to Eat on Campus: Turner
  • Organizations: Teach for Madame, Cercle Francophone
  • Words of Wisdom: I became a Global Ambassador to meet new people and ease international students’ transition to Tech. I have always been passionate about other cultures and I thought this would be a great opportunity to meet people from around the world. My advice to new students is to put yourself out there and get involved. There are so many amazing clubs/organizations at Tech that you can be a part of. Also, don’t be afraid to ask questions! We are here to help.  

Abdullah Choudhury

  • Major: Microbiology; Economics
  • Minor: Chemistry, Entomology
  • Country of Origin: United States
  • Languages Spoken: English, and Mixed Proficiency in: Urdu, Hindi, Bangla, American Sign Language
  • Favorite Place to Eat on Campus: Turners
  • Organizations: Humans of Virginia Tech, Student Indian Association (SIA), Microbiology Club
  • Words of Wisdom: Enjoy the little things in life, for someday you will realize they were the big things! If you miss the bus, are late to class, meet some good friends, eat some bad food, going to parties--these are all learning experiences and you should be able to find enjoyment and grow from all these experiences; whether successes or failures, no one does anything perfect the first time. 

Yasmin Dambo          

  • Major: Architecture 
  • Country of Origin: Nigeria
  • Languages Spoken: English, Hausa, Conversational French
  • Favorite Place to Eat on Campus: West End
  • Organizations: Muslim Student Association, Filmmakers Club, African Student Association, CommonWEALTH of Scholars, Animation Society, Ekiti African Tribal Dance Group
  • Words of Wisdom: It's college. Study a lot, go to your classes, make friends, get a lot of sleep, don't stay hungry, manage your time well, but don't forget to Live. "If you want to fly, you have to give up the stuff that weighs you down." Welcome home, new Hokies!

Olivia Devina

  • Major: Industrial and Systems Engineering
  • Country of Origin: Indonesia
  • Languages Spoken: English, Indonesian, Javanese
  • Favorite Place to Eat on Campus: Owen's, Turner
  • Organizations: APICS, PERMIAS, Omega Phi Alpha, Gamma Beta Phi National Honor Society,
  • Words of Wisdom: Get involved right away, meet new people by joining clubs and/or organizations because it will be really useful for you in the future. Try to step out of your comfort zone, don’t be shy to speak English (if it’s not your first language) – a Hokie wouldn’t bite! I became a Global Ambassador because I want new students to feel comfortable here like I do. VT is basically my second home, everyone is so friendly and the community is awesome! 

Chloe Drew

  • Major: International Studies
  • Minors: Spanish and Peace Studies & Violence Prevention Minors
  • Country of Origin: United States
  • Languages Spoken: English, some Spanish
  • Favorite Place to Eat on Campus: Crepes at Turner
  • Organizations: Student Alumni Associates, Honors Residential Commons, Newman Community
  • Words of Wisdom: I find different cultures and languages interesting. Everyone has a different story and experience, and we can learn so much from one another! Also, Hokies are happy and helpful people! We don’t mind questions—in fact, we’d love to help if you need directions or just want to know the best place to get breakfast! 

Asmar Eltayb

  • Major: Psychology
  • Country of Origin: Sudan
  • Languages Spoken: English, Arabic, Spanish
  • Favorite Place to Eat on Campus: Qdoba and D2
  • Organizations: Out of the Darkness, VT Engage, Students for Non Violence
  • Words of Wisdom: I decided to become a global ambassador because I find it so awesome that so many students can come together from so many different places in the world and all connect as hokies. Diversity is such an important and significant part of life and I want you all to know that you are valued no matter where you come from. Make sure you guys put yourselves out there and join new clubs, go out to campus events, and also have your hokie p with you at all times(it’s kind of important)! I really look forward to meeting, talking, and getting to know you guys better. Hopefully I can help ease your transition into become students here at Virginia Tech--something I am confident that you will not regret :) 

Michael Folta

  • Major: Architecture
  • Country of Origin: United States
  • Languages Spoken: English
  • Favorite Place to Eat on Campus: Qdoba
  • Organizations: APX Professional Fraternity, BCM (Baptist Collegiate Ministries), Intermural Sports
  • Words of Wisdom: I grew up in California, but spent high school in Rwanda, Africa. Since returning, I’ve questioned why roundabouts aren’t more common, why Fanta Citron doesn’t exist, and why soccer isn’t called football. Home in America just hasn’t been the same since. VT however, has been an exciting place to continue meeting people from all over the world. It can be overwhelming at times, but also exciting. My advice is to throw yourself out there, start conversations, and meet people beyond your immediate circles. 

Simeone Freeman, Lead Global Ambassador

  • Major: Business Information Technology
  • Country of Origin: Republic of Liberia
  • Languages Spoken: English, conversational French
  • Favorite Place to Eat on Campus: Turners
  • Organizations: CommonWEALTH of Scholars, Association of Women in Computing, It Happens Here
  • Words of Wisdom: I became a Global Ambassador because it offers me the opportunity to interact and build relationships with people all over the globe and help these students transition to life at VT. Make this place your home away from home. Get comfortable and enjoy the ride.  

Dennis Harris

  • Major:  Business Information Technology
  • Country of Origin: United States
  • Languages Spoken: English, Korean
  • Favorite Place to Eat on Campus: West End
  • Organizations: Study Abroad Advisory Board, Language and Culture Institute Conversation Partner Program, Pamplin’s Undergraduate Mentoring Program
  • Words of Wisdom: My study abroad experience led me to realize that I had a passion for meeting international students. That being said, the Global Ambassador position was a perfect fit for me.  For those students who are new to Virginia Tech, my advice would be to branch out and try new things that you never would have tried before.  Regardless of where you end up, you’ll meet new friends along the way and maybe even find out new things about yourself. If you’re ever in need of any advice or help, feel free to ask!

Julianna Hill 

  • Major: English Language, Literature, and Culture; Spanish
  • Country of Origin: United States
  • Languages Spoken: English, Spanish
  • Favorite place to eat on campus: Au Bon Pain
  • Organizations: Spoon Univeristy at Virginia Tech, Sigma Delta Pi, Spanish National Honor Society, The Virginia Tech Writing Center
  • Words of Wisdom: I became a Global Ambassador because I wanted to help give the diversity of our campus the attention it deserves and meet individuals from all over the world who may challenge what I already know. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Your life may change simply by going to your professor’s office hours!

Maria James

  • Major: Psychology
  • Minor: Communications
  • Country of Origin: Ecuador
  • Languages Spoken: English, Spanish, French
  • Favorite place to eat on campus: West End & Owens 
  • Organizations: Alpha Phi Omega, Latin Link
  • Words of Wisdom: It might be difficult adapting here at first, but you are now a member of the most welcoming family you’ll ever be: The hokie family. International students have often found multiple cultural barriers but that’s why I’m here. I’m gonna try my best to help you face and overcome any barriers that come your way, and I hope to be here as your friend, your mentor, your companion. Welcome to the family, go hokies!

 

Lian Joseph

  • Major: International Public Policy
  • Country of Origin: China
  • Languages Spoken: English, Conversational Spanish and Mandarin
  • Favorite Place to Eat on Campus: Origami at Turner Place
  • Organizations: Coalition for Refugee Resettlement, Chinese American Society, Culture Spark,  Asian American Coalition
  • Words of Wisdom: Becoming a Global Ambassador is definitely, without a doubt, an incredible privilege that inspires both positive intercultural engagement and an emphasis on uniquely diverse cultures. While I’m incredibly excited in welcoming our incoming international students to the Virginia Tech community this year, I’m also truly eager to broaden my perspective on cultures around the world! As some advice to incoming international students I encourage having an open-mind, engaging with those around you, and involving yourself with interests and organizations that you truly take interest in and care about. Just know that, within the Virginia Tech community, there are students just like you who are thrilled to make your experience here as a Hokie nothing but spectacular, rewarding, and exciting!

Jordan Kuhn

  • Major: Computer Science
  • Country of Origin: United States
  • Languages Spoken: English, German (C1), Spanish (B2), Mandarin (Beginner) 
  • Favorite Place to Eat on Campus: JP's Chophouse
  • Organizations: Honors Resiential College, Honors College
  • Words of Wisdom: After living in another country for four months, my advice to you is to sign up and join things! Every night I had the option to stay at home and although some nights that was necessary to recharge, rest, and relax. My most rewarding experiences were all when I booked a flight somewhere new, signed up for an event, or just got on a random bus to a new part of the city. Take advantage of programs we have soon like Gobblerfest to find clubs and opportunities that interest you and make sure to have fun!

Feiyu Lu

  • Major: Material Science
  • Country of Origin: China (Beijing)
  • Languages Spoken: Chinese, English, German
  • Favorite Place to Eat on Campus: D2
  • Organizations: Hypatia Engineering Learning Community
  • Words of Wisdom: Try to meet new people and get involved. Find what you are really passionate about in life. Also, don’t forget to bring an umbrella. 

Brandon Manzaneda

  • Major: General Engineering
  • Country of Origin: United States
  • Languages Spoken: English, Spanish, German
  • Favorite Place to Eat on Campus: West End
  • Organization: Latin Link, Cyber Security Club, German Culture Club
  • Words of Wisdom: I am a Global Ambassador because I’m very interested in learning about different cultures and connecting with people of different backgrounds while getting to share and relate stories, experiences, and ideas. My advice to incoming international students is to never be afraid to talk to anyone on campus and to talk to people of other cultures as well.

Yelik Murat (Eli)

  • Major: Business Information Technology
  • Country of Origin: Kazakhstan
  • Languages Spoken: Kazakh, Russian, Mongolian, English
  • Favorite Place to Eat on Campus: Turner Place, DX, Owen’s
  • Organizations: Pamplin Undergraduate Mentoring Program, Pamplin International Buddy Program
  • Words of Wisdom: To me, going to Virginia Tech and being a Hokie was an amazing experience and an adventurous journey. I want to share this great experience. College is all about growth and it’s a huge learning experience. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes and this is your chance to find your passion! Also, don’t forget to always eat the weekly Chicken Parm from Owen’s!

Gargie Nagarkar

  • Major: Sociology
  • Country of Origin: United States
  • Languages Spoken: English, Marathi, French, very little Italian
  • Favorite Place to Eat on Campus: Origami
  • Organizations: Teach for Madame, Honors Peer Advising, Intramural Soccer
  • Words of Wisdom: I became a Global Ambassador because I love meeting people with diverse backgrounds and experiences. I also want to help international students adjust to life at Virginia Tech. My advice to first year students is to explore the area as much as possible! There is so much to do outside campus and it would be a shame to miss out on it.

Savannah Nelson

  • Major: National Security and Foreign Affairs
  • Country of Origin: United States
  • Languages Spoken: English, Intermediate Spanish
  • Favorite Place to Eat on Campus: Owens
  • Organizations: National Security Education Program, Student Government Association, Hall Council, SERVE Living and Learning Community, and Cranwell International Center
  • Words of Wisdom: I am a Global Ambassador to help you become comfortable enough to call Virginia Tech home. This university has amazing opportunities to take advantage of, which you can personalize to your interests, but you may have to take initiative. Experiences that are foreign to you will help you grow as a person and immerse you in American culture. You will get as much benefit out of being at Virginia Tech, as the amount of effort you put into your Virginia Tech experience. This campus is filled with caring, welcoming Hokies, who are willing to assist you, so do not be afraid to ask for help. We are happy you are here to enrich our community, experience our culture, and be a fellow Hokie. 

Leonardo O'Gilvie

  • Major: Marketing; Management
  • Country of Origin: Jamaica
  • Languages Spoken: English, learning Spanish
  • Favorite Place to Eat on Campus: Hokie Grill
  • Organizations: Transfer Orientation Leader, Hokie Camp Leader, E-Club (Built With…), Pamplin Multicultural Diversity Council, Pamplin Leadership Academy, Pamplin International Buddy Mentoring Program.
  • Words of Wisdom: I became a Global Ambassador because I wanted to be part of creating an experience for students that would be unlike any other. Another reason I joined was because I love learning about new cultures and getting to know people from different places. I believe that without making connections like these, we would not be able find new solutions to old problems, or invent the future.

Mayank Periwal

  • Major: Construction Engineering; Management
  • Country of Origin: India
  • Languages Spoken: English & Hindi
  • Favorite Place to Eat on Campus: Qdoba 
  • Organizations: Student Governments and Association, Appalachia Service Project, The Giving Tree
  • Words of Wisdom: I have been involved in lot of organization in VT and realized that I love mentoring. So, I wanted to join Global Ambassador to help incoming Freshman. My advice to incoming Freshman are get involved! The more you get involved, the more you will feel at home here. Definitely, go to football games. Enjoy your time at Deets in Freshman Year. Turners will be your go to place for food. Don't miss Ring Design (once every year), it is one of the hype traditions.    

Kartik Rustagi

  • Majors:  Hospitality and Tourism Management; Theatre & Cinema
  • Country of Origin: India
  • Languages Spoken: English, Hindi
  • Favorite Place to Eat on Campus: D2
  • Organizations: SERVE Living-Learning Community, Hospitality Management Association, Dining Services 
  • Words of Wisdom: A lot of internationals ask me for an advise that might make their first few months easy and convenient and the only thing I want you to take away from me is be yourself. Having more than 30,000 students studying here, it is really easy to feel oblivious to the people and environment and the only person who is going to help you is you, there are a lot of resources to find help but if you manage to stay true to yourself and the people you will be meeting in the coming few months, you will be perfect for the long run. Welcome to Virginia Tech, This is Home! 

Andrea Lopez Savinon

  • Major: Business Management; Spanish
  • Country of Origin: Mexico
  • Languages Spoken: English, Spanish
  • Favorite Place to Eat on Campus: The Duck Pond
  • Organizations: Latin Link, Colligate Women in Business, Consulting group
  • Words of Wisdom: I joined global ambassadors because wanted to meet new people and play apart of someone’s experience here at Virginia Tech. Also just to learn more about other cultures and embrace the diversity we have here at Tech. My advice to new students would be to get out of your comfort zone, it took me a while to start getting involved but once you do it’s worth it. 

Karla Sepulveda,  Lead Global Ambassador

  • Major: Interior Design
  • Country of Origin: Mexico
  • Languages Spoken: Spanish, English, and a little bit of Italian
  • Favorite Place to Eat on Campus: Turner Place!
  • Organizations: Interior Designers of Education and Sustainability (IDEAS,)  Panhellenic Council, Latin Link, Pi Beta Phi, and Student Conduct.
  • Words of Wisdom: I became a Global Ambassador because I also had the experience of coming to another country, and I know that it's always important to have a support system that can help you with the transition of moving to a new country. My advice to students would be to not be afraid of being uncomfortable! Reach out to people and be the first person to say hi. Everyone at Virginia Tech is super friendly, and trust me, you'll find your group of people when you come here.

Anna Stapor

  • Major: Industrial Design
  • Country of Origin: United States
  • Languages Spoken: English, minimal French and Japanese
  • Favorite Place to Eat on Campus: Turner Place
  • Organizations: Zeta Tau Alpha Women’s Fraternity, Industrial Design Student Association, Environmental Coalition, Honors Residential Commons
  • Words of Wisdom: I became a Global Ambassador because I wanted to be a part of welcoming our International Hokies into their new home and show them why Tech is so great! One of the biggest piece of advice that I can give to new first year students is to not be afraid to get involved on campus! I know it can be scary and confusing to figure out the information you need for clubs and student groups, but it’s worth it. It’s a great way to make new friends and do fun things with your college experience. You can even try things you’ve never done before!

Peter Unpingco

  • Majors: International Studies; Russian
  • Country of Origin: United States
  • Languages Spoken: English, Russian
  • Favorite Place to Eat on Campus: Burger 37
  • Organizations: Corps of Cadets, Army ROTC, Honors College, Multicultural Academic Opportunities Program.
  • Words of Wisdom:  I became a Global Ambassador so that I could give back and help people from around the world transition into American life and culture. I think that getting involved with people from other countries is a great way to learn about other cultures while meeting new people. Hey, new students! When you're feeling confused or lost, don't be afraid to ask a fellow hokie for help!