Board of Visitors Graduate Representative
The graduate student representative to the BOV is appointed for a one-year term and meets with the BOV four times during the academic year, typically in September, November, March, and June.
The graduate student representative provides other members of the BOV with a student’s perspective on the issues under consideration. The student representative is often called upon to serve as a liaison between the BOV and the graduate student population at Virginia Tech, and is appointed to serve on one of the four standing committees. This person also serves as an ex-officio member of the Commission on Student Affairs, is a member of the Order of the Gavel, and may be asked by the president or provost to serve on special task forces or committees. The graduate student representative is a non-voting member of the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors. This position gives the student an excellent opportunity to represent the student voice while broadening his or her experiences and learning from direct participation how decisions are made that affect the university.
Graduate Student Representative: Tara Reel
Tara Reel of Virginia Beach, Virginia, is a master’s degree student in both the urban and regional planning (MURP) and public administration (MPA) in the School of Public and International Affairs (SPIA). A native of West Virginia, Reel received an undergraduate degree in Political Science from Davis and Elkins College.
Before attending Virginia Tech, she worked in local government for the City of Virginia Beach, serving as the assistant to the legislative liaison for intergovernmental relations working with government at the local, state and federal levels.
Among her many activities on campus, Reel serves as vice president of the Graduate Student Assembly. She is president and founder of the Virginia Tech student chapter of WTS International, an organization dedicated to building the future of transportation through the global advancement of women.
She is also a graduate student field reporter for the award winning “Save Our Towns,” a monthly video series offered by Virginia Tech's Outreach and International Affairs to guide and inspire leaders throughout Appalachia. Since 2014, Reel has also served as a research assistant at the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI).
“Virginia Tech is positioning itself as a global leader in creating destination areas based on its work in research and development,” she said. “My goal is to work with the student body to find ways to balance their research, educational goals, and health so we can thrive within our community.”
Reel hopes to return to public service following her completion of the dual degree program at Virginia Tech. She wants to develop innovative transportation networks to support connected and automated vehicles to enhance public safety.